June 24, 2016

A Timeless Dress Option.












Photography by Deeana Kourtney Photography



     With the amount of time and money that the fashion industry puts into brand identity and customer loyalty, it is no surprise that the simple act of just hearing the name of a certain retailer can instantly bring certain descriptive adjectives to mind for customers. Or vice versa. For example, if someone says the word "trendy" to you, I bet that you can instantly think of a store or two that in your definition, fits the bill for a retailer that always provides clothing and accessories that are always fresh and on trend. 


      Personally, when I hear words such as "timeless," "refined" and "chic" in a fashion context, one of the first stores that I always think of is Banana Republic. This is a classic American clothing retailer that has not only stood the test of time, but Banana Republic has continued time and time again to come out with clothing collections that stay true to the core facts that set their brand apart, and give it the upscale yet accessible feel that keeps customers staying loyal.


      This season, I think that Banana Republic's stand-out items are their summer dresses. They have the timeless elegance and class that one has come to expect of the brand, but with modern twists such as bold colors or fun details. I am absolutely obsessed with the beautiful Banana Republic dress that I am wearing here! Bold green is such a lovely shade to wear in the summer months. If you look closely at these photos, you can actually see that the dress is ombre, getting darker from the top down. I will be honest and say that I'm not usually a fan of pleats on  my dresses or skirts, but I think that on this lovely dress they only help to accentuate the beautiful color. 


      Many of Banana Republic's dresses are extremely versatile and can be dressed up or down, and are appropriate from everything from the office to semi-formal events. They are true investment pieces that any woman would be lucky to have in her closet! 



     I'm sharing this beautiful dress and my other current favorite Banana Republic dresses below - which is your favorite? 



   










    xoxo Miss ALK



 
     Banana Republic provided gifted product in exchange for this post. All opinions are honest and my own. Thank-you for supporting the brands that support Southern Belle in Training!

June 22, 2016

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.




{Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @miss_alk!}



Ramblings:
  • Parks and Recreation: I have a new Netflix love, Parks and Recreation! I am definitely late to the party on this show and I'll be the first to admit it. One of my college roommates was obsessed with the show when we lived together, but at the time I never understood the hype. She always encouraged me to give the show another try and to stick it out through the first season. I finally did that this summer, and now I can't get enough- it's just too funny! If you haven't watched it yet, definitely press on through Season One. 
  • Free tickets! Just something to be aware of that I read about online this week: entertainment giant Ticketmaster recently settled in a large lawsuit, and they are rewarding customers who purchased selected tickets for events between 1999-2013 with free vouchers to use for future events! You can sign in online to your Ticketmaster account and check to see if any events that you attended during those years are eligible for vouchers. None of the specific events that I had tickets for during that time sadly were included in the voucher promotion, but this is still totally legit! Read more about these vouchers in this article. Just spreadin' some hopefully good news to y'all! 
  • Millennial Blogger Network: The Facebook group Millennial Blogger Network, which is a home for Millennial aged bloggers to engage and interact with each other, (I'm an admin for the group!) has had so many new members this week! If you aren't yet familiar with our group, check it out here and see if your blog meets the guidelines for acceptance. We aren't super picky with the blogs that we accept- admins mainly check that bloggers who apply are posting regularly, and that content fits the Millennial Blogger demographic!
  • Road Trippin': I fly back up north tomorrow night for a brief but busy weekend at home in Maine! I'll then be returning to NC via road trip with my mom. I've done the Maine to NC and NC to Maine drives several times with my dad, but this is the first time doing it with my mom! She is already planning some interesting stops along the way. Be sure that you're following me on Snapchat @miss_alk to keep up with our road trip adventures!


Purchases: 
  • This lace-up bathing suit is SUCH a steal!! I realized recently that I don't own too much in one of this summer's hottest trends, which is the lace-up look. I'm not crazy about a lot of the lace-up tops or dresses, but I do think that it can be cute in swimwear. I was amazed to find a deal this good on such a cute bathing suit, especially from the retailer that this came from! 
  • I've mentioned this on my Instagram a few times and in yesterday's blog post, but I recently joined Ditto, the subscription service for designer sunglasses! This is the first pair that I selected, and I love them! I can't wait to see what pairs I'll be wearing in future months. If you would like to sign up for Ditto, use my code MISSALK for a free month. 
  • One of the Kmart stores in Charlotte is going out of business soon, and everything in the store is on sale. Kmart isn't a store that I normally shop at, but I was in the area this week of the closing store, and figured I would pop in to see if they had any good deals. I was blown away! I spent just $40 and walked out with so many great things- with everything from laundry detergent to jewelry to greeting cards! Possibly the best steal of all was the most darling tassel scarf that I scored for just $5! Unfortunately the scarf I purchased isn't online in the color I have it in, but here it is in neutral shades. Definitely give your Kmart a visit soon- especially if it's closing! ;-)


     Lastly, I would like to start concluding all of my Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases posts with a question for y'all to answer! One of my favorite Charlotte bloggers, April from A. Liz Adventures, has recently started doing "Roll Call" type posts, where she posts a question and has her readers interact with it in comments on the post. I have been really enjoying these posts on April's blog, so I thought it would be fun to do a question each week for y'all in these posts!


     This week's question: What are you most looking forward to in the month of July?


      For me it is starting my new part-time job, and also beginning my main post-graduate plan: broadcasting school! So not a very "fun" month, but as someone who craves schedules and routines, I am excited to finally be back on one, and to start heavily pursuing my dreams of a career in broadcasting.



     xoxo Miss ALK

June 21, 2016

Hosting My First Housewarming Party.

     I've mentioned a few times here recently that there was an event coming up this past weekend that I was getting very exciting for - the housewarming party for my first apartment. A lot of you asked for a recap of the party here on the blog, so here it is today! I have always had a love for entertaining. In high school, I always loved having small groups of my friends over for movie and board game nights, or even just to hang out. I would always try and bake special treats if I knew that I had friends coming over, and the promise of company was about the only thing that would motivate me to clean back in high school. ;-) My favorite thing about having people over even back then was that it was a great opportunity to make new friends, and for different groups of people to mix and mingle. The main thing that I was involved in during these years was the Interact Club (a community service club for high school students through Rotary International), and I always enjoyed inviting new friends from Interact Club over with my people that I'd known for longer.

     Thinking back to the movie and board game nights that I used to host (shout-out to my mom for always lending me the downstairs TV room ;-) ) was the inspiration that I had for having an apartment housewarming party in the first place. I wanted the housewarming not just to be a time to celebrate my roommate and I's first apartment, but also to be a time to bring all of our friends from various walks of our life (as well as my roommate's family since they live near the area) together! I am so blessed to have made many wonderful friendships since moving to North Carolina almost four years ago. I have friends from my former college (including my now-roommate- hey Ciera!), friends from my Alma Mater which include sorority sisters, internship friends, former roommates just to name a few, blogger friends, and now my roommate and I also have friends in our new bible study! I thought that our housewarming could be a delightful time to celebrate all of the special people in both of our lives.


   



     I planned to document the evening with my camera, but I ended up getting caught up in the moment and only have a few saved Snapchats to share from the party. So I figured that the best way to recap everything was just to share some thoughts and reflections from hosting my first housewarming, and the few pictures that I was able to get.


     *Accept the help of friends for party preparation: My sweet friend Cara from Caralina Style generously spent the whole weekend with me in Charlotte at my apartment and did so much to help me prepare for the party! Cara assisted with everything from helping me bake treats for guests to enjoy, making sure that I stayed on task for finishing cleaning the apartment, and even designing our housewarming party's fun Snapchat geo filter, which is pictured above! (Yes- you can buy geo filters for events! Info here). Everything was able to come together just in time, and most of that was thanks to Cara's help! I sure am thankful for blogging friends turned real-life friends.

 
     *Check the calendar before planning a party: Originally I wanted to host our housewarming shortly after my graduation, but due to a much slower concussion recovery than I anticipated, my roommate and I didn't feel completely moved into our apartment until the start of June (Well- I take that back. Ciera's bedroom was all set up- I just wasn't done with my side of the apartment! ;-) ) With an upcoming weekend trip home planned for the end of June, and the 4th of July after that, I thought that mid-June would be the ideal time for a housewarming. Unfortuntely, I set the event date before realizing that it was Father's Day Weekend. We had just enough people able to come that we weren't able to reschedule... but most of the people on my guest list weren't able to make it due to family plans for the holiday weekend! This is definitely something that I wish I had considered before setting the date.


     *Have party games on deck: Everyone at our housewarming ended up getting along splendidly: from my roommate's family members to our bible study friends to a few of my college friends! But had small talk been awkward or slow, I did have a few party and ice breaker games waiting and ready to go. I personally am always one for playing a game, it's a great way to get to know people, and priceless memories are bound to be made! One of my favorite group games is this free Charades app from that can be found in the App Store.


     *After the (show party) it's the after party: (Anyone catch the (sort-of) R. Kelly "Ignition" lyrics reference there? Haha.) Anyways, who says that a housewarming, or any type of get-together for that matter, has to be contained to the event itself? The real fun of the evening began when a group of girls at the party joined me for a fun night in Uptown Charlotte after the housewarming concluded!





With Cara from Caralina Style and Amy from Pastel n Pink - love these sweet blogging friends!





A mix of a few of my college friends, my roommate's high school best friend, my roommate, my blogger best friend, and bible study friends... plus one selfie stick. :-)



     Ciera and I are so thankful that despite the holiday weekend, some family and friends did make it out to celebrate with us. We also received the kindest and most thoughtful housewarming presents, which we were not expecting at all!


      I'm linking some of the art that is in our gallery wall in the dining room below:







     xoxo Miss ALK