May 23, 2018

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.



{A Royal Wedding inspired look from this past weekend (dress details below). Follow me on Instagram @miss_alk!}


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Ramblings:
  • Royal Wedding Thoughts: Of course I have to give a shout-out to the biggest wedding event of the year (possibly decade?) on the blog! I intended to wake up earlier on Saturday to watch more of the wedding, but with my friend Caroline visiting we ended up sleeping in until about 8 am, so we only caught the very end. What a grand celebration! I loved seeing some American elements (such as the choice of pastor, and the choir) brought into the normally traditional British ceremony. Harry and Meghan looked so happy and in love! However... in all honesty, I didn't love either of Meghan's dresses. I did like the reception one better than the ceremony dress, but neither were really my taste. Honestly- Kate's or Princess Diana's dresses weren't my favorite either. Maybe British Royal wedding dresses just aren't my style? Haha! What did you think of the royal wedding? 
  • Hostess for the Weekend: My senior year college roommate Caroline visited me in Charlottesville this weekend, and we had a great time! The weather was unfortunately awful for her first two days here, but we made the best of it, and still had a wonderful and low-key visit. We checked out a new-to-me winery on Saturday morning for a wine tasting, and then in the afternoon Caroline got to come into work with me and have a tour of the radio station. The weather got worse Saturday night, so we went to the movies and saw Book Club. (Has anyone seen it? So funny!) The mellow but great weekend was a good reminder that you don't always need to go above and beyond when entertaining friends. Sometimes just planning a couple activities and spending a lot of time relaxing and catching up is great too! 
  • Headed North: I will be going home to Maine to see my parents for Memorial Day Weekend! I had to work both Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends last year at my former job so I wasn't able to travel anywhere for either. I feel very lucky to already have this long weekend off at my new job, and it will be nice to be home for a couple days. I haven't been home in almost 10 months! As of now, the forecast says rain for just about the whole time... I'm hoping this will change between now and then. 
  • New Favorite Financial App: I have been wanting to integrate more financial content into my blog this year, so I might do a whole blog post on this and other things related, but for today I did quickly want to share! I downloaded the app Goodbudget right around the time I moved to Virginia, and this has been so helpful in tracking my expenses and making sure I stick to my monthly budget! If you're familiar with the cash envelope system of budgeting, this app works similarly to that. You create a personal budget with different "virtual envelope" categories (such as Rent, Groceries, Gas, etc), and then as you spend money throughout the month, you record each purchase you make or bill you pay in its appropriate envelope. While I found a few things about the design of the app confusing when I was first using it, I've got the hang of it now, and have really found this helpful for staying financially accountable! Again- more posts to come on stuff like this. 


Purchases: So this week I had a variety of miscellaneous things to take care of- in addition to the usual bills, I had some presents to get, packages to mail, travel expenses for my trip this weekend, and I also spent more out and about this weekend than I normally do since I was entertaining. No fun shopping to balance all of this out- it's all about sticking to budget! 😉

     If you're interested though in the pretty pink lace dress I'm wearing in the photo above, you can shop that here!  (Be sure to size up.)



Wishlist:

  • This blue jumpsuit is adorable! It screams summer date night to me. The bow totally makes it!
  • I am considering getting a new pair of nude heels for a wedding I'm going to this summer. This block heels have a fun formal twist to them- I keep looking at them online! 
  • I need some more summer tops that are work appropriate and not too casual. (Radio is a casual workplace but most days I like to dress up a bit.) I'm going to see if this cute top is on sale this weekend!
  • The cutest little summery chambray top - this would coordinate with so many looks. 
  • Ummmm... is this not the PRETTIEST cocktail dress you've ever seen?! (I might consider ordering for the wedding I'm going to this summer... but I tend to tear up dance floors, and my only fear is it wouldn't be the most flexible dress for dancing! Ha!))




Recipe of the week: I actually didn't try any new recipes this week! I re-made a few old favorites that I've shared many times before on here, and also have been trying to eat up all of the leftovers in my fridge since I'll be gone this weekend. Looking forward to trying many new recipes in June! 



Song of the week: Bad Boys by Inna. Inna is my favorite European Dance Pop artist. I've been listening to her since high school, and I'm kind of obsessed! She's pretty big in many European countries- I wish her songs would break into US Top 40 charts someday. Anyways, I listen to Inna radio on Spotify a lot, and just found this song! I feel like it has Bollywood influences and I LOVE it!






     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese 






      


May 22, 2018

Why I Love Blogging... But Don't Want to Blog Full Time.

    In September, it will mark 6 years since I started Southern Belle in Training (!!!). I never expected when starting a blog during my freshman year of college that it would be such a big part of my life so many years later. Blogging is one of my greatest passions, and I mean it when I say I can't imagine what the last several years would have been like without it!


     Something that I've started getting asked a bit in the last year especially is "Do you ever want to make Southern Belle in Training your full time job?" My answer, which usually surprises the person who asked the question, is always "Nope!" There's several reasons behind the fact that I don't personally want to be a full time blogger, and I thought that might make for an interesting blog post topic. Hence why I'm sharing this today!



Why I Don't Want to Blog Full Time


Photo by Amanda Rose Photography - from this blog post where I shared a tour of my blog office in my former apartment! 



     
     Disclaimer: I don't mean for today's post in any way to bash any women (or men?) who have decided to be full time bloggers/influencers for their career. Many of my favorite blogs that I read on a daily basis are run by total boss babe women who blog full time, and actually some of my good blogging friends (who have become real life friends) blog full time as well. I totally respect someone's decision to do that if they feel that's where they want their career to go (and are in a financial place to afford this!).... today's blog post is simply to share my personal reasons for why I don't see this being Plan A for Southern Belle in Training. 
 


     Loss of financial security: This is the biggest reason! Being an adult is expensive. In addition to the normal daily expenses, life throws financial curveballs at you all of the time. Surprise car maintenance, medical emergencies, unexpected but necessary travel... etc. And these are just necessary expenses! I'm not even talking about saving and investing for the future, or having extra money to treat yourself or those that you love. Like I said- adulthood is expensive. I personally love the financial security of having a day job and a paycheck that arrives every two weeks. Radio jobs aren't known for their financial abundance (people join this industry for the passion, not the paycheck), but I have learned how to be thrifty and stretch my paychecks, and I'm able to cover all of my expenses, pay the bills, and still save a little bit. However... the thought of trying to live off of income with the type of blog campaigns that I'm currently being offered right now? YIKES! I can't even imagine. I give so much props to the amazing women that are able to grow their blogs and brands into something that is able to be many times more profitable than their day job was (and many people do that!)... however many bloggers also aren't able to do that, and it's important to be realistic if you fall into the latter category.


     Loss of benefits: This comes second after loss of general financial security! Health insurance isn't something that I ever thought much about in the 22 past years of my life, but this year since I started working and being offered benefits... yep, I'm now thinking about it! I used to be so naive that years ago,  I just assumed that if you worked full time, your employer covered all of your insurance costs. (HAHA nope!! Out it comes from those paychecks!) Even though I now am well aware that employees do have part of their paycheck removed for healthcare, I am thankful to have a full time job that offers healthcare and dental plans, and helps offset some of the costs! It would be very overwhelming to think about covering the costs for insurance 100% on my own. Sort of along the lines of this- most full time jobs also offer the chance to begin a 401k or some sort of retirement savings plan. While it is of course possible to do that while being self employed, it's a huge benefit when your company is able to match your contributions!


     Lack of motivation: Even if financially my blog was doing absolutely amazing financially and it made more sense for me to leave radio... I still might hesitate! I thrive the best in all aspects of life when I have a very set routine, and stay as busy as possible during weekdays. Working a 9-5 (technically a 10:30-6 with my current radio schedule) works VERY well to keep me motivated with blogging. I wake up early each morning excited to work on my blog, and return home from work every evening excited to continue working on the blog or social media. Having a day job makes me value the time that I do get to spend on my blog that much more, and therefore makes me more productive and able to balance both things. If I worked for myself 100% of the time... I'm honestly not sure how I'd stay on track all of the time! I love getting dressed and ready everyday for work and having my weekday work routine. I feel like it would be hard to get into that groove for working for myself- knowing my personality! I think I do a great job balancing working and blogging, and I look forward to continuing this for awhile to come.


     I like my day job: This is a big one too! I genuinely like what I do for my day job! I invested a lot of time and money into my education so that I could work in broadcasting someday, and once I had my first radio internship in college, I knew without a doubt this was the career path for me. I really enjoy working for the station and company that I work for here in Virginia, and I'm not anticipating any career changes anytime too soon. Why would I leave something I enjoy to work for myself? (Note: if you absolutely hate your day job and have hated it for awhile, it's 100% not the right job for you! My first radio job in Vermont was not nearly as good of a fit as my new job, and it is amazing the difference this makes on my emotional health!)


     No PTO: Okay- this one is a pro/con. (Disclaimer that radio is not an industry known for generous time off... there are definitely other types of jobs that are much better for this with their employees than my field.) But still- I do get some PTO each year, and it's amazing to know that you're still getting paid your normal salary to take a vacation! When you work for yourself, there is no PTO. Yes- technically everything is PTO (This is great for travel bloggers! You can just pick up and go at any time.), but at the same time, nothing is PTO! If you ever want to take a non-work related trip and just disconnect for a bit, that's a complete loss of income or potential business opportunities for those days.



     So these are my reasons for why I am happy with working full-time and also continuing to blog as my side hustle. I am so thankful for the opportunities that I've had over the past few years to monetize my blog, and I hope to only continue to grow that! I have told some friends before that my current financial goal with Southern Belle in Training would be to match my first salary (at my former job) with income from Southern Belle in Training- so that way even though I'd still be working full-time in radio, I'd have two full time job "salaries", and it would allow me a lot more financial freedom! But if that goal doesn't happen, that's okay too. It's not something hard and fast that I'm forcing myself to reach by a set date, but more something that I can work towards in the general future.



    Thanks for reading today's post! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you're a blogger yourself: is your goal to blog full time (or are you already?), or are you like me and want to keep your day job?



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese






May 21, 2018

Tie-Waist Shirt + Neck Scarf = Two Spring Trends To Love!

     Finally sharing the last found of photos from an early spring shoot with Meredith- these were taken just a couple weeks after I moved to Virginia! I definitely saved the best for last, because I am low-key obsessed with two of the trends that I'm wearing in this outfit. 


Cute Preppy Spring Outfit

Virginia Fashion Blogger

How to Style a Neck Scarf

Classic Spring Style



Photography by Meredith Sledge


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






     I'm clearly all about things that tie in today's outfit! Let's start with tie-front shirts. I started seeing this trend pop up in full force this winter, and I really wanted to get my hands on a white tie-waist shirt for spring and summer. I actually found the one that I'm wearing during my last shopping trip to Montreal before moving to Virginia, but this shirt is almost identical! It's not often that I purchase something that will match literally everything in my closet- but this shirt might be it. From casual jeans like I styled it here, to dress pants, shorts, skorts, and skirts- it coordinates with it all!


     A fun fashion discovery that I made last year: Zara is a great store to buy jeans at! They have some really unique denim styles, they're all so comfortable, and just about all of their denim is under $100. I also purchased the jeans I'm wearing here at Zara in Montreal, but I'm hoping this summer or fall to get to check out some of the Zara locations in the DC area. This pair of jeans is similar to the ones I'm wearing. And for the other spring trend that I'm loving: neck scarves! They are such a chic way to add a twist to an everyday outfit. The one I have here is also from Zara- this one is similar though!


     I hope that y'all had a great weekend. Mine was just the best! One of my dearest friends, Caroline, came to visit me from Charlotte. Longtime SBIT readers might recognize her name- Caroline is one of my best friends from college and we were suitemates during senior year! She also helped take a lot of my blog photos during senior year specifically (and has quite the eye for photography). I haven't seen her since when I moved away from Charlotte- and 13 months is too long to be away from one of your favorite friends. I'll be sharing more about what we did this weekend in Wednesday's post!







      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese