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

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     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 

May 17, 2018

BIG LIST of Great Books to Read This Spring!!

     I'm not sure what's quite gotten into me, but since becoming a Virginia resident, I've been bitten HARD by the reading bug! I was always a huge bookworm as a little girl, and I enjoyed reading for fun in high school as well. It was in college that I lost my passion for reading for fun for a few years- I just couldn't find the time between school, internships, starting my blog, Greek life, and everything else I was involved in! In Vermont I started to rediscover my love of reading, and now that love has come back full force, and I think it's actually more of an obsession. Since getting my Charlottesville library card, I've read 10 books in three and a half weeks! One of my resolutions for 2018 was to read 30 books this year... something tells me that I'll be having no trouble with hitting that goal, and doubling it or even tripling it!

     I have started using Good Reads to track my weekly reading goals and progress (you can follow me on there here!), and I also enjoy rating each book that I finish on Good Reads. Most of the books that I've read lately I've rated five stars, and they've made me want to text friends and say "YOU NEED TO READ THIS ASAP!" Each book has been so enjoyable, and I am really excited to share this book reviews post with y'all today. Typically I include book reviews in one of my outfit posts, but there are so many great books that I'm talking about today that I thought they deserved a full post of their own. 😊

Best Books to read for Spring

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     *The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle: I first heard about this book from this book reviews post from Caitlin! It sounded really interesting. This book tells the story of married couple Iris and Will- who have a seemingly perfect marriage and life in Atlanta. There is a tragic plane crash with a flight headed from Atlanta to Seattle, and Iris is informed that her husband was a passenger on the plane, and is among the deceased. She is in shock, as Will had told her that he was en route to Orlando for a work conference. Iris begins an intense search for the truth;  both the truth about her husband's past life, and if he actually was on the crashed plane to Seattle. This book definitely held my attention through the whole story, and I really felt Iris's pain and shock!
     ****4/5 stars

     *Whispers and Lies by Joy Fielding: This was my first Joy Fielding read, and the cover caught my eye amongst the library stacks! Books that I judge by the cover (literally) can be hit or miss, but I'm glad I decided to try one of Joy's books, as this was a very intriguing read. This is a psychological thriller, and the while the first 75% of the story is a bit slow (and some details of the start of the story almost seem insignificant), the final 25% of the book is shocking and mind blowing, and also a little bit disturbing to be honest. This book tells the story of Terry Painter, a single, 40-something nurse who resides in coastal Florida. She has inherited her late mother's house, and takes in tenants to help offset living costs. Terry feels immediately drawn to building a friendship her newest tenant, a young woman named Alison. But at the same time, Terry also finds herself very wary about Alison's mysterious past, and her reasons for being in Florida. I can't stress enough how shocking the end of this book was- I enjoy reading thrillers but out of all the ones I've read the ending of this one really had me for a loop!
     ***3/5 stars

     *Grand Avenue by Joy Fielding: After being so shocked by the ending of Whispers and Lies, I wanted to give another Joy Fielding book a try. Grand Avenue tells the story of four friends, Chris, Barbara, Susan and Vicki, who meet in the 1970s and discover that they're neighbors and all have young daughters around the same age. The book follows each of the four women through the years and explores their romantic relationships, their roles as mothers, their careers, and other topics like domestic violence, having affairs, and workplace issues. Similarly to Whispers and Lies, there is another big plot twist near the end of Grand Avenue (I'm starting to think this might be a theme with Joy Fielding's books?), but I felt a little more prepared for it this time. This book did have some heavy sexual content and strong language in parts, but I felt that it fit the story and helped make certain scenes more believable (if that makes sense), but I did want to note that. Overall I think I liked this one slightly more than Whispers and Lies, but both were definitely very unique books.
     ***3/5 stars

     *A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury: I was absolutely obsessed with Karen Kingsbury's books in high school. Karen is a Christian fiction author, and to date I've read over 30 of her books! I even had the chance to meet her at a book signing during my freshman year of college. My high school years were a really bad time for me (I suffered with anxiety and depression amongst other things), and I credit Karen's books to really being a light for me during a rough time. Anyways, her Baxter Family series was always my favorite!! She's written over 20 books about these characters. The Baxter Family books are set in Bloomington, IN, so it was really cool for me to visit Bloomington in January this past year- home of one of my favorite book series! Anyways, The Baxter Family books recently got a TV series deal, and the books are currently being developed into a show. Karen also has started writing more books about the Baxters, so I picked up with A Baxter Family Christmas from the library, which I really enjoyed! I'm not sure that this book would be as enjoyable as a stand-alone title if you haven't read the 20+ other Baxter Family books (these characters feel like old friends to me at this point), but since I am very familiar with the story line, I did really enjoy this book. Now I have three more newer Baxter Family books to catch up on!
     ***3/5 stars

     *Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians #1): OH MY GOSH- this book!!! I am so glad I decided to read this trilogy before the movie comes out later this summer!! I am not usually a stickler at all for reading a book before seeing a movie... but in the case of Crazy Rich Asians- I absolutely recommend reading all three book before the movie releases in August! If you were a fan of Gossip Girl, I can 100% guarantee you'll be obsessed with Crazy Rich Asians. The first book tells the story of Rachel Chu, an American-raised economics professor, who will be spending the summer in Singapore, with her history professor boyfriend Nick Young. Despite the fact that they've been dating for a couple years, Rachel knows very little about Nick's extended family in Singapore. When she arrives for their summer vacation, she is in shock to discover that they are one of the wealthiest families in the country, and he is heir to a great fortune. Rachel is very humble and doesn't care much about Nick's family's money, however his family isn't very welcoming to Rachel since she was raised American. This book also follows the lives of several of Nick's cousins and other family members, and the drama and plot is just so juicy!! I was seriously depressed when I finished this book and immediately requested the next two books in the trilogy from my library.
     *****5/5 stars

     *China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians #2): The second book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, and Kevin Kwan wrote an amazing follow-up to the first novel! This book chronicles Nick and Rachel's wedding, but also adds some new (very rich) characters into the mix, and follows another summer of crazy adventures in Asia for many of the characters from the first book. One of the main characters in China Rich Girlfriend is Colette, an insanely wealthy Chinese fashion blogger, so it was interesting for me as a blogger to read a bit about what the Chinese fashion blogging scene is like, since social media is a bit different over there. I loved this book as well, and it made me very excited to read the final book!
     *****5/5 stars

     *Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians #3): The final book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy I thought was the perfect ending to the series. This books centers around the fact that Nick Young has to return to his family's estate in Singapore unexpectedly after a family member falls ill. Something that I really liked about this trilogy was how the first book really explored the wedding customs of Asia's wealthiest families, the final book looked more closely at familial duties and funeral customs, which I found interesting to read about! This book also wraps up some loose plot ends from the second book, and I was very pleased with the ending. All in all, a great ending to the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy!
     *****5/5 stars

     *Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'Easter by Lisa Patton (Dixie #1): This trilogy!! Oh my gosh. This is one of my favorite library finds ever. The first book in the Dixie trilogy follows Southern Belle Lele Satterfield, a doting wife and mother who happily resides in Memphis, TN. One day, her husband gets the idea to move their family to Southern Vermont (!!!) to buy and renovate a bed and breakfast in a small mountain town. Lele is initially very opposed to move to Vermont, but eventually goes along with the plan to uproot their family. After moving, she is in shock for the first few months of acclimating to life in the Green Mountain State- let's just say that I could relate so much to Lele's depictions of Vermont life, and the native Vermonters that she met! This book was set in a fictional small town in Southern Vermont (near Manchester), probably about three-ish hours from Burlington, where I lived. But despite that, I still felt like I could relate so much to the character of Lele and this story in general! It made me laugh, it made me sentimental, and I just felt like I "got it"!! For anyone who doesn't understand the culture shock I went through after moving from Charlotte to Vermont... read this book! Haha. Anyways, this was an absolutely delightful read, and I couldn't wait to read the rest of the trilogy. Spoiler alert: this book ends with Lele leaving Vermont to go back South.... doesn't this sound familiar!? 😉
     *****5/5 stars

     *Yankee Doodle Dixie by Lisa Patton (Dixie #2): I loved the second book in the Dixie trilogy possibly even more than the first! Lele Satterfield is back in the South, newly single, and job searching. She ends up taking a job at a radio station in the promotions department- seriously, did author Lisa Patton know about my life for the past year when she wrote these books?! Haha! Granted, Lele's adventures working in radio weren't all quite realistic, but it was super fun to read about! Lele also has a whirlwind romantic adventure in this book that added a fun plot line. A wonderful follow-up to the first book!
     *****5/5 stars

     *Southern as a Second Language by Lisa Patton (Dixie #3): The final book in the Dixie series was a great ending to Lele's adventures! This one is also set back in the South, but some of the beloved Vermont characters from the first book do make appearances in this book. Lele has left her job in the radio world and ventures into starting her own business, and realizes that just like running one in Vermont, there are also struggles with doing that in the South. I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to Lele and the other characters when this book ended! I can't wait to check out other books from Lisa Patton. If you're headed on vacation soon, I think this trilogy would be ideal vacation reading.
     *****5/5 stars

      Please let me know if you've read any of these books and what your thoughts were about them! Or if you've read another good book lately- let me know in the comments on this post. I'm probably going to be making another library trip soon and I'll be planning to grab a lot of good books to read!

    Shop all of my favorite reads below:

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

May 16, 2018

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.

{Snapshot from this weekend hiking off the Blue Ridge Parkway! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}

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  • Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival: What a fun weekend I had! On Saturday afternoon, I went to the Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival in Downtown Charlottesville with Alicia. What a fun local event! I had heard about this wine festival from some of my coworkers but had no idea what to expect. It was quite a production! Hundreds of people attended, and 27 local Central Virginia wineries were in attendance, offering tastings of their best wines. I visited my first Virginia wineries last month, and it's my goal to eventually visit all 30+ on the Monticello Wine Trail, so this festival was a great way for me to see which wineries offer which types of wines, and where they're located. 
  • Hiking Adventures: Before the wine festival, I also went hiking on Saturday morning with my boss and his wife! They took me to a trail that they enjoy called Humpback Rocks that is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 30 mins from Charlottesville. The trail was pretty steep but the views were UNBELIEVABLE and so worth it!! You can see some of the views pictured above. This was my first ride on the Parkway since moving and I can't wait to explore more of this amazing roadway in months to come.
  • Key Fobs... Not Necessary? Boring adult rambling of the week: I drive an older vehicle, and the fun of driving an older vehicles is that surprise problems do arise from time to time. In January, my car's key fob stopped working. I brought it to a battery shop in Vermont to have the batteries changed, but it ended up not being a battery issue, and I needed a new one to be ordered and computerized to my car. With job applications and then moving this kept getting put off, but anyways- I finally had this fixed last week! It ended up being more expensive than I thought... and since for the past five months I haven't had a working key fob... part of me is wondering if I should have just left it without one and saved some money? I have totally gotten used to unlocking my car the old fashioned way with the key- haha! Ah well- cheers to a new key fob I guess.
  • 1001 in 101: I have loved seeing other bloggers do the popular 1001 in 101 bucket list and have always wanted to make one for myself! I thought the best time to start one would be post-grad, once I felt a bit settled in where I lived and my career, so that way I had the most chance for success to complete the items. I am finally feeling like here in Virginia might be the place to do this, so I'm thinking this summer of putting together one of these bucket lists finally! Eeeek! Have you done an 1001 in 101 before, and if so, was it successful?


  • I needed a new clothing rack for this apartment, so I picked one up this week! The last one that I had got me through college and my first two apartments- it had a long life for the use it got, but didn't survive the move. Time for a new one so that I can finally really organize my closet and clothes!
  • I was so excited to find out I was one of the winners for a big giveaway that Haley from Alyson Haley did on her blog for Baublebar gift cards a few weeks ago. I wanted to wait to use my certificate until they had a sale, and they did this week! It's still going on today- use code SUMMER30 to save 30% off your purchase of 3+ items! (20% off one item with SUMMER20!) The first thing I bought was this cute ring- it will match so many things I have! 
  • I also purchased this bracelet set. I love them all individually, and they'd also look great worn together as a set, and mixed and matched with other bracelets I own! 
  • And finally- these adorable statement earrings. This was simple a "fun" purchase- but over the last couple months I've been pretty good about curbing my impulsive fun spending, so I figured I deserved to treat myself this week! They will brighten summer outfits.

  • A cute summery floral dress- perfect for how warm it has been in Charlottesville lately! 
  • My Charlotte blogger bestie Cara has started selling monogrammed straw bags on Etsy- these are adorable for the summer season!
  • These earrings are stunning and I'm thinking about ordering them for a wedding I'm attending this summer.
  • What a cute little floral romper this is! This would be just darling for a Girls' Night Out or vacation!
  • This bold skirt would be so cute with a white crop top and fun heels for dinner or date night.

Recipe of the week: Tuna Potato Patties from Don't Go Bacon My Heart. This is a fairly easy and very creative pantry recipe that makes a tasty dinner, and these would also make a good side dish for brunch or a big luncheon. I had one of my neighbors/new friends over for dinner one evening last week and made these- I was a little nervous to try a new Pinterest recipe with someone coming for dinner since they can always be hit or missed, but this was a hit! 

Song of the week: Everyday by Marshmello ft. Logic. Minus the 1-800 song (which had A LOT of radio airplay last year when I worked in Top 40 radio), I actually haven't been too familiar with Logic's other music. Such a shame- he is really talented!! This is one of his newest songs in collab with Marshmello and it's been happily stuck in my head all week! I've also been checking out some of his other music on Spotify. (Anyone else super sad that Logic and his wife are going through a divorce? I thought they were the cutest couple!)

On the blog this week:

     Thanks as always for reading!! I am a bit sleepy on this Wednesday as yesterday morning I filled in on my station's morning show! I absolutely love morning radio and hope to do it myself someday for my main job- but it can be weird for my schedule to fill in on the show one day randomly / have to wake up at 4 am when I'm not used to that most other weekdays with my current job schedule. So today I fight off the Zzzz's! 

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese