Southern Belle in Training

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

September 28, 2017

Fall 2017 Reader Q&A.

      It's been a long time since I did a Q&A post with y'all, so I thought I was much overdue for a new one! I always enjoy reading them when other bloggers do them, so here's my latest one! Thanks to everyone who sent in these great questions! As always- you can email me or tweet me questions anytime (and about anything!), not just when I'm doing a Q&A post. 😊

Photo by Deeana Kourtney Photography

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

     Favorite random item you always get at the grocery store? Cheese. The obsession has only gotten worse since I moved to Vermont, one of America's dairy capitals. If I don't have cheese in my fridge at home than something feels wrong! I have been joking lately that if I don't have a radio endorsement with Cabot Cheddar before my time in Vermont has come to a close... I have failed in the Green Mountain State.

     What's one beauty product you could never live without? This is probably an unexpected answer, but eyebrow gel! I used to use one by Benefit, but then I found this under $5 dupe version by my favorite drugstore cosmetics line and I swear by it. It'll change your life if you have bold yet pesky brows like I do! 

     What's your favorite part about living in Vermont? So since fellow blogger Katie tweeted me this question... I have literally been thinking over it for a week. And have had trouble thinking of an answer! True, true story. Which leads me back to something I already know... Vermont is definitely not my forever home and I have not fallen in love with living here like I did with Charlotte. If I was asked the same question about NC, I would have about 25 answers for you in 10 seconds.
       I guess I will give two (weird) answers. The first is that Vermont is where I got to begin my radio career and live my dream of being on-air everyday, so even if I dislike living here, this state will always be special to me for that reason! And secondly, Vermont has been a difficult move transition and has very much put me out of my comfort zone.... but that has been a good thing and a God thing. I know it will make me appreciate my next home so much more!

      What are your favorite dressy jacket/cardigan/outerwear options? One word: BLAZERS! A nice, fitted blazer is a professional girl's wardrobe's BFF. I own several blazers and used to wear them more days out of the week then not in Charlotte! Now- I rarely wear blazers as they don't really fit my Vermont lifestyle. My favorite one that I own is from this retailer- theirs aren't the cheapest, but they will last you awhile! It's good to have some staple ones like black and navy, but also play around with some in fun colors or patterns such as tweed! 

     I'm amazed that you've still been posting so much on your blog and Instagram since you moved to Vermont! How do you balance your blog with working full time in radio? I'm actually planning to write a full blog post on this later this fall or winter! It's an answer that I think is a little long for a Q&A blog post! But the short answer is- you prioritize things that are important for you! The second part of the short answer is I don't have the same social life that I had in college, so even though I sometimes have weird hours/work a lot at my day job, I don't have the same social schedule I used to have last year, so I have more time outside of work to blog. But again, more of this to be explained in an upcoming post. It is 110% possible to blog regularly and work full-time, and I think it's much easier to do both of those things than be in college and blog honestly! 

     Since you ended up moving back to New England after broadcasting school, would you ever move home to Maine? Errr... probably not. It would have to be for a really good, like "can't pass up" radio job type offer. While living in Vermont has given me a new appreciation for my hometown and home state than I never had in the past (and I am thankful for that!), the appreciation just isn't strong enough to make me move home for good. Even though I was only in North Carolina for five years, I truly consider it to be just as much my home as Maine. 😉 (Although with an entry level radio personality salary... I will say sometimes moving back in with my mom sounds quite tempting instead of paying rent for a year, haha!)

     What's your favorite memory from 2017 (so far)? Hands down, the day that I told everyone in person at my broadcasting school (staff and fellow students) about my job offer in Vermont! I literally drove to school straight from the airport, and I had a 6 am flight, so I was a bit deliriously tired, but I was too excited to wait any longer to share the news! We had a tradition this year at broadcasting school where during a winter workshop, a lot of students made vision boards, and hung them on a big wall in the break room. The opposite wall was where people moved their vision boards when they got a job in the radio or TV business. I gathered everyone in the break room that day and screamed my happy news as I moved my board to the other wall! 

      What are your favorite fall trends? I actually just wrote a blog post about that this week! Riding boots and floppy fall hats are always two favs year after year. 

     What are your favorite Lilly Pulitzer purchases? AH! Tough question!!! Well- shopping the famous Lilly for Target brand launch in Charlotte in 2015 was an experience that I'll never forget, and I still love and wear my dresses that I bought from that collection regularly in the summer months! I also have a Lilly skort in Let's Cha Cha which amazingly I don't think I've ever worn on the blog, but it's a very special purchase to me! A few summers ago, my dad took me out shopping to some of my favorite local stores in my hometown, and when I fell in love with this skort he bought it for me on a whim, which was such a lovely surprise! Let's Cha Cha was also one of my favorite Lilly prints ever. 

     Favorite airline? I really like this question! I have flown the most on American Airlines (formally US Airways), as Charlotte is one of their largest hubs, so that's always what I took to get home in college. However, probably my favorite flight experiences have been on JetBlue and Delta! I know that Southwest is a popular airline, however I have yet to fly on them, but I'd definitely like to! 

      Thanks so much again to everyone who sent questions! Hope y'all enjoyed this post, and that you're having a great week! Vermont's week-long, record breaking heat wave came to an end today, and traditional fall weather has returned. I'm trying to stay positive about the cooler weather and embrace fall, ha!

     P.S. - if you follow other fashion bloggers you might know that there is a big Shopbop sale going on right now! Shopbop tends to be a pricier retailer so it's not usually one of my go-to stores, but they do carry all of the designer brands that I like such as Tory Burch and Kate Spade! I'm sitting this sale out, but I thought I'd share a few wishlist picks that are under $200:

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on-air!)






September 27, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.

{The weather in Vermont has broken records this week! It was 91 on Monday! Follow me on social media @miss_alk} 

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  • Amazing weather: The picture above had to prepare y'all for this to be my first rambling this week! 😉 The state of Vermont gave me the best belated birthday gift ever this week, a week and a half of beautiful, sunny, and most importantly HOT weather! This past weekend and up until today the weather has literally broken records in the state- I believe I heard in the local news the record broken on Monday was last set in the 1800s! I am quite a warm weather girl and have already been getting nervous for my first Vermont winter, so this last burst of sunshine was such a gift after a cool, rainy summer. I bought the donut pool float that's pictured on sale in-store for just $6 over the weekend, and it was fun to use it on Monday morning before work on Lake Champlain! 
  • Air pumps are sold where...? On the note of the donut pool float that I just bought... I almost wasn't able to use it! I had the hardest time finding an air pump for the float! Growing up, my dad always kept a hand pump for air for inflatables in our garage, and I always assumed that was a normal item sold at most big box or hardware stores, but apparently not?! I tried Target and Super Walmart across the lake, and back in Vermont I tried our Walmart, Big Lots, Lowe's and a hardware store, and NONE of these places sold an air pump for inflatables or pool floats! The employee at the hardware store was nice enough to let me bring in the float and see if a bike pump would work with the float, but the nozzle on it was too small. Thankfully, my friend who I went to the lake with had an air pump for an inflatable kayak that she let me borrow, but if that hadn't happened I would have been out of luck! So question for all of you cute pool float lovers: where did you find your air pump? Was it from a store, or something special you had to order online? (I'm hoping Amazon has them for next season- ha!)
  • Fall TV premieres: This week most of my favorite fall TV shows returned! (Last week I actually wrote a detailed TV Guide style post all about fall shows- check it out here if you haven't!) The Big Bang Theory's season premiere was Monday night and it was SO good- we finally got the answer about Sheldon's proposal... as well as a HUGE bombshell with other characters that I wasn't expecting! Tonight is the season premiere of Star, one of my other favorite shows!
  • Work OOTD's: A couple weeks ago, I decided to start sharing my radio work OOTDs everyday  before leaving my apartment for the day on Insta-Stories. The feedback so far has been wonderful!! Doing this has also inspired me to dress up more for work than I was before, and get more creative in restyling things, so it's a win-win all around. I know that what I wear to work might not work for all professions (I feel like I dress the same as I did in college- dressed up some days and casual others!) but hopefully these outfits are still helpful to some! 😊 Be sure you're follow me @miss_alk to see them!

  • This weekend I made a trip across the lake (via ferry) to do some shopping in Plattsburgh, NY, at stores that aren't located in Vermont. Pleased to report that therapy of the retail variety was done! First and foremost, I was like a kid in a candy store in the new Hobby Lobby that just opened in Plattsburgh! Forget Nordstrom or other popular stores with bloggers.... Hobby Lobby will forever be my weakness!! I shared a haul of what I purchased on Insta-Stories a couple nights ago.
  • These gorgeous boots were an impulse purchase this weekend, but I fell in love with them and also realized how many things they would match in my fall and winter wardrobe (including one of my favorite winter coats!!). And they're under $50- which I can totally justify for cute trendy boots! 
  • Not a fashion purchase, but I always wanted to own this game while in Charlotte for game nights with friends, and I saw it at Target this weekend and had to scoop it up finally! Now I just need to host a game night so I can play at last! 
  • Of course- I also bought the donut float that's pictured above, it was marked down in-store at Target to $6!! 

  • One designer item that I've never owned is sunglasses. I don't think I've ever owned a pair that costs more than $20 because I always lose or break them! Lately though I've had my eyes lusting over pretty sunglasses like these.... maybe I'm finally grown up enough to buy these? Haha. 
  • Since cheap sunglasses are my jam... here's a super cute trendy pair for under $15! Eye protection is still so important in colder weather. 
  • Exactly the type of stylish top that I'd rock for work in the next couple months. #fallvibes
  • I never spend money on "going out clothes," and this top is under $20 so it would be perfect for fall nights on the town!! I like how the model styled it with a choker necklace, and it comes in a few colors. 
  • Okay this is just a cute and funny item for the single friend in your life!! I love saying this saying and have a pair of pajamas that say what's on this keychain as well. This would be an adorable birthday or Christmas gift for any independent lady! 

On the blog this week:

      Chillier, normal fall weather returns to Vermont tomorrow! I'm sad to kiss summer goodbye *for real* this time, but excited to work on more fall fashion content for the blog soon!

      God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese (aka Charlotte XO on-air!)


September 26, 2017

VERMONT TRAVEL GUIDE: Burlington's Best Restaurants.

     It's been five and a half months now (!!) since I moved to Vermont, so I figured it was about time that I started on some travel guide posts about my new city and state! I've gotten some requests from y'all for recommendations about things to do in the Burlington area and beyond, and since I know that October is a very popular time to travel to Vermont with peak foliage season quickly approaching, I hope that this post and some more that I have coming up might be of help to you or anyone you know traveling to Vermont this season! 


September 25, 2017

Top 5 Fall Fashion Essentials.

      The weekend welcomed the fall season, and also officially welcomed all of the beloved fall fashion trends which return each year at this time! (Well "unofficially" welcomed here in Vermont... this weekend and today brought record breaking high temperatures to the Champlain Valley... today is in the high 80s and this girl is NOT complaining! But alas, back to regularly scheduled fall blog programming. 😉) It shouldn't be too much of a surprise based on my love of color and the trends that I gravitate towards that spring and summer fashion as my personal favorites, however living back in New England, I've decided to fully embrace fall style this year!

     In today's blog post, I wanted to share my five personal favorite fall trends with y'all! There are examples of how I've styled these trends from past blog posts. Some pictures are from this year/last year, and some from a few years ago! I thought it would be fun to take a little peak back down blog memory lane, and many of these fall items are still staples in my closet, which goes to show  and current items are linked so that you can shop similar versions that are in stock now!

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

1. Riding Boots 

     Most definitely my #1 fall wardrobe favorite- riding boots! Specifically Tory Burch riding boots- which really are a preppy essential. Y'all know that I am very much about affordable fashion on this blog, and there aren't a lot of things that I splurge on. However, Tory Burch riding boots are an absolute splurge! There's just nothing like them. I currently have two pairs, and the pair above I've had since summer 2014, and this past spring (before I moved) they were looking a bit well loved. I brought them to a cobbler in Charlotte to have them touched up, paid about $50... and it was like I had a brand new pair of boots!! All set now for fall in Vermont. If you're able to get a pair of these and invest in them every couple of years, they will last and last and last! So worth it. However, if you aren't quite ready to make the TB investment, I have a few other more affordable pairs linked as well!

2. Ponchos / Capes

     Fun story about how I fell in love with ponchos and capes! So some of you might remember that I worked in retail back home in Maine over summers and holiday breaks every year of college. One Christmas break that I worked at the store, it was exceptionally chilly at work everyday. I get cold very easily, and despite wearing sweaters to work I was still cold. One of my coworkers had this super soft and cozy black cape that she kept in the work closet, and she leant it to me to wear everyday that I had shifts that week. I fell in love with it- not only for the warmth factor, but also because I thought it looked so chic! This was about a year before ponchos and capes really started popping up again as a fashion trend, but I was so excited when they did! I now own a few and love wearing them as an easy addition to wall and winter outfits. Some are linked below, I really love this one and this one

3. Floppy Hats 

     As a little girl, I loved wearing all sorts of crazy hats and headbands. My childhood bestie, Katie, and I have a running joke that it's impossible to find a photo of us as kids where I'm not wearing something interesting on my head! (In one of the best photos of us as little girls, I'm wearing a 1700's style pilgrim bonnet from a history museum gift shop with my capri pants and sparkly t-shirt...? Who would have guessed I'd become a fashion blogger someday?!) Anyways, I think my hat obsession as a younger kid scared me away from them in high school, and I was pretty anti-hats for many years. 
     But then in college, my love for them returned in full force, and I'm so glad it did (just not for the pilgrim bonnets)! I think a nice floppy hat for fall looks so chic and can easily elevate even a casual outfit. I buy most of my fall hats at Forever 21. They have a wide variety every season, they're priced very well, and the quality isn't bad at all! Sadly there aren't any F21's near Vermont, but luckily for me I have a ton of fall hats from previous seasons. 😉 I've linked many of my current favorites from there and other stores below: 

4. Fall Statement Earrings

     First off- I just realized the above photo is from a past summer blog post instead of fall-oops. Clearly I need to get better about taking close-up pictures of the statement earrings that I wear, haha! Anyways, hot summer days sometimes makes it hard to break out heavy jewelry, so as the weather gets cooler again, it gets easier to be bolder with accessories! I absolutely love wearing fun and bold statement earrings. Sadly it's harder for me to wear them to work, as heavy earrings and radio headphones don't match too well as far as earlobe pressure goes, but I love wearing them outside of work, and it's even more of a win when I can find a lightweight pair that doesn't bother me with headphones on! For this fall, I'm really loving these and these.

5. Puffer Vest 

     Another throwback SBIT post right here!! (#TBT to my little digital camera... it was a good two year run together for blog photos!) Anyways, this is a closet essential of mine that I don't wear too much in my blog outfits, hence why I had to dig back three years for a photo! But nonetheless, I do often wear throughout the fall and winter in everyday or athleisure looks. A good puffer vest is great to have for layering and warmth purposes! These days they come in so many colors and patterns, and they can add a fun touch. I purchased this really cute one for this season, and I'm hardcore crushing on this pink vest

     Now I want to hear from you! Year after year, what are your favorite fall trends that you keep wearing? Do we share any in common? 

     Hope you're having a great Monday! Even though today's post was all about fall fashion, today I'm feeling late summer vibes! This morning before work I'm headed to the lake with a friend to enjoy the warmth and sunshine and I CAN'T WAIT! 

     God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese (aka Charlotte XO on-air!)


September 21, 2017

FALL TV IS BACK!! My 2017 Fall TV Guide.

     Next Monday begins the thing that I was most excited for about this fall season... FALL.TV.IS.BACK!!! I have never been a big movie buff- TV has always been more my thing! Ever since I was a little girl, I've always had "my shows" that I get very loyal to. Funny story- up until when I was in high school, my parents only had the most basic cable package, so we only got about 20 channels (just the networks, public access, and a few shopping channels). For years, I used to get so frustrated that I couldn't watch all of the cable shows that my friends were, and I would beg my parents to upgrade our cable package. My wish finally came true during Christmas 2009! On Christmas Eve day, a cable guy showed up at our door holding a brand new cable box. I was the one who opened the door for him, and when I saw what he was holding I started screaming and crying. I think I scared the poor guy- I don't think he usually had a reaction like that when he arrived to houses! 😉 Anyways- that was one of my favorite Christmases that I can ever remember. 

     Needless to say, I'm a TV girl through and through, but with that said, I can be picky about the types of shows that I get hooked on. Minus the Bachelor/ette, I don't really watch reality TV as I think most of it is kind of mindless. The shows that I do fall in love with I generally stay very loyal to. So I'm excited to day to bring you my first (annual?) Fall TV Guide! Sharing my favorite returning shows, and new ones that I'm interested to watch. Most of these shows are just on the major networks as that's the majority of what I watch now (my early high school cable obsessed self would be quite disappointed with me- ha!), but perhaps at some point I'll share some cable picks as well. 

     I decided to organize this post by first writing in a bit of detail about the shows that I'm excited to watch that are both returning and new, and then sharing when they're on with a schedule graphic!

Returning Shows:

     The Big Bang Theory (CBS): Not at all ashamed to admit that my love for this show is endless. I've seen every single episode, and it's a rare show that I can watch endless reruns for, and never get sick of. This year the show is returning for Season 11, and amazingly I don't think that it has "jumped the shark" yet! While the earlier seasons hold a special place in my heart, many of my personal favorite episodes are from later seasons.
     If you're unfamiliar with the premise of The Big Bang Theory, the show originally centered around two scientist roommates, Sheldon and Leonard, and their interactions with their next-door neighbor Penny, who was a new California transplant pursuing a career in acting. The show has definitely seen some changes since Season 1 and also introduced great new characters, but thankfully for comedic purposes Sheldon's eccentric personality and sense of humor has remained the same!

     Great News (NBC): This was a new show on NBC that debuted in Winter 2017 for a short season, and I was delighted to see that it was renewed for Season 2! This quirky comedy is produced by Tina Fey, and now that I've started watching 30 Rock on Netflix I can see some similarities in the humor between the two shows. Great News focuses on Katie Wendelson, who is a news producer for an evening news program in New Jersey. Her mother is going back to school and ends up taking an interest in communications, and takes an internship at Katie's station. The other news people that Katie works with are quite the characters to begin with, and all in all this is a very cute comedy. I especially get a kick out of it since I went to broadcasting school last year, and a lot of the curriculum was focused on TV news, so I feel like while the situations that the characters are in during the show are exaggerated for comedic affect, the way that the newsroom functions in the show is actually quite accurate and brings back some broadcasting school memories!

     Jane the Virgin: (The CW): Normally I can tell pretty quickly if I like or dislike a TV show. Jane was quite an exception to my normal viewing habits, and I'm so happy that I gave it a second try! I finished the first season on Netflix a couple years ago and actually didn't like it. I liked the idea behind the show, but I found the plot twists to be too hard to follow and weirdly unrealistic. However, I gave Season 2 a try... and fell in love!! Season 3 was just as good, and now it's one of my favorite shows!
     As you can probably guess from the title, Jane the Virgin follows the life of a young woman named Jane, who has chosen to wait until she's married to have sex (and I love seeing a character on a network TV show in 2017 with these beliefs!). In the first episode of the show, due to an extreme medical mishap she becomes artificially inseminated. In short, the show follows Jane's journey to motherhood... but also the crazy drama between the baby's father's family, Jane's love life, her family, and also a whole crime mystery plot with other characters as well!

      Star (Fox): I think this is probably the most underrated show on TV right now, and if I can do anything to change this I absolutely will! Like Great News, this show premiered midseason last year. Star follows three young women who move to Atlanta to pursue their dreams of making it in the music industry as a girl group (think a modern-day TLC). The show might sound a bit fluffy from its basic description, but that couldn't be further from the truth! Star is extremely raw and gritty, and tackles a lot of issues head-on such as rape, racial tensions, poverty, LGBTQ issues, drug addiction, and much, much more! The lead actresses in this show are also very gifted musically, and I think they do an incredible job with the songs featured in the show (I've added many of them to my Spotify playlists!).
     I think this show does a great job of portraying serious issues that are affecting our culture today, while also keeping viewers' interest with the underlying theme of the girls trying to succeed and break into the music industry. I'm so happy that Star got a second season, and I hope it'll be just as good as the first!

New Shows:

     Young Sheldon (CBS): I love The Big Bang Theory so much that I was absolute delighted to hear that it was getting a PREQUEL for the 2017/2018 season! Ahh!! Young Sheldon will follow the adventures of Sheldon Cooper as a child genius growing up in small-town Texas. On The Big Bang Theory, we've been given little insights into Sheldon's childhood over the seasons, so as an enthusiastic fan of the main show, I can't wait to go "all-in" in the spin-off! I hope that it will be just as funny and entertaining. The first episode premieres next week, but the second won't air until November, when The Big Bang Theory moves to its normal Thursday time slot!

     The Mayor (ABC): This is a new comedy which I'm excited about! A struggling small-town hip hop artists decides to run for mayor to promote his latest mixtape... which seems like a great promotion strategy until he wins the election! I was a big Parks and Rec fan after watching that on Netflix last year, so I hope The Mayor will deliver similar small town political laughs! (Plus- just reading the words "small town hip hop artist" brings back memories of that one aspiring rapper from my high school.... wonder how his career turned out? 😉)

     9JKL (CBS): This comedy will follow a newly divorced actor, who moves home to New York City, and into an apartment that's next-door to both his parents, and his brother's family. I obviously love The Big Bang Theory which is a CBS comedy, and I am also a huge How I Met Your Mother fan, which aired on the same network, so I'm willing to give this new CBS comedy a try for a few episodes!


     Now I want to hear from you! Which new or returning TV shows are you excited for this fall? Do we share any TV loves in common? I'd also love to hear if you love a TV show that I'm not watching!! In addition to my own TV favorites, I read a lot online about TV to talk about on the radio, so this is a subject that I love to discuss. 😊 If y'all enjoyed this blog post, I'm happy to do a Midseason TV Guide type post when some new shows premiere in early 2018!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on-air!)



September 20, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.

{Throwback to a favorite fall shoot from last year with Deeana Kourtney Photography! Follow me on social media @miss_alk!}

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


  • Weekend recap: It has been such a blessing to have my work hours recently switch from Mondays off to instead working half days Saturday and then having Sundays off! I finally feel like I am able to enjoy weekends, and also make plans with new friends, which is helping me to feel a little more settled in Vermont. This weekend was filled the perfect balance of relaxation and fun, and also lots of sunshine. The weather was a whopping 80 degrees and sunny both days (which was warmer than it was for a lot of the summer!), and I tried my best to enjoy it! I stopped by a local apple orchard after work on Saturday to pick up fresh apples from the farm store, and baked apple muffins with them for breakfast on Sunday. I also went to the movies to see the new Reese Witherspoon movie (which was SO cute!), and enjoyed time at the lake with some people in my bible study on Sunday afternoon. Bible study starts back up this week after a two month break, and I'm really looking forward to that.
  • Back to reading: Reading is one of my favorite pastimes, and after moving to Vermont I started reading for fun again a lot more! With an unexpectedly busy month at work in August, reading and some of my other favorite home hobbies had to be put on the back burner, as most nights that I was getting home I was too tired to do anything (and too busy to make library trips!). Luckily this month, I've been able to start reading again! Not quite at the ferocious pace that I was reading at earlier this summer, but I've been reading a couple chapters of something every night before bed, and it's a wonderful way to relax. I think this will be a permanent addition to my bedtime routine on weeknights! 
  • Ultimate One Hit Wonders list: One of my musical guilty pleasures are 90s and early 2000s one hit wonders. This list from Buzzfeed is quite the round-up of them- some musical gems on here!! Take a listen to some of these songs if you need a little #tbt action this week! 

  • No fun purchases again this week, minus getting my nails done! However I do have some packages arriving soon for October's fashion collaborations on the blog which I'm so excited to receive! And I just saw today that my After Party Sale purchases have finally charged to my card- so they should be shipping soon. I swear I've never had to wait this many weeks to receive an APS package before! 

  • These block heels are in such a fun and unexpected color that would pop against fall outfits!
  • How funny is this travel mug? Would be perfect for those rough mornings at work- ha!
  • Some very chic over-the-knee boots that come in three colors, and are under $100!!
  • Y'all know I'm not the biggest fan of rompers but HOW CUTE is this one? (FYI it's an online exclusive!) I love the pattern and it looks pretty modest as far as rompers go!
  • One thing that I want to keep adding to my closet to survive winter in Vermont are brightly colored sweaters! I love color in my wardrobe and don't want to lose sight of that during the long winter. This cute sweater comes in several colors (I love the hot pink!)

On the blog this week:

     Hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday! I'm extra excited about tomorrow's blog post- I'm diving into one of my favorite things here on the blog!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese (aka Charlotte XO on-air!)

September 19, 2017

TRAVEL GUIDE: 24 Hours in Lake Placid.

     A couple weekends ago, one of my new friends and I decided to go on an impromptu overnight trip to the village of Lake Placid, NY! This Adirondack Mountains village is the former home to two Winter Olympic Games, and is just two hours away from Burlington, Vermont. The village itself has a small main street district, and is located right on scenic Mirror Lake. While it could easily be a day trip, if you are able to spend one night then you will definitely be able to see most things that the area has to offer. Due to a large sporting event that we didn't know the town was hosting, our trip plans ended up taking a different turn than we expected, but we still enjoyed a delightful weekend away in the Adirondacks! This was a trip where I decided to take a break for being in "blogger mode" and I left both my laptop and DSLR at home- so this post is iPhone photography only. 😊 Read on for my Lake Placid recommendations:

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September 18, 2017

Styling a Cozy Sweater.

     Like it or not, New England's frigid winter temperatures will be here before long! They often arrive well before the formal start of the winter season, so I'm already doing some inventory in my closet for winter fashion pieces that I'll need, and ways to restyle things that I already have. I recently got this cozy sweater that I'm wearing in today's post, and I know this outfit will be great for any early chilly days that head to Vermont! 

Photography by Amanda Rose Photography 

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      I had scheduled this blog post for today a few weeks ago... but it is ironic that I'm publishing it on this Monday as Northern Vermont is coming off of a gorgeous weekend filled not only with sunshine, but also 80 degree temperatures!! Let me repeat- two days of 80 degree temps in mid September! That is warmer than it was for a lot of summer here... what a glorious weekend it was! I'll be sharing a bit about what I did to enjoy it in this week's Midweek Ramblings post on Wednesday. Anyways- onto this outfit, which I know sadly I will be wearing sooner rather than later with the way weather changes here! 

       In the winter or cool end of fall, it can be easy to start to get lazy with fashion. Gone are adorable sundresses and fun summer patterned dress pants, and it's onto what can seem like an endless cycle of sweaters. My job is so casual attire-wise that I want to make sure not to fall into the boring 6+ months trap of wearing an oversized sweater, jeans, and snow boots to work everyday! That wouldn't be very fashion blogger of me. I know that the long cold season up here will be a challenge to my fashion sense- but I'm up for it! 😉 My hope is to wear a lot of outfits like this one- looks that are still warm and cozy, but also trendy and cute.

      This grey sweater is one of the warmest things in my closet right now!! I was pretty hot when shooting this, but I know I'll be so thankful for this once the snow arrives. I highly recommend it if you live in a cold state, or have a ski vacation planned for this winter! My mom surprised me with this pretty plaid scarf this summer which is on sale now!! If you're looking for a great scarf for the upcoming months- grab this one now while it's marked down. And I love these faux leather leggings! I bought them last season and they're back for this year too and fully in stock.

    Are you already thinking about your cold weather wardrobe like I am? What's on your must-buy list?

     I'm excited for the rest of the month's posts on Southern Belle in Training! Stay tuned for some fun ones on the way, starting tomorrow!

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on-air!)


September 15, 2017

Radio 101: Why Do I Hear The Same Songs Over and Over On The Radio?

      Since beginning my career in radio, there is one question that I've been asked far more than others. "Why does the radio play the same 5/10/15/20 songs OVER and OVER and OVER?" And then that question is usually followed up with ones like "Don't they know there's other good music? Don't the radio personalities get sick of the same songs? Are you the one picking the same songs?" For this month's Radio 101 blog post, I'm going to be breaking down the mystery surrounding airplay, especially in the Top 40 (technical term being Contemporary Hit Radio, or "CHR") format. I work mainly in CHR radio, so my perspective is best on this format, but some of the things that I'll be explaining in today's post could definitely be applied to other formats of "current" radio, like Contemporary Christian or Country Hits radio.

      I think there is a huge misconception in radio that DJs like myself pick all the songs that play! That couldn't be further from the truth. (Just like you probably were... I was also quite tired this summer of hearing Despacito and I'm The One every 30 mins!) Just about all radio stations these days use computer software that communicates with the broadcasting equipment, and then plays the songs in the day's playlist over the air. To start at the beginning, I'll explain a bit about how music is played on the radio these days. My company uses a music software called NextGen, which is a popular one. This is the same software that I learned how to use in broadcasting school in their studios, so I found this convenient when I began my job! Anyways, NextGen is the program on our station computers that our commercials, songs, and talk breaks are loaded into. It then produces a visual log, and a countdown clock, so that I when I'm live at work I can see the songs and commercials that are up next, what time my talk breaks are at, and how long I have to talk (sometimes it's just a few seconds!).

      Now you're probably wondering how the music gets into our NextGen program! That's the job of the station's Program Director, which is the radio term for a manager/supervisor/boss. (In larger radio stations or markets, there will also be an Assistant Program Director, or a Music Director, for each station who might be more in charge of music scheduling. But in smaller markets like where I am in Vermont, the Program Director wears a lot of hats!) The PD's job is to schedule each week's music into NextGen or whichever type of software the station uses, and to do so according to industry standards for the type of station that it is. This probably varies from radio station to radio station, but music gets loaded anywhere from a few days to over a week in advance. That means when I come into the studio for work each day, I can have access to seeing the whole log (playlist) for that day, or even upcoming days in advance, as in when which songs will play at what times!

     DJs can override NextGen's prescheduling to some extent. When I get listener requests, I can move songs around or delete songs so that listeners can hear their requests within the hour. Generally speaking, we aren't supposed to mess with the log of songs that much though.... because of what I'm about to talk about next!

     So now that you know how music plays at the radio station, let's talk about the actual music! So often in CHR radio (or other formats with their top songs), it seems like only the same 10 songs play over and over and over, with little variety. Radio playlists are made up primarily by what songs are charting high nationally on the song charts in the genre of the radio station, but how do those songs make up the charts and gain popularity in the first place? The charts and brand new music are both influenced directly be record labels, and their reps. Each major artist today that is getting a lot of radio airplay is represented by a huge record label. You might recognize some of the names of the top record labels: Columbia, Def Jam, Interscope, RCA... the list goes on! These record companies (and many more smaller ones) represent the top musicians in the country right now. Selling music and selling an artist is a type of sales job, so the record labels employ reps that work as traveling salespeople, and visit with radio station Program Directors around the country, trying to get them to pick up new songs from their artists that fit the genre of the radio station.

       The Program Directors for both stations that I work for are visited frequently by reps of the record labels. Considering that I work in a small market all the way in Northern Vermont... I can only imagine that Program Directors in large city markets get visited even more frequently, and that there's even more pressure to play the songs that the labels are pushing! If an artist with the immense popularity of someone like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber or Rihanna releases new music, you can almost guarantee it will get Top 40 airplay immediately, as artists like these have an enormous presence in the industry and a huge fan base. Songs by established artists like these often don't take long to shoot to the top of the charts. However, it's with newer and up and coming artists where radio airplay can vary regionally. A record label might focus a lot on getting a new artist into certain markets where they think that person would appeal first. For example, Aaron Carter had a comeback album that came out this winter. My boss played the first hit single from the album for a good few months on the main station that I work for, as did a few other CHR stations across the country. However, this song didn't quite chart nationally (although it was a very good song!). There were also a few up and coming artists who you would hear on Charlotte's radio stations- often people who would be brought in to do concerts or meet and greets since that's a larger market. But those artists have since faded and I've never heard them played once in Vermont. It probably means that their record label was heavily targeting Charlotte.

       Now as far as how often songs are played on the radio- that varies as you can expect by what's big on the charts! The Program Director will schedule music for that day and week by putting what's at the top of the charts in heavy rotation. The top songs in the country (on the radio charts- different from the Spotify/streaming charts) you will be hearing in heavy rotation in CHR radio, usually once an hour with the top five songs. Throughout the day, older, formally popular songs will also play to mix things up, which are either "Recurrents" or "Golds" - depending on their age. A recurrent is a song that was at the top of the charts in the last 1-2 years, so it's something that people are still recently very familiar with. Two recurrents on my station right now are from early 2017- "Let Me Love You" by Justin Bieber and "Rockabye" by Clean Bandit. A "Gold" is a song that's a few years old or even older, a "classic" if you will that everyone knows when it comes on, and that was at the top in its heyday. A few popular Golds in CHR radio are "Yeah!" by Usher, "Toxic" by Britney Spears and "Umbrella" by Rihanna.

      How often Recurrents and Golds play each day depends on the Program Director and radio company, and the flavor of the station. Before my station relaunched in August, we were playing a lot of brand new music and more recurents, but less golds. Now with our rhythmic hip hop lean, we play two golds an hour! I don't remember the station that I interned for in Charlotte playing that many golds at all, but they were a large market.

     Sorry if this post is a bit wordy- but I hope that it helped you to understand a bit about the mysteries of why some songs play more than others in certain genres of radio! Even though I went to broadcasting school last year and had radio internships, a lot of the record label politics and such were things I didn't learn about until starting my job this spring. I hope most of all what comes across through these monthly Radio 101 posts is how much I love the field of radio and love sharing what I know  and work with everyday with others!

      Feel free to send any radio related questions for next month's Radio 101 post! Have a wonderful weekend!

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese (aka Charlotte XO on-air!)


September 14, 2017

The Ideal Work to Date Night Look.

      Versatile outfits are a girl's best friend for weekdays! In the adult world, date night (or after work drinks with girlfriends) often happens after a long day at work, and you might not have time to swing home and put on a whole new outfit first! Where I'm working on developing more of a social life in Vermont this fall, aka becoming less of a hermit after work and instead getting out and spending time with new friends (and dating too!), I wanted to share what I think would be the perfect work to date night look for early fall.

Photography by Amanda Rose Photography 

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

     Here is the look all set for work- and yes, I really did wear this to work the day Amanda and I took these photos! (Except instead of these nude heels, I wore my favorite brown flats, since radio is a super casual work environment). If you do work in a more business casual environment, you could swap out skinny jeans for a pair of dark skinny dress pants and the look would still be great! A dressed up camisole top under a statement tweed blazer makes a great option for a workday look. This outfit made me feel poised and powerful both on-air and at my desk! I did keep the long tassel earrings on for work again since my job is casual, but if you work in a more formal environment, maybe try a pair of chic studs instead.

     And now the workday is done- it's time for date night or girls' night! Take off that blazer and let those shoulders breath a bit! The embroidery on this top is gorgeous and it needs its own moment to shine. I love my new Tory Burch Parker tote- it was a birthday gift from my parents (Thanks mom and dad for reading my wishlist posts here on the blog! 😊) It's the ideal work bag, but also not too corporate looking, so you can take it out to a restaurant or bar for Happy Hour after work. 

     What does your ideal work to date night outfit look like? Are you also a fan of outfits that easily transition from the office to play? 

     Hope that y'all are having a great week! Tomorrow is this month's Radio 101 post on the blog- catch up on last month's here in the meantime! I think y'all will really like tomorrow's post- it's a question I've gotten asked all the time since starting work in radio. 

     God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on-air!)

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