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






   

December 30, 2015

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.



 
{Follow on Instagram and Snapchat @miss_alk!}



Ramblings:
  • Home Sweet Charlotte. I came back to Charlotte early from my Christmas vacation- and honestly this was one of the best decisions that I've made in a long time! This city is what truly feels like my home now. I have a lot of errands or other things on my to-do list that I need to tackle before my semester starts in about a week and a half, and most of those things needed to be done down here. I'm also so excited to be in Charlotte for my first year of actually getting out and celebrating New Year's Eve!! 
  • Rude behavior on airplanes: If you follow me on Snapchat (@miss_alk), then you know that I had quite the flying debacle with getting back to Charlotte a couple of nights ago! I had some severe delays during my layover, but even worse than this was the behavior of some of the people that I sat near once I finally made it onto my flight. All three of the people sitting in front of my had a conversation loud enough that the whole plane could have heard!! They were being so loud that I could hear them over my headphones when I had music in, and finally it became too much a disturbance that I had to turn my music off. There were also several people on the flight who were very clearly intoxicated, and the people behind me were eating smelly food during the majority of the flight. Flying on a commercial plane is a communal experience, and I think that we should all do our part to make the experience equally enjoyable for our neighbors!
  • My New Years' Resolution: I have two resolutions for 2016. They aren't that exciting, but they're goals that I really want to make happen. The first is to be productive and to succeed despite my difficult schedule for the spring semester (difficult in both the classes that I'm taking, and also the random times of day that my classes are at- all night classes and 8 ams!). The second is to have a smooth transition later in the year to adulthood, once my college journey comes to an end. I know that with hard work, planning, and also having a little bit of fun to balance things out that I can accomplish both of these!


Purchases:
  • I had a great Ulta coupon that expired right before Christmas so I did a little bit of retail damage there... one beauty splurge that I made was on this item which I can't wait to try out on NYE! (Giving credit where credit is due- I first saw it featured last week on Caitlin's blog Southern Curls and Pearls :-) )
  • I found the cutest ever black sequin skirt  at one of my favorite local Maine retailers last week! Unfortunately this store doesn't have an e-commerce site, but this skirt looks very similar.
  • It had been too long since I had made a trip up to the crown jewel of retail in my home state... aka the L.L. Bean Factory Store. ;-) During one of my last nights home, my friend Shara and I ventured up there, and I came home with this. I'm not normally an L.L. Bean fan- but I can't wait to wear this during the winter season!! 


     Stay tuned tomorrow- I'll be sharing my 2015 recap post! (In the meantime, check out 2014's!



     xoxo Miss ALK




December 28, 2015

Poncho Fever.











     I am completely obsessed with this comfy and warm poncho sweater that I found on my day trip to Boston a couple of weeks ago! I've shared that during my senior year of college, my style has become a lot more laid-back on many school days. I'm really starting to take advantage of the fact that this probably the last year of my life for a long time that I have the freedom to dress down as often as I want! Poncho sweaters are a great way to still look put together for class or school commitments, but they require almost minimal effort on your part in terms of putting an outfit together. And if the weather is mild enough, you don't even need a jacket on top- it's a total all-in-one! 

      I rediscovered this cute black purse from Target  in my room while I was home for Christmas break. This was a favorite bag of mine over the last couple of years, and I forgot how much I truly liked it! I was so excited to see that this purse is still being sold at Target, so go and snatch it up if you're looking for a new bag that's both very affordable and also very cute! It also comes in a variety of other colors. 



     My dad took these blog photos for me on Christmas Eve, outside of a fun Christmas lights display near one of my favorite stores in the Kennebunkport shopping area. It is a bummer that the weather was a little dreary, but we got lucky and had a very mild Christmas this year, despite a lot of fog on Christmas Eve! The snow is on its way tomorrow- but luckily I am headed back to Charlotte today. :-)


      Hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas! And thank-you to everyone who left such wonderful comments on Thursday's post... (check it out if you haven't yet!)
      




    xoxo Miss ALK



December 24, 2015

Faith... and Fashion Blogging?!

Photo Credit: Emily Sacra Photography


     Happy Christmas Eve Day! In honor of this special holiday, I wanted to take a little break from my usual fashion posts or life updates and instead talk about something deeper that has been on my heart lately.


     The past semester has been the first semester of college that I've felt like I've finally been able to tackle blogging regularly and being a full-time student (as well as all of the other things that I do at school!). My blog saw a lot of growth and new opportunities in the past few months, and I dove more into the fashion side of my blog then ever before. I absolutely love writing and creating fashion content- it brings me so much joy to be able to share my outfits and what trends that I'm loving with y'all, and to hopefully also provide fashionable inspiration to fellow gals out there who are trying to dress well on a budget!

     In the almost three and a half years that I've had this blog, I've always been very honest and upfront with my readers about the fact that I'm a Christian. I attended a Christian college (in the Bible  Belt nonetheless- haha!) during my freshman year, and one of my favorite topics to blog about in past years was what that experience was like, and also what it was like to transfer to a non-Christian college. I've also never been ashamed to write about things like bible verses that encourage me, or the fact that I try and attend church each week. So in that sense- I don't really feel like my faith is "hidden." I don't think it's a shock to anyone who knows me, both in my personal life or on my blog, that my faith and values are important to me.

     But at the same time- at the beginnings of my blog, I used to be a lot more comfortable with going in depth about my thoughts and feelings on certain faith or moral issues. I believe that all Christians are called to share God's truths. (They're called to do this in love of course- not in the judgmental, cold, and often hypocritical way that so many people that claim to be of the faith do. But to actually share the message of Jesus and the rules that God lays out for His people in a loving and friendly way.) For me, writing about things that I felt God put on my heart on my blog was my way of sharing His truths. You never know who will stumble across a blog, and what that person experiencing. Someone who seeks out a fashion blog might be a person who would never seek out a bible or a church, but they could be exposed to God's love and Word through a platform like this.


     Yet over the past year, as my blog has become more of a professional venture on my part, I find myself becoming more and more hesitant with sharing things like this with all of you. As I said earlier, I have no problems mentioning in certain posts about my faith, or how it impacts my life, but trying to share some of my more conservative views or just writing general posts about faith in general are things that I've shied away from. But with 2016, approaching, I don't know if I want to do that anymore!!

     
     So to my reader friends, I would appreciate any feedback on this post. :-) The majority of my blog's content will still be fashion based, but I want to know your honest thoughts about what you think of posts where I include my more personal and faith-related views! Is this something that you would like to see more of on Southern Belle in Training in 2016? (To give you an idea of some of the things that I'm thinking about blogging about, it could be topics including but not limited to: drinking alcohol / nightlife and being a Christian, church attendance in college, premarital sex, or just sharing more about bible verses, devotionals or other Christian books that have been blessings to me!)



     I hope that all of you are having a very Merry Christmas Eve / Christmas Day! New posts will return next week.


     "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." -Luke 2:11


     xoxo Miss ALK

   

December 23, 2015

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.





{Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @miss_alk!}




Ramblings:

  • Credit Card Decisions: Something on my Winter Break to-do list was to start applications for my first credit card- and I'm feeling a little overwhelmed! First, I have to say that I am thankful for the fact that one of my parents' rules with me has always been to let financial things come in "steps." Unlike some of my friends, they never let me open a debit card in high school, and said that was a privilege to come when I was living on my own in college. Similarly with a credit card, they said that I had college to manage using a debit card wisely, and could get a credit card near the end of school. Looking back on it, I think that both of these things were excellent on their part- everything in good time! But now that the time has come for a credit card, I have no idea what to apply for! The one that I have been looking most closely at is the Discover IT card with cash back rewards (it also has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees apparently!), but I haven't made any decisions yet. How was applying for your first credit card? What card(s) do you love and trust?
  • Boston at Christmas: Last Thursday, my dad and I took a day trip to see one of our favorite cities all decked out for the holiday season! I wrote a recap of our day in the city and shared the blog post on Saturday- check it out if you haven't yet! 
  • High school was a long time ago: On Saturday night, I went out for drinks with a few of my friends from high school. Few social events that I've ever participated in have ever made me feel so old!! Since when did I become such an "adult" that I can get alcoholic beverages with the same people that I used to eat lunch in the cafeteria with?! Haha. I haven't had a chance to do too many social things since I've been home this past week, so this was a really nice treat to catch up with a few people! It's always fun to learn what everyone is up to in college, and now also to discuss what future plans are for after graduation in the spring! 
  • This song: has been stuck in my head all week. :-) The irony about this song is that a friend of mine from college loved this band long before they were being played on the airwaves, and always used to tell me about them and how great their music was. Now one of their songs has gone mainstream, and I see why she has been obsessed for so long- ha! 


Purchases:
  • I don't do a lot of my shopping in Maine anymore- the quality of our mall (yes- mall, not malls. #MaineProbs) and other stores just isn't the same as Charlotte, and I've also gotten more into online shopping this year since I'm obsessed with Ebates (more on that at the bottom of this post! But I did manage to do some shopping when I was in Boston last week and also have found a couple goodies since I've been home.
  • I found the most gorgeous strappy pumps on incredible sale here in Maine this week! They are from one of my favorite shoe companies. (They are sold out online, but these are similar!) These will carry me through things in the upcoming semester like chapter meetings or presentations, and post-graduation I know I'll get lots of use out of them in my future job! 
  • I picked up the cutest new poncho sweater at this favorite store of mine while in Boston last week! Who else is totally obsessed with ponchos for this season?
  • Last year- one of my favorite Christmas gifts was getting this fun photo-a-day calendar for 2015. It became such a hit among my college friends that I would give away the funniest pages to all of my friends on campus! I was going to buy the same calendar again for 2016, but then I found this one (based off of another favorite website of mine). I think that this photo-a-day calendar will be just as great as the one I had last year! 

     As I mentioned above, I am loving this website called Ebates which assists with online shopping! It's so simple to use- you download a toolbar extension for whichever internet browser that you use on your computer, and then whenever you're making an online purchases from your favorite retailer, you just begin the shopping trip through Ebates. They then credit you a few days later with cash back on your purchase!! The cash back percentages for each store can range from 1-10%, depending on which stores are currently featured. I used Ebates for my Cyber Monday shopping, and made over $25 this year just from those purchases alone!
      I'm not being sponsored to talk about Ebates at all- just wanted y'all to know about this amazing website, especially with the after Christmas sales coming right up. You can sign up for it here! :-)


     Merry Christmas week to all of you! Thanks for reading!


      xoxo Miss ALK

December 21, 2015

70 Degree December.








Cardigan: TJ Maxx {very similar here!} // Dress: H&M // Shoes: The Walking Company {similar here} // Sunglasses: Le Chateau {Canadian store} // Clutch: Towne & Reese {local Charlotte company! :-) } // Necklace: c/o A-List Greek Designs //  Bracelets: Alex & Ani // Rings: Charming Charlie // Lips: Nyx Matte Lipstick in Strawberry Daiquiri 



     Earlier in the year I shared my First Day of School outfit for fall semester on the blog... today I'm sharing what was my last day outfit!! Well- last day for first semester. Can't get too ahead of myselfm haha! As I shared in some of last week's posts, we were so blessed in Charlotte to have a very mild start to our month of December. I enjoyed weather in the 70s for all of my last days of class and final exam days! It made it a little hard to study and be productive, but it was wonderful to plant myself outside and get some work done at some of the many pretty spots on campus. 

     I think that this outfit is absolutely perfect for a warm winter day. Wearing a very casual LBD is great for winter because of the dark color, and this aztec cardigan added both a little bit of warmth and also a little color of the outfit! I got this aztec cardigan this summer at TJ Maxx on a whim one day, and I had no idea how much use I would get out of it this season. It's so cozy, and I wear it with so many different things! (This aztec cardigan is super similar to the one that I have.)


     Lastly, how fun is this adorable clutch from Towne & Reese?! Town & Reese is a Southern based jewelry and accessories company. They gained some national fame after Charlotte resident and former Bachelorette Emily Maynard wore some of their pieces on her season of the show! The sweet family that I babysat for this semester purchased this clutch for me as one of my Christmas gifts- I absolutely adore it! It's just my style, and I love the thoughtfulness behind the gift. :-)


     Happy week leading up to Christmas, y'all! Hope it's off to a great start for everyone! My time here at home in Maine is starting to fly by.





    P.S. Be sure to check out the new widget that I just added to the top of my blog- it features some fun sparkly fashion ideas for NYE style! 

     xoxo Miss ALK

December 19, 2015

What to do in Boston at the Holidays.

     Popping in today with a little Saturday post! Earlier this week, my dad took a day off from work so that he and I could spend a day together in Boston. The beautiful city of Boston is under two hours away from my town in Maine, and it's the perfect day trip destination year-round. Usually when I go to Boston it is during the summer months- some years I've enjoyed taking day trips with friends via the bus or train services that service Northern New England to the city. But I was reminded this past week that Boston at Christmastime is truly a magical and fun place!

     The weather was sadly not in our favor on the day that we went- and it rained all day. A little rain couldn't dull out the Christmas Sprit that filled the city, but the rain did however convince me to leave my blog camera at home for the day! All of these photos are iPhone photos- so excuse the quality!

   



 
      My dad and I began our day trip in Boston's North End, by the famous Quincy Market and Fanueil Hall shops and marketplace! Everything was all decked out to the nines for Christmas, and we enjoyed a delicious lunch from one of the vendors in Quincy Market (which is basically the classiest and most diverse food court ever!). 

     We then made the short walk a couple blocks over to the Italian section of the North End. These streets are kind of like a mini version of Little Italy in New York City! The most famous destination in this part of the North End is Mike's Pastry, a world famous bakery. Some of my friends from my college who have visited Boston before will go on and on about this place! I had been to Mike's before when I was very young, but I wanted to go back on this visit. My dad and I each enjoyed a cup of hot tea, and he had a black and white cookie while I tried the pistachio cannoli! Mike's sells so many different varieties of cannoli. It was certainly hard to choose just one, but the pistachio didn't disappoint! 




     Next on our agenda was my favorite pastime: SHOPPING! Boston is a lot different from Charlotte in terms of the shopping scene. In Charlotte, the downtown of the city (called Uptown) is filled with skyscrapers, some art and culture options, restaurants, and clubs, but no shopping. All of the city's best shopping is found in large malls and outlet centers in different parts of the city. In Boston however, there is tons of shopping right in the city! Newbury Street is Boston's biggest shopping street- one end of it is filled with every high-end designer name that you can think of, and as you continue on down the street, the stores get more affordably priced. Sort of like a miniature 5th Avenue in NYC! 

     My dad and I browsed in Nordstrom Rack and a Lilly Pulitzer signature store before making our way down to the very end of Newbury for the crown jewel of the street: the three story Forever 21!






     I ended up purchasing the top from the photo above, and it will be perfect for NYE! (Speaking of New Years' fashion- I just added a widget to the top of my blog that shows my favorite sparkly pieces for NYE parties!! Be sure to check out my picks!)




      
     Just wanted to share a quick snapshot of one of my favorite places in Boston! My dad and I didn't visit the Prudential Center on this trip, but I have been on a few different occasions before. At the top of the Prudential is a public observatory of the city that you can buy tickets for- it's one of my absolute favorite things to do in Boston! There is also a luxury mall in the ground floor of the building, as well as a location of The Cheesecake Factory. 


     We ended our evening by taking a cab over to the TD Garden to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas concert- this is what had brought us to Boston in the first place! :-) The Garden is where both the Boston Bruins and Celtics play their games, yet since my parents and I aren't really sports fans I have never been to a game there before. I definitely found it a little ironic that my first time at the Garden with my dad was for a holiday concert!

     The TSO concert was wonderful! I would definitely recommend seeing them if in future years they ever bring their holiday show to a city near you. My favorite part of the show was actually the incredible special effects- their stage lights were just insane! 







     All in all, it was a wonderful day in the city!! Have you ever been to Boston before? What is your favorite city to visit during the holidays?


     xoxo Miss ALK

December 18, 2015

Holiday Party Outfit: Glammed Out Holiday Look.












Top: H&M {bought in-store- super similar version online!} // Skirt: Charlotte Russe  // Shoes: Clark's {similar here} // Sunglasses: Le Chateau {Canadian store} // Purse: {old - bought on trip to the UK!} // Earrings: c/o Gabe's {Kendra Scott has a very similar style in their Color Bar found here!} // Bracelets: c/o Taudrey // Lips: Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss in Sensuel


     Happy Friday! Or should I say "Fri-yay," as we are getting to close to Christmas now! I'm so excited to be sharing another fun holiday party inspired outfit today on the blog. If I had to pick the quintessential Annaliese holiday party outfit, it would 100% be something that looked like this! A gorgeous tulle skirt, a glam sequin top, and a few fun coordinating accessories to pull it all together is exactly my type of look. 

     The crop top that I'm wearing from H&M is one of my favorite recent purchases! It was priced at an incredible $9.99, and I know that I'll find endless use for it in the coming months! It would be great for dressing up a pair of skinny jeans to wear for a night out on the town with my friends. Yet as you can see with this outfit, it can also be the perfect finishing touch on a classy and sparkly ensemble that is perfect for holiday festivities! And I just have to add- the pretty teal color and the fun print on it (plus the fact that it's a crop top) totally help me to channel my inner 90s girl, and I feel like I'm especially channeling Christina Aguilera circa her Genie in a Bottle music video phase when I wear it. #noshametoadmitthis


     Lastly- it was 70 degrees when the photos were taken for this blog post! 70 degrees. In December!! Oh Charlotte, you are too good to me. Having a whole week of beautiful weather during exams week school definitely made it harder both to finish all of my final papers, and also made the transition to coming home to Maine a bit more difficult this week as well! Luckily Maine doesn't have any snow yet... hopefully that will continue to hold off!


     Have a great weekend! Does anyone have any fun plans? I am working most of the weekend at my retail job back here in Maine! I'm currently not planning to return home this summer, so these could be some of my last shifts at the job that I've had for over 3 years! 



   
     xoxo Miss ALK

December 16, 2015

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.





Ramblings:

  • Halfway done: I am halfway done my first semester of senior year! I cannot believe it. The past four months went by in an absolute blink of an eye! I don't even want to think about how quickly spring semester will go. I won't give a full recap of the semester in this post, but in a couple of weeks I'll share my blog's annual end of the year recap post of all of my favorite outfits and moments in my life from 2015! (See 2014's post here!)
  • My newest collection: I am not ashamed to admit that I am 100% addicted to collecting mugs from the Starbucks You Are Here travel collection. The absolute irony of this new hobby of mine though is that I don't drink Starbucks. Like, at all! Haha. I rarely drink coffee, and when I do I don't like paying their ridiculously high prices for beverages. Anyways, my love of these mugs began though when I had an internship in Louisville in May, when I purchased in Kentucky mug. Since then I've gotten mugs from every place that I've traveled to this year, even France! Starbucks doesn't list the whole collection on their website- but this handy dandy mug lovers blog that I found does. I think these mugs make awesome souvenirs and a fun way to show off your travels! I want to use mine as apartment decoration in my first place next year. 
  • Christmas and college: This is something that I'm curious to hear from y'all about: for those of you who are fellow college students (or if not now, when you were in college), did the Christmas season not seem as "Christmassy" to you during those years? It seems like me like with each year of school, the season goes by faster and seems less festive. I don't know if that's because school gets more stressful, or Charlotte is starting to feel more like home than Maine, but it's weird and I don't really like it! I'm hoping that next year when I'm done with school that I can start developing some Christmas traditions of my own and the season might start to feel itself again. 


Purchases:
  • I treated myself to some little goodies from one of my favorite stores this week to celebrate surviving finals! My favorite thing that I picked up? The cutest wine glasses! (They aren't listed online- but they do have them in the martini glass version which is just as cute!!) 
  • Everything else that I purchased this week was last minute holiday gifts to finish my shopping! I'm so happy to say that I am finally DONE with all of my Christmas shopping. I finished this year a little bit later than I normally do- but I think that I picked out the perfect gifts for everyone on my list!


      Best of luck to all my fellow college student friends who are finishing exams this week! And hope that everyone else is having a great Wednesday! Sorry that this post is up a little later in the day then usual- I got home from the airport pretty late last night, and I guess I was just too tired to open my laptop and write a blog post! :-)


     Stay tuned for another holiday party outfit on Friday!


     xoxo Miss ALK

December 14, 2015

Styling OTK boots.









Top: Sears {similar} // Jeggings: American Eagle Outfitters // Boots: Charlotte Russe {currently $25!} // Sunglasses: LOFT // Purse: Vintage Chanel {similar and much cheaper version here!} // Earrings: {old} // Necklace: c/o Maverick Hill // Bracelets: c/o Urban Peach Boutique // Lips: Milani Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in Nude Brown 



      I'm so excited to be styling my one of my favorite Black Friday bargains on the blog today! I had been on the hunt for a great pair of over-the-knee boots for quite some time. I was getting ready to shell out some big bucks and spend a lot of money to buy a pair from a department store, but then I stuck absolute gold with this pair from Charlotte Russe! They were marked down to an incredible $20 for Black Friday (and they're currently listed for $25 online!). They are the exact color and style that I was in the market for- I couldn't believe my luck! Sometimes it literally does "pay off" to hold off on making a large fashion purchase right away, and to try and find a cheaper alternative.

     I am all for splurging on shoes if it's a pair that you know you will wear almost daily. For example, nice summer sandals, or a quality pair of riding or snow boots (depending on the climate that you live in!). But for a more fun boot to just wear for dressier situations, I'm so glad that I went for the better deal! 

     I styled my OTK boots with my favorite leggings and a simple pink top. I wanted to let the boots really stand out and make their own statement! How would you style OTK boots? They are such the rage for this season and I love seeing how other bloggers are wearing theirs! 


     The pictures for this blog post were taken by my Charlotte blogger bestie Morgan from How 2 Wear It! I also took some outfit pictures for her that afternoon, and her post for that outfit can be found here!  I love this spot that we did pictures at- isn't the Christmas tree in the background so festive?! Stay tuned for more photos on the blog this week from this fun location!






     xoxo Miss ALK


December 11, 2015

Holiday Party Outfit: Styling Dress Shorts for Winter.








Sweater: Vestique {from last year, similar here!} // Shorts: Forever 21 // Vest: American Eagle Outfitters {mine is an older style, this one is similar} // Tights: Talbots // Shoes: TJ Maxx {almost identical here!} // Belt: Talbots // Necklace: c/o Maverick Hill // Lips: Mally Lipstick in BFF Pink {similar shade



     Instead of doing the ever-popular blogger gift guides on my blog this holiday season, I decided instead to do some fun themed holiday party outfit posts for the next couple of weeks! Hopefully these outfits will provide you with some inspiration for all types of holiday parties: family gatherings, office (or business casual college holiday) parties, formal events, and of course New Years' Eve! This is such a fun time of the year to have events to dress up for, and holiday style is truly unique and should be taken advantage of before the season passes! 


     This is the outfit that I wore on Thanksgiving (which as I shared in my last few posts, I spent this year in Pennsylvania with one of my besties and her family!). Something exciting about the Thanksgiving meal is that it's like the official kick-off for holiday party season! I know that my re-styled outfits are usually some of my most popular blog posts, so I'm excited to let y'all know that I created this outfit using all pieces that I already had (and that have all actually been on my blog before in different outfit posts!). You certainly don't have to break the bank to achieve a chic holiday-ready look.


     I love wearing my black dress shorts in the spring and autumn months when paired with cute tops for going out, but now I'm loving them just as much for the holidays and winter when paired with tights and booties! I decided that black and grey tones would be the central colors for this outfit, and my statement necklace was able to pull in both of these colors, as well as add a touch of sparkle!


     I think that this outfit would be perfect for any family gatherings during this season: Thanksgving, Christmas Eve, or even a casual family NYE party! If your office has a more casual dress code then this could also be great office party attire. Last year my sorority had a pre-Thanksgiving dinner and "mocktail" party, and this could have also been the perfect outfit to wear to a college event like that.



     What types of holiday party outfits would you like to see in the coming weeks on Southern Belle in Training?


     xoxo Miss ALK

December 9, 2015

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.



{Via my Instagram @miss_alk - follow me on Snapchat as well with the same username!}



Ramblings:
  • Papers on papers: This week into the beginning of next is Finals for me here at school! Fall semester last year was one of the worst exam weeks that I've ever experienced- I had difficult exams or presentations in every single one of my classes! This year I am blessed to have a much more slower paced finals week. I actually only have one difficult exam to prep for, and it's not until next Monday! But since I have fewer exams this year, it means more final papers. I have spent a good deal of the beginning of this week in the library, typing away and getting my full use out of Microsoft Word. It will still definitely be a nice relief to be on Winter Break next week!
  • Adulting: I spent so much of my first two years of college excited to graduate and plan my life after school, but now that it's rapidly approaching, the whole concept of being an adult is starting to scare me! I feel like there are so many things that I need to learn about before I enter the real world- things like how to do taxes, things of legal importance like planning a will (it's never too early... right?), types of insurance that are necessary... etc etc. But as much as there still is for me to learn, I am taking pride in the fact that I managed to check off some adulting tasks on my to-do list in the past week! I re-registered my car for the year earlier than I have ever done it before, renewed my blog domain (Yay!), and finished applying for a student loan for next semester. If I can get all of these things done while Finals are approaching at school then actual adulthood shouldn't be that bad, right? 
  • Thriving in the 90s: This past weekend, I went to check out a nightclub here in Charlotte with some friends that I had never been to before. It's called Roxbury, and they only play music from the 80s and 90s. As a self-proclaimed 90s and early 2000s pop culture aficionado, I was definitely in my element! It was a really great time, and a fun alternative to traditional nightlife. Definitely check it out if you're ever in the Charlotte area! Are there any throwback themed clubs where you live? 
  • Blog preparation: In between all of my final papers, I have been kicking butt lately at trying to prepare my blog well with advance content for the holidays. This was something that I really could have improved on last year. My exams last year kept me so busy that I was unable to pre-schedule content, and then when I arrived home for Christmas Break, my computer caught a virus and had to be sent away for repairs for most of the time that I was home!! So I was barely able to blog for a good part of Christmas Break last year, and it really disrupted my blog's traffic and stats (plus I missed it!). I've been working hard this week to shoot lots of outfits, and also brainstorming some fun lifestyle content for this month! Since it seems like every other blogger out there is doing copious amounts of holiday gift guides for this year, you won't be seeing any of those on Southern Belle in Training this season. ;-) (Does anyone else feel like Christmas gift guides are to bloggers right now as large-scale promotion of the Nordstrom sale is during the summer? Haha.) 

     
Purchases: 
  • Thanks to everyone to gave their feedback when I shared about this skirt in last week's Ramblings + Purchases post! I ended up choosing to exchange it in the color that I originally purchased, and now I have it in this color, which I think is much more practical for the winter months! I can't wait to style it soon.
  • When exchanging my skirt, I also picked up some cute leg warmers to wear with boots this season! The pair that I purchased are sold out online, but here is a similar option from a different retailer. 
  • I picked up this Chapstick for the gift bag that I put together for a blog post from last week, but I also picked one up for myself! My lips have been especially chapped lately, and so far this is working well! 


      Hope that y'all are having a wonderful week! It's weird for me to think that the next time that I write Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases, I'll be at home in Maine! I didn't go home at all this semester, but weirdly I am still not very homesick! It will be nice to see my family and friends though. :-) 


     xoxo Miss ALK

December 7, 2015

Boathouse Row.








Sweater: H&M {similar} // Top: Forever 21 {sold out, similar turtleneck here} // Jeans: American Eagle Outfitters // Boots: Tory Burch // Purse: Michael Kors // Earrings: Charming Charlie {almost identical pair here} // Necklace: {old} // Nails: Essie in Merino Cool



     This was one of my favorite outfits that I wore on my Thanksgiving trip to Pennsylvania with my best friend Mia and her family. I packed this specifically for the day trip that was planned for Philadelphia! When I think of fashion for Northern cities in the winter months, I think of chic outfits in dark colors. I was so excited to be wearing this gorgeous cape-like sweater! Ponchos and capes are very in for this season, and I thought this one was very flattering. 


     These pictures were taken at a famous Philadelphia tourist attraction, Boathouse Row. This picturesque area is located right behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mia and I didn't end up buying tickets to the art museum, but we did enjoy the museum's steps!! When standing on the front steps of the museum, you can get amazing views of the Philly skyline. (I learned that the museum steps are also famous for being in the Rocky movies- apparently there is a very notable scene where Rocky runs down the steps!) We ended our afternoon in Philadelphia with a visit to a neighborhood famous for the Philly cheesesteaks- I can now say that I've had a real Philly cheesesteak! 


     
Having a Blair and Serena moment (who understands the Gossip Girl reference for this photo :-) ) 


      Have you ever been to Philadelphia before? What would you wear for a day trip to the city in the cooler months? 






     xoxo Miss ALK