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February 21, 2019

NYFW 2019 Travel Diary: Day 1.

     Two weeks ago today, I was boarding a plane bound for New York City and my very first NYFW! Today I'm so excited to begin my in-depth recaps of the shows that I attended, as well as fun NYC things that Gentry and I did. Our first day, Friday February 8th, was our busiest day, so today's post will just focus on recapping that!

     In case you've missed it, I've already shared a full post all about my Friday outfit, and I've also shared why I went to NYFW, my NYFW vlog, and a post that breaks down where to find show and event invites (especially if you have a smaller blog following!). 

     I actually flew into NYC on Thursday night, so that I could spend a night with my aunt and uncle who live in Long Island! I don't get to see them very often anymore since I live in the South, so it was so nice to spend a night with them and get all caught up. My uncle kindly drove me back to the airport on Friday morning, where I would meet Gentry in person for the first time! 

     We found each other in the baggage claim of her terminal, and then split a cab to get to our hotel. (Side note: one of the many reasons I'm so glad I had a blogger friend to do NYC with is to split cab and uber costs!! It adds up fast!) Gentry and I stayed at The Row Hotel, located a block away from Times Square. Although travel content is something that I've been working a lot more on in the past year of blogging, I had zero desire to try and pitch for a hotel collaboration for NYFW. I've heard from other bloggers that have gone in the past that it's extremely competitive as so many bloggers are all reaching out for the same dates. Gentry and I found a great deal for the Row back in December, so we quickly booked it and paid for it ourselves, and that was a great decision! The rooms at The Row Hotel are very small and no-frills (they reminded me of European hotel rooms), but we weren't in NYC to hang out in the hotel, so this perfectly fit our needs.  And the rates of this hotel plus the amazing location couldn't be beat! (You can see just a little bit of Times Square in the first photo below, as we were one block away!)

    After checking in, we hurried to get ready for our first fashion show, and then called an Uber! The first of the three that we attended during NYFW was Fashion Hong Kong- which featured three different designers from Hong Kong. This show was held at Industria in West Village, which I learned is a prominent venue for NYFW shows. (You can learn more about Industria here.) 

     Here is where Gentry and I learned our first important lesson about NYFW: fashion shows = long lines! We showed up for the Fashion Hong Kong show about 40 minutes early, before the line started. However, since this was our first show we didn't know anything about lines, so instead of going right to the door, we headed across the street to take some pictures of our outfits. We finished that about 10-15 minutes later, crossed the street again... and saw a lined had formed at the front of the building with at least 100 people waiting! YIKES! Safe to say we learned our lesson, for the other shows we attended we immediately got right in line. I also took this time to do a glamorous shoe change... I took off my walking shoes for a pair of pumps (from a Kroger shopping bag!). So glad I had Gentry capture this behind-the-scenes picture.

     Fashion Hong Kong featured designers 112 mountainyam, Anveglosa and Heaven Please+. My two favorites were Anveglosa and Heaven Please+. Anveglosa is a line known for strong leather silhouettes, and this collection featured a lot of structured coats. Heaven Please+ brought of lot of bold colors to their fall collection, with amazing hues like lavender and dark green. 

     I liked all of the fashion shows that we attended (for different reasons), but Fashion Hong Kong was extra special since that was our first show! I know both Gentry and I were just ecstatic after it ended. We had hair appointments for a collaboration with Palms Salon a couple hours after, so when the show ended we started walking to W 14th Street, where the salon is! We stopped a few times along the way to take pictures- why is every street in NYC just so scenic?

     Gentry and I loved getting our hair done at the Palms Salon! It was so nice of them to collaborate with us, and give us each blow-outs for our evening events. Can I just say too that this salon had the most adorable decor and vibe? I literally felt like I had stepped into a tropical, palm tree-filled oasis!

     Here is the before and after of our hair! Didn't it look great?

    After our hair appointments, I had a great surprise! The NYC location of one of my very favorite Charlotte restaurants, Vapiano, was just a couple blocks away! Vapiano is an international Italian restaurant chain that's in a few US cities. I'd only been to the Charlotte one before, and I've always wanted to visit another. I'm happy to report the NYC location was just as good! 

     There was another treat right across the street from Vapiano. A Nutella cafe!! That's right- a restaurant dedicated solely to Nutella. Am I dreaming? Gentry and I had to get over to our evening fashion show, but I did run in there to grab a frozen Nutella pop, that I enjoyed as we walked. 

     Our second show of Fashion Week was Friday night, at Chelsea Piers, which was close enough for us to walk there after dinner (anything to save $$ on Uber!). To be honest... I'm still not exactly sure what Chelsea Piers is. It's huge, and described as a sports and entertainment complex. I know I saw signs for golf club, field house, and much more. There is something within Chelsea Piers called Pier 59 Studios, and this is another popular NYFW show venue. Our our Friday evening and Saturday shows were both here. 

     This time Gentry and I thankfully anticipated waiting in line before the show! So the long line wasn't a surprise. We had standing tickets for both of our Friday shows, so once we were let into the room we found what we thought was the best location to still see and take pictures behind everyone who was seated. 

     This show was put on by CAAFD (Council of Aspiring American Fashion Designers), and featured three designers: Mouton Blanc, iMi by Imogen Evans, and Ruth Zabetta. Mouton Blanc's collection was described as being full of "fiery" pieces, and I think that's pretty accurate! That collection featured some things that were very out there, but seemed to work in a runway setting. 

     This next piece was like a full body unitard... that even covered the face? So interesting- yet I think this was actually one of my favorite looks from all of NYFW since it was so unique!

    Imogen Evans' collection was probably the most different that I saw out of all the shows I attended. Her designs were quite bizarre (for lack of a better term), and featured full body... blankets? (Think like Snuggies on the runway!) I later read in the press release recap for her show that her designs were supposed to convey a message about sexual assault- and that women aren't immune from it even when dressed modestly and unattractively. I appreciate her collection so much more now that I know the message behind it! 

     And finally- Ruth Zabetta! Her fall collection was very chic, and exactly what would come to mind when I think "NYC Fashion." These looked like outfits that a stylish businesswoman would wear as she darts around the city for both work and play.

    After the CAAFD show wrapped, we met up with a few other bloggers outside of Chelsea Piers, to split an Uber with them to our next destination. We found all of these girls via an Instagram group DM filled with bloggers who were in town for Fashion Week! All of us were headed to a blogger meet-up at Bar Hugo, the rooftop bar at Hotel Hugo. 

      The meet-up was such a fun way to end our busy day!! There were a lot of girls who attended- probably 30+ people? Some of the lovely ladies that I really enjoyed meeting and chatting with included Payton, Kylee, Anna, Vanessa and many more. A lot of other bloggers were there for their first NYFW as well, so Gentry and I definitely were't alone! The views from Bar Hugo were also very cool- although on future trips to NYC I might prefer to check out some outdoor rooftop bars (it felt a little claustrophobic at times since there were so many bloggers there for the meet-up, plus regular bar patrons!). 

    After enjoying socializing and a couple of beverages, we finally called our Uber and went back to our hotel for the night. WHEW! What a day!! To think I'd woken up at 5:30 that morning in my aunt and uncle's house in Long Island... and then was able to have all these amazing Fashion Week experiences in less than 24 hours. I'm so excited to share my recap of days 2 +3 with y'all as well! That will be on the blog soon. Thanks for making it to the end of this very long post! 

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

February 20, 2019

Midweek Ramblings.

{Celebrated Galentine's over the weekend with the sweetest Charlottesville friends! Follow me on social media @miss_alk} 

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  • Cable/internet negotiation: In last week's Midweek Ramblings post, I shared how I was planning to visit the local Comcast Xfinity store this past week to try and negotiate my cable/internet bundle package. I ended up spending Friday afternoon not only visiting the local store, but also on a lengthy phone call with the 1-800 number. I was able to lower my monthly bill a little bit, but not as much as I was hoping. The conclusion that I came to is that cable and internet prices vary a lot in different cities and states, and Charlottesville's happen to be high. (I looked into internet prices for one of Xfinity's competitors as well and it was comparable). I feel like I need to keep digging more into this in months to come though- it seems like cable and internet providers can really screw everyone over! 
  • Marie Kondo in my kitchen: Last month, I decided to Marie Kondo my closet after watching episodes of the popular Netflix special. While it was great to determine the clothes and accessories that bring me joy... more places in my apartment needed that special treatment too! On Saturday, I spent a few hours cleaning my kitchen and then completely re-organizing my pantry. Before it was super disorganized and it would stress me out to have to find food items in there. Now I have a much better organization system! I still have to Marie Kondo the bathroom at some point soon- I'm putting that off but I know it'll feel great after it's done. 
  • Migraines: In college, I suffered terribly from migraines. I'd get them several times a week and sometimes they'd keep me from getting work done or going to certain social activities. Thankfully in the last couple years, they've really subsided! Although since I don't get them regularly anymore, they feel more intense when I do get one. Yesterday I woke up with one, and had to deal with it during the whole morning show. I actually ended up wearing sunglasses in the radio studio while we were on-air to help- haha! Thankfully it's gone now, but man that was no fun! Any tips for dealing with surprise migraines while at work?

Weekend recaps: 

  • Last weekend: Saturday I went to the gym for a killer barre workout in the morning! I then spent the rest of the day cleaning, and went to a small concert at a local coffee shop with friends that night. On Sunday I taught Sunday school, went to the later service at church, and then celebrated Galentine's Day with my friends! We went to a local winery and had a great time.
  • This weekend: Saturday I don't have any plans yet, and on Sunday after church I'll be meeting up with a new blogging friend for the first time, which I'm looking forward to!

Purchases: After doing a good bit of shopping in NYC, I didn't make any fun purchases this week! I have another weekend trip coming up in a couple weeks, so I might just save up this week too so that I can do some shopping then.


  • I wore a hot pink jumpsuit for my birthday/blogiversary photos last year... is it bad I kind of want to wear this adorable purple jumpsuit for this year's? 
  • If you're going on any warm weather vacations or spring break- this striped sundress is so cute!
  • How darling is this bow cardigan? I had one kind of like this back in high school, so I love seeing this preppy style come back. 
  • Look at these bold but beautiful statement earrings for spring. 
  • My favorite tan trench coat is a couple years old now, and sadly it's getting a little too tight. I want to save up for a nicer coat to replace it, and I have my eyes on this one!  

Recipe of the week: One Pot Italian Sausage Shells and Cheese from Whitney Bond. I made this for dinner a couple nights ago, and it was so easy! I think that the leftovers that I've been eating for lunch have actually tasted even better. This is a great weeknight recipe.

Song of the week: Swan Song by Dua Lipa. This song is from the soundtrack of the new movie Alita: Battle Angel. While I don't intend to see the movie, this is a great song from Dua Lipa! I hope that it does well on Top 40 radio.

Favorite blog posts this week:

  • Summer Wind: Sydney shared her best tips for making homemade pizza, and I need to try them!
  • Bess Harrington Carter: Bess always has the best fitness content, and I plan to do the new ab workout she shared this week.


February 19, 2019

NYFW: WHERE To Get Invites to Shows & Parties as a "Small Blogger"

     Happy Tuesday! Tuesdays on the blog means that I share weekly posts all related to a monthly topic- and this month I'm dedicated my Tuesday series to some more specific topics related to NYFW! During the first Tuesday of the month, I shared the reasons why I decided to go to NYFW. Last Tuesday, I shared the vlog from the trip! And this week, I'm talking all about how you can go to NYFW as a smaller blogger, and still get great fashion show and event invites.

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

      It can seem intimidating to go to NYFW if you don't have the biggest blog or Instagram following! You might be nervous, and thinking things like How can I get invited to shows and events when there are people with much bigger followings going? I was nervous too. Thankfully- the process to get connected with NYFW events wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Yes, it did take a lot of work, but it all paid off!

     Gentry and I ended up attending three shows, one party (we were invited to a second one as well that we weren't able to make), one blogger meet-up, one NYC collaboration, and one showroom visit (Gentry had to do that solo as my flight had already left). I think that's not bad at all for our very first NYFW! It was a busy few days, but we also had plenty of time to shop, eat, and enjoy NYC in between NYFW events.

     Okay- now time to share how I got invited to things, or found out about stuff going on! I'm all about sharing knowledge with y'all... I'm not going to give vague answers. You're going to find out exactly where I was able to find press contacts and invites to things! Community over competition to me means not hiding knowledge- if any of these can help you attend a future NYFW that will make me so happy. My biggest tip that I can offer for pitching yourself for shows or events is don't be afraid to follow up once or twice if you don't hear back right away! There are hundreds of hundreds of emails going out to these same press contacts from other influencers trying to secure invites, so don't be afraid to send a friendly reminder if you haven't heard back after one attempt.

      1. rewardStyle Bloggers NYFW Facebook Group: If you're a fellow fashion or lifestyle blogger, I'm sure you've seen or are a member of the gigantic rS Bloggers group on FB! I think there are currently over 2,500 members in the main group. Anyways- there is a sub-group focused just on Fashion Week! I joined a couple months before my trip, and I found so much useful information in there. Gentry and I also found fun things to do from this group- we were able to secure a hair salon collaboration that we found from a post in this group, and we also got invited to a fun blogger meet-up at a rooftop bar that we found out about in here!

     2. Fashion designers' websites: Most of the more prominent fashion brands that have shows at NYFW have a press email listed on their website! You just have to dig around a little to find it on each website. Wait until the official NYFW show schedule comes out, find the shows on the calendar that you'd like to go to, and then contact that designer's press or PR email listed on each of their websites!

     3. The Riviere Agency: I found out about this PR agency through the rS NYFW Facebook group mentioned above! I reached out and pitched myself and I'm so glad that I did! Two out of our three shows that we went to came from The Riviere Agency. They actually sent additional invites to Gentry and I for a few more shows that we weren't able to make! They do a lot for NYFW and seem to really like working with bloggers of smaller followings, so don't be afraid to reach out to them!

     4. Avant Collective: Another great PR agency to contact! They got ahold of my email address somehow a couple years ago, and had emailed some event invites for past September Fashion Weeks. I was never able to attend anything then, but thankfully I saved their email! It seems like they do a lot each NYFW. Avant Collective is how Gentry and I got our showroom visit. Unfortunately this got scheduled on Monday after I had to leave for the airport, but thankfully Gentry was able to go!

     5. Eventbrite: This is a surprising place that where we found NYFW events! You won't see too many fashion shows listed here, but each season there are tons of NYFW parties, and a lot of them list tickets on Evenbrite. The best part? Many are free! Gentry and I found invites via Eventbrite to what looked like an awesome party for the Saturday night that we were there. We didn't end up going (we were so tired from that day that we needed a night of going to bed early!), but I know if I ever go again I'll definitely check Eventbrite.

     6. GPS RadarDefinitely request to join GPS Radar if you aren't already a member! It's a private website where those that work in Fashion PR around the world frequently share designer updates and fashion show invitations. There are tons of opportunities listed on GPS Radar for both February and September NYFW, and you can send pitches for attending directly through the platform. GPS Radar can be a little tricky to get into- I was declined when I first applied! You apply through your Linkedin profile, and although I do list my blog on mine, my primary employment is my day job in radio so I feel like that's why I might have been initially declined. Thankfully I did get in later! Gentry and I found our third fashion show invite on here, and our second party invitation, for the Fashion Mingle party.

    I hope this was all helpful to you if you're thinking about attending an upcoming NYFW. You can pin this post and save for later- and then whenever you decide to go, let me know if you're successful in reaching out with any of the things I listed!

    And if you're also a smaller blogger like me and not sure if you should go or not- DO IT! NYFW truly is a once-in-a-lifetime type experience, and as Gentry and I learned there are tons of shows, events and parties that are open to bloggers of all following sizes! Plus- who doesn't love a trip to NYC?

    Next up for the NYFW posts will be a full recap of our first day in New York (which was the busiest day) - expect that later this week!

    God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 
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