Southern Belle in Training

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

December 31, 2015

2015: My Year in Blogging

     I have so much to write about 2015, that I have decided to break up this year's recap into two posts!! Today's is all about my fashion blogging highlights (and some lows...) from this past year. I'll be sharing another post with a recap of my more personal blog posts, and some other recaps from my life in the past year over the weekend!

Photo credit: Emily Sacra Photography

      I definitely have a lot to say about this year, so without any further ado...

January ("Belated Holiday Style") - This was the first post where the pictures were taken on my DSLR camera- it was right after I got it for Christmas!

February: ("Sale Rack Sequins") - Pictures taken by my blogger buddies Cara and Gina during a meet-up that we had in Greensboro, NC! 

March: ("Floral: A Family Affair") - This dress used to be my mom's, and I used to play dress-up in it as a little girl. Talk about a #TransformationTuesday!

April: ("Black Diamond Formal 2015") - It's always a highlight for me to share about some of my sorority experiences here on the blog, and our spring formal is something that I look forward to every year! I did pictures for formal in Uptown Charlotte this year.

May: ("Blackout Derby Style") - It's always a treat for me when I get to meet up with and shoot with my photographer friend Meredith of Meredith Sledge photography!! May 2015 brought an opportunity for us to meet up on my drive back home from school. :-)

June: ("National Wear Your Lilly Day 2015") - A prescheduled post during my time abroad in France, but one of my favorites nonetheless! My tribute to every Lilly lover's summer favorite holiday!

July: ("Southern Belle in The 'Bunk: True Colors") From my hometown summer posting series all about Maine and my region of the state- this post was one of my favorites of the series! My longtime bestie Katie took the photos for this post and absolutely killed it.

August: ("I'm Blue [Da Ba Dee Da Ba Da]") - Is it any surprise that one of my favorite posts is one that I titled after an early 2000s one hit wonder song?!

September: ("She Leaves a Little Sparkle Wherever She Goes") My dream 21st birthday photoshoot...thank-you to the amazing Emily of Emily Sacra photography for making this happen! 

October: ("Poncho in the Pumpkin Patch") - One of my favorite fall outfits that I've ever worn on my blog!

November: ("Neutral Pattern Mixing") This outfit got a lot of love via blog comments and on social media!

December: ("Holiday Party Outfit: Glammed Out Holiday Look") - Ending a great year of outfits on a sparkly note!

    2015 was the biggest year by far that I've had in blogging yet! I made lots of new blogging friends, attending (and even planned!) meet-ups with other bloggers, collaborated with amazing brands, co-founded and launched the Millennial Blogger Network back in the spring, and truly began to treat my blog like a business, and not just a side hobby.

    Because I believe in being honest with all of you (we're all friends here, right?!), and after all of the wonderful feedback that y'all gave me last week on the fact that you enjoy when I pour more of my heart into the deeper faith type posts here on the blog..... I'm about to be real honest with all of you about something (actually not faith related- blog related)...

     Probably one of the worst things that I went through in 2015, both on a blogging level and also on a personal level, was that I was declined from rewardStyle yet again. If you are a fashion blogger yourself or follow any fashion bloggers closely on social media, then you know that rS is coming close to monopolizing the fashion blogging market right now. They have the best technology, networking and opportunities for fashion bloggers. I had first applied to join years ago, shortly after I started this blog, and it really is of no surprise that I was declined then. I didn't have much of following, and many aspects of my blog needed a lot of work.

     But the amount of time that I have put into my blog since that first application a couple of years ago is, well, a ton. I've rebranded, completely revamped the photography quality and content of posts, built a following, etc. I am by no means the biggest blogger on the block, but I have definitely grown and have work to be proud of. Most of my fashion blogging friends are now rS members, and I would be lying if I said that it definitely was a personal blow to me at times this year that I still wasn't in. I'm not sure if this is a good analogy of not, but it felt like I was going through sorority recruitment again, but the blogger edition, and all of my friends had gotten into sororities but I had been dropped from every house. Don't get me wrong- I am beyond thrilled for each one of my blogging friends who is a member, they all deserve it, and I can't wait to see how their blogs will continue to grow and flourish. The blogging community should be about supporting each other's successes and lifting each other up. But at the same time.... as the months literally have turned to years for me, I wonder when my time will come.

     I genuinely hope that posting the above paragraphs here on my blog won't harm my chances of re-applying for rS in 2016- but at this point, what do I have to lose?! ;-) Haha. I know that I am not the only blogger who has been declined before, and I feel like this subject can be a bit taboo and "hush hush" in the blogging community.

    Coming into 2016- I don't want any bloggers to feel like a failure. No matter if you have 10 followers or 10,000, whatever your goals are, you will someday achieve them. And if you don't achieve them on your own personal timeline, that is okay. Sometimes different but still good things can happen in the meantime. I didn't get into rewardStyle in 2015, but I absolutely kicked butt at making my blog the best that it could be (despite being a full-time college student, and actually getting a 4.0 this past fall semester!). I also still managed to work out some collaborations with some incredible companies, and for that I am proud and grateful.

     Thank-you for letting me be brave and share a bit of my heart about blogging with you today! And most importantly, thank-you all for reading my blog in 2015, and for being such supportive and wonderful followers! Here's to 2016..... <3

      xoxo Annaliese / Miss ALK



  1. I'm sorry to hear about rewardStyle /:, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason! Keep your head up and I am sure bigger things are around the corner! I am so happy that I stumbled upon your blog over the summer! Thank you for giving me advice while I was going through recruitment and I am excited to see what you'll accomplish in 2016!!

    Amy |

  2. I love seeing all of your outfits from 2015, they're all so cute! RewardStyle definitely has missed a great blogger to include in their program (so far, fingers crossed for 2016!) but that definitely doesn't undermine all of your success! Thanks for being such a great inspiration to me this year Annaliese and Happy New Year!


  3. I was so sad when you didn't get into RewardStyle, A.
    I am sure you will get in soon.
    I have noticed your hard work and dedication over the past few months especially and it will definitely pay off!
    So glad I got to know you and glad to have you in my tribe <3

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

  4. Love the roundup of these photoshoots! My favorite is still your 21st birthday -- that was such a fun shoot! I feel the same way about rS -- I've also been rejected so I just stick to ShopStyle. Let's hope 2016 FINALLY lets us into rS!

  5. That is such a bummer about rewardStyle :( You have some absolutely wonderful posts from the year though and I'm absolutely positive things will work out. That's how things go with hard working people like you, just maybe not the way you think. Best of luck to you! I hope 2016 is great!

    My Pop of Color

  6. love this recap!!! your formal dress was beautiful!!!!! I hear ya on rS... same for me!!! xo

  7. I love your formal dress, well and all of these outfits! I'm sorry about rS, I hear ya girl! That doesn't make you any less successful though!

    Lauren | The Arizona Prepster

  8. Your blog and outfits are great! I bet you'll get rS in 2016! :)

  9. Love this recap! All of your outfits are bright and gorgeous, and I love the part at the end to bloggers at every stage. Great advice!

    xo Alexis

  10. I was a RewardStyle member a few years ago but then my traffic wasn't keeping up with the growth they want so they closed my account. I ha applied again last year when I was seriously blogging and got denied. I currently use ShopStyle but I would love to be a RewardStyle member again. I don't do outfit posts (although i am considering starting) but I have loved using them for round up posts that I do. I am sure you will get accepted soon! I have seen your blog grow tremendously and I think you fully deserve it! You have been rocking it!

  11. I love your style and am so sorry to hear about your struggle with RewardStyle- they would be lucky to have you. If that's something you still hope to pursue in the future, I hope it works out! I have loved reading your blog this past year and am excited for what 2016 has in store for you!

  12. I'm not a fashion blogger so I don't know much about rS but I truly hope you will get accepted soon. I know you work so hard... I can see it throughout your blog and the time you put into being an admin in MBN. I have had my fair share of ups and downs in the blogging world this year but I think that all the rejection is a way for us to learn and come back stronger and better than ever! I hope 2016 is your best year yet. We got this!

    Kayla |

  13. I've definitely had blogging moments that make me feel a bit deflated. I've been blogging for nearly three years and still don't feel successful in any of the traditional senses. I occasionally have to remind myself why I started blogging-because I love writing. For me, blogging is a creative outlet, and as an introvert a way to build genuine connections and friendships that sometimes are difficult to form in person. Looking back at your year of blogging I am SO impressed with your growth and showcase of your style. You are truly beautiful inside and out, your rStyle time will come, I know it!

  14. I am so sorry to hear about your struggle with rS! You are an amazing blogger and I think it'll all workout

  15. I absolutely love the floral dress. It's so beautiful. Aww and so sorry that you were declined from RS which sucks because your blog is such an amazing fashion blog.

  16. One thing's for sure - you stayed adorable all year! I can't believe the picture of you in the gold sequins was from February! It seems like I was just seeing it so recently because this year seriously just flew by. My favorite is your 21st birthday shoot. So cute! I'm so sorry that you were denied from rS again. I know how frustrating that can be when you put content out there that you're so proud of and someone comes in and rejects you. Just know that you have so many supporters and as you mentioned, never stop striving and going for your goals! Happy New Year!

  17. Very pretty!!! I love the one with the balloons the most. You look stunning. Don't worry about rS. I was rejected at first. Just keep up the hard work and apply again later. You'll get in!

    Sara Kate Styling

  18. amasing pictures and you let me confused with this outfits.


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