September 30, 2013

Friday was blogger day.

     What a wonderful Friday I had! It was a great start to my weekend, and a positive end to a long and stressful week. And why was it wonderful? Because of blogging friends! :-)

     One of my favorite fashion bloggers, Caitlin of Southern Curls and Pearls, was the feautured fashion blogger for Lilly Putlizer of Charlotte's Fall Styling party! I was beyond excited to find out that Caitlin would be in Charlotte, and to have the event take place at a Lilly store made it even better! I have a sorority sister, Hannah, who used to blog, so I invited her to accompany me to the mall to meet Caitlin. I wore my favorite Lilly dress (which made an appearance in this OOTD post)!

Caitlin and I! LOVED her Lilly dress. :-)

My ADPi sister Hannah and I.

     It was so wonderful to meet Caitlin in person! I have loved reading her blog, and her outfits are always so chic and stylish- they sometimes provide inspiration for my own outfits! Caitlin's sweet mom was also at Lilly, and it was so nice to meet her as well. I hope to meet Caitlin again sometime soon!! While in the Lilly store I also got to chance to browse the new fall collection. I wasn't able to afford buying a new Lilly dress right now (sorority dues are expensive y'all), but I did buy a cute new phone case for my iPhone 5S! I got to order the new iPhone when my parents were in town last weekend and I can't wait for it to come in! My iPhone 4 is definitely on its way out... haha.

     Here are two of the dresses that I loved looking at in the store!





     Also on Friday, I got to Skype for the first time with my blogging friend Jessica from Forever Convinced. Many of you might remember Jess as one of the lovely bloggers who I did the "Summer of Something New" blog challenge with this summer! In addition to that, we have actually become quite close over the internet. We exchanged lengthy e-mails all summer, and I have loved getting to know Jess. But, back to the Skype thing. Let me just say that I'm NOT a big Skype person at all, Like AT ALL. I think it's a cool invention, but the quality of my webcam isn't that great, and someone's internet usually starts to fail in the conversation and it always ends up freezing. It's an annoyance. I do enjoy Skyping a few times a year with my Japanese friend Anna, but that's usually about it.

    Anyways, on Friday night I was supposed to Skype with a friend from home, but that fell through. I went on Facebook chat looking to see who was online. I noticed that Jess was, and I sent her a message saying "Hey I know this is last minute but do you want to Skype?" That ended up leading to the BEST SKYPE CHAT EVER. Seriously though! It was so easy for Jess and I to talk, and there was no awkwardness at all. We were laughing and laughing, and I was able to tell her the funny backstories and details to many of my blog posts about my personal life. Unfortunately our conversation had to be pretty short, but I cannot wait until the next time that we can talk! I feel so blessed to have made such an amazing friend through blogging, and I pray that we can meet in person someday (SOON)!


     And lastly, a huge congratulations to my friend mQs from The Shore Life According to M, who finished Rush at her college and ended up also choosing Alpha Delta Pi! So excited that I can call my blogging friend my sister. :-) The funny thing is that the ADPi Leadership Consultant who was at my school during Bid Day also was at mQs's school!! Such a small world.


     Hope y'all are having a great Monday!


     xoxo Miss ALK


September 27, 2013

OOTD: GNO & F21.









  • Shirt: Forever 21
  • Shorts (came with belt): Forever 21
  • Earrings: Christmas gift from my friend Jules (but from Forever 21)
  • Heels: DSW (Also appeared in this post)
  • Lipstick: Covergirl Moon Drops Lipstick in 24K Orange
  • Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Dive Deeper

     Forever 21 will always be one of my favorite stores. So much of their clothing is exactly my style, and you can't beat the amazing prices!! I scored this adorable shirt and the shorts/belt that I'm wearing in this post back during my last trip to New York City in January. During my last few trips to NYC with my dad we have stayed at the Double Tree Suites that's right in Times Square, and there's a huge Forever 21 flagship store that's just a few minutes walk from the hotel. My poor dad had to wait so long as I tried on tons and tons of things... but I ended up finding some great finds like the pieces in this outfit! I have always mean to wear this shirt with the shorts and belt but I never got around to it until tonight. I always thought that it would make a fun date outfit, but since I'm still single and failing to mingle I pulled it out tonight for a GNO with one of my new sorority sisters and two girls in Chi Omega, which is another sorority on campus! Fun fact: this is the same shirt that I'm wearing in the photo that's used for my new blog button! (The blog button picture was taken on a day trip to the New Hampshire mountains that my mom and I took right after I came home from college last May.)

Southern Belle In Training


     I finished off the look with my favorite black leather wedges from DSW and some earrings which are also from Forever 21. Back in Christmas 2011 one of my best friends from high school, Jules, gave me a ton of earrings from Forever 21. One of the best Christmas gifts I got that year, no joke! I love F21 jewelry and the earrings that Jules picked out for me were the cutest. (Speaking of Jules, she comes to visit me in NC in less than 3 weeks!!) 

      
     This week hasn't been the best one for me. In my post yesterday I wrote briefly about how on Wednesday night there was a live cricket in my dorm room, and after realizing I couldn't find the cricket or sleep through it, I had to pack up my stuff and head to my sorority sister Hannah's room to crash on her spare bed (and this was past 1 am). I also didn't do too well on a test this week, and I've had horrible PMS. On top of that I've been missing my former college like crazy, and the whole week I've been wondering if transferring was the right decision. But last night I wore the outfit in this post and I went to dinner with some sorority women, and I had such a wonderful time. It was so nice to get off campus after such a long and stressful week. Below is a picture of me and my ADPi sister Perrin! Perrin and I are both sophomores but like me she also just went through recruitment this year, so we're in the same ADPi pledge class. She's the one that took these pictures for this post. :-)



     And tonight my sorority sister Hannah and I are off to Lilly Pulitzer in Charlotte for the meet and greet event with fashion blogger Caitlin of Southern Curls and Pearls! I have been reading Caitlin's blog for awhile and I've always loved her fashion sense! I'm so excited to meet another blogger in person, and I love how it's happening at Lilly Pulitzer of all places! :-) And on Sunday the Alpha Delta Pi chapter retreat at one of our sister's houses who lives on a lake... I can't wait for a day at the lake with all of my new sisters! Some girl time by the water will be a perfect end to my weekend.

     Hope that y'all will have a wonderful weekend as well!


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 26, 2013

Favorite Things Thursday: Yogi Perfect Energy Vanilla Spice tea.

     As a college student, I am often sleep deprived. I don't pull all-nighters, and I always make sure to get at least six hours of sleep (minimum), but even with the usual 7ish hours that I get on most weeknights I'm still exhausted the next day. That's where my BFF caffeine comes in. I'm not a coffee fan, and I never have been. I don't like the taste or the smell... weird I know, but I don't like forcing myself to drink something that I think tastes disgusting. :-) I only drink coffee if I need a very large amount of caffeine (like before a big test in the morning or something). I do love tea, but I've always had trouble finding a strong enough tea to deliver the type of caffeine that I need on school mornings (and that tastes good).

Southern Belle In Training


     Friends, I have have good news. I have found an amazing tea that can be purchased at most chain grocery stores (I found it at Target a couple weeks ago). Today's FFT is the Perfect Energy Vanilla Spice Tea from Yogi Tea!

   
Image via Google Images
   
     This tea tastes absolutely amazing. I love almost anything with vanilla... the smell, the flavor, and this tea has both, along with a delightful spice blend to add to the taste (but isn't nearly as spicy as chai tea). But the best part about it is that it gives you a very hearty dose of caffeine! It is exactly what I need in the mornings to stay focussed through my classes. In just about half an hour after drinking it I always feel *so* much more awake and alert.

     I am currently drinking this tea as I'm finishing this post. I really needed it today, because my poor roommate and I somehow had a chirping cricket in our room past midnight last night. Since we live on the third floor and we don't open our windows I have no clue how the thing got into our room. My roommate is a bit more of a deeper sleeper than I am, so she was able to sleep through it. I however could not, so thankfully my amazing sorority sister Hannah let me crash on the spare bed in her room last night. I have had a really long and emotional week, and so the cricket incident was the last thing that I needed. But I'm so thankful that I was still able to get some sleep- that's what sisters are for. :-) And luckily I didn't need to wake up until like 9:45 today... Thursdays are my sleep-in days.


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 25, 2013

Vlog: My first Drugstore Make-up Haul!

     At the end of this past summer, I started to fall in love with the Youtube Channel Eleventh Gorgeous.  It's run by two make-up and fashion loving sisters named Tracy and Stefanie, and it's clear that they have an absolute blast making their videos. Some of my favorite videos that they do are the "Drugstore Hauls," where they raid a local drugstore for the latest affordable make-up products and then review them.

     In the past couple weeks, I've gotten a few new make-up products from CVS and Target with my some of my birthday money. I love some of them, and I'm not so crazy about others. I thought that it would be fun to try making my first make-up vlog in the style of Eleventh Gorgeous's videos!! Obviously my webcam isn't the best camera quality, and whatever I learned about video editing in my digital media class last semester has been long forgotten from my brain, so I filmed this from start to finish so I wouldn't have to edit! ;-) But I hope that ya'll still enjoy anyways. Below are the products that I reviewed in my vlog!


  • NYX retractable eyeliner in Purple
  • Revlon Brow Fantasy in Dark Blond 
  • Physicians Formula Organic wear mascara in Ultra Black
  • elf Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in Pink Umbrellas
  • L'Oreal Extra Volume Collagen mascara in shade 680 (which is black)

    Here's the video!! I also recently made a Youtube Channel for my vlogs, so you can find it there as well. :-)


video


xoxo Miss ALK


September 23, 2013

Why I say no to alcohol.

     It hit me a few days ago that while I've said many times on this blog (and my old blog) that I don't drink alcohol (or do drugs, but I think that's kind of a given), but I've never said why it is that I don't drink. There's a variety of factors that influence my decision, and I thought that writing everything out might make for an interesting blog post.

Image via Google Images


Why I didn't drink in high school:

  1. My parents: this is the number one reason why drinking in high school never interested me. I suppose another reason is that the crowd that I hung out with was not into drinking at the time, but I believe my parents were the main reason. My mom and dad are not into drinking, and I can count the number of times in my lifetime that I've seen them drink alcohol on one hand. (I distinctly remember how when my family went on a Caribbean cruise when I was seven and my dad ordered a beer on one of our island stops, I thought that something was wrong with him because I'd never seen him drink before). The only alcohol that is in my home in Maine is a few bottles that my mom occasionally uses for cooking, that's it. Nothing else. So not only did I not really grow up around alcohol, but my parents also educated me on the dangers from a young age. There is a history of alcoholism on my mom's side of the family (both my grandfather and great-grandfather died from illnesses related to it), and there's a lot of mental illness on my dad's side of the family. Mental illness + alcoholism = BAD NEWS, and my parents always stressed that to me growing up. They were also very clear that if I drank in high school at a party or friend's house there would be SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES. No more phone, computer, car... etc. I wish I could say that I didn't want to drink in high school because I wanted to honor my mother and father like the Bible says to... but the truth is I was too scared to have my favorite possessions taken away from me, so I chose not to drink more out of fear. Also, as I said earlier, a good majority of my high school friends were not into drinking at the time. Most of the party kids at my high school didn't like me, so I was never really around students my age drinking.

Why I don't drink in college:
  1. The Law: I've always been big on following the legal system. And in the United States, it is ILLEGAL to consume alcohol if you are under the age of 21. NO BUTS (college parties are not exceptions folks!). I am currently a citizen of the United States, living in the state of North Carolina, and I'm under the age of 21. So yeah...
  2. My faith: I don't believe that the Bible comes right out and condones drinking... goodness, Jesus turned water into wine! But the Bible definitely does warn against when drinking distracts you from staying focussed on your faith in the Lord and living out your faith with others. Ephesians 5:18 says "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit..." (NIV). There are enough things in my daily life that distract me enough from my faith; social media, schoolwork, friends, crushes, family, fashion....etc. I certainly don't need to add something that's currently illegal for me to that!
  3. My parents: My parents' influence is still a big part of my decision not to drink while I'm underage. Minus my textbooks, they pay for all of my college expenses. That's a lot of their money! They have also been so supportive of me going to school out of state, and I thank them immensly for not making me stay close to home for college, and instead letting me go where I wanted. After all of that, I couldn't even think about drinking because I know how much they would be dissapointed in me. 
  4. My family history: I wrote in an earlier paragraph about the history of alcoholism and mental illness in my parents' families. As I'm getting older, things like family health history start to matter more to me. There is research that shows if you start drinking under the age of 21 then you have a much greater risk of becoming an alcoholic. Since alcoholism is already present in my family then that means my risk is higher to begin with, and that's something that I just don't need to mess with!
  5. My headaches: Since I got sick with a bad virus/sinus infection combo for about a month during my freshman year of college, I get bad headaches. This past summer I was getting headaches several days a week. Now it has slowed down to about once or twice a week, but they still hurt a lot. They aren't quite like migraines, more like throbbing in my temples. I never had headaches before I got sick... but I guess the headaches are here to stay (I've seen a doctor about it and they didn't offer me any solutions). Oftentimes my headaches are accompanied with severe lightheadedness. It's gotten a little better since I started my sophomore year, but this summer my lightheadedness was often so bad that I couldn't drive and would have to cancel plans because of it. Anyways, I've heard that even way before a person is "drunk" alcohol can make them experience this. I HATE feeling lightheaded and it makes me feel weak and powerless. When I get those feelings enough in my daily life, why would I drink a beverage that would increase those feelings?!
  6. My safety: So many bad things can happen to a college girl that has been drinking. I wouldn't be worried that I would drive drunk (I have a hard enough time driving when I have a headache!), but I am more worried that I would unknowingly get into a car with someone who had too much to drink and then decided to drive. I also worry about date rape, or even being taken advantage of in ways that aren't quite as "far as" sex (such as a creepy guy making out with me or something). Oftentimes alcohol also leads to violence, and I wouldn't want to be around any drunken fights.

     
     These are my reasons why I'm choosing not to drink while I'm underage. I have not yet decided my thoughts about both drinking if I'm out of the country, or drinking after my 21st birthday. I believe that both of these things are personal convictions, and Christians should be respectful of others' views. My parents have told me that they would prefer that I never drink at all (even after I'm legal) because of my family history. I respect their opinion very much, but I also realize that once I am legal they won't be able to decide for me anymore whether I can or can't drink. 

     In December I'm going to be travelling to the United Kingdom with my parents over Christmas. The legal drinking age there is 18, so I would be allowed to consume alcohol. Since I have never really tried more than just a few sips (in the presence of my mom cooking) I have thought about wanting to try a drink in a restaurant or pub while we're there, but since my parents will be with me on the trip I doubt that will happen. 

     I do think that alcohol used in cooking is a wonderful invention though... my favorite type of pasta sauce is vodka sauce, and one of my favorite types of cake is rum cake. The good part about these things is that most of the actual alcohol burns off in cooking, so all that's left is the flavor! :-)


     Lastly, I want to say that while these are my views on drinking underage, I try not to be judgemental of those who do drink before they're 21. Most of my friends from high school drink now, and since my new college is not a dry campus like my old school, I often see alcohol in my building. Luckily the school monitors pretty well and doesn't tolerate traditional "college parties," but underage drinking definitely happens here. I am blessed though to have friends and sorority sisters who respect my decision not to drink and do not try and pressure me. 


     What are your thoughts on underage drinking? If you're under 21, do you drink? If you're over 21, what are your thoughts? I'd love to hear! The comments on this post are a judgement-free zone. :-)


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 20, 2013

Product Review: Sargento Cheddar Cheese

     These products were provided complimentary by Influenster and Sargento Cheese. This review is my honest opinion.  

     When I first started blogging over two and a half year ago, I imagined how fun it would be to get free stuff thanks to blogging. Since then I have won a few giveaways, and also gotten the chance to obtain free products thanks to product reviews. I can definitely say though that I never would have expected that blogging would have given me the chance to get free cheese!

     I joined Influenster this past summer, which is a website that allows bloggers to participate in surveys and product reviews based on their interest, and then rewards them with free things that come in little boxes called "VoxBoxes." Most of these VoxBoxes have themes. Since some of my main interests are fashion and beauty, most of the reviews or surveys that I submitted on Influenster had to do with these categories! Yet somehow, the first VoxBox that I qualified for was sponsored by Sargento Cheese...  hey, at least I like cheese! :-)



     My VoxBox actually arrived over a week ago, I just haven't had the time to share this post until now! Anyways, it contained three things: a voucher for a free Sargento cheese product, a coupon for $1 off another Sargento cheese product, and lastly, that cute little carrying case for cheese sticks! Isn't the print on it adorable?! And it's insulated so if you want to take a cheese stick on the go it will stay nice and chilly. :-)

     After getting my VoxBox I headed off to the nearest grocery store to cash in my voucher and pick up some cheese! After much debating, I decided to get the Sharp Cheddar sticks. I am a *huge* fan of cheddar cheese, and cheddar has to be really sharp for me to like it. A little salty, a little sweet, and a whole lot of kick! I wanted to see if the Sargento cheddar would live up to my expectations.


Look how cute the little cheestick is in its special case! :-)

     I disclosed at the top of this post that this would be an honest review, so I'm going to be honest. Unfotunately, I didn't really care for the Sargento Sharp Cheddar sticks... like *at all*... 

     To me, the cheese tasted like Colby or Monterrey Jack cheese (very salty and a little sour). The sticks weren't necessarily bad tasting, they just didn't taste like the right type of cheese! That classic sharp cheddar "bite" was just not there, and that made me unhappy with the product. However, since I didn't actually pay for it I suppose that there was no great loss. :-) The sticks have been handy for me to eat this past week on my way to classes. I think that they would be really tasty in a cheese quesadilla! The only thing is that since I live in a dormitory, pretty much any type of cooking appliances are considered fire hazards, and that means making quesadillas isn't an option for me right now!


      Have any of you ever gotten a VoxBox from Influenster before? Influenster is a members only website, but I currently have a few invitations open! Please e-mail me if you'd like me to send one your way!


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 19, 2013

Favorite Things Thursday: My first car.

     It's Thursdauy so it's time to share another one of my favorite things! To start this off, I Love Lucy. No, not the TV show (although that's great too), but my car!!

Southern Belle In Training


     I titled this post "My first car," but in reality, Lucy is my only car. I didn't get my drivers' license until the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, and my parents made me wait six torturous  months before getting me a car. Both of my parents have very busy schedules, so I like essentially didn't drive at all for the rest of that summer and my first semester of senior year. Come to think of it, that was probably a good thing since I wasn't a very good driver at first... ;-) But anyways, I was very anxious to have a vehicle of my own!

     My dad found Lucy through a private sale in October 2011. The only problem was that the owners needed to find a replacement car before they could sell her to us, and that took two additional very very very long months. It was awful for me knowing that I was soon to be getting a car of my own but that it still wasn't mine! My parents and I worked something out so that I would be using my savings for a portion of the car, and they would be covering part of it, and my grandma was also paying for some of it as a combined 17th birthday/Christmas/early graduation gift.

     Finally on December 16th, 2011, I got to pick up my Lucy! I don't usually name things (such as my phone, computer, etc), but I knew that I wanted to name my first car. I picked the name "Lucy" since I'm a HUGE fan of the TV show 7th Heaven. 

Me picking up Lucy at her previous owners' house! I couldn't even wait to get the plates on for a picture. :-)

     Lucy and I have had a lot of memories together. She's now made trips from Maine to North Carolina, then back to Maine, and then back to North Carolina again! The longest trip that I have ever gone on by myself in Lucy was a few weeks ago when I drove through North Carolina to my meet my blogging friend Gina! My family has also taken Lucy on family trips to Connecticut, daytrips to Boston and New Hampshire, and I've taken her on many daytrips with my college friends throughout the Carolinas. 

     Most of my good friends have been in Lucy, and many times this has resulted in blasting our favorite 90s songs (or Sexy and I Know It-- my JAM) or laughing until we're all crying. I have also had serious heart-to-hearts with friends in my car. I often run to Lucy when I'm very upset, and I take great comfort just sitting in the drivers seat in my driveway at home- it's a good place to cry, pray or clear my head. I've sung so terribly loud and off key in my car, and it actually happens on a regular basis. My car is the one place that I will sing... I never sing in the shower or bathtub. My grandma always told me when I was younger that her car knew its way to the mall... Lucy knows her way not only to the best shopping in both the Carolinas and New England, but also to any Bojangles near where I am in NC! ;-)

     Lucy and I have been through a few minor accidents together, but nothing too bad yet. Hopefully things will stay that way! I've also never been pulled over, so that's something we have yet to experience. I don't think I've actually said what Lucy is yet... she's a Mazda6. I didn't know much about Mazda's before owning one, but I am now hooked! I hope that my next car is also a Mazda. They have so much pep and are so fun to drive! *Zoom zoom zoom* (Did I get that jingle stuck in your head?)


     Fun fact, my first ever friend to ride in Lucy is my friend Jules, who's one of the very few people from my high school that I still keep in touch with, and she's one of my best friends. We were definitely close in high school, but I think that we've gotten a lot closer since I graduated which is kind of interesting. Anyways, I'm not sure if I've shared this already or not on my blog, but Jules is coming to visit me down here in NC in less than a month!!! (She is a freshman at a university in Maine). She's coming for a long weekend in October to spend Fall Break with me. I can't wait to show her around the Carolinas and I get more and more excited every day!

Me and Jules before our high school's homecoming dance in 2011; my senior year, her junior year!



     xoxo Miss ALK

September 16, 2013

FIRST.FINEST.FOREVER. - Bid Day 2013!

     My Sunday morning started out with one of the best runs of my life... running into the arms of my new sorority sisters after I received my bid!! Rush Week was over and it was time to start sorority life!


     My sweet exchange student friend Katharina (who wasn't going Greek) had the idea to stand on our school's quad as all of the girls from our dorm that went through Rush came running towards their sororities. I'm SO glad she did that. This next picture just makes me want to tear up because I love it so much!


     My first hug with one of my new sisters!! Such a special moment and I'm so happy that Katharina captured that for me!

Notice how my nametage doesn't say "Miss ALK"?! There you go for all y'all that don't know my real name. ;-)

     Rush Week has come to a close... and I'm officially a Panhellnic woman! I got into my dream sorority, the First and the Finest- Alpha Delta Pi! I fell in love with ADPi from night one of Rush, and I was thrilled that they kept inviting me back every night! I still can't believe that I'm really in it... it feels too good to be true. I'm feeling so blessed right now! :-)

     One of the things that makes me most excited about being an ADPi sister is how important Christian values are to the organization. On the last night of Rush some of the ADPi girls talked to us about how ADPi has Christian faith in its roots, and how important it is for members to hold themselves to a standard of Christian womanhood. I LOVE that, and it just further affirms for me that I found the right Greek home!



     See the girl in the middle of this picture wearing the sunglasses? Well that's Hannah, and not only is she one of my new ADPi sisters, but she's also been a reader of Southern Belle in Training!! Her friend Rebecca found my blog and was able to figure out from my recent pictures on here which college I go to... and realized it was the same college that Hannah went to! I never got the chance to meet Hannah during Rush, but imagine my surprise today when I found out that she loved my blog! How awesome is the blogging community though?! :-)



     One last picture for y'all... that's the 13 luck new members of our school's chapter of ADPi! I'll try and share a picture of our whole sorority soon. :-)


     Even though I am very sleep deprived today from Rush Week and Bid Day, I am just so so so so *HAPPY* Walking back to my dorm after Bid Day festivities was when it really hit me that I made it into my dream sorority... and I may or may not have cried happy tears!


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 13, 2013

The Dailies.

     Since I am currently in the middle of Formal Recruitment from the sororities at my school (And dealing with a half broken laptop that suddenly will not pick-up wireless internet... I will be visiting the Apple Store this weekend.) I don't have time for a "real" post today, but I wanted to invite y'all to take a peak at my finally updated "Daily Reads" page on my blog! Back when I had my new blog design installed earlier this summer, I knew that I wanted to have a page where I could show off all of my favorite reads, but I read *so* many blogs that it's taken me awhile to compile this list! Anyways, on it you'll find a six categories:

  • People that I know in real life who blog (aka did not meet them through the blogging world)
  • Lifestyle bloggers who I have been following for a long time and/or become friends with
  • More lifestyle bloggers
  • Fashion bloggers
  • Fellow members of The Charlotte Social
  • Fellow members of the Her Campus Blogging Network

     Feel free to check out my daily reads page to see if your button is on it! :-) And if I just listed your blog's URL in text form then it means that I couldn't find a blog button on your blog.


Southern Belle In Training


     Also- this would be a great time for me to talk again about how sponsorships work on Southern Belle in Training. I don't do paid sponsorships, so my policy is very simple. I will display your blog's button on my homepage if you will display mine! It's that easy. Please e-mail me at rainbowflash94@yahoo.com if you're interested in swapping!


     Be sure to check back here on Monday to find out which sorority has become my Greek home!!! :-)


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 12, 2013

Favorite Things Thursday: Violet colored nail polish.

     I love nail polish... like kind of *a lot*. I realize that I haven't talked much about my favorite polishes here on the blog. I'm determined to change that! But anyways, I thought that a fun idea for an FFT post would be to talk about my favorite color of nail polish:

Southern Belle In Training


     Violet colored nail polishes are my favorite. I think that light purple polish is something that looks good at all times of the year. (And if you're picky there's certain shades that are better for summer and winter!) It's a fun alternative to traditional pinks and reds, but it's not quite as "out there" as say neon yellow polish. Blue is my favorite color and also my favorite color to wear in terms of clothing, and shades of violet are usually nice compliments. Below are my two favorite violet polishes!!


1. Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Color in No Hard Feelings


     This was the violet polish that started my obsession with violet nail polish. My high school friend H gave me this in part of her Christmas present to me in 2011. I think she mainly picked it out because a few of us in our friend group had an inside joke about the color purple... but I'm sure glad she got it for me! This is the best drugstore nail polish that I've ever seen. It is so easy to apply, and this is the one nail polish that never gets all over the skin on my fingers when I'm putting it on! There's just something about the brush that makes it go all where it's supposed to. If you use a top coat with it than it stays on for just as long as the nicer brands such as Essie! I'm also shocked as to how dark this looks in the picture-- it's actually quite a light violet once it's on the nails! This is a quintessential Spring nail color, but I use it at all times during the year. 


2. Essie in "Boxer Shorts"

Image from Yahoo! Images

      I just received this nail polish as a birthday present last week from some of my new friends. I've only had the chance to wear it once so far (I put it on both my nails and toes), but I LOVE it! It's definitely a cooler and darker violet than my favorite Sally Hansen polish, but that makes it perfect for fall and winter. I think it looks especially great on my toes! I have said before on my blog how I hate spending money for the "good" brands of nail polish (I usually only buy ones that are $3 or under) so I was thrilled to get two new Essie polishes for my birthday. If you're willing to make the splurge for Essie than this is a great color to try!! 


     Do you ladies like shades of violet for your nails? What is your go-to nail color?


     Hope that y'all are having a great end to your weeks! Rush week at my school for the sororities starts TONIGHT! I literally *cannot wait* and I guarentee that I'm more excited for recruitment than I was for my own birthday. ;-) I'm just so excited to find my sisters and my Greek home!! Be checking my Instagram this weekend for updates on my recruitment outfits, and I can't wait to tell y'all on Monday which sorority I will be a member of!


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 10, 2013

Stay safe with React Mobile!

     This post is sponsored by React Mobile.


     There are many topics related to college that are lighthearted and fun to talk about: social events, making friends, relationships, etc. But there are also some college related topics that are a bit more serious, and one of them is personal safety when you are both on and off campus.

     I like to try and see the best in everyone, but the sad truth is that there are people on college campuses who have the desire to harm others. Rape and hostage stituations are real things. We shouldn't live our lives solely with the fear of something that like happening, but young women (and men) of this generation should also be educated with the statistics and prepared to act quickly if they should find themselves in a dangerous situation.

     I was e-mailed a few weeks ago by Robb Monkman, who is the founder of a company called React Mobile that has just built a free app for iPhones and Androids that can help a student out if they find themselves in an unsafe situation!! I don't know about you but I always love learning about free apps, and this sounded like something that a lot of my readers would be interested in! Below is more information about the app from Robb himself:



     I’m the founder of React Mobile, a new free app for iPhone and Android that helps to enhance personal safety. In particular, our app is well suited to help protect college students on and off campus.

     How does our app work? React Mobile helps you turn your smartphone into a powerful lifeline. React’s “Follow-me” feature allows you to have your trusted contacts track you in real-time whenever you’re concerned for your safety. With the push of a button, you can send an SOS alert containing your GPS coordinates to select emergency contacts via text message and email with an option for an alert to be posted on Facebook and Twitter. Once the SOS alert is activated, you’re automatically prompted to dial 911. Users also have the ability to choose which country they are visiting (or living in) from our settings tab and when they trigger an SOS alert they will be prompted to dial the appropriate emergency authority depending on where they are (ex: if they are in the UK the app will prompt a user to dial 112 not 911).



     Can you explain your inspiration for creating this app? What exactly happened to you? 
I’ve personally been the victim of a hostage situation while I was a college student and saw the need for a product that could be used to silently and discreetly alert the authorities and your trusted contacts if you are in trouble.  When we first came up with the idea behind React Mobile, we wanted to develop a tool to improve safety on university campuses. What we noticed is that institutions are actively installing and maintaining blue light emergency phones which help to create the perception of safety on campuses. Although these blue light emergency phones can be useful, they are very expensive to install ($7K - $10K on average) and maintaining these phones costs upwards of $60k per year. Furthermore, usage rates are low and these phones are typically used for crank calls pestering police and security officers. While there is no doubt that these blue light emergency phones serve a purpose, we wanted to develop technology that puts the power of an emergency blue light phone in the palm of every students’ hand, thus, arming individuals with a more effective safety tool that can be used on and off campus.
Since our launch we’ve found other markets beyond schools that can benefit from our app’s capabilities, and we’ve been gaining traction with runners – women runners in particular. 

      Follow-Me” Feature - React Mobile, is a safety tool that you hope you never have to use. We differentiate ourselves by providing users with a safety enhancement feature for everyday use. Our premium “Follow-me” feature allows users to have friends and family track them in real-time. When a user is concerned for their safety but doesn’t want to escalate a potentially harmless situation, they can have their friends and family track them in real-time until they are safe.



     International Support: Users also have the ability to choose which country they are visiting (or living in) from our settings tab and when they trigger an SOS alert they will be prompted to dial the appropriate emergency authority depending on where they are (ex: if they are in the UK the app will prompt a user to dial 112 not 911).

     Social Network Integration: SOS alerts can be posted to Facebook and Twitter – In the event of an emergency we want users to have the capability to alert as many people as possible. We are differentiating ourselves from the competition by offering users the option to post their emergency alerts to Facebook and Twitter with a link to their location.



     After I reviewed all of the information that Robb sent me, all I could think was "Wow!" The idea for this app is quite creative, and have I mentiond the fact that I love how it's free?! 

     Speaking of 911 and dangerous situations, I was sort of in one this weekend. On my drive back into Charlotte on Saturday night after my day of hiking , I witnessed what I am 99% sure was a drunk driver on one of Charlotte's main interstates. There was a car that was going at least 20 miles under the speed limit, and swerving between the lanes at random without signaling. The car almost hit me twice, and I watched in horror as it almost hit other cars as well.

     I knew that I had to report it, but I don't like to use my phone while driving. (I do use it for music, but I have learned how to change the songs without looking at it.) I wasn't even sure whether to call 911 or just the local police, as this had never happened to me before. I decided to call my dad, but I knew that I still had to get off the highway. The random exit that I picked to get off of ended up taking me to a very sketchy neighborhood, and as I pulled over in a fast-food restaurant parking lot to call my dad I locked my car doors and prayed that nothing would happen to me as I did the right thing. My dad advised me to call 911, so I called them right after to report the car. I hope that the state troopers were able to catch this person and give them a ticket- even if they were not intoxicated that was still the worst driving that I've ever seen in my life! I was luckily able to find my way out of the neighborhood very quickly, but overall that was an experience that I wish I hadn't had happen (both the drunk driver and the neighborhood). 

      This just goes to show y'all that scary situations can happen at anytime, and personally I would rather be prepared when one happens! That's why I encourage everyone to look further into React Mobile. Yes, this is a sponsored blog post, but my personal opinions are also expressed, and I think that this is an excellent app idea and that all college students (or anyone who feels they could use it) should take advantage of it while it's free!


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 9, 2013

Up the mountain.

     Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday last Friday!! All of the love from my blogging friends helped to make my day extra special. :-)

     Since I had classes on the morning of my birthday, I spent that night celebrating with new friends from my new school. But I couldn't let my birthday weekend go by without a celebration with some friends from my former school! I was trying to think of creative ideas for birthday fun that wouldn't cost a lot of money, and then it hit me... a birthday hike!

     When I was little, my parents and I used to hike every now and then up a small mountain in Maine that was about half an hour from my house. But it has been at least six years since I've been there, and I haven't really done that much hiking since then! I had always wanted to hike during my freshman year but I never got around to it. Crowders Mountain State Park in Gaston County, NC is about the halfway point between Charlotte and my old school. So I invited some of my girlfriends from freshman year to meet me for an afternoon of hiking on Saturday, and that was a wonderful decision! :-)

A rest stop on the way up the mountain with a couple of my lovely friends!

     While getting to see the summit of the mountain was 100% worth the trek up, that doesn't mean that it was an easy hike!! When I had looked on the Crowders' Mountain website I found a trail that was a little over 2.5 miles one way and was described as "moderate." That sounded perfect for our little group, and the website made it sound like it ended right at the summit. Wellllll..... not exactly. ;-) The trail was definitely more work then "moderate" and it ended a full mile from the summit! The only trail that lead to the top was labeled as difficult... mainly because the last section of it was hundreds of steep stairs leading directly up.

Just a few of the many steps we had to go up!

     I was really struggling right before we reached the top. Sweat was literally dripping down all part of my body, and the little bit of water left in my water bottle had turned hot. My arms hurt from carrying up my totebag of hiking essentials (like the water bottle and camera) and my feet hurt from the tightness of my sneakers.

     But literally all of those feelings of discomfort went away the second that I saw the summit:






     The pictures almost don't do it justice. It was one of the most beautiful things that I've ever seen in my life! The whole time that I was at the summit, all that I could think about was God, and how marvelous His creation his. How anyone could look at a view like that and not be able to acknowledge that there is a divine creator is beyond me. I also thought about how most bible verses that mention mountains say something along the lines of how God has the power to move the mountains. Just this one mountain seemed huge to me, and this was far from being the largest mountain in North Carolina, and certainly not even close to being the largest in the US! Thinking about how our God has the power to move all of these mountains at any given time was incredible... and it made me feel very small and humbled.

     All in all we ended up hiking about six miles, and I'll just say that my body has been paying me back for that since (I'm sore everywhere!). But again, it was 100% worth it, and it makes me want to get back into hiking! I'm not a camper and I never will be (I like to sleep in my own bed at night) but I would like to get more into taking nature related day trips like this one. Exploring God's creation is a healthy and cheap activity with so many benefits!!

     After the hike the five of us gals went to a Mexican restaurant in a nearby town to have my second birthday dinner. My best friend K from my former school met us at the restaurant. It was a wonderful evening of good food and fun conversation.

I had one more friend there who was the one taking this picture. :-)


     Seeing this picture makes me so thankful that I still have such close friendships with the girls who went to my former school, and I'm grateful that they supported me in my decision to transfer and still value my friendship! That might have just been the best birthday present of all.


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 6, 2013

Hello 19 {An OOTD, a birthday and a blogoversary}.


     Today is my 19th birthday, and the first blogoversary for Southern Belle in Training!! (Hence why I'm holding a poorly made from printer paper and crayons in my dorm room sign with a large "1" on it ;-))









  • Dress: Red Dress Boutique 
  • Sunglasses: Kohl's 
  • Shoes: Marshall's 
  • Necklace: Gift from my Japanese friend Anna :-) 
  • Nail Polish: Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy in Galactic 
  • Lipstick: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Pink Velvet
  • Tiara: Target's $1 section!! ;-) 

     I decided to start a new tradition for myself: buying a birthday dress. This tradition was started after I saw this gorgeous maxi dress on sale last month on the Red Dress Boutique's website! I have loved the clothes on Red Dress Boutique for awhile and last Spring I browsed their website quite frequently, but I wanted to wait until they had a sale to purchase something (especially since I'm not a big online shopper). Anyways, Red Dress had a HUGE sale this summer, and when I saw this gorgeous maxi dress for under $20 I knew that I had to have it! It has so hard for me to save it to wear until now, but definitely worth it. It fits me perfectly, and the blue color was even prettier in person than it was on the website.

     Another thing that I've been waiting to try out is this beautiful Revlon nail polish that I'm wearing!! I have been wanting one of the Moon Candy polishes for like *ever*, and when I had some CVS extrabucks last month I decided to spend them on one of these nail polish!! Definitely a great purchase- I love the design of this polish and how one end has the solid color and one end has the beautiful sparkly color. The sparkles are more like flecks, and they give my nails this amazing holographic look! I'm not sure that the picture of my nails did them any justice.


     Anyways, enough fashion. Onto the next item at hand: my BIRTHDAY! :-) All that I've been thinking about over the past few days is how fast my 18th year went by. I've been told that life starts flying as you get older, and I'm not sure that I'm quite ready for full years of my life to go by in a blink. While being college aged has its pros and cons, I'm definitely enjoying this stage of my life and I hope that year 19 goes by a little bit slower! 18 had its highs and its lows, and I'm glad that I had this blog with me through every step of the way to write about everything that happened. Check out yesterday's post to see my favorite posts from my first year of blogging here at Southern Belle in Training!

   
     And now with all that birthday stuff out of the way, I thought that I'd give y'all a little update for how the past week has been for me. The truth is- not too great. The fact that I really did transfer colleges and am never going to be a student at my old school again finally hit me this week... and so did the tears. :-( I didn't realize how much I truly did love my old school until I'd settled in at my new school. Do I regret transferring colleges? Not one bit. I truly believe that I am at my new school for a reason, and there have been a lot of good things in my first few weeks here. But just because I'm enjoying some aspects my new school doesn't mean that I can just forget out all my friends at my old school, either. I've cried at least three times this week with homesickness for my former college (NOT homesickness for Maine... just gotta stress that. ;-) I'm so happy to be in the South again!). The good news is that my former school is only about one hour-ish away from Charlotte, and that makes a day trip very doable. I've already been out once to see some people, and I had a wonderful time, although it was bittersweet to be back there and not be a student.

     But even though not all of this transition has been easy, I honestly am happy that I did decide to transfer. Rush week for the sororities is next week and I CANNOT WAIT! :-) I've also made some amazing friendships with the girls on my hall. I live in the dorm that has the most transfer students, so I've met a lot of girls who are in the same situation that I am. My building also has a lot of exchange students which is very cool! One of them, Katharina (who is from Germany) had her birthday last week, so a bunch of the gals from my hall all got dressed up and went out to eat at the Cheesecake Factory.

Left to right: Melaney (my roomie!), Lacy, Callie, Meg (the lone freshman in our group of transfers :-)), Katie and Yours Truly! 

     Tonight these lovely girls will be joining me for dinner out to celebrate my birthday! Ironically my school's cafeteria is putting on a big cupcake decorating event tonight, so we're all going to that and then heading off campus for my birthday dinner... want to guess what I'm having?! INDIAN FOOD! My favorite. :-) Then my hall girls and some other new friends (and also a couple friends from my old school!) are all going dancing at a nightclub. Don't worry- I don't go to the club to meet or dance with guys that I don't know. I went once last year to a club with just with a small group of friends to have fun, and that's exactly what I'm planning to do again! You can go to a nightclub and not drink, do drugs, or dance inappropriately (with strangers or people you know!)... and still have fun! And some good clean fun is exactly what I'm planning to have tonight... you only turn 19 once!

     Lastly, I want to thank the Lord for blessing me with another year of life. This past week I have been reflecting a lot on the blessings in my life. In fact, that's a great way for me to cheer up when I've been missing my old school! I truly am blessed to be attending a university to get a higher education, and to be healthy. I hope that my faith continues to grow even more this year. I went to a wonderful church last weekend here in Charlotte and the message touched me so much that I actually teared up a bit... I think I've found my new home church!


     Time for me to go celebrate!

     xoxo Miss ALK

September 5, 2013

Favorite Things Thursday: Posts from the first year of SBIT.

     Happy Thursday evening dear friends!! My week has been so very stressful, and because of that I wasn't able to get this post up as early in the day as I would have liked. But here it is, better late than never. :-)


Southern Belle In Training


     Since my first year blogoversary (and 19th birthday!) is tomorrow, I figured now would be the perfect time to look back at some of my favorite posts that I've written in the past year! I also have gotten a lot of new followers this past summer, so this might be a fun way for some of my newer blogging friends to look back at my older posts. 

  1. Here is post that I wrote in November 2012 about how attending a Christian college was impacting my faith for the better!! (My former college was a Christian school.)  "Going Deeper."
  2. I wrote in post in February 2012 about one of my favorite memories from my senior year of high school... prom dress shopping! "One of my favorite senior year memories."
  3. I wrote about my thoughts on Victoria's Secret in April 2013. This post only got one comment, but I consider it to be one of my best posts! "Victoria's Secret: more than just a fashion statement?"
  4. Right after my freshman year of college ended in May 2013 I did a post documenting some of the best moments from fall and spring semesters... and since I ended up transferring I'm so glad that I have some of my best memories from my old school all wrapped up in one post. :-) "First year of college = DONE!"
  5. In June and July 2013 I decided to get brutally honest on my blog and share about two situations with guys that had happened during my freshman year of college. Both situations involved me having a crush on a guy, but neither resulted in relationships for different reasons. I learned a lot through both experiences and decided to share what was on my heart! "Guy lessons from reflection {Part 1}" and "A sort of part 2 on "guy lessons from reflection."
  6. Following up after my two posts on failed crushes/relationships, I wrote a post with a new perspective on singleness. I think this is one of my best blog posts to date. "From failure to triumph."

     I also have a few favorite OOTD posts! You can see those herehere and here! Something ironic is that my favorite outfits from my closet are dress or skirt outfits, but all of my favorite OOTD posts on my blog involve jeans or shorts. 


     Stay tuned tomorrow for a special birthday/blogoversary post! I'm off to enjoy my last night as an 18 year old... aka doing homework and then going to a club meeting on campus. :-)


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 4, 2013

Friendship Week: When one of your good friends becomes a blogger!

     (If you're a fan of anything Disney (Disney parks, Disney movies, Disney characters... etc), this post is for *YOU*!!)

Shout-out to September 2012 when my hair was this long! I'm starting to have serious regrets about cutting it this past April... but anyways BACK to the main post at hand! ;-)


     It's a well-known fact that blogging is something that's pretty important to me. Because of that, I tend to talk about it a fair amount with my real-life friends, most of whom don't blog and probably don't understand the significance that it has to me. As much as I love my blogging friends (and blogging friends that have become real-life friends... aka Gina!), I always desired to have more of my school friends be members of the blogging community, so they can see exactly how wonderful it is, instead of just listening to me go on about it! So I'm sure that y'all can imagine my great delight when I learned that one of my best friends from my former college was starting a blog.

     Meet Becca! 





     ...As you can see we've sported a wide range of outfits in the common room of my suite from last year!



     Becca is a native Floridian, and it always delights me to no end how excited she gets about cooler weather! I took this picture of a very happy Becca last year when she spotted some early fall foliage last September. In turn, I'm sure she got a kick over how happy I was last December when it was still in the 70s in North Carolina! :-)


     Becca has an obsession with the Southern grocery store chain Publix (I gotta say though, Publix is a pretty awesome grocery store!). Sadly there were no Publix locations near our college, so sometimes Becca and I used to venture "south of the border" to a city in South Carolina that had not only Publix, but also my favorite store, Charming Charlie! The last time that we had a "jewelry and groceries" night we also ventured in Dillard's to try on prom dresses, just for the heck of it. ;-)


      This picture of Becca and I is probably the most special to me. Becca was the wonderful friend who accompanied me when I met my favorite author Karen Kingsbury last year, even though she was not familiar with Karen's books herself. She totally didn't mind the fact that I insisited that we show up over two hours early for the signing so I could be the first one in line... and instead was a wonderful waiting line companion! I will never forget this wonderful day that Becca was able to share with me.


     I have managed to leave out one important detail about Becca... She LOVES anything to do with Disney. I mean *LOVES*. (It put my obsession with Karen Kingsbury's books to shame.) This past summer Becca decided to start a blog devoted to all things Disney, and it has quickly become one of my new favorite reads!! Let me just say first that I am not really a Disney fan, like at all. I have been to Disney World a couple times and enjoyed it, but I'm not a huge fan of the cartoon movies or characters. But despite that, I LOVE Becca's blog, and it's not just because she's my real life friend. This girl is one of the most talented writers that I know of, and each post is just written so darn well! Becca is also absolutely hilarious, and her stellar sense of humor shines through in every post and I laugh out loud at almost all of them! Her blog has also given me a new appreciation for Disney, and after reading some of her posts about Disney World I have a whole new list of things to do and try in the parks if I ever get the chance to go back.


      So, I invite all of you to check out my dear friend Becca's little corner of the blogging world! Her blog is called Princesses and Pixie Dust, and you can follow her through Blog Lovin'!


     (And to any of my other real-life friends who might be reading this, have I inspired *you* to start a blog yet?! Haha.)


     xoxo Miss ALK