December 14, 2017

What To Wear To Visit A Horse Farm.

      I didn't know before my recent trip to the Blue Grass State that Lexington, KY and its surrounding suburbs are considered the Horse Capital of the World! A lot of the trip was time spent either visiting horses or learning about the horse and racing industry. I can't wait to share more about those specific excursions in tomorrow's post, but today I wanted to share an outfit with y'all that I wore to visit a horse farm outside of Georgetown, Kentucky! I can't say that I have the opportunity to dress for horse farm visits too often here in Burlington, Vermont, so I thought this was a real fun treat to plan an outfit for! 😊


What to Wear to Visit Horse Farm

Styling a Leopard Print Poncho

Favorite Black Sweater



Photography by Hannah Sither 


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      I decided to use a little bit of Western inspiration for one of my outfits for horse-related activities during my Kentucky trip! Cowboy boots and this neutral colored poncho were what I based this outfit around. I've had this pair of cowboy boots for years now (since high school I think?), but the past couple years I've rarely had a chance to wear them. A visit to a horse farm and equestrian park seemed like the ideal setting to break them out again! This poncho was a favorite find from this summer's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and the best news is that it's still in stock, and currently on sale for more than it was during the NSale!! It's under $25 right now- perfect time to grab one for yourself! It's so warm and cozy.


      Since my poncho has both black and brown in the design, I didn't mind pairing brown boots with a black sweater! This sweater is from Canadian fashion retailer Le Chateau- a name that you might recognize from this blog post last week! This sweater kept me warm during some chilly Kentucky weather during the trip! I love the bell sleeve detail on the sweater, I think the sleeves looked so fun paired with my poncho. The sweater comes in two additional colors, all of which are available on Le Chateau's website!



      You might see a few white flakes on my head and clothing in these photos- that is SNOW!! We got to experience the rare occurrence of Southern snow while in Kentucky, and it sure was magical. There's just something special about snow falling in Southern states. It did make our visits to the horse farm and equestrian museum a bit on the chilly side (which I'll talk more about in tomorrow's post!), but photos-wise it sure was lovely to look at.



      I'm keeping today's post short and sweet, but stay tuned tomorrow to hear more about Kentucky's horses and one of my favorite excursions from the trip. Meanwhile here in Vermont, it has been a cold and snowy week! Definitely a good week to get back to work and catch up on things at home.








      God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese

December 13, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.






{A sneak peak of my trip this weekend to Kentucky! I can't wait to share more very soon! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}


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



Ramblings:
  • First blog trip! You may have seen on social media this weekend that my friend Kylie from Dress in Sparkles and I went on a press trip to Georgetown, Kentucky this weekend! This was my first press trip on behalf of my blog, and it was so much fun. I certainly hope to integrate travel blogging into my content even more in 2018 and years to come, and this trip was a great way to begin that! I am looking so forward to sharing more about the trip and the charming town of Georgetown with y'all soon- starting tomorrow and Friday! 
  • Happy stomach: This weekend I got to eat at some of my favorite chain restaurants while traveling: The Cheesecake Factory, Waffle House, and twice at Chick Fil A! The fact that most of my favorite chains aren't in Vermont makes me appreciate it so much more when I am traveling now. It's funny- I'm not a big fan of all types of chain restaurants, but I definitely have my few that I am loyal to (ESPECIALLY The Cheesecake Factory, lol!). 
  • Thinking to 2018: Some years I get more into New Years' Resolutions than other years. I am already feeling very hyped about them for 2018 though! This year I have several that I want to tackle- some big goals and some small goals. I'll definitely share what mine are closer to the New Year, but for right now I challenge you to start thinking about your goals and visions for the year ahead, and how you can make those a reality in your life through resolutions!


Purchases:
  • I got the chance to shop in-store at one of my favorite retailers in Kentucky! I bought this gorgeous decor piece- I just can't decide if I want to put it in my bedroom or blog office area. I love the saying on it though- one of my favorite quotes!
  • From the same retailer I also got my first chenille sweater! I've been seeing this trend pop up a lot, and have wanted one of these cozy sweaters for winter in Vermont. The one I purchased isn't available online, but an identical sweater from another favorite retailer of mine is! 
  • Kylie and I also did a bit of local shopping while on our trip in downtown Georgetown. We found the cutest boutique called em+me. I got a really cute Kentucky sweatshirt from there that I already wore to work yesterday!


Wishlist:
  • This is such a fun take on a bar necklace and would look so cute alone or layered! 
  • I want to treat myself to some Ulta goodies with Christmas money this year. I haven't splurged on a new eyeshadow palette in awhile, and while starting to look at some online I have been thinking that this one is just too gorgeous
  • I wanted to make a big shoe purchase as my splurge item this year for Black Friday. I was torn between Hunter Boots, or these. I ended up going with the Hunters since I thought they were more practical for the upcoming season in Vermont, but my heart still has eyes for these sandals (and they're also on sale)!! 
  • I have a subtle pineapple theme as decor in my apartment. I love them in home decor because they're the Southern symbol for hospitality! How cute are these coasters with pineapple accents on them? And they're under $15!! I think they'd make such a nice housewarming present or holiday gift.


Recipe of the week:
  • This was a rare week that I didn't do any cooking! Traveling accounted for most of that, and before I left for the trip I tried to finish up all of the leftovers in my fridge! Here's an oldie but goodie recipe favorite of mine that I'll leave you with instead. I've been craving homemade muffins since I've come back from Kentucky, and this is a really good muffin recipe that I might have to make again soon! 


Song of the week: 
  • Last Christmas by Wham!. I've shared before on the blog that I'm not the biggest fan of Christmas music (which is still true!). I can  count on one hand the number of Christmas songs that I really like. Well, Last Christmas by Wham! is one of those songs. It's so 80s sounding and I have some really fun memories associated with the song from years past. Anyways, in Kentucky this weekend Kylie and I listened to a bunch of Christmas music since it was a holiday blogging trip, and I always smiled when this song came on the radio since it is a favorite! 


On the blog this week:


      Thanks so much for reading! Hope you had a great start to your week and are enjoying the holiday season.



      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese 

December 12, 2017

Southern Belle in Vermont: 8 Months Post-Move Update.

      I feel like I have so much and yet also so little to say since my last post-move update in October! Oh goodness, what a two months it has been. Let's dive right in! In case you haven't read one of my post-move updates before, every two months (since I moved to Vermont in April) I share a detailed life update about how things have been going since the move- I dive into all the things I wouldn't talk about in regular blog posts!






October-December 2017 - Months 6-8 in Burlington, VT



     SUMMARY: I'm a firm believer in the quote "time heals all." Truly I am, and I've seen the evidence of that in other aspects of my life. Many people also told me in the early days here in Vermont to "give Vermont time." Well- I have to be honest. I'm starting to wonder if maybe my experience here is an exception to one of my favorite quotes! In 100% honesty (as I always am with y'all on the blog), it really seems like the longer I'm here, the more difficult things get. 😥 My homesickness for Charlotte (and even Maine to a slight degree?) has intensified over these two months to levels that I didn't even know were possible. I really hope that isn't going to get worse this winter? The weather has also gotten very cold here, to be expected, and we've already had our first snow. I am not a cold weather person, and while I'm doing my best to have a good attitude about it and embrace it.... I think the weather has been bumming me out as well. It has really not been an easy two months for me.
      With all of that said, there is still much to be grateful for in my life. Every day, I choose gratitude for the things I do have instead of being sad over the the aspects of my life right now that I wish I could change. Joy and a grateful heart always win! 



       HOME: Okay- I do have something super fun to report here since my last post-move update. Decorating my apartment for CHRISTMAS has happened!!!! So much fun. In true Annaliese fashion, my tree went up on November 1st! Last week on the blog I shared a Christmas home tour of my apartment, you can check it out here
      Other than decorating for Christmas, not too much to report on in the home category. I really wanted to host a Christmas party at my apartment this year like I did last year in Charlotte, but sadly my holiday travel schedule and my crazy work schedule didn't match up well with the schedules of my few friends here, so that's a no-go. I really do want to start having more people over more regularly to my apartment- hopefully winter 2018 will be the time for that! Cookie baking and movie nights sound like a good time to me. 



      WORK: Also not much to report with work! Star 92.9, the adult contemporary station that I work for on the weekends, has made the switch to 24/7 Christmas music. I don't personally like Christmas music, but it's fun to see all my coworkers and many people in the Burlington community so excited about the radio station doing this! Vermonters sure do love their Christmas music. 
      Last week, I was able to use PTO for the first time since starting my job in April, and that was huge. Working 6-day weeks for eight months with no vacation.... you can say I was VERY overdue for one! Also for the first time, I finally got to use an out of office email response, so that was kind of an exciting adult moment! Haha. 



     FAITH: This fall, I had the chance to start attending some social events with a College and Career ministry of a nearby church (not the church that I attend). This church is larger than mine and has a much larger young adult population, so it's been really cool to meet more young people of faith in Vermont- which really are few and far between! I haven't been able to make it to any of their bible study nights yet, but I'm hoping to start going in 2018. 
      I've also still been doing some volunteer opportunities at my church with the hospitality ministry, which has been fun! That is really the area of church volunteering that I've connected with the most (things like being a greeter Sunday mornings and preparing the refreshments and food for after services). 
      Personal-faith wise, I've recently rediscovered the awesome devotional reading plans on the Bible app on iPhone. This app, in addition to providing tons of translations of the Bible in full, also has tons of free daily devotional reading plans about every subject imaginable! The one that I just finished last was about relationships, and I'm already looking forward to starting a new one. 



      SOCIAL: A pro and a con to report in this category of life in Vermont for these past two months! Pro: I am finally developing a small social life. FINALLY! It really took a solid six months to start to form. (A long, lonely six months...) These past two months have provided opportunity to meet a few new friends, both through the other nearby church that I've been attending events at, and also through some other avenues (including a new friend from Instagram!). I've also been able to strengthen the friendships that I made earlier in my time in Vermont over this late fall season. I finally feel like I'm starting to have a couple real friendships here, and not just acquaintances. It's an amazing feeling, and one that I waited so long for. 
       The con with all of this.... for some reason finally starting to have a social life in Vermont has brought on SO much homesickness for me. I think it's because having more friends and things to do here makes me feel a little more "settled" in Vermont, and it scares me, since I still have so many strong ties out of state. And I will be the first to admit that I play the comparison game a lot, too. A social life in Vermont will never compare to what I had in Charlotte (for many reasons), but that always frustrates me and I let it. It has become an occurrence several times a week to cry at home at night because I miss Charlotte (and sometimes Maine, too), something that honestly I hadn't done since maybe the first few weeks up here! But around late October-early November the homesickness came back FULL FORCE and hasn't left. I think part of it might be due to the fact that I have been dealing with a couple tough situations over these past couple months (which I won't be sharing about in this blog post)- and dealing with this makes me miss the support systems that I had in Charlotte and Maine. I am starting to make good friends here but it's all still very new friendships. The crying isn't just for people that I miss... the other night I literally cried because I live hours away from the nearest Cheesecake Factory location and I missed the Charlotte one. I'm hoping that having a few long weekends out of Vermont this month with time off will be really good for me, and that I'll come back to work and life up here in 2018 with a renewed spirit. Once I figure out how to deal with this homesickness thing- I'm happy to share in a blog post! (Just gotta figure it out first, lol!)



      DATING: #NOPE. Call me closed-minded, but I have come to the conclusion after much observation of guys my age in this area (and a couple failed attempts at trying to date up here right after I moved) that I'm never going to meet a guy that I'd be interested in seriously dating in Vermont. It's just not going to happen up here! Too small of an area, the culture is too different, Christian guys are in the super minority here, and most importantly, I don't want to be in Vermont long-term, and just about all guys my age I've met do, which would be a big problem. Really hoping that wherever and whenever I move for my next job, it's a city that provides better dating prospects, but for now I'm actually quite content as a single lady here in Vermont! I know the dating options up here.... and trust me I want nothing to do with them, lol!



       ACTIVITIES: Thinking back- I feel like I actually haven't done too much fun or out of the ordinary over the past couple of months, but I suppose that is kind of nice in a way. I've always thrived best when I live life on a regular routine, and I guess these were the months that I finally adjusted to my new later work hours! I've mostly just been working (both at my day job, and on the blog!). I've gotten back into the happen of going to the gym a few times a week to workout recently (I've been shooting for three workouts a week, and I'm trying to start running on the treadmill again). At home, I've still been trying new recipes and keeping up with my favorite TV shows. And watching lots of Hallmark Christmas movies too! I did deal with some unexpected car issues in November which wasn't fun, and an expense that I wasn't counting on, but hey, that's adulting right? My friend Shara from Maine also visited Vermont last month! Unfortunately it was during the same weekend that I had car issues, but it was still great to see her. I really do love having company in the area and getting to show people around! I am hoping to try my hand at some winter activities once snow arrives in Vermont, and keep visiting new places around the state. 




      5 NEW VERMONT THINGS I DID: 
  • Celebrated my most low-key (in-store) Black Friday ever in the history of the 10 years that I've been doing Black Friday shopping... at the University Mall and Maple Tree Place shops. 
  • Went to see a movie in the theater alone for the first time in a few years - something I want to start doing more often.
  • Dressed up for work on Halloween.
  • Went on a late fall hike unintentionally during hunting season... and survived!  
  • Tried a new restaurant in Burlington that I knew nothing about... and it ended up becoming one of my new favorite places for a nice dinner! 



       Thanks so much as always for reading! If you have any tips for battling adult homesickness- please send my way! Tomorrow I am so excited to begin recapping last weekend's holiday girls' trip to Georgetown, KY with Kylie from Dress in Sparkles, so stay tuned for that.




      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese