Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

August 29, 2014

My Main(e) Girls.

     Today's blog post is a bit different, and is a tribute to three ladies who I have already been missing a LOT since coming back to North Carolina. :-) 

      As I mentioned in my last blog post, one of the things that I wanted to do before I left home to go back to school was to do some sort of a photoshoot thing with my three best girlfriends from home. I realized that a.) the four of us had never hung out altogether (more on that in a second), b.) I thought everyone would get along wonderfully, c.) I wanted to take advantage of the fact that when in Maine beach photoshoots are an options and d.) it just seemed like a fun thing to do!!!

     My three best girlfriends from home are Jules, Shara and Katie (Who also blogs!! Visit her corner of the web, Inkspot, here!). But interestingly they are all best friends of mine from different phases of my life at home.

Left to right: Jules, Katie, Shara, yours truly!

     Katie is my best friend from childhood. Something that not all of you might not know is that I was homeschooled for most of my childhood! Katie was as well, and we did a lot of homeschool classes, field trips and other activities together during those years. Unfortunately since we were from different towns we went to different high schools and lost touch during 9th and 10th grade, but thanks to Facebook we were able to recconect near the end of high school and today we are as close as ever! She is one of my few real life friends who shares my love and passion of blogging, and is my favorite person to make duck faces with. ;-)

Throwback picture of us in homeschool Girl Scouts! Katie is rockin' the shades and I am wearing the interesting hat...
One of my short visits home from college last year!

     Jules is my best friend from high school. High school wasn't an easy time for both of us, but my friendship with Jules was probably one of the biggest blessings that came out of my high school experience. She is hands down one of the funniest people I know, and can always make me laugh. One thing that I found especially special was that both of us went through sorority recruitment at our colleges during the same time last year (Jules is an Alpha Xi Delta)!

The night before I left for my freshman year of college

Throwing what we know when Jules came to visit me down South last year!! AXiD and ADPi!

     Shara is my newest friend from home, who I met the summer after my freshman year of college. We met online, sort of through my blog... through blogging I got connected with an online ministry for Christian teen girls and 20 somethings who are bloggers, photographers and artists called Delight and Be. As some of you know Shara is a super talented photographer (who has her own business!) and we connected through Delight, and then met up in person once I got back to Maine after my freshman year ended. Meeting online friends in person can be interesting, but Shara and I clicked so well right from the start! Visiting her is always one of the highlights of my trips home now- she is my favorite person to go on day trips with. :-) And last March she even came to visit me down here in NC!

Doing some pre-Christmas shopping during my trip home last Thanksgiving.

Hiking when Shara visited me in NC!

     So as you can see these three girls are all very special to me, and I value their friendships very much! I went through most of my high school years struggling to find close friendships, and I feel so blessed to finally have found three girls at home that I know will be friends for life. I absolutely LOVE my dear North Carolina college and blogging friends as well and am so thankful for them, but it makes my heart so full knowing that these ladies are truly my main(e) girls!!

     But since I have met all of them through different aspects of my life, they hadn't all met each other before! Katie and Jules got to meet at my high school graudation party a couple years ago and they actually go to the same university in Maine, but since it's a big school (much bigger then my college!) their paths don't cross very often. Earlier in the summer I got to introduce Katie and Shara for the first time and they really hit it off! Shara and Jules have also met because Shara did professional pictures for Jules and her boyfriend for Valentine's Day this past winter! But I figured it was time to get all four of us together.

     Finally after a whole summer of trying to organize something, a night in mid-August was picked when all of us were free between work schedules and summer school schedules! We all decided to meet at Old Orchard Beach, which is one of Maine's few "touristy" beach towns (kind of like a mini Myrtle Beach), as it was a good halfway point for everyone! Ready to see some of the fabulous pictures?!

I got to get behind the camera and practice my DSLR skills! ;-) How gorgeous are my three beautiful friends?!

     I know I said this earlier in the post, but looking back on these pictures again makes me realize how so incredibly blessed I am to have these ladies in my life! And I we all had such a ball at the beach that night. After our pictures we ended up sitting on a bench near the beach and just talking and talking for at least a couple of hours!! I have a feeling these girls might be hanging out without me while I'm back at school this semester. ;-)

     Now for the funny story! You may have noticed that in all of the pictures that I'm in I'm either cropped off at the waist, or in the full body shots I'm standing far away from the camera, wth my right leg angled forward... there is a reason for this....

     Right when we had found our spot on the beach for pictures, I happened to look down at my purse (which isn't pictured for a REASON), and noticed that a seagull had pooped all over my left pant leg and purse!!! Like I'm talking ALL OVER. As a native Mainer I have spent a lot of time at the beach and NEVER had something like this happen to me before- it was the most disgusting thing ever! And I wasn't even wearing a bathing suit so I couldn't go into the water to try and wash it off (it was also kind of chilly that night). But my goodness did we all have a good laugh about that! Jules thank goodness had a wet wipe in her bag so we tried to clean some of it off... but it left major stains on my pants, so that's why I'm angled so weird in some of the far away shots. It definitely made it a night I will never forget. And hey, I wouldn't have wanted to share that experience with anyone else so...?

     Have any of you ever done a fun photoshoot with your girlfriends? Or gotten pooped on by a seagull? ;-)

     xoxo Miss ALK


August 26, 2014

OOTD: What I wore for beach pictures with my besties.

Top: J. Crew Factory || Jeans: J. Crew Factory || Earrings: Charming Charlie || Necklaces: c/o Cardinal Gift, A-List Greek Designs || Bracelets: c/o Stella and Dot, Charming Charlie, {local boutique} || Ring: c/o A-List Greek Designs || Purse: Michael Kors || Lips: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Demure 

     One of my main(e) (pun? ;-) ) goals for things to do this summer before I left to go back to North Carolina was to do some sort of a photoshoot thing with my three best girlfriends from home, so that I would have a bunch of updated pictures to take with me to hang in my dorm room this year!! (And also  hopefully a bunch of fun photoshoot memories as well :-). ) Finally in mid-August there was a night that I had off from work and all of my girlfriends did as well! We all decided to meet in Old Orchard Beach, Maine's most touristy beach town, which is a few towns away from where I live and was a good halfway point for all of us. 

     Later this week I will share the actual best friend pictures that were taken that night and share about the hilarious thing that happened to me on the beach... but for today I wanted to give y'all the outfit details for what I wore for the pictures!

     It was pretty chilly the night that the pictures ended up happening so instead of the dress that I had planned I decided instead to wear a coordinating top and and jeans from J. Crew Factory! Blue is my favorite color so it seemed to make sense for me to wear them in the pictures. :-) I decided to try the layered necklace trend again, this time with my royal blue monogram and again with my dainty ADPi necklace from A-List Greek Designs (which I have been wearing all the time lately!). 

     I am styling my beautiful Stella and Dot bracelet again in this post! Instead of wearing it on its own like I did in this blog post, I instead made a little arm party by pairing it with two of my other favorite bracelets. What I love about Stella and Dot bracelets is that they look wonderful both when worn by themselves or when layered amongst other bracelets!  

      Just wanted to give y'all a reminder that there is still time to shop through the Stella and Dot trunk show that I am hosting through my blog! Stella and Dot has some wonderful jewelry and accessories in their new fall collection, and many of their summer pieces are on sale!! You can visit my trunk show by  clicking here!

     xoxo Miss ALK

August 25, 2014

Sorority Recruitment: my fashion tips and ideas!


     Today is my first day back to school! I wish I could share a cute first day OOTD with y'all but my first class this year was tennis (everyone at my college needs a gym credit) so I will be rocking some athletic shorts and a t-shirt!! ;-) My actual cute first day outfit will be worn tomorrow when I have four classes back-to-back with only a break for lunch... basically I am going to die on Tuesdays this semester.

      Tomorrow night I have my first recruitment practice of the semester with my sorority. My school's Panhellenic Formal Fall Recruitment is in just under a month, so all four of the panhellenic sororities at my school are jumping right into their rush practice schedules! I am excited to see what it will be like to go through sorority recruitment "on the other side" this year. Last year I went through sorority rush as a PNM, or potential new member, meaning that I wasn't yet in a sorority and went through recruitment with the intentions to join one (And I did!!).

     One of the parts of recruitment that I was most excited for last year was getting to dress up for each night of it! At larger universities recruitment can last a couple of weeks and have several different rounds, but since my school only has four sororities our rush only lasted three nights. The dress code last year went as follows: night one was business casual (dress pants and sundresses), night two was slightly dressier (no pants allowed) and night three, preference night, was the dressiest.

     Sadly during the first two nights of recruitment last year I didn't get anyone to take any good pictures of my outfits! But I do have a few group pictures of me with some other freshmen, transfer students and  the Pi Chis (the sorority women who dissaffiliate from their sororities during the rush process to help PNMs go through recruitment, also called Rho Gammas at some schools!).

     Here is what I wore on night one! A lot of girls wore dresses or skirts for all of recruitment, but I wanted to take advantage to stand out a bit and wear dress pants during the one night that they were allowed. If pants (or shorts for that matter!) are allowed at all during any phase of the recruitment at your school, I think you should defnitely wear them at least once! So many girls only wear dresses during recruitment, and you want to try and make sure your outfits stand out and I found that in my school's recruitment wearing dress pants on night one was a great way to do that! Of course my dress pants were Lilly. :-) I paired them with my favorite Forever 21 lace bow top, a pearl necklace, and curled my hair (which was so short then!).

Twinning in Lilly with my one of my Pi Chi's! 

Girls going through rush that lived on my hall last year!

     I only bought one fashion item for sorority recruitment... and it was a brand new Lilly dress. :-) The day before I moved into college last year I visited the Lilly store at Charlotte's SouthPark mall and found what I knew would be the perfect dress for recruitment! I knew that its fun, summery colors would be perfect for night two. Since the pattern was so bold I paired it with my simple gold monogram letter "A" necklace (which was in yesterday's fashion post!), delicate stud earrings, and nude pumps. I also straightened my hair that night, and it actually looked amazing! I was so lucky that I had great hair days during my rush week haha!

     And night three, preference night, I wore a favorite dress of mine from Francesca's! I was actually able to get decent pictures of my outfit that night too! I paired it with a matching statement necklace also from Francesca's (bought at the same time as the dress), and neutral wedges from Dillard's. All three nights of recruitment my purse was my favorite little Michael Kors crossbody bag. Recruitment is definitely the time to use one of your smaller and nicer purses!

     So those are all of the outfits that I wore during recruitment! For my bid day I showed up in jean shorts, a tank top and a cute pair of sandals. It's a good idea to wear a camisole or tank top on your bid day so that your new sorority sisters can easily shirt you with your bid day shirt (which would be hard to do if you were already wearing a regular shirt!).

     Below I have made a couple Polyvore collages with more of my outfit ideas for rush outfits!! (The order of the outfits for the first and second nights of recruitment are out of order in the collages- oops!) The two most important things to remember though when dressing for sorority recruitment are:
     1. Be classy and modest. This is NOT the time to be showing cleavage, booty or other types of skin! Or to be wearing your clubbing clothes. Sororities are respectful organizations and you should dress in a classy manner for sorority recruitment! 
     2. Be yourself! You will see a lot of preppy outfits or the same type of trends during recruitment. If those trends are your thing, then definitely dress along with them (like I did)! But if you absolutely cannot stand Lilly Pulitzer or Jack Rogers, then why force yourself to wear them just for recruitment? It's much better to stay true to yourself and your own style!! The right sorority for you will accept you for exactly who you are, and you certainly won't have to dress a special way to impress them! 

Sorority Recruitment Outfit #1

Sorority Recruitment Outfit #2

Sorority Recruitment Outfit #3

Sorority Recruitment Outfit #3 by rainbowflash94 featuring jessica simpson shoes

     If you are going through sorority recruitment this year then I hope this post was helpful to you! Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions for me! :-) And if you are already in a sorority or were in one in college, how did you dress for your sorority recruitment?

     xoxo Miss ALK

August 22, 2014

OOTD: Rompin' it on the road.

Romper: Body Central || Jean Jacket: Forever 21 || Shoes: The Walking Company || Sunglasses: Charming Charlie || Necklaces: {gift}, c/o A-List Greek Designs || Bracelet: {Local boutique} || Purse: Target || Lips: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Demure

     Here is an outfit that I wore a couple days ago during an earlier part of my road trip from Maine to Charlotte, NC for college! Who says that you can't look cute on road trips?! This outfit was super simple to put together (and many parts of it were very affordable!), and it was so comfortable to wear while still looking stylish!

     I got this romper a couple years ago at Body Central for only five dollars! You heard me, five dollar makes me holler! (I feel like saying that makes me feel like I'm in an episode of Honey Boo Boo... which by the way is a show I have never actually watched an episode of. ;-) ) I feel like Body Central is kind of a hit or miss mall store but this romper was definitely a HIT! The darker floral colors are perfect to wear as a fall transition piece- I've worn it in fall before with my cowboy boots! 

     I am also just starting to get on board with the layering necklace trend (for myself!). This dainty ADPi necklace that A-List Greek Designs sent me to review last winter is the absolute pefect layering piece. You will get to see another outfit that I layered it in next week (ironically with a different monogram necklace!). 

     Do any of you recognize the brown background where these photos were taken? My dad took these pictures of this outfit outside of a Cracker Barrel somewhere in Pennsylvania! Hey... the building was a better background then the parking lot- when on the road you gotta do what you gotta do! ;-)

     Be sure to check out yesterday's post about my Top 10 Dorm Room Essentials for more about my back-to-school road trip! Next week on the blog I will be finishing my recap of my vacation to New Brunswick, Canada and also sharing some outfits that I wore during my last couple weeks at home in Maine!

     And tonight I will finally be back in the wonderful Queens City!!

Photo credit: Meredith Sledge Photography

     xoxo Miss ALK

August 21, 2014

My top 10 essential dorm room items!

     This post is sponsored by Kleenex and Walmart.

     I am giving you this blog post from a hotel in Maryland! I am officially SOUTH of the Mason-Dixon line and my dad and I are about halfway to Charlotte now. :-) I'm sure I've said this one hundred times in the past few weeks on here, but in case anyone is a bit confused as to why I am currently on such a big road trip... I am on my way back to college in North Carolina for my junior year! My car is currently packed to the brim (literally) with all of my stuff for my dorm, so what better time then to share a list of what I think are the 10 most essential items for any college girl living on campus to have? And bonus: with the exception of #5 you can find just about all of these items at your local Walmart (which means you'll be automatically saving money and getting great deals!).

     1. A beach towel. A quick refresher for y'all on my college journey: I started out college as a freshman in Fall 2012 at a private Christian college in Western North Carolina. Last year I transfered to my current school which still in North Carolina, but instead located right in the big city of Charlotte! Definitely a big change- but neither school of mine has been close to the beach. So why then is a beach towel my number one item to bring with you to school? Because as I learned during my first semester of college, you don't need an actual beach for one of these to come in handy!! There are so many instances that call for towels in which you might not want to use your regular bath towels. For example- lying out on the quad of your campus on a sunny day, discovering a freshwater "beach" on a nearby lake or river to your school (something I've tried to do at least once a semester!), getting invited to a college friend's house who has a pool... etc etc! Plus if you actually are lucky enough to go to school near the coast then having a beach towel is a no brainer! :-)

     2. A desk lamp. The lighting features that come built into most dorm rooms can be very minimal (and almost depressing!). You will definitely want to bring with you at least one good desk light. Even if you don't tend you use your desk for homework (I prefer to do homework in my bed or in other location on campus like the library or study rooms!), it will still add lots of extra light to your room and can help if you ever choose to do other stuff at your desk! Walmart has a great selection of desk lamps for very reasonable prices! (My desk lamp for this year actually came from Target though.... shhhhh.)

     3. A make-up mirror. I mentioned in the last item that I don't use my dorm desk for homework... it's because I like to turn it into a fashion and beauty vanity! I have an adorable little make-up mirror that I place right next to my desk lamp and it makes doing my make-up so much easier for me. Plus I feel like it's much more sanitary then doing it in the communal bathroom... can you say YUCK?!

     4. Command hook and strips. I CANNOT stress the importance of this item enough- and my love of them!! Most colleges don't let you make holes in the wall to hang decorations, and are very strict about the type of tape you can use on the walls because of paint damage. Command hooks and strips are sturdy enough to hold up even the toughest and heaviest items (up to a few pounds!), and don't cause any wall damage! And they're so easy to apply. During my freshman year I had never used them before and had to have a guy friend come to my dorm room to help teach me to use them... and now that I know how I'm hooked. ;-) I use the strips for all my decorations and I use the hooks for coats, my bathrobe, and my necklaces! Walmart truly does have excellent prices on these and I have bought mine there for a couple years now.

     5. A couple of nice formal or semi-formal outfits. This isn't so much a "dorm" essential... but an essential that I think every college girl should have in her dorm!! Haha! I wanted to add this because I have re-worn a lot of the dresses that I wore to high school dances and events and was able to bring them with me to college and give them a "second life." There have been way more dressy events in college then I expected, and I found that even before I joined a sorority! So it is great to show up the first day of school already prepared with some fancy clothes in your closet, so that if a dressy event should occur at your school you will not have to run out at the last minute to find something!

     6. Pictures from home! I love decorating my dorm with pictures from home and my former college!! Pinterest has so many cute ideas for how to arrange pictures on your wall. (I love all the heart shaped ideas- I did one last year and am trying a new heart style this year!) Walmart offers very low prices on instant picture prints and also has some really cute photo frames in their home goods section.

     7. A bible. Every dorm room should have a copy of the Word. :-)

     8. A shower caddy. This is such a practical (and cute!) way to keep all of your shower supplies organized and clean. And it makes it super easy when you just pick it up by the handles and are able to tote everything at once to the showers!

     9. Vitamins (and Vitamin C supplements!). This one is up here thanks to my mom who has drilled the importance of this into me... (thanks mom!)... but really, don't moms know things like the best?! I know firsthand that it is NOT fun to get sick at college, so better to try and be safe rather then sorry and fight off illness by taking vitamins and vitamin C supplements every day!

     10. Kleenex Brand Tissues. Speaking of getting sick at school... sometimes it happens even to the best of us! The thing with getting sick at college is that you want to have supplies on hand in your dorm room to be ready for it so that if you find yourself feeling ill you don't have to muster your strength and head to the nearest store to get sick-day essentials! And of course, one of the main sick-day essentials is tissues! Definitely a smart idea to have a box of these bad boys around from day one of the new semester. :-)

     Walmart and Kleenex have teamed up to launch a line of adorable chevron printed tissue boxes that are only available at Walmart for a limited time!! These tissues provide not only a functional purpose of helping out for when illness strikes, but are also super cute and would provided a fun touch of dorm decor for any college gal's room!

    And as you can see the chevron tissue box wasn't the only Kleenex product that I found at Walmart! I also came across these adorable pocket packs in fun designs, which are perfect for portable places like your car or purse! These came "home" with me too. (I say "home" because for tonight home is a hotel in Maryland!)

     Whether you're a college gal or not, be sure to head to your local Walmart SOON to get to find these cute chevron tissue boxes before they're gone- they're only in stores for a limited time! And they're already a bit hard to find... the Walmart that I went to on our drive today didn't have them in the normal tissue aisle or in the back-to-school section... my dad and I circled the entire store twice before he finally spotted them on a side display between the detergent section and electronics?! Below is how I felt about finally finding them after a long day of driving (and searching Walmart!):

     But I sure am glad I found them! :-) Can't wait to find a home for my cute tissue box in my new dorm room, and even more I can't wait to share pictures of my new dorm room with y'all after I move in!! Be expecting a dorm room tour sometime next week or the week after!

     xoxo Miss ALK


August 20, 2014

OOTD: Eyelet & Blue.

     Sharing another outfit from last week's vacation! This was actually that outfit that I wore on the first day of our drive- it probably seems like a dressy outfit for a road trip across Central and Northern Maine, but I wore it because my mom picked me up directly from my last shift at work for the summer and we left from there for our vacation!! (The store that I work at during the summers has a business casual dress code- as a fashion blogger I loved that!) 

     One of our rest stops was to see the campus of Maine's largest public college, the University of Maine. This is a school that I applied to and was accepted to in high school, but never ended up touring because at that point I already had my sights set on schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut. (ironically this was still before I ended up looking in North Carolina- that didn't come until over half through my senior year). Anyways, I thought it would be fun to see UMaine since we'd be passing by it and so many people from my high school ended up going there! The size of the campus absolutely blew me away- it is HUGE!! I don't know how students can stand walking to their classes in the dead of Maine winters in a campus that big... made me happy to be down in Charlotte haha. :-) 

My aunt (my mom's older sister) went to UMaine and this was the dorm she lived her senior year!

     Dress: JC Penney || Cardigan: J. Crew Factory // Sandals: Macy's || Sunglasses: Charming Charlie || Necklace & Ring : {Local boutique} || Bracelet: c/o BStamped  || Nails: Jamberry Nail Wraps in Metallic Gold Pintstripe and Ulta Nail Lacquer in Mint Condition || Lips: Maybelline Baby Lips Dr. Rescue in Pink Me Up

     I actually wanted to title this blog post "Transformation Tuesday" because this dress that I'm wearing was actually my high school graduation dress! But due to some delays in my last minute packing for college the post is actually going up today (Wednesday)... and calling it "Transformation Wednesday" just doesn't have the same ring to it. :-p Anyways, below is the best picture I could find of the dress during my graduation. (This one was hard to find- in most of the pictures from graduation I was wearing my cap and gown!)

     It is always fun to rediscover new ways to style fashion pieces that have been in your closet for awhile! I love this beautiful blue color of this cardigan- is is one of the J. Crew Factory Clare cardigans.  Such a fun, summery blue. (And blue and white were also my high school colors!) My BStamped bracelet happens to be almost the same shade of blue so of course I had to include it as well!

     I can't believe that at this time last week I was just getting ready to leave Canada... and now my dad and I are already on the road and headed to North Carolina for my junior year of college! Where did summer go?!

     Be sure to follow me on Instagram @miss_alk for updates from the drive to school! :-)

     xoxo Miss ALK

August 18, 2014

New Brunswick Vacation: Kingsbrae Gardens nature photography.

     On the first day of our New Brunswick, Canada vacation, my mom and I visited a beautiful botantical garden called Kingsbrae Gardens. It was right down the road from our hotel in St. Andrews. The weather was absolutely lovely that afternoon, and the natural lighting was perfect for photography! As I have already mentioned, I chose to do a social media fast while on vacation, but that didn't include my camera! ;-) In fact, this trip gave me time to get to explore my camera a bit more and to begin to experiment with its manual settings (It is a higher end Canon Powershot digital camera [one of the higher models you can go before crossing into DSLR territory] and normally I use use the auto settings). I wanted to share some of the photos that I got to take in Kingsbrae Gardens with y'all!

The Gardens had a replica Dutch windmill! 

One of my favorite pictures!

Sweet little alpacas!!

And goats!!

Check out these teapots being used as flower pots in a tree!! Too cute!

Do you see the "lady" ?? :-)

This plant was in the edible garden and smelled just like vanilla!

     And my favorite pictures of all:

     If you know me, you know that I have a HUGE slight obsession with bunnies. They are my favorite animal! In addition to the goats, peacocks and alpacas, Kingsbrae Gardens also had two adorable bunnies!! One of them gave me a nose kiss through its hutch... I was in love!

     And of course, I had to get a jumping picture!! ;-)

     I wore my ADPi letters on this day of our trip, and in Kingsbrae Gardens I happened to meet a sister of Alpha Delta Pi!! She was a woman a bit older then my mom, who had been a member of the University of Georgia chapter, and her husband spotted my letters. New Brunswick is probably the last place that I would have expected to meet sorority sisters, but that is what I love about being in a sorority like ADPi- you just never know when sisters will find you! :-)

     Our afternoon in Kingsbrae Gardens was just lovely! I love visiting Botanical Gardens and this year I really want to visit some of the ones that are in North Carolina.

     Stay tuned for more pictures from our vacation!

     xoxo Miss ALK
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