Southern Belle in Training

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

October 23, 2017

Vintage Lace Dress + 10 Things I Like About Living in Vermont.

     Surprised to see this post on my blog? (Me too!) If you've been keeping up with the post-move updates that I write every two months, you know that my transitions of moving from the bustling metropolis of Charlotte, NC, to the "smallest" biggest city in the country, Burlington, VT, has been quite the transition, and very frustrating at times. It became clear to me quite early on that although I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to begin my radio career in Vermont, this isn't my forever home at all, and all in all will probably be more of a temporary home. I could easily write a post entitled "10+ Things That Frustrate Me About Vermont".... but I'm going to save that for the day that I'm living somewhere else. 😉

     In the spirit of trying to cultivate a positive attitude and grateful heart for all aspects of my life, not just the easy ones, I bring you today's post! There are some things that I do like about living in The Green Mountain state. I often let those things get overshadowed by all that I dislike. It is so good for the heart to try focus on the good in a that's exactly what today's post is about!! If you currently live somewhere that you don't love, or feel like isn't your forever home, I hope this post inspires you to still seek the positivity in your current living situation, as I'm also trying to! 

     I also thought that today's outfit post was the perfect time to share this- this might be my favorite blog photoshoot yet!! I've always wanted to do blog photos in a river, so this was kind of a dream come true. Thank you to my photographer Melissa for having such creative shoot location ideas! 

Vintage dress - river photoshoot in Vermont

Chicwish vintage dress

Things to love about Vermont

Stowe Vermont  Fashion

Southern Belle in Training Blog - Vermont fall fashion

Photography by Melissa Lynn Studios

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      1. Lake Champlain: Burlington is located directly on Lake Champlain! Fun fact: Lake Champlain is in the Top 15 largest lakes in the United States by surface area. It is 120 miles long, and separates Vermont and Upstates New York, and a tiny bit of the lake extends north into Quebec as well. I grew up in Coastal Maine spending lots of time at the ocean, so moving to Charlotte, a city with no ocean, rivers or lakes within city limits was a bit of a shock to my system in college. As much as I loved it there, I did miss being near a major body of water. Much of Lake Champlain is undeveloped and just very naturally rugged and beautiful. It reminds me of a bigger version of Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in neighboring New Hampshire, and one of my favorite places in New England. My biggest regret from this summer is that I didn't meet anyone that owns a boat who could've taken me out for rides on the lake- lol! One of my favorite views of the lake is on one of the only bridges that goes over it, at a southern point on the lake between Addison County in VT and Ticonderoga, NY. When driving over the bridge, you feel like you can see natural beauty forever!

     2. The foods Vermont is known for: I was always a terrible Mainer when it came to food. Maine is known for two famous foods: lobster and blueberries. I strongly dislike both of those. While I did better with traditional Southern foods, there were still a few things that I could never get on board with, like grits. However, I seriously lucked out with the foods that Vermont is associated culinary-wise with: cheese, maple syrup, and Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Heck to the freakin' yes!!! It's literally a state that molded it's famous foods after Annaliese's taste buds. Good cheese is EVERYWHERE to be found here, and a lot cheaper at most grocery stores than it was in NC! (And the Cabot Cheese factory annex store in Waterbury is I swear one of my happy places.) I weirdly don't like maple syrup on pancakes or waffles, but I do love maple flavored things and cooking with maple, and there's lots to be found here! And Ben and Jerry's- who doesn't love that?! I've done the factory tour twice since moving here! (It's conveniently located very close to the Cabot Cheese factory annex store...) The state foods are honestly probably my favorite part about living here. 

     3. No traffic and no tolls: Traffic does not exist in the 49th least populated state in the nation. There is no rush hour. It actually does not exist here. I've had to deal with traffic for a grand total of two accidents in the six months that I've lived here, and I can remember both clearly because they're such an infrequent happening! One weekend this summer, there was some rare bridge work happening on a Sunday, and a main road was closed that my phone's GPS hadn't picked up on. I ended up in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 30 mins, and I about had a road rage attack in my car. It had been so long since I'd dealt with surprise traffic, and it was like I literally couldn't tolerate it in Vermont, ha! But minus that incident, no traffic. And long the same lines with driving, unlike many other parts of New England, Vermont is a completely toll free state! Tolls are probably my biggest pet peeve in the world. Maine has them on our largest interstate, and it always drives me mad when I go home. (For now) the Charlotte area is toll-free, so I was really hoping that wherever I moved for work would be the same. Thankfully Vermont is! 

     4. Close to Canada/Montreal: The closest major city to the Burlington area is actually in another country- that is pretty cool when you think about it! Vermont is also one of four states that allows drivers to get an Enhanced License, which allows for land or sea crossings to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean without a passport. Even though I do have a passport, I paid extra for my Enhanced License and I'm so glad I did! It makes crossing the border easy-peasy. Honestly I haven't gotten up to Montreal nearly as much as I've hoped to, mainly since I work six days a week. But I have been a couple times, and it's such a cool city!! My favorite thing of all about Montreal is the fact that they have quite an impressive skyline- and I'm always a sucker for that! I was actually a French minor in college, so I also love hearing the language all around the city. You can check out my 24 Hours in Montreal travel guide here. 

     5. Lack of shopping... good for saving money: I definitely also complain about this all the time, and whenever I do write a "10 Things That Frustrate Me About Vermont" this will certainly be on that list also... but this is also a positive! Let me just say that entry level jobs in the radio industry are not known to pay well- people get into this field for their passion, not the paycheck. 😉 Between a low salary, a very high cost of living in this area, and school loan payments... this first year of work has been very "savings" focused. The good thing about Vermont having such a lack of a physical retail presence is that it's less temptation to spend money! I do shop online more now since a lot of my favorite stores aren't here, but I've never been a super big online spender. My temptation with spending has always come from wandering malls when I'm bored, and luckily I pretty much avoid Burlington's main mall most of the time, so this state is actually fantastic for my current financial situation in some regards! 

     6. Beautiful natural locations for blog photos: While Charlotte had tons of cool city backdrops for shooting, sometimes you had to get creative and drive a bit out of the city if you wanted something that looked more natural for blog photos. Vermont is literally a 100% natural and rural state, even in its "cities," so it's been fun to find some beautiful nature based locations to do outfit posts in! Like the river that today's pictures were taken in. Rivers in a lot of parts of the country are unfortunately polluted or too developed to be able to just stand in for a photoshoot, but Vermont is beautifully untouched. While I do miss some of my city shoot locations, Burlington is able to provide what I need to some degree with that, and it has been really fun to get natural with some photoshoot locations! I feel very creatively challenged, in a good way.

      7. Still have Trader Joe's: Very early on in the radio job search process last year.... I remember one night looking on Trader Joe's website at a PDF that had every single store location listed. I thought to myself "I just can't take a radio job somewhere that doesn't have Trader Joe's!" God must have heard that thought - haha!! Vermont may not have Target, Super Walmart, large malls, Hobby Lobby and At Home, Ulta..... etc etc, BUT we do have a Trader Joe's outside of Burlington!! It's actually a pretty good sized one, too.

     8. Driving distance to home: This is the most surprising thing on my list! I obviously went to college quite far from home, and never really experienced much homesickness. I was fully thinking that I'd spend the rest of my life far from New England, and my true home. Burlington is about four hours from my hometown in Maine. Surprisingly- I love being close to home again. Not enough to stay here for good... but it's been really nice in this season! I just wish that my job allowed me more time off so I could go home more, but I am grateful that I was able to be home for two quick weekends this summer. My parents are also able to visit much more often and easily than then did when I was in NC. Can I also just say how much I LOVE having my car at home with me when I go home now? Five years of visits and sharing a car with my parents got old real quick, y'all. 

      9. Xfiniti for cable: It's probably so weird to write a positive attribute about my cable company.... but I absolutely adore Xfiniti by Comcast, which is the cable/internet provider that I have here in Burlington!! In both Maine and NC, they were Time Warner (now Spectrum I think?) markets, and honestly that cable provider is nothing but a hassle. I can't tell you how many times in my apartment last year I was on the phone with Time Warner for various issues! Anyways, I have Xfiniti now, and my apartment actually pays the cable portion of my plan in accordance with my rent. I have this crazy premium cable package- but I totally love it. Especially since I don't have much of a social life here in Vermont- I watch a lot of TV at night now. I think Xfiniti is so user-friendly, has so many cool features, and they've always been helpful when I've had issues! I really hope the next place I move to also is an Xfiniti service area!

      10. Fall in Vermont: I'm really not a fall person- I'm a spring girl all the way (which I talked about a little in this blog post). But I will say- everyone was right about fall in Vermont!! It is stunning. The foliage here is unreal. Maine has some pretty foliage too, but since Burlington and the surrounding towns have mountain views, this is different than anything I've ever experienced. It really is a special time of the year here. Vermont's cute little towns in other parts of the state are especially darling in the fall! If I ever come back to visit Vermont someday, I hope it will be during the fall. 

     And there you have it! My favorite things about being a Vermont resident. Have you visited Vermont before and noticed any of these things? (Maybe you have to live here to realize some of them?) Side note: it literally seems like every fashion blogger out there is vacationing in Vermont this fall season!! I've seen so many pictures on Instagram of towns and places that I recognize now- which has been fun! I always knew Vermont was a tourist spot, but I guess I didn't realize just how much of one!


     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 



  1. This dress looks so pretty on you, Annaliese, and I love that Trader Joe's is one of your favorite parts of Vermont- our nearest one to Clemson is in Greenville so when I was home for Fall Break I made a visit to one of the ones in Charlotte haha!


  2. Love this entire outfit! These pictures are so beautiful. I have never done a photo shoot in a river, just near some water. This looks great though!

    It's always great to appreciate the positive things happening, so it's great that you put together this list, instead of what's not so great. The more you think positively about the experience, the better it will be!

  3. Girl, this is GORGEOUS!! Also love the round up finding what you love about VT. I need to make a visit in the fall, I keep seeing photos and people talk about the foliage I need to see it for myself!!

  4. What a gorgeous look! We drove through Vermont on a family road trip YEARS ago - I'm definitely due for a longer stay in the area!

  5. These photos are soo pretty and I really love your dress! It's great hearing about Vermont! I've never been there before! I need to visit one day! :)

    xo, Chloe //

  6. I've always wanted to go to Vermont and your post makes me want to go even more! Beautiful pictures and I love your outfit!

  7. I am so happy you have been able to find positive aspects of Vermont even though you aren't 1000% in love with it. I have to say these photos are beautiful, I love the natural backdrops most of all!

  8. Your dress is so gorgeous. I've heard that Vermont is beautiful I've been meaning to plan a trip!

  9. I love your beautiful dress and your hair looks amazing!

  10. This post makes me so happy! I know that this has not been the most fun season of your life by any means, but I love that you have found a way to look at the positives.

    That dress was made for you!

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

  11. Love that dress and your pictures are so fun and pretty! So glad to hear about the things you're liking in Vermont!

  12. That dress is so beautiful! As a city girl myself, I can definitely understand the frustrations. The place looks so beautiful and no having rush hour sounds sooo good!

  13. First of all, your dress is so lovely and unique you look wonderful! I admire your positive attitude and outlook, it must be great being surrounded by nature. I always feel at peace when I am, so those are definitely things to be grateful for. I'm in Canada, so that's really cool how you're closer to us now! :)

    Sending light & love your way,

    My Lovelier Days

  14. Love this lace dress AND that you are finding things to love about Vermont! I struggled with finding things to love about Charlotte after a while, but I am getting used to Durham now that I live here! (Also, YES to Trader Joe's... I hadn't been in a while and did a major haul over the weekend and I couldn't live without their frozen food section!)

  15. Love this pretty dress on you, and Vermont sounds lovely! (Now all I can think about is that line from White Christmas...)

    Molly // Miss Molly Moon

  16. Vermont is literally MY FAVORITE during fall. I went a few years ago and have been dying to go back!
    Tori || Victori Media

  17. ahh these photos are so dreamy! And Vermont cheese is seriously amazing. I could write an opus about cabot cheddar.

  18. I love that you've found so many things to love about your new place to live!! Also you look amazing in that dress!

    The Classic Brunette

  19. This generally happens when we are fascinated in viewing an old film and after that abruptly move into recollections of past style Floral dresses


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