October 21, 2017

Snapshots of Vermont's Fall.

     Ever since I moved to Vermont, people (both from here and away!) have been telling me how much I would "fall" for fall here! I've always been more of a spring person, so I didn't know how much that would be true. Well, everyone was right!! Vermont had a late start to fall this year due to a heatwave in September, but October has been a glorious month full of fall beauty, and it really is something!! The mountains are covered in vibrant colors, and all of the local farms, orchards and farm stores seem decked out to the nines with pumpkins and festive rustic decor. It really is quite a season to be in Vermont for.


     Last weekend, my blogging friend Rebecca from Caravan Sonnet came to visit me for the day, and we road tripped to Southern Vermont, to visit the famous Vermont Country Store. We had so much fun!! I did shoot an outfit for the blog while we were there (which will be posted in a couple of weeks!), but I wanted to share a few extra photos from our day as well in today's post.

     I also went out driving in some smaller towns outside of Burlington one morning before work this past week, and saw the most incredible foliage, so I wanted to share a few photos from that in today's post as well! I've been getting a lot of questions about what Vermont looks like in the fall closer to where I live (Stowe and some of the more famous scenic parts of Vermont area little bit of a drive from Burlington), so I'm happy to share some pictures today!

     The story of how Rebecca and I found the Cornish-Windsor bridge is so fun! We took a detour off the highway for a bathroom break on our drive, and on the way back to the highway I saw a sign for a covered bridge. Vermont and New Hampshire are both famous for their iconic little covered bridges- a lot of them are quite small and designed for pedestrians. We started driving and following the sign expecting to find a parking area and tiny bridge... instead we found what's apparently the world's largest covered bridge!! We ended up driving over it twice, and of course had to stop for a couple of pictures. Sometimes the best road trip discoveries are off the beaten path!

     The Vermont Country Store also had their own version of a covered bridge!! I didn't give or receive any kisses there on this visit... guess I'll have to go back! 😉

Vermont Country Store

Fall in Vermont

Visiting the Vermont Country Store

     I've been hearing a lot about the famous Vermont Country Store since I moved here! It's located in the little town of Rockingham, in southeastern Vermont (not too far from Brattleboro). I think that my parents and I may have visited there on one of our family trips to Vermont when I was growing up, but if we did I don't have strong memories from it.

     The Vermont Country Store is like a really large version of the store part of Cracker Barrel. They sell lots of local products, and just about every odd and end that you can think of!! We got a very big kick out of the sleepwear section of the store... they sell some very traditional old fashioned women's nightgowns, about the least-sexy pajamas that I've ever seen! They also had a huge section for local Vermont foods, and I of course had to sample all of the cheeses! I ended up purchasing some locally made bath salts from the beauty section of the store, and Rebecca bought some cheese (good choice!). The Vermont Country Store is about two hours from Burlington- I thought the drive was well worth it in the fall months, since we saw so much foliage on the way there and back!

     Next I wanted to share a few foliage photos from here in Chittenden County, closer to where I live in Burlington! I went out driving before work earlier this week, armed solely with my DSLR and a chai latte. I got to a couple hours of photographing the beauty that is Vermont fall, and that was such a nice way to start my day! I don't think my amateur photography skills come anything close to capturing how truly beautiful this season is, but hopefully they can give you a little idea into what Northern Vermont looks like during peak foliage.

Vermont Foliage

Fall Vermont

     True story... I actually teared up when I saw the view above! This photo does no justice!! It was so beautiful. 

     I hope you enjoyed this little look into Vermont's fall!! The leaves are still going strong here this weekend, so and the weather will be nice again, so I'm hoping to get out and still enjoy the foliage while it's here.

     Have a wonderful Saturday! I hope that you're enjoying fall wherever you are!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

October 19, 2017

Purple Look For Fall + Talking Body Confidence.

     Shades of purple are such underrated fall hues!! I've seen everyone this season obsessing over colors like camel, mustard, and burgundy. While those are definitely great colors to wear in the fall- where is the love for purple, violet, and lavender? Seriously!! This outfit is comprised of varying shades of purple, and I just love the end result! In today's blog post, I'm sharing this feminine and fun take on a fall outfit, and also sharing a few thoughts on body confidence, which is something that I don't think I've ever talked about much on the blog before! Let's dive in: 

Stowe Vermont Downtown

Purple Floral Dress + OTK Boots

Chicwish Outfit Purple Dress

Vermont Fashion Blogger - Visit Stowe Maple Latte

Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Southern Belle in Training!

      I can't get enough of this beautiful purple dress from Chicwish!! (But actually though...) Y'all know how much I love girly-girl floral dresses in pretty colors, and it can be hard to find ones sometimes that are seasonally appropriate for fall and winter. This one checks all the boxes! I love the flowy sleeves and the gorgeous bow detail that you can tie in the front of the dress. (The whole look kinda reminds me of a dress version of this favorite top of mine from last winter!) And how perfectly did it match with my new purple OTK boots? These boots were under $50... yes please! I'd love for this outfit will be on repeat this season. Just wish as usual that I had more reasons to get dressed up in Vermont- lol! #NoSocialLifeCurrentlyProbs #MyChurchIsntThisFancyProbs

     Now let's switch gears to talking about something that I don't think I've ever dug into on the blog: body image and confidence. What was it that made me think more in depth about this subject and want to try to broach it on the blog? Actually- it was cleaning out my closet recently!! Story time...

     I have a very small closet in my Vermont apartment, (Back in Charlotte I had a walk-in as my main closet, and two additional coat closets in the apartment! THREE closets! Ah- the days.) so I try and clean out my closet since moving about once every six weeks. For years now I've gone through and cleaned out my closet and accessories at the change of the seasons or before I moved to find things to consign and give to Goodwill, but I have to do it a lot more frequently now due to lack of space. I reaaalllyyy hope my next place has a walk-in closet again! Anyways- during my latest closet clean-out, I tried on a pair of designer jeans that I have, that are still a "very tight squeeze." Some of you might remember these jeans from last year, as I enthusiastically wrote about them on the blog after I scored them on a Nordstrom Rack penny deal! So I essentially got them for free. However what I didn't share on the blog, is that I found designer jeans on a Rack penny deal that were two sizes smaller than my normal jean size. I justified buying them because they were "practically free," and I was surprised after getting home when I bought them that if I sucked my stomach in just enough... they fit. I mean- it would have been a shame to get rid of something worth $200+ dollars that I got for a mere penny just because I had to suck in my tummy a little bit to wear it, right? Right. Or at least that's what I convinced myself at the time.

     Anyways, while going through things in my closet recently to see what I could clean out, I noticed that these jeans were a bit of a tighter squeeze than the last time that I tried them on. They still barely fit, but now I really had to suck in my stomach to fit into them. While looking at myself in the mirror in them, I thought to myself If only I worked out more, these could fit, and If only I was skinnier, I could wear these all the time. Immediately I caught myself thinking these destructive thoughts! I took off the jeans, and into the "To Consign" pile they went.

     Body confidence and image has never been something that I struggled with. I guess I'm lucky that way? Sure- there are things about myself that I don't like and wish I could change. Being quite honest, I actually always have secretly wished that I was naturally blond haired with blue eyes, instead of being a brunette with hazel eyes! But I am what I am- why waste time, money, and heartache over trying to change the way God made me? (Minus a few very minimal hair highlight jobs in high school) I've never dyed my hair, tanned my skin, or done anything else drastic to change my appearance. I love styling my hair and experimenting with makeup to make myself feel beautiful in the way that I am, but I don't like outright changing the way that I am, if that makes sense. But anyways, I've never been unhappy with things like my height, weight, or things like my legs or arms. Generally speaking, I'm pretty happy with my body! My height and long hair are my favorite features about myself. (My eyebrows are actually my least favorite feature if you're curious- even if I'm not wearing makeup on a certain day I still have to do my brows with pencil and gel!)

     Of course just like anyone else, I do have a lot of insecurities that I deal with, and many of them used to be much worse during my high school and college years. Most of my insecurities just weren't body confidence related. Everyone has their personal struggles, and mine happened to be about other things. Anyways... having these thoughts come into my head trying on this pair of jeans... I realized how destructive this was and how unlike me it was to be thinking thoughts like this! I thought to myself, this must be how things like eating disorders or negative body image thinking patterns can begin. It can only take one negative thought. And then letting that manifest into something larger and larger. It's kind of like a smoking analogy... why take that first puff of cigarette and become risk becoming addicted to nicotine?

     So I decided to kick out my negative body thoughts. There's no place for them here! 😊 I'm saying goodbye to the jeans, and I hope someone else will be blessed by finding them at a consignment shop, like I was to find them last year at Nordstrom Rack. I have no interest in purchasing or wearing things that make me feel anything less than beautiful or confident in the body that I have... even if that means passing up an insane deal.


     So that's a few of my thoughts on body confidence! I'd love to hear your thoughts below in the comments!!

     The outfit that I'm wear in today's post is the perfect example of something that makes me feel beautiful and confident! All items are linked below:

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese



October 18, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.

{Fun times this weekend visiting The Vermont Country Store! Follow me on social media @miss_alk!}

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Southern Belle in Training!

  • A fun fall Sunday: This Sunday I had just the best day!! I finally got to meet the lovely Rebecca from Caravan Sonnet. I have been reading her blog for years now, and I just loved the fact that she is from the South! I didn't realize that she lives now close enough for a day trip to the Burlington area, so she came over to my part of Vermont on Sunday and we enjoyed the most fun day together! Rebecca came to visit my church with me, we had Moe's for lunch (I am always down for Moe's), and then we spent a fun fall afternoon road tripping to see foliage and visit the legendary Vermont Country Store! I'll share more about our adventures this Friday on the blog, but check out Rebecca's blog in the meantime if you haven't read it before. She has truly the most amazing story and testimony! 
  • That weird time of year: One of my friends from Maine and her boyfriend are coming to visit Burlington for a weekend next month! I really do love having company and friends visit, especially since the move to Vermont has been a difficult and lonely one at times. The only thing is- I'm already having trouble planning what activities we will do, as they're going to be coming at kind of an odd time between the changing of seasons! By mid-November it will be too cold for most of Vermont's classic fall activities, but (I hope) there won't be snow on the ground yet and it won't be wintertime either. Vermont doesn't have big malls or fun indoor attractions like Charlotte did... so I'm already thinking I'm kind of stumped about what activities we will do, minus eating out at some good restaurants! If any of you have visited a rural part of New England at an awkwardly cold time of year, do share your suggestions please!!! Of course- this just goes to show how Type A I am! This visit isn't for another month yet I'm already stressed about the itinerary. 

  • This is such a boring purchase, and something I've put off doing since I moved, but I finally got the batteries replaced in two of my watches! I'm not a big watch person (I only own three, and two of them are cheap ones), but I have found that wearing one to work makes me feel more professional, so I figured it was due time I got them working again! This is my favorite watch and my "nice" one! 
  • There was a sale on Bath and Body Works candles this weekend, so that was worth a trip to (Burlington's very tiny and kind of depressing) mall! Although I'm not a fan of their skincare items, I don't think candles get can get better than BBW! This tends to be the season when BBW does a lot candle promotions, so keep your eyes peeled for more candle sales in weekends to come. 
  • During my trip to The Vermont Country Store with Rebecca, I picked up some locally made and deliciously smelling bath salts! I'd been looking for new bath bombs/salts lately, but since Vermont doesn't have LUSH I didn't really know where locally I could purchase those. I'm excited to try the ones I found this weekend! 

  • THIS DRESS!!!! I work with this retailer on my blog so I'm totally going to see if I can wear this in our next collaboration. 😊
  • I saw this super soft sweater at the mall this weekend, and couldn't get over how cozy it was!! I thought that it was still a bit expensive for what it is, but if it goes on sale more I think I'll get it! It comes in five colors. 
  • I also saw this hat at the mall and thought it was really cute!! Might be something else that I'll purchase if it gets marked down a little bit more. Winter hat season will be here in Vermont before I know it!
  • One fall trend that I really do love is wearing capes or ponchos. This one is just gorgeous- I love the colors! 
  • I cook a lot from Pinterest recipes on my phone, and it can be kind of a pain to prop my phone up in the kitchen some nights so I can read the recipe. This cell phone holder is so handy and it's also adorable- plus you can monogram it!! Yes please! 

On the blog this week:

     Have a happy Wednesday!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

October 17, 2017

Radio 101: Best Experiences in My First 6 Months.

      Happy six month anniversary... to me and radio!! Six months ago today, I began my job here in Vermont, working as a full-time on-air radio personality in Market #146, Burlington/Plattsburgh. (Talking about media market sizes and ranks is a Radio 101 post for another day! 😉) In some ways, it feels like I was truly born to do this job, and like I've been doing it forever. In other ways, I'm consistently reminded how new I am in the industry, and I feel like I learn new things about radio, sales, and techniques for my voice every single day! So you can say that the first six months of working full time have been quite the journey... both figuratively, and literally since of course I moved to Vermont! 

      I'm hoping for November or December's Radio 101 post to do a "Day in the Life" type post, where I'll walk you through one of my average work days at the studio. That is what the majority of my work days look like- I come into the studio, prep for my show at my desk for a couple hours, eat a snack and check blog emails/social media during my "lunch" break, and then head to the studio to do my main work- doing my radio show from 2-7! However, one of the reasons that I wanted to work in radio is because it's a fun type of career field, and brings work experiences that happen outside of the office/studio. Live on-sight broadcasts, endorsement projects, remotes (radio term for events), concerts... these are just a few of the things that I've gotten my feet wet in during my first six months of work! Of course- like with any job, some off-site event opportunities haven't been fun. There are some that truly are just work, and a couple that have been pretty terrible experiences. But hey- I suppose that happens to everyone in this industry at some point or another! The good news is that there have been plenty more fun and exciting work events that I've gotten to be apart of, things that I'll definitely treasure memories from as my career advances someday! I thought it would be fun to take a quick look back at a few of the more fun work opportunities that I've had since starting my job:

    Fun out-of-studio experiences really began for me during Memorial Day Weekend. I was given last minute concert tickets in Montreal to Chance the Rapper, and my friend Mercedes came up from Washington D.C. to attend the show with me. Jokes on us- although I'm a big rap fan, both of us were actually pretty unfamiliar with Chance's music, but we still had a great time in the big city for the evening! The same weekend, I also had my first parade experience for work! Working in a smaller radio market means that we participate in a ton of local events, like walking in town holiday parades. 

   July was my busiest month of work yet, but also had the most fun events. The month started off strong with Burlington's annual July 3rd festival! In Burlington, they celebrate the 4th of July on July 3rd, and all the stations at my company broadcast live from the Burlington waterfront all day long! This was my first company-wide live broadcast and it was quite an event! 
    I also had my first digital endorsement in July! I worked with our local Edible Arrangements franchise to promote their new menu items. A digital endorsement for a radio personality is super similar to a sponsored blog campaign- I took photos of the products, and then promoted them on our station's social media and website! 
      Lastly, I spent a day tagging along with Mary (who does mornings on Star 92.9), on an adventure to Canada to visit Parc Safari, an animal adventure park! Mary had a digital endorsement with them, and I did her Facebook lives and photography. It was so fun to say I got to go to another country for work for the day, and I loved meeting the animals! 

      August was even busier than July! I spent two weeks in a row filling in on Star 92.9, which is 96.7's sister station, and where I work on Saturdays each week. I spent a week filling in on Mike and Mary in the Morning, which I LOVED!! Morning radio is something that I would eventually like to do. This was an incredible learning experience (although it was painful to wake up at 3:30 again everyday for a week!). And the following week, I filled in for Chantal, who has the 3-7 Afternoon Drive shift on Star. This was great preparation for me as we were just a couple weeks out from me switching to the Drive shift on 96.7 I learned a lot from both of these experiences- although I will say I was very tired because in addition to doing these shows, I still had to do my own show and normal work each day on 96.7, so it was like doing two jobs for two weeks! 
      Events-wise, I also had two really fun digital endorsements! The first was with a local boutique in Burlington. It ended up being such a fun afternoon- I first had my makeup done at a local makeup artistry studio, and then spent the afternoon modeling clothes for the boutique. This was the first fashion project I've ever done that was completely separate from Southern Belle in Training, so it was a really unique experience! My other endorsement was test driving a BMW for a local car dealer. My dad was visiting Vermont when that happened, so we went driving for an afternoon- I think he was jealous I got to drive and not him! 😉
      Lastly and most importantly, 96.7 rebranded and relaunched on August 15th! We went from being a Top 40, Planet 967, to be a Rhythmic Leaning Top 40, The New Hot 96.7! (The main difference between Top 40 and Rhythmic leaning is that Top 40 stations really just focus on the "top hits," and rhythmic leaning stations play the top hits, a few of the top urban hits, and also some urban golds. I explain more about this in this Radio 101 blog post!) The launch date selected was also the first day that my company began live broadcasts from The Champlain Valley Fair, which is this region of Vermont's largest annual fair. The fair was a great place to launch the new station- so many people were excited about it! And that night, the celebration continued when I received concert tickets to attend that night's show at the fair, the I Love The 90s: The Party Continues tour, which ended up being really great! The headliners, my favorite 90s girl band TLC, were absolutely fantastic!!

      September held my biggest event yet! I got to RAPPEL off one of the tallest buildings in Vermont!! This is a local charity event that happens annually in Burlington to benefit the Flynn Center for the Arts, which is a local performing arts facility. The Flynn reached out to our station about having a radio personality participate, and one of our sales people thought I would be the perfect fit! I was delighted to get the chance to do something as cool as rappelling- truly a once in a lifetime experience! My mom was also in town visiting that weekend so she got to see it happen.

      Coming into October- I haven't had any fun events yet this month, but I do have one coming up this weekend, and another during Halloween weekend which should be cool! 

     And there you have it: first six months down! Like I said earlier, sometimes the really awesome events can easily be forgotten about with the day to day stuff that goes on at the radio station, as well as the normal stress of work. But honestly, how cool is some of this stuff?! I never want to take for granted this industry that I get to be apart of. I hope even better events and opportunities are in my career's future! 

      I try not to give too much shameless self promotion for my radio shows here on the blog, but I know some of you are curious about it, and the hours of my shows have changed since the last time I updated. Anyone can listen to both radio stations that I work for!! Both stream online from computers, and have free iPhone apps as well. All times are in EST.

      *The New Hot 96.7 (Top 40/Hip Hop): M-F: 2-7 pm, Sat: 9-2 pm, Sun: 2-7 pm

      *Star 92.9 (90s to Now): Sat: Midnight-6 AM, other shifts fill-in

     Thanks so much for reading!! Feel free as always to send your questions about radio for future Radio 101 posts!

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese 

October 16, 2017

How I'm Wearing The Embroidery Trend + 4 Books I've Read This Month.

    Embroidery has been one of the biggest trends in 2017! In my traditional fashion, like with a lot of other fast fashion trends (off-the-shoulder, anyone?), I have ended up embracing it, but all in all in small doses, and it took me a little longer to do so than some other bloggers and trend lovers. Today's outfit shows a couple easy ways to incorporate embroidery into your fall looks! This casual outfit is also definitely something that I would wear to work! This summer I shared a "How a Radio Personality Dresses for Work" blog post, and today's outfit would be my fall version of that! 

Southern Belle in Training - Stowe Vermont

How To Wear the Embroidery Trend

Wearing Embroidery for Fall

Fall Style Stowe Vermont

Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Southern Belle in Training! 

      This top is definitely a trendy item, between the lace up detail and the embroidery. But I really ended up liking it! I never spend a lot of money on super trendy pieces, so the under $15 price point on it worked well for me!! You might notice if you frequent here a lot that I don't usually wear too much red. To be honest I'm not really sure why I don't wear a lot of red. I love to wear pink and wear all shades of it- everything from blush to fuchsia. But with red, I guess sometimes I shy away from how bold it is. Anyways, red is a great fall color, and I think the red color looks great in this top! Yay for trying new things. 😊

     These jeans were my splurge item in this year's Nordstrom sale, and they're still available (though sadly not on sale currently). They're the comfiest jeans ever, and I'm already looking forward to buying another pair in next year's sale! 

     After taking a little break from reading for fun during the end of summer due to the craziness at work, my schedule has finally settled down, and I've been on a reading frenzy for the past month or so! I've already made a dent in October's reading list, but here's the four books that I read in September:

     *Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner: This was my second Lisa Gardner thriller- I read my first one back in July's book review post. Say Goodbye is a chilling story that involves a devoted FBI agent, disappearing prostitutes.... and spiders. Lots of spiders. If you are scared of spiders, this is probably not the book for you, haha. I enjoyed the story and the ending ended up being a lot more complex than I expected, but I think overall I liked the other Lisa Gardner book that I read this summer better than this one. I'd still like to read more of her books though! 

      *Under Her Skin by Susan Mallery: Under Her Skin is about as a-typical of a paperback romance novel as you can get.... but hey, sometimes we all need a light read like that! I've definitely read worse romance novels before, and this one actually had a plot that I enjoyed, not just unrealistic love scenes. This story follows Lexi Titan, a businesswoman from a powerful family in Texas, who becomes engaged as apart of a business deal. However when feelings end up developing for her fake fiance, things get complicated! You can probably guess how the story ends.... but like I said, I still enjoyed it as a light read, and I've definitely read worse romance novels.

      *Mr. Maybe by Jane Green: I have also reviewed a Jane Green book before in a past book review post, and wasn't that impressed by the past book that I read of hers! I decided to give Ms. Green another try though, and actually really liked this book! Mr. Maybe is what I would call the definition of a "beach read" - total chick lit, and kind of a fluff read. But it was really entertaining! This book centers around main character Libby, a late 20s PR professional living in London, who struggles with dating. Her heart is currently torn between pursuing a guy who she has great chemistry with, but who is unemployed, or chasing a wealthy and mature bachelor who she has little chemistry with. Even though Libby and I view dating pretty differently, I still found myself laughing at and relating to a lot in this book! This would be a great vacation read especially I think.

      *The Other Half by Sarah Raynor: This is the second novel set in Britain on today's reading list! The Other Half is about a cheating husband, and the story switches between the perspective of his wife, and his mistress. I found it to be an interesting read. I'm obviously super against unfaithfulness in relationships, but it was intriguing to read a book with so much of the perspective being from quite literally, "the other half." I would rate this book about the same as Mr. Maybe- a fun beach or vacation read, but not like life changing literature or anything!

     And that's September's books! I'll share October's after my next library visit. 


     Have a wonderful start to the week! I had such a fun day yesterday and I can't wait to share more about that with y'all soon.

      God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese