Southern Belle in Training

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

December 26, 2016

Sparkling into 2017...

"...If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud"

      This dress is a cute metallic number that would be perfect for New Year's Eve parties or festivities! Would you believe that it was actually 29 degrees on the day that Deeana and I shot these pictures? We got all of these photos done in under 5 minutes... the weather can be very motivating- ha!

      But today I actually don't want to talk predominantly about my outfit, or New Year's Eve style. I actually want to talk about something a bit more serious. Something that I haven't shared at all on my blog in 2016...

     This year, I was the victim of a crime. 

      The crime was not rape or sexual in nature, but for discretion, (since the matter was resolved legally), the above statement is all that I'm going to share about the occurrence itself.

     The reason that I am finally writing about this on my blog so many months later, is that there is something worth talking about for feeling like you have to hide an extremely painful and traumatic situation. For me, blogging is a big part of my world. To have literally gone through hell and back in 2016, and to not have shared the biggest occurrence of my life to date through the best means of stress relief that I know how- which would be blogging- was almost as unbearable as what I went through itself! For months, I felt re-victimized all over again. This whole summer, I felt that I was lying to myself and to all of you as I tried to make it seem in post after post like everything was rosy and sunny and happy in my world. I'm still thankful to God as there was much good happening and many blessings in my life to still be grateful for this year. The opportunity to stay in North Carolina following college, having a few part-time job opportunities so that I could afford to pay my own way through broadcasting school... just to name a few. But while good things were happening, I was fighting panic attacks and anxiety and random crying outbursts and days where I physically had to force myself out of bed. This was the pain and the reality of surviving the aftermath of the event that I went through earlier this year. And for many months, all of that had to be 100% hidden from the "Miss ALK" side of my life- aka my blog and social media.

     The location that these photos were taken at is the Midtown Target parking deck near Uptown Charlotte. As many of my longtime reader friends know, this spot is my favorite place in Charlotte. (True story: I always told my friends in college that if I were to meet my future husband in Charlotte, I wanted to be proposed to up there!) And it's also a place that has held a lot of significance to my blog over the years. I first did photos up here for one of my very first product review posts, and that was almost three years ago! The first time that I ever shot with a professional photographer was on this deck, and the announcement photos for when I rebranded my blog two years ago were also taken here. When I began working with Deeana Kourtney Photography this past spring, we met for our first photoshoot up here as well. (That very day in fact I told her about the situation in which I'm writing about in today's post.) I knew after we shot this NYE look on top of the deck that it was finally time to share the words that have been waiting inside of me for the better part of 2016.

     2016 has without a doubt been the darkest year of my life. I am so thankful for my parents- they have been incredibly supportive through it all. And I am also thankful for a few close friends who proved their loyalty and trustworthiness and stuck by my side through this journey. But it's time to let what's in the past be in the past, and to make peace in my heart with 2016. There are so many things that I wish I could change about this year, but I am ready to sparkle and shine my way into 2017.

     I have not a clue where 2017 will take me. I finish broadcasting school this spring, and I am more certain than ever before that radio broadcasting is the field that I want to work in. When thinking about where I want to live longterm, Charlotte of course comes to mind. I still love it here, and many people that I love reside here. I would absolutely stay here longer if employment in my field should work out. But I'm also at a a place finally where I feel confident enough to leave Charlotte, or even North Carolina. No move to Maine is back on my radar, but I do feel like I could see myself living in another part of the South, or even a totally different part of the country, if a job were to provide that opportunity. I feel confident and excited in my future endeavors. I know that all of the hardships that 2016 brought were apart of God's plan to make me stronger. My story will help others, even if not right now... someday.

     In more positive news regarding 2016, I will be sharing some of the happier highlights from this year (of which there were many of these as well) in Wednesday and Friday's posts! First up will be highlights from my favorite memories from this year in my personal life on Wednesday, and then on Friday I'll be sharing the best of this year for me in blogging moments. So please stay tuned this week for both of these posts!

     Are you ready to sparkle your way into 2017 with me?

     xoxo Miss ALK


  1. Congrats on finishing school and I am so sorry that something happened to you! 2015 and 2016 were both really rough years for me and my family, so cheers to 2017! You look so cute in this dress too!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing! I know that had to be so tough and congrats to you for talking about it. It can only help you and others. Hope 2017 is a great year!

  3. Thank you for sharing! I admire your strength and bravery for getting through it all and remaining positive. I have no doubt 2017 will be full of joy for you!

  4. You're adorable! In love with this dress on you - beautiful location!

  5. Thanks for sharing! I cannot imagine keeping something off of my blog- it is such a stress reliever for me as well! I bet that was so hard to do, but glad you finally found a way to share some of it, and get it off your shoulders!

    Love this dress on you, and the rooftop is such a fun location. I can see why you love it so much!

    xx, Jamie

  6. You are so strong Annaliese! Glad you were able to talk about it on your blog, sometimes sharing it in suv a public way is a way to really let go of something that's really torn you apart. I can only imagine what you went through, but 2017 I can feel is your year! So excited for what's to come for you! Praying for you and that 2017 is the year you shine!! xo

  7. Glad you were finally able to write about that terrible incident and get it off your chest! It is so hard when you make your life public, and yet there are certain things that can't be shared. 2017 is going to be amazing, for sure!!

    Xo, Brianne

  8. This is my first time visiting your blog and I am so glad that I found it! Sharing the hard parts of our lives through blogging is sometimes a struggle when society makes us want to look like everything is perfect. So proud of you for being able to share such a traumatic event and I pray that 2017 brings you happiness and great blessings!

    Shelbi |

  9. It is difficult not being able to share something that impacted you so much. Hugs! I hope you find a way to move on and find peace as you deal with this. So many good things are ahead in 2017...I am sure.

  10. I am definitely ready to sparkle my way into 2017! Hoping for good years for everyone! You look lovely in this dress!
    -Anna |

  11. Sparkles are a MUST for welcoming any new year! I love a cute, sequin cocktail dress for NYE!

  12. How special that this location holds so many memories for your blog! I actually found about this deck through your blog! Thank you for sharing you story with us, hoping 2017 is amazing for you pretty girl!
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  13. Good for you! I wish you the best, and know that this post will touch so many people!

  14. You are so positive and strong, girl! I really admire that. It seems that everyone has had to fight their battles in 2016, and from the sound of it, yours was very tough and I commend you for keeping your head up. I wish you nothing but sparkle and shine in 2017! It's going to be a great year.


  15. I'm sorry you experienced such negativity this year – 2017 is definitely going to be so much more amazing, you're such a positive person! You look lovely in these photos by the way :)

  16. I hate that something so negative happened to you but you're so strong to open up and grow from it. And I totally get what you're saying about the blog- when I was unemployed for months I just had the hardest time telling people through the blog but then again life ISN'T perfect and we all go through trials that eventually make us stronger. 2017 will be your year, girl!!!

    xo, Kristina

  17. I hate that 2016 had to be like this for you sweet girl. Thank you for sharing and I pray that 2017 is the best year yet!

    Greta |

  18. I am so sorry this year was so rough for you. I hope the new year brings much more light. Congrats on graduating and your strength is admirable <3

  19. I know that 2017 will be a wonderful year for you! So thankful to have met you through MBN, pretty lady! Keep on sparkling.

  20. First of all, your dress is adorable! I love how dainty it looks!

    Second, whenever possible, don't try to battle anxiety and stress alone. Understanding you had some legal reasons for not sharing, I have found the blog community to be extremely supportive and therapeutic as I battle anxiety and depression. No person has a life that is rainbows and sunshine all the time and being able to the share those raw emotions is what makes connecting through blogs so special. <3 I wish you a healthy, happy and amazing 2017! Radio broadcasting seems so fun! I've always wished I ended up going that route after graduation. Congrats!

    Top Knots & Sweatpants

  21. I absolutely love that dress! Can't wait to follow along with your 2017 journey!

  22. These pictures are awesome. I hope 2017 is much better than 2016!

  23. Praying for you!!!! Please let me know if there is any way I can help!

  24. This sparkly dress is so cute! I love this outfit on you! Praying for you babe

  25. I know what you mean about wanting to share the good and the bad. I'm sorry that happened to you, and I wish you all the best in 2017!


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