August 30, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.




{Enjoying a night with some great 90s music at Vermont's Champlain Valley Fair last weekend! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}



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



Ramblings:
  • I Love the 90s Tour: Last Friday night was a fun blast from the past, as seen by the picture above! The Champlain Valley Fair has arrived for this week in the greater Burlington area, and my company is there doing live broadcasts everyday of the fair. I was scheduled for the very first fair broadcast on Friday night, and after that ended I went to see a concert with my friend Mindy! The I Love the 90s: The Party Continues Tour made a stop at the fair, and it didn't disappoint! There were many acts on the tour, (and some that were a few years before my time), but my favorite of course was the headliner of the tour- TLC!! Seeing them perform songs like Unpretty and Waterfalls live was incredible. Y'all know that I love my 90s jams! 
  • New Recipes: Work has been insane the past few weeks, and eating healthy/on a schedule hasn't been at the top of my priorities unfortunately. I'm making a real effort this week to try and change that, and this weekend I went grocery shopping for fresh ingredients to try two new dinner recipes. One of them is marinating now in my fridge to be ready for dinner tonight- I can't wait! 
  • Hurricane Harvey: I shared this briefly on Instagram Stories yesterday- but I wanted to touch on it in this blog post as well. All of us have different beliefs and convictions about giving to charity/tithing, but I do hope everyone takes some time this week to see if they can donate to Hurricane Harvey relief. I am on a very tight budget this year between paying off school, an entry level salary, and living in a region with a high cost of living, but even with that there is always still room to give. There are TONS of different charities taking donations for hurricane relief- I encourage you to find one that fits what you want to give to! (Food banks, animal shelters, Red Cross, local churches/Christian charities, Children's charities, etc). Sending prayers and thoughts to everyone affected in Texas!!


Purchases:
  • With the changing of every season, I try and clean out my closet and bring clothes to sell at a couple different local consignment shops. While making a trip to Plato's Closet this weekend, I actually ended up buying more than I sold! #oops. But I got a complete outfit- shoes, romper and bralette for under $30! It was kind of a nice reminder that sometimes consignment shops have hidden gems in them to be found! 
  • Of course y'all know this week was the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale- yay!! (Today is the last day of the sale btw!!) I purchased three dresses, which was more than I was planning to buy, but I know that two of them will be work appropriate dresses. This was the first one I purchased- already excited for spring so I can wear this to work! 
  • This was the other work appropriate Lilly dress that I purchased, and I think it will also be great for fall in Vermont- I can't wait to wear it with my Tory Burch riding boots! 
  • And lastly- my splurge item!! So excited about this gorgeous shift but I desperately need a tropical vacation this winter so I can wear it... lol!


Wishlist:
  • If I had a higher sale budget to shop the After Party Sale with, I would have gotten this dress! Love the print and love the gold detailing. Hope to see something similar in the January sale! 
  • It took awhile for the lace-up trend to grow on me... but I like it now! This top would be so cute for a night out. 
  • This is SUCH a chic skirt for fall work outfits! (FYI it's an online exclusive to this retailer!)



On the blog this week:


      Have a great week!


       God Bless,



       xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on-air!)

August 29, 2017

Nautical Lilly Pulitzer Look + More After Party Sale Favorites.

     Happy Day Two of the After Party Sale! I'm so excited to share this fun nautical Lilly look today, and to talk a little bit about what occasion in Vermont I got to wear this look for. 










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






       First- let's chat about this look! I talked about when I purchased this tank during a recent weekend trip home to Maine in this blog post. I'm so glad I did! It's the perfect little summer top. I might even try and transition it for some early fall outfits by pairing it with a navy skirt and jean jacket! I knew though when I purchased it that the ideal summer look for it would be with white jeans- and it didn't disappoint! I think the perfect finishing touch to this look was my new adorable clutch from my favorite jewelry and accessories store back in Maine, The Best of Everything! The sweet team there recently sent me a box of goodies, and I loved everything! 


     I wore this outfit when my dad and I went on a sunset lake cruise during his visit to Vermont last week. It's something I've been wanting to do since I moved here, and the night that we ended up booking it was perfect! I had a really long and stressful day at work earlier in the day, and it was so nice to board the boat, watch the sunset, and just relax! The cruise company is called Spirit of Ethan Allen and they leave right from Burlington. I did get slightly seasick after the sun started to set and it was harder to see outside, but while we were outside earlier during the cruise I was fine! I love how these pictures turned out- although it really doesn't do the views justice!



     Now back to the main business at hand- the AFTER PARTY SALE! Today is Day 2! Lilly has continued to add more new arrivals. Below are some update widgets with my current picks that are in stock as of this morning: 




AFTER PARTY SALE DAY 2 NEW ARRIVALS:





AFTER PARTY SALE DAY 2 DRESS PICKS:





AFTER PARTY SALE DAY 2 SHIRT PICKS:





AFTER PARTY SALE DAY 2 BOTTOMS PICKS:







     Happy After Party Sale shopping!!!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (aka Charlotte Xo on air!)

August 28, 2017

The August 2017 AFTER PARTY SALE IS HERE!!!

     Happy Monday y'all! The first-ever, three day long Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale is HERE!!! Sharing today what my favorite picks from the sale are, and my initial purchases! Tomorrow's blog post will have more sale picks, and a new Lilly outfit that I can't wait to share. 😊





Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios



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



     FAQ about what the After Party Sale is, and my best tips for shopping it can be found in yesterday's blog post!!


     The August edition of the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale is NOW LIVE- and you can shop it through Wednesday night- yay!! Below includes all of my sale picks, as well as the items that I purchased! As I've done in the past few sales, I'll also be tweeting out my favorite picks every hour (starting at 10 am today!).


     AFTER PARTY SALE DRESS PICKS:






AFTER PARTY SALE ROMPER AND SET PICKS:







AFTER PART SALE BOTTOMS PICKS:






AFTER PARTY SALE ACCESSORIES PICKS:





     And now, to share what I purchased! I shared in yesterday's post that I was planning to buy luxletic leggings and popovers, Lilly's take on athleisure-wear that I could get away with wearing longer with Vermont's fair share of cooler months. However- I didn't quite end up getting those things! Instead, I bought three dresses!!

  • I bought this dress- which I justified for two reasons! I have a striped summer dress which I wear all the time in the warmer months, and I knew I would be able to style this Lilly one with riding boots and a vest to make it fall appropriate. 
  • I bought this dress, similar to the first one, which I think I can wear in early fall in the next few weeks. I'm really excited to wear it next spring as a transitional piece though!
  • And lastly- my splurge piece, this shift dress! Definitely not something I needed with Vermont winter approaching, but I couldn't resist with dreams of Summer 2018 and tropical vacations! 


      So now friends- I want to know if you're shopping the After Party Sale today! How has your sale experience been? And if you're sitting this one out, that's okay too!! Don't buy just to buy- buy only if you fall in love with something!! 😊


     Tomorrow I have a Lilly outfit post that I can't wait to share, and I'll update my sale picks as well!



      God Bless,



       xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)

August 27, 2017

August 2017 Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale Shopping Tips!

      Forget the NSale... my favorite sale of the year is the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale! And the summer edition begins TOMORROW!!! Yay! In today's post I'm sharing some of my tips and thoughts about shopping the sale. Make sure you read to the end of the post, because I'm also giving y'all a preview about my week of blogiversary giveaways which begins on my Instagram tomorrow night! 







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




     What is the After Party Sale? The After Party Sale is Lilly Pulitzer's best sale of the year! It is held twice a year, online and in Lilly Pulitzer official stores (some signature stores choose to participate as well), in January and August. Lilly Pulitzer merchandise rarely goes on sale, and during the APS various fashion pieces and accessories are marked down between 30-70% off depending on the item! Shipping is also FREE (although it is always free shipping at Lilly- sale or no sale! 😉). If you're familiar at all with the Lilly brand, you know that their dresses and other apparel can be quite pricy. I buy most of my Lilly pieces during the APS since those prices fit my budget much better! 


     When is the After Party Sale? This is the first time EVER that the After Party Sale is THREE DAYS LONG!!! Yay! In past years, it's been only two days. That means that as early popular items sell out, Lilly will most likely be adding new surprise items throughout the sale. I can't wait! The sale begins bright and early tomorrow morning, at 8 am EST. It runs Monday, August 28th through Wednesday, August 30th


     What is the queue shopping system? If this is your first time shopping in an After Party Sale, you might be surprised at how popular this is! Lilly's website gets an enormous amount of traffic in the first day of the After Party Sale! If you're online and ready to shop at 8 am, you will be placed into a queue while waiting for the website to open. You might get scared if you see your shopping number say something very high like 50,000... but don't panic! Lilly uses this system to try and prevent website crashes (which have happened before). Generally speaking, the line does move quite quickly. I can only think of one APS when I had to wait a full two hours for my number to get me into the website, and even then I was still able to purchase the item that I wanted! Other times, I've gotten into shop in less than 20 minutes. The main thing to remember is DO NOT refresh your browser! Just wait it out - it will pay off!
     Something you can do though is shop on multiple devices! Pull out your laptop, work computer, iPad, phone (Lilly has an iPhone app!), old iPod Touch... you get the just! 😉 
      A final tip for today- if you don't have a shopping account with Lilly Pulitzer yet, make one NOW! This will save you so much time for tomorrow and the rest of the sale! 


     Any shopping strategy tips? Similar to my tips with each year's NSale, I always advise friends and blog readers to enjoy the sale and treat yourself, but not to go insane, and also not to buy just for the sake of the sale. Unlike the NSale, the After Party Sale is 100% FINAL SALE, so if you purchase something that does not fit, you will have to get creative in ways of resale. 
     What I'm looking for varies each time there is an After Party Sale! Last time around, I was looking for a graduation dress for broadcasting school. I ended up purchasing totally different items (and thank goodness- because I ended up moving to Vermont and being unable to attend my graduation!), but this time around I'm definitely not looking for graduation dresses. Instead I'll be on the hunt for popovers, sweaters, and luxletic pants- aka Lilly items that I can wear in Vermont's cold fall and spring seasons! 



     A few things I'm hoping to see in the APS: 






     Happy shopping tomorrow ladies! Tomorrow and Tuesday's post will also be focused on the sale. Also stay tuned to my Twitter (@miss_alk) for the best deals to be tweeted out hourly during the whole sale! This is seriously one of my favorite times of the year- I can't wait to hear what y'all purchase! Feel free to tweet me, email me or DM me! 



     And finally- for a little exciting announcement and preview- next week is my 5th year blogiversary with Southern Belle in Training! I can't even believe it!! This week in honor of that, I'm hosting five days of giveaways on my Instagram, beginning tomorrow night. 😊 Each one is sponsored by a wonderful brand that I've had the pleasure of partnering with on my blog over the last few years or this year. They are Nava New York, Smooch by April LipSense, YumEarth, Charming Charlie and Aveda! I wanted to do this for y'all to say thank you to each and every one of you who supports my blog and creative passion. Stay tuned on my Instagram for the first giveaway with Nava New York tomorrow night! 



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio) 

August 24, 2017

MAINE TRAVEL GUIDE: Best Hidden Gems For Shopping.




     I'm so excited to bring y'all some travel guide posts all about my home state of Maine! I wrote a post last January called "Visiting the Kennebunks Region of Maine in the Winter," and I knew after visiting home for a long weekend this summer that I really needed to write more travel content about home! I am after all from a state with a motto called "Vacationland!" I know that many of you are probably interested in visiting New England or Maine at some point, or maybe even have trips planned, so I hope that I can be a resource. For newer readers of SBIT- I'm from Kennebunk, Maine, and lived there until moving to go to NC for college! My parents and most of my friends from high school still live in or near that area, so at least for the next several years to come I'll continue going home a couple times a year.


     Since I have a lot to share about Maine, I thought it would be easiest to break up these travel guide posts into more specific smaller ones, rather than doing one big huge one! Today's post is inspired by one of my favorite hobbies: SHOPPING! It is so funny- during the years I lived in NC I didn't do much shopping at all when I was home, minus a couple of the places on this list. However, now that I live in Vermont (which has some of the worst shopping options ever), the few times I've gone home since moving all I have wanted to do is shop! Haha, funny how things change! Anyways, I promise these stores are some great hidden gems, and do not disappoint, depending of course on what you're looking for. There are various types of stores on this list, so definitely something for everyone!



     *The Pink Tangerine (11 Western Ave, Kennebunk): This is the store that's pictured above! It is Maine's only Lilly Pulitzer signature store, and is conveniently located in my hometown. 😉 This is the store that I purchased my very first Lilly dress at, during Winter break of my freshman year of college, so it will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason! I honestly prefer shopping at Lilly signature stores to actual Lilly stores because signature stores definitely have better clearance sales throughout the year. When I last visited The Pink Tangerine this summer, I purchased a current tank (still on Lilly's website) that was marked down to 40% off! Another reason that I like Lilly Pulitzer signature stores are because I think they sometimes have really fun local charm and character to them! One more benefit to shopping at The Pink Tangerine? It's next-door to my absolute favorite Maine store, listed below:


      *The Best of Everything (9 Western Ave, Kennebunk): My favorite store to visit when I am home! The Best of Everything is a Florida based jewelry and accessories store, and they opened a location in Kennebunk several years ago. I fell in love with this store in high school, and it was my go-to destination for accessorizing for school dances! They sell sterling silver and costume jewelry, and almost everything is $25 and under! (Think Charming Charlie, but even cuter stuff.) The Best of Everything team recently saw an Instagram post that I shared about their store, and they were so kind as to send me some goodies from their Florida locations. I can't wait to style those on the blog soon- I've already been wearing everything! Seriously- this is my favorite store in Maine, you need to go if you're in the area!


      *Abacus (Locations throughout the state, I recommend the Kennebunkport or Ogunquit locations): This is where I worked for three and a half years during summers and winter breaks home from college! Abacus is a really interesting store, and to this date I've never found anywhere else like it. Abacus sells artwork and American-made crafts and jewelry from different artisans. One of the owners of Abacus is an artist, and one of the best selling items is his annual calendar which features 12 original art prints. All Abacus locations are very colorful stores- perfect for fun Instagram pictures! Abacus didn't sell too many things that I was interested in purchasing (I own only a couple things from my time working there), but it is a beautiful store to browse in! And a great place to find a gift for that person you know that has "everything."


      *Marden's (Multiple locations throughout the state, best locations in my opinion in Scarborough and Sanford): Marden's is something that I grew up with being from Maine, and I guess I didn't appreciate how quirky these stores truly are until I moved away. Marden's is Maine's version of a discount "department" store, and probably one of the most unique stores ever. You can find just about anything at Marden's, and it's a surprise every time you go! My favorite things to get there are shoes and books. Marden's often gets name brand shoes (kind of like TJ Maxx/Marshall's), and they market them at very low prices. I love Nine West shoes, and have found some of my favorite pairs at Marden's over the years. Some Marden's locations also have great book selections, and other things like gift wrapping supplies, greeting cards, etc. Other interesting things you can find at Marden's which I could not recommend include lingerie, expired packaged foods and makeup, weird dietary supplements, and much more which varies week to week! (This funny video on Youtube chronicles a guy in a Marden's looking for the strangest things he can find.) Visiting Marden's truly is a unique Maine experience that you can't get anywhere else... if you go, you'll soon be singing their slogan from their TV commercials: "I should've bought it, when I saw it, AT MARDEN'S!"


     *Reny's (Multiple locations throughout the state, best locations in my opinion in Wells and Saco): Reny's is another unique to Maine store, that's similar to Marden's! I don't love it quite as much as Marden's as it isn't quite as quirky (and a little bit more outdoorsy geared), but you can still find good things sometimes at Reny's. Their stores are a little bit smaller than Marden's, and focus on clothing, food and home departments. They often sell a lot of "Maine" tourist shirts and items at really affordable prices as well! Reny's slogan is "A Maine Adventure," and they have a fun Instagram page that features pretty locations throughout the state.


      *Old Orchard Beach Shops (Old Orchard Beach): Old Orchard Beach, or OOB as it's affectionately called by locals, is one of my favorite beach towns in Maine. It's like Maine's mini version of Atlantic City or Myrtle Beach! There is an amusement park and several hotels right on the beach, and it's one of Maine's only beaches that is quite built up right along the ocean. There are also lots of really cute beach shops in OOB! I don't have any names to specific shops as many sell similar things, but this is a great destination to get a deal on swimwear or any sort of summery apparel. Plus it's just fun to shop around and enjoy the Old Orchard Beach vibes!
   

      *The Kittery Outlets (Route 1, Kittery): These are conveniently located on the very first exit coming into Maine from New Hampshire on I-95! Kittery is a huge outlet area- there are both Premium and Tanger outlets located here. Some of my favorite ones here are J. Crew Factory, Talbots, LOFT and Ann Taylor, but there are something for everyone!


      *LL Bean (95 Main Street, Freeport): I would be a traitor to my home state heritage if I didn't give a shout-out to Bean! While I personally am not a fan of LL Bean, the factory store in Freeport really is a sight to behold. It's very large, and has huge departments for both outdoors, home, and clothing. Fun fact: it's also open 24/7 including holidays! Something VERY rare for Maine (as most of our fast food and Walmarts aren't even open 24/7...). Freeport is Maine's other outlet shopping destination, and there are outlets near LL Bean in downtown Freeport as well.


      *Nordstrom Rack (200 Running Hill Road, South Portland): I realize that many of you probably live in locations where Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack are found in abundance, so visiting one in Maine probably isn't on the top of your travel list. However if you're like me, and live in a Nordstrom-less state (or just really like visiting them!), Maine's one and only Nordstrom Rack is really good! It opened only a few years ago, and I've found some of my greatest Rack finds there. It's well organized and clean, and they often receive good designer merchandise.




     And those are my best insider shopping tips in Maine! Have you been to Maine before? If so, where did you enjoy shopping? Feel free to leave any comments for upcoming Maine travel posts!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)


August 23, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.




{Okay seriously- who else is so ready for the next After Party Sale?! Lilly, please announce soon! Follow me on all my social media accounts @miss_alk!}


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



Ramblings:

  • Solar Eclipse madness: Vermont only experienced 60% coverage in Monday's Eclipse, but I still wanted to enjoy it as much as I could! My dad has been here visiting this week, and since we didn't have glasses, we attended a free event at a library in Burlington, where they provided glasses that everyone could share. There was a huge turnout for the event, at least a few hundred people there! It was so cool to get to see the Eclipse firsthand, but even more amazingly for me was to see so many Vermonters all come together (irregardless of the things that are dividing the country right now) to witness something amazing. Everyone was together in this large, big group, all fascinated on something bigger than ourselves. It was really quite beautiful. And fun to have my dad there with me (he got very into it, haha!).
  • Last Monday off: My schedule at work is changing soon and I am so excited! Starting next week, I will consistently have Sundays off instead of Mondays! This week was my last Monday off. In addition to attending the Eclipse party, my dad and I also went kayaking in the morning on Lake Champlain! I haven't had the chance to kayak yet since moving to Vermont, and it was a beautiful way to spend my last free Monday.
  • The cutest dog video: A fun fact about me is that I love Boston Terriers- they are my favorite dog breed! During my senior year of college, I nannied for a little girl a few days a week, and her family had one. I didn't like or know what to make of the dog when I started working for the family, but by the end of my time with them I had fallen in love with him! I think Bostons are just the cutest and funniest little things. I really want to get one once I finish paying off broadcasting school. Anyways- this is the cutest video of Boston Terriers- I guarantee it'll make your day!




Purchases:

  • Since coming back from my weekend home to Maine, work has been nuts so I haven't had much time to even think about shopping! My dad and I did make a TJ Maxx run this week though, and I found the world's cutest accessory for my desk at work! I found the same one here online




Wishlist:

  • It might be in the 80s and sunny in Vermont this week... but winter will be here soon! Ugh. I'm already thinking about expanding my sweater collection- this one would be pretty for the cool months! 
  • The cutest work blouse ever! And it's from a store that we still have in Vermont... since I moved here, there have been a lot of retail closures in the area. (And there were already few stores to begin here!) But we do have this retailer! 
  • This adorable fall skirt kind of reminds me of my favorite J. Crew Factory fall skirt that I've had for a few years, but it's at a cheaper price point and I love the bow and buttons on this one!
  • If you're lucky to be heading somewhere warm for Labor Day Weekend, this is a really cute dress


     Wishing you all a wonderful week! Can't wait to share about my exciting work updates soon!



      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)

August 21, 2017

Sunny Yellow Dress + Self Care in Busy Weeks.

     Summer isn't over just yet, and there's still time to wear your favorite sundresses! Today I'm styling this gorgeous yellow off-the-shoulder dress, and also sharing a few easy tips for self care during busy work (or school) weeks.













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







      Well, the warm summer weather sure waited until the last possible second it seems to make its debut here in Vermont! While June and July were surprisingly and disappointingly cold and rainy months, August has had its fair share of warm and humid weather. Unfortunately for me, work has really picked up this month so I haven't been able to be outside as much as I was in earlier months, but so is life I guess! At least the weather was warm and beautiful on the day these photos were taken. 😊


     This beautiful yellow off-the-shoulder dress surprised me in so many ways! It's from my favorite lower cost online retailer, and their items can always be hit or miss- a risk that you take when order things at such low price points. But this dress is made of thicker (not see-through) material, and is overall a really great quality! I hadn't previously owned too many things in yellow, I find it to be kind of a hard color to wear and style. But I thought this dress paired beautifully with some turquoise accessories and rose gold jewelry, and I ended up loving this look! Wouldn't it be a perfect look for a late summer date night, or a nice dinner out on an end-of-summer vacation?


   
     Moving onto a different topic, I wanted to talk for a little bit about the importance of regular self-care! I mentioned this briefly in last week's posts, and I'll be able to go more in depth about what all is going on in posts to come in September, but the short story is that work has been crazy for me in the past two weeks. Part of that was due to the fact that I had to fill in on other radio shows for some coworkers who were taking their summer vacations, in addition to doing my regular show and job duties. But the larger part of the craziness is that some things (good things!) are changing at work soon... and that combined with my fill-in duties, and having my first ever weekend off in between... meant it was a crazy two weeks! The best way not to let work overwhelm you is to make a little time for self-care. Of course, the same can also be applied to busy seasons in school if you're still a full-time student. I remember very well how killer midterms and finals weeks were!


      I have some favorite more "luxurious" and time consuming self-care activities, such as getting a pedicure at a nail salon, but in super crazy weeks sometimes you physically don't have time to do things like that! So below are a few very simple, affordable and not super time consuming self-care ideas. Perfect for extra busy weeks!



     *Buy your favorite treat or adult beverage at the grocery store - I love to bake and cook, but during busy workweeks the last thing that I want to do when I get home is whip up a treat to eat. If life is stressing you out, treat yourself to taking home your favorite junk food treat or adult beverage! I'm not a big drinker in my home, so my favorite splurge treat are ice cream cakes! Yum!


     *Do a face mask - I've been getting really into face masks this summer. I love taking a shower right before bed, climbing into cozy pajamas, and then doing a face mask in bed as I relax and watch Netflix. What a nice way to wind down after a very long work day! I've been trying them from lots of brands this summer, but so far I've really liked ones that I've found at Sephora (from Sephora brand) and Avon.


     *Visit the local library (or find a book on your shelf that you haven't opened before) and READ uninterrupted for 30 mins - I love reading, and so often I let the business of work, blogging, and other day to day things get in the way of this joy. Set the timer on your phone for 30 mins if you can't afford to spend all day/evening reading... but truly the best thing of all is to be able to read for as long as you want to!


     *Facetime with a long-distance friend: On a night last week, I really needed to finish the next day's blog post when I got home from work. But instead, I put my laptop away for the night and decided to Facetime two of my college friends. It was SO needed! It can be such a nice breath of fresh air in a crazy week to Facetime with a dear friend who might live far away- take advantage of modern technology!


     *Read and catch up on your favorite blogs uninterrupted for 30 mins - A main part of why I love blogging so much is the blogging community! It brings me so much joy to read my favorite blogs and see what's new in everyones' lives. However, between working full-time and running my blog, sometimes I don't have as much time to read and comment as I'd like to. Take a few minutes aside in a busy day just to read your favorite blogs can be a wonderful break in the day!



     What are your favorite easy self-care tips for busy weeks? Please share with me in the comments!


     Wishing you all a great Monday! It is warm and sunny in Vermont yet again- and it's Solar Eclipse day! Vermont is only supposed to get 60% visibility of it, but we will see how that turns out.







     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)

August 19, 2017

The BEST No-Bake Icebox Cake.

     Doing something a little different for this Saturday blog post! I absolutely love cooking and baking, they're two of my favorite hobbies, and something I do regularly. However, it's not something I blog about too often. With the busy work schedule that I have now, I tend to stick to making a lot of the same recipes again and again. This is unrelated to my own cooking habits- but I also find food photography to be quite difficult. I am kind of a perfectionist about photography on my blog (hence why I work with photographers for most of my posts), and you would be amazed at the amount of recipe posts I actually have tried to shoot, but I've let the bad lighting in my kitchen or difficulty getting good shots of the finished product prevent me from ever blogging about it- ha! Well, that's changing today. This recipe is too good to keep to myself, so I have to share it with all of you. (And I think the photos came out okay-ish. 😉)







     This is actually a family recipe, coming from my mom! My mom a very talented cook, and I am so thankful that she taught me how to cook and bake when I was quite young. They are two extremely useful skills that have helped me so much in early adulthood. Anyways- we need to get back on track and discuss this incredible icebox cake. My mom made this one summer several years ago, and after tasting a bit I was in heaven. I asked her what type of cake it was and how she had made it, and I was shocked to learn it had just four ingredients, and that it was a no-bake icebox cake!! It was seriously one of the best homemade desserts I had ever eaten. I actually requested this as my 17th birthday cake for my little family party that year! I remember my mom's family was surprised too that it was a no-bake cake and tasted so good.


      The hot, end-of-August weather is a great time to enjoy cool and easy icebox treat, so I wanted to share this recipe with y'all today! The hardest part about it is simply waiting for it to chill in the fridge! It is a dessert that you do have to be patient on, and can't really eat until it's set overnight.




No-Bake Chocolate Graham Icebox Cake


Ingredients:

  • One box of original honey graham crackers (I used a store brand variety)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Powdered sugar
  • Heavy cream
     ....yes, that's it! 



   
     1. Make the homemade chocolate whipped topping. No Cool-Whip or pre-made frosting will substitute. 😉 My mom makes her own chocolate whipped cream by kind of "eye balling it" with ingredients. She also told me later on that she uses Hershey's syrup, instead of cocoa powder like I did. I'm more of a strict recipe follower than my mom is, so I found this recipe for homemade chocolate whipped cream on Pinterest, and used it. It called only for cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and heavy cream. Find it here and follow the instructions! (Note, I found the finished product to be a bit more chocolatey than I like, so I did end up adding extra powdered sugar than what the recipe calls for.)







     2. Open the package of graham crackers, and lay down a cracker in the bottom of a baking dish.







     3. Use a spatula to spread the whipped cream over the graham cracker in baking dish. After the first graham cracker is coated, stack another one on top of it, and repeat, until the first package is completely stacked and coated in the whipped cream.







     4. When the first package of graham crackers is coated and in the backing dish, begin repeating the process with other packages in the box. Make sure all stacks of graham crackers are pressed up next to each other in the baking dish, and use the whipped cream to bind them together, creating the "cake" shape!





     5. When all stacks of graham crackers have been coated, give them one last "push" together with the spatula, and use extra whipped cream to coat the outside of the cake. The more whipped cream on them, the softer the grahams will later become!!


    6. Refrigerate cake overnight preferably- this is the hardest part! It will look so good that you'll want to dig right in, but it really does need to chill for at least 8 hours so that the graham crackers can properly soften. Once it has softened, take it out and enjoy!






     And that friends, is really it! Such an easy, yet delicious summer treat. Please let me know if you make the recipe and enjoy it! 😊



     Wishing you all a wonderful weekend- work is staying absolutely crazy for me until mid-September. I know I didn't do a very good job keeping up with blogging this week and kind of let work get the best of me, but hopefully the next few weeks I will be able to do better balancing both. Also looking forward to sharing more soon too about everything happening with work- some exciting radio things!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on-air!)

August 16, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.





{Testing out some cute new makeup items from the Mark by Avon line! Follow me on all my social media @miss_alk!}


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Ramblings:
  • Being a tourist at home: This past weekend was my first weekend off since starting my job! Since I wasn't able to go to Charlotte as I had hoped, I went home to Maine instead and tried to make the best of things. Overall it was a quiet, but nice visit! I have two friends from there who are both starting grad school soon, so it was good to spend time with them before that begins. I also spent a lot of time with my family, and time at the ocean, which I miss so much living far away from it now! Something that I've noticed since moving to Vermont is that I really have stopped taking growing up in Maine for granted, and I have a new appreciation for my hometown that I didn't have when I lived in Charlotte. I still very much want to be back in the South, but I hope when I do eventually move out-of-state again, I'll take my newfound love for Maine with me.
  • Planning fall fashion content + foliage: Fall in New England comes much earlier than the South- and Fall in Vermont comes even EARLIER! I am already starting to think about creative natural locations for shooting fall fashion content for the blog. Vermont has several scenic byway routes, which are very popular (especially in the fall) with tourists and locals alike. I've already been looking at which byways I would like to explore this fall. If you're planning a trip to New England or Vermont this fall- check out the byway list here
  • Giveaway fun! These is a fun little giveaway up on my Instagram currently, and it runs all week long, so there is still time to enter! I'm teaming up with Jewel Toned, a wonderful shape-wear and undergarments company, to give one lucky winner a Summer Style Pack, featuring five Jewel Toned pieces. Speaking of giveaways... I'm getting so very excited for my week of 5th Blogiversary giveaways, which will be happening at the end of August/beginning of September. I shot most of the images for the giveaways last week and I know y'all will be excited as well! 


Purchases:
  • A trip home to Maine now means SHOPPING! It's so funny-when I lived in Charlotte I didn't do much shopping in Maine, minus a couple local spots that I always hit up. But now that I live in Vermont, aka what feels like the home of the least chain stores (or chain anything) in the nation, I have to get my shopping fill when I'm home, or when driving back to Vermont through New Hampshire! My grandma and I went out to lunch and for a bit of shopping this weekend, and of course we had to stop at Nordstrom Rack! I've found some of my best Rack finds on past trips there with my grandma. She bought me this darling necklace as one of my birthday gifts- the crown reminded me of the Charlotte city logo, which is so dear to my heart! Fun fact: if I ever were to get a tattoo, it would probably be a tiny version of the Charlotte City crown, on the side of my ribs. 
  • We also went to one of my favorite shoe retailers (yet another place not in Vermont), and my grandma bought me these adorable booties as another birthday gift!! Can't wait to style these all this fall.
  • During my rest stop at the Mall of New Hampshire, I stocked up on a few packs of these! They're one of my hair essentials, and were on sale for 2 packs for $10 (a great deal)!
  • I love shopping at Lilly Pulitzer Signature stores... possibly even more then actually Lilly stores! I think Signature stores have a lot of local charm to them, and they definitely mark down  older Lilly more than regular stores do sometimes. I paid a visit to Maine's only Lilly Signature store, The Pink Tangerine, during my weekend home with my friend Katie. I found this adorable tank! Even though it's still on Lilly's website, it was amazingly 40% off at The Pink Tangerine!  Such a good buy and I couldn't resist! 


Wishlist:
  • Still have all the heart eyes for this tote- this is probably the fourth time I've posted it on my wishlist, ahhh! #workbaggoals
  • I saw this dress at The Pink Tangerine while I was home. I sadly have NO REASON to wear this in Vermont... but isn't this THE CUTEST dress?!
  • This is a different take on a basic t-shirt. Would be cute for fall transition outfits for work! 
  • This top screams "early spring" to me more than "early fall," but I still love the bold pattern on it!! 
  • An adorable ruffle sleeve dress for fall that is under $50 and comes in a few colors! 



On the blog this week:

     
       And a quick note about something not blog/wishlist/fashion related... I just wanted to say a couple words about the horrific acts in Charlottesville that happened earlier this week. Hearing about things like this happening in America in 2017 absolutely devastates me. What makes me even more sad is that many of the individuals associated with these terrible hate groups claimed to act in the name of God/Christianity.... absolutely sickening! These people represent everything that Christianity is not (as most Americans of course DO know). I'm not sure what church they belong to... but I have certainly never stepped foot in a church that has preached anything about hate or white supremacy. 


     I really do not discuss my political views on my blog or social media- partly because I work in the media and don't believe I should disclose much about that with the type of job that I have, and partly because this last election season got quite heated, to say the least. I witnessed a lot of friendships ended over politics last year, and I don't think that should ever be a reason to remove someone from your life. (Just to clarify.... belonging to/supporting a hate group = YES- definitely a reason to end relationship/friendship. However simply having a difference in political opinions = No.) 


     Anyways, with that little preface there- I do generally speaking hold conservative political views, and it really saddens my heart especially to see some people grouping hate groups and the alt-right together with all conservatives. These terrible people couldn't be more different from a lot of the ideals of most conservatives and the GOP. I have been encouraged to see some conservative politicians and commentators speak out against what happened. A favorite tweet of mine was from conservative commentator Allie Stuckey of The Conservative Millennial. She tweeted "Conservatives should denounce the alt-right even more than liberals do. It's everything we are trying to show people we aren't." Amen amen amen! 



      Anyways- sorry for that little sidetrack there, just wanted to share a few things that have been on my mind for a few days. 😊



     God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on air!)

August 15, 2017

Radio 101: What Does a Radio Personality Wear To Work?

     Bringing back my Radio 101 post series today... and combining it with one of my favorite things, fashion! A lot of the outfits that I've been wearing on my blog this summer are not things that I would wear to work, so I thought it would be fun to share an outfit post specifically styled to the types of looks that I have been wearing to work this summer!











Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios


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     Different career paths in broadcasting have different dress codes. TV news personalities wear chic business casual looks normally, with female reporters wearing classy dress ensembles, and male reporters sporting suits. Radio on the other hand is a bit different! My company doesn't have a dress code for on-air personalities, and I would say most radio companies fall along those lines. If you're looking for an example of this- when I had my morning radio internship in Charlotte last winter, I frequently saw on-air personalities in that building walking around in sweatpants, no joke!


      I don't bum down quite that much for work, but at the same time it doesn't make sense for me to dress up either. The majority of my days are spent alone in a windowless studio. During my first couple weeks at my job, I tried to wear some business casual looks with heels, but I quickly realized that just wasn't practical for my job (or Vermont-ha!). The outfit in today's post is a great example of the types of outfits that I've been wearing to work this something! Something very casual, but still put together. I am allowed to wear shorts to work, and have done so on a few very warm days. Generally speaking though this summer, I've been wearing jeans or casual dresses with flat sandals to work on weekdays. Back in Charlotte I used to wear cardigans and blazers to school and my retail job frequently, but now jean jackets and the kimono that I'm wearing in these pictures are my best friends! Saturdays are actually my longest workday of the week- I'm usually at work for 8-9 hours. I reward myself for having such long Saturdays on-air by wearing no makeup and athleisure clothes (and sometimes doing the same on Fridays also 😊).


     One difference between how I dress actually for work and how I got ready for these photos is that while I almost always have curled hair for the blog, I actually rarely curl my hair for work. My whole day is spent sliding headphones up and down my head, and if my hair is curled I find it tangles so much more easily. I normally wear my hair in a braid for work, and sometimes a bun or down and straightened.


     The only time I don't have freedom in what to wear to work is for radio events. We have a company policy that we have to wear t-shirts or polos (depending on the event), that have the station logos on them. That way people attending the events can easily identify us as on-air staff, and it looks professional when attending an event as well.



      Sometimes I do wish I had a job where I had to dress up more for work, but overall I really do like putting together cute and casual outfits for working in radio! I think that what I really wish for is having more excuses to dress up outside of work... but I'm working on that! 😉



      How do you dress for your career? Does your industry have a more formal, business-like dress code? Or do you also work in a casual work environment?



      I hope that y'all enjoyed today's Radio 101 post! I'm thinking for next month's to share a "Day in the Life" type schedule post for what my average workday looks like, and to talk more about some of the smaller tasks in my daily routine at work!







     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on-air!)
   

August 10, 2017

Southern Belle in Vermont: 4 Months Post-Move Update.

    It's already that time again!! In some ways, it seems like just yesterday that I wrote my two-months post-move update (which you can read here). Work has kept me very busy this summer so it's gone by faster than I anticipated!! At first when thinking about this post, I thought I wouldn't have very much at all to share or update y'all on, but the more I thought about it the more I realized I did have some updates indeed. I am glad that I decided to do these post-move updates on the blog since coming to Vermont... sometimes it really is good to write more personal blog posts, and I know that someday I'll enjoy reading these and remembering my first job and the time that I lived in Vermont!







June - August 2017: Months 2-4 in Burlington, VT


     SUMMARY: My summer can pretty much be summed up into two themes: work and having company! June's theme more specifically was having company, and July/August's theme more specifically has been work. I'll dive more into both of those things further on in the post. Overall, it has been a harder summer than I anticipated. In some ways, I was happy after the rushed period of having a lot of company visit ended, so I could get back to just focusing on work, and also having some downtime. to myself. But in other ways, it also bummed me out a bit. I am an extrovert, so I loved having friends around a lot again while I did have company up. Having them all leave kind of reminded me how different my social situation has been since moving up here, and made me really miss all of my friends in Charlotte. I think my main goal for months 4-6 in Vermont is to do better about making more friends up here, and planning more social activities in my calendar! A work/personal life balance is so important, and I'm definitely lacking in the personal life department right now.



     HOME: This summer I have gotten a lot more used to living alone, and really fallen in love with it! I am already excited for my future apartments to come. It's crazy to me that some young 20 somethings around my age (even a lot of my own friends) are becoming home-owners... I don't see that in my life for a long time, but am loving solo apartment life! I have recently started the process of reorganizing my kitchen cabinets, which has been taking longer than I expected, but I'm trying to work on one cabinet at a time, and to really get them organized and cleaned to a system that I like, so it's okay that it's been a longer process. This probably makes me sound so lame, but I am so excited for Fall TV shows to come back in September!! I literally can't wait to be cuddled by my TV in my favorite fuzzy bathrobe and with fuzzy blankets, watching new episodes of all of my favorite shows. Soon I really need to write out a Fall TV schedule so I can remember which of my shows are on which nights! Gosh I realize how lame I sound writing this.... haha! Vermont really is making me a little homebody. One thing that I really have missed this summer season is having a pool. My old apartment in Charlotte had two pools and a hot tub, and I was out there almost every evening of last summer. It's rare to find apartments in Vermont that have pools, and my current apartment complex doesn't have one. Wherever I move next- whether Vermont or out-of-state, I'm really hoping it's an apartment complex with a pool again!
      As I mentioned in the first paragraph of the post, I had a lot of company earlier this summer! In June and then into July, my dad visited, followed by my friend Hannah and then my friend Ciera! All visits were almost back-to-back, and all stayed in my apartment. I absolutely love hosting company, however it can get stressful doing that so often with working weekends like I do. I actually had two friends from Maine who wanted to come up this month, but I finally had to say no due to my own sanity and my work schedule over the next few weeks, and it felt like such a huge relief after I said that! I know there will be more opportunities for company later in the fall when work hopefully isn't as crazy.



     WORK: Has been CRAZY BUSY! But very good. Some changes are happening soon which I look forward to sharing with y'all as soon as I can! 😉
     Summer is prime event season for my company's radio stations. So is the case for radio stations everywhere really, but especially so in the North, due to rough winters and limited event scheduling happening then. I had one week in July where my station had an event almost every night that week! Many coworkers have also been taking their summer vacations, so I've been doing more weekday fill-in shifts on Star 92.9, the station that I work for on Saturdays. One thing that I've been having fun with this summer is trying to post more on and grow my station's Instagram account- follow along at @planet967!
   


      FAITH: So excited to share that I have found a church home in Vermont! I think I found my church right around the time I posted my first post-move update. During my first two months here, I did some church hopping, and didn't find a new church home. Overall I really missed my old church in Charlotte. (I even wrote a separate blog post about church hunting here!) But I decided to keep trying churches, and I finally found one. It is very small, so it has been adjustment for me to go from attending a Charlotte mega church to a tiny, growing church in Vermont. But the people at my church are so kind and Christlike, and from the first Sunday that I attended, many were so welcoming to me! I truly felt Christ's love flowing within the church, and I knew it was a good place. I brought my dad with me to a service when he visited in June, and he also loved it, which meant a lot to me. It just goes to show that sometimes it really does take time to find a good church!
      Wonderfully, my new church also has a young professionals bible study group for other post grads! The bible study itself is on summer break right now, but should resume soon. Unfortunately with my crazy summer work schedule, I've had to miss most of the group's summer social events for the last month. I'm hoping to be able to attend the regular bible study meetings and their social events this fall again! If work does calm down or become more regular at some point, I would love to become more involved in the church, either with my bible study group, or as a volunteer with a ministry. But for now- I'm just happy to have a great church to go to on Sundays, and to be making new church friends!



      SOCIAL: This is the area of my life that I am going to work the hardest to improve this fall. I have started making new friends, like those that I've met through my bible study group at church. But with my summer work schedule (and also having company visit earlier in the summer), it's been harder for me to make plans with new Vermont friends. Everyone that I have met up here works more traditional weekday 9-5 type schedules, while I work 6 days a week including Saturdays and Sundays.
      Back in Charlotte, I had such diverse friend groups by the end of my time living there. I had college friends, broadcasting school friends, bible study friends, and of course blogging friends! I loved having all of my different friend networks, as there were different social activities that I did with my different friend groups. I have started to make church friends here, I've found who I think is the one other fashion blogger in Vermont in my new blogging friend Nicholle 😊, and now I just need to try and branch out and make some other friend groups as well. I am considering looking into joining the Junior League here in Vermont- the local chapter is having a recruitment Open House later this month which I might attend. (My only hesitation in looking into joining is that if I did end up not staying in Vermont after my job contract is up in the spring, I might be moving before the new member period is complete for the Junior League. But I suppose it's too early to worry about that, and I might very well stay in Vermont another year or two!) Vermont is such a small area and kind of a hard place to make friends when you're new, but I'm going to keep trying.
      On a different social note- I'm headed home to Maine for three days this weekend, and looking forward to catching up with a couple high school friends while I'm home!



      DATING: Yep- no update here from last month. Still at a place where I would like to be dating in Vermont, but find myself wondering on a daily basis that if I'm already having trouble making friends here... how the heck am I supposed to find guys that I could date? This area of Vermont has a lot of college guys since Burlington has three colleges, but a lot of people move away after graduation since jobs are hard to come by here (making it ironic that I moved here for work!). Since I'm not really looking to date a 20 year old who parties at a frat house every weekend... it makes dating options even more limited. I recently re-downloaded a dating app to my phone after a couple months off from that, so who knows, maybe I'll be swiping right on my Vermont Prince Charming? (In all honesty hopes aren't up though...I keep feeling like I'll meet someone when I move to wherever my next home is.)



     ACTIVITIES: I've never been much of a fall person, but I'm already starting to look forward to spending a fall season in New England- my first in many years! As for summer, I did have a chance to do some fun and memorable things. My overnight trip to Montreal when my friend Ciera came to visit was definitely a highlight (check out my Montreal Travel Guide here)! Another huge highlight of my summer was getting to go back and visit the bed and breakfast in the northeastern part of Vermont that I grew up vacationing with my parents at when I was little. As soon as I accepted my job in Vermont many months ago, this became the number one thing on my bucket list!! My dad and I did this when he came up for Father's Day, and I still need to write a full blog post about that day trip.



     5 NEW VERMONT THINGS I DID:

  • Made my first day trip to the Adirondacks in New York (to visit my blogging friend Katie and her family at their lake house).
  • Had my first taste of Burlington nightlife when my friend Ciera visited!
  • Stepped out of my comfort zone and went to the Burlington Rising Tide Society's Tuesdays Together July Meet-up, and met some wonderful Vermont photographers and other creatives! 
  • Worked and hosted my first solo radio event! (More of a work-first, but still a notable first!)
  • Ordered a Vermont craft beer for the first time at a restaurant.... and realized I am still more of a Bud Light kinda gal. #noshame 



     Since I'm headed home to Maine for a long weekend, I have decided to take a little blogging break for the next few days!! I've been going full speed ahead at both jobs- my day job and the blog, pretty much since moving, and I'm ready to enjoy my short little summer vacation weekend. I'll still be posting on Instagram and Twitter though- so keep up with me there! I'm @miss_alk on both. 😊



     Have a great weekend, and talk to y'all here on Tuesday!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)