October 17, 2017

Radio 101: Best Experiences in My First 6 Months.

      Happy six month anniversary... to me and radio!! Six months ago today, I began my job here in Vermont, working as a full-time on-air radio personality in Market #146, Burlington/Plattsburgh. (Talking about media market sizes and ranks is a Radio 101 post for another day! 😉) In some ways, it feels like I was truly born to do this job, and like I've been doing it forever. In other ways, I'm consistently reminded how new I am in the industry, and I feel like I learn new things about radio, sales, and techniques for my voice every single day! So you can say that the first six months of working full time have been quite the journey... both figuratively, and literally since of course I moved to Vermont! 

      I'm hoping for November or December's Radio 101 post to do a "Day in the Life" type post, where I'll walk you through one of my average work days at the studio. That is what the majority of my work days look like- I come into the studio, prep for my show at my desk for a couple hours, eat a snack and check blog emails/social media during my "lunch" break, and then head to the studio to do my main work- doing my radio show from 2-7! However, one of the reasons that I wanted to work in radio is because it's a fun type of career field, and brings work experiences that happen outside of the office/studio. Live on-sight broadcasts, endorsement projects, remotes (radio term for events), concerts... these are just a few of the things that I've gotten my feet wet in during my first six months of work! Of course- like with any job, some off-site event opportunities haven't been fun. There are some that truly are just work, and a couple that have been pretty terrible experiences. But hey- I suppose that happens to everyone in this industry at some point or another! The good news is that there have been plenty more fun and exciting work events that I've gotten to be apart of, things that I'll definitely treasure memories from as my career advances someday! I thought it would be fun to take a quick look back at a few of the more fun work opportunities that I've had since starting my job:

    Fun out-of-studio experiences really began for me during Memorial Day Weekend. I was given last minute concert tickets in Montreal to Chance the Rapper, and my friend Mercedes came up from Washington D.C. to attend the show with me. Jokes on us- although I'm a big rap fan, both of us were actually pretty unfamiliar with Chance's music, but we still had a great time in the big city for the evening! The same weekend, I also had my first parade experience for work! Working in a smaller radio market means that we participate in a ton of local events, like walking in town holiday parades. 

   July was my busiest month of work yet, but also had the most fun events. The month started off strong with Burlington's annual July 3rd festival! In Burlington, they celebrate the 4th of July on July 3rd, and all the stations at my company broadcast live from the Burlington waterfront all day long! This was my first company-wide live broadcast and it was quite an event! 
    I also had my first digital endorsement in July! I worked with our local Edible Arrangements franchise to promote their new menu items. A digital endorsement for a radio personality is super similar to a sponsored blog campaign- I took photos of the products, and then promoted them on our station's social media and website! 
      Lastly, I spent a day tagging along with Mary (who does mornings on Star 92.9), on an adventure to Canada to visit Parc Safari, an animal adventure park! Mary had a digital endorsement with them, and I did her Facebook lives and photography. It was so fun to say I got to go to another country for work for the day, and I loved meeting the animals! 

      August was even busier than July! I spent two weeks in a row filling in on Star 92.9, which is 96.7's sister station, and where I work on Saturdays each week. I spent a week filling in on Mike and Mary in the Morning, which I LOVED!! Morning radio is something that I would eventually like to do. This was an incredible learning experience (although it was painful to wake up at 3:30 again everyday for a week!). And the following week, I filled in for Chantal, who has the 3-7 Afternoon Drive shift on Star. This was great preparation for me as we were just a couple weeks out from me switching to the Drive shift on 96.7 I learned a lot from both of these experiences- although I will say I was very tired because in addition to doing these shows, I still had to do my own show and normal work each day on 96.7, so it was like doing two jobs for two weeks! 
      Events-wise, I also had two really fun digital endorsements! The first was with a local boutique in Burlington. It ended up being such a fun afternoon- I first had my makeup done at a local makeup artistry studio, and then spent the afternoon modeling clothes for the boutique. This was the first fashion project I've ever done that was completely separate from Southern Belle in Training, so it was a really unique experience! My other endorsement was test driving a BMW for a local car dealer. My dad was visiting Vermont when that happened, so we went driving for an afternoon- I think he was jealous I got to drive and not him! 😉
      Lastly and most importantly, 96.7 rebranded and relaunched on August 15th! We went from being a Top 40, Planet 967, to be a Rhythmic Leaning Top 40, The New Hot 96.7! (The main difference between Top 40 and Rhythmic leaning is that Top 40 stations really just focus on the "top hits," and rhythmic leaning stations play the top hits, a few of the top urban hits, and also some urban golds. I explain more about this in this Radio 101 blog post!) The launch date selected was also the first day that my company began live broadcasts from The Champlain Valley Fair, which is this region of Vermont's largest annual fair. The fair was a great place to launch the new station- so many people were excited about it! And that night, the celebration continued when I received concert tickets to attend that night's show at the fair, the I Love The 90s: The Party Continues tour, which ended up being really great! The headliners, my favorite 90s girl band TLC, were absolutely fantastic!!

      September held my biggest event yet! I got to RAPPEL off one of the tallest buildings in Vermont!! This is a local charity event that happens annually in Burlington to benefit the Flynn Center for the Arts, which is a local performing arts facility. The Flynn reached out to our station about having a radio personality participate, and one of our sales people thought I would be the perfect fit! I was delighted to get the chance to do something as cool as rappelling- truly a once in a lifetime experience! My mom was also in town visiting that weekend so she got to see it happen.

      Coming into October- I haven't had any fun events yet this month, but I do have one coming up this weekend, and another during Halloween weekend which should be cool! 

     And there you have it: first six months down! Like I said earlier, sometimes the really awesome events can easily be forgotten about with the day to day stuff that goes on at the radio station, as well as the normal stress of work. But honestly, how cool is some of this stuff?! I never want to take for granted this industry that I get to be apart of. I hope even better events and opportunities are in my career's future! 

      I try not to give too much shameless self promotion for my radio shows here on the blog, but I know some of you are curious about it, and the hours of my shows have changed since the last time I updated. Anyone can listen to both radio stations that I work for!! Both stream online from computers, and have free iPhone apps as well. All times are in EST.

      *The New Hot 96.7 (Top 40/Hip Hop): M-F: 2-7 pm, Sat: 9-2 pm, Sun: 2-7 pm

      *Star 92.9 (90s to Now): Sat: Midnight-6 AM, other shifts fill-in

     Thanks so much for reading!! Feel free as always to send your questions about radio for future Radio 101 posts!

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese 

October 16, 2017

How I'm Wearing The Embroidery Trend + 4 Books I've Read This Month.

    Embroidery has been one of the biggest trends in 2017! In my traditional fashion, like with a lot of other fast fashion trends (off-the-shoulder, anyone?), I have ended up embracing it, but all in all in small doses, and it took me a little longer to do so than some other bloggers and trend lovers. Today's outfit shows a couple easy ways to incorporate embroidery into your fall looks! This casual outfit is also definitely something that I would wear to work! This summer I shared a "How a Radio Personality Dresses for Work" blog post, and today's outfit would be my fall version of that! 

Southern Belle in Training - Stowe Vermont

How To Wear the Embroidery Trend

Wearing Embroidery for Fall

Fall Style Stowe Vermont

Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Southern Belle in Training! 

      This top is definitely a trendy item, between the lace up detail and the embroidery. But I really ended up liking it! I never spend a lot of money on super trendy pieces, so the under $15 price point on it worked well for me!! You might notice if you frequent here a lot that I don't usually wear too much red. To be honest I'm not really sure why I don't wear a lot of red. I love to wear pink and wear all shades of it- everything from blush to fuchsia. But with red, I guess sometimes I shy away from how bold it is. Anyways, red is a great fall color, and I think the red color looks great in this top! Yay for trying new things. 😊

     These jeans were my splurge item in this year's Nordstrom sale, and they're still available (though sadly not on sale currently). They're the comfiest jeans ever, and I'm already looking forward to buying another pair in next year's sale! 

     After taking a little break from reading for fun during the end of summer due to the craziness at work, my schedule has finally settled down, and I've been on a reading frenzy for the past month or so! I've already made a dent in October's reading list, but here's the four books that I read in September:

     *Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner: This was my second Lisa Gardner thriller- I read my first one back in July's book review post. Say Goodbye is a chilling story that involves a devoted FBI agent, disappearing prostitutes.... and spiders. Lots of spiders. If you are scared of spiders, this is probably not the book for you, haha. I enjoyed the story and the ending ended up being a lot more complex than I expected, but I think overall I liked the other Lisa Gardner book that I read this summer better than this one. I'd still like to read more of her books though! 

      *Under Her Skin by Susan Mallery: Under Her Skin is about as a-typical of a paperback romance novel as you can get.... but hey, sometimes we all need a light read like that! I've definitely read worse romance novels before, and this one actually had a plot that I enjoyed, not just unrealistic love scenes. This story follows Lexi Titan, a businesswoman from a powerful family in Texas, who becomes engaged as apart of a business deal. However when feelings end up developing for her fake fiance, things get complicated! You can probably guess how the story ends.... but like I said, I still enjoyed it as a light read, and I've definitely read worse romance novels.

      *Mr. Maybe by Jane Green: I have also reviewed a Jane Green book before in a past book review post, and wasn't that impressed by the past book that I read of hers! I decided to give Ms. Green another try though, and actually really liked this book! Mr. Maybe is what I would call the definition of a "beach read" - total chick lit, and kind of a fluff read. But it was really entertaining! This book centers around main character Libby, a late 20s PR professional living in London, who struggles with dating. Her heart is currently torn between pursuing a guy who she has great chemistry with, but who is unemployed, or chasing a wealthy and mature bachelor who she has little chemistry with. Even though Libby and I view dating pretty differently, I still found myself laughing at and relating to a lot in this book! This would be a great vacation read especially I think.

      *The Other Half by Sarah Raynor: This is the second novel set in Britain on today's reading list! The Other Half is about a cheating husband, and the story switches between the perspective of his wife, and his mistress. I found it to be an interesting read. I'm obviously super against unfaithfulness in relationships, but it was intriguing to read a book with so much of the perspective being from quite literally, "the other half." I would rate this book about the same as Mr. Maybe- a fun beach or vacation read, but not like life changing literature or anything!

     And that's September's books! I'll share October's after my next library visit. 


     Have a wonderful start to the week! I had such a fun day yesterday and I can't wait to share more about that with y'all soon.

      God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

October 12, 2017

How To Help a Friend Going Through a Legal Situation.

      I've certainly written my fair share of personal blog posts in the five+ years that I've had Southern Belle in Training. I've talked to y'all about faith, falling outs with high school friends, my first experience with a true broken heart, the ups and downs of my move to Vermont this year, and many other topics. But out of everything that I've ever written in the past years... this is the most important blog post, hands down. My words today are more important than any outfit that I'll ever wear, travel guide I'll curate, or broadcasting career advice I'll share.

Help a friend through legal court case

{Yes- this is one of the outfits that I wore to court. It felt empowering to later wear it on my blog, although at the time I didn't share the meaning behind the outfit! Photo by Deeana Kourtney Photography.}

      Almost a year and a half ago, my world was turned upside after the unthinkable happened, and I was the victim of a crime just a few weeks before graduating college. After much prayer and thought, and a decision that only I could make as the victim, I decided to move forward with pursuing legal action. This was a part of my daily life from April-October 2016 that I completely hid from the blog side of my life. And that in itself, was one of the hardest things that I've ever gone through. I absolutely adore blogging with my whole heart and soul, and although obviously I blog because it's both my passion and a business venture, I also do so because writing creatively is one of my favorite forms of stress relief. To be able to go through something so painful for so much of last year and not be able to process it through blogging, which is such a notable form of stress relief for me, was really hard. In December, to close out the end of the painful year, I finally shared an extremely vague blog post just to let everyone know that it hadn't been the easiest year. But I was, and still am, prevented to really talk about what I went through due to the confidentiality of the situation, which I'll dive into more later in this post. Anyways, the fact that I couldn't share such a big and painful part of my life with y'all last year made me feel like I was being re-victimized every single day.

      Today, exactly one year ago, the door to this very painful, awful, legal situation was CLOSED. I can't believe it's been a year. I wish I could tell you that it all goes away once it's "legally" over. But it doesn't. It does get better certainly, time is a great healer. So is relying on the Lord. But it never completely goes away. Sometimes I don't think about it for weeks, days, hours.... other nights it all comes back in vivid and intense flashbacks, and I cry myself to sleep. Those are the times when I'm happy to live alone in a far away state from where this happened. Vermont has certainly been healing on my heart.

     Anyways, before I get very off track here, the point of today's post wasn't to talk about how I've been in the past year, as I still can't really give details into the situation that I went through. (I did disclose in my December blog post that I was not a victim of rape or a sexual related crime, but that's all that I want to and really can say.) What I do want to talk about... is how to provide support to people going through legal situations. I was very naive before I went through one myself!! I was a goody-goody two shoes for most of college, and kind of naively always believed that if I was a "good girl" and "stayed out of trouble," bad things don't happen to careful people. I hate to admit this, but I also kind of believed that rape cases were the only types of crime situations that lead college girls to press charges. Well- I'm not a rape victim, and I still went through six months of hell last year for something completely unrelated.

     Research and hearing about other people going through similar things always makes me feel better- about anything in life! Before moving to Vermont to take my job, I looked up stories of other radio personalities who left big cities and moved to tiny markets to get their career off the ground. When I started blogging years ago, I read lots of posts from "bigger bloggers" sharing social media and blogging tips about how to gain a following and curate better content. So naturally when I was going through all of this last year, I kept doing research online, trying to find a story of someone who had been through a story similar to mine, and hopefully the story had a happy ending. I found nothing. There was lots of support on the internet for female sexual harassment, assault, and rape victims- which is great! I'm so glad that prosecution is becoming harsher for these crimes, and that these topics are becoming more talked about at universities. However as I mentioned- I wasn't a victim of one of these things. So most of these stories weren't relevant to me specifically. I felt so alone and almost hopeless as I would spend late nights on my computer, looking for someone, anyone, who had been through a similar situation, but I never found it.

     What I did find though, was peace about how I could eventually share part of the story here on the blog to help others. This is something that became startlingly clearer to me as the months and then year went on. I might not be able to share the details of my situation specifically with you all. But something that I can share is what it felt like to be a victim, and how that can be channeled into helping others. It started to dawn on me after awhile that legal situations really are a part of life. They're kind of like a cancer diagnosis, or a bad car accident. No one expects to deal with one, no one ever asks for one to happen to them or a loved one, but they still happen. Chances are- someone near and dear in your life will deal with a legal situation at some time or another. It could be a family member, a spouse, a friend, or even yourself. Circumstances for pressing charges vary between all types of crimes, but the emotions behind being a victim and dealing with a legal situation are still similar between most cases. I lost friendships over what I dealt with last year. I repeat- I lost friendships. Multiple. Plural. Let that sink in. At the same time, I also learned who my true friends were, and some of them showered me with incredible love and kindness, in addition to my parents of course, who supported me greatly during that time.

     This is all a very long way of saying, I wanted to use today's blog post to share some tips on how to help a friend (or someone else you're close to) who is going through a legal situation. Of course, I'm writing this post from the perspective of helping a victim/plaintiff, as that's the side of things that I've been on.

     1. Remind them that it's not their fault: This probably seems like a given... but if someone you know has been the victim of a crime and moves forward with a legal case, they will have to re-live the circumstances of what happened many, many times in months to come. I know that I personally tend to over-analyze everything, so being in a situation like this was terrible for my personality, and triggered a lot of anxiety as expected. Being a victim is exactly that, it's not your fault!! But it can be easy to let your mind play tricks on you and start thinking that you did something to deserve the situation that you're in. One of the best things that you can do as a support person to someone dealing with a legal situation is just to keep reminding them that it's not their fault. Bad things do happen to good people- it's a part of life (there's of course a faith explanation behind it too), but the bottom line is that if your friend or loved one is a victim, they didn't do anything to deserve being in that position, and reminding them of that really does help.

     2. Don't make guesses about the end result: This one is so, so, SO important, as a lot of well-meaning friends who were trying to be supportive did this, but it ended up making things emotionally much more detrimental for me for many months after to come (even somewhat now still).
     If someone you know is a victim of a crime and decides to follow through with legal action, that is a brave and admirable decision. It is GREAT to support them!! However, the absolute worst thing that you can do is start promising them end results. Again- I can't disclose a lot about my own situation, but I will say that I learned last year that the justice system isn't fair. I mean heck... sometimes murderers aren't even convicted (and that's something much more serious than what I went through). So many people that I knew when they found out I was taking legal action would say things insinuating that I would have a certain outcome solely because I decided to pursue legal action.... and guess what? I didn't get that outcome. At all. And that hurt a lot. I knew that all of my friends who made comments like this truly did mean well... but when person after person for months is telling you they think they know the story will have a happy ending.... but it doesn't.... it makes it worse. So support your friend, but don't promise results. You aren't their lawyer or district attorney, you probably know very little about the legal system (I still don't know that much even after going through it).

     3. Accept the confidentiality: For the same reason that I'm not disclosing a lot about what happened here on the blog, I also did the same with many people in my life. A lot of people that I knew last year when they found out that I was dealing with a serious situation wanted to ask questions to try and understand and support me, and while I so appreciated that, legal situations come with a lot of confidentiality attached. I couldn't just tell people all of the details about what was going on. If you're being a support to a victim and there's certain aspects to the legal situation that they can't tell you, it probably has nothing to do with you as a friend. Respect the fact that they can't disclose certain things, but still offer your support! Trust me- it will mean a lot to them!

    4. Realize different things can cause flashbacks / panic attacks: Whatever the circumstances were that caused your friend or loved one to be in a victim position in a legal situation... it probably wasn't a positive or happy situation. My situation definitely wasn't. I was and still am proud of myself for the healing that I've accomplished in the last year and a half, but that doesn't mean that I don't sometimes still get flashbacks to the incident itself, and painful memories in the legal process. Weird things can trigger these... hearing certain a song on the radio, seeing something on Facebook, eating a certain food, it's crazy. You can't predict when a flashback will hit. The worst panic attack that I had during this whole process was actually during the weekend of The Blog Societies conference in Charleston last summer, when a bunch of bloggers and myself were out at a bar to celebrate the last night of the conference. Something came over me and I thought I was going to by physically ill- I finally realized back in the hotel room that I'd been experiencing a panic attack. The best thing that you can do is support your friend in these instances, and offer love and a distraction.

     5. Buy or make them a thoughtful gift: As I'm hopefully stressing throughout this whole post, being a victim in a legal situation is a really awful situation to be in. Gifts happen to be my top love language, and if they're also a high love language for your friend or loved one, consider getting them something thoughtful around their court date. It doesn't have to be something huge or expensive, but just something small to let them know they will get through this, and you're thinking of them. The best example of this I have is what my roommate who I was living with last year, Ciera, bought me at this time last year. She and I had gone to Las Vegas the month before, and while shopping there I had debated buying a set of bath bombs, but ended up using the money for other things on the trip. Ciera went to LUSH in Charlotte and bought me some beautiful bath bombs so that I could treat myself to relaxing baths before and after court! It was the most thoughtful gift, and meant so much to me. Someone from my broadcasting school wrote me a long letter filled with bible verses for me to bring to court with me... this is the type of gift that costs nothing to make, but ended up being one of the most special at the time.

     6. Encourage them to go to counseling: I am so glad that so many important people in my life encouraged me to do this! Going through a legal situation is something serious, and even if you're able to love on your friend and be there for them, they've probably been through some sort of stress and trauma that is best processed with a professional. I went to counseling for about nine months related to this situation (as well as a few other things), and it was so helpful in terms of processing and moving on with my life, as well as preparing for my (literal) move to Vermont.

      7. Be down to CELEBRATE! Eventually, the situation will come to and end. It will probably take awhile, and be long and drawn out. (Felonies are usually longer than misdemeanors. The legal system doesn't usually move quickly!) But once it's over- it's OVER! And that's something to celebrate, irregardless of whether your friend received the outcome that they wanted or not. During the six months that I was involved in my situation, I was miserable most of the time. I threw myself into broadcasting school and my retail job. School, and dreaming of working full-time in radio, was my savior at this point in my life. I didn't want to do a lot with friends, and I certainly wasn't into going out and doing a lot of the stuff I used to do for fun in college anymore. A couple nights after everything ended last October, I planned a very special celebration with some dear friends. Some from college, my blogging bestie, and a couple from broadcasting school! My parents were still in Charlotte and took me to my favorite mall that day to buy me a new dress for that night. Then my friends and I had dessert and drinks at an upscale lounge in Uptown Charlotte. It was such a special night to remember, and a great way to close out one chapter of my life and begin a new one! If your friend's legal situation is coming to a close, if they're down, try and plan a celebration for them! Here's a few pictures from mine:

     I genuinely hope and pray that you and no one that you know has to be put in a position or a situation like I was last year! Every part of it sucked. I'm forever changed because of it. But, like I said earlier in the post, legal situations are apart of life. Chances are you will at some point, know someone in a position like this. So my hope is that I went through all of that last year to share this part of the story.... and that through these words, you might be able to offer helpful support to someone you love and care about.

    Thank you for reading, and thank you to all who followed my social media and read my blog last year. You all were my sunshine for much of 2016, possibly more than you'll ever know!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese