Southern Belle in Training

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

May 30, 2015

Dreams do come true: visiting Churchill Downs!

     A couple of years ago, I wrote a bucket list here on the blog. I was so inspired by actually writing out the items that I ended up creating it into a whole page of my blog, so that I could reference it in the future as I checked items off of it! Bucket list item #42 is to "Go to the Kentucky Derby." During the week of May 10th, 2015, I got two big steps closer to that dream!

     I am not a big fan of most spectator sports. I did not grow up in a household that was really big fans of any particular sports. Neither of my parents are fans of football, baseball or basketball. A few years back the Boston Bruins made it into the Stanley Cup finals for hockey (and ended up winning!), and my dad watched a few of the games on TV... and I honestly think that was the first time ever that a televised team sporting event (minus the Olympics or Super Bowl Half-Time Show) had been on in our house! Yet even though I was never exposed to it, something always captivated me about horse-racing. The beauty of the animals, the speed of the event, the thrill of the bets, and most importantly, getting dressed up in your finest attire, and topping off your outfit with a big hat!

     In the Carolinas, the biggest horse-racing event is the Carolina Cup, held in Camden, SC, annually in March. I have always wanted to go, but every year so far that I've been in college it hasn't coordinated with my schedule (it's on the senior year bucket list though!). During my sophomore year, in honor of the Carolina Cup and the Kentucky Derby, I dressed up Derby style for the Spring Formal dance that I got invited to at my former college!

     I never would have guessed that just over a year after this picture was taken, that I would be at Churchill Downs, the ultimate home of horse-racing in America, twice in one week!

     A couple of weeks ago I was in Kentucky, interning for the Fraternity Communications Association's annual conference. One of the evening events for all conference attendees, vendors and interns was to take in an evening of racing and dinner at Churchill Downs! We ate and watched races from Millionaire's Row, which is the private part of Churchill where some of the richest people in the country watch the Kentucky Derby each year from! It was an incredible and once-in-a-lifetime experience!

     But of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to head to Churchill Downs for a second time while I was in the area. I mean- since I couldn't make the Derby- why not visit twice on regular race days instead?!

     And to make it even better, my second visit to Churchill Downs was with one of my blog besties! My internship with the FCA ended late Friday night, and on Saturday morning my Kentucky blogging buddy Bailey from Becoming Bailey drove all the way to Louisville (in the rain!) to meet me at my hotel and pick me up for the races! We started our day with walking around the Louisville downtown area (and getting lunch at KFC- because when in Kentucky one must eat the Kentucky Fried Chicken!), but then we headed back over to the race track.

Sweet Bailey and I!

     Unfortunately, my Millionaire's Row status from the previous evening wasn't still valid so we had to settle for General Admission seats. ;-) But I quickly learned that there is no such thing as a bad seat at Churchill Downs! The General Admission seats that I had booked for us ended up having great views of the races, and it was really fun for me to experience a different side of Churchill Downs!! The rain didn't dull the fun and excitement of horse-racing!

     As we headed out, we passed by one of the stables where the horses that are about to go out are kept. Bailey and I enjoyed this strange sight!

     Is that broom yummy, Mr. Horse? :-)

     My time at Churchill Downs this year was an experience that I'll never forget! Being able to visit there during Derby month, and having one of those visit be combined with my passion for Greek Life and the other involve a blog bestie made for two incredible memories! 

     P.S. To read my guest blog post for the Alpha Delta Pi blog which gives more details about my time in Louisville and the FCA internship- CLICK HERE! :-)

     xoxo Miss ALK


May 29, 2015

Southern Belle in the 'Bunk: Spring Glow.

     This is Week One for my Friday summer post series here on the blog, called Southern Belle in the Bunk. This blog series combines my love of fashion, beautiful scenic locations for fashion posts, and the fact that I'm spending this summer back in my hometown area of the Kennebunks region of Southern Maine! You can read more about the inspiration for this series in the intro post HERE, and Week One HERE! Xo

Dress: Lilly Pulitzer for Target {Sold out, Similar here} || Shoes: Nine West || Earrings: Talbots || Bracelet: c/o Stella & Dot || Lips: NYC Color Expert Last Lipstick in Forever Fuschia

     I am oh-so-excited about today's post! First off- I just cannot get over the amazing natural lighting in these photos! Lately I have been very inspired by the fashion blog Gal Meets Glam by blogger Julia Engel. If you aren't familiar with Gal Meets Glam, Julia's husband Thomas does all of her photography, and he always captures Julia in the most beautiful natural light! I guess this post was my attempt of being inspired by their photography. :-) This is also the second week of my summer series, Southern Belle in the 'Bunk. More on the location of this post later, but first for the outfit details!

    This was the second dress that I was able to score on Pink Sunday during the Lilly Pulitzer for Target launch! (I featured my other shift dress in the #LillyforTargetLinkUp that my blog bestie Michaela and I held a few weeks ago!) Despite being a self proclaimed girly-girl, I don't own that many clothing pieces that are this pink! So I was excited to score this Lilly dress at Target and bring a little bit more pink cheer into my closet. Like my other Lilly for Target dress, I was very impressed with the quality of these shifts for the price, and I thought that they fit well! 

     Since the dress is so bright and eye-catching, I paired it with a classic pair of nude pumps, delicate gold jewelry, a fun side pony hairstyle and fresh blooms from my Grandma's garden! For one last pop of color I used one of my favorite NYC Color lipsticks which perfectly matched the dress! I don't mind splurging on lip products in neutral or lighter pink/peach shades that I will wear all the time, but for very bright lip products, I always buy drugstore brands since I don't wear them as much. The Expert Last Lipsticks from NYC Color are $1.99 at the drugstore and have amazing pigmentation and last well throughout the day! They are a go-to for me when I need a bold lipstick in a specific vivid shade. (And no this post isn't sponsored at all- just me raving about a product that I love!)

     With the light and locations being so stunning in these photos, of course my photographer had to jump in a shot at the end!! This is my best friend of over 12 years, Katie! She has a passion for photography and takes a lot of my blog photos when I'm home in Maine (and this isn't the first time she's been on the blog!)

      The location:

     In the first week of Southern Belle in the 'Bunk, I did my blog shoot on the bridge over the Mousam River, one of two rivers in Kennebunk. When looking at a map of town, one can see that the Mousam River runs through the Southwestern part of town, and other river, the Kennebunk, is Northeastern of the Mousam (#geographynerd). Both rivers end up coming to meet the sea within just a few miles of each other though! 

     I thought that it would be fitting for this week's pictures to be taken where the Kennebunk River comes to meet the sea. I did them in two locations: one on a bridge similar to the bridge that I shot at on the Mousam River, and the later pictures in a small field with beautiful flowering trees near the banks of the river between Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. Katie took these pictures for me right at sunset, and I already said this, but the natural lighting was truly incredible! 

     I am luckly to be from a town that has not only ocean coastline and wonderful beaches, but also two beautiful rivers flowing through it! This might not be the last time I feature these two rivers for this post series...

P.S. Since my dress was sold out, I have linked instead some similar pink shift dresses from the regular Lilly website below!

     xoxo Miss ALK

May 27, 2015

SouthPark Style.

Top: Talbots || Jeans: American Eagle Outfitters || Shoes: The Walking Company || Earrings: Burlington Coat Factory || Necklace & Ring: {Made by Yours Truly! :-) } || Bracelet: Sharelli Jewelry || Purse: {Gift} || Nails: {Acrylics from my sorority formal} || Lips: Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie

      Finally sharing my very last outfit from Charlotte! After leaving the Queens City a few weeks ago, it's finally sinking in for me that I'm out of North Carolina for the summer. These pictures were taken during the week before my final exams, when I took a little study break by heading to SouthPark Mall with my Charlotte blog bestie Morgan (from How 2 Wear It)! SouthPark is Charlotte's luxury shopping destination- Morgan and I had a great afternoon there together and as pictured you can see that we paid a visit to the brand-new Kendra Scott store!

      I love this top from Talbots! I first wore it on the blog last August in this post (and I also wore it styled differently another time last year for a first date ;-) ). Y'all know that I'm all about bright colors and fun prints, and this shirt has both of those things, plus it is super flattering on! I love continually finding new ways to wear it.

     Fun fact about my necklace and ring: I made both pieces! I used to love making jewelry in high school, and then got to take two semesters of metalsmithing as an elective during my last two years of high school. I haven't done any jewelry making in the last few years, but I miss it! It's a skill that I would love to try again after college!

      xoxo Miss ALK


May 26, 2015

Blake > Serena.


      This past Christmas Break, I needed a new show to dive into binge watching on Netflix. I looked through my queue, to see what my recommendations were. Of course, Gossip Girl was at the top of the list. Many of my friends (and Netflix) had been encouraging me to watch the show for years,  but I had never given in. But this past December, I decided to finally give it a try.

     I am currently in season four of the show. (Yes- I realize that it takes me awhile to "binge watch" shows on Netflix, haha. I had a very busy spring semester and I tend to put my real life before Netflix. :-) ) There are some things that I am loving about Gossip Girl: for one, the FASHION! The preppy outfits of the first two seasons are so fun and classic, and I love where the fashion of Blair, Serena, and the other characters is evolving as the show continues into later seasons. I am also enjoying the way that the plot continually changes and is unpredictable (although I think I might have figured out who Gossip Girl is? Haha!). 

      But, is Gossip Girl the best show that I've ever watched? Absolutely not. Would it even be a show that would be in my top picks to recommend to someone? Probably not. Even though the plot of the show is ever-changing and keeps viewers interested, I have found a lot of the content of the show to be extremely disturbing. In the first season of the show, most of the characters were of high school age. The actions and behaviors that they were demonstrating on a regular basis absolutely shocked me. Some might say that this type of content is in the show for shock value or to keep viewers, but I would disagree and say that there are several shows that I love very much (which also kept their place in Nielson ratings), with content that never reached these levels.

     I often see girls on social media comparing their relationships with their best friends to that of Blair and Serena. I always thought that was cute until I actually started watching the show... never in a million years would I compare my relationship with one of my best girlfriends to that of Blair and Serena! I think they have the most dysfunctional best-friendship ever. Blair has some serious jealousy issues of Serena, and Serena from time to time does not prioritize her friendship with Blair and lets her pursuit of various guys get in the way. That is not the type of friendship to idolize! Sure, there are the designer clothes and the Upper East Side lifestyle, but that's all superficial. 

      But someone that I am very impressed with is Blake Lively, the actress who plays Gossip Girl main character (and high school bad girl) Serena Van der Woodsen. Blake covered the May 2015 issue of Allure (my favorite magazine!), and I was just blown away by her interview article. She spent a good deal of the article talking about how much she enjoys being a new mom to her baby daughter, and wife to her husband, actor Ryan Reynolds. At only 27 years old, it is encouraging to see a young actress who is so content with beings settled down in her 20s and who prioritizes family values!

     Blake also took the time in the article to address her time playing Serena on Gossip Girl. She said that she feels that many people still misjudge her and believe her in real life to be much like the character of Serena, which couldn't be further from the truth! In the article she said:

 "People loved (Gossip Girl), but it always felt a little personally compromising — you want to be putting a better message out there. But it's a weird thing when people feel like they know you really well, and they don't. I would not be proud to be the person who gave someone the cocaine that made them overdose and then shot someone and slept with someone else's boyfriend."

      Blake went onto say that she has never done drugs and doesn't currently drink. She said that she loves learning of all types, and has taken lessons on everything from the French language to cooking! In addition to being a new mom, Blake currently runs a lifetstyle and boutique website for independent designers called Preserve. She uses her website to try and spread the word about up and coming designers, and also to share about topics that are on her heart- sort of like a blog. And Blake also is on Instagram (and her photo captions are the CUTEST ever!). 

     After reading the Allure article and checking out Blake's website, I would definitely consider her to be a role model of mine within the celebrity world! (Not even mentioning the fact that she is drop dead gorgeous.) I am very encouraged that unlike a lot of celebrities who play good-girl characters but have wild lives, Blake seems to be the opposite. If only Serena had taken a few life tips from the actress who played her! 

     Have you watched Gossip Girl? Were you a fan of the show?

      xoxo Miss ALK

May 25, 2015

Patriotic for Memorial Day.

Shirt: Talbots || Cardigan: Forever 21 || Jeans: American Eagle Outfitters: Shoes: Isola {Old, similar linked!} || Scarf: Loft || Purse: H&M || Ring: {Gift} || Lips: Mally Lipstick in BFF Pink

     This scarf from Loft- I am OBSESSED with it!! I bought it during Easter weekend outlet sales when I came home to Maine for the weekend, and then honestly forgot that I had even bought it until I came home for good for this summer! But goodness I am glad that I found it again. The colors and pattern in this scarf is gorgeous! There are so many ways that I can style it! I wore it here to dress up a casual t-shirt, cardigan and skinny jeans outfit. (There have still been many chilly days up here in Maine and this day was one of them!) For work this past weekend, I wore it over a favorite maxi dress and with a different cardigan. I know that this fall I will get even more use out of it as a transition piece, since there are so many colors in it! And some of the colors include red, white and blue, it made it the perfect outfit for me to post on Memorial Day. :-)

     Speaking of that- hope that everyone is having a great Memorial Day Weekend! I spent all of my Saturday and Sunday back at work at my summer retail job- 17 hours there between the two days! I am thankful to have a job to go back to each year that I enjoy but today I am certainly feeling the effects of all of my traveling from the past few weeks and jumping back into the swing of things at my job. With Memorial Day though- I do want to say that I hope everyone takes a moment of reflection today to be grateful for those who have given their lives for our country!! Earlier this month I attended a memorial service in New York City for veterans of WWII (which my great-uncle was honored at- more in this blog post!), and after that service I felt myself becoming more aware of all of the freedoms that Americans have because of the bravery of our troops. I am proud to be an American! 

     xoxo Miss ALK

May 22, 2015

Southern Belle in the Bunk: Belle on the Bridge

     This is Week One for my Friday summer post series here on the blog, called Southern Belle in the Bunk. This blog series combines my love of fashion, beautiful scenic locations for fashion posts, and the fact that I'm spending this summer back in my hometown area of the Kennebunks region of Southern Maine! You can read more about the inspiration for this series in the intro post HERE! Xo

Dress: Landsend {Still online! Get it before it's gone!} || Cardigan: Forever 21 || Shoes: Jack Rogers || Hat: {Old} || Purse: Gift || Earrings: Kendra Scott {Custom designed in-store through the Color Bar} || Necklace: c/o The Collegiate Standard || Bracelets: Alex & Ani || Nails: {Gel acrylics}

     Oh- this dress! How I love this dress. First off- my mama picked out this dress for me and had it waiting for me when I got home from college a couple weeks ago! My clothing tastes have definitely started to evolve a lot since high school (aka when I last lived at home full-time last), but she absolutely hit the nail on the head with this dress- I adore it! I wore it to my recent internship in Kentucky, and featured it in my Instagram recap post that went more in depth about what I wore and packed for the trip.

     The bright colors and fun pattern of this dress just scream spring/summer to me!! I do love dresses that are perfect for all four seasons and can be styled for all weather, but dresses that are true warm weather attire also hold a special spot in my heart. I love how this dress was conservative enough to wear for my internship, but was also casual enough for me to wear this past week for dinner at one of my best friend's houses! 

     You can probably tell that is a total duplicate of an internship outfit of mine because of all of the fun little Greek life accessories- from my ADPi clutch to my sorority lavalier necklace. :-) I had to show off all my sorority pride when being an intern at the Fraternity Communications Association Conference of course!

   The location of the week:

     For the first week of Southern Belle in the Bunk, I picked a location to shoot at which is one of my favorite places in town to drive by (year-round!), but a place that I have never taken the time to stop to be a pedestrian at. This beautiful river is the Mousam River, and one of two rivers that runs through my town and ends up meeting the sea! (You can kind of see in the second picture after the houses where the river starts to meet the ocean.) This small bridge is off of Route 9 in my town, and runs right over the river. It's not a very large bridge, but has the most incredible views of nature and the river! As you can see from my pictures, there's a small sidewalk. Throughout the years I've often seen people fishing off of it, but I've never actually taken the time to walk on the bridge since parking is limited by it. I think I was missing out though!! 

     Water is something that there is a lot of both in Maine and in the Kennebunks. I am blessed to have grown up in a town that isn't only coastal by being on the ocean, but also has two beautiful and peaceful rivers flowing through it. There aren't any lakes in my town, but many amazing ones are within an easy driving distance! An adjustment for me when moving to Charlotte was getting used to the lack of natural water. The Greater Charlotte area does have the man-made Lake Norman, which is a beautiful and very large lake, but it's about 40 mins out of the city. 

     I hope that you all enjoyed the first segment of Southern Belle in the Bunk! I'm really excited with what's to come for this series! 

     xoxo Miss ALK
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