April 28, 2017

Spring Sweater for Date Night.


     Choker sweaters are definitely a trendy item, and one that I didn't know if I could pull off for awhile. But I'm glad that I decided to give this one a try- it's a fun and sassy outfit that would be perfect for a spring date night! 








Photography by Deeana Kourtney Photography


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






     Trends can be a weird thing. Sometimes I find a new one that I jump right on board with and fall in love with. Other times it takes me a bit longer to warm up to one, but then I end up liking it (such as the off-the-shoulder trend). And sometimes, there's a big trend that just isn't me. Like the lace-up dress and body-suit trend from last fall into this year. I tried on many of those pieces in various dressing rooms and it always just felt too edgy and risque for my style. And you know what- that's okay! I think fashion is true a balance between stepping outside of your comfort zone and also knowing when to stay inside of it. 


     But in the case of this trendy choker sweater, I'm glad that I took a step outside of my comfort zone and tried it! It's a sassy piece for sure, and feels more northern city style than "southern belle" to me - but maybe that's fitting for the big move that I just made from south to north! I've been wearing it quite a bit, but for this blog post look I decided to dress it up a bit, because I think it would make a fun spring date night look. I paired it with boyfriend jeans to dress it down, but then finished the look with a dressier curly ponytail and a favorite pair of pumps to dress it back up! Wouldn't this be a fun spring date night look?! 


     Speaking of date nights... that reminds me about my Relationship Monday blog post series that I started a few months ago. I had hoped to post 1-2 of those a month, but with traveling and moving my editorial calendar got a little bit changed. Would you guys like to see more of those posts again on upcoming Mondays? (If you aren't sure what this post series is, check out this intro to it!)


     Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! Thanks so much as always for reading. More blog posts from Italy coming next week! 





    God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)






April 26, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.




{Two weeks as a "Vermonter" and already doing Vermont things! This will definitely not be my last visit to the Ben and Jerry's factory. Follow me on social media @miss_alk!}


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




Ramblings:
  • Successful first day off: My first full week at my job was not only huge success, but as was my first day off! I work weekends, so my "weekend" is on Mondays. (It is an odd schedule- but I love my job so I can't complain too much at all!) I spent my first day off getting my nails done, and then one of my new Burlington friends took me on a really fun day trip. We went to visit the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory in in Waterbury, Vermont! I always knew Ben and Jerry's was from Vermont, but I didn't realize how much of the ice cream was still made right here in the state. It was so fun to see the factory and I think I'll definitely be going back when I have out-of-town visitors.  
  • Getting back in touch: This is a bit of personal note from my usual ramblings in these posts, but I wanted to share anyways! Back when I was a freshman at my first college, one of my best friends was a girl named Becca who was actually one of my very first friends there. We met during the first week of school at orientation activities! Becca and I drifted apart a bit after I transferred schools... not due to anything bad between us, life just kind of got in the way and it was harder to stay in touch being at different universities. But a few months ago we randomly got back in touch, and now we text or talk multiple times a day, every day! I seriously can't even remember at this point the years that we weren't as close. I'm sharing this because it just goes to show you that a truly good friendship will survive distance and time apart, and when it picks back up it will be like no time has passed. I hope this might inspire you to text an old friend this week and maybe get back in touch with a gal pal that you miss. 😀 
  • My fav blog post this week: Comes from Caitlin of Southern Curls and Pearls! She celebrated SIX years of blogging this week and wrote the sweetest recap post to celebrate her blogiversary. Caitlin has been one of my biggest role models in blogging, especially because she is from North Carolina so I love seeing NC girls killing it in the blogging world! I was able to meet Caitlin a few times over the years that I lived in Charlotte, and I can say 100% she is one of the kindest and most humble people that I've ever met. She's a true girl boss and I love following her successes! 


Purchases:
  • I did a fair amount of shopping this week! So you might remember a few weeks ago I bought the cutest iPhone case ever. Well- that case is still super cute, but unfortunately it really only protects the back of the iPhone and not the front at all. I tend to drop my phone face down a lot, and after replacing my third screen protector (and one full on iPhone screen replacement as well) in three months, I decided it was time to upgrade to a heavy duty iPhone case as well. This is the one I went with and it just arrived thanks to Amazon Prime!
  • Sticking with the theme of tech gear... after several months of debating which type to go with I finally bought a new Macbook case during my first weekend work shift this week! If you follow my Instagram stories than you might know the ones that I was debating on. A lot of you DMd me and asked me to link them all, so I will at the bottom of this post! This is the gorgeous one that I ended up purchasing though- can't wait for it to get here so my laptop can be both cute and protected!
  • I went to check out the shopping scene in downtown Burlington after work a few days ago, and I was happy to discover a LOFT store! (Shopping is kinda limited up here in Vermont so the more stores I find that I had in Charlotte the happier I am!) They happened to be having a 50% off sale the day I went in so of course I had to snatch up this wardrobe staple top! 
  • I also bought my mom's Mother's Day present... but since my mom is a SBIT reader I won't be sharing her gift right now. 😉 If it's still available after the holiday I'll definitely share it then with y'all! 

Wishlist:
  • Vermont is sadly one of the least practical states for having the excuse to grow a Lilly Pulitzer collection... but I saw this new dress on Instagram this past week and I think it's one of my favorite Lilly numbers that I've ever seen! So hoping it'll be in an upcoming After Party Sale.
  • Had I been able to attend my broadcasting school graduation in person next month, I think I would've sported a bright and bold dress like this one
  • Since my workplace doesn't have a dress code for radio personalities, I'm taking full advantage of that during my weekend shifts and "Casual Fridays!" These adorable leggings are perfect for springtime (and they match the color on my nails right now!).


     And here are all of the Macbook cases that I shared on IG stories, as well as a couple extra cute ones: 






     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio)

April 25, 2017

Rome Outfit: Floral Midi Skirt.

     Here is the much overdue start to sharing blog posts about my trip to Italy that my mom and I took in March! I'll be mixing up my Italy travel guide posts with the outfit posts that we shot while there, and kicking everything off today with this pretty floral midi skirt outfit from Rome. Hopefully it will warm up in Vermont soon so I can re-wear this!








This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Southern Belle in Training.





     As a lover of all things floral, this is a print that I wear year round, but the arrival of spring makes me even more excited to break favorite floral print items out of my closet and also purchase some new ones! I wanted to have a couple of semi-dressy options for the trip in case we went to any nice dinners or had any other occasions to dress up on the trip (plus- who doesn't want to wear dressy and extra girly outfits in EUROPE?!), but whatever I packed had to be something that was lightweight and packed well. This floral midi skirt came to my rescue! This skirt specifically was actually an amazing bargain find from Ross in Charlotte right before the trip- it was under $20, and made of a soft fabric that didn't wrinkle at all, so it was perfect to pack in my checked luggage. Even though my skirt specifically isn't online, this one is almost identical and at a similar affordable price point! 


     These pictures were taken in Rome's Ludovisi neighborhood, which was within walking distance from our hotel. Ludovisi is right by the famous Villa Borghese park area, which is a gorgeous park filled with lovely public outdoor areas, as well as museums (think a really nice European version of Central Park!). My mom and visited Villa Borghese park almost everyday of our time in Rome, and we would often take different routes back to our hotel, and sometimes we would walk through Ludovisi. The buildings and architecture are STUNNING in all of Rome- but I thought this neighborhood was very charming, and made the perfect backdrop for this outfit and these photos. Can you spy some of the cute little European cars parked behind me in some of the photos too? 


     I hope that you enjoyed the first post about my trip- sorry again for the delay in starting these post series on the blog!! Normally I love blogging about my trips right after they happen, but as I've said in some other posts in the past few weeks- being in a wedding party and then moving across the country for a new job right after an international trip as big as this one was ended up being a lot crazier than I anticipated, so I am now playing catch up on the blog! 😉


    Here are some other great floral midi skirt options at various price points:






     Hope that you're having a great week and thanks for reading as always!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)


April 24, 2017

5 Ways To Keep Your Stress Down Before Moving.

     This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TeaProudly #CollectiveBias










    

     As many of you know, I went through a major life change not even a month ago! I packed up every bit of the life that I loved oh-so-dearly in Charlotte, NC, and drove 15 hours north. Not home to Maine... but instead to the Burlington, Vermont area, where I'm working for my first job! In the broadcasting field (both radio and television), when you're in the early stages of your career you really do move for the job.


     I really do love moving. I think if you have the opportunity while you're young to live in and really experience different parts of this beautiful country, you absolutely should! Going to college in the South was the best decision I ever made, and it's been a fun start to my career to be in someplace new again. However- the one downside to moving around is of course, the act of moving. The further away that you move, the more stressful that it can be.


   

     
     This recent move allowed for a lot of learning in terms of the preparation, actual move, and post-moving experiences. I think that out of those three separate things, I definitely did the best with the preparations. In today's blog post, I wanted to share my top five tips for how to best prepare for a big move, and how to keep your stress levels down with so many changes happening or about to happen!



     1. Pack in a way that allows you to label EVERYTHING: I tried to pack the majority of clothes that could be folded without too much wrinkle damage in my luggage (since luggage usually = clothing so that was pretty self explanatory), but the majority of my other apartment things went into dozens of cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes. The great thing about packing in cardboard boxes is that they're so easy label. You can either write directly on the box, or write on post-it notes and affix those to the box (what I ended up choosing to do!). At the very end of my packing process, I started to run out of time and things got thrown into random boxes. Guess what I still have left to deal with in my new apartment in Vermont? You guessed it- the random boxes! Every box that was labeled was so easy for the movers because they could leave them in the correct room of my new place, and I'd already have an idea of wear the box contents would go. Label, label, label- I cannot stress this enough!


     2. Schedule all of your goodbyes well in advance: In addition to all of the packing another difficult part about moving (if you're moving somewhere out of your city/county) are the goodbyes that will be in order with family and friends. I don't have any family in Charlotte area, but I do have lots of sweet friends there who have become like family over the past few years! Start scheduling out and envisioning your goodbyes with those near and dear to you early on. It might be a difficult thing to think about, but if you procrastinate on it too much then you will be consumed with packing and other moving tasks before the big day finally comes, and goodbyes will unfortunately get pushed the side. This is something I could have done better with, as even though I had a delightful little going away party with some of my friends (read about it in this post!), I did run out of time to say goodbye to a lot of my classmates from broadcasting school. Had I planned better, I could have seen everyone before leaving!


     3. Get LOTS of sleep. For obvious reasons moving is a really stressful time- both physically and emotionally! Your body will probably need more sleep than normal to function at its best and keep up with all of the tasks that you need to get done. I slept a ton in my last couple weeks in Charlotte. I tried to fight off the urge to nap by going to bed earlier than normal, and it worked!


     4. Mentally focus on the PROS regarding your move. There will be days and times when you will be feel overwhelmed with all over the goodbyes and packing, and the thought of closing one chapter of your life. The best way to combat that is by mentally (or even verbally if that helps even more!) reciting all of the good things about what the move will bring for you to yourself. For example- when I would get stressed about Vermont winters or not knowing any people up here, I would remind myself mentally that I was moving to Vermont to begin the career of my dreams, and that I was also excited to get to experience life in a state that was close to my original home, yet still new to me. Focusing on the positives instead of the negatives always helped to bring that motivation back!
Of course... if you're just moving across your city or county... you might not have as many dramatic pros and cons. 😉 But moving anywhere is still a big process and it's still good practice to stay positive!


     5. Make time for tea! I am a BIG tea drinker, both at home and in coffee shops. (I do drink iced coffee on occasion, but will almost always prefer tea over coffee beverages!) One of my favorite tea brands to buy for my kitchen is Bigelow. Their teas not only taste delicious but are very affordably priced, and they're available and most grocery retailers. Bigelow just announced a brand new line of teas called Bigelow Tea Benefits! The flavors in this new collection are designed to promote everyday wellness. While I was still in Charlotte, I headed over to my local Publix grocery store to pick up a Bigelow Benefits Tea. I decided to try the Cinnamon and Blackberry flavor. This one is a delicious flavor combination which is naturally sweet enough that it doesn't need any additional sweeteners. As you can see in the pictures above and below, I made sure to take time out of packing in the weeks leading up to my move to have tea breaks and take a moment to enjoy my hot beverage and just "breath," even it if meant taking a seat right in the middle of all of the packing - ha!







      
     As I shared above, I picked up my Bigelow Benefits tea at Publix when I was still in Charlotte. But this tea is available at various grocery retailers- here in Vermont I would be able to find it at my local Shaw's! 😉




     Share your best tips for moving with me in the comments of this post! And do you like Bigelow teas? Have you tried the new Bigelow Benefits teas yet?


     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese (aka "Charlotte XO" on the radio - unrelated to this post but my show debuts TODAY from 10 am to 3 pm EST! You can listen live here!)

April 19, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.





{A look at my Easter outfit from this past Sunday- lots of Lilly! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}



Ramblings:

  • The new job: So excited to tell y'all that week one at my job has been going VERY well! I have the nicest co-workers, and they have all been so welcoming to be this week. I am learning so much about radio, and also getting to use many of the skills that I learned in both my college internships and at broadcasting school! It's been a great week and I can't wait to see what's to come. This week I didn't do my live show as I'm still learning all of my station's equipment, but I will be live during weekday middays NEXT WEEK! I'll share more details for how to tune in soon here on the blog for those interested.
  • Adulting adjustment: While my job has been going very well and I have no complaints there, I have found there has been some adjustment needed to getting used to both such a big move and also working full time! Each day I've been coming home feeling quite tired after learning lots of new information at work, so I still have boxes left to be unpacked, and many of the awful #adulting errands related to my move still need to be tackled. I'm giving myself a deadline of May 12th to feel completely moved into my apartment and into my new schedule- that's exactly one month after I moved here! 
  • Weekly schedule: I recently found this old blog post from one of my favorite bloggers, Katey from Chronicles of Frivolity. She talks about the importance of creating a weekly schedule for time off from work to help fight being unproductive. I love this idea and really want to do this soon, once I feel a bit more settled. 
  • GIVEAWAY! There is a giveaway up on my Instagram right now! You could win a $50 gift card to Charming Charlie, courtesy of them! Enter on this post, and the giveaway runs through 4/24/17.




Purchases: 


  • Real moving talk here... I had the unfortunate experience of learning this week that Vermont DMV fees are wayyy higher than North Carolina's... so that was no fun! My only purchase for the week was my new license and license plates. 😓 #budgetprobs


Wishlist:
  • I may not have any fun purchases for the week but I do have a fun wishlist! It's no secret that I love the color bright coral... I've worn a couple of formal dresses in this hue, and it's a color that I just generally always find my way back to. This ruffle sleeve top comes in three colors (I linked the shade I love) and I love the sleeve details! 
  • With summer on its way, I'm on the hunt for more pairs of cute shorts. These shorts are amazingly under $20 and have the most adorable scallop and bow detailing! 
  • It's only day three of my new job, and I'm still trying to figure out what exactly my dress code for work will be. The nice thing about radio is there isn't really a dress code, but that's also a downside because it can be hard to set my own dress code and be dressing up one day and then bumming it down the next. The way that I'm leaning towards dressing for my job most days is wearing a nice blouse and jeans- a casual but still put together look. This blouse would be ideal for the work look that I'm going for!
  •  I think I posted a few months back in one of these posts that I am in need of a new laptop skin or case. I've been browsing around at them again and I think this one might be my treat to myself with my first paycheck- my computer definitely needs it!


     I hope that y'all are having a great week as well! 


     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese 

April 17, 2017

A Dream Fulfilled: Beginning My Radio Career.

     No outfit post or Relationship Monday musings today.... due to the fact that this is a very exciting day, and one that I have waited a very long time for! Today is my first day of work as an on-air radio host, which has been a dream of mine since I was seven years old. It began to become a more realistic dream during my freshman year of college, and one that strongly influenced my move to North Carolina in the first place! Today, one year ago, I was celebrating at my last sorority formal. Had you told me that one year from then I would be preparing to start my first radio job in Vermont, there's no way I would have believed you!! (Probably least likely to believe the Vermont part- ha!)




Photo by Deeana Kourtney Photography


     When I announced the news last month on the blog about accepting the position for my first radio job, I touched over some of the basics regarding it, like where my job is located (VERMONT - hence my move across the East Coast!), the story of how I first became interested in radio as a little girl, and if my move would be bringing a name change or rebrand for my blog. Since sharing that initial announcement about my job, I've had several weeks to think about how I would like to continue to integrate my job into my blog's content. I happen to think that I am about to begin one of the coolest jobs in the world, and thankfully radio is an industry that is essential to integrate with social media, so I'll definitely be sharing about my job and transition into being in the radio world here on Southern Belle in Training. Post topics that I have ideas for include: picking an undergrad course of study and internships to prepare you for broadcasting, all about broadcasting school (what is it, who should go, what you study), why I picked radio over TV, a day in the life at work of a radio host, sharing my new music top picks each month, and also giving all of you a chance to ask me things in a Q&A post about my career and the radio industry, once I have gotten a bit more settled into my job! ALSO- Once my on-air schedule is set-in stone, I will be sharing it here so that any of you who would like to tune in can! (You can listen to both stations that I'll be working for online or on their iPhone apps!)

      Although the last paragraph kind of captured what's to come as far as this life change and my blog, I do want to say again how big of a deal today is for me on a personal level. While this blog growing into what it is might be something that I never saw coming when I started it during my freshman year of college, I can't say the same for my career path! That IS what I've been working towards for so many years, and to watch my work and sacrifices pay off and my dreams come true in front of my eyes in unbelievable. I am both extremely nervous and extremely excited for today!


     One last thing that I wanted to share with y'all... these two blog posts that really resonated with me a lot during the last couple months as I was preparing to move and start work. Krista from Covering the Bases and Jenna from Visions of Vogue are both fashion bloggers who could easily be blogging full-time at this point, but they love their day jobs and choose to continue their original careers as well as blog. Krista's post and Jenna's post, each about how much their careers mean to them, were such encouragements to me as I prepare to start mine! So many girls who do fashion blogging strive to be full-time bloggers, and while I admire those that do (some I'm even friends with!), that was never the path that I intended to take with this blog. My end-goal someday I suppose is to brand my radio presence and blog presence into one, if that makes sense, but still to always have my voice as an outlet.


     For a non-radio update- this weekend I was able to solidify my editorial calendar for the rest of April, so expect some fun content here on the blog in the next couple weeks. Next week I'll also finally be beginning to recap my Italy trip- that is much delayed I know, but that's what happens when you travel internationally right before being in a wedding and moving! 😉



    Thank you all for celebrating this new chapter with me!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese

April 16, 2017

Happy Easter 2017.

   


     Today is my favorite day of the whole year! I absolutely adore Easter, and it is definitely my favorite holiday. There are many reasons that I love it so much. First and foremost, because of my Christian faith. I love taking time each year to consider the significance of Jesus's death and resurrection, and to thank the Lord for the amazing gift of His Son. This holiday celebrates the whole cornerstone of the faith! Spring is also my favorite season, so I also love Easter because it means that winter is over and the dawn of spring is upon us (even more significant now that I live in New England again!), and the rebirth that happens in the springtime makes me think of the resurrection even more.


     For a lighter note, I do also love all of the more commercialized aspects of Easter. Rabbits are by far my favorite animal (if you need further confirmation of this, check out my Halloween costume from last year), and I love all of the Easter color palettes and cute decorations. The fun dessert recipes and adorable crafts and DIYs out there for this holiday just make things even better!


    For the past two years, unfortunately the Easter season has snuck up on me. Although I love the fact that Easter isn't nearly as commercialized as Christmas, sometimes I wish there was more of a season leading up to it so that we could all be "forced" to slow down a little bit and enjoy the special times each year. Last year, I was knee deep in beginning to prepare for my last round of final exams in undergrad, and my Senior Capstone paper was due right after Easter. I remember being so disappointed that I was unable to attend church that weekend due to finishing my paper. (Luckily though I did spend Easter lunch with my sweet senior year suitemate Caroline and her family!)


     This year, I am choosing not to dwell on the fact that the season snuck up on me again due to my cross-country moving, but instead choosing to celebrate the blessings that I have for this day! While I might not have been able to decorate my new apartment to my liking or have had time to bake fun Easter treats, this morning I'll be getting to worship God and celebrate the message of Easter by visiting a new church here in Burlington. 😊 And best of all- I don't have to do it alone! My best friend from high school, Jules, came to visit me from Maine for a couple days, so that I wouldn't have to spend my first weekend in my new city all alone.


    In years past I've shared the link to this song on the blog, and I wanted to share it again. I actually don't listen to a lot of contemporary Christian music, but this song is an exception and has been a favorite of mine for years, and will continue to be for years to come. Such a sweet reminder of what Easter means!





    Happy Easter to you! Wishing you a wonderful day. Something I didn't include in the above part of the post is that TOMORROW I begin my radio job!! Stay tuned for a post with more on that tomorrow.


     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese

April 14, 2017

Spring Gingham Look + Vermont Moving Update.

     The gingham trend has been in full force for awhile now, and I'll admit that it's taken me a little while to fully enjoy it. But the top that I'm wearing in today's blog post has fully converted me into a gingham fan! 










Photography by Deeana Kourtney Photography


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





     This very easily might end up being one of my favorite tops for this spring and summer! Peplum and bows are two of my favorite details to look for in tops, and of course this one has both of those! I mean- can you get over the adorable bows on the back up the top? 😉 The higher neckline on it makes it easy to dress up with necklaces, and I chose to pair it for this outfit with one of my favorite necklaces of all time (which definitely makes its way around the blog quite often!), my layered pearl strand necklace. I think this top is an amazing steal for its price point for $20, and I know that it will be on repeat in my wardrobe for the next few months.


     If you've been following me on social media or read Wednesday's latest Midweek Ramblings posts then you know that I have arrived in Vermont to begin my first job in radio broadcasting! When I was in college, I would always move home to Maine for the summer (my dad would fly down to help me pack up and drive home), and those moves never went well. Studying for finals and end of the year activities always took priority for me over moving, so I always did a terrible job at packing. I was determined to do a better job with my Vermont move this time around, as I talked a little bit about in Wednesday's post. I definitely think that I did a better job with packing and preparing for the move and would give myself a gold star for that, however the moving in part of the move has not been going so smoothly since arriving in Vermont. Both of my parents are here to help me unpack and settle in which I have been so grateful for, but still some things with moving in general have been tough to deal with and things have been moving a lot more slowly than I anticipated. I was hoping to be 100% settled before starting my job next week, but that's not looking likely now. 


     Anyways- I'm not really sure where I was going with all of that, but I guess I just wanted to remind y'all that real life 100% happens to bloggers too! I will definitely try and write some moving blog posts at some point about things I'm glad I did to prepare for the move and think I did well, and also about the things that didn't go as well upon arriving here in Vermont. 



     Sharing my adorable gingham top and some other similar picks below:





     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese 

April 12, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.




{A little sneak peak of my new home city- Burlington, Vermont! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}


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



Ramblings:
  • Welcome to Vermont! This is the first blog post that I've written from my new home state: Vermont! After spending the last two months planning for this move after accepting a job here, the time finally came this past week, and I packed up my apartment (and life!) in NC and drove it back up the East Coast. Although I moved several times from Maine to NC for college, this was by far the largest move I've ever done as it was 1. permanent, and 2. contained furniture! I'm planning a couple moving related blog posts over the next few weeks which I hope will be a resource to y'all! 
  • Ridin' Solo: Nope... not a reference to a certain Jason Derulo song... instead an accurate description of the fact that I drove up to Vermont all by myself! My dad always used to fly to NC and help me pack up my dorm room each year and drive back to Maine for the summers, so I always had a companion for the long trip. My dad still came back to help me move this time, but he had to drive the moving truck, so it was just me and my car stuffed with suitcases for the 15 hour drive! Previously the longest solo road trip that I'd ever taken was the four hour drive from Charlotte to Tennessee to visit my blogging bestie Dana. I was thinking it might be useful to write a post with some solo road trip tips in addition to my moving posts if y'all would like that? 
  • Girls' Weekend: The rest of my week will be filled with mainly unpacking with my parents and doing some really annoying adult tasks like a trip to the DMV and establishing a new bank account, BUT I do have some fun weekend plans to look forward to! My best friend from high school, Jules, is coming up to spend the weekend with me! Jules still lives in Maine, and we have barely gotten to spend time with each other during the last five years. Thankfully- we have done a good job staying in touch despite the long distance friendship, but we are in dire need of some quality in-person time, and I can't wait to have her here! My hometown is about four hours away from Vermont, so one perk of taking this job was being a drive away from my parents and Maine friends, instead of a plane ride! 

Purchases:
  • A major downside of moving to Vermont (I've already complained about this on Twitter...possibly more than once) is that it's the only state in the nation that doesn't have Target. I repeat: NO TARGET STORES. I had to be sure to get an extra fill of Target as a rest stop on my drive up here- and I couldn't resist picking up these sandals which are under $20!! All spring sandals are BOGO 50% off right now as well! 
  • Before leaving Charlotte, I browsed a few local discount stores by my old apartment to try and find last minute finds for my new apartment in Vermont. If you're getting the gist from my last paragraph... shopping is a little more limited up here! Anyways- I found the most darling lampshade at Burlington Coat Factory, which will go so well on my desk in my new place! This lampshade is similar!
  • Something else I purchased last week which was NOT fun but is #reallife is that my iPhone screen shattered in the weirdest way (Plot twist: I didn't drop my phone.... it got crushed by something in my purse!), so that had to be replaced last week, and I also had to buy a new screen protector. Definitely one of those expenses that you don't expect, but it goes to show the importance of an emergency fund yet again! 

Wishlist:
  • I'm currently craving a rug for my new place! Moving anywhere is costly but moving across the country is especially EXPENSIVE so there are some things that I won't be able to purchase until a few paychecks in with my new job, and a rug was sadly placed on the "not an immediate purchase" list. This is one rug that I have my eye on for the hopeful future!\
  • I've seen a lot of bloggers styling these gorgeous totes- and I think one of them might make a great work bag for starting my job! I love all of the summer accent colors in the new collection! 
  • I love browsing Etsy for fun and unique finds sometimes... how amazing are these pendants? They're made with my favorite gemstone, and they're so different and cool! I think they'd make a great layering piece. 


     Thanks so much for reading, and have a great rest of your week!



      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese

April 11, 2017

HUGE Graduation Dress Round Up!


     At this time last year, I was still having lots of trouble finding my college graduation dress. I wanted something that would be fun yet tasteful, and that would reflect my sense of style and personality, yet also be appropriate for the ceremony and to wear with my robe. As someone who is quite a dress lover in general, I had no idea that finding a dress for the occasion of graduation would be so hard! After trying on tons of dresses in many stores and also browsing for weeks on end online, I finally picked out a dress, and I remember it felt like such a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

     Oddly enough- the search for a graduation dress was not going any easier this year when I began browsing a couple months ago for a dress for my broadcasting school graduation ceremony, which will be in late May! I knew that I'd had so much trouble last year that I wanted to start extra early this time around... and similarly enough I was still having trouble finding anything that felt perfect! Fortunately for me this time around- thanks to finding a job out of state and my big move, I actually won't be attending my broadcasting school graduation ceremony in person, so I can re-wear last year's graduation dress when I Facetime in... or wear my pajamas... no one will know! 😉


     Anyways, I wanted to help out all of my fellow graduation seniors (both high school and college!) who might read my blog with today's post, to hopefully make the graduation dress shopping process easier than it has been for me! I found lots of different dresses in both varying styles and price points, so there is something here for everyone! And if you aren't a grad yourself this year or if those days are behind you, then perhaps you have a graduation or other special spring event like a recital or shower to attend, and you might still be in need of a pretty spring dress!


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     If you're not looking to break the bank with your graduation dress- it's totally possible! These dresses are all super cute and perfect for graduation or any other spring celebration, and the best part is that they're all under $25! I seriously cannot believe that the yellow scalloped dress is only $10. 






     I am a huge fan of the Lilly Pulitzer brand, and to me wearing a Lilly dress for a special occasion makes the occasion that much sweeter. 😉 If you're wanting to splurge a little more, I highly recommend something by Lilly Pulitzer! All Lilly dresses are perfect for springtime, so gorgeous, and the Lilly brand is timeless so you'll be able to re-wear the dress time and time again. (I love wearing my older Lilly pieces just as much as new ones!) I did end up choosing a Lilly dress for my college graduation last year- and it was absolutely perfect. 









     And if you're looking for a dress that is a little bit more of an investment piece than an under $25 bargain steal, but might not have as preppy of a look as a Lilly dress (or quite as much of a price tag!)- don't worry, I have you covered too! Here are some of my other favorite picks that would also be perfect for graduation. From lace to bold stripes to fun florals- all the trends are here! 





      Here is a look at my college senior photos and the Lilly dress that I ended up choosing! To see more of my senior photos- check out this blog post! 





     If you've already graduated high school and college- did you find graduation dress shopping hard as I did? Did you eventually find the perfect dress! Share with me in the comments! And congrats again to all my graduating senior readers- all of your hard work has paid off!


     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese 


April 7, 2017

Going Away Festivities at Le Meridien Charlotte!



     If you've been a loyal Southern Belle in Training reader over the past year, there are three things that you should know that I'm a big fan of in general. In no particular order, they are 90s boybands, bunnies, and Le Meridien Hotel in Uptown Charlotte (note: I also didn't say any of these three things were related!). My first visit to Le Meridien Charlotte was during the special grand opening preview night for City Lights Rooftop, their incredible rooftop bar, last spring. I fell in love that night with both City Lights and the hotel itself, and over the last year I've been invited back time and time again for many fun events, most of which I've recapped here on the blog. Just a few special highlight events included: 





     All of the events that I've had the chance to both coordinate and attend over the last year have lead to a lot of emails between myself and the fantastic PR firm which works alongside Le Meridien's marketing team. (Shout-out especially to my wonderful main point of contact, Lianne! 😊) I was invited to an event earlier this spring that I wasn't able to attend, and I mentioned in my resposne email that I was sad to soon be leaving Charlotte and not be able to attend events anymore at Le Meridien. After sharing this news, before I knew it there were two exciting plans in the works for my last week here in Charlotte, thanks to Lianne and the incredible hotel team. It was so incredibly kind of them to host me not one, but two evenings during my last week in the Queen City, and I can't wait to tell y'all about both experiences now!





     First up was an evening with a special spring menu tasting at Evoke, Le Meridien's award-winning restaurant. Despite visiting City Lights Rooftop more times than I can count and also being a hotel guest, I had never gotten to eat at Evoke. I'm so glad that was able to change before my move! I took one of my favorite broadcasting school instructors as my plus one, and she was the ideal companion for an evening of food and wine tasting.

      We had the chance to sample six amazing courses, and I am proud of myself for being an adventurous eater for the evening! The evening's selections from the spring menu included pork belly with quail egg and onions, yellowfin tuna with sea beans and crispy onion, and venison with butternut squash and two new to me vegetables: ramps and morels! I am normally more on the spectrum of traditionally picky eater, but everything was seasoned so well that I was enticed to try everything, and I really liked everything (minus trying some scallops- but I'm not a big seafood person). The most fantastic dish of all was dessert- a corn cheesecake with rosemary and blueberry sauce! I never thought that cornmeal and cheesecake would go well together, but at Evoke they are a combination made in heaven. I apologize for the blurry quality of some of my photos below- but of course I was more focussed on eating than photography for the evening!
   






    Both the chef and manager of Evoke both took time out of their evening to introduce themselves to myself and my guest, and all in all it was a wonderful evening. And it was only a preparation for the next's night's festivities at City Lights!




     One night later I was back again, and this time for my official going away party. I still can't believe how kind it was that the team at City Lights hosted my friends and I for such a special night, and complete with a champagne toast!! And it was the most special toast ever... the bottle had a customized message on it wishing me well in the next part of my journey. Too thoughtful!

     Now I want to take a second to share a little bit about each of these special women who came out to celebrate with me. Something that kept going over and over in my mind during this evening is that the next time we're all together could very well be my Bachelorette party/wedding- and we all know that won't be for quite awhile. 😉 (A shout-out as well to my sorority sister and good friend Perrin, who was just married last weekend (!!!) and couldn't make it due to her honeymoon!)




     First up is Cara- or you might know her as Caralina Style! A few years ago, when I first started meeting other bloggers in person in Charlotte, I always hoped to have the chance to make a best friend from blogging. I certainly found that in Cara!! Since Cara moved to Charlotte last summer we've had many fun adventures- some blogging related and some not, but all very special and memorable! 





     When I made the decision to hire a blog photographer around this time last year, I was hoping to really up the quality of my blog's images, and have more fun with shoots. Not only did I get both of those things over the past year, but I also gained a friend for life! This amazing lady is Deeana, the woman who has been behind the camera in most of my blog posts over the past year. Deeana is a sweetheart and I will truly miss her so much!! 




     This is my ADPi sister, Mary! Mary joined the chapter during my junior year of college, and has been a burst of sunshine in my life ever since. Some of my favorite memories with Mary are the many tea dates that we've shared in my dorm rooms and then first apartment. It's a joy to call her not only friend, but also my sister! 




     Next up is my oldest North Carolina friendship- my apartment roommate and bestie from my former college, Ciera! I met Ciera at freshman orientation in July 2012- and immediately after meeting her I just knew that we would be good friends. (Does that instinct ever happen to you when you meet someone?!) Fast forward to almost five years later and sure enough my instincts were right! Even though I transferred schools after freshman year, we remained friends and still have many fun memories from our college years. I am so proud of Ciera as she is not only doing very well in her career, but also just purchased her first house here in Charlotte! 




     And last but certainly not least, this gem of a friend, Caroline! Caroline was my suitemate during my senior year of college, and was the best college roommate that I ever had. She also took most of my blog photos during my last semester of college, and her own fantastic style has been featured here on SBIT a few times so you might know her from that. Caroline isn't only my friend, but also one of my role models and my sister in Christ! Her work ethic and kind heart always inspire me.




     As I've said in other posts, leaving Charlotte is very bittersweet, and having these last few special memories during my final days in the city meant so much to me. I will miss all of my friends from the team at City Lights Rooftop and Le Meridien Charlotte- thank you for being my fun little home away from home during this year! I cannot say how much I recommend this hotel to both locals and visitors to the Charlotte area- the staff especially go above and beyond. 



     Thanks so much for reading! Stay tuned on Monday for a HUGE round-up of graduation dresses at all price points. Perfect for all of my graduating high school and college seniors who read...  but these dresses will also be great for anyone attending any recitals, showers, or other special spring events soon! 





     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese