March 30, 2016

How to Run a Successful Blog While in College.




     Those of you who follow me on Snapchat (@miss_alk) might have seen the little spiel that I posted about upcoming blog content on Saturday night. With the next month bringing me little time to myself between final projects, papers and exams galore (including turning in my Capstone paper for my major!), Greek Week and other end of the year sorority commitments, Senior Week at school, and of course moving into my new apartment, I realized that I might not have as much time for planning and writing my weekly fashion posts in the coming weeks as I usually do. My goal is to still have 1-2 fashion posts a week on the blog during the month of April, but if things don't turn out exactly like that, I'm going to give myself grace! My final month of college will only come once in my life, and I know that the schoolwork and upcoming events that I have need to take priority. 

     But with this exciting transition phase in my life fast approaching, I have had lots of ideas for lifestyle post content for the blog! I shared some of these ideas on my Snapchat over the weekend, and it got great feedback from many of you. One of my post ideas was this one: sharing my tips and tricks for maintaining a successful blog while also being a full-time student. I started Southern Belle in Training on my 18th birthday, which was just two weeks after my freshman year of college began! Many aspects of my life have changed greatly since the start of my freshman year, but blogging is one thing that I've only increased my consistency in, and with that has come more and more success. I am certainly not the "biggest" blogger out there, and I will not lie to any of you and tell you that I have become successful enough to make blogging my full-time career at this point in my life (although that is a goal for someday!). However, I did file for taxes for 2015 income that I made off of my website, and that process made me realize that if I had started something in college and grown it large enough to file taxes on it, than I must have been fairly dedicated enough during my college years to keeping it going. So alas- the inspiration for this post! 

     Below are my best tips, tricks and suggestions after the past few years for how to successfully balance blogging and college:



Treat your blog as a job

     I've now been blogging for three and a half years on Southern Belle in Training, but I don't think that my website has really "taken off" until maybe the last year! That is because it wasn't until around this time last year (around the time that I rebranded) that I started thinking of my blog as my job, and not just a hobby that I did in my spare time. I realized that in order to keep my page views and followers consistent, I needed to have new content and posts on a regular basis, and work even harder to schedule that around school. Sometimes treating my blog as a job means that I get less sleep on a certain night when finishing a post, or pass up on certain social opportunities to catch up on other aspects of my blog. Blogging doesn't have to be a job that takes over your whole life, but it should be treated seriously, and doing that will pay off. For example, consistency in posting helped me greatly with sponsored post opportunities and collaborations with companies! 


Utilize a blog planner


 This is something that I only started doing this past year, but I wish I had started doing much earlier! Having an agenda for school each year helps greatly with writing down homework assignments and test dates, as well as other school activities such as work schedules, on-campus events, and sorority events. I use my blog planner very similarly, and pretty much for all aspects of of my blog! Each week I write down the posts that I have planned for that week, and I use various colored gel pens to differentiate which posts are my own content, and which are sponsored. I also keep a paper record in my blog planner of the income that I make each month through blogging. I mainly keep track of income on my computer, but it's always good to have a paper copy with back-up! And lastly, my planner is great for writing down ideas as they come to me throughout the week, and to remind myself of other things that I need to do for my blog, like special social media posts, emails I need to respond to, or which days I'm shooting on that week. I personally think that's very useful to have two separate agendas: one for school (or work), and one for your blog!


Don't be shy to recruit your friends

My blog's success over the past few years would not have been possible without the help of various friends! Many of my friends between both of my colleges have generously volunteered to help with the photography for Southern Belle in Training through the years, and without photographers, a fashion blog wouldn't be possible! Some of my friends have really taken a liking to helping with my blog photos, and it has been fun to watch their interest in photography grow with time. I also have friends who have come and supported my website in other ways, such as attending the first blogging event that I co-hosted last fall, or entering giveaways that I host here on my blog. If your real-life friends don't understand what your blog is or why you spend so much time on it, explain it to them! The more they know, the more they will understand, and probably want to get involved if they can! 


Set goals for yourself

I think that setting goals for growing your blog is an excellent way to motivate yourself to stay on track as a blogger, especially while in college! It can be easy sometimes to want to put blogging on the back burner of your life when schoolwork or personal commitments are overwhelming your time (which is so often the case in college), but if you have broader goals that you are reaching for, it will encourage you to stay consistent with your website. Be sure to make goals that get you excited about blogging! Whether they are increasing your Instagram followers, blogging 5x weekly for a month, attending a blogging conference, collaborating with your favorite brand, or finally getting into rewardStyle (my goal for 2+ years- which finally happened this past February!), anything is possible with hard work, patience, and confidence! 


Sometimes school does come first

Even though taking blogging seriously is important to have a successful blog, the truth is that when you're in college, you are a student first and foremost! That means that during some weeks (*cough cough* Midterms and Finals weeks, I'm looking at you especially), your blog will have to come second to schoolwork or school commitments. You only get once chance to do well each semester in college, and your grades count for life! No one wants to have a bad GPA because they spent all of their free time blogging. The same can be applied to bloggers who are out of college and have full time careers. There will always be busier weeks at work where sometimes your full-time job has to come first! You don't want to do poorly as an employee and lose employment because of your blog. 
There is a solution for this though: and it's preparing content in advance for the crazy weeks of the semester! I actually have one coming up next week, as it's Greek Week at my school, plus Spring Initiation week for my sorority! I also know that I have a lot of school assignments due. This week I am planning to pre-write at least two blog posts for next week, because I know that if I don't do them well in advance, my blog won't have new content next week! So it's very important to know the flow of your schedule, and to plan ahead for busy times. 



     Those are my best five tips for managing a blog while being in school! Do any of your fellow collegiate bloggers (or bloggers who started their blogs while in college) have any tips that I missed? Do share!


     xoxo Miss ALK

March 29, 2016

Spring Date Night Look.









Top: Dillard's // Jeans: American Eagle Outfitters // Shoes: TJ Maxx {similar here!} // Clutch: Towne & Reese // Earrings: Charming Charlie {old, similar found here} // Bracelets: c/o Taudrey // Lips: Almay SmartShade Butter Kiss Lipstick in Pink Light/Medium 



     I am absolutely obsessed with this gorgeous pink top, and I have been so excited to feature it on the blog! It is lightweight and perfect for spring, yet lined enough that it isn't see-through. Sadly these photos don't even do the gorgeous neon color of it much justice, it is truly such a bright shade of pink that even my camera and the beautiful morning light couldn't accurately capture it! 

     I think that this outfit would be absolutely perfect for a spring date night. The top and earrings add a fun dressy touch, but pairing them with skinny jeans adds a touch of casual elegance to the look. I would definitely wear this outfit on a dinner (or dessert) date. The truth though is that I'm currently very single and not dating anyone (I deleted my profiles from the dating apps that I was on over the winter), so y'all who have boyfriends will have to copy this look for date nights and I can live vicariously through you! Haha. :-) 


     I hope that everyone's week is off to a great start! The past two weeks, I have been up very late on Sunday nights finishing large assignments for my Monday class, so that's why Monday's posts have been pushed to Tuesdays lately! Goodness, I am getting so excited to be done with school in just over a month.

     Stay tuned tomorrow for a fun post that's different from my usual Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases posts!






     
     xoxo Miss ALK






March 25, 2016

Best Easter Sales + Current Wishlist.




 
     "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" I really think that people should sing this song for Easter instead of Christmas! Easter is my absolute favorite holiday, and for many reasons. First and foremost because of the religious significance, just think, the Christian faith wouldn't exist without it! But I also love because of the bunnies (my favorite animal), the beautiful and bright colors, getting to dress up extra special for church, the foods, the spring weather, and pretty much anything else associated with it! It is just my favorite time of year, through and through. Anyone else with me? (The above photo is my mom's table settings for Easter dinner at my house last year! I have gone home for Easter during my freshman and junior years of college, but am staying at school this year.)


     Like most holidays in America, Easter also means a time for sales in the retail world! This weekend is bringing some good ones to some of my favorite stores. I spent this week scouring the web and trying to find the best deals at my favorite retailers. Here are what I think are some of the best sales of the weekend, for any of you who have been bitten by the shopping bug as of late!


Ann Taylor - 40% almost everything online, using code MARCH40. Ends 3/28.

Charlotte Russe - Entire store up to 50% off in-store and online, no code. Ends 3/27. (For all of my college girls- this is a great time to stock up on more casual clothes/sandals/heels for nights out! CR is one of my go-to stores for this type of apparel.) 

Forever 21 - Buy two sale items online, save an extra 20% using code SALE20, (same discount for three and four sale items online except for 30% and 40% off, with codes SALE30 and SALE40). Ends 3/27.

J. Crew Factory - 50% off everything in-store and online, no code. Online-only, use code EGGSCELLENT for an extra 40% off all clearance. Ends 3/27.

Kate Spade - Extra 25% off all sale items online with code HOPTOIT. Ends 3/28. (I bought my favorite wallet ever through a promotion similar to this a couple of years ago- so I would definitely recommend seeing what Kate Spade already has in their sale section!)

Lilly Pulitzer - Free gift with purchases in-store and online (gifts with purchases of $150 and $300). Ends 3/27.

LOFT - 30% off almost everything online, no code. Ends 3/28.

Nordstrom - This one isn't a "sale" per say, but this is a Triple Points weekend for all cardholders shopping at Nordstrom! I personally am not a Nordstrom cardholder, but if you are, this is a great time to do some shopping! Triple Points ends on 3/26.


     Below some of my current wishlist favorites are linked! The first three items are all on sale for $20- how can you beat that?!







     Wishing all of you a peaceful and joy-filled Easter weekend with family and friends! The majority of my weekend is going to be working on papers for my Capstone and Senior Ethics classes, but I am still excited to go to church this weekend, and to have Easter lunch with my friend Caroline's family on Sunday!


     xoxo Miss ALK

March 23, 2016

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.


{Photo credit: Morgan from How 2 Wear It. Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @miss_alk!}



Ramblings: 
  • Blogger meet-up fun: The picture above shows how much fun I had this past Saturday at the March meet-up for North Carolina's region of the InfluenceHer Blogger Network (formally known as the Her Campus Blogger Network)! I am the regional chair for IHC North Carolina, so I get to plan meet-ups every couple of months for the wonderful bloggers in my area! This month we met at the Charlotte Premium Outlets, which is a fairly new outlet shopping center on the outskirts of the city. I had actually never been over to the outlets before, and I was amazed at how nice they were! But the best part of the afternoon was definitely getting to be in the company of some other great bloggers. Despite being a wide array of ages, everyone got along perfectly, and we enjoyed talking all about blogging collaborations, photoshoot fails, and of course sharing lots of stories about the strange emails that we receive from time to time as bloggers! If you are a Charlotte or NC blogger and would like to join the InfluenceHer Blogger Network and be included in my future meet-up plans, click here to apply to join IHC, and then send me an email at rainbowflash94@yahoo.com
  • Apartment life: I mentioned in a recent MR + RP post that my friend Ciera and I (she is my roommate for post-grade life) found our apartment recently! The apartment hunting process went more smoothly then we thought it would, and we love our new place. We were offered a great rent special for the weeks before I graduate, and since Ciera graduated college in December, she has already moved in! I went over the visit last night and to see how she is settling in. I am getting SO excited to get to officially move in after I graduate, it really couldn't come sooner! I'm trying to make the most of my last six weeks of college... but with all of the work and commitments that I have, it's hard to enjoy everything! Also: if y'all have any great apartment design Pinterest boards, please leave a comment with the link!!
  • Orlando vacation recap: Be sure to check out this post from last week if you haven't yet! It's a full recap of my last Spring Break, which was spent in Orlando and Disney! I want to start bringing more travel content to this blog in the months and years to come, so I hope that y'all enjoyed the format of this post. :-) 
  • Two giveaways: Just a reminder that I have two giveaways going on right now! One is in yesterday's blog post, and one is running on my Instagram through tonight! 
  • Dancing groomsmen: Here's my funny web find of the week: do any of you remember the viral wedding dance video that the internet went crazy over several years ago? (I think it was when I was in 9th or 10th grade maybe?) It featured a couple and their bridal party dancing down the aisle to Forever by Chris Brown. I used to be obsessed with that video back in the day! Anyways, this fun wedding reception dance video has recently gone viral, and it features some groomsmen that definitely have moves! I love when they break out into the *NSYNC dance. 


Purchases:
  • I did very well at the LOFT outlet when I visited the Charlotte Premium Outlets on Saturday! I actually prefer LOFT outlets to their regular mall stores. I always find the best deals at their outlets! The first thing that I purchased was the most darling white blouse. I have a patterned and very bright summer skirt that I've been needing a simple top to style with, and thanks to LOFT I finally found the right type of top! The exact top that I purchased isn't online, but this one is super similar, and I think it's actually prettier than the one that I took home, haha! (And this one is on sale online right now too! Win!)
  • I also found a super cute fitted dress jacket at LOFT. Not only is is a perfect business casual piece, but it is made of the comfiest fabric. And in-store it was on sale for under $40! Sadly again this piece isn't online, but this very similar jacket is online here!



       Hope that everyone is having a great week!



      xoxo Miss ALK


March 22, 2016

Styling Dainty Jewelry.









Top: Forever 21 {old, very similar here} // Skirt: Abercrombie & Fitch {almost identical here!} // Shoes: The Walking Company {very similar here} // Jacket: Forever 21 // Purse: Forever 21 // Necklace: c/o Nava New York // Rings: c/o Nava New York // Nails: CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Polish in SkyLight {old color, similar color here} // Lips: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Demure 



     In the past, I have been all about jewelry that is big and bold (and sparkly and shimmery!). My jewelry collection shows that I tend to favor statement necklaces, colorful bracelets, and embellished earrings. But recently, I have been starting to add daintier and more delicate pieces into my jewelry rotation. While I think that "louder" jewelry pieces absolutely have their place and purpose in every girl's wardrobe, it can be nice to have some more understated pieces as well. 

     I was so excited when Nava New York sent me two gorgeous items from their beautiful jewelry collection to style! One was the adorable custom bar necklace, which they customized for me on both sides! One side has a bow on it (to represent my blog's logo), the other side says MISS ALK, which is my Instagram name, and also how I sign my blog posts (read this post to learn why I sign all of my posts under this name if you don't know! :-) ). I absolutely adore this sweet little necklace because 1.) it is easy to pair it with so many different outfits, and 2.) I love the thoughtfulness that the team behind Nava New York put into designing it for me! 

      Nava New York specializes in making unique and dainty jewelry for women in Panhellenic sororities. They also sent me one of their darling Alpha Delta Pi rings, and I am obsessed! I have been wearing it non-stop since receiving it. My time as an active collegiate member in ADPi will come to a conclusion in just under a month, so this ring will be perfect for me to take with me from the transition into becoming an alumni member in my sorority. 


     Nava New York has been so kind as to sponsor a giveaway for y'all here on Southern Belle in Training! One lucky reader will receive the same dainty gold twist ring that I am wearing in this post! My ring is of course for Alpha Delta Pi, but Nava New York is a licensed Greek vendor that can make jewelry for all 26 Panhellenic sororities, so you can have the ring made in the letters of whichever Panhellenic organization you belong to! This would also make a fantastic gift for your Big or Little, or a friend who is in a sorority. This giveaway will run through Wednesday, March 30th, 2016


a Rafflecopter giveaway


     Similar items to what I'm wearing in this post are linked below!



 

      Today's post is sponsored by Nava New York. Thank-you for supporting the brands that support Southern Belle in Training!


      xoxo Miss ALK

March 18, 2016

Color Block Maxi Dress.








Dress: c/o Pink Blush // Shoes: Rack Room Shoes {almost identical here} // Clutch: Towne & Reese // Earrings: {old, similar here} // Lips: Essence XXL Shine Lip Gloss in Popping Pink



     Happy Friday! Popping in quickly today to share another gorgeous item from Pink Blush. This color block maxi dress is so stunning! When I ordered it online, I honestly wasn't sure how I would like it in person. It completely blew away my expectations! It is so comfortable, and one of the most figure-flattering maxi dresses that I own. It could be worn very casually, or with fancier hair and makeup for a dressier look (which is closer to what I tried to pull off here).

     Be sure to check out the two other recent blog posts that I did with Pink Blush, which you can find here and here. They have some lovely spring and summer items in their collection right now! Another great thing about Pink Blush is that in addition to their women's' collections, they also have a very stylish maternity line. If you or someone you know is expecting, definitely look to Pink Blush for your maternity clothing needs!


     I hope that all of you are having a great start to your weekend! Despite having a lot of homework, I am excited for this weekend because of some fun plans with Charlotte and North Carolina area blogging friends on Saturday afternoon! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @miss_alk to keep up with the fun.






     Thanks to Pink Blush for sponsoring today's post. Thank-you for continuing to support the brands that support Southern Belle in Training!



     xoxo Miss ALK

March 17, 2016

Orlando Vacation Recap.


     I'm so excited to finally be sharing a recap of my Spring Break vacation today! Some of you might know that it has been my tradition since sophomore year to travel with my dad for Spring Break. For the past two years, we visited the Dominican Republic. I didn't have as much time to travel this year due to some adulting obligations in Charlotte (such as apartment hunting!) during the end of the break, so we wanted to travel to a domestic location this year. I was thrilled when my dad and I decided upon Orlando, and even more excited when he said that I could bring a friend along! I invited my dear friend Caroline, who has been mentioned many times before on the blog. ;-) We became good friends at school last year, and this year we are suitemates!

      We were in Orlando for five days, which I think is the perfect amount of time for that destination. My dad flew in separately from New England, and Caroline and I actually had more time there. We had a morning flight in an airport outside of Charlotte, so our day began very early on the Thursday that we left! And we didn't end up arriving back in Charlotte on Monday (technically Tuesday) until 1:30 a.m., so we definitely made the most of the five days with our travel arrangements.


     Below I will be recapping how we traveled, where we stayed, and what all we did while in Orlando! If y'all like this blog post format, I will try and implement it in the future for upcoming travels and vacations. :-)



Travel: I really enjoy searching for cheap flights. I think that the whole process is a gamble, and I love the thrill of the chase! I definitely get this from my dad, as he is a master at booking affordable travel. Since Caroline and I were flying in separately from Charlotte, my dad let me take care of booking our flights. It was not a quick process, and we ended up with a very interesting flight itinerary, but the total cost for each ticket was $173!
     One thing that I have learned in my years of flying to and from Charlotte for school is that despite the fact that Charlotte is a huge hub, it is not a cheap airport to have as a final destination. I also have been aware in recent years of Allegiant Airlines, an up and coming budget airline that flies mainly to warm weather destinations from small airports. I wanted to try and get Caroline and I on Allegiant if I could, because they fly out of an airport in a Charlotte suburb!
     Unfortunately Allegiant's scheduling for the airport closest to us didn't line up with our trip dates, but I did find a $40 one-way Allegiant flight out of the Greensboro NC airport, which is an hour and a half from Charlotte. For a ticket at that price, it was worth it for us to find a ride to the Greensboro airport. (And Caroline's mom generously took us!) For our return trip, I booked us on a cheap Delta flight into Charlotte. It had a layover in Atlanta, which ended up being a disadvantage, but we still got back safely, and our delays were only a couple of hours!
     If you're searching for a cheap flight soon for upcoming travel, do not be afraid to look at airports that are outside of the vicinity of your main one! You could find an incredible deal, like we did in Greensboro with Allegiant. It's also good to price shop on multiple websites! I usually like to book all travel arrangements through Expedia since I get Ebates cash back, but for this trip it was the cheapest to book through each airline directly.
     As far as actual transportation while in Orlando, my dad ended up renting a car, so that is what we used for the actual vacation. But Caroline and I did take Ubers to and from the airport on both days of the trip! The cost from the Orlando Sanford Airport (Allegiant's hub), which is a little north of the city, was $31 to our hotel. I paid $18 for our Uber on Monday to take us to Orlando International Airport. Not bad rates at all when split between two people! I found Uber in Orlando to be extremely prompt, and we didn't have any issues.


Lodging: My dad decided to book our lodging in the Universal Resort area, instead of staying within Disney. Universal's resorts can be much more reasonably priced, and still offer wonderful amenities, and a close location to Disney and other Orlando attractions!
     We stayed at Cabana Bay , which is just under two years old. The hotel is 1950s themed, and you really do feel like you have jumped back in time as you walk through the property! Despite the fun retro theme, everything is still brand new. The rooms were my favorite part of the hotel- we were so pleased with our suite room! It was quiet, clean, and had the most fun and colorful decor! You can see a picture of our beautiful room on my Instagram (@miss_alk).
     Cabana Bay also has two pools, a 50s style bowling alley, and a round-the-clock free shuttle service for guests to other Universal hotels and Universal's CityWalk (more about CityWalk below!). The only part of staying at Cabana Bay that I didn't like as much was their dining options. Their main restaurant is cafeteria style, and I was looking forward to Spring Break so that I would get a chance to get a break from cafeteria style dining, haha! But other than that, we really enjoyed this hotel. I would love to check out the other Universal hotel properties if I should return to this area in the future!


Trip Agenda: We spent two days in Disney, and one day exploring Orlando. I think that this schedule was perfect, it allowed for just enough Disney time without anything getting overwhelming!

Thursday: Caroline and I arrived much earlier than my dad, so we spent the afternoon exploring the hotel, and lounging by one of the pools! Once my dad arrived, we got ready for dinner, and enjoyed eating at the Loews' Portofino Bay Hotel, another hotel in the Universal area.

Friday: Epcot day, and the biggest day of our trip! Epcot is my favorite Disney park. We arrived around 9:30 am, shortly after the park opened, so that we could take advantage of the whole day. We first enjoyed a character brunch with some Disney friends at Disney's Beach Club resort, which is in walking distance to Epcot. Such a fun way to start the day, and the food was delicious!



     After brunch, we spent the whole day taking in the sights and sounds of Epcot! We enjoyed meeting a few Disney characters, and then made our way to the rides and countries of the world. We had a chance to do quite a bit, but even a full day is never enough time to see all of a Disney park.




Bunny rabbit! Bunnies are my favorite animals. :-)


This is one of my favorite rides in all of Disney! It's in Epcot, and it's called Living with The Land. 


     In some of the pictures above that you can see above is the beautiful floral and greenery arrangements that were found all over the park. That is because we were in Epcot during their annual Flower and Garden Festival, which was extended this year to run from the beginning of March through the end of May! I am a lover of botanical gardens, so I have always hoped to be in Disney World during this time, and my wish finally came true!

      We ended our Epcot day with dinner at Restaurant Marrakesh in the country of Morocco. This is my own family's Disney tradition! On our three previous Disney trips, we have always had a meal in Morocco. It's probably a more strange Disney tradition to have, but I love it nonetheless, and the food and atmosphere of this restaurant are always wonderful! It's so fun to eat dinner and be entertained by live music and belly dancing!

      Lastly, a big highlight for me of Epcot was enjoying a delicious drink on the way out of the park. A coffee stand near the country of England sold chai lattes that were spiked with Bailey's, which is my favorite alcohol. So delicious!! Definitely a must have for 21+ visitors to Epcot.

     Caroline and I had thought about doing the Disney version of a bar crawl, which is drinking around the world at Epcot (getting a drink in each country represented in the park!). But once we started looking at prices of alcohol at Disney, and also realizing how many countries there were, we realized that this wasn't the trip to do this on. But if you are on a more traditional Spring Break trip, then drinking around the world might be a fun bonding experience for a group of friends! ;-)


     The fun wasn't over for us after we left Epcot though! Once we got back to our hotel, Caroline and I headed out to explore Universal's CityWalk area. CityWalk is a huge area filled with restaurants, bars, and some shopping and entertainment attractions. It's a ton of fun for the 21+ crowd after dark! We only stayed for a couple of hours, but we had a great time checking out some of the places. Our hotel also provided free shuttle service too and from CityWalk, so we didn't have to bother with Ubers.


Saturday: This was our more mellow day, as all of us were pretty tired from the previous day's adventures in Epcot! We didn't do any Disney parks this day, and instead wanted to explore something in Orlando.
      My dad arranged for the three of us to have a guided tour of the Leu Botanical Gardens in downtown Orlando. We had a wonderful time! The plants and flowers of Florida are so different than what I'm used to (being from New England), so we got to see so many amazing sights in all of the gardens. The associate director for the gardens, Keri, was our tour guide, and she was absolutely wonderful.
      We checked out Disney Springs (formally known as Downtown Disney) that evening, and enjoyed a delicious Asian dinner at Morimoto Restaurant. They served the best Thai Iced Tea that I think I've ever had in my life!


Sunday: Caroline's favorite day of the trip: Magic Kingdom Day! We arrived at Magic Kingdom a little later than we had at Epcot, but still enjoyed a full day in the park. We got to do a lot of different rides than I had done on my last visit to Disney in high school, but something that I really did enjoy was partaking in a few old favorites as well, especially the It's a Small World After All ride. ;-)

It's a Small World After All - an absolute must ride if you're in Magic Kingdom. :-)






     I am not personally a big fan of roller coasters or other thrill rides, because I am very prone to motion sickness. So stuck to the more mellow Magic Kingdom rides, but there was still more than enough to keep us busy for the day! In addition to Small World, my other favorite rides were the Jungle Cruise, Dumbo's ride, and the carousel by Cinderella's castle.

     We left Magic Kingdom briefly to eat dinner in the Grand Floridian Hotel. Let me tell y'all- if I ever get the chance to return to Disney World someday with a special guy in my life, I would love to stay at the Grand Floridian! Such a romantic and beautiful hotel! It definitely showcases the more "grown-up" side of Disney as well. After our meal, we hopped on the monorail and made it back to the park, just in time for what we had been waiting for all day, the Wishes Fireworks Spectacular!







      If there's one thing that Disney does well, it's fireworks! What an incredible show, and a perfect way to end the Disney portion of our trip.


Monday: The final day of our trip! My dad had an earlier flight, and he headed to the airport shortly after breakfast. Caroline and I returned to Orlando's CityWalk for lunch, and ate at Margaritaville. (I was not super impressed with my food and found their prices to be very high for the quality of the food and the service- would not recommend!) Some of you might also remember from my Snapchat that after lunch we stopped by a restaurant called Cowfish. Cowfish is a sushi and burger restaurant that has a location in Charlotte, and I truly believe that they have the best milkshakes in the world! The CityWalk location was three stories, and of course I had to stop by to take my favorite milkshake to go!

      The last thing that Caroline and I did was meet up with some of my Florida blogging friends! I finally had the chance to meet Ashley and Michelle, two Orlando fashion bloggers, and it was so much fun. Caroline patiently listened as the three of us discussed fun blogging topics like social media analytics, rewardStyle, and blogging conferences- my suitemate truly is a saint, y'all!


     To sum up quickly, a few things that I would definitely recommend doing from our trip to Orlando:

  • Flying on Allegiant Airlines
  • Staying at a Universal Resort 
  • Dining at Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot's Morocco Pavilion
  • Visiting Universal's CityWalk for nightlife (21+)
  • Visiting Leu Botanical Gardens (and scheduling a guided tour if possible!)
  • Dining at Morimoto Restaurant in Disney Springs

      I hope that y'all enjoyed this Spring Break recap post! I know that this blog post was very detailed, so please let me know in the comments if you liked this format of a travel recap post or not!





     xoxo Miss ALK

March 16, 2016

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.



{This dress is coming to the blog later this week! Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @miss_alk}



Ramblings:
  • The Future: My post-grad plans are shaping together quite nicely, and I couldn't be more thankful! I will share more details about what exactly it is that I'm doing after graduation soon, but for now I will share that I'm continuing my education! I'm not doing a graduate school program, but I guess you could call what I'm doing sort of related to that, but for my major and interests. :-) I'll also be continuing working as a nanny for a few families in Charlotte during the next several months (which I love and have been doing since sophomore year of college!), as well as devoting more time to my blog. And I get to live with my friend Ciera, my bestie from my former college! I am so thankful that God has blessed me so much with post-grad plans that are such a perfect fit for me, and I hope that everything will stay smooth as graduation approaches! 
  • Work Work Work: Whether you love (or love to hate) Rihanna and Drake's new song, I think that everyone should watch this hilarious video! This guy took out actual song in the music video, and instead mouths what he thinks both of them are saying. Too funny!
  • Guilty as charged: Here is another random web find of mine from this week. Who else was guilty of having these during their elementary or middle school years? *sheepishly raises hand* I definitely got a good chuckle out of this article though, and it brought back some memories! 
  • Blogger Bestie time: I am SO excited for the next few weekends, because I have some super fun plans in the works with my blogging friends! This weekend, I am organizing the March North Carolina meet-up for the InfluenceHer Collective Blogger Network (formally known at the Her Campus Blogger Network). I am the regional chair for North Carolina, so I get to plan meet-ups for other bloggers in NC throughout the year! Our meet-up for this month is here in Charlotte, and I can't wait to get together with some of my favorite bloggers, and meet some new bloggers as well! And during the first weekend in April, my blogger bestie Cara from Caralina Style and I have something really awesome in the works (hint: it's an item on my bucket list!). All of these fun plans definitely help take away the pain of the stress of school for the next few weeks! 


Purchases:
  • When my mom was in the town this weekend, we did a little bit of shopping at SouthPark, Charlotte's nicest mall! We went originally so that I could start looking at graduation dresses. I didn't end up finding anything that I loved that day (although this dress was cute and definitely a contender), but I did end up finding some new shoes! I've been needing a good new pair of flats for a long time, and I have a hard foot to fit for flats. These are some comfortable around my toes, but I am still breaking them in on my ankles, and they did give me some blisters the first day that I wore them. I'm hoping that this will fade with time once I wear them more, as they are super cute
  • Up next is not necessarily the most fun purchase... but my old nude strapless bra finally bit the dust on my vacation to Orlando. I had it for such a long time that the elastic was so worn down that it had trouble staying up on my chest! Definitely not fun to constantly be reaching into your shirt and pulling up a strapless bra haha. Anyways, I made my way to Victoria's Secret last week and picked up a new nude strapless bra. I'm all about buying cute and embellished bras and underwear normally, but sometimes you do really just need the basics, and a nude strapless bra is an absolute essential

     My Spring Break vacation recap was supposed to be up yesterday, but the post is turning out to be longer than I expected. I will try to have it finished for tomorrow!



     xoxo Miss ALK

March 14, 2016

Restyling Lilly Pulitzer Shorts.








Top: Sears {similar here} // Shorts: Lilly Pulitzer {last year's pattern, this year's colors here!} // Shoes: Rack Room Shoes {very similar here} // Sunglasses: TJ Maxx // Purse: Forever 21 // Necklace: Talbots {similar here} // Watch: Kate Spade // Lips: Mally Lipstick in BFF Pink


     Happy Monday! Today will be a little bit of a rough one, as I'm headed back into a full week of school after a wonderful (last) Spring Break. The beginning of my break was spent in Orlando (full recap of the vacation coming tomorrow!), and this past weekend my mom came to Charlotte to help me and my future roommate look for apartments. We lucked out and found one that fit our budget and had most of the things that we were looking for!! Provided that we pass the last part of the approval process this week, we will get to move in a lot earlier than expected, which is so exciting! I'm thrilled to have more time than I expected to slowly move out of my dorm room- ha! 

     My restyled outfit posts are always a hit here on Southern Belle in Training, so I thought that it would be fun to kick off the week by sharing one. The shorts that I'm wearing were previously featured in this post from last summer, and my top was previously featured in this post from the fall. I had never styled both pieces together before now, but this outfit is just a perfect example of how you can continually shop your own closet to create new looks with items that you already own! 


     Have a great start to your week, and thanks for reading!





     xoxo Miss ALK


     P.S. The giveaway that I'm hosting with Pink Blush ends tomorrow- so be sure to enter if you haven't yet! 

March 11, 2016

Romping Around Epcot.








Romper: Nordstrom // Shoes: Rack Room Shoes {very similar here} // Sunglasses: {old} // Purse: Forever 21 {dupe for this bag} // Earrings: Kendra Scott // Bracelets: Alex & Ani // Ring: Charming Charlie {identical found here} // Lips: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Demure



      This is the outfit that I wore for the Epcot day of my recent trip to Orlando for Spring Break! This was my fourth visit to Disney World- I had previously been when I was ages 2 and 6, and then for a quick trip while my dad had a work conference at a Disney hotel when I was in 10th grade. It was visiting Epcot again in high school that I truly fell in love with this park! I love the focus on geography and culture- getting to visit the different countries of the world is so much fun! And I enjoy the rides at Epcot the best out of the other parks I think. 

      I knew that since Epcot is my favorite Disney park, I wanted to wear an outfit that while being functional and comfortable, would also be cute and appropriate for the plethora of pictures that I knew would be happening. So enter this perfect romper! I could not have picked a more perfect outfit for exploring a Disney park. This romper is lightweight and great for Florida sunshine, but the long sleeves still helped me to stay warm after the sun went down that evening. The print and colors on it are absolutely gorgeous, and it's super comfy to wear! It actually comes in two different prints, and I had such a hard time deciding which one I would purchase because they were both equally adorable. That is always a good problem to have I guess! 


      Also- I have to give a quick thank-you and shout-out to my friend Caroline and my dad (my travel companions) for being so patient with me as I found the perfect spot to shoot these photos in!! It took me a good fifteen minutes to move all around this area, messing with my camera settings and standing in different areas of sunlight. But when I found the specific spot, I knew I found the spot! How gorgeous is the light in these pictures?! 
   




   


     A full recap of my trip to Orlando is coming to the blog next week, so stay tuned for that! 


      Happy Weekend!



      xoxo Miss ALK