September 29, 2015

Myrtle Beach Recap.


     Happy Monday, loves! I am so excited on this Monday because the big event that I have been talking about getting ready for over the past month (aka sorority recruitment) is finally over! Bid Day for my sorority was yesterday, and we welcomed home so many beautiful new members!! (The most special part of the whole experience is that one our new members is my former roommate and one of my best friends.) I will be sharing much more about recruitment and Bid Day later this week. In the meantime, you can feel free to check out my recruitment and Bid Day recap from last year if you are interested! 

     But today, I'm happy to finally be getting to share more about my 21st birthday weekend getaway from earlier this month to Myrtle Beach! It was such a fun weekend, and I always love sharing about my travels here on the blog. 





      This was the first vacation that I have ever gone on without my parents! (Well... I'm not counting the month that I spent abroad this summer in France. I consider that studying abroad mostly an academic trip!) I think that honestly the fact that I was traveling alone with friends, checking into a hotel, and having total freedom on vacation made me feel the most "legal," even more than the fact that I turned 21 while on this trip- haha!





      I was in charge of booking the hotel for the trip! My friends and I split the cost of the hotel between the three of us. We decided that it was more important for us to save money on the room and not have the most luxurious accommodations and to instead save more money for food, drinks, and shopping. We agreed that it was okay to not have an oceanfront hotel, but one condition that I would not budge on is that I would not stay in a hotel with bed bugs! After my experiences getting bed bugs in France this summer (and bringing them home to the States with me), I could not go through that again! There is a handy website called the National Bed Bug Registry which ranks hotels in every city based on if they've had problems with bed bugs in the past or not. Definitely check out this site if you'll be traveling soon! The hotel that I booked was all free and clear of bed bugs according to the Registry (and it was fine too once we were there). 

     We decided to stay at the Red Roof Inn Market Commons Myrtle Beach. It was affordable (for Labor Day Weekend), and while not on the beach, it was within walking distance! Our room was clean and comfortable, and while low frills, it was perfect for this type of a beach trip. (The hotel also shared a parking lot with a Waffle House which was very convenient for a 2 am snack after my first time going out as a 21 year old!)




     The two restaurants that we had our "nicer" dinners at during the weekend were the Key West Grill in Broadway at the Beach (pictured above), and Banditos Mexican Restaurant, located directly on the beach. I really enjoyed the food at both restaurants, and would recommend both to anyone visiting the Myrtle Beach area. (We got drinks at Banditos at weren't crazy about cocktails there, but did really enjoy the food!) 

     I had picked up a South Carolina guidebook from Triple A prior to the trip and thought that my friends and I would spend our day doing so many fun touristy things, but honestly it ended up being the most mellow weekend ever in terms of what all we did. For the two full days that we were there we just spent our afternoons at the beach by our hotel! And it was wonderful. The water was warm, the atmosphere was fun, and that was after all why we came to Myrtle Beach! 

     For anyone looking for things to do in the Myrtle area though- I think that it would simply be impossible to be bored there! There is tons of shopping, mini golf, amusements, and shows. Many of these attractions did seem quite affordable as well! 


     On our last day, we stopped at one location of the Myrtle Beach outlets (there are two different outlet centers at different parts of the city). The Labor Day weekend sales were going on, and all of us got some great deals! My favorite stores in the Myrtle Beach outlets were the Kate Spade, J. Crew Factory and LOFT outlets. 


     
My suitemate Caroline and I!


     My birthday weekend trip to Myrtle Beach was absolutely wonderful!! I can't wait until the next time that I get to return to this fun Carolina beach town.


     To see some of my outfits from the trip, check out this post and this post. 


     Have you ever been to Myrtle Beach before? Or gone on a fun girls' weekend beach trip?


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 23, 2015

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.




{Via my Instagram @miss_alk}



Ramblings:
  • RECRUITMENT WEEK!!! It's finally here! Formal Recruitment (for Panhellenic sororities) is this weekend at my school. My sorority, and the other Panhellenic sororities on campus, have all been practicing and preparing for this for almost a month! Last year I was pretty nervous to go through the "other side" of recruitment, aka going through on the sorority side. I thought that this year would be a breeze since I was used to how the other side went, but that couldn't be further from the truth! Without saying too much, all that I'll say is it can be very difficult when one of your closest friends decides to go through recruitment. One part of you is so, so, SO happy and proud of them, but another part of you is stressed about things you shouldn't even be stressing about 110% of the time. That is just a small glimpse into what my mind has been like for the past three weeks. Hopefully I can share more next week! 
  • #SuperSeniorSwag: The picture above is from an event at my school that was a couple of days ago! Each Fall, it is a tradition at my college for the senior class to put on their caps and gowns for Convocation (essentially an all-school assembly to honor the senior class). Even though I am not technically graduating until next December, it was really fun to have a little break in the beginning of my busy week to celebrate my senior class! 
  • Workin' on my fitness: I have been searching for lots of positive ways to channel the stress that recruitment season has brought into my life. The best one that I have been able to find is finally getting back into a regular fitness routine and going to the gym again! Out of the blue about a week ago I decided to go to the gym and run on the treadmill. (Have to stress how out of the blue this is- last year during the whole year I think I went to the gym a total of three times.) Since then, I have been almost everyday! My running distance has been steadily increasing, and I have also enjoyed trying out a power yoga class that is offered at my school's gym. My workouts have been helping to decrease my stress and also just in general are a great addition to my weekly routine. I'm hoping to continue them after recruitment ends! 
  • Belated birthday presents: Over the past couple of weeks, I've received some wonderfully sweet belated birthday gifts, both from friends in Maine and here at school. Each gift was so thoughtful, and honestly I think my most favorite part of each were the sweet cards from each friend! 
  • Fall Break: Another thing that is motivating me to power through Recruitment week is the promise of really fun Fall Break plans in just a few weeks! Hint: they may or may not involve a blog bestie. :-)


Purchases:

  • Honestly, with recruitment practices and my normal busy schedule I haven't had very much time to shop lately! (Heck- most days for school I haven't even been dressing up to my normal standards!) I have been babysitting a lot but have been trying to save my paychecks if possible during this month. However, I did finally make it to the mall to pick up a couple fun things this past weekend (including treating myself to a Five Guys burger and fries- yum!).
  • Before this month was over, I knew that I needed to use my birthday discount at this store! I spent it on this gorgeous and versatile necklace that is perfect for Fall!
  • While at the mall, I also stocked up on this holy grail beauty product of mine from Sephora! (And picked up my free birthday gift from Sephora while I was at it, too!) 


      Originally I was going to share a blog post this Friday with some more trip photos and stories from my birthday trip to Myrtle Beach, but I have decided to postpone this post until Monday!! I will be taking the rest of the week off from blogging due to Recruitment for my sorority. (Fellow sorority women- I'm sure that you completely understand the stress and time commitment of this busy time!) 


      Be sure to follow me on social media though if you aren't already! That is something that I will be updating for sure during this busy weekend. :-) Both my Instagram and Snapchat usernames are @miss_alk!


      Have a great rest of your week!



      xoxo Miss ALK

September 21, 2015

Back to Blue.









Dress: Talbots {Same color dress here} // Shoes: Nine West // Sunglasses: H&M // Bracelets: {old} // Lips: Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss in Sensuel


     My blue dress obsession continues! I enjoyed styling this blue dress, and this one as well, back during the summer months here on the blog! But who says that my love for bright blue dresses has to end just because the seasons are changing?! 

     My mom got me this gorgeous Talbots dress  at the end of summer. Talbots often has fantastic sales at the end of each season, and while I can't remember exactly how much she found this one for, I know that it was quite a steal! I love the more conservative cut of this dress- it would make it perfect for any business casual type dress code, or a great dress to wear to church as well! Since the silhouette and bold color of this dress make such a statement, I decided not to wear very many accessories with it. I decided on a neutral lip color and my favorite nude pumps, and a couple coordinating bracelets, and then called it good! 


     How would you style a dress like this? Would you wear it very simply like I did, or try and dress it up more with fun accessories, hairstyles and make-up? 


    In other news, it's finally the start of sorority recruitment here at my school! My sorority has been practicing and preparing for almost a month! We have the rest of this week for last minute preparations, and then actual Formal Recruitment is this Friday and Saturday (I go to a school with a fairly small Greek system!). Bid Day is Sunday and I can't wait- be sure that you're following me on Instagram and Snapchat @miss_alk to keep up with all of the fun! 


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 18, 2015

Why The Happy Planner makes me happy.



Top: c/o Aerie // Jeans: American Eagle Outfitters // Scarf: LOFT // Bracelets: c/o Urban Peach Boutique // Agenda: c/o me & my BIG Ideas


     
     I feel like I have hit another big "blogging milestone." I have finally gotten a second agenda for all things blogging! It feels like such a huge relief to be able to keep everything to do with my blog separate from my school and personal life agenda- everything in one planner was getting to be too overwhelming! I have been loyal to Lilly Pulitzer agendas for school for the past few years, and they're definitely great for my school schedule. But for my blogging organization needs I knew that I needed a different and more detailed type of agenda!

     Enter The Happy Planner from me & my BIG ideas! (First off- how cute is the name?! The Happy Planner!) It is an agenda that is full of large spaces to write down everything your busy schedule (perfect for gals like me who have big and messy handwriting), bolded dates, days of the week and even times of the day, and most importantly, it's cute and totally customizable! The Happy Planner shop on me & my BIG ideas's website is filled with tons of agenda sticker options, changeable covers, insertable folders, and even more adorable accessories to make your planner absolutely perfect for you! 


     Take a look at the darling (and generous!) package that I received from me & my BIG ideas- so many fun goodies were inside! 





All items c/o me & my BIG ideas


     This past week, I finally started using my new blog agenda. Honestly- I don't know how I made it through three years of blogging without having a separate planner to write down all of my blog ideas, to-do's, and reminders! With my school agenda, I only ever write in black ink since I'm usually in a rush at the end of class, but with this planner, I decided to write different blogging tasks in different colored gel pens! Ex: sponsored posts are in red, fashion/lifestyle posts are in purple, and e-mails that I need to send are in royal blue.

     I have been writing out my week in blogging first in all of my gel pens, and then going back in and decorating with all of the cute stickers that me and my BIG ideas sent! 





     I am absolutely obsessed with my me & my BIG ideas The Happy Planner, and I will probably be purchasing one for next year since I love this one so much! If you are interested in purchasing something from the me & my BIG ideas online shop, be sure to use my discount code!! HCANNALIESE will get you 20% off anything from me & my BIG ideas through 12/31/15! In addition to their planners and planner accessories, there are tons more great items in the store, including gallery wall art!! (I was sent this as well, but am saving pictures of that for my senior year dorm room tour post, which should be up sometime next month!)

     Be sure to also check out me & my BIG ideas on Instagram @meandmybigideas and @thehappyplanner for lots of fun updates! (And hashtag #TheHappyPlanner if you get a Happy Planner of your own!)





   
     Have you heard of me & my BIG ideas before? And if you're a fellow blogger, are you currently using a separate agenda for blogging?


     xoxo Miss ALK



     This post was sponsored by me & my BIG ideas and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own, and all items gifted are marked as c/o. Thank-you for supporting the brands that support Southern Belle in Training!



     

September 17, 2015

Birthday Dinner on Broadway.









     This is the fun little number that I wore for my birthday dinner on my recent trip to Myrtle Beach! Techinically this dinner was the night before my 21st birthday, so I couldn't drink anything at dinner, (but that turned out to not be a problem since many more festivities came after midnight ;-) ). My girlfriends and I went to a restaurant in Myrtle Beach's popular Broadway at the Beach entertainment area, which is where these photos were taken! If you aren't familiar with Broadway at the Beach, it's a large outdoor area with tons of shopping, restaurants and attractions. There is definitely something for everyone at Broadway at the Beach, and it's the perfect place to spend an evening it after a day spent out on the actual beach!

     I have had this adorable floral dress for over a year! I love it so much that I'd been saving it for a special occasion. I had originally planned to bring it to Kentucky with me back in May and make it my dress for my second trip to watch horse racing at Churchill Downs, but sadly I accidently left the dress at home and it never got packed! I decided after that happened that I would save it for my 21st birthday.  This is very much of a classic "Annaliese" dress- haha! It is bright, full of a fun floral print, and it's sweet in the front and sassy in the back! The best part is that when I purchased it last year it was $20- Marshall's has such fantastic deals sometimes!



      I didn't take as many photos in Myrtle Beach as I usually do when I travel- most of the pictures that I have are either for this outfit post, this post  (shared last week!), or funny selfies with my friends. But I will try and pull from what I do have and write a little recap post summarzing the whole trip sometime soon- I had an absolutely wonderful time in Myrtle and I would say that it's the perfect Southern destination for a long weekend or birthday (which in my case happened to be both!).


      Hope that y'all are having a great week!





      xoxo Miss ALK

September 14, 2015

The cutest coffee mugs you'll ever see.








Shirt: {Sorority t-shirt} // Shorts: J. Crew Factory // Shoes: Jack Rogers // Necklace: c/o Cardinal Gift // Sunglasses: TJ Maxx // Mug: c/o A Cup of Quotes 


     How adorable is this fun mug from A Cup of Quotes? I have been obsessed with collecting fun mugs for the past couple of years- I drink a lot of tea here at school and drinking hot beverages out of cute mugs just makes everything better! This mug is definitely the perfect addition to my growing collection! The saying on it is so sassy and funny- and the truth be told I actually really don't like eggs! (The smell and taste of them kind of grosses me out, and when I bake a recipe if I can find an egg-free version, I'll always do that!)

     A Cup of Quotes sells so many other fun mug designs as well! The "Let's Blog Some @$%!" mug that I featured a couple of months ago in my Ultimate Blogger Gift Guide post is from A Cup of Quotes! 

     The best news is that the founder of A Cup of Quotes, Ann (who is also a blogger herself!), has been so generous as to sponsor a giveaway here on Southern Belle in Training! You could win your own version of this fun How Do I Like My Eggs mug. Enter the giveaway below! 



a Rafflecopter giveaway



     Be sure to enter the giveaway above to try and win the cute mug that I have! But if you happen to fall in love with one of Ann's other fun designs, use discount code BLOGANDCOFFEE for free shipping on your order with A Cup of Quotes!!


     P.S.- these blog photos were taken by my sweet Charlotte blog bestie Morgan from How 2 Wear It! One of the best parts about being back in Charlotte is getting to see all my southern blog buddies again!



     xoxo Miss ALK

September 11, 2015

Wine Night.









Top: c/o Oakleigh Rose Boutique {styled in this blog post!} // PJ Pants: TJ Maxx // Ring: Charming Charlie // Glasswear: c/o Top Shelf Glassware


     I was quite honestly never a big drinker before I turned 21. Neither of my parents drink (for various reasons), and they always taught me from a young age about how alcohol is truly a drug and not just a drink. My high school friend group wasn't into drinking, and the college that I went to my freshman year was actually a dry campus school! And both for legal and moral/faith reasons I never had any interest in having a fake ID. 

      But now that I'm finally 21, it's time to enjoy some good ol' fashioned adult privileges!! I haven't been going crazy or anything. ;-) But so far this week I have been enjoying making my favorite "cocktail" (recipe to come soon- super easy!), and also enjoying having wine in my dorm's mini fridge for the first time! So of course my collaboration project with Top Shelf Glassware truly couldn't have come at a better time! 


      Top Shelf Glassware makes the cutest glasses and other drink accessories on the market- I swear! When my package arrived with all of the wine glasses inside, there was also a catalogue of all of their merchandise, and I have been continuing to oooh and ahhh over it. (My thought process reading their catalogue is literally "A best friend wine glass? Need that for my besties! The Boston wine glass? I'm from Maine so close enough! The 30th birthday wine glass? So cute.... and that's only nine years away!") I was sent a selection of 21st birthday wine glassware to review, as well as a fun glass that says "Shhhh... there's wine in there" which I'm holding in the first photo! I am absolutely obsessed with all of Top Shelf's 21st birthday glassware! Everything is totally blinged out and features really fun and bright colors, and I know I'll be enjoying wine nights out of these pretty things all year long! These glasses make even the simplest Wine Night fun... for these pictures I was actually just hanging out in PJs in my suitemate's room, enjoying some girl time with her and our bottle of Moscato! 


     Top Shelf's products aren't currently available for sale through their direct website, but Amazon carries a large selection of their glassware! Top Shelf glasses are also carried at many independent gift shops and boutiques across the country. I am a fan of shopping local when I can, so check out this handy store locator guide on their website to find the store nearest you that carries their line! 


     Lastly- do y'all have any wine recommendations for me? Or really any drink recommendations? Being not a big drinker before I turned 21 means that I am completely clueless when it comes to knowing my alcohols- ha! All I know is that the next "adult" thing that I do will be to buy some rum and bake a rum cake... rum cake has been my favorite for years and I've always been frustrated that I couldn't buy the main ingredient! 


     Happy Weekend! Cheers!


      xoxo Miss ALK

September 10, 2015

"White sand, cold can, koozie in my hand..."









Bikini: Forever 21 // Shorts: American Eagle Outfitters // Kimono: {Bought on my trip to France, Similar here} // Hat: Forever 21 // Sunglasses: {Old and knock off version, Real version here} // Belly ring: Piercing Pagoda {Almost identical here} // Necklace: {Charlotte local boutqiue, Similar here} // Nails: OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls // Koozie: Lilly Pulitzer // (I'm drinking Mike's Hard Black Cherry Lemonade) 


     

    First off, a disclaimer about the title of this post. Since this was my first time ever using a koozie (for an adult beverage), it was a no-brainer for me to title this post after the popular Jake Owen song Beachin'.  But I'm actually not a country music fan at all... nor do I even really like the song Beachin'! Haha!! But I just had to (even though my drink was bottled and not canned- forgive me!) 

    Spending Labor Day Weekend in Myrtle Beach was the perfect opportunity for me to break out my most summery outfits for one last go-around before the season ends! My girlfriends and I spent two full afternoons at the beach, so I made sure to pack more than enough of my favorite bathing suits. This was the outfit that I wore to the beach on my actual birthday, which was on Sunday. I bought this gorgeous kimono when I was in France earlier this summer, and other than wearing it to my summer job a handful of times, I had been saving it anxiously for my beach trip! I have been looking for a great kimono for a long time- I wanted one that had pretty colors, was a flattering fit, and wouldn't break the bank since kimonos are a trendy piece! I never thought I would find what I was looking for in Europe, but I'm so glad that I did! It's become one of my favorite souvenirs. 

      I'm also equally obsessed with this Forever 21 bikini. For both the top and matching bottoms (not pictured) I spent under $25, and the quality of this swimsuit is fantastic! I bought a few things from Forever 21's swimwear department this season and I was very impressed with the quality- I think they're definitely stepping things up for their swimwear! 


      And lastly, you can see in these pictures that I enjoyed taking advantage of Myrtle's open container laws on my birthday. :-) The ABC stores closest to our hotel were all closed on my birthday since it was on a Sunday (SC has stricter alcohol sale laws then some other states), so I didn't get to go to any stores to by alcohol. But I sure had fun drinking hard lemonade out of the Lilly koozie that I've been saving for this occasion, and also ordering my first legal drink at dinner that night! 


     Are you sad to see the end of summer and saying goodbye to beach attire? Or are you ready to embrace Fall with open arms?


    xoxo Miss ALK

September 9, 2015

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.



{Via my Instagram @miss_alk}


     I'm really starting to look forward to writing these weekly recap posts! It's such a nice little breath of fresh air in the middle of my busy weeks!



Ramblings: 
  • Myrtle = perfect party town: As I've said for my last many posts, my 21st birthday was this past weekend, and I was lucky enough to get to spend it on a little girls' getaway trip with two of my besties! We headed to Myrtle Beach for the weekend, and honestly this couldn't have been in the more perfect location to turn 21 in. Lots of cheap food and entertainment options, great beaches (with warm water!), and awesome nightlife. I'm not sure if Myrtle is the type of place that I'd want to go for a long vacation, but it was the perfect holiday weekend destination! I definitely want to go back for another weekend in the future. More blog posts to come!
  • Mama is coming: My mom is going to come visit me for a weekend in here in Charlotte next month! It will have been two years since her last visit to see me at school. My dad comes down every Fall and Spring to help move me in/out of school, but other then that neither of my parents have been to visit me since the start of my sophomore year. They thought about coming to visit me last year, but I had such an insane junior year schedule during the months that I was at school! It was always easier for me last year to just fly home to Maine a couple times. But since so many new and exciting things have happened in my life since I was a sophomore, I'm really excited to have my mom come to visit soon! 
  • Coffee + blogging: Going back to school after a long weekend out-of-town is always a little rough, but my Tuesday morning motivation definitely came from the fact that I had a little coffee date here in Charlotte with one of my absolute favorite bloggers! I first met McKenna Bleu at an event that she co-hosted with Caitlin of Southern Curls and Pearls here in CLT around this time last year, and it was so wonderful to see her again, and to get some first-hand great blogging advice from her! If you aren't following her amazing blog, change that now!! It's seriously my favorite blog ever (and I read a LOT of blogs ;-) ). 
  • Second time's a charm: Another thing that I've also mentioned in recent blog posts is that I'm currently in the middle of sorority recruitment with my chapter of Alpha Delta Pi. This is my third year in the sorority, and my second time going through the side of recruitment with my chapter! Last year it was a little bit of a hard adjustment for me to get used to all of the recruitment practices and learning everything that goes into the sorority side of things, but I'm pleased to report that this year things are already going much more smoothly! Anyone reading this post who is or was a sorority member can probably relate- make the transition from going through recruitment to being apart of recruitment can be difficult! I look forward to sharing a Bid Day and recruitment recap at the end of the month! 


Purchases:
  • My friends and I made sure to take advantage of the Labor Day Weekend sales on our last afternoon in Myrtle Beach! One of my favorite purchases was this gorgeous necklace, which was on super sale in-store on Labor Day! Even though I have a ton of necklaces, I didn't previously own anything that looked like this. I love it so much that I already wore it this week! 
  • Another thing that I bought while out outlet shopping on Labor Day was a chic cape for Fall/Winter! (My exact one isn't online yet but this one is from the same store and similar.) A co-worker of mine at my retail job at home had a black cape last winter that I would always steal from her for long shifts when I was home last Christmas- capes are seriously so warm and cozy! So happy to have one of my own now, and I don't think this will be the last one that I'll get! 
  • I actually purchased this during my last week home in Maine, but this is one of my new favorite nail polishes! It's also my first nail polish that I've ever bought in this color. I wore it on both my nails and toes for Myrtle Beach. I found that it chipped pretty quickly on my nails, but has continued to last well on my toes.... a mystery that I will try and solve at a later date. :-)


     Happy Hump Day!


     xoxo Miss ALK

September 7, 2015

She Leaves a Little Sparkle Wherever She Goes.




























      Thank-you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday (and blogiversary) yesterday! My 21st birthday weekend in Myrtle Beach has been truly wonderful: a little wild but mostly pretty mellow and filled with lots of sunbathing and girl time with two of my best friends! I will definitely be sharing some of my outfits from the trip soon, as well as more about the trip itself. 

     Today though is a post that I've been waiting anxiously to share for the past few weeks! My much awaited birthday/blogiversary photoshoot with Emily Sacra Photography! I knew that I wanted to have a special photoshoot to commemorate both my 21st birthday and third blogiversary for Southern Belle in Training, and Emily was able to capture everything that I wanted (and more!). I feel like these photos encompass my true spirit, style and personality. The pictures with the balloons literally made me feel like I was living in a Kate Spade ad- hence the post title!


      I have been online friends with Emily from Emily Sacra photography for quite some time now! We actually both used to read each other's blogs several years ago, back when I had my old blog in high school. We became Facebook friends a few years later and have kept up with each other throug there. Emily is from a part of Western Virginia that my dad and I always pass through on our drives to Charlotte, so I've always wanted to try and meet up with her! It has never worked out in the past, but I'm so happy that it finally did this time. She's such a talented photographer and also a wonderful person!! It's always so fun to meet online friends. Emily is a fantastic wedding and portrait photographer, so definitely check out her website!!






    Here's to another year of blogging (and leaving the beach to go back to reality and my busy schedule at school!)!!


    P.S.- the giveaway that I posted about last week ends tomorrow! Be sure to enter!


    xox Miss ALK