Southern Belle in Training

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November 16, 2018

THE Dress to Pack for Thanksgiving Travels.

    TGIF my friends! Today I'm sharing what might be one of my favorite fall dresses ever in today's post! I'm also sharing an announcement related to upcoming holiday content on the blog- I'd love your thoughts on it.

Photography by Kate Greer

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

Dress c/o // Shoes // Ring // Hat {old, very similar here} // 

     In just a couple years, Shein has quickly become one of my top online retailers to shop at! I first started shopping there during my junior or senior year of college. At first it was just a destination that I'd buy really trendy pieces at (things that probably wouldn't be in style six months later), but I think in the last couple years that they've really upped the quality of products on the website! The items with slightly higher price points ($25-40) usually are very well made and have a nice fit. I've become so impressed with many of my recent Shein purchases, that I now rarely shop at fast fashion retailers like H&M and Forever 21. 

    This gorgeous floral bell-sleeve dress might just be one of my very favorite Shein purchases! I ordered the M (I'm normally an S in other retailers, but always order M at Shein), and it fits live a glove! It stretchy and so comfortable, and I think the length and bell-sleeves are so flattering! The best part about this dress is the fabric won't wrinkle! That's what makes this a perfect pick to pack for Thanksgiving travels next week. You won't have to worry about ironing or steaming it after it comes out of your suitcase! This dress is 100% coming with me on my Thanksgiving trip. 

    Shein has given me a discount code for y'all to use on their website!! If you decide to buy this dress, that'll make the already under $30 price tag even better! Use code HIMISSALK20 for 20% off your purchase. 

     Now for a brief update on holiday content on the blog. Drumroll please.... I've officially decided... not to do any gift guides this year! I know, I know... that's like breaking the blogger code of ethics to completely bypass Christmas gift guides right? A few weeks ago on Instagram Stories I did a little survey asking about what types of gift guides y'all wanted to see. So many of you responded with creative answers, so I really hope I'm not letting you down too much by deciding not to do them. There's a few factors that inspired my decision. 

     First and foremost... they take a lot of time to put together! Probably 2-3x the amount that it takes me to write any other type of blog post. Assembling the images of all the products and then making one large graphic takes a lot of time. And time is something that I don't have a ton of right now! Work has been absolutely insane lately, as what I thought would be a few days of filling in on my station's morning show has become a few weeks. In addition to work changes, I've had very full weekends (and have more on the way) and I'll be out of town for the next two weekends, so I have to really maximize the more limited time that I have to work on my blog. 

     Secondly... in addition to being time consuming to make, in past years I haven't seen the commissions that I'd like to be seeing from gift guides. (If you're not familiar with blogging affiliate programs - I use affiliate links in my blog posts to make commission on purchases made through my blog links!) Over the years, gift guides have never a high source of income for my blog, and with the time commitment involved I'm just not sure that it's worth it this year. Lastly- they seem to be very oversaturated in the blog industry right now! Just about every other blogger is doing many of them this season, so if you do like shopping through gift guides, there won't be a shortage to choose from!

    So what does this mean for my blog in the next several weeks? Don't worry, even with the craziness at my job I'll still be blogging 4x a week! 😊I look forward to bringing you holiday-specific fashion and travel content, as well as everything else that you normally enjoy on Southern Belle in Training. If you are curious about the items that I'd recommend for gifts this year, feel free to DM or email me!! I'd love to provide you with personalized gift recommendations. 

    Have a great weekend! Stay tuned to my Instagram Stories tomorrow for a fun event.

    God Bless,

    xoxo Annaliese 


November 14, 2018

Midweek Ramblings.

{Most of Virginia's foliage is gone now, so I'm glad I was able to snap a picture last week of these colorful leaves! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}


  • My COUCH is here: I shared this enthusiastically on my Instagram stories, personal FB page, and just about every other social media that I use- haha! I am still way too excited. I bought my first couch this weekend- something well overdue and much needed for my apartment! (Previously in my apartments I just had these chairs- I still have them but thankfully I have a comfier option now.) I bought my couch used and it's a crazy story how it all went down- if y'all are interested I will do a full blog post about it (and my experiences thus far with used furniture). 
  • Christmas tree: Last Friday night after work, I finally decorated my Christmas tree! It's been my tradition since college to physically set up the tree on November 1, but this year taking it out of the box was the only thing that got done. As the days went by I added the lights, tree skirt, and topper, and then it was finally decorated! Three of my girlfriends came over to help, and it was so much fun to do it with them there!! I am loving having it all done up in  my apartment. Here's a weird fact about me: even though I'm very pro "set up the tree early," I'm not a big fan of most Christmas music.
  • Praying for California: Everything that the state of California has gone through this week has been so heavy on my heart. To have such a tragic mass shooting followed by devastating fires less than a week later- I can't even imagine! The other night I was in a really bad mood over nothing at all (you know those moods?), but after going on Twitter and seeing more and more news stories about the fire damage, I felt so guilty for being in a bad mood when others across the country are suffering so much!! Please join me in continuing to pray for those affected, and there are many great organizations to give to if you feel lead. 
  • Instagram Giveaway! A fun giveaway is happening on my Instagram through tomorrow. Enter via this post

Weekend recaps:
  • Last weekend: Getting my couch was the most exciting part about my weekend! Some friends from church generously took time out of their Sunday afternoons to help me move it. I also went to a baby shower on Saturday morning, and then I had two back-to-back work events for the rest of Saturday. 
  • This weekend: On Saturday I'll be attending a really fun holiday event at Diamonds Direct in Short Pump (Richmond VA). If you're also in Virginia, I hope to see you there. Details can be found here. On Sunday I am teaching Sunday School at church, and my mom arrives that afternoon for a visit! 

  • Repurchased one of my essential drugstore beauty items! A friend told me they were on sale at Ulta. By the time I got there, the sale had ended. But I still bought them anyways! 😉
  • I also bought a few more Christmas gifts this week- as for any more personal shopping I'm waiting for Black Friday!

  • So I kind of want to get my first pair of Lululemon leggings on Black Friday this year. I am a total newbie to the brand (I typically buy cheap workout clothing) so if you have any tips for me on which style I should get (or if I should get something else form there that's not leggings) please let me know!
  • The best of both worlds- this is a turtleneck and poncho in one!
  • This has been dubbed "THE blogger dress" as so many bloggers own it in all of the colors that it comes in! (I have a dupe version of the original). Anyways- it was just re-released in metallic hues for the holidays!
  • I first discovered the brand Mango when I went to Italy a couple years ago. I still love browsing their website- isn't this winter coat stunning? 
  • I have two pairs of OTK boots, but they both have heels so I find I don't wear them often. I love this flatter pair

Recipe of the week: Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara from America's Test Kitchen. Weird fact about me- I actually don't like spaghetti at all! I used fettuccini for this recipe instead, and it still turned out well. I really don't like eggs- so I was proud of myself that I enjoyed an egg based pasta dish! 

Song of the week: Habibi by Faydee. I love listening to international pop music! Faydee is a very talented artist that I found either through Pandora or Spotify radio. 

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

November 13, 2018

Monticello Wine Trail: Pippin Hill Vineyards.

     Out of all the vineyards in Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the entire Monticello Wine Trail region... the one that I kept hearing over and over again that I just HAD to visit was Pippin Hill Vineyards! A lot of people that I've met in Virginia will rave on and on about Pippin's scenic location, their wide array of wines, and just the overall atmosphere of the winery. They're also one of the top wineries in the area for weddings and events, which I've heard they do a great job at! I wanted to save visiting Pippin Hill for the first time for a special occasion.

    My friend Anna from Vermont came to visit me last month, and I thought that was the perfect occasion to finally check out Pippin. I'd also heard that this winery was a great one to bring out of town guests too, and it didn't disappoint! Pippin Hill is located about 10 miles from downtown Charlottesville, and it's conveniently located right off of US-29. You're greeted by the scenic grey barn doors (pictured above) as you walk towards the tasting room! There is also an amazing pizza restaurant called Dr. Ho's Humble Pie located less than a mile from Pippin Hill- I highly recommend doing lunch there and then following it up with wine.

     Pippin Hill offers a large variety of both red and white wines. I'd love to return to Pippin and do a tasting, but on this particular day my friends and I decided to split a bottle of Viognier. I've shared in past winery reviews that since I moved to Virginia, Viognier has become my favorite wine variety. Viognier grapes are also the state grape of Virginia, so a bottle of that seemed perfect to introduce Anna to the Virginia winery scene!

    Not only was the wine wonderful, but there is something truly special about the atmosphere at Pippin Hill. Their tasting room is stunning, and there is so much green space in front of the winery that is perfect for having a picnic! Fun fact: there are even picnic blankets available for people to borrow in the tasting room. Pippin Hill does close early on a lot of Saturdays due to the high volume of events that they host. On the day we were there, we caught a bride and groom taking their wedding photos before their evening reception!

    I already can't wait to go back to Pippin Hill- I think this will continue to be the ideal vineyard to bring out of town guests to.

    Check out more of my Monticello Wine Trail blog posts!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese
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