May 31, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.




{A sneak peak at the location of one of my first photoshoots for the blog since moving to Vermont! Can't wait to share the full blog post soon. Follow me on social media @miss_alk!}


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


Ramblings:

  • Montreal for the evening: I shared a little bit about this on my social media last week, but I had a unique opportunity to go to Montreal last Thursday night! My work gave me and a guest of my choice last minute tickets to Chance the Rapper's Montreal show, and I didn't want to pass up the chance to visit the nearest major city to Vermont! (And cross the border for the night too- because let's be honest, that's pretty fun!) My friend Mercedes was able to change her Memorial Day Weekend schedule quickly and come up from DC to spend a few days with me and join me for the concert. We had a fun time road tripping up to Montreal and enjoying dinner before the show. Chance puts on a great show... I feel embarrassed saying this but I actually didn't know that many of his songs (despite the fact that I listen to a lot of rap!). But both of us still enjoyed the show. And this just makes me determined to get back to Montreal soon- such an amazing city and without traffic it's under 2 hours from Burlington! 
  • Send me a question! I've mentioned this a little bit in previous posts- but I'm excited in a couple weeks to be starting a monthly blog post series all about my job! I absolutely love working in radio broadcasting, and am so thankful to be pursuing a dream that I had for so many years. Even though it's a field that I actually work in, it's an industry that I'm very passionate about and always interested in learning more about. Because of this, I thought it would be really fun to incorporate a monthly blog series where y'all can have the chance to ask questions about both my job specifically and also the radio industry in general! Each month I'll answer a different reader question and get to dive into it. So- please send any questions related to the radio industry, studying broadcasting, or being an on-air personality my way!! You can leave them in a comment on this post, email them to me at rainbowflash94@yahoo.com, or DM me on Instagram (@miss_alk) - whatever is best for you! Expect the first post in a few weeks.


Purchases:
  • Well- I made it to the end of my four week long shopping fast!! Whoo hoo! However, last week's unexpected trip to Montreal brought with it an extra tank of gas for the week, dinner in the city, and coffee before the concert, so those were my "purchases" for my first week post-shopping fast. Sometimes experiences beat materials things. I'm definitely looking forward to doing some shopping in June though! I'm also happy to write a follow-up post about the shopping fast if that would interest y'all?


Wishlist: 
  • Something you might not know about me is that I have my belly button pierced! Sometimes I actually forget I have it done, because I rarely change the jewelry out! I absolutely love jewelry and own tons of earrings and necklaces, but for some reason I never buy belly button jewelry. Anyways- how cute is this belly ring? I think it would look really nice with bathing suits for summer! 
  • This keychain is under $10 and has the most darling design! Would be so cute to give your keys a little refresh for summer.
  • I featured this watch in my Nordstrom half yearly sale post from the weekend, but I'm still obsessing over it! One of the cutest watches that I have ever seen, and featuring my favorite type of bird.
  • I own a lot of tops in this style already (so great for work looks) but none in this pretty shade of green. Would be so great for summer work outfits!
  • Off the shoulder, a big bow, and seersucker.... AND under $15?! Yep. I'm down for this top


On the blog this week:


     Thanks so much as always for reading, and be sure to send me questions for my radio post series! I can't wait to start working on that.



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese

May 30, 2017

Keeping Your Faith While Living in a Secular Area.


      This week marks seven weeks since I moved to Vermont (!!), and the time has gone by both very quickly and very slowly. Everything related to my job in radio has gone by quickly and pleasantly since I love my job, but some of the aspects of my personal life outside of work make certain days go by a little more slowly, and I would be lying if I said there weren't any hard times yet since the move.




      One thing that has been especially challenging since I moved was moving from a city with a large Christian population back to a very secular area of the country. Let me give a quick background on where I'm from for anyone who might be a newer reader. I'm originally from a small coastal town in Maine, so I've lived in New England for most of my life and was familiar with the culture up here before I accepted my job in Vermont. I definitely think Vermont and Maine have more similarities culturally than Maine has with some of the other New England states, such as Rhode Island or Connecticut. Anyways, although I'm from an area of the country that is beautiful, I hated growing up in my small town. I had a horrific high school experience for many reasons (no exaggeration), but one thing that became increasingly hard for me to deal with as I got older in Maine was the lack of young people who shared my faith. My mom raised me in my elementary school years with the importance of going to church, and my dad came to faith when I was in middle school. By the time that I was in high school, my faith was my own and I knew the importance of living a moral lifestyle and having Christian community. Unfortunately, few people in Maine (and even fewer young people) seemed to also realize that. So that is mainly what motivated me to choose a university in the South... I was ready to experience life in the "Bible Belt."


      ^^I should clarify on the above passage- I am friends with all sorts of people (in Maine, NC and now Vermont!) who don't share my religious views. 😊 Christ showed his love to all people, and I try and do the same. BUT with that said- the importance of creating community who shares your faith and morals is very important (and also biblical- see Hebrews 10:24-25!)


       Anyways, now that I've settled in here in Vermont, I realize that unfortunately it seems to be a lot like Maine in terms of the religious climate. I'm slowly starting to make friends outside of the workplace here, but so far I haven't met any Christian young people yet. In Charlotte, there were Christian churches of all shapes, sizes and denominations. Mega churches were very common in the city (I used to attend one), as well as medium and small sized churches. Of course not everyone that I knew in Charlotte was religious or attended church, but it was more normal to do so then to not. My roommate and I last summer were apart of a bible study with other young women our age through my church, and my church offered tons of other groups just like the one we were in.


      Here in Vermont, there are a decent number of churches for a small area, but they're all very small congregations. I don't so much mind small churches, but what is hard is that very few of them here offer ministry opportunities or groups for young professionals/young people. I've been church hopping since I moved here. For the past few weeks I've been attending a church that I think I like- the worship and sermons remind me of my church in NC. But this church doesn't really do anything in terms of social events or bible study groups for people my age- they have a high school group and then a group for people my parents' age and older. So even though I have been enjoying the sermons, in all honesty, it has been hard for me to be attending and not really finding community. I might still continue to visit other local churches, but what I have heard is that the church that I've been going to is by far the biggest Christian church in the area.


      Charlotte was a very diverse city, probably more diverse then people would think a city in the South is. But even though there is a lot of diversity there, I always felt like there were lots of people around who shared my religious, moral, and even political views. Here in Vermont on some days I find myself feeling very much like an outcast. I already keep my faith, morals and political views hidden from much of my public persona since I work in media, so I am missing having people in my life to share these things with outside of my job.



      I apologize if the whole first part of this post seemed like a rant! I didn't mean for it to. I know I
have so much that God has blessed me with- most importantly a job that I really do enjoy, so I don't want it to seem like I have nothing to be happy about. But at the same time- this is something that has been weighing on me a lot since I moved here, so today I just needed to be honest with y'all. 😊



     Now I would like to share a few things with y'all that I've been doing to do my best to keep my relationship with the Lord strong since my move:


     *Continue attending church regularly: I know I shared above that it has been hard for me to find a church home here, and I'm actually still not sure if I've found one yet, since I think the church I've been going to kind of lacks in community. But it's important to remember that church hopping is a process, and it is unlikely to find a great church with the first one that you visit. But this isn't an excuse to give up on going! I've actually written a whole blog post before on the importance of regularly attending church- and I'm not going to re-write everything that I said in the post here, but I'll just say that I still believe in everything in that post and stand behind all of it!


     *Regularly remind yourself of everything that you stand for: When you're living in a place where it's hard to find people who share all of your morals and values, it can be easy to let those go to the wayside. Peer pressure isn't something that goes away automatically after the school years are done, y'all! But it's so crucial to remember the standards that God holds His children to, and how to continue implementing those in your life. You never know- your behaviors (or lack of certain behaviors!) could be a huge silent but positive influence to people around you, even if they never tell you that it is.


     *Know that God puts trials into your life for a reason: I don't think it's any accident that my first job was in a place like Vermont. There is a reason (beyond just the radio industry!) that I've ended up living here for the time being, and God didn't do it by accident. He puts trials into our lives to teach us to rely more on Him and Him alone. Living in a more secular place is definitely a trial, but something that I've been telling myself a lot is that there is a reason why God thought I could/should handle this right now in my life! Maybe it's so I can use my story of this point in my life to encourage someone else later on. Maybe I'll be a light for Christ for someone who wouldn't have heard His Message here in my new home. Maybe something else. But there is a reason that I live in a place like this right now, and have been struggling to find Christian community. God knows that reason, and in that I take comfort!


     *Seek Christian community in other ways: Even if your current physical location isn't providing you with a lot of faith based community, you can still seek it out virtually! I've been reaching out a lot to Christian friends of mine, both those in North Carolina and also many that I have met through blogging over the years. I need to give a special shout-out to my blogger friend Rachel from Something Delightful! Not only does she have the most adorable fashion blog, but Rachel has become a good friend outside of blogging, and I am always in awe of her strong faith. Rachel sends me many texts of encouragement and sometimes it's something as small as that to brighten my day and point me back to Jesus.



     Have any of you ever moved to (or currently live in) a more secular place where it's hard to find Christian community? What types of things did you do to help cope and still strengthen your faith?



     God Bless,


 
     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)

May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend Outfit + 3 Books I've Read This Month.

     Sharing a darling (and affordable!) off-the-shoulder dress for summer today, and it's also one of my very last photoshoots from when I lived in Charlotte! I'm also sharing a quick review of the three books that I've read in the past month from my local library.










Photography by Deeana Kourtney Photography


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





      This darling off the shoulder dress was another fun fashion find on my Italy trip a couple months ago. It's finally getting warm enough here in Vermont to wear things like this, but I was able to wear it a bit in Charlotte before I moved! This dress is lightweight and made of a very comfortable material. The retailer that I bought it at in Italy is an international store that ships to the US, and the dress is priced at under $30 in USD! It also comes in 3 other colors. 😊 I think the pretty blue and white pattern is perfect especially as a Memorial Day Weekend outfit option, and could also be cute for the 4th of July in a couple months. 


     Since moving to Vermont, I've been trying to get back into reading in my spare time! I grew up as a total bookworm, but my love of reading had to be put on hold for a few years in college. Ah college- the period of life where there just aren't enough hours in the day! Anyways, now that I finally have a fairly set schedule at work and free evenings most weeknights, I've been trying to prioritize reading again. I enjoy reading all types of books, but since this month I was still settling into my new home and job, I wanted some light and girly "beach" type reads. These are the three books that I read from my local library in the past month! 


     *Jemima J by Jane Green: This book was written and is set in the late 90s, and it's about the very beginnings of the online dating world. The main character, Jemima, is British, and she meets someone in an online dating chatroom from the US. It chronicles her relationship with him, and also a real-life relationship with one of her colleagues. This wasn't the best book I've ever read and I found the ending to be predictable, but I did think it was interesting to read about the early days of the online dating scene, with dating apps and websites continuing to pop up and be used at such an explosive pace now in 2017.


     *How To Meet Cute Boys by Deanna Kizis: This book is about a young woman who works for a women's magazine (Kind of like a fictional version of Cosmopolitan), and how her work ties in with her meeting a mysterious guy. I thought I would really enjoy this book.... but I actually hated it, and only got halfway through it. There was a lot of bad language and sexual content in this book. Obviously both of those things are present in many books, including some of my favorite reads, but I think they only have a place if it really adds to the story or character development. In this case, it did not, and the author seemed to use it only because the story wasn't that exciting, so I lost interest and thought the main character seemed a bit crude. 


     *Little Bitty Lies by Mary Kay Andrews: My favorite book from the library this time around! I don't think I've read anything by Mary Kay Andrews before but hopefully that will be changing now. This book tells the story of Mary Bliss McGowan, a well-to-do Atlanta wife and mother, whose husband mysteriously disappears one day. This book is both funny, heartfelt, and also romantic, and has a fun plot. I also loved the fact it was set in the South... I miss it! 


     These books and cute off the shoulder dresses are linked below! I hope that y'all have enjoyed your long weekend so far! I had to work overtime this weekend to cover radio shifts for some of my station's other on-air personalities (perks of being the new girl at work- ha!), but it was still an enjoyable weekend.







    
     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)


     

May 27, 2017

Better Late Than Never: Best Memorial Day Sales!

     I'm definitely a bit on the late side with getting this sale recap up for y'all... but sometimes real life has to come before a blog post! I'll share more about this later in the week, but I was able to score last minute concert tickets in Montreal through work for Thursday night, and a friend of mine from out of town was able to come up to Vermont at the last minute to join me and spend a couple days visiting. We had a wonderful time, but anyways, getting my Memorial Day Sales blog post up wasn't my top priority for the last couple days with the change in my schedule. Do forgive me! 😉 But hey- better late than never right? The weekend isn't over yet- and there are still some amazing deals to be found! I'm rounding them all up below:


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













     I always think of the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Memorial Day Weekend sale as the official pregame to July's NSale- anyone else think the same? I'm definitely a bigger fan of the actual NSale... but there are a few good finds in this year's Half-Yearly that I still wanted to highlight for you guys!
  • Pink Hunter boots on sale: I've wanted Hunter boots for years but it didn't rain frequently enough in the Carolinas for me to make the splurge. Vermont is a different story though... there have been more rainy days than sunny ones since I moved. so I might finally be making the splurge this year.
  • Tory Burch Watch: This is a splurge item- but during this sale it is 40% off! Every girl needs at least one nice watch, and this is a stunner.
  • Chic Blue Dress: I love the cut of this dress- how elegant and modern! 
  • Peacock Watch: I'm not normally a big watch girl but this sale has so many cute watches in it, haha! I love this fun one from Kate Spade. I think Peacocks are just beautiful so I'm loving Kate Spade's Peacock inspired collection.
  • Straw Tote: I'm actually not a huge fan of the straw tote trend that's big right now. In all honesty, I think it's a huge fad that will pass quickly. BUT- this is the first straw tote I've seen that I'd consider getting! It's so cute and under $100!

     *Other great sales:

   *Ann Taylor: 40% off sale styles + 50% off sale styles. Use code SUMMER.


    *Banana Republic: 40% off. Use code BRSUMMER.


    *Charming Charlie: BOGO Free Jewelry Sale.


     *Chicwish: Extra 20% off select styles. Use code TRE20.


     *Express: Up to 50% off everything.


     *J. Crew Factory: 50% off everything.


     *Lilly Pulitzer: Free gifts with purchase.


     *LOFT: 50% off sale.


     *New York and Company: Everything 50-70% off (some really good deals here!).


     *Shein: $5 off orders $55+ with code MDW5.




     And on a side note from the Memorial Day sales talk- a shameless plug for my radio shows this weekend, since I'm on air more than usual. 😉 If you'd like to listen to me, both stations that I work for have the option to listen live on the website, as well as free iPhone apps in the app store. All times listed are in EST!

     5/27: Planet 96.7 from 3-7 pm

     5/28: Planet 96.7 from 10 am-3pm
     Star 92.9 from 10 am-3pm
     (Yes I'm on air on both at the same time... the magic of modern radio!)
   
     5/29: Star 92.9 from 12 am-5am



     Happy Shopping and have a great long weekend! And thank you to all of those who have served our country past and present!


     God Bless,


 
     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)







May 26, 2017

TRAVEL GUIDE: Rome, Italy

      Continuing along with my (much belated) Italy trip posts today by sharing my travel guide to Rome! Rome was the city that my mom and I were in the longest during our trip, and we had a wonderful time there. I've already shared a different blog post featuring spots we visited both on our own and as apart of our tour group that were featured in one of my favorite childhood movies, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, but today's post is a general travel guide blog post to this great city! 





Travel:

     My mom and I flew into Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) on Iberia Airlines. We flew out of Boston, and had a brief layover in Madrid. FCO is the major international airport in Rome, and one of the largest in Europe. There are direct flights offered on numerous airlines to the United States, and even more flight options if you opt for a layover like we did. We had never flown on Iberia Airlines before but both my mom and I were very impressed! Our plane to Madrid was so modern and our coach class seats had a lot of amenities for an international flight. The flight from Madrid to Rome was on a smaller plane, but still a really pleasant airline experience.






Stay: 

     Since we were visiting Rome as apart of a tour vacation, our tour made the lodging arrangements in each city. Our hotel in Rome was the Hotel Veneto Palace. This hotel definitely had its pros and cons. Biggest pro: It was in a great location. Our hotel was very close to Villa Borghese- the largest park in the city of Rome, and all in all located in a very beautiful and elegant part of the city. It was also easily walkable to many of the famous attractions that I featured in my Lizzie McGuire blog post, such as the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Another pro was that the staff of the hotel were all so kind and helpful!
     The biggest pro was that the hotel was listed on its website as being a four star hotel. The hotel that my mom and I stayed at in Venice was definitely a four star... Hotel Veneto Palace was not. The lobby was small, the rooms had some old charm to them but were a bit rundown. We chatted with other people on our tour and they felt the same way about their rooms at this hotel too. For example- the mattress on my bed was super lumpy and had like permanent dents in it from the lumps, which made it uncomfortable to sleep on. I never even saw anything like that in a college dorm- much less a hotel! Unfortunately I didn't really take any pictures of our room... but I might have some video from when I finally get around to making my Italy trip vlogs?





Eat: 

     Rome is an interesting city for eating. My mom and I did a food tour on our first day there (more on that below), and one of the participants on it was a girl who was studying abroad there for the semester. She said she had learned in her time abroad that it was hard to find ethnic cuisines in Rome, and the few ethnic restaurants there were tended to be overpriced and not as great as the ethnic restaurant selection that some larger US cities have. This was different than France, where I studied abroad in Summer 2015. Of course France had a great selection of French restaurants... but you could also find restaurants for every type of European cuisine, and I also had some of the best Asian food of my life in France.
      Anyways- this girl stressed to me that Romans do two things well in the food department and they like to do what they do best: pizza and pasta of course!! And I found everything she said to be so true. Rome is just filled with every type of Italian restaurant that you can think of. From casual sidewalk cafes that serve panini type sandwiches, pizza slices and gelato to fancier restaurant options for nice dinners, there is no shortage of pizza or pasta in the world's capital of these foods. Because of this, I quite honestly don't remember the names of most of the places that my mom and I ate at! It was a lot of splitting sandwiches or pizzas in casual cafes in the daytime between our Italy tour activities, and similar food choices on our free days. Even if I remembered the names of these places to tell you- there are probably hundreds just like them. (Seriously!) 
     BUT- with all that said.... one Italian restaurant completely stands out in my mom and I's memory so I need to tell you about it so you can save it in your memory if you're in Rome. It was so incredibly amazing that we went back twice in a row. And get this... not only did we go back, but the family that was eating dinner next to us the first night there was back again when we went back the second night! They were also tourists but not from our tour. Now THAT'S the sign of a good restaurant!
      It's called Il Fiammifero Strano, and it's in the Ludovisi neighborhood in Rome (the same area I shot this outfit post). I ordered the White Pizza both times I went... and y'all. BEST white pizza I've ever had in my life. No exaggeration! My mom loved her dishes as well. This restaurant has a very standard Italian menu, but everything they make is so tasty and especially flavorful. Their prices were also very reasonable as compared to other similar Italian restaurants in Rome- so I'd highly recommend it!




To Do:

     There are endless things to do in Rome! It is one of the  most beautiful places that I have ever been in my life. I was in absolute aw as our driver took my mom and I to our hotel from the airport. About 150% jet lagged, but also completely in aw of the beauty. 😉 Even though we were there for five days, I feel like we only just touched on all that Rome has to offer. But below are the things that my mom and I enjoyed doing while in Rome! Some of these things were with our tour group, and some were on our own on our free days:


     Food Tour: My mom and I arrived in Rome a full day before our vacation tour began so we could fight off jet lag (which I highly recommend!), so to have an activity to do during our first day our travel agent recommended that we do a walking food tour. We did one through Gourmetaly Food Tours, and it was a small group walking tour through the historic neighborhoods of Travestere and Campo de' Fiori. Our tour guide was a sweetheart (and spoke excellent English), and she took us through outdoor markets and into various restaurants and cafes. We also got to sample some very interesting gelato flavors! This experience was a fun way to see a lot of Rome on foot on our first day there, and to try lots of very authentic Italian foods.







     Vatican City: We visited Vatican City midway through our time in Rome as apart of our vacation tour. The Vatican museum and St. Peter's Basilica were both amazing to see in person, but also a bit overwhelming. I was quite glad that these were attractions that we got to visit with our vacation tour group and local guides. It was really great to get to see these places in real life though- all of the churches and religious sights in Rome are absolutely stunning!







       Galleria Borghese Museum: My mom is an artist and loves art museums, so this was a part of Italy that she was very excited about. Galleria Borghese was recommended to her by a few people as one of Rome's hidden gem museums. It was very close to our hotel and located in Villa Borghese park. This museum is one that you have to buy your tickets for in advance- we tried to do it online but felt weird doing it on their website, so we went a day early in person and pre-purchased them for the next day. Out of all the art museums that we saw on the trip, this was my favorite I think. The tickets are not cheap, but I did enjoy the museum, and you can make a nice afternoon out of enjoying the art and sculptures in Galleria Borghese and then taking in the park after.




      Villa Borghese Park: This is Rome's largest public park, and was right by our hotel! It is the Italian version of Central Park, and it was truly a lovely public space. My mom and I went on a few walks there during our few days in Rome, and after our day at Galleria Borghese we decided to rent one of the little tandem motor vehicles found in the park, called Bici Pincio. Honestly- this was the highlight of my whole time in Rome! I believe the rentals are done by the hour, so my mom and I took one out around the park for an hour and it was SO much fun!! I learned very quickly that I'm horrible at driving these things around so I let my mom drive it, but it was so fun to zoom all around the park. I definitely recommend doing this if you're in Rome!





      Shopping at Zara: I actually didn't do too much shopping in Rome- I saved most of that for Florence. But one place I did shop at while in Rome was Zara! Zara of course has locations in some major US cities (I've been to one of their NYC stores before), but Europe is the place to shop Zara!! Even though euros are worth more than the US dollar, Zara's prices end up being cheaper in Europe.  And they have a much better selection at European stores. I enjoyed shopping at the location on Via del Corso and Via del Tritone. It's close to the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.




      Lizzie McGuire Movie Attractions: I already wrote a separate blog post all about this! My mom and I were able to visit a few of the spots featured in the Lizzie McGuire Movie while on our trip!



     And that concludes my Rome adventures and travel guide! I hope to be able to visit this beautiful city again someday. I still have blog posts to share from our time in Florence and Venice, so stay tuned for that! And I did take a lot of video footage during all parts of the trip- so I am still hoping to put together a little vlog at some point!





      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)



May 24, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.





{Enjoying the sunshine during some warm weather here in Burlington last week! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}


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




Ramblings:

  • I tried several new Pinterest recipes this past week! Two dinner recipes, a breakfast recipe, and a recipe for cookies. I love to cook in my spare time and try new recipes! Back in October I wrote a fun blog post sharing links to a lot of my favorite Pinterest recipes that I had tried and enjoyed. I'm thinking about doing that again soon if y'all would like? 
  • I had my first photoshoot with a new photographer here in Burlington yesterday after work! Since I did over-shot content with Deeana in Charlotte before I moved, and also had lots of content to blog about from my Italy trip, I didn't need to find a photographer up here right after moving. But doing blog photoshoots was a part of my routine that I've really missed! I can't wait to share these new outfits with y'all soon, and I have some fun collaborations coming up in the next month, too. 
  • For some blog post inspiration that I've read over this past week- how gorgeous is McKenna Bleu's home office? Total blogger #goals! I love the bright colors and fun aesthetic of her design style! 


Purchases: 

  • I'm almost done with a four week shopping fast! It's gone by a lot quicker than I anticipated. You can read more about why I'm doing that in this blog post.



Wishlist:

  • The bride of the wedding that I was in back in April gave all of us bridesmaids super cute matching robes as part of our bridesmaids gifts. I am a total bathrobe aficionado (no seriously- if I'm in my apartment there's a 99% chance I'm in a robe) and since the wedding I've been looking into getting even more robes to add to my already fairly large collection! How pretty are these cute little robes for summer time? They'd make great bridal party gifts, but forgetting that- it would make a great item just to treat yourself with too! 
  • If there's one thing that I love more than bathrobes, it would be mugs. All my fellow single ladies need to get this one!
  • I've featured picks from this brand in my wishlist before. They have such a classy interpretation on the latest trends! This is a beautiful off the shoulder top. Obviously every retailer right now is selling OTS tops- but this one is just so elegant and chic! 
  • I have some fun collaborations coming up soon with this retailer! I can't wait to style the pieces they're sending me for y'all, but in still browsing their website I came across this skirt. OMG. I think I need!! 


On the blog this past week:

     Thanks so much for reading- hope today is a wonderful Wednesday!


     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)

May 23, 2017

Bold White Dress + My Spring TV Schedule.

     I'm styling this fun little white dress today, and also telling y'all about what I'm enjoying watching on TV this spring! I shared my winter TV picks a few months ago, so I thought I was due for an update in my currently watching department. 






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



Photography by Deeana Kourtney Photography






    First thing's first- this dress. If you're getting married anytime soon, this would be the ideal bachelorette party dress! It's sassy and fun, and with the under $20 price point, you won't be that sad if it got a little bit ruined during the festivities that bachelorette parties can bring! 😉 And if you're far away from being a bride or bachelorette for the time being (like myself!), you can still rock this cute white dress all summer long. Since it makes such a dramatic statement with the ruffles and the cold-shoulder detailing, I chose not to wear a necklace with it. Instead I opted for fun statement earrings, and I put my hair up to highlight the shoulders!


    Now as promised, my spring TV watching schedule. Since moving, I have probably been watching more TV than I ever have in my life, haha! My rent in my new apartment included a cable package, which I've been trying to take advantage of. I've been really trying to get most blogging work done in the mornings before work and also during my lunch break after my on-air shift is done, so that way at night after work I can be computer-free and decompress after the workday by cooking dinner, reading, and watching TV! Anyways, while a few of my favorite shows just had their season finales last week (The Big Bang Theory and Jane the Virgin) these are the shows that I'm enjoying currently: 


  • The Bachelorette (ABC): Okay I feel like every blogger and their mother watches this, so this one probably isn't a shocker, lol! I have been watching the shows in this franchise since the winter 2010 season, which was Brad 2.0's Bachelor season (and the intro of Emily Maynard- everyone's favorite Charlotte Bachelorette!). I used to be a diehard fan during the rest of my high school and early college years, but over the past couple years I've only been watching The Bachelorette and not The Bachelor. Personally I think it's a lot more fun to see the dynamic of all the guys in the house, I think it's so much more funny and when it's all the girls competing for one guy I think the drama gets really out of hand. (I also had my morning radio internship while The Bachelor was on during this past season, so there was no chance I was staying up to watching that! Haha.) Anyways- I'm looking forward to Rachel's season as it continues. Where so many people watch The Bachelorette, this is a show that I'm hoping to talk about on-air with my work, and hopefully get some radio listeners excited about the show too.
  • Great News (NBC): This is a brand new NBC comedy that follows that follows the adventures of a news producer at an evening news program... whose mom starts interning for her TV station! This show has a similar comedic flavor to other past NBC comedies like 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, but I especially love it since I just graduated from broadcasting school. Even though I ended up working in radio, I studied a lot about television news in school, and I can say that although the characters in Great News are a bit wacky, the way that the newsroom actually runs is pretty accurate! This show was just renewed for a second season, which I'm really excited about.
  • Hollywood Darlings (POP TV): If there's one female celebrity who I have and have always had the biggest girl crush on... it's Beverley Mitchell! She's best known for playing Lucy from 7th Heaven. Beverley in real life is an absolute sweetheart just like Lucy. Unlike most child stars, she managed to stay away from the crazy lifestyles and bad decisions of a lot of starlets, and instead settled down and got married, and now is a mom to two beautiful children! Beverley also has a lifestyle blog which is one of my favorite reads. Anyways, she is back on TV now, in an adorable comedy called Hollywood Darlings, which also stars fellow former child stars Jody Sweetin and Christine Larkin! This show is scripted, but it's done in the style of a reality show, and all three women play themselves. I watch it of course because I'd watch anything Beverley Mitchell was apart of, but I really have fallen in love with the show! It's really cute and fun, and a highlight of my week to watch these ladies' adventures in Hollywood.




     Are you watching any of these shows this spring? Are there any TV shows (either live or on Netflix) that I need to check out? And what are your thoughts on little white dresses for spring? 



     Hope y'all are having a great week!








     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)





May 22, 2017

Relationship Monday: An Open Letter To The Boy Who Broke My Heart.

     Welcome back to my monthly Relationship Monday blog post series! After taking a little hiatus from these during my travels/move/starting my new job, I'm bringing it back with a very personal post. This has been a situation that I've been processing and dealing with for the past few months. Basically- 2016 was a pretty crappy year for lack of a better term, and during these months last year I hid a lot of what was going on in my real life from the blogging side of my life.

     I debated sharing about what I'll be talking about today here on my blog for a long time because it is personal, and the story doesn't just involve me but also another person, but I've come to conclude that blogging is my best form of stress relief and healing. I don't just write here because I like to talk about fashion and share my outfits. I also blog to share real life experiences, and sometimes real life is really messy. I've definitely shared before about personal topics on my blog... but never one that felt THIS personal, if that makes sense.

      So, that all goes to say... it finally took a few months to dawn on me that most people also go through heartbreak, and while painful, it is a relatable topic. Obviously there are parts to this story that I have left out for my own privacy and the other person's, but for the most part, it's all here. So here we go- after a very long blog post intro.... An Open Letter To The Boy Who Broke My Heart:





     I've fallen in love only once in my life, and I remember the exact moment that it happened. I fell in love in a parking lot.



     You came into my life when I least expected it, and that's when they say it always happens. (Who is "they" anyways?) But when I say "least expected," I mean "least expected." With all that was going on in my life last fall, I wasn't looking to date anyone at all. I was trying to make broadcasting school, my job, and beginning my internship search my top three priorities, in addition to the other painful (legal) situation happening in my life at the time. So there was no time in there for boys and crushes and the potential of falling for someone.


      But of course- that's when it happened! Meeting you at the most unexpected time in my life. And in yours too I suppose. Right from the first week that we had met, it felt like I had known you for years. As we got to know each other more and more, sometimes I had to remind myself that I hadn't gone to college with you and spent the last few years with you. But to contradict myself, at the same time- it wasn't surprising at all that you didn't go to my college. You were kind, friendly, hardworking, a gentleman, and most importantly, you had the strongest faith of anyone I've ever met. That is a quality that I never found in a single boy in my three years at Queens University, and one that I waited for and prayed for and guarded my heart for all throughout college. Sure - guarding my heart doesn't mean that I didn't go out on occasional dates in college and try my hand at dating apps. But I never did have a serious boyfriend in college, because I knew my standards meant finding someone who shared my faith in Christ, and a boy who had those same priorities just wasn't at my university and apart of my path during my college years. So I guarded my heart and waited and waited. And then you came along.


     First you became my best friend, and that in itself happened quickly (too quickly). We had the same sense of humor, which was quite magical looking back on it. It didn't take long for me to think about things moving beyond friends. The chemistry was there, you had the qualities of the type of guy that I was looking for, and all the feelings were there for me. It was what I had been waiting for, or so I thought. There were more nights of conversation together in that parking lot. Me standing by my car, and you by yours. Us talking for 30 mins, an hour, an hour into two hours... my feet starting to kill in my heels from standing that long, but not wanting to move a muscle or go anywhere because I was having what felt like the most enjoyable and natural conversation of my life.


      Things kept progressing. These are memories that hit me every now and then. Text conversations becoming so flirty that the elephant in the room not being addressed about our feelings kept growing bigger and bigger. You reading my blog on a regular basis and telling me how much you enjoyed my posts. (Wonder if you still read?) After some more time had passed, the night that I finally told you my feelings towards you. Our first date. Etc, etc. And then just as quickly as it had begun, and it began to spiral downward.


      Skipping ahead a couple months in memories, I will never forget the way I felt the day you finally told me there was someone else. It was much overdue information, and it explained all of the changes in the way that you had pulled away from me- not just in being interested in me, but also as my best friend. Hearing that news (and I should clarify- hearing that news via a text message) felt like I had been shot. A hug from my roommate, a visit from a sorority sister, and sobbing myself to sleep that night couldn't take away my pain. I felt like the biggest idiot in the world. I had been the girl in college who wouldn't fall victim to the tricks of typical college boys. And here I was, a year later, completely brokenhearted and crushed by someone who I thought I could trust. Someone who shared my religious beliefs and morals. Someone who should have just been honest with me if he didn't have the same type of feelings, instead of telling me he did and leading me on for months.


     All I can tell myself now is that everything happens for a reason. I met you for a reason. I was vulnerable for a reason, and hurt for a reason. I don't know what those reasons were yet, and that's okay. Sometimes realizations come with time and healing.


     What I did learn through my time of knowing you is I did very much like the things that initially attracted me to you- the qualities like kindness, friendliness, and a hardworking attitude in your career. I'll be looking for those same things in the next guy that I meet. But I'll also be more guarded with the next person. You were dishonest in your intentions with me... and whether I like it or not, now my trust has changed. I pray that when the right guy comes, (hopefully soon!), I will be able to let my guard down again and be totally and completely me... just like how I was with you. Because that was a beautiful thing, and now remains a precious memory.


     That concludes the open letter part of today's blog post. I thought that I would also include a few of the ways that have been helping me over the past few months with moving on:



  1. Avoid staying social media friends and social media stalking: I think it's great when exes have a friendly enough break-up to remain social media friends. I'm still Facebook friends with all of my high school crushes, and all of the guys who I dated casually in college. However, this was a romantic situation that meant a lot more to me, and I realized quickly it wasn't healthy for me to remain social media friends with this person after how I was treated. I needed him out of my life, and he was unfriended on all social media. In addition to that, I have to maintain a strict no stalking rule with myself, and hold myself accountable to that! Checking up on someone who hurt me so much never does any good. (Nor does stalking his "someone else"...) 
  2. NO rebounds: A rebound is never a good idea. When you've had strong feelings of love for someone else, that doesn't just go away overnight, especially when you were blindsided out of it like I was. A relationship that begins out of the basis that you needed companionship because you were still missing someone else will never be a healthy one. I've seen too many of my friends over the years fall into the trap of doing this- and it never ends well! I'm finally now at a place where I feel ready to date again, but it definitely took a good few months. And I let it. 
  3. Focus all of your time and energy on making yourself better: Since you won't be with this person anymore and you shouldn't be going after a rebound, take all of the extra time and energy that you have an invest it into YOURSELF. Whether it's kicking butt at your job, learning a new skill, taking that vacation you've always wanted to, or what doing what I did- applying for your dream job! Seriously- having my heart broken was great motivation to kick myself into gear for applying to radio jobs nonstop, which totally paid off. The best revenge of all is to be living an amazing life!


   
     Thank you so much for reading today's Relationship Monday post! Regularly scheduled blog programming will return tomorrow!


     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)

   

   

May 19, 2017

Broadcasting School: What Is It, Who Should Attend, And Why I'm Glad I Went!

     Today is a very special Friday- it's Graduation Day for me! My class at broadcasting school graduates from our program today. In the weeks leading up to today, I started realizing that although I've frequently mentioned being in broadcasting school over the past year, and I talked about my goals for enrolling in the program last year while I was still a senior in college (in this blog post), but I never actually talked that much about what broadcasting school was while I was doing it! It was a lot of brief mentions, usually in my Midweek Ramblings posts, usually along the lines of "Oh this week in school we're starting video editing classes and I'm so busy with projects and my internship and my job and blogging and life, etc etc." Which probably wasn't that interesting for y'all to read! 

    So today, in honor of my graduation, I'm sharing LOTS on info about broadcasting school! I know that a lot of you aren't in the broadcasting field but I hope that you might still find this interesting.  I know that I do enjoy learning about other career paths outstide my field. A lot of you have been DMing me and emailing asking questions about my new radio job, so this post seemed like an appropriate kick-off to the radio career blog post series that I'm hoping to launch next month. And for anyone who might be considering or pursuing a career in broadcasting or communications, then this post is definitely for you! 


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






ONE: WHAT IS IT


Let's get down to it- what IS broadcasting school? - Broadcasting school is a type of specialized technical school, designed for those that are pursing a career in broadcast media. The early days of broadcasting schools prepared students solely for careers in radio, but as time went on and the field of broadcasting evolved, these programs are now tailored to all sorts of jobs within the field. My school specifically focused on three things: radio, video editing and production, and television news. Our campus had a radio studio, television studio, and another audio studio dedicated to podcasting all on campus, as well as a computer lab classroom for editing. Other broadcasting school programs might also have heavy emphasis in entertainment television, digital work for broadcasting companies, and sales/promotions.
      Broadcasting school is not a traditional university or college. Since it's a technical school, it's more similar to community college than a four year school. A major difference education-wise between this and undergrad is that broadcasting school is all about hands-on learning which prepares you for this field. All of your homework and assessments are done in the form of media projects and time in the studios practicing what you learn in class. The only paper/exam/anything written that I ever did was the final exam! Another difference between this and college is there are no dorms, or student organizations. Students themselves are all ages, ethnicities, and of all economic backgrounds, so while small, it's a more diverse group of people than a lot of undergrad programs. I entered broadcasting school directly after completing my undergraduate degree in journalism, and while most of the students in my class specifically also had prior college experience or degrees, my school did not require an undergraduate degree to attend. There were a couple people in my class who applied and attended directly after high school as well. 


How did you learn about broadcasting school? - I couldn't miss learning about it - literally! No really... if it wasn't for a GIANT billboard off one of the interstates in Charlotte advertising my school I never would have known about it and toured it in my senior year of college! 😉 The billboard was positioned in a spot where I would pass it a few times a year when I would leave the city to visit friends at my former university... and it always left me thinking after I'd drive past it. Senior year I finally mentioned it to my parents, and they encouraged me to set up a tour, since I was pretty serious about wanting to get into radio broadcasting and had a radio internship for much of undergrad!


Which school did you attend and why that one? - I attended the Charlotte location of The Connecticut School of Broadcasting (CSB). There are currently 12 CSB campuses across the country- so if you're interested in this career path there might be a campus by you! The length of the program actually varies at each CSB campus. I think Charlotte has the longest program out of all the schools, with 8 months of classes, and graduation at the 10 month mark. 
Charlotte is actually home to another well known broadcasting school as well. I looked into that one and CSB and felt a better connection with CSB, and really fell in love with the school during my tour. During my application process and enrollment meeting it just felt right. Similar process to applying for college! You want the broadcasting school that's right for you.


Is broadcasting school affordable? - As compared to a four year university- extremely! But looking at it alone... it definitely is an investment. As I mentioned, there are two broadcasting schools in Charlotte, and I researched both of them and ended up selecting The Connecticut School of Broadcasting for a few reasons, but I will note that it was slightly cheaper than its competitor.
My parents helped me pay for college (for which I am very grateful for!), so while they supported me in attending broadcasting school, it was an investment that I had to make completely on my own. Unlike traditional universities, CSB doesn't take federal aid, so my options to finance my tuition were to take out a high-interest private loan, or to work hard and pay for it myself and make on-time payments loan-free. I opted for option number two, and so far so good! As many of you know, I worked in retail last year during broadcasting school, and also continued to babysit for some families that I worked for in college. My monthly tuition payments are pretty large and they will continue through next spring. But after that I will be DEBT FREE from broadcasting school, and can say I paid for it myself loan free! So if I can do that in less than two years... it isn't that bad in the scheme of things.


How often are classes, and what are semesters like? - This totally depends on the broadcasting school that you choose! Even within the CSB family of schools, each campus runs differently. My school had twice weekly classes for the first half of the program (each class being four hours long), and then classes went down to once a week after the halfway mark. In addition to class time, students need to come to school and practice on the equipment for lab hours. And you need to complete an internship in your field of choice before graduation.
My campus of CSB didn't follow traditional semesters. Classes began three different times during the year, and the process from orientation to graduation is always 10 months. I was apart of the July 2016 class, so I'm graduating right now (May)!



TWO: WHO SHOULD ATTEND



What careers does broadcasting school prepare you for? The two obvious ones are anything on-air radio and television related, which is the field I got into! But there's a lot of other media careers that you might not think of that broadcasting school can also train you for. Video editing is a HUGE field right now, especially with videography being something necessary in so many industries right now. Podcasting is also taking off right now as not only a hobby but also a career- one of my radio instructors actually used to work full-time on-air but left that side of the business to pursue podcasting! A lot of grads from my campus  also end up in the wedding entertainment business- either working as emcees, DJs or wedding videographers (all skills you learn in broadcasting school!)


Is broadcasting school necessary to work in media if you have an undergraduate degree? It might not be "necessary", but I am SO glad that I did it. Even though I was a journalism major in a communications program in college and also had a good radio internship in college, I wasn't exposed nearly enough to the actual mechanics of a radio station, since my university didn't have one on campus. As I wrote above, the whole format of classes at CSB at least was based around studio time, and getting to work on projects that related to radio, TV and video editing. These skills are all crucial to learn before applying to jobs in the business! If you attended a university that had a TV station and radio station on campus and you want to pursue broadcasting, then you might be all set to head right into the field. But more often then not people are in situations like I was, and in that case I would highly recommend looking into broadcasting school! It certainly paid off for me, and my radio classes REALLY prepared me for my day job (and as for my undergrad classes... most did not! Haha).


What is the social scene like at broadcasting school? It's different from undergrad as it's a day school, and students really are of all ages. I had classmates years younger than me, and also ones that were old enough to be my parents! My class specifically happened to be very tight knit (we were a small group of just eight), and I became very good friends with a few students, and was generally friendly with everyone in class. I also made some good friends in other classes, since I wanted to get to know the people in the school and make new friends in Charlotte, besides just the people I went to undergrad with! I still talk regularly with a lot of people from school now that I'm in Vermont. Socially broadcasting school really is what you make it. Some people went to CSB just to learn tricks of the trade, and others like me went not only to learn but also to make connections and friendships in the industry. 




A few broadcasting school classmates (and instructors!) at the Christmas party my roommate and I had.



My wonderful class on my last day! I had to miss the last week of classes with my trip to Italy/move preparations.



THREE: WHY I'M GLAD I WENT



What is your favorite memory from broadcasting school? I have two! One came very early in the program. I was in radio class way back last summer with my favorite instructor, and he was teaching on the ins and outs of how songs gain popularity and why some reach the top of the charts and others don't. I was so deep in his lecture and loving every minute... and suddenly had this moment like "WOW! This is the most interesting lecture of my life and someday soon this will be my career." Truly a surreal moment and sure enough less than a year later- I work in radio!
My other favorite memory was telling everyone from school about getting hired in Vermont! I kept very quiet about my job interview process, so gathering my classmates, instructors, and our school directors together to share the good news after my interview trip was a moment I'll never forget.


So... are you glad you went? ABSOLUTELY! Of course CSB, like any school, isn't perfect. The school has its issues, just like any other educational institution. I also have to say that it was hard for me to keep my motivation during the TV news unit! At this point I was already into my radio internship and so certain that was the career path I'd be taking, but hey, I persevered and actually made good friends with one of the TV instructors! Anyways, I learned so much at CSB, met some great friends and instructors (As well as some not so great people too- but hey! You get that anywhere.) and ultimately it served its purpose, it prepared me well for my career, and was the icing on the cake to my college education. 



     So congrats to the July class at CSB Charlotte- we did it!!!


      If you're considering a career in radio or TV and are more curious about my broadcasting school experience, don't hesitate to email me or reach out! Next month I am planning to start a radio based career blog post series here on the blog- stay tuned for more on that.

   

     Thanks for reading!



      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)