October 28, 2016

What to Wear For Apple Picking.













     Last weekend, I enjoyed an afternoon at an apple orchard with fellow Charlotte bloggers! Apple picking is a fall tradition that I've enjoyed since I was little. Back home in Maine, there are lots of apple orchards that you can visit in the fall. There's one orchard that I grew up visiting with my family, and another one that I remember going to with my middle school youth group and various friends growing up. Both were great places to visit, and I have so many fond memories from home of all trips to pick apples. 


     Dressing for an afternoon at the apple orchard is the perfect time to where all of your favorite casual fall fashions! Blanket scarves, floppy hats, cozy sweaters, fall colors.... you name it, break it out! It was fairly warm out on the day that we went, so I paired my sweater and blanket scarf combo with my favorite suede skirt


     Last Sunday's day trip was my first time visiting an orchard here in the South, and I'll admit that I was a little underwhelmed! The girls and I went to visit Windy Hill Orchard in York, SC (just under an hour from Charlotte). The orchard did have the cutest little food and drink bar area where you could purchase donuts and cider- and the donuts were delicious! But I was under the impression that all apple orchard were U-Pick, since that's the type that I grew up with in Maine. We learned after we arrived that this orchard finished the U-Pick season in September, so visitors could only "look" at the apple trees... a little bit of a let down! But all of us still managed to take blog photos by the apple trees. ;-) And as always, it was a great time to get together with some of the Charlotte bloggers! I've said this before- but I'm so lucky to live in a city where there is such a great blogging community. 







     Hope that y'all are having a great start to the weekend! Last year I went all out and enjoyed a more typical college "Halloweekend," but this year I'm ready for a busy and productive weekend filled mostly with work! #adulting I am excited to wear my costume for this year to broadcasting school on Monday though!







      xoxo Miss ALK
     

October 26, 2016

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases.




{My outfit: Shirt // Jeans // Shoes // Follow me on Instagram + Snapchat @miss_alk!}




Ramblings:
  • We're back! My apologies that my midweek update posts disappeared for the past few weeks! I genuinely to enjoy writing them for y'all. But my question to all of you: do you like reading them each week? Or is this something that you would prefer to read more on a monthly basis instead? Let me know in the comments!
  • A "Delightful" afternoon: Last Friday, I was in Columbia, SC for the day. I had the chance to meet-up for a late lunch with blogger Rachel from Something Delightful (formally A Preppy State of Mind)! I have been following Rachel's blog since my freshman year of college. Back when I was a freshman and considering transferring schools, I especially loved Rachel's posts about her sorority- Alpha Delta Pi. Reading about her experiences definitely was a factor for me wanting to go Greek when I transferred colleges. (And then I ended up choosing Alpha Delta Pi during my sophomore year! :-) ) Anyways - I have stayed a loyal reader to Rachel's blog through the years. She has an absolutely incredible story. It was so great to finally meet her in person and get to share more of our stories over lunch! It is always so amazing to connect with blogging friends on a deeper level in person. And I also got to meet Rachel's precious little girl, Madeline! 
  • State Fair Fun: After lunch with Rachel, I had my first Southern state fair experience! I went to the South Carolina State Fair with my sorority sister Perrin and her fiancee. It's been on my bucket list since my freshman year of college to attend either the NC or SC State Fair. It truly was a very Southern experience! I ate everything from fried cookie dough and Oreos. And another highlight was seeing livestock and animals of all shapes and sizes. I also thought it was really cool that this fair had different types of competitions like crafting and baking - I sure am jealous of whoever got to taste test the award-winning desserts!
  • On my Netflix: I am probably about five years behind schedule on this- but my latest Netflix obsessed is The Office! I just finished watching Parks and Rec this summer, so it's been fun to start another similar comedy. My parents were big Office fans when I was in high school and I used to watch occasional episodes with them, but I'm really enjoying starting the show from the beginning. Tell me- am I really the last one to the party on this?!



Purchases: 
  • How pretty is this necklace?! My parents and I did a little bit of shopping when they visited a couple of weeks ago, and this was one thing they bought me. I've been wearing it nonstop! And the best part is it's on sale right now. :-)
  • I also recently purchased this sweater in tan (that specific color isn't online- but other pretty colors are!), and I've been wearing it all the time! It'll be styled in Friday's post. 



     xoxo Miss ALK






October 24, 2016

My Favorite J. Crew Purchase.















    Two years ago, I purchased my J. Crew Factory Wool Sidewalk Skirt. Hands down one of the most versatile and best purchases that I've ever made! I wear this skirt with everything. Each fall, I look forward to styling it different ways!! It's a classic and preppy wardrobe staple piece. 


    This time around I'm pairing it with this cute flannel shirt! YMI Jeans was one of the sponsoring brands at The Blog Societies Conference this past summer, and I received this shirt from them. I have a few different flannel shirts and love wearing them in the cooler months. If I'm just lounging around, I'll wear my flannels just with jeans or leggings and top it all off with a messy bun or ponytail. But it's totally possible to dress flannel up as well, which is shown here! I've found an almost identical flannel shirt to the one I'm wearing, and it's under $15!! 



     I hope that y'all had a great weekend! Mine was pretty quiet, but still wonderful. Do y'all ever have a weekend where sometimes the smaller moments are the highlights? That was mine! The highlight of my weekend was getting the chance to pour out my heart and life story over coffee (my very first-ever Pumpkin Spice Latte- to be exact!)  on Saturday afternoon... I think few things in life are more wonderful than being able to be totally vulnerable and honest and just to share your story with someone! :-) I truly treasure those types of conversations and moments. 



     Other weekend highlights included two separate day trips to South Carolina- I'll be sharing more about both of those in this week's Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases! I've been bad about getting those posts up for the past few weeks, but I promise it will be back this week.







     xoxo Miss ALK
     

October 21, 2016

Ruffle Top + My Favorite Day Trip Destination.













      My parents were visiting me in Charlotte last week, and we took a day trip during their time here to one of my favorite Southern cities: Greenville, SC. This is the outfit that I wore that day! I'd been waiting for the perfect opportunity to wear this pretty ruffle sleeve top, and a day trip proved to be the perfect chance. I paired the top with some of my beloved fall pieces from the past few seasons- like my fringe booties, floppy black felt hat, and a favorite fall vest. And there you go- a perfect day trip outfit!! 


     If you're from the South and have never been to Greenville- definitely make a trip!! It is so worth it. It's one of the most charming small cities that I've ever visited. A lot of elements about the downtown and the culture there remind me of home and some cities up North, but it still has its Southern charm as well. The downtown is adorable, and within a short walking distance of downtown is Falls Park on the Reedy- an incredible public park and walking bridge over waterfalls! These photos were taken on the bridge. :-)  My last trip to Greenville was exactly three years ago when Jules, my best friend from high school, came to visit me in college. It was really fun to go back to such a great place, and also to get to show it to my parents! 



      Speaking of South Carolina- I'm headed back there today! A sorority sister and I are going to the SC State Fair this evening. It's been on my bucket list for a few years to go to a state fair down here- so I can't wait. And beforehand I will be meeting up with a blogging friend! Stay tuned to my Snapchat and Instagram (@miss_alk) for updates through the day.



     Have a great weekend!





      xoxo Miss ALK


October 20, 2016

Tried and True Pinterest Dinner Recipes.




      There were many things that I was looking forward to about moving into my first apartment this past spring. I couldn't believe that my days of communal laundry rooms, late night fire drills, closet-less clothing storage, and claustrophobically small shower situations were finally over. However, what surprisingly proved to be the absolute greatest thing about having an apartment was the kitchen situation! (Yes- despite that I'm a fashion blogger, my kitchen even beats my walk-in closet for me, can't believe I'm saying that!)


      I absolutely adore cooking and baking- especially baking! I have barely had the opportunity to do either of these things during the past four years while I was in school. The lack of a kitchen access was definitely one downside to living on-campus. Now that I do have a kitchen, I cook and bake all the time! I usually bake some sort of a treat to take with me through the week to school and work as snacks on Saturday or Sunday nights (depending on my schedule), and I try and cook dinner at home on most weeks for the majority of weeknights. It both saves money, and is fun and relaxing for me! I joke all of the time to my friends that I am the world's most single "housewife". ;-)



     I would like to start blogging more about my cooking and baking adventures since it's become such a hobby of mine this year. I thought that sharing a Pinterest recipe round-up post might be of interest to y'all! I do love cookbooks and own many, but usually I prefer to try recipes directly from Pinterest. They can be kind of hit or miss though- I've had some that have turned out to be big hits, and others that have been flops. With Pinterest sometimes you never quite know what you're getting.


    I've done the hard part and actually tested all of these out, but here are some Pinterest recipes that I have deemed to be "tried and true." I would definitely recommend adding any of these to your recipe boards! If y'all would like, I can continue to share Pinterest recipe round-ups as I continue cooking my way through my Pinterest boards. :-)



*Korean Beef Rice Bowls - This might be my favorite dinner recipe of all that I've found and tried from Pinterest since I moved into my apartment! These are very easy to make, and SO tasty. The leftovers are also delicious. I love spicy food, so I always add a lot of red pepper flakes. Also- I've never made mine with the Gochujang (Korean ingredient), but they still come out amazing even without that.



*Garlic Honey Ginger Glazed Salmon - My go-to recipe when I have company for dinner! It tastes much fancier than it is to make! The sauce on this is so delicious (and again- I can't stress how easy it is).



*Sesame Ginger Turkey Meatballs - These are a really unique twist on meatballs. They have such a delicious seasoning blend in them!! They would not be good in traditional spaghetti and meatballs, but are amazing on their own, or served with plain pasta or rice. 




*Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup - Can y'all tell that I like Asian influences in my food?! Haha!! This soup really does taste just like Thai curry, it's so good! Since it is a slow cooker soup, it does make a very large portion. I've stopped making it often because it often makes too much just for me to eat, but would be great for having people over for dinner (or for anyone who lives with more than just themselves!).



*Italian Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Potatoes - This is such a tasty side dish!! I have served it before when I've had company over with the glazed salmon recipe that's linked above. It makes a lot- so if you live by yourself you'll definitely have leftovers!!



*Easy Indian Chicken Biryani - A fairly simple Indian dish!! I am not a fan of raisins so I omit them in this recipe, but if you don't mind them then they would add a fun touch of sweetness to the recipe.



*The Best Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup - Another great slow cooker soup option! This would be ideal for a sick day, or for some cold weather comfort food. As with the other soup I shared, my only downside on this is that the portion is huge!




     Happy cooking!! Please let me know if you would like to see more cooking/baking/adulting/apartment living type blog posts. And stay tuned for a fun outfit post tomorrow- we're almost to Friday!



    xoxo Miss ALK









October 17, 2016

Favorite Skirt.













     "Guess who's back, back again..." Only my new favorite skirt!! This was the skirt that I wore last month for my blogiversary photos, and during that photoshoot I decided to style it two other ways as well. I love this skirt so much, that I seriously love every look that I was able to create with it! It's such a fun and ladylike statement piece, and the variety of outfits that you can build with it are endless. Something this bold might be a little much for everyday wear, but a pretty statement midi skirt would be great to wear for a party, special date night, vacation, girls' night out... so many fun options!



     Also - a brief apology from me over being a terrible blogger over the past couple of weeks! Some things in my personal life had to take precedence, and for a happier note my parents were also in town visiting this past week! But hopefully some of the craziness in my life has come to an end, and I can get back on my normal blogging schedule! I have definitely missed being able to post regularly- blogging is such a huge part of my life. :-) Stay tuned for some fall looks over the next couple of weeks, and some fun lifestyle posts as well!



     Hope that everyone's Monday is off to a great start! Here is a bible verse that has been giving me a lot of encouragement lately: "...weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning." -Psalm 30:5b.








     xoxo Miss ALK


     

October 11, 2016

EARLY Christmas Gift Guide (All Gifts Under $50!).











      Christmas Gift Guides are to bloggers in November and December what Nordstrom Sale blog posts are to bloggers in the summer- aka what everyone is writing about! Obviously gift guides make for great blog content- lots of readers (and sometimes even other bloggers!) love to hear what other bloggers are recommending at the holiday season, and gift guide posts can be a great way to find items that you might not have known about or thought of. But sometimes, especially in the weeks right before the holidays, it can feel like all that's being shared in the blogging world are gift guide posts, and the content can be a little overkill.



     A fun fact about me (that I've been doing since before I started blogging event) is that I like to get my holiday shopping done early. If possible- I like to finish my shopping on Black Friday- a day when many people are just barely getting started on their Christmas lists! There are a number of reasons why I like to get my shopping done early. For one- there is always a better selection at any retailer, online or in-store, the earlier in the season that you begin gift shopping. Two- budget-wise, you take a smaller hit to your monthly spending budget if you pace out shopping for friends and family over time. As someone who is on a tighter budget this year, I definitely will be breaking up my holiday shopping in pieces over the next couple of months. 



      I think that these gift items shown above would be awesome options for anyone looking for Christmas gifts for the ladies in your life this year! Whether that is best friends, sisters, moms, coworkers... the list goes on! Every item is under $50. Some are more practical gifts, like the makeup brush set, and some are just plain fun, like the mini state pendant necklace! And how cute would this spoon rest look in a Bachelorette Pad kitchen?! I might just have to get that for myself. 



     Happy Early Holiday Shopping!






     xoxo Miss ALK

October 10, 2016

The Most Important Type of Little Black Dress.








Photography by Deeana Kourtney Photography






     I think every girl should have a minimum of three different LBD's in her closet: 1. a formal LBD, 2. a flirty and fun LBD that's perfect for a night out, and most importantly, 3. a refined and classic black dress that she can wear for all of life's more important occasions: an interview, an important work meeting, church, or even some of the more serious situations that we sometimes come into contact with, such as a memorial service or a legal situation. This dress that I'm wearing here is the ideal for what I think is the third type of LBD! My dress is from The Limited Outlet, but I have one linked above and below that is very similar. I've worn this dress nonstop over the past few months. This look (which I re-wore for these blog photos) was one that I've worn several times for work and school recently! I added statement earrings since I decided to wear my hair up. 


    Also- how fun are my Zara pumps?! I've been needing more work heels (especially some appropriate for the cooler months), and when I saw these on my trip to NYC last month I knew that I had to snatch them up!! I wish that Charlotte had a Zara location... I could have spent a lot more time in their NYC storefront!



     Happy Monday friends! Thanks as always for reading. :-) Stay tuned tomorrow for a Christmas gift shopping guide for those of you who are fellow early shoppers like myself!

     
     








     xoxo Miss ALK

October 7, 2016

Perfect Top for Work.












Photography by Deeana Kourtney Photography


   
   As business casual clothing becomes my daily wardrobe (Hello, hello adulthood!), I sometimes realize that it can be difficult to find a good variety of office-appropriate blouses or shirts to wear that are still cute and fashionable, but also pass the business casual dress code. This gorgeous flutter sleeve blouse from LOFT definitely passes both tests!! In fact - it's so versatile that it's pretty much the ideal shirt to wear from work the weekend, as I have shown it styled here for more of a weekend look. I saw this top in the LOFT store in Times Square in NYC during my trip there last month, and knew immediately that I had to have it!! I love wearing pieces for fall and winter that don't always scream "cold weather fashion," - sometimes a girl needs a break from the blanket scarves for the day! ;-) This top would also look great layered under a blazer or cardigan as the weather continues to get colder.


     In news unrelated to this outfit, you might have noticed that things were a little quiet here on the blog this week. In my 4+ years of blogging, I've taken very few blogging breaks. Some of them were due to situations outside of blogging, like reducing my posting scheduled when I studied abroad in 2015, or having very limited computer access during the weeks when I recovered from a bad concussion this past spring. But rarely do I need to take breaks solely for writers' block. But that just so happened to hit me this week! I'm not really sure what it was caused by- but I definitely had a lot going on between broadcasting school, my internship, my other job, and personal obligations to keep me busy. This week posting here felt like a chore instead of my favorite thing in the world, and I knew that it was probably better to just take the week to focus on other things, rather than produce content that wasn't my absolute best!!


    Next week I might still be figuring out this blogging break slump, but hopefully it will be all over in the next couple of weeks. :-) I'm already starting to get ideas for some great content for later in the month. I have just told myself that when you do something for as long as some bloggers blog, there's bound to be the occasional need for a little break!




   


     xoxo Miss ALK

October 4, 2016

Party Outfit Under $50.














     I sure am happy that I had some vacations and relaxing weekends earlier in September- because this weekend was not one of those! I spent almost all of my weekend working, and the remaining hours were spent attending a blogging event at one of the local malls on Saturday, and then shooting more blog photos for this month with Deanna on Sunday! Whew. That didn't leave a lot of time left for writing blog posts- hence why this post is going up today instead of yesterday! 


     This was the outfit that I was supposed to wear for the show that I attended when I was in NYC during NYFW! It is definitely different from my normal style, but I figured that Fashion Week is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new trends. :-) Unfortunately it didn't arrive in the mail in time for me to wear it, but I still love it nonetheless, and it will definitely still get lots of wear! Most of all I love the fact that for both this adorable top and pants set AND the pretty necklace- I spent less than $50! 



     My outfit details are below, and I'm also sharing some other favorite pieces of mine from the same retailer!! Their clothes and accessories are so affordable, but still trendy and chic: 










     xoxo Miss ALK