Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

June 30, 2017

Spring Beauty PR Packages Review.

     One of the best parts about blogging is getting to receive some wonderful "surprises" in the mail quite often... aka PR packages! In today's post I'll be reviewing some of my favorite ones from this spring!

Today's post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Southern Belle in Training.

     I've been blogging for five years come September, and it was in my second year of blogging that I first began working with companies (mostly Etsy shops or start-ups) for collaborations. I had a slow start to get into blogging- my whole freshman year of college I really did it only as a hobby outside of classes since I loved fashion! 😊 So when I first began to work with brands, receiving a product was the payment for me writing the blog and social media posts about the item and company. 

     Now things have changed a bit- I really only accept sponsored blog posts that include monetary compensation (or a significant amount of product from a brand that I love) since by now I'm running Southern Belle in Training as a business, and not a hobby! BUT there still are some freebie gifts that come my way in the form of PR packages! (A PR package means that a brand solely wants to gift you some product because they like your blog and content, and you aren't in a sponsored relationship with the company where you're obligated to post about it or being paid to post about it!) If you follow a lot of bloggers on Snapchat or Instagram stories, you'll often see bloggers sharing snaps of these fun gifts arriving, but rarely I find to bloggers actually take the time to review everything. I have started getting so many that I also don't have time to review everything that comes my way, but from time to time I do like to review some favorite packages for y'all, especially the beauty ones! Here are some of my favorites that I've received this spring:

     This is probably one of the best PR packages that I've ever received, no lie! When Avon reached out to me and said they wanted to send me a gift, I assumed it would be skincare samples. Not sure why I assumed that, but I did. 😉 Boy was I wrong when I opened this!  Avon ended up sending me the entire new True Color Lipsticks line, plus some bonus colors as well! And the best part was it arrived in the most darling makeup holder, that they personalized for me with my Instagram name on top. I was so touched! 

     The True Color lipstick line has 40 colors in all shades of the lipstick rainbow, and two finishes, satin and shimmer. I actually don't wear lipstick to work too often- partly because I dress down for work so many days of the week, and partly because in a job where I talk all day long most lip products just fade right off. Getting all of these pretty things in the mail has definitely inspired me to start making my work lip routine a little more fun again though! So far I've tried two of them. The color pigmentation on both was amazing, and they didn't dry out my lips which was great! The only downside was that neither lasted more than a couple hours before needing to reapply, but I would rather have that happen than a product that made my lips really dry. 

     I've been receiving packages from Aveda for about a year now, and this was one of my favorites that they've sent! These two products are specifically designed for scalp care. I have very thick hair which naturally can hold heat styles well for a couple days, however my scalp is prone to grease very easily, so at the same time I'm also best if I wash my hair daily (and I almost always use clarifying shampoo to combat my scalp's greasiness!). I've been using each of these products about 1-2 days a week. I wash my hair at night and then style it in the mornings. I don't usually use these at the same time, so I'll use one of them one night before heat styling, and the other on another night. So far I've been seeing great results with both! My scalp has definitely been less greasy since I've used them, and they also smell great.

    My one tip is that if using the Scalp Concentrate, be careful if applying it near your part line! I did so the first time I used it (instead of applying it under sections of hair)... and when I woke up the next day the way that it dried on my part I thought it was lice eggs. I have had head lice twice before (both times, including once in college, from babysitting!) so I know what it looks like and I got SO scared there for a second, haha!! After confirming that it was NOT lice and just the product that had dried weird, I realized it's best not to apply this on your part line for best results. 😉

     I'm a much bigger perfume gal than I am a lotion fan actually! I've had bad experiences with some lotions in the past giving me horrible eczema/rashes. (Really the only lotions that I use now are the boring anti-eczema ones, lol!) Vaseline sent me some of their Advanced Repair Lotion to try a couple of months ago, with a beautiful bedazzled lid, which of course made me excited to try it. I still haven't used a ton of this lotion since overall I'm not a big lotion person, but the times I have used it I haven't had a bad reaction to it! It doesn't really have much of a scent, similar to the anti-eczema lotion that I used before. I'm just still on the hunt of course for a great smelling lotion that wont' irritate my skin. 

     The last product that I received to review I wasn't able to get a good close up photo of (My dad took these photos for me when he was visiting- I think he did a great job overall but the last couple photos in which I was holding this item didn't come out so well. 😉), but you can see it featured in the first few photos of the post where all the products are featured! It's the Colorscience Bronzing Perfector, which is like a liquid bronzing moisterizer that also has SPF! Talk about a 3-in-1 product. This product looks very orange when it first comes out, but as soon as I started putting it onto my face it blended perfectly with my pale skin tone, and left me with a gorgeous and natural (not orange) glow. So far I like this product! 

     I'm linking what I liked and a similar bathrobe to mine below! My robe was a bridesmaids' gift from the wedding that I was in a couple months ago, but I found a very similar one.

     P.S. There is a HUGE online sale going on today at one of my favorite retailers, Lauren James! Their clothing and accessories don't often go on sale, so take advantage of this today. It starts at 12 pm CST today.

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)


June 28, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.

{My second visit to the Ben and Jerry's factory in Vermont! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}

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


  • More company! My dad was in Vermont last weekend for Father's Day, and this weekend I had a surprise last minute visit from my sorority sister Hannah, who now lives in Boston! The timing worked out perfectly for her to come up, and we had such a great time. I made my second trip back to the Ben and Jerry's factory (I have a feeling many more trips are in my future with more company to come....), and we also took some time to enjoy downtown Burlington. Since I've had some difficulty adjusting to life in Vermont since the move, it's been great to have visitors here! My next visitor will be my roommate from last year, Ciera, who comes in later next week! 
  • Morning show fill-in: I've never been so excited to set my alarm for 3:45 am as I am for this Friday! I am getting the chance to fill-in on the morning show for one of the radio stations that I work for, and I CANNOT WAIT! Some of you might remember that I interned for a morning show back in Charlotte right before accepting my job here in Vermont. While I was only on the air twice during my last internship, I fell in love with the concept of morning radio during my time working for the show, and honestly I think mornings might be something I'd like to do for my next job! I think Friday's experience will be so fun, and I love working for a company that lets me get to try new things. 


  • My preferences in retailers has definitely changed through the years- as to be expected! There are some stores that I really haven't shopped at since I was in high school. One such retailer happened though last week to be having an AMAZING online sale last week that a friend texted me about (FYI- the sale is happening again! More info in the Wishlist section of the post.). They were doing 50% off all online orders $40+, and 65% off all online orders $100+. Stop and read that again- can you believe that?! I couldn't either! Even though this store isn't my personal fav anymore, with deals like that I knew this would be the time to stock up on things I needed. I've been shopping around lately for a good pair of jean shorts- and I was able to scoop some up for under $20 with the sale! 
  • Something else that I picked up in that amazing online sale was this pair of winter boots. I know, I know... it's almost July! But winter in New England will be here before I know it, and boots are more of an investment purchase. With the great deals in that sale I was able to score these for UNDER $30! What an amazing deal. 
  • As I mentioned in Monday's post... I had a bit of a rough weekend at work. Since I also had company here for Sunday/Monday... it was the perfect excuse to do a little shopping at some of the boutiques in downtown Burlington! There is a boutique that sells some Lilly Pulitzer in Burlington, and they of course happened to be having a sidewalk sale! I am not usually an impulsive Lilly buyer, but I walked away with a pair of these pants and do not regret it at all! Since I work in such a casual environment for my day job I know I'll be wearing them tons this summer. 

  • A PSA before starting my wishlist- that AMAZING online sale that I took advantage of last week (50% off orders $40+ and 65% off orders $100+) is BACK until TONIGHT ONLY at the same retailer! Shop it now here - don't miss this one! 
  • A lot of my good friends have birthdays in the summer. This BFF sweatshirt duo would be such a funny and unique gift for your bestie's birthday!
  • Since I'm not a big coffee drinker, I drink hot tea year round. It's always fun to have a summery portable hot beverage mug in the warmer months, and this one is so cute and a good deal!
  • This really cute swing dress is in such a bold shade, but I think I kinda love it! It's an online exclusive FYI.
  • A gorgeous, simple one piece bathing suit in my favorite shade of bright pink! 

On the blog this week:

     Thanks so much for reading! Stay tuned for Friday's post- I know that y'all enjoy seeing the PR packages that I get from blogging, especially the beauty ones. I'll be sharing honest reviews of a lot of the products that I've received recently in my next blog post! 

     God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)

June 27, 2017

Radio 101: What Does An "On-Air Personality" Do?

     Welcome to my first blog post in my new series all about one of my true loves: the radio industry! As many of you know, I just began my full-time job in the radio industry back in April. Pretty much since that point in time, I have been brainstorming how I can share my career on my blog. I decided to start a monthly post series (appropriately called "Radio 101") in which each month I'll answer a question about the radio industry in general, Top 40 radio, or my job specifically! If you have a question about any of these things- PLEASE send it my way!! You can comment on this post, email me or DM me on social media (I'm @miss_alk on Twitter and Instagram!). I'll use your question in a future post for this series.

     *If you're wondering how I first became interested in radio and how I decided to move to Vermont for my first job, check out this post! If you're wondering why I went to attend a year of broadcasting school after getting my undergraduate degree, check out this post!*

     Today's question: I saw you refer to your new job as being an "on-air personality." I've never heard of a DJ being called that! Besides for talking on the radio, what all does an on-air personality do?

      Such a great question to kick off this series! There's definitely a lot more to my job description than just announcing songs. 😉

      Of course, the main part of being an on-air personality is the radio portion of the job. This is probably 75% of what I do, and some weeks even more than that! In short, a lot of talking! Some personalities are one "cast member" in an ensemble show with multiple personalities (this is typically found in morning shows), and others like myself host our own solo shows.

      My current schedule is that I work for two radio stations in the same company, a Top 40 station and an AC (This stands for Adult Contemporary- meaning a blend of today's lighter pop hits and some 90s/2000s throwbacks). My primary station is the Top 40, Planet 96.7, - and I'm their midday personality, which means I host the show on weekdays which hits most of the workday hours! I'm on-air for Planet weekdays M-F from 10-3 pm. On Saturday evenings, I work for Star 92.9, the AC station. Weekends in radio often see different shifts than the weekdays, and I host the 3-8 pm shift on Saturdays for Star- after I'm off-air they play a nationally syndicated 90s music night show. I also do two additional weekend shifts for Planet. See what I mean- a lot of talking! (FYI- if you're ever interested in tuning in, both stations that I work for have free iPhone apps with streaming, and you can also stream the radio live on the websites!)

     The "talking on the radio" part is also more complicated than people think. While a good deal of my talk breaks for both stations are simply stating the station name and the song that's about the play,  that isn't all of them! I do a lot of prep work each day for my shows to find content to discuss with listeners. Top 40 radio shows often have an entertainment news flavor to them, since they're targeting young millennials. Each day I read about what's new in Hollywood, and look for stories that feature the artists that we're playing currently on the radio. I also look for anything viral or trending in the online world. 95% of what I read about each day I don't talk about on-air, either because it wouldn't appeal to enough of Planet's listeners, it's too long of a story to be broken down for a short radio talk break.... or sometimes just too weird of a story! (I share some of the weird ones that I read on IG stories and Snapchat sometimes- one of last week's was a trending article about a 60 something year old grandma who pole dances! That's just WEIRD!)

      The last portion with talking on the radio is the listener interaction component. I regularly run on-air giveaways and promotions! Airing regular phone calls with listeners is an important part of being a radio personality- you always want to show the audience (and your sales clients) that you're interacting with your demographic, and doing a good job at it! This summer, Planet is doing lots of concert ticket giveaways, so I qualify listeners for those and then edit and air the calls most weekdays during my show. (And no- radio calls are NOT aired live! They're recorded, edited, and then played back once made perfect on-air!)

     That concludes the talking on-air portion of the job duties... but there's still lots more that a radio personality does! Something else voice-related that I get to do that's lots of fun is voice commercials. Almost all of our commercials are voiced in-house with our own personalities as the writers, producers and vocal talent, which I think is so cool. I always love having the chance to read a new script and voice a commercial, and it's fun to hear them on-air when I'm out and about outside of work. My favorite one that I've done so far has been for a local grocery store chain that's hiring for summer employment.

      Social media and blogging are two huge components of my job, and no, I don't mean working on things related to Southern Belle in Training! 😉 Branding a radio station is so important, and in the digital age of media, a well executed social media strategy and a high quality website/blog for a radio station is so crucial. The top radio and TV markets across the country have digital departments in their offices, staffed with people who are simply devoted to making the digital side of the media great. But in a smaller radio company like that one that I work for, on-air personalities take care of all of the station social media needs. Each day, I take the show prep that I have prepared as talking points for my show and also transform it into social media content for station blog posts, and posts for our Facebook and Instagram. (We also do have a Twitter, but a lot of our station tweets are automated shares currently.)

     Events and promotions are the last portion of the job, and although this isn't an everyday component to my work, it is an important one. The visual part of radio are the community events and live broadcasts, which are called "remotes." Remotes are when your listeners really get the chance to interact with you up close and personally, and you can also attract new listeners at them! Some remotes are paid as advertising opportunities with local businesses, and others are for charitable causes for local non-profits. So far the remotes that I've worked since beginning my job were all for charity, but I will have my first live broadcast events (which are events that our sales team coordinate with local businesses!) coming up in July or August.

     So in short, that is a summary of my current job as an on-air personality. Job descriptions do vary from station to station, as well as show times (For example, a morning radio personality might have slightly different responsibilities than I do hosting a midday show.). But for the most part- this is the gig! And I love it- so very much! I dream about being nationally syndicated someday, but for now I'm enjoying growing in my field and learning how to be the best radio personality I can be!

      I hope that you enjoyed my first Radio 101 post! I'm already looking forward to sharing the next few. If you have any sort of a question related to the radio industry, or any burning question you've ever wondered about your favorite radio station, send it my way! Email me at, or DM me on social media.

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)


June 26, 2017

One Maxi Dress Two Ways: Breezy Daytime Look.

Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios 

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

     How beautiful is this amazing watercolor maxi dress? I knew as soon as I saw it online that I had to have it. The way that the purples and blues blend together in the fabric is even prettier in person than on the website! 😊 These photos were taken when I was out for a mid-morning stroll in Burlington's Waterfront Park. This is a public park that runs all along the part of Lake Champlain that borders the downtown, and it's a lovely place to hangout at in the spring and summer! 

     Last fall, I wrote two fashion posts where I styled an off-the-shoulder top two different ways: one for a casual daytime look, and one outfit perfect for a girls' night out on the town. Since I love this beautiful dress so much, I wanted to try doing that again! A dressier look #2 with this maxi dress will be on the blog next Monday, but today's look is the more casual one. I wore it without the waist tie that it comes with, and paired it with these flat sandals, a bold clutch, and some fun statement earrings, and let my hair go free! This look would be great for lots of summer activities- dinner outside, errands, a casual party, or of course a stroll by the lake like I'm doing! I can't wait to show y'all how I made this dress look completely different and quite fancy in next Monday's post. 

     Getting real for a second... last week was a bit of a rough one for me. I truly LOVE my day job and the radio industry- for the most part since I started my job in April every week has felt like "fun" and not work. Last week was the first week that I had a rough week at work, and it actually started to feel like work. Fortunately it wasn't anything to do with the radio aspects of my job (which is 90% of what I do!) - I still love that. 😉 Just some of the other parts of having a job... the things that quite honestly everyone deals with no matter what industry! It was a rough week, but I am thankful it's now DONE and a new week is here. And a special treat came my way this weekend- I was able to get a surprise last minute visit here in Burlington from one of my sorority sisters! My ADPi sister Hannah moved to Boston almost a year ago to attend grad school, and this weekend happened to be free in her schedule for her to head up north to visit me. This was such a lovely thing to look forward to after a harder week! Today is my day off, so you can see what adventures we're up to on my IG stories (and Snapchat too!) @miss_alk. 

     Hoping your week is off to a good start!

     God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)

June 22, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.

Sharing this weekly post on Thursday instead of Wednesday this week since National Wear Your Lilly Day was yesterday! {Follow me on social media @miss_alk!}

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

  • Father's Day Weekend: Those of you who follow my IG stories know that my dad spent Father's Day Weekend with me here in Vermont! We had a great visit together. He hadn't been up to Vermont other than moving me into my apartment a couple months ago, so he was excited to see more of the Burlington area. He got to come visit me at work, we ate out a lot (which I don't get to do most weeks!), and then I planned a special Father's day surprise for him! My family actually vacationed in Vermont when I was growing up (not near Burlington- the Northeastern part of the state), and I surprised my dad with a day trip to the bed and breakfast and lake that we used to vacation on. It was a special day and brought back a lot of childhood memories- the last time that we were there for vacation was 2003!
  • Boyband: WHO ELSE is way too excited for this new show that premieres on ABC tonight? Boyband is a new reality competition that as you probably guessed from the name... is putting together America's next great boyband! As someone who had one of the best nights of her life seeing the Backstreet Boys in concert a few years ago, and who still mourns the loss of *NSYNC on a daily basis... let's just say I'm pumped for this show!! 

  • I restocked on some of my drugstore beauty essentials this week! This mascara is one of three that I wear everyday- I love the primer on it.
  • I also bought more of my favorite drugstore eyeliner. This one is amazing for the price!

  • A high quality work tote/large purse is starting to become a need and not just a want! I'm really starting to have eyes for this bag. I use a cute tote bag for work currently, but it's a bit flimsy and doesn't have any pockets inside, and it isn't really fitting my needs well.
  • This cute top looks perfect to wear to work at my casual radio office environment! It comes in five colors.
  • A polka dot, monogrammed umbrella for under $30? Say no more! This would also make a great birthday gift!
  • I can never resist anything hot pink, especially not a pretty top
  • Coral is one of my favorite colors to wear in the warmer months, so I was naturally drawn to this skirt

On the blog this week:

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)

June 21, 2017

National Wear Your Lilly Day 2017.

     "Life is a party, Dress like it!" 
     "Anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink."
     "It's always summer somewhere."
     "Wear pink and make the boys wink!" -Lilly Pulitzer

Photography by Deeana Kourtney Photography

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

     Happy First Day of Summer, and more importantly.... HAPPY NATIONAL WEAR YOUR LILLY DAY 2017! (Caps lock 100% necessary.) All lovers of pink, green and a colorful lifestyle come together on summer's beginning each year to celebrate wearing their favorite brand. I somehow missed out on celebrating this day on my blog last year, but I did celebrate back in 2015

     In this year's National Wear Your Lilly Day post, I'm wearing a purchase from the last After Party Sale! My very first Lilly dress that I bought during my freshman year of college was one very similar to this- made of stretchy cotton and all in all a more casual style. I sadly lost my first Lilly dress during an end of the school year move a couple years ago, so I wanted to find another one similar to it. I got a great deal on this one in this winter's After Party Sale, and the good news is there are some dresses very similar to it for sale at Lilly right now. (Lots linked at the bottom of this post!) And speaking of the After Party Sale- who is already excited for the next one? I swear that's one of the only good things about summer ending... that and my birthday being at the end of summer! 😉

      Today's post is also special for more than just National Wear Your Lilly Day! These are the very last photos from my time working in Charlotte with Deeana of Deeana Kourtney photography. Deeana was my first official outside team member for SBIT, and she brought so many of my creative visions to life over the past year. We had so much fun working together, and not only was she a great photographer, but she also became one of my best friends. Really though- we have talked almost everyday since I moved to Vermont! I know this certainly wasn't the *last* time we will shoot together, but it was the last time for me as a Charlotte resident, and I'm definitely feeling a little sentimental! 

     Some of my favorite summer Lilly picks are below!

     God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)


June 20, 2017

New Job, New City, New Planner!

      Today's post is in collaboration with Lauren James. This post also contains affiliate links. All opinions are honest and my own. Thank you for supporting Southern Belle in Training.

      In high school and college, I always relied heavily on my planner. (I've always preferred the term "planner" to "agenda" - personally!) I'm sure many of you are the same, since those years of schooling and extracurricular activities are a busy time of life for many. The actual planner that I was using changed somewhat over the years. In early high school I was very thrifty and just used the ones that my school gave all students- very bland small ones with a large ram emblem on the front (our school mascot was a ram). By the time I was a bit older, I had moved into my Vera Bradley obsession years, and used their planners for a couple years. And then of course began my love affair with Lilly Pulitzer, so I used a Lilly agenda for the rest of college and then broadcasting school.

     But with recently moving to Vermont to begin my new job and going through such a big life change for that, I started feeling unmotivated to use my old Lilly agenda! It still had all of the past year's info in it about my old life back in Charlotte, and it just didn't feel right to use it here in Vermont anymore. I tried going planner-less for a little bit, but between balancing my blog work and also all of the events that pop up in the summer for my day job, it was really time to get a new one.


     I was presented with the opportunity to review the brand new Lauren James Timeless 12 Month Planner, and honestly it couldn't have come at a better time, since I was already beginning to browse new planners! Lauren James has already been one of my go-to destinations for preppy apparel, and I was excited to see what their planner would look like. I knew as soon as I opened my package containing it that I would love it- because how beautiful is the design on the front?!

     The main thing that sets the Lauren James planner apart from other popular ones is the fact that it's a Timeless 12 month planner, instead of a set-year 18 month. The book itself runs August-July, but since it's timeless, you get to customize which month you'll begin it in, and write in the dates yourself. I've never had a planner like this before, and I think I'll like this feature! I am still debating whether to start mine in July or August with the start of the book- but either way I do like the customization. This planner also has sticker pages like other planners! With my past planners, I feel like I never fully utilized the stickers, but I'm going to try and do better with that this time. 😉

      One feature of the planner that I really like is the meal planning feature. I love cooking, and I'm also on a tight budget this year with an entry level job salary and paying off broadcasting school. So I have a strict grocery budget each week that I stick to, and with that comes holding myself to planning out what I'll cook in advance! If I fail to do that, it costs me (literally). So I know that I'll be taking advantage of this feature of the planner.

     I'm definitely excited to begin using my Lauren James Timeless 12 Month Planner soon, and I would recommend it for other post-grad ladies who might be looking for a new type of planner for new life changes!

      A side note on where these photos were taken- they were taken outside of the The Skinny Pancake, which is the best crepe restaurant in Burlington. One of my favorite bloggers, Caitlin from Southern Curls and Pearls, had traveled here a few times in the fall way before I moved here and had written a travel guide all about the area. She stressed that if there was any place to eat at in Vermont- this was IT! As soon as I accepted my job up here and knew I would be back in the area, I knew I had to try this place, and it didn't disappoint! One of my favorite restaurants back in Charlotte was a creperie, so I'm so glad there's a good one here too.


     Thanks so much for reading! As y'all know I always share my weekly Midweek Ramblings post on Wednesdays... but this week's will actually be going up on Thursday, because I have a special post to share tomorrow!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)


June 19, 2017

Your Guide to Summer Black-Tie Wear.

      Today's post is written in collaboration with Alyce Paris. All opinions are honest and my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Southern Belle in Training possible!

    One of my favorite things on earth is the chance to get all dressed up. I was the high schooler who lived for prom- not because of the date or the limo or the after party (Who are we kidding- my "after party" senior year was a movie night with a few friends in someone's living room!), but for the dress. I felt like a princess at both my junior and especially senior prom thanks to my dresses, and the promise of sorority formals may or may not have been a motivating factor in me wanting to investigate joining Greek life in college. I don't even want to think about how I'll be wedding dress shopping someday.... ah!

Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios

      Luckily for formal attire loving girls like me, there are some wonderful things in the adult world: Black Tie Events! The formal definition of Black Tie is that it is a dress code for formal evening events and social functions. For men, Black Tie implies a dapper tuxedo ensemble. For women, the rules are a little bit more flexible, and vary based on what is popular with women's fashion at the time. For example- there was a point in (not so long ago) history when Black Tie absolutely demanded dress gloves with a lady's outfit ensemble... but how often are you seeing dress gloves in fashion today? Not as much (and thank goodness for that!).

     There are many different direction that a woman can take her Black Tie outfit in these days, but with that said, a few timeless guidelines do remain. Black Tie means a floor length dress or gown, and to stay away from shorter dresses (an exception being if you have a shorter dress that is embellished or extremely formal). Black Tie is also a time to wear long dresses of fine fabrics- this is not a time to break out a polyester maxi dress made for the beach. And lastly, Black Tie is a time to wear fine jewelry. Either pieces made of gold and gemstones, or high quality costume jewelry. This is not an occasion for fad jewelry trends.

     But even with those guidelines in place, there is still a lot of flexibility, especially when it comes to summer Black Tie attire. Summer brings the return of bright colors to the wardrobe, and some of those can be easily incorporated into a Black Tie dress code as well during the warmer months! As much as I love these shades for daytime wear, I personally would stray away from anything neon colored for Black Tie formalwear. But the other colors of the rainbow are at your disposal!

     I felt like a princess getting to style this beautiful Alyce Paris formal dress for today's blog post! This dress is Style #1141, and it's a radiant shade of blue, which I think it is still fine to be worn to summer Black Tie events, since you can definitely play with color more in summer. The beading on the bodice of this dress is absolutely incredible, and I swear it's even prettier in person.

     One last tip that I have for dressing for Black Tie events is to choose one part of your body to accentuate, but not all. Black Tie events are classy functions, so it's not a chance to look like you're going to a nightclub. Choose to highlight your cleavage, legs, or back, but not all three of those! With this dress, it has a gorgeous open back, so another thing I liked about the dress was the fact that was more modest in regards to the dress and legs, since the back is exposed and highlighted.

     (I will give a quick note though on the chest part of this dress...some formal dresses that I've worn in the past have had a very "flattening" affect on cleavage, and what girl wants that?! I was worried this dress might be the same since it's higher cut, but it couldn't be further from that! I don't think I've ever worn a formal dress that flattered and enhanced my chest more, but by doing so in a modest way. Can you say a win-win?? 😉)

     Alyce Paris dresses are sold at fine formalwear retailers all over the US, and world! Near the Burlington Vermont area where I now live, there are retailers in St. Albans, VT, and just across Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, NY. And for my readers back in Charlotte- there are multiple retailers in the Mecklenburg county metro area as well. Quite honestly- there are fine formalwear retailers selling gorgeous Alyce Paris dresses just about everywhere in the country! (I mean if Vermont has it... ha!)

     Now I just need a Black Tie Wedding or gala event to wear these beautiful dress to again! I'm already yearning for the next time that I get to put it on... I truly felt like a princess!

     Also a fun note on my hair- I decided to mix it up from my normal big curls hairstyle for this blog post! I tried a DIY Pinterest side updo and I was so pleased with how it turned out! I think I might have to start playing with more fun hairstyles for future posts.

      Thanks so much for reading! I hope you're having a beautiful start to the week. My dad is here in Vermont right now visiting for a long Father's Day Weekend... and today I have a special surprise experience planned for his Father's Day present! I'm hoping the weather holds out in our favor for it. Stay tuned to my IG stories today (@miss_alk) to see what it is!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)


June 16, 2017

Celebrating Graduation With Announcements!

     Today's post is written in collaboration with Basic Invite. All opinions are honest and my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Southern Belle in Training.    

     Calling all fellow graduates- CONGRATULATIONS! Your hard work and accomplishments have paid off, and now it's time to celebrate and be acknowledged. Today's blog post is for you!

      A little personal recap: I graduated from college in May 2016, and then graduated from broadcasting school one year later, just recently in May 2017. It still seems surreal to be completely done with higher education (as far as I know!). The only thing that is sometimes hard to think about when looking back on my graduations is how little I feel like I was able to acknowledge both of them at the time. A graduation, especially from higher education, is a BIG deal, and deserves to be celebrated! When I graduated from college, I had a serious situation going on in my personal life, and from that situation I was actually recovering from a serious concussion. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it was nearly a miracle that I was able to walk with my class as planned! That experience showed me how quickly things can change in life. And for my broadcasting school graduation which was last month, there was even less to celebrate. I had begun my new job in Vermont a month prior, so I was unable to go back to Charlotte for my broadcasting school's graduation ceremony. I did get to Skype in for part of the ceremony (technology is so cool), but the day-of in reality was a totally normal work day for me, and I don't even think a lot of people knew I was a graduate again!

      In several conversations with my mom over the past few months, she kept reminding me of how even though I wasn't able to attend my most recent graduation, and even though my college graduation had been overshadowed by some bigger life events, it doesn't mean that both of those things were any less of an accomplishment, or that I should be any less proud! I think sometimes people have a chance to downplay their biggest accomplishments, for fear of coming across as cocky (because we all know a cocky person and they aren't fun to deal with!). But the more I thought about it- my mom was right! There is definitely a way to be proud of my academic accomplishments over the past year and share them with friends and family, without doing it in a boastful or annoying way. That's where the idea for graduation announcements came in!

     I am so excited to be teaming up once again with Basic Invite to show y'all the beautiful graduation announcements that I designed, and how easy the process was. Some of you might remember that I had my first experience with Basic Invite this winter, when I designed my friend Perrin's bridal shower invitations through them. The wedding shower invites turned out so wonderfully that I knew Basic Invite would be the perfect destination for graduation announcements.

     Basic Invite has tons of designs of graduation announcements to choose from! Some of them are more appropriate I think for a high school graduation, and some definitely have a more mature feel of a college (or graduate school) graduation to them. I knew that I wanted an announcement that could share the joy of both of my graduations- undergrad and broadcasting school, since I didn't do too much to announce my college graduation last year (and had gorgeous senior photos from Deeana!), I knew I wanted that to be just as much apart of the announcements as broadcasting school. So when perusing Basic Invite's website, I was especially on the hunt for multi photo option announcements!

     Below are a few screenshots to show you how easy the process of designing a photo based announcement with Basic Invite is (it's a similar process for wedding save-the-dates). The template comes on your screen with stock photos already in it, and you can just upload the photos that you want, and then play with how you want them displayed on the card! And then Basic Invite of course lets you customize the font and cardstock colors- and they have SO many choices. (There are over 180 printing color options and over 40 envelope color options for example!)

     First I changed the default text to reflect my graduations!

     Then I picked my photos to upload! Since this design had multiple photo slots, I combined my college senior photos with my radio headshots.

     And voila!! Love this finished product! (My last name is blurred out here for privacy- but it is printed on the actual ones. 😉)

      Basic Invite has a great option where you can order custom samples of their announcements and invitations, so that's what I decided to before making a decision about the final graduation announcement! I designed four different ones, and wanted to see them all in person to decide which style I liked. I think they all turned out so beautifully that I'm still having a hard time deciding! Which one is your favorite? 

      Thank you so much to Basic Invite for helping me to acknowledge both of my graduations this month! It's never too late to celebrate an academic accomplishment. 😊

      Wishing y'all a great weekend! Tomorrow I am working at a local charity event with my radio coworkers, and then my dad arrives as well to spend Father's Day Weekend with me here in Vermont!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)


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