November 16, 2017

New Must-Have Cardigan + The Hype With Plattsburgh.

    Confession time: my new favorite cardigan came to me by way of! As a fashion blogger, I encourage my Instagram followers to use this to shop my outfits often. In full honesty- I can't say that I use LTK that much to shop other bloggers' looks. (I think is awesome, I just try and put together more unique outfits for my blog!) However- I couldn't like to know the outfit details fast enough when I saw this adorable leopard print cardigan featured on Stephanie from A Sparkle Factor's Instagram a few weeks ago! Thank goodness for LTK - and the cardigan was on its way to me soon. 😊 I'm styling it in today's blog post, and sharing a bit about why Vermonters like to venture over to the region of New York called the "North Country," and to Plattsburgh, which is the biggest town there!

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      First up- the details about this cardigan. It totally exceeded my expectations, which is always something great to have happen with an online purchase!! It's thick, soft, and super warm and comfy. And I love the darling leopard print!! Wearing this cardigan with jeans and riding boots would be like my ideal winter work outfit over the upcoming months. If you're looking for a cute and casual cardigan, I definitely recommend this one! I styled it for this weekend look with my favorite faux leather leggings, fun jewelry, and one of my favorite coats (which I've had since 9th grade and still adore!). 

      On my Instagram Stories and in past blog posts, you might have heard me mention taking a ferry, or going to a place called Plattsburgh in New York. These photos were taken in Plattsburgh, so I though it would be fun to share a bit about this town on the blog today, as it's quite an important place to most people who live in the Burlington Vermont area! As I've shared before, one thing that really frustrates me about Vermont is the huge lack of retail presence here. One of the malls in the area is currently undergoing a renovation project that will take a couple of years, so pretty much all of the stores closed and vacated for the time being. The other mall in the area is supposedly the largest mall in Vermont... but it makes me so sad every time I say that, haha. The shopping options there are really quite dismal (I really only go there for Bath and Body Works candles, lol!). Vermont will be getting the state's very first Target next fall, in October 2018, which will be a new anchor store in the larger mall. But up until then, we don't have Target, and the Burlington area doesn't even have a Super Walmart! Other things that Vermont doesn't have that I love: Ulta, a full-sized Sephora, LOFT (it closed since I moved here), Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack, Forever 21, DSW, Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Hobby Lobby, At Home... and many, many more retailers. 

      Plattsburgh, New York to the rescue for the Vermonters! The Adirondacks region and the area north of it that borders Canada in (very) Upstate New York is considered the "North Country" region, and Plattsburgh is the largest town/small city in this area. It is a little bit smaller than Burlington. New York state however has a lot less regulations about retail and development, so they have a lot more shopping options! Plattsburgh is home to a large Target, a super Walmart, DSW, and as of recently, a HOBBY LOBBY (my very favorite store). It is weekend day trip-worthy to do some shopping at the big box stores across the lake. The only hard part is crossing the lake! The only bridges that go over Lake Champlain are at the Northern and Southern ends of the lake, neither which are near Plattsburgh or Burlington. The Lake Champlain Ferry system is really the only method to cross with. The most convenient ferry is the one that runs from the Champlain Islands (which you drive to) right across the Plattsburgh. There's so much traffic and commerce between the two states that the ferry amazingly runs 24/7! I've never had to wait more than 5 mins to board one. You drive right on with your car, and the perk is that you get to see some amazing lake views from the boat. The major downside is the cost. For one person, round trip ferry service is about $20, and for two people it's about $30. Plus factoring in the gas to Plattsburgh (the whole trip is just under an hour from Burlington, ferry and driving included), that's not the cheapest day trip! But it can be worth it every once in a while- especially if you're a big shopper like myself! I think Plattsburgh also has a kind of cute downtown, there's a river that runs through it (where some of these photos were taken), and I always have a soft spot for downtowns of cities and towns with rivers! 

     Anyways, if you live in a place where you don't have to pay $20+ to access Target, Hobby Lobby, and more, know that a lot of Vermont people are jealous of you!! I definitely took a lot for granted when I lived in Charlotte... and heck, even Maine. Haha!


God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese 



November 15, 2017

Radio 101: Pros and Cons to Working in Radio.

     Welcome to this month's Radio 101 blog post! This is my monthly series where I talk about all thing related to my day job, in the wild, wonderful, and sometimes even wacky world of radio broadcasting! For this month's post, I decided to keep it short and sweet. So many people are often so curious about my day job and the things that I like and dislike about being in this industry. I'm always down for a good ol' fashioned pros and cons list, so I figured why not make one to share with y'all the things that I like and dislike about being in radio? (Note: these things are about working in radio broadcasting in general; none are directed specifically at my employer, radio stations, and the Vermont radio markets. 😊)

Pros to working in radio:

     1. It's a FUN industry: I get to be apart of the industry that promotes new music and supports artists, creates exciting contests for listeners, is active on social media and with new technologies, and is a big participant in the local community and media. Four WONDERFUL things! And of course, the majority of my job centers around the music. I mean really... does a career get better then that?!

     2. My job helps make people smile: One of the main reasons that I wanted to work in radio is because of the personal connection that I have to it. I struggled with a lot of anxiety growing up, and even some depression during one year in high school. Listening to the radio was always one thing that gave me so much joy during those hard times. It was the little things, like hearing my favorite song, or having the DJ say something interesting or funny that could change my whole perspective on a rough day. Now I get to be that bright spot in a hard day for other people! I love playing listeners' song requests, and one of my favorite parts of my job is when our station gets to award a prize in a big contest to an excited listener. There's just nothing better!

     3. Being ahead of the music trends: In the age of instant gratification, who doesn't love being the first to be in the know about what's new? Working in radio, I always get to hear new music first, which is so cool, and a privilege that I don't take for granted! I'm a total radio nerd as well, and it always fascinates me to no end which songs make it to the top of the charts, and which ones fizzle out before getting a lot of airplay. I love trying to predict what will happen with a song the first time I hear it- sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm wrong!

     4. The independence and creativity: I get to use my creative skills to brainstorm and research show content to talk about on the radio everyday! Of course, there are certain things that a DJ has to talk about in every show (like local weather, current promotions or contests being run by the station or company, etc), but generally speaking, this is a creative job, and you get to determine the tone and a lot of the content of your radio show! Since I do all of my shows solo right now, I also have a lot of independence at work. I spend a lot of my work days by myself in the radio studio, which is a peaceful and relaxing work environment for me!

      5. The mobility (pro): It's no secret that I would have never moved to Vermont, or probably even back to New England at all, if it wasn't for this career path! Radio (and television news similarly), are different from a lot of other career paths for new grads in that about 95% of the time, you have to move somewhere for a job to get into the industry. I would have loved to stay in Charlotte a bit longer, but that just wasn't an option with the way these jobs are. While Vermont wasn't my top choice as a state to move to, it's still very exciting to think that it's my career brought me all the way here to Northern New England! I am completely serious when I tell people I have no clue where I'll end up next, and that does excite me. There's something really cool about being in an industry that allows you a year or a few years of experiencing life in a new part of of the country, and then moving onto somewhere else. It doesn't mean that it will all be easy, but it's an amazing experience to have, especially in your 20s!

Cons to working in radio:

      1. The salary range: NO ONE goes into radio for the money.... lol. People pick this profession because of their passion for the industry and the music, not to make big bucks. There is potential to have a decent salary if you're able to get a morning show job, or eventually make it into a large market. But let's just say that your first job in radio in a small market (or even in a larger market if it's your first job!).... a very, very, very low salary. A lot of people starting out in radio are very lucky if they can just be full-time with benefits! I am so thankful that my blog has been able to provide me with more opportunities for sponsored content this year to supplement my income. A lot of people my age starting out in radio or TV also work second jobs!

      2. The mobility (con): I listed this as both a pro and a con. Although I do think it's very exciting to be in a field where you have the chance to live in different cities and parts of the country as you begin your career, there are also negatives to that as well. Your initial job offers might not being in places that you want to move to, or connect with well once you end up moving there. As I did, you could end up very far away from friends, family, and other loved ones. This was the case for some of my broadcasting school classmates who are beginning their careers as well! I try and view the mobility aspect more from the positive "pro" side, but in honesty there are some cons as well.

     3. Limited PTO and working holidays: When you work in broadcasting, it is so crucial when you're new in a market to establish consistency with your listeners (or viewers if you're in TV). This can mean really limited access to time off for the first six months to a year, depending on your company's policies. Working on holidays is also commonplace in anything related to broadcasting, as the media doesn't stop on certain days of the year!

      4. Ratings stress: Radio stations and TV stations use audience measurement ratings tactics to determine how many people in their markets are actively seeking out the media that they're producing. (Nielsen Ratings, operated by Nielsen Media Research, are the most common type of ratings used nationally.) It is a competitive business, you always want to do better than your competition in the ratings, because higher ratings means more advertising dollars for your company and more opportunities for you as a radio personality and for your station in general. Too many years of bad ratings can be detrimental to a person's career- and bad ratings might not have anything to do with the quality of a DJ themselves (it can be the result of a lot of things). Overall so far I've honestly enjoyed working in a business that's ratings based, I think it adds a healthy nature of competition and pressure to my daily work. But obviously my thoughts on that could definitely change, and I've heard scary ratings stories from other friends in the radio industry.

       5. Hard to snack during a radio show: This is such a minor con to list about a job that I really do love, but I had to put it down anyways!! I've always been such a snacker over being a three big meals a day person. I literally snacked my way through high school and college. Anyways, a radio board and the rest of the equipment in the studio is super expensive, and not anything that food should be eaten around. Occasionally on days that I'm starving I'll bring in something non-messy and non-smelly like fruit snacks, but generally speaking I don't eat during the hours that I'm doing my show. The snack lover in me hates this- haha!

      So as you can see, just like any job, radio has its pros and its cons. The pros definitely outweight the cons for me though, and I love being in this industry and can't wait to see where my career will take me (quite literally- with the mobility factor)!

      I'd love to know more about your career- do you find pros and cons with it as well? And as always, please send me topic requests for next month's Radio 101 post!

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese

November 14, 2017

Holiday Gift Guides 2017: My Christmas Wishlist!

     The holiday season brings some of my favorite annual posts to write on the blog. The end of December brings my end of the year recaps for my blog and my life outside of blogging, and this time of year gives me the chance to share my Christmas wishlist each year! I loved making a written gift wishlist each year growing up, and I think it's a heck of a lot more fun to make a visual one here on the blog. (Check out past Christmas wishlist posts from 2014 and 2016 here!) I always enjoy seeing what's on other bloggers' wishlists, and I hope y'all enjoy seeing mine too! I feel like I do write this every time that I share my Christmas wishlist, but it's still true so I say it yet again. I am so incredibly blessed, and really don't need any of these things on my list! This year, I'm thankful to have a job in the industry of my dreams, to have the greatest friends (who might live out-of-state, but are all still a huge part of my life), my health, two caring and involved parents, a cozy apartment of my very own, and so many more things! This year I think more so than years past, it's really hit me that I definitely don't *need* anything for Christmas.

      However with all of that said, of course there are still things that I would like! Here is my 2017 Christmas list. Everything that is linkable is linked below of course:


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      I am a big reader, and my mom loves to give books for the holidays! When I was growing up, she used to subscribe to a lot of discount book company catalogs and email lists, and every year for Christmas I would look forward to opening a HUGE box of brand new books. The past few years, most of the books my mom buys me are cookbooks. She collects cookbooks herself, and has now passed the tradition onto me! I have loved many of the cookbooks that my mom has bought me (and I do use several regularly), but where I'm at a point in life now where being a single girl who lives alone and doesn't entertain hardly ever... I really don't need anymore! So instead, I decided to make a book wishlist for my mom with some specific reads that I'd like to own. Since finishing school, I've become a big bookworm and I frequent my local library regularly, but that's usually just for fiction titles. The books on my Christmas list are non-fiction books about things that I'd like to educate myself on in 2018: career development, smart financial habits, and travel hacking

      My *big* wishlist item for the year is an iPhone X. I mean- can you get over the camera quality on this phone?! (This is definitely a *wishlist* item though that I'm not really expecting... my parents have already said they're not ready for me to upgrade, and I'm still enjoying full benefits of being on the family cell phone plan, so you take what you can get with that, lol! 😉)

       On the same note of cell phones though, despite whatever iPhone I have, I absolutely need a new portable charger! I lost my old one while moving earlier this year. This cute little one is supposed to be the same size as a tube of lipstick, and got excellent reviews on Amazon. Another gadget that would be really helpful to have is a portable steamer!! A lot of the clothes that I receive to style for blogging arrive to me in a wrinkled state, and unfortunately I absolutely hate ironing! This portable steamer would be so helpful for my regular clothing needs, and it's also perfect for travel, a true win-win! 

      For fashion/accessories items on my wishlist this year, I kept it that portion of the list small but specific. I received this Tory Burch bag for my birthday which I've been obsessed with ever since, and the matching wallet would look amazing paired with it. It's also no secret that I love Kendra Scott jewelry!! I was introduced to the brand around the time that they opened a store in Charlotte a few years ago, and I absolutely love the Kendra pieces that I own. I don't own too much red jewelry, but I think these earrings would be just stunning for the holiday season! And lastly- I love wearing skirts and dresses year round, but that will be hard to do this winter with Vermont's harsh cold weather. Last year, I bought a pair of "sweater tights," and I've already been wearing them so much this season, as they're so warm! The same retailer brought them back for this year, so I want another pair of identical tights!

      A couple miscellaneous items on my list: most days when I get to work, I make a to-do list for that day of emails that I need to send and social media posts that I need to schedule, both for things related to the radio station and also for my job. I always feel so productive at the end of the day when everything is crossed off! I'd love a new official to-do list notepad, wouldn't that be a fun stocking stuffer? Also- how fun is this Women in Radio hat? Women in Radio is an empowerment group for women working in all positions in the radio industry. They have an Instagram and blog, and I love following their posts and connecting with women across the country in broadcasting! Anyways, earlier this year they launched an online shop, and I love their hats!! I would love to wear their official hat to work during my weekend shifts, and it would be so cute for traveling also.

     The last thing on my list for this year: GIFT CARDS! They might not be the most personal gifts in the world, but they sure are useful!! Here are some that I'd especially love right now:

      *Burlington area nail salons for manicures/pedicures
      *Gas stations
      *Hobby Lobby
      *Lilly Pulitzer (for the January After Party Sale!!)

     So there you have it, my Christmas list for this year!! Please let me know in the comments if you've published your list in a blog post as well- I love to see other bloggers' too! 😊

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese