October 17, 2017

Radio 101: Best Experiences in My First 6 Months.

      Happy six month anniversary... to me and radio!! Six months ago today, I began my job here in Vermont, working as a full-time on-air radio personality in Market #146, Burlington/Plattsburgh. (Talking about media market sizes and ranks is a Radio 101 post for another day! 😉) In some ways, it feels like I was truly born to do this job, and like I've been doing it forever. In other ways, I'm consistently reminded how new I am in the industry, and I feel like I learn new things about radio, sales, and techniques for my voice every single day! So you can say that the first six months of working full time have been quite the journey... both figuratively, and literally since of course I moved to Vermont! 





      I'm hoping for November or December's Radio 101 post to do a "Day in the Life" type post, where I'll walk you through one of my average work days at the studio. That is what the majority of my work days look like- I come into the studio, prep for my show at my desk for a couple hours, eat a snack and check blog emails/social media during my "lunch" break, and then head to the studio to do my main work- doing my radio show from 2-7! However, one of the reasons that I wanted to work in radio is because it's a fun type of career field, and brings work experiences that happen outside of the office/studio. Live on-sight broadcasts, endorsement projects, remotes (radio term for events), concerts... these are just a few of the things that I've gotten my feet wet in during my first six months of work! Of course- like with any job, some off-site event opportunities haven't been fun. There are some that truly are just work, and a couple that have been pretty terrible experiences. But hey- I suppose that happens to everyone in this industry at some point or another! The good news is that there have been plenty more fun and exciting work events that I've gotten to be apart of, things that I'll definitely treasure memories from as my career advances someday! I thought it would be fun to take a quick look back at a few of the more fun work opportunities that I've had since starting my job:


    Fun out-of-studio experiences really began for me during Memorial Day Weekend. I was given last minute concert tickets in Montreal to Chance the Rapper, and my friend Mercedes came up from Washington D.C. to attend the show with me. Jokes on us- although I'm a big rap fan, both of us were actually pretty unfamiliar with Chance's music, but we still had a great time in the big city for the evening! The same weekend, I also had my first parade experience for work! Working in a smaller radio market means that we participate in a ton of local events, like walking in town holiday parades. 






   July was my busiest month of work yet, but also had the most fun events. The month started off strong with Burlington's annual July 3rd festival! In Burlington, they celebrate the 4th of July on July 3rd, and all the stations at my company broadcast live from the Burlington waterfront all day long! This was my first company-wide live broadcast and it was quite an event! 
    I also had my first digital endorsement in July! I worked with our local Edible Arrangements franchise to promote their new menu items. A digital endorsement for a radio personality is super similar to a sponsored blog campaign- I took photos of the products, and then promoted them on our station's social media and website! 
      Lastly, I spent a day tagging along with Mary (who does mornings on Star 92.9), on an adventure to Canada to visit Parc Safari, an animal adventure park! Mary had a digital endorsement with them, and I did her Facebook lives and photography. It was so fun to say I got to go to another country for work for the day, and I loved meeting the animals! 









      August was even busier than July! I spent two weeks in a row filling in on Star 92.9, which is 96.7's sister station, and where I work on Saturdays each week. I spent a week filling in on Mike and Mary in the Morning, which I LOVED!! Morning radio is something that I would eventually like to do. This was an incredible learning experience (although it was painful to wake up at 3:30 again everyday for a week!). And the following week, I filled in for Chantal, who has the 3-7 Afternoon Drive shift on Star. This was great preparation for me as we were just a couple weeks out from me switching to the Drive shift on 96.7 I learned a lot from both of these experiences- although I will say I was very tired because in addition to doing these shows, I still had to do my own show and normal work each day on 96.7, so it was like doing two jobs for two weeks! 
      Events-wise, I also had two really fun digital endorsements! The first was with a local boutique in Burlington. It ended up being such a fun afternoon- I first had my makeup done at a local makeup artistry studio, and then spent the afternoon modeling clothes for the boutique. This was the first fashion project I've ever done that was completely separate from Southern Belle in Training, so it was a really unique experience! My other endorsement was test driving a BMW for a local car dealer. My dad was visiting Vermont when that happened, so we went driving for an afternoon- I think he was jealous I got to drive and not him! 😉
      Lastly and most importantly, 96.7 rebranded and relaunched on August 15th! We went from being a Top 40, Planet 967, to be a Rhythmic Leaning Top 40, The New Hot 96.7! (The main difference between Top 40 and Rhythmic leaning is that Top 40 stations really just focus on the "top hits," and rhythmic leaning stations play the top hits, a few of the top urban hits, and also some urban golds. I explain more about this in this Radio 101 blog post!) The launch date selected was also the first day that my company began live broadcasts from The Champlain Valley Fair, which is this region of Vermont's largest annual fair. The fair was a great place to launch the new station- so many people were excited about it! And that night, the celebration continued when I received concert tickets to attend that night's show at the fair, the I Love The 90s: The Party Continues tour, which ended up being really great! The headliners, my favorite 90s girl band TLC, were absolutely fantastic!!









      September held my biggest event yet! I got to RAPPEL off one of the tallest buildings in Vermont!! This is a local charity event that happens annually in Burlington to benefit the Flynn Center for the Arts, which is a local performing arts facility. The Flynn reached out to our station about having a radio personality participate, and one of our sales people thought I would be the perfect fit! I was delighted to get the chance to do something as cool as rappelling- truly a once in a lifetime experience! My mom was also in town visiting that weekend so she got to see it happen.






      Coming into October- I haven't had any fun events yet this month, but I do have one coming up this weekend, and another during Halloween weekend which should be cool! 



     And there you have it: first six months down! Like I said earlier, sometimes the really awesome events can easily be forgotten about with the day to day stuff that goes on at the radio station, as well as the normal stress of work. But honestly, how cool is some of this stuff?! I never want to take for granted this industry that I get to be apart of. I hope even better events and opportunities are in my career's future! 



      I try not to give too much shameless self promotion for my radio shows here on the blog, but I know some of you are curious about it, and the hours of my shows have changed since the last time I updated. Anyone can listen to both radio stations that I work for!! Both stream online from computers, and have free iPhone apps as well. All times are in EST.


      *The New Hot 96.7 (Top 40/Hip Hop): M-F: 2-7 pm, Sat: 9-2 pm, Sun: 2-7 pm


      *Star 92.9 (90s to Now): Sat: Midnight-6 AM, other shifts fill-in



     Thanks so much for reading!! Feel free as always to send your questions about radio for future Radio 101 posts!



      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese 





October 16, 2017

How I'm Wearing The Embroidery Trend + 4 Books I've Read This Month.

    Embroidery has been one of the biggest trends in 2017! In my traditional fashion, like with a lot of other fast fashion trends (off-the-shoulder, anyone?), I have ended up embracing it, but all in all in small doses, and it took me a little longer to do so than some other bloggers and trend lovers. Today's outfit shows a couple easy ways to incorporate embroidery into your fall looks! This casual outfit is also definitely something that I would wear to work! This summer I shared a "How a Radio Personality Dresses for Work" blog post, and today's outfit would be my fall version of that! 



Southern Belle in Training - Stowe Vermont

How To Wear the Embroidery Trend

Wearing Embroidery for Fall

Fall Style Stowe Vermont




Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios 



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







      This top is definitely a trendy item, between the lace up detail and the embroidery. But I really ended up liking it! I never spend a lot of money on super trendy pieces, so the under $15 price point on it worked well for me!! You might notice if you frequent here a lot that I don't usually wear too much red. To be honest I'm not really sure why I don't wear a lot of red. I love to wear pink and wear all shades of it- everything from blush to fuchsia. But with red, I guess sometimes I shy away from how bold it is. Anyways, red is a great fall color, and I think the red color looks great in this top! Yay for trying new things. 😊


     These jeans were my splurge item in this year's Nordstrom sale, and they're still available (though sadly not on sale currently). They're the comfiest jeans ever, and I'm already looking forward to buying another pair in next year's sale! 



     After taking a little break from reading for fun during the end of summer due to the craziness at work, my schedule has finally settled down, and I've been on a reading frenzy for the past month or so! I've already made a dent in October's reading list, but here's the four books that I read in September:



     *Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner: This was my second Lisa Gardner thriller- I read my first one back in July's book review post. Say Goodbye is a chilling story that involves a devoted FBI agent, disappearing prostitutes.... and spiders. Lots of spiders. If you are scared of spiders, this is probably not the book for you, haha. I enjoyed the story and the ending ended up being a lot more complex than I expected, but I think overall I liked the other Lisa Gardner book that I read this summer better than this one. I'd still like to read more of her books though! 


      *Under Her Skin by Susan Mallery: Under Her Skin is about as a-typical of a paperback romance novel as you can get.... but hey, sometimes we all need a light read like that! I've definitely read worse romance novels before, and this one actually had a plot that I enjoyed, not just unrealistic love scenes. This story follows Lexi Titan, a businesswoman from a powerful family in Texas, who becomes engaged as apart of a business deal. However when feelings end up developing for her fake fiance, things get complicated! You can probably guess how the story ends.... but like I said, I still enjoyed it as a light read, and I've definitely read worse romance novels.


      *Mr. Maybe by Jane Green: I have also reviewed a Jane Green book before in a past book review post, and wasn't that impressed by the past book that I read of hers! I decided to give Ms. Green another try though, and actually really liked this book! Mr. Maybe is what I would call the definition of a "beach read" - total chick lit, and kind of a fluff read. But it was really entertaining! This book centers around main character Libby, a late 20s PR professional living in London, who struggles with dating. Her heart is currently torn between pursuing a guy who she has great chemistry with, but who is unemployed, or chasing a wealthy and mature bachelor who she has little chemistry with. Even though Libby and I view dating pretty differently, I still found myself laughing at and relating to a lot in this book! This would be a great vacation read especially I think.


      *The Other Half by Sarah Raynor: This is the second novel set in Britain on today's reading list! The Other Half is about a cheating husband, and the story switches between the perspective of his wife, and his mistress. I found it to be an interesting read. I'm obviously super against unfaithfulness in relationships, but it was intriguing to read a book with so much of the perspective being from quite literally, "the other half." I would rate this book about the same as Mr. Maybe- a fun beach or vacation read, but not like life changing literature or anything!



     And that's September's books! I'll share October's after my next library visit. 




      



     Have a wonderful start to the week! I had such a fun day yesterday and I can't wait to share more about that with y'all soon.








      God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese 



October 12, 2017

How To Help a Friend Going Through a Legal Situation.

      I've certainly written my fair share of personal blog posts in the five+ years that I've had Southern Belle in Training. I've talked to y'all about faith, falling outs with high school friends, my first experience with a true broken heart, the ups and downs of my move to Vermont this year, and many other topics. But out of everything that I've ever written in the past years... this is the most important blog post, hands down. My words today are more important than any outfit that I'll ever wear, travel guide I'll curate, or broadcasting career advice I'll share.



Help a friend through legal court case



{Yes- this is one of the outfits that I wore to court. It felt empowering to later wear it on my blog, although at the time I didn't share the meaning behind the outfit! Photo by Deeana Kourtney Photography.}



      Almost a year and a half ago, my world was turned upside after the unthinkable happened, and I was the victim of a crime just a few weeks before graduating college. After much prayer and thought, and a decision that only I could make as the victim, I decided to move forward with pursuing legal action. This was a part of my daily life from April-October 2016 that I completely hid from the blog side of my life. And that in itself, was one of the hardest things that I've ever gone through. I absolutely adore blogging with my whole heart and soul, and although obviously I blog because it's both my passion and a business venture, I also do so because writing creatively is one of my favorite forms of stress relief. To be able to go through something so painful for so much of last year and not be able to process it through blogging, which is such a notable form of stress relief for me, was really hard. In December, to close out the end of the painful year, I finally shared an extremely vague blog post just to let everyone know that it hadn't been the easiest year. But I was, and still am, prevented to really talk about what I went through due to the confidentiality of the situation, which I'll dive into more later in this post. Anyways, the fact that I couldn't share such a big and painful part of my life with y'all last year made me feel like I was being re-victimized every single day.



      Today, exactly one year ago, the door to this very painful, awful, legal situation was CLOSED. I can't believe it's been a year. I wish I could tell you that it all goes away once it's "legally" over. But it doesn't. It does get better certainly, time is a great healer. So is relying on the Lord. But it never completely goes away. Sometimes I don't think about it for weeks, days, hours.... other nights it all comes back in vivid and intense flashbacks, and I cry myself to sleep. Those are the times when I'm happy to live alone in a far away state from where this happened. Vermont has certainly been healing on my heart.


     Anyways, before I get very off track here, the point of today's post wasn't to talk about how I've been in the past year, as I still can't really give details into the situation that I went through. (I did disclose in my December blog post that I was not a victim of rape or a sexual related crime, but that's all that I want to and really can say.) What I do want to talk about... is how to provide support to people going through legal situations. I was very naive before I went through one myself!! I was a goody-goody two shoes for most of college, and kind of naively always believed that if I was a "good girl" and "stayed out of trouble," bad things don't happen to careful people. I hate to admit this, but I also kind of believed that rape cases were the only types of crime situations that lead college girls to press charges. Well- I'm not a rape victim, and I still went through six months of hell last year for something completely unrelated.


     Research and hearing about other people going through similar things always makes me feel better- about anything in life! Before moving to Vermont to take my job, I looked up stories of other radio personalities who left big cities and moved to tiny markets to get their career off the ground. When I started blogging years ago, I read lots of posts from "bigger bloggers" sharing social media and blogging tips about how to gain a following and curate better content. So naturally when I was going through all of this last year, I kept doing research online, trying to find a story of someone who had been through a story similar to mine, and hopefully the story had a happy ending. I found nothing. There was lots of support on the internet for female sexual harassment, assault, and rape victims- which is great! I'm so glad that prosecution is becoming harsher for these crimes, and that these topics are becoming more talked about at universities. However as I mentioned- I wasn't a victim of one of these things. So most of these stories weren't relevant to me specifically. I felt so alone and almost hopeless as I would spend late nights on my computer, looking for someone, anyone, who had been through a similar situation, but I never found it.


     What I did find though, was peace about how I could eventually share part of the story here on the blog to help others. This is something that became startlingly clearer to me as the months and then year went on. I might not be able to share the details of my situation specifically with you all. But something that I can share is what it felt like to be a victim, and how that can be channeled into helping others. It started to dawn on me after awhile that legal situations really are a part of life. They're kind of like a cancer diagnosis, or a bad car accident. No one expects to deal with one, no one ever asks for one to happen to them or a loved one, but they still happen. Chances are- someone near and dear in your life will deal with a legal situation at some time or another. It could be a family member, a spouse, a friend, or even yourself. Circumstances for pressing charges vary between all types of crimes, but the emotions behind being a victim and dealing with a legal situation are still similar between most cases. I lost friendships over what I dealt with last year. I repeat- I lost friendships. Multiple. Plural. Let that sink in. At the same time, I also learned who my true friends were, and some of them showered me with incredible love and kindness, in addition to my parents of course, who supported me greatly during that time.



     This is all a very long way of saying, I wanted to use today's blog post to share some tips on how to help a friend (or someone else you're close to) who is going through a legal situation. Of course, I'm writing this post from the perspective of helping a victim/plaintiff, as that's the side of things that I've been on.



     1. Remind them that it's not their fault: This probably seems like a given... but if someone you know has been the victim of a crime and moves forward with a legal case, they will have to re-live the circumstances of what happened many, many times in months to come. I know that I personally tend to over-analyze everything, so being in a situation like this was terrible for my personality, and triggered a lot of anxiety as expected. Being a victim is exactly that, it's not your fault!! But it can be easy to let your mind play tricks on you and start thinking that you did something to deserve the situation that you're in. One of the best things that you can do as a support person to someone dealing with a legal situation is just to keep reminding them that it's not their fault. Bad things do happen to good people- it's a part of life (there's of course a faith explanation behind it too), but the bottom line is that if your friend or loved one is a victim, they didn't do anything to deserve being in that position, and reminding them of that really does help.


     2. Don't make guesses about the end result: This one is so, so, SO important, as a lot of well-meaning friends who were trying to be supportive did this, but it ended up making things emotionally much more detrimental for me for many months after to come (even somewhat now still).
     If someone you know is a victim of a crime and decides to follow through with legal action, that is a brave and admirable decision. It is GREAT to support them!! However, the absolute worst thing that you can do is start promising them end results. Again- I can't disclose a lot about my own situation, but I will say that I learned last year that the justice system isn't fair. I mean heck... sometimes murderers aren't even convicted (and that's something much more serious than what I went through). So many people that I knew when they found out I was taking legal action would say things insinuating that I would have a certain outcome solely because I decided to pursue legal action.... and guess what? I didn't get that outcome. At all. And that hurt a lot. I knew that all of my friends who made comments like this truly did mean well... but when person after person for months is telling you they think they know the story will have a happy ending.... but it doesn't.... it makes it worse. So support your friend, but don't promise results. You aren't their lawyer or district attorney, you probably know very little about the legal system (I still don't know that much even after going through it).


     3. Accept the confidentiality: For the same reason that I'm not disclosing a lot about what happened here on the blog, I also did the same with many people in my life. A lot of people that I knew last year when they found out that I was dealing with a serious situation wanted to ask questions to try and understand and support me, and while I so appreciated that, legal situations come with a lot of confidentiality attached. I couldn't just tell people all of the details about what was going on. If you're being a support to a victim and there's certain aspects to the legal situation that they can't tell you, it probably has nothing to do with you as a friend. Respect the fact that they can't disclose certain things, but still offer your support! Trust me- it will mean a lot to them!


    4. Realize different things can cause flashbacks / panic attacks: Whatever the circumstances were that caused your friend or loved one to be in a victim position in a legal situation... it probably wasn't a positive or happy situation. My situation definitely wasn't. I was and still am proud of myself for the healing that I've accomplished in the last year and a half, but that doesn't mean that I don't sometimes still get flashbacks to the incident itself, and painful memories in the legal process. Weird things can trigger these... hearing certain a song on the radio, seeing something on Facebook, eating a certain food, it's crazy. You can't predict when a flashback will hit. The worst panic attack that I had during this whole process was actually during the weekend of The Blog Societies conference in Charleston last summer, when a bunch of bloggers and myself were out at a bar to celebrate the last night of the conference. Something came over me and I thought I was going to by physically ill- I finally realized back in the hotel room that I'd been experiencing a panic attack. The best thing that you can do is support your friend in these instances, and offer love and a distraction.


     5. Buy or make them a thoughtful gift: As I'm hopefully stressing throughout this whole post, being a victim in a legal situation is a really awful situation to be in. Gifts happen to be my top love language, and if they're also a high love language for your friend or loved one, consider getting them something thoughtful around their court date. It doesn't have to be something huge or expensive, but just something small to let them know they will get through this, and you're thinking of them. The best example of this I have is what my roommate who I was living with last year, Ciera, bought me at this time last year. She and I had gone to Las Vegas the month before, and while shopping there I had debated buying a set of bath bombs, but ended up using the money for other things on the trip. Ciera went to LUSH in Charlotte and bought me some beautiful bath bombs so that I could treat myself to relaxing baths before and after court! It was the most thoughtful gift, and meant so much to me. Someone from my broadcasting school wrote me a long letter filled with bible verses for me to bring to court with me... this is the type of gift that costs nothing to make, but ended up being one of the most special at the time.


     6. Encourage them to go to counseling: I am so glad that so many important people in my life encouraged me to do this! Going through a legal situation is something serious, and even if you're able to love on your friend and be there for them, they've probably been through some sort of stress and trauma that is best processed with a professional. I went to counseling for about nine months related to this situation (as well as a few other things), and it was so helpful in terms of processing and moving on with my life, as well as preparing for my (literal) move to Vermont.



      7. Be down to CELEBRATE! Eventually, the situation will come to and end. It will probably take awhile, and be long and drawn out. (Felonies are usually longer than misdemeanors. The legal system doesn't usually move quickly!) But once it's over- it's OVER! And that's something to celebrate, irregardless of whether your friend received the outcome that they wanted or not. During the six months that I was involved in my situation, I was miserable most of the time. I threw myself into broadcasting school and my retail job. School, and dreaming of working full-time in radio, was my savior at this point in my life. I didn't want to do a lot with friends, and I certainly wasn't into going out and doing a lot of the stuff I used to do for fun in college anymore. A couple nights after everything ended last October, I planned a very special celebration with some dear friends. Some from college, my blogging bestie, and a couple from broadcasting school! My parents were still in Charlotte and took me to my favorite mall that day to buy me a new dress for that night. Then my friends and I had dessert and drinks at an upscale lounge in Uptown Charlotte. It was such a special night to remember, and a great way to close out one chapter of my life and begin a new one! If your friend's legal situation is coming to a close, if they're down, try and plan a celebration for them! Here's a few pictures from mine:









     I genuinely hope and pray that you and no one that you know has to be put in a position or a situation like I was last year! Every part of it sucked. I'm forever changed because of it. But, like I said earlier in the post, legal situations are apart of life. Chances are you will at some point, know someone in a position like this. So my hope is that I went through all of that last year to share this part of the story.... and that through these words, you might be able to offer helpful support to someone you love and care about.



    Thank you for reading, and thank you to all who followed my social media and read my blog last year. You all were my sunshine for much of 2016, possibly more than you'll ever know!



     God Bless,




     xoxo Annaliese
   


   





October 11, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.

Colchester Causeway Lake Champlain


{Views from one of my weekly walks by Lake Champlain! Follow me on social media @miss_alk.} 


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



Ramblings:

  • Loving rainy Mondays: This is such a weird rambling- but I realized this week how much I love rainy Mondays!! There's something about the weather being crappy on the start of the work week after really nice weather over the weekend that just makes me want to focus so much more on work and being productive.  Also - some of you might remember that I had to work Saturdays and Sundays for my first four months at my job, and Mondays used to be my day off. I swear- it used to rain SO often on Mondays! I had maybe three nice days off in four months. Anyways- now that I do work on Mondays, I always smile to myself when it rains and am thankful that I had the day before off instead! 😉 Also... not sure why so many Mondays have been rainy since I moved to Vermont, but I don't hate it. Rain is always better than snow! 
  • Best new podcast: I've been getting more and more into podcasts lately. I'll try and share a blog post soon with my favorites! There's a lot that I keep up with sporadically, but it's rare that I find one that I categorize as a "drop everything must binge listen now." Well- I found one like that over this weekend! It's called Dirty John, and is produced by The Los Angeles Times. If you liked Serial, you will LOVE this podcast! I don't want to spoil any of it, so all I'll say is that a middle aged woman meets a man online on a dating website... and he isn't everything he seems. Listen to this now- I think this is going to be the next big thing in podcasts! 
  • Fall TV update: My last favorite Fall TV show premieres this Friday night- Jane the Virgin Season Four on the CW! (The CW did all of their premieres this week.) So far Fall TV has been just as great as I anticipated, and I'm really enjoying all of my favorite shows and new ones! If you missed my 2017 Fall TV Guide post- check it out here


Purchases:

  • Another flight! So excited to have TWO trips to look forward to this holiday season! While my New Years' trip will be a personal one to visit a high school friend... this December trip is one that is especially exciting for Southern Belle in Training. 😉 That's all I'm going to say for now, but I'm super excited!
  • So I actually was a terrible person and accidentally lost my main credit card last week... thankfully I reported it before any fraud happened, but this is the card that I do most shopping/weekly purchases on, so no shopping for me this week! 


Wishlist:

  • Okay I think every blogger and their mother had this dress in the tank version... which honestly I wasn't as crazy about. But I think the long sleeve version is cuter, and also way more practical for Vermont winter! I can totally see myself wearing this with boots, tights, and a vest.
  • This sweater screams "Casual Friday" at work! 
  • Since I lost my credit card last week, of course I've been unfairly blaming it on my wallet and thinking I need a new one! (Even though it totally wasn't my wallet's fault...) How cute is this one though? 
  • This dress is just GORGEOUS! I think it could say anything from "job interview" to "date night!"



On the blog this week:


     Thanks so much as always for reading, enjoy the rest of the week!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese

October 10, 2017

Preppy Sweater + Skirt Outfit & Trying To Be a "Fall Person."

     How darling is this preppy outfit, which is perfect for chillier fall days? I think a lot of times us girls fall into the pattern of repeating very "basic" fall outfits over and over: your standard skinny jeans, sweater or flannel, and blanket scarf type combo. Don't get me wrong- of course I do enjoy wearing casual and cozy outfits like that, but they can definitely get old real fast if that's all I wear in the fall! So I've been trying to still come up with cute and creative fall outfits, even living here in Vermont! In this post I'm also talking about how Vermont has inspired me to make an effort to try and become more of a "fall season" person this year!


Cold Hollow Cider Mill

Cold Hollow Cider Mill Vermont

Cold Hollow Cider Mill Waterbury Vermont

Cider Donuts Vermont Fall

Fall Fashion Stowe Vermont

Cold Hollow Cider Mill Fall



Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios


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






      First up- the outfit! Since sharing this sweater on Instagram, I've gotten so many questions about it! It's from my favorite online retailer, Shein. 😊 If you're not shopping at Shein, you NEED to be! Think of it as the online Forever 21- super low prices, so some items will reflect the low price with their quality. But there's also a lot of hidden gems to be found!! I promise next month I will finally try and get up a guide for my best tips to shopping there- overall I've been so impressed with most of the things I have from there. Anyways, I love the pearls and bell sleeves on this sweater, it's too feminine and cute! It comes in a few colors as well.


     I also love this skirt!! I think it will easily transition well for winter outfits, and I can already envision it paired with tights and more wintery sweaters. It's definitely modest enough to wear to work, and I can't wait to wear it for both work and weekend activities. It's from a retailer that I've noticed does run small for skirts, so I ordered an M in this skirt, instead of my usual size S. The M fit perfectly! Lastly- I know you can't see my earrings in too many of these photos, but I'm obsessed with them! They're a gorgeous pale pink, and such fun statement earrings for fall and winter outfits.


   
     The photos in this blog post were taken at Cold Hollow Cider Mill, which is one of Vermont's most popular fall destinations, especially with tourists! They make their own apple cider, and apple cider donuts, which as you can see from the photos I enjoyed trying! (They weren't bad, but would have been better if they were hot lol!! The package they sold me had cold donuts...) Even though I'm all about enjoying a good cider donut, I can't help the fact that fall is just not my season. I am a spring girl through and through! And goodness gracious, spring was a magical time in Charlotte. Ugh- I will get sentimental if I think about it for too long!


     Anyways, even though fall isn't really my thing and never has been, bottom line is that my career has brought me to one of the fall capitals of the US. So I am making quite the effort this year to embrace this season and find joy in it! I haven't made a definitive "fall bucket list," as most traditional fall activities like apple picking and visiting corn mazes are things that I grew up doing since I'm from Maine, but I'm more just trying to change my way of viewing this season, and still do a few fall activities that might be new-ish to me! Here are a few:


      *Spend a weekend afternoon driving somewhere outside of Burlington and "leaf peeping" like a tourist - We had a late start to fall this year thanks to a super warm September so I still have time to cross this one off, either this weekend or next I hope!


      *Bake three apple recipes - Check!! I bought fresh apples from a farm store in a neighboring town, and made apple muffins, apple cinnamon bread, and apple pie!


     *Bake a pumpkin recipe - I'm not really a fan of pumpkin pie, but it doesn't feel right to let the season go by and not make something with pumpkin as well! Maybe pumpkin muffins?


     *Watch a fall themed movie - I hate horror films / anything scary or creepy so most fall Halloween movies are OUT in terms of my taste!! I ended up finding a cute fall movie to watch on the Hallmark Channel! It was actually set in Vermont, so I enjoyed it!


    *Decorate my apartment for fall - I am HUGE on Christmas decorating, and can't wait to dive into that in the week after Halloween. This year I decided to try and move some of that enthusiasm over the fall decorating! While I didn't quite go all out in my apartment, I had fun putting together a cute fall theme with decor on my dining room table (see it in Friday's post!).


     *Make plans for Friendsgiving - This is still a ways out and Thanksgiving comes at the end of fall, but this is something I really wanted to do last year in Charlotte and was so bummed didn't work out! So it's going to happen this year!!! I'm not able to travel for Thanksgiving this year due to work, so some sort of an informal Friendsgiving will be happening I hope.



     By doing all of these things one at a time, it is starting to change my attitude about the season! Fall will never be my favorite- I'll always be a spring girl at heart, but positivity is key to enjoying any season of life, literally and figuratively! 😉 Which season is your favorite? Have you found any good tips to enjoying the seasons that you don't like more?









     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese

   

October 9, 2017

Southern Belle in Vermont: 6 Months Post-Move Update.

     Six months!!! Holy cow. Six months ago today, I turned in the keys to my apartment in Charlotte, and started heading north on I-77 with my car, and my dad following in one big yellow Penske truck. In some ways, every day of the past six months has seemed like a year in itself, and in other ways it has gone by quite quickly. I am so glad that I decided to do these bi-monthly move updates for this year in Vermont, and I know in the future it will be a great way to look back on the small everyday moments from living here.


Annaliese Southern Belle in Training blog Vermont fashion blogger




August-October 2017 - Months 4-6 in Burlington, VT


     SUMMARY: Although there were some highlights related to growing in my career, overall I didn't have the greatest summer on a personal level. My birthday falls around Labor Day, and despite the fact that my mom visited and tried so hard to make it a celebration, I just didn't have a good one this year. I was so homesick for Charlotte and my old life and friends, and just felt all around very lonely. My birthday was kind of a wake-up call and slap in my face that Yes, life in Vermont is very different from what the past five years were, and I need to just accept that and also Yes, while I have been putting in effort to make life here happier and more enjoyable, the fruit of effort isn't always seen instantly. Aka - time to stop throwing a grown-up pity party, and really focus on making the most of the rest of my time here- for however long that is! It could be six months, a year, years... the future is quite unknown. So despite the fact that yes, I cried myself to sleep on my birthday this year... it really was a lightbulb kinda moment and brought a shift in perspective for me since then. My goal in the last update post that I wrote was to focus a lot more on building a social life here. I'll talk more about that later on in the post, but I've definitely been making more of an effort and even if my environment can't deliver the exact results I'm looking for, at least I know I'm trying.
      Lastly- Vermont has been SO blessed this early fall with the most perfect weather, which has been amazing! We had terrible weather for most of the summer, but late September brought a record breaking heat wave! Four days in a row of 90 degree heat. I seriously though I had died and gone to heaven. I think God was trying to give me a little present before winter comes- haha!! 😉 I thought that would be the last of the heat, but yesterday hit 80 degrees in Burlington and also broke a record! It's just been so warm and lovely and I LOVE it!!! Winter is going to be such a wake-up call for me....



     HOME: Not too much to report on here! I'm still enjoying living alone. As the weather gets colder and it'll be harder to spend time outside, I'm hoping to really take that extra time to do organization projects in my apartment. I have been keeping it pretty clean and am proud of myself for that, but sometimes after long work weeks I do let parts of it get "cluttered" easily.
     Recently all of my favorite Fall TV shows returned, so most weeknights after dinner I've been so enjoying getting curled up with blankets, lighting a candle, and watching my shows of choice for the evening! (See my Fall TV Guide blog post here!)
     One goal for the next couple months as the holiday season approaches is to start having people over to my apartment! I absolutely love entertaining- and some of my favorite memories from my last year in Charlotte were the housewarming and Christmas parties that I threw at my old apartment. I can literally count on one hand the number of times in Vermont that I've had local company in my place (not including out-of-town guests).



      WORK: A lot has changed with work since the last time I wrote one of these posts! My main radio station completely rebranded (from Planet 96.7 to The New Hot 96.7) at the end of August, and getting to help learn how to relaunch and rebrand a radio station so early in my broadcasting career was a very unique experience. My hours and schedule at work also changed at work in early September- which I wrote a little bit about in Friday's post. At this time I stopped having Mondays as my day off and it switched to Sundays, which has been AMAZING for my mental health. Even though I still work six days a week, having a weekend day as my day off has been so needed.
      Since the craziness of the station launch died down, things have been okay at work! I'm starting to really enjoy doing the Afternoon Drive, and am grateful to have that opportunity so early in my radio career. We had such a busy summer with non-stop radio events, and thankfully September didn't have any events which was nice. I have a couple fun ones coming up at the end of October which I am looking forward to.
      Lately (as in like the past two weeks lately) I've been trying to come into work early a few days a week so that I can work on saving audio clips from my favorite days of doing my show, and working on putting together new airchecks (An aircheck is like 2-3 minutes of a radio personality's best audio) to start updating my portfolio. If you search for my radio work online... most of what comes up is stuff that I did last year in broadcasting school- which I would like to think I've improved since then- ha!


     FAITH: Lots to report here! 😊 During my first two months in Vermont, I was church hopping, which is never an easy process. I finally found my new church home in June, and have been happily attending there since. It's a very small church, and seems exceptionally small to me since I attended a mega church in Charlotte for the last four years, but I have been so blessed to find this wonderful community of believers here. Everyone at the church has been so kind and welcoming to me, and best of all, there is a post grad/young professionals bible study group which I joined! They were on hiatus for the summer, but the group just started meeting again last week, and it's been so great to be back with them.
      I've also had the opportunity to serve through the church lately which was been so wonderful! Community service was a huge part of my life in high school, and is one of the things that motivated me to join a sorority in college, but when I first moved here with my crazy work schedule I found it too hard to even think about investigating local organizations for service opportunities. Now that work has calmed down for me a bit, I've been doing some volunteering at church and it's been wonderful! One of my bible study girlfriends and I prepared the after church food and drink refreshments a couple weeks ago, and this past weekend I filled in as a greeter for the service. Tithing doesn't always have to be financial and can definitely be done through "time and talents" as well, and I hope that more volunteer opportunities are in store with my church later this fall!
     Faith-wise in general, I feel like I am getting to be at a good place with God right now. My heart is really starting to heal from some of the things that happened last year, and although life here still isn't everything I wish it was, with His love and strength I seek contentment and joy each day!



     SOCIAL: I describe myself as an introverted extrovert. I need alone time, and if I don't have enough of it each week it can trigger my anxiety and not bring out my best self. But with that said- I'm very much still an extrovert as well and thrive off of social interactions with people!! Both sides of my personality need to be equally fulfilled for my best self to come out- hence why I call myself an introverted extrovert. I think by the end of my time in Charlotte I had a good grip on this. I saw my friends quite a bit and had a social life, but also made time to hang out by myself and relax at home. It was a good balance! Now that it's been six months here and I can really analyze how all parts of life have been in Vermont... I can't say my extroverted self is getting what it needs here. Haha.
      When I prayed over future job opportunities last winter, I told God over and over that I was willing to make sacrifices in other areas of my life to begin my radio career. Well- sometimes you quite literally get what you pray for. At the six month post-move mark, I am blessed to say I have made a couple friends here in Vermont. And I'm very thankful for that!! (And let me just say that with that has also come many failed friendship making attempts... that's a whole separate blog post topic!) However, social culture for young professional aged people is really different in Vermont, especially if you're single and a newcomer. The social culture here reminds me a lot of Maine... but like more extreme, since Vermont is a smaller and more rural state. Just about all the Vermonters that I've met are really into a few things: their family time, their dating/marriage relationships, spending time at home, and just into Vermont in general. Those observations are off of a lot of people that I've met- not just like one person or anything!! It really is like a whole social culture/attitude about life if you're a young person here, and I do sort of get it- as my hometown in Maine has a sort of similar attitude with people my age that stayed home after high school. Anyways, me on the other hand: no family in Vermont (and too far from Maine to see my family for the day/overnight), I'm not in a relationship, I currently spend too much time at home and am looking to spend less, and I don't see Vermont as my long-term home at all. I have a friend I met at church who is also from out-of-state and like me, moved to Burlington for her career. She has noticed a lot of the same similar social patterns about this area that I have, so I know it's not just me (and it's been nice to share those thoughts with someone else from out of town!).
     With all of that said.... I'm trying to get better about taking initiative with the friends I have made here and scheduling plans more in advance, and I hope to continue growing the friendships that I have made as fall continues, and overall just being content with the differences in social lives and culture here!  Good gosh this paragraph has turned into a novel. I will say this area of my life has really been a challenge here, but I hope future homes will be different, and I know I'm in this place in life right now for a reason! One positive: I've been investing a lot of time into maintaining my friendships that are out of state, and I'm thankful that most of those still seem to be going strong, despite me living here in Vermont!
     Next month I am planning to write a blog post about some of the ways that I have tried to meet people/make friends since moving here- what's worked, what hasn't worked, what I'll try in future cities... etc. Hopefully that might offer ideas to any of you who might be moving out-of-state soon!



     DATING: So the last time I did one of these updates- I wrote: 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? Very shortly after that blog post was published, I did actually swipe right on someone! And I enjoyed getting to know him. I don't see it becoming something serious for a few reasons.... but all in all I was able to meet someone new through this, and the whole thing taught me that I've matured a lot in the past year in regards to how I handle dating situations, which is always a great realization to have! That's all I have to say about that for right now on the blog at least, but it's something that I'm glad happened. 



      ACTIVITIES: Both of my parents have been to visit since the last time I wrote one of these posts (my mom twice!), and when they come up it's always an excuse to do fun Vermont touristy things. I was able to cross a few things off my informal Vermont bucket list during their visits. Fall has had a late start this season because of the unusually warm weather in September- but now that it is cooling down I'm hoping to make time for more traditional fall activities in October! 
     One thing that I did in September was try and join a local volleyball league (I played in high school and did an intramural league in college), but unfortunately I injured my leg pretty badly on the second night of practice, so I had to drop out. I think it's about healed up though, so as the weather keeps getting colder I'm ready to get back on a fitness schedule at the gym!




     5 NEW VERMONT THINGS I DID:
  • Did a sunset lake cruise on the Spirit of Ethan Allen III.
  • Visited scenic Stowe for the first time, and rode the gondola up Mount Mansfield.
  • Went kayaking on Lake Champlain.
  • Celebrated Vermont's four day, 90+ degrees, record-breaking late September heat wave with lots of lake time, sundresses, and even getting some tan lines! 
  • I didn't really talk about this too much on my blog but I did share it on Instagram... I rappelled off one of the tallest buildings in Vermont in September! This was for a local charity event that I participated in on behalf of my radio station. 



     Here's to the next six months! Thanks so much for reading- honestly I write these post-move updates more as personal posts so that I can come back to them in years down the road, but it makes me so happy that I've gotten feedback from y'all that many of you enjoy them so much!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese 

October 6, 2017

My Current Morning Routine - Fall 2017.

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




    In August, I was "promoted" from hosting the Midday radio show on my main station, to Afternoon Drive (which is the 2-7 pm time slot, the second most popular time of the day for radio listeners, after morning shows!). It's been six weeks now and I'm still quite amazed this happened so early on in my career, as I definitely was not expecting this! Something else that I was not expecting was the huge schedule and life changes that came along for my personal life with new hours at work. I went from leaving for work around 8:30-8:45 am depending on how much I had to get done before going on-air that day, to suddenly with little notice I didn't have to be at work until noon. Noon!!! That's half the day gone by where I'm not even at work! (I have been going into work at 11-11:30 most days to get extra things done, but still. That's so much later!)


      After my morning radio internship last winter I officially became a morning person, and despite working later in the day now, that hasn't changed! Now instead of spending my mornings at work, they're my own to do with what I please. And that's actually a kind of cool thing! I have no idea if my next radio job will also be Afternoon Drive and grant me the same schedule privileges, so I've been trying to enjoy and make the most of my mornings while I can. Since it's been over a month now with the new schedule, I feel like I've finally gotten some grasp on what to do with my mornings, and have some sort of an informal schedule in effect. I thought I would share that with y'all in today's post! I also thought I would share a couple photos of the fall decorations on my dining room table as well- as I was so happy with how festive that turned out! 




     *7-7:30 - Initial wake-up: My phone's alarm goes off sometime between 6:50 and 7:45, depending on what time I went to bed the night before. Usually 7:30 though! Fun fact about me: I NEVER hit snooze on my alarms. If I've been woken, I start the process of waking up! However, if I ever do wake up and feel a migraine coming on, since I do have the luxury of working later now, I will go back to sleep and set another alarm for 9, but that hasn't been happening too often thankfully. The first thing that I do when I wake up is thank God for the blessing of another day, and grab my phone from its charger! 


      *7:30-8:30 - Slow wake-up + social media: I spend about an hour in bed every morning playing on my phone, and letting myself slowly wake up. I suffered greatly with migraines in college, and I've found recently that 1) getting at least eight hours of sleep, 2) waking up early and 3) giving myself a lot of time in the mornings to lie in bed and fully wake up, really helps with preventing them for the rest of the day. When I lived in Charlotte, the first thing that I did every morning was read The Charlotte Agenda (the BEST lifestyle website / news source for that area). Sadly The Agenda doesn't really apply to my life in VT now- so while I do still read their articles occasionally, it isn't the first thing I check anymore. I actually don't have a go-to app that I visit first everyday! Some days it's Instagram, some days Twitter, and some Facebook. But in the duration of that hour, I've visited all my favorite social media apps, seen if I've missed any major news updates overnight, and read through my favorite blogs on the Blog Lovin' app! Occasionally I post an Instagram photo in the 8 am hour if I didn't post one the night before- however usually I do most of my social media posting during my lunch at work, or at night when I get home. 


     *8:30 - Make the bed: I NEVER thought I would become one of those people who made their bed everyday. Nope. Not me. Couldn't be possible. As a kid, my mom always had to get after me to make mine if I was cleaning my room or I had a friend coming over, and in college... that was even more of a lost cause! I had friends who made theirs everyday and I never understood it. Well, that all changed once I had my own apartment and a nice big bed that I love! Hahaha. I skip this on days that I'm running late for something or have a commitment before work, and it just feels wrong. Who am I?!




     *8:40-9 - Breakfast prep + getting out of my room: After leaving my room, the first thing that I do is head to my coat closet and grab a bathrobe. I am kind of a bathrobe aficionado and just love spending the morning in a nice cozy robe! Then I get my face washed, and put on music in the apartment. The one thing I don't like about living alone is the silence. I have Spotify Premium and usually have been playing one of my favorite playlists in the mornings, but last week I rediscovered the Music Choice channels on TV, so that's been my go-to for morning tunes as of now! Then I head to the kitchen and look through my breakfast options. This is also when I get my hot water ready for my morning cup of Bigelow tea


     *9-9:15Breakfast: I take breakfast over to my dining table, which is the space that you see pictured! Lately I've been really enjoying organic frozen waffles and turkey bacon as a favorite breakfast. I always drink a cup of Bigelow tea with breakfast! I am not a coffee drinker at all, and have always been a tea girl. Bigelow is one of my favorite tea brands- all of their teas have strong flavor, and they're reasonably priced, and so easy to find at most regional and nationwide grocery retailers. I found a great selection of Classic teas that I enjoy at Walmart! There's just nothing that gets your day started like a hot beverage... and another thing that I love about Bigelow is that they have plenty of caffeinated and caffeine-free varieties! I alternate between both depending on what the day holds for me. 😉 Some mornings I drink almond milk with breakfast instead, so I'll wait to make my cup of tea until later in the morning! 


     *9:15-10:30 - Being busy in my apartment: I spend a little over an hour each morning being productive and tackling things on my to-do list! Eventually I would like to get this down to more of a set schedule: Mondays, clean the kitchen. Tuesdays, blog emails + pitches. Wednesdays, laundry and bathroom chores, etc, etc. However right now I just kind of use this time to go with the flow on whatever it is I think needs to be tackled most urgently! Some mornings, it's all blog related tasks. Shooting images in my apartment for Instagram or a blog post (like this one!), responding to important emails, planning my editorial calendar. Other mornings, it's all cleaning focused. One morning earlier this week for example, I cleaned out my fridge for old food and straightened up my living room in this time block. If a new episode of a podcast that I listen to came out overnight, I'll listen to that in this time while doing things. My gym offers some 10:30 fitness classes which I want to try out later this fall, so if I do those I'll have to be ready to leave my apartment for the day around 10! 





     *10:30-11:15 - Get ready: I always do my makeup first, then hair, and then finally get dressed! If I didn't have a cup of Bigelow tea with breakfast that day, I'll make one then and bring it with me to sip on while doing my makeup and hair. 😊 I usually do one makeup-free work day a week, but the other days I enjoy getting all ready for work, and doing a full face of makeup. Hair is a bit more tricky since my whole afternoon is sliding headphones off and on... so I've been wearing braids and ponytails more than ever before!


     *11:15-11:30 - Snack and OOTD picture: I usually try and eat a quick snack at this time if I can- because I now work from 12-7, I don't get a traditional lunch break, so I just eat a lot in the mornings before I leave for work, have a snack before going on-air, and then eat dinner right when I get home. Then I head over to the big mirror in my living room to snap my OOTD picture for Insta Stories! I started sharing each day's work outfits on there a few weeks ago and the feedback from y'all has been great, so I've been continuing to do that! (Follow me @miss_alk if you aren't yet!)


     *11:30 - Off to work! Time to grab my work bag and laptop and head to the radio station! If I leave at 11:30, I'll still get there a little bit before noon, so plenty early to settle into my desk and get my prep work done for that day's show.




      And there you have it- my current morning routine! My luck now that I've adjusted to this new schedule my hours will change again... haha!! But for now, I'm enjoying the fact that I've settled into this schedule for weekdays. If you want to bring my favorite part of mornings into your daily routine, just click on the picture below (it's shoppable!) to purchase Bigelow tea! You can also find Bigelow teas in-store at your local Walmart:








     Check out Bigelow and all of their great tea offerings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!




     Happy Friday, have a wonderful weekend!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese