November 16, 2017

New Must-Have Cardigan + The Hype With Plattsburgh.

    Confession time: my new favorite cardigan came to me by way of! As a fashion blogger, I encourage my Instagram followers to use this to shop my outfits often. In full honesty- I can't say that I use LTK that much to shop other bloggers' looks. (I think is awesome, I just try and put together more unique outfits for my blog!) However- I couldn't like to know the outfit details fast enough when I saw this adorable leopard print cardigan featured on Stephanie from A Sparkle Factor's Instagram a few weeks ago! Thank goodness for LTK - and the cardigan was on its way to me soon. 😊 I'm styling it in today's blog post, and sharing a bit about why Vermonters like to venture over to the region of New York called the "North Country," and to Plattsburgh, which is the biggest town there!

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      First up- the details about this cardigan. It totally exceeded my expectations, which is always something great to have happen with an online purchase!! It's thick, soft, and super warm and comfy. And I love the darling leopard print!! Wearing this cardigan with jeans and riding boots would be like my ideal winter work outfit over the upcoming months. If you're looking for a cute and casual cardigan, I definitely recommend this one! I styled it for this weekend look with my favorite faux leather leggings, fun jewelry, and one of my favorite coats (which I've had since 9th grade and still adore!). 

      On my Instagram Stories and in past blog posts, you might have heard me mention taking a ferry, or going to a place called Plattsburgh in New York. These photos were taken in Plattsburgh, so I though it would be fun to share a bit about this town on the blog today, as it's quite an important place to most people who live in the Burlington Vermont area! As I've shared before, one thing that really frustrates me about Vermont is the huge lack of retail presence here. One of the malls in the area is currently undergoing a renovation project that will take a couple of years, so pretty much all of the stores closed and vacated for the time being. The other mall in the area is supposedly the largest mall in Vermont... but it makes me so sad every time I say that, haha. The shopping options there are really quite dismal (I really only go there for Bath and Body Works candles, lol!). Vermont will be getting the state's very first Target next fall, in October 2018, which will be a new anchor store in the larger mall. But up until then, we don't have Target, and the Burlington area doesn't even have a Super Walmart! Other things that Vermont doesn't have that I love: Ulta, a full-sized Sephora, LOFT (it closed since I moved here), Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack, Forever 21, DSW, Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Hobby Lobby, At Home... and many, many more retailers. 

      Plattsburgh, New York to the rescue for the Vermonters! The Adirondacks region and the area north of it that borders Canada in (very) Upstate New York is considered the "North Country" region, and Plattsburgh is the largest town/small city in this area. It is a little bit smaller than Burlington. New York state however has a lot less regulations about retail and development, so they have a lot more shopping options! Plattsburgh is home to a large Target, a super Walmart, DSW, and as of recently, a HOBBY LOBBY (my very favorite store). It is weekend day trip-worthy to do some shopping at the big box stores across the lake. The only hard part is crossing the lake! The only bridges that go over Lake Champlain are at the Northern and Southern ends of the lake, neither which are near Plattsburgh or Burlington. The Lake Champlain Ferry system is really the only method to cross with. The most convenient ferry is the one that runs from the Champlain Islands (which you drive to) right across the Plattsburgh. There's so much traffic and commerce between the two states that the ferry amazingly runs 24/7! I've never had to wait more than 5 mins to board one. You drive right on with your car, and the perk is that you get to see some amazing lake views from the boat. The major downside is the cost. For one person, round trip ferry service is about $20, and for two people it's about $30. Plus factoring in the gas to Plattsburgh (the whole trip is just under an hour from Burlington, ferry and driving included), that's not the cheapest day trip! But it can be worth it every once in a while- especially if you're a big shopper like myself! I think Plattsburgh also has a kind of cute downtown, there's a river that runs through it (where some of these photos were taken), and I always have a soft spot for downtowns of cities and towns with rivers! 

     Anyways, if you live in a place where you don't have to pay $20+ to access Target, Hobby Lobby, and more, know that a lot of Vermont people are jealous of you!! I definitely took a lot for granted when I lived in Charlotte... and heck, even Maine. Haha!


God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese 



November 15, 2017

Radio 101: Pros and Cons to Working in Radio.

     Welcome to this month's Radio 101 blog post! This is my monthly series where I talk about all thing related to my day job, in the wild, wonderful, and sometimes even wacky world of radio broadcasting! For this month's post, I decided to keep it short and sweet. So many people are often so curious about my day job and the things that I like and dislike about being in this industry. I'm always down for a good ol' fashioned pros and cons list, so I figured why not make one to share with y'all the things that I like and dislike about being in radio? (Note: these things are about working in radio broadcasting in general; none are directed specifically at my employer, radio stations, and the Vermont radio markets. 😊)

Pros to working in radio:

     1. It's a FUN industry: I get to be apart of the industry that promotes new music and supports artists, creates exciting contests for listeners, is active on social media and with new technologies, and is a big participant in the local community and media. Four WONDERFUL things! And of course, the majority of my job centers around the music. I mean really... does a career get better then that?!

     2. My job helps make people smile: One of the main reasons that I wanted to work in radio is because of the personal connection that I have to it. I struggled with a lot of anxiety growing up, and even some depression during one year in high school. Listening to the radio was always one thing that gave me so much joy during those hard times. It was the little things, like hearing my favorite song, or having the DJ say something interesting or funny that could change my whole perspective on a rough day. Now I get to be that bright spot in a hard day for other people! I love playing listeners' song requests, and one of my favorite parts of my job is when our station gets to award a prize in a big contest to an excited listener. There's just nothing better!

     3. Being ahead of the music trends: In the age of instant gratification, who doesn't love being the first to be in the know about what's new? Working in radio, I always get to hear new music first, which is so cool, and a privilege that I don't take for granted! I'm a total radio nerd as well, and it always fascinates me to no end which songs make it to the top of the charts, and which ones fizzle out before getting a lot of airplay. I love trying to predict what will happen with a song the first time I hear it- sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm wrong!

     4. The independence and creativity: I get to use my creative skills to brainstorm and research show content to talk about on the radio everyday! Of course, there are certain things that a DJ has to talk about in every show (like local weather, current promotions or contests being run by the station or company, etc), but generally speaking, this is a creative job, and you get to determine the tone and a lot of the content of your radio show! Since I do all of my shows solo right now, I also have a lot of independence at work. I spend a lot of my work days by myself in the radio studio, which is a peaceful and relaxing work environment for me!

      5. The mobility (pro): It's no secret that I would have never moved to Vermont, or probably even back to New England at all, if it wasn't for this career path! Radio (and television news similarly), are different from a lot of other career paths for new grads in that about 95% of the time, you have to move somewhere for a job to get into the industry. I would have loved to stay in Charlotte a bit longer, but that just wasn't an option with the way these jobs are. While Vermont wasn't my top choice as a state to move to, it's still very exciting to think that it's my career brought me all the way here to Northern New England! I am completely serious when I tell people I have no clue where I'll end up next, and that does excite me. There's something really cool about being in an industry that allows you a year or a few years of experiencing life in a new part of of the country, and then moving onto somewhere else. It doesn't mean that it will all be easy, but it's an amazing experience to have, especially in your 20s!

Cons to working in radio:

      1. The salary range: NO ONE goes into radio for the money.... lol. People pick this profession because of their passion for the industry and the music, not to make big bucks. There is potential to have a decent salary if you're able to get a morning show job, or eventually make it into a large market. But let's just say that your first job in radio in a small market (or even in a larger market if it's your first job!).... a very, very, very low salary. A lot of people starting out in radio are very lucky if they can just be full-time with benefits! I am so thankful that my blog has been able to provide me with more opportunities for sponsored content this year to supplement my income. A lot of people my age starting out in radio or TV also work second jobs!

      2. The mobility (con): I listed this as both a pro and a con. Although I do think it's very exciting to be in a field where you have the chance to live in different cities and parts of the country as you begin your career, there are also negatives to that as well. Your initial job offers might not being in places that you want to move to, or connect with well once you end up moving there. As I did, you could end up very far away from friends, family, and other loved ones. This was the case for some of my broadcasting school classmates who are beginning their careers as well! I try and view the mobility aspect more from the positive "pro" side, but in honesty there are some cons as well.

     3. Limited PTO and working holidays: When you work in broadcasting, it is so crucial when you're new in a market to establish consistency with your listeners (or viewers if you're in TV). This can mean really limited access to time off for the first six months to a year, depending on your company's policies. Working on holidays is also commonplace in anything related to broadcasting, as the media doesn't stop on certain days of the year!

      4. Ratings stress: Radio stations and TV stations use audience measurement ratings tactics to determine how many people in their markets are actively seeking out the media that they're producing. (Nielsen Ratings, operated by Nielsen Media Research, are the most common type of ratings used nationally.) It is a competitive business, you always want to do better than your competition in the ratings, because higher ratings means more advertising dollars for your company and more opportunities for you as a radio personality and for your station in general. Too many years of bad ratings can be detrimental to a person's career- and bad ratings might not have anything to do with the quality of a DJ themselves (it can be the result of a lot of things). Overall so far I've honestly enjoyed working in a business that's ratings based, I think it adds a healthy nature of competition and pressure to my daily work. But obviously my thoughts on that could definitely change, and I've heard scary ratings stories from other friends in the radio industry.

       5. Hard to snack during a radio show: This is such a minor con to list about a job that I really do love, but I had to put it down anyways!! I've always been such a snacker over being a three big meals a day person. I literally snacked my way through high school and college. Anyways, a radio board and the rest of the equipment in the studio is super expensive, and not anything that food should be eaten around. Occasionally on days that I'm starving I'll bring in something non-messy and non-smelly like fruit snacks, but generally speaking I don't eat during the hours that I'm doing my show. The snack lover in me hates this- haha!

      So as you can see, just like any job, radio has its pros and its cons. The pros definitely outweight the cons for me though, and I love being in this industry and can't wait to see where my career will take me (quite literally- with the mobility factor)!

      I'd love to know more about your career- do you find pros and cons with it as well? And as always, please send me topic requests for next month's Radio 101 post!

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese

November 14, 2017

Holiday Gift Guides 2017: My Christmas Wishlist!

     The holiday season brings some of my favorite annual posts to write on the blog. The end of December brings my end of the year recaps for my blog and my life outside of blogging, and this time of year gives me the chance to share my Christmas wishlist each year! I loved making a written gift wishlist each year growing up, and I think it's a heck of a lot more fun to make a visual one here on the blog. (Check out past Christmas wishlist posts from 2014 and 2016 here!) I always enjoy seeing what's on other bloggers' wishlists, and I hope y'all enjoy seeing mine too! I feel like I do write this every time that I share my Christmas wishlist, but it's still true so I say it yet again. I am so incredibly blessed, and really don't need any of these things on my list! This year, I'm thankful to have a job in the industry of my dreams, to have the greatest friends (who might live out-of-state, but are all still a huge part of my life), my health, two caring and involved parents, a cozy apartment of my very own, and so many more things! This year I think more so than years past, it's really hit me that I definitely don't *need* anything for Christmas.

      However with all of that said, of course there are still things that I would like! Here is my 2017 Christmas list. Everything that is linkable is linked below of course:


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      I am a big reader, and my mom loves to give books for the holidays! When I was growing up, she used to subscribe to a lot of discount book company catalogs and email lists, and every year for Christmas I would look forward to opening a HUGE box of brand new books. The past few years, most of the books my mom buys me are cookbooks. She collects cookbooks herself, and has now passed the tradition onto me! I have loved many of the cookbooks that my mom has bought me (and I do use several regularly), but where I'm at a point in life now where being a single girl who lives alone and doesn't entertain hardly ever... I really don't need anymore! So instead, I decided to make a book wishlist for my mom with some specific reads that I'd like to own. Since finishing school, I've become a big bookworm and I frequent my local library regularly, but that's usually just for fiction titles. The books on my Christmas list are non-fiction books about things that I'd like to educate myself on in 2018: career development, smart financial habits, and travel hacking

      My *big* wishlist item for the year is an iPhone X. I mean- can you get over the camera quality on this phone?! (This is definitely a *wishlist* item though that I'm not really expecting... my parents have already said they're not ready for me to upgrade, and I'm still enjoying full benefits of being on the family cell phone plan, so you take what you can get with that, lol! 😉)

       On the same note of cell phones though, despite whatever iPhone I have, I absolutely need a new portable charger! I lost my old one while moving earlier this year. This cute little one is supposed to be the same size as a tube of lipstick, and got excellent reviews on Amazon. Another gadget that would be really helpful to have is a portable steamer!! A lot of the clothes that I receive to style for blogging arrive to me in a wrinkled state, and unfortunately I absolutely hate ironing! This portable steamer would be so helpful for my regular clothing needs, and it's also perfect for travel, a true win-win! 

      For fashion/accessories items on my wishlist this year, I kept it that portion of the list small but specific. I received this Tory Burch bag for my birthday which I've been obsessed with ever since, and the matching wallet would look amazing paired with it. It's also no secret that I love Kendra Scott jewelry!! I was introduced to the brand around the time that they opened a store in Charlotte a few years ago, and I absolutely love the Kendra pieces that I own. I don't own too much red jewelry, but I think these earrings would be just stunning for the holiday season! And lastly- I love wearing skirts and dresses year round, but that will be hard to do this winter with Vermont's harsh cold weather. Last year, I bought a pair of "sweater tights," and I've already been wearing them so much this season, as they're so warm! The same retailer brought them back for this year, so I want another pair of identical tights!

      A couple miscellaneous items on my list: most days when I get to work, I make a to-do list for that day of emails that I need to send and social media posts that I need to schedule, both for things related to the radio station and also for my job. I always feel so productive at the end of the day when everything is crossed off! I'd love a new official to-do list notepad, wouldn't that be a fun stocking stuffer? Also- how fun is this Women in Radio hat? Women in Radio is an empowerment group for women working in all positions in the radio industry. They have an Instagram and blog, and I love following their posts and connecting with women across the country in broadcasting! Anyways, earlier this year they launched an online shop, and I love their hats!! I would love to wear their official hat to work during my weekend shifts, and it would be so cute for traveling also.

     The last thing on my list for this year: GIFT CARDS! They might not be the most personal gifts in the world, but they sure are useful!! Here are some that I'd especially love right now:

      *Burlington area nail salons for manicures/pedicures
      *Gas stations
      *Hobby Lobby
      *Lilly Pulitzer (for the January After Party Sale!!)

     So there you have it, my Christmas list for this year!! Please let me know in the comments if you've published your list in a blog post as well- I love to see other bloggers' too! 😊

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese

November 13, 2017

"Han Solo" Season...

     Have y'all seen the memes floating around the internet about how fall is also becoming known as "Han Solo" season? As in Han Solo from Star Wars (I'm not much of a Star Wars fan myself, so I'm kind of proud of myself for understanding the reference- ha!) He is famous of course for wearing boots, a vest, and a white blouse throughout the films, and the joke of the memes of course is that fall is #basic season for girls, and many a girl is spotted wearing this same outfit during the autumn months!! I was so excited to wear this look for a day of shooting during peak foliage week in Vermont a few weeks back... and it didn't really hit me until going through these photos for the post that I unintentionally became the meme!

Photography by Amanda Rose Photography

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      Vermont is so famous for its radiant fall season. I knew that I had to do my best to take advantage of that this year, especially since I'm a blogger! Peak foliage season hit a little bit later than usual for all of New England this year, since September was quite warm. It began to dawn on me around the time that the leaves were at their fullest, that I had a bit of a conundrum regarding my blog photoshoots. I was so hoping to be shooting for some outfit posts this fall in peak foliage, but I schedule my shoots based on upcoming collaborations, and the dates of my collabs were not matching up with the week that ended up being peak foliage, since it was a little later than I expected. Eeek! 

      Thankfully, one of my Vermont photographers, Amanda, responded to a frantic text from me asking if she had any time to do a very quick shoot, with the purpose of mainly getting pretty leaves pictures and capturing a glimpse of foliage beauty. She was happy to oblige, and that's how today's post came to be! This blog post is a bit more photo-heavy than normal, but I couldn't pick just a few favorites. 😊 (The spots that we shot these photos in are nearby the ones featured also in this post.)

     It's finally cool enough here to wear this Lauren James vest which I'm styling in this post! (I might refer to it as my Han Solo vest from here on out though...) I purchased it during Lauren James's Pink Friday sale this summer when I was able to score a great deal on it, but thankfully it is still in stock!! And it comes in a few colors.

     Sadly Vermont's foliage is just about gone now and the pretty leaves from these pictures have long since fallen, but I am so happy I was able to get a few blog photos this year when it was at its brightest! I'll treasure these- Vermont really was magical to experience and drive around in during peak week in October this year.

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

November 9, 2017

Holiday Gift Guides 2017: Ideas For the Hostess + Chef.

     Welcome to my first holiday gift guide post for this year's holiday season! I know that the blogging world can sometimes seem a bit over-saturated with gift guides during the next six weeks or so (especially if you yourself are also a blogger and also read a lot of other blogs!). I've tried very hard this year to make each of my gift guides themed and unique, rather than just something like "Gifts for Her Under $100" where every item is just something from the Nordstrom New Arrivals page. 😉 Because honestly.... that's not something very hard to put together, and if y'all are taking the time out of your day to read one of my gift guides, I'm hoping provide you with some actual creative ideas for gifts!! If you're familiar with the 5 Love Languages (you can take the free online quiz here and find out what yours are if you don't know what I'm talking about!), gifts are my #1 love language, and I love gift giving to those near and dear in my life. So holiday shopping is one of my favorite things, and I'm excited to hopefully share that excitement with y'all in my gift guides! Let's get to it! My first one for this season is some gift ideas that are great for any girls like myself who love to cook and practice hospitality!

Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking + Hosting


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     When I'm not in the radio studio or working on the blog, chances are I can be found in my kitchen! I adore cooking and baking, and when I lived in Charlotte I also loved entertaining. Currently, I try and cook dinner from scratch at least three nights a week (or two if it's a big meal with lots of leftovers!), and I have a lot of fun trying out new recipes. Although I do a lot of cooking from Pinterest, I am a cookbook enthusiast as well. One of my all-time favorite cookbooks is The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. I jokingly call this the "kitchen bible!" It has cooking and baking recipes for just about anything that a beginner cook could ever want to attempt, and the recipes are fantastic!! (My favorite-ever chocolate cake and icing recipes are found in here.) If you're looking to gift someone a more fun cookbook, you can't go wrong with Chrissy Teigen's book Cravings! A friend gave this to me in a gift swap last year, and I've loved trying out many of the delicious recipes in this book. Plus- if you follow Chrissy on Twitter you know she's absolutely hilarious, and her writing in the book doesn't disappoint! 

      I think aprons also make wonderful gifts. A cute apron isn't something that an aspiring cook will necessarily go out and buy for themselves, but it can be a delightful gift! Some of my favorite aprons were given to me as gifts, and I love wearing them. I think the aqua and red polka dot one is too cute, but an apron with a funny saying could be great for someone who loves the kitchen and also has a sense of humor! 

      One of my most prized possessions is my KitchenAid mixer.  My mom had my KitchenAid when I was growing up, but she upgraded to a better model of KitchenAid about 10 years ago, and put her first one away in storage, to save for me to have someday. KitchenAids seriously last forever so they are an amazing investment!! My parents brought it down to North Carolina when I moved into my first apartment last year after college graduation, and I have used it every single week (if not daily sometimes) since then. This would obviously be a very big Christmas gift, but it would be an amazing one too! KitchenAid mixers come in tons of colors... mine is white, but I obsess over the pretty blue and pink ones!

      Lastly- did you know that Kate Spade has an adorable home line?! A few of the things in this gift guide are from it- the black and white polka dot apron, the cheese knives set, and the cute printed dish towel. Kate Spade also makes dish sets, glassware, cutlery, and tons of other things that are perfect for a Bachelorette Pad kitchen! 

      My next gift guide will be posted next week! I have a few fun ideas for gift guides for the next few weeks, but I'd love to hear any suggestions that y'all have for them as well! 

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

November 8, 2017

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.

{On the ferry between Vermont and Upstate New York this past weekend! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}

  • Christmas decorating! In my world, Christmas decorating begins promptly on November 1st! The Christmas season is already so short, and why make it any shorter by delaying putting up the beautiful decorations? For the second year in a row, I put up my tree the day after Halloween, and I'm so excited about it! My dad came to Vermont to visit this weekend, and he helped me decorate it on Sunday afternoon. Neither of my parents were in NC during the holiday season last year, so they've never seen my tree or apartment decorations before, so it was fun to have him help with that! I will say that despite working in radio (and for one station that goes 24/7 Christmas music before Thanksgiving), I'm actually not a big fan of holiday music... I usually don't like to hear that until right before Christmas. But the trees and decorations? BRING IT! Who else put up their Christmas decor this week or weekend? 
  • Operation Christmas Child boxes: Speaking of Christmas... I shared this on my Instagram Story over the weekend, but this week and next are a special time of year related to the Christmas season- it's Operation Christmas Child box time!! National Collection Week for 2017 is November 13-20. If you're unfamiliar with this program, it's a ministry of Samaritan's Purse, which is my favorite Christian charity (and also based in North Carolina so it's a little more dear to my heart!). Operation Christmas Child inspires individuals and families to pack shoe boxes filled with toys, school supplies and basic hygiene items that will go to either young girls or boys in impoverished areas all across the globe. After boxes are collected at a local church or other organization (my church here in Vermont is collecting), they are sent to one of eight Samaritan's Purse distribution centers across the country. There was one in Charlotte and I'm so sad I didn't get the chance to volunteer there before I moved! Then the boxes are sent out to their country of origin, and able to bless needy children all over the world, and Samaritan's Purse is also able to share the Gospel message to the children and their families who receive boxes. I can't say enough good things about this organization and this Christmas ministry- seriously!! There are over 4,000 box drop-off locations nationwide (most at churches), and Collection Week is next week, so you probably still have time to make one if this interests you!
  • ONE MONTH from today: I will be en route to my first holiday trip of the season, my first real trip out of New England since starting my job in April, my first travel blogging trip, and most importantly... a place that will give me the chance to enjoy Chick Fil A for the first time in EIGHT months! You can say I'm hoping these next four weeks will go by quickly! 😉

  • I shared this in last week's post, but I have to mention it again since I'm wearing it in the photo above. I ordered this leopard cardigan online last week, it arrived... and y'all this sweater completely blew my expectations! It is so soft and cozy and such a good deal for the price! I got a small, and it fits a little bit big and oversized (which I like for cozy cardigans, but I probably could have fit in the x-small also). 
  • My dad and I ventured across Lake Champlain to the New York side this weekend, which has overall better shopping than Burlington. I found these cute heels, which I know I'll get so much use out of! I needed some more closed-toed heels for the holiday season, as those look much better than open toed heels with tights. 
  • The main reason I wanted to go over to New York was to go to my very favorite store... HOBBY LOBBY! I needed a few more Christmas decorations for my tree and apartment, and as per usual Hobby Lobby fashion, I found everything I possibly needed and lots more that I didn't need. All of which I bought. I am already getting excited to for a Christmas apartment decor photoshoot for the blog! 

  • This is so exciting, but while at the mall in Plattsburgh I saw Kendra Scott jewelry in a store. That's the first time I've seen Kendra for sale since leaving Charlotte! Her jewelry was HUGE in the South, but it hasn't really become a thing up here yet. Seeing it all on display got me thinking about how I want to add some Kendra to my Christmas wishlist- I'm loving these earrings
  • I also saw these boots while out shopping, how fun are these for a night out? 
  • How cute would this dress be for fall date nights? It comes in a few colors, and I think they're all super cute. (At the time that I put this post together earlier in the week... it was on sale! Yay!)
  • As I mentioned above, I leave for my first holiday trip of the season in exactly a month! Although I already own a plethora of winter accessories, of course I can't help looking at pretty new scarves, like this gorgeous scarf, which is also under $20!

On the blog this week:

     Happy Wednesday! Enjoy the rest of your week!

    God Bless,

    xoxo Annaliese

November 7, 2017

The Complete Guide to Making Friends After Moving Out-of-State.

     This has been a post that I've been wanting to write since probably three weeks after moving here! However, I didn't quite feel qualified to write on this subject just a few weeks after moving, so I told myself that this would be a fitting topic to finally broach on the blog after the six months post-move mark. Six months is enough time to really get used to and settled in a new job, new apartment/home, new city/state, and new way of life in a new state. With that all of course comes making new friends, dating (if you're single), and overall just a total change for your social life in general!

How to Make Friends after moving Out-of-State

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{ Dress c/o // Boots // Purse // }

     As most of you know, I'm originally from here in New England (small-town coastal Maine), and I moved to North Carolina five years ago for college. I actually struggled a lot during my high school years- I honestly felt like I really didn't make good friends until my senior year of high school, and the first three years of that time of life brought a lot of trying, crying, and loneliness in the friendship department. Anyways, thankfully my North Carolina years were extremely different from this! I made some of the most incredible friendships at both of my universities (If you're new here- I transferred after my freshman year, and finished my degree at a different university in Charlotte), in broadcasting school last year, and also through the blogging community in the Carolinas! I knew that moving out-of-state to pursue my dream of radio would make it hard to leave my wonderful friends behind, but at the same time I wasn't too worried. I had done so well in North Carolina making friends, that surely it couldn't be too hard to do this somewhere else?

     Wellllll.... Vermont has proven to be *quite* the challenge in the friend-making department. Now that I've been here six months and really settled into Vermont life, I see the friend-making debacle being the root of a few things. One is Vermont's culture. It's super different from southern city life, and even different from Maine in some regards. Native Vermonters tend to be more private and family-oriented people, and into adulthood seem to focus less on social relationships. (Not saying people don't have adult friends here!! It just doesn't seem to have the same importance in lifestyles as I saw in Charlotte.) Vermont is also a small state and Burlington is a small city, which makes it hard to break into as a newcomer. I'm very much in the minority to move here for a job actually! Some Vermonters have to leave the state to find work in their respective employment fields, as there isn't much industry growth here. Charlotte on the other hand is one of the top cities in the country right now for young professional transplants, so in addition to being a big city, it's also a city filled with tons of new residents, who are similarly looking for new friends. Vermont... not so much.

    With all that said to give you some background about the differences with Vermont and Charlotte, I finally wanted to share all the ways that I've tried to make new friends since moving to Vermont! A few of these things I did back in Charlotte after graduating college as well- as during my year in broadcasting school last year I wanted to try and broaden my friendships and make some new "adult" friendships there too. I thought the best way to write this post would just be to write out absolutely everything that I've tried and how I did it/what it is, and then explain if it worked for me or not, and if I'll try it again in the next state that I move to for work.

     I'm writing this blog post from the perspective of moving to a new place in post-grad life- as personally I think college is a really unique four years, with lots of great social opportunities built into everyday life! But if you are a college student, you could definitely try some of these things in addition to making friends on your campus.

     1. AT WORK: This one is kind of a given if you've just moved for a new job! Work will probably be a lot more pleasant and fun each day if you're friendly with your coworkers. I have heard many times before about the dangers of becoming too good friends with someone you work with, kind of like the dangers of dating a co-worker. Sometimes office best-friendships can go south, and that can end up causing a toxic work environment. But I think it's definitely great if you are friends outside of work to some degree with coworkers!
     Did this work for me in Vermont? Can I say both yes and no? My coworkers are a really nice bunch of people, and were very welcoming to me moving to Vermont! My desk at work is actually up in the sales department, and I kind of think all the sales people as my second (and third and fourth and fifth, etc) moms and dads here in Vermont! Some of them have children close to my age, so it's been nice for me to have such kind and caring older coworkers. Unfortunately, I am the youngest at our radio company by a good few years. I'm also one of the only single people in the company, so just about all of my coworkers are all settled with relationships and families. Because of that, we don't always have too many of the same interests outside of work, but coworker relations are definitely pleasant and friendly in the office and radio studios!
     Will I try this again somewhere else? Absolutely! I totally believe in being friends with coworkers. It would be awesome if wherever I work next is a younger company.

     2. AT CHURCH / BIBLE STUDY: It's no surprise if you're a regular reader here that my Christian faith is a big part of my life, and with that, I strongly value the community that comes with it. Church has always been something that's very important to me, ever since I grew up going! There are lots of social opportunities that can be found through a church. It can be a bit hard to make friends just be showing up one Sunday and attending a church, so involvement is key! Churches both large and small offer bible studies or small groups, many that focus on 20 somethings or young professionals. In Charlotte I was in a 20-somethings women's bible study, and here in Vermont I'm in a co-ed one. You can also meet people at church by getting involved through volunteering- churches have tons of ministry opportunities- everything from children's ministry, hospitality, worship, and serving the greater community through your church! And larger churches also offer things like retreats and conferences, which can be a great way to meet people.
     Did this work for me in Vermont? YES!!! This is one of the only things that has worked for me in Vermont. It did take me a good two months to find a church home here, but I've been so happy once I finally did. I'm involved as I mentioned in a co-ed 20 somethings bible study through my church, and this fall I've also gotten involved with some volunteering opportunities as well. One of my church friends knows a lot of people that go to a nearby different church in the Burlington area, so I've also started attending some social events at that church as well. The Christian community here in Vermont might be small and in the minority of the general population, but what I've discovered of it has been so welcoming to me and for that I'm forever thankful!
      Will I try this again somewhere else? OF COURSE!

     3. GYM / FITNESS: If you enjoy being physically active, chances are you'd enjoy being friends with people who enjoy the same sports or exercise regimens that you do. Trendy fitness classes were more of a thing back in Charlotte, and although I didn't have any gym memberships the last year that I lived there, I feel like I was always meeting girls last year who told me that they made some of their good friends at yoga or barre or spin class. My job here in Vermont graciously covers a membership at a local gym for all employees, so I was excited to start going to fitness classes again after moving here, and hopefully meet some friends through the gym. I was doing really well at attending regular fitness classes this summer up until my work schedule totally changed in August- I'm trying to get back on a good gym schedule though!
     Did this work for me in Vermont? Yes to fitness, but no to finding friends. As I said, my work generously covers the membership fee for employees at a local gym, so that is one less thing that I have to account for in my monthly budget! However, I didn't find that the fitness classes at my new gym were a great place to meet friends. Most of the ladies in the classes I went to were much older than I am, or kind of kept to themselves. It wasn't a super social environment. Burlington does have a Pure Barre studio, as well as a spin studio which I've heard is popular with young women in the area... but I just can't justify spending money to go to either of those places when my work is paying for a gym membership somewhere else!
    Will I try this again somewhere else? Sure, why not! Just because it didn't work for me here in Vermont doesn't mean it won't work elsewhere. If the next place I work for doesn't cover my gym membership again, I'll probably try and go to some "trendier" fitness studios - haha!

     4. BUMBLE BFF: This is still a fairly new addition to the popular Bumble dating app, but I'm all for this added feature! Bumble BFF works very similar to the dating version of Bumble, where you make your own profile, and then swipe on others. Except with BFF, instead of swiping on boys, you're swiping on potential girl BFFs! It's really a great idea, and I'm surprised that a concept like this wasn't created sooner. I'm actually such a fan of this concept that I've done a sponsored post promoting it on Instagram before. I've met so many of my great friends already through the internet with blogging, and I've also tried my fair share of dating apps, so I'm definitely all about meeting people online. A lot of my girlfriends in Charlotte were using and having success with BFF around the time that I left there, so I couldn't wait to give it a try in Vermont!
      Did this work for me in Vermont? One big fat NOPE! I'm still kind of disappointed it didn't. I really gave this one a try. I went on multiple Bumble BFF "friend dates" this spring and summer. I just didn't feel a friend-type connection with any of the girls I met. BFF really is a lot like dating Bumble, you either feel a connection or you don't! The problem with using Bumble BFF in such a rural area like Vermont is that your options of people to swipe on are super limited. Seriously- I would swipe left on like three girls, then be out of options for a WEEK. It was pretty brutal. So then I just started swiping yes to everyone, whether we had anything in common or not, and meeting up with girls just because I was lonely and wanted more friends. And those meet-ups were usually just awkward. I finally just deleted BFF because it was seriously bumming me out in Vermont!
      Will I try this again somewhere else? Yes! Like I said- I think the Bumble BFF idea is a great concept, and where I have friends in Charlotte who've had success with it, I know that it absolutely does work. I think though it really works the best in major cities. If I find myself living in a big metro area soon, I might definitely give this a try again!

     5. MEETUP.COM: This is something that my mom encouraged me to join after I was really struggling in my first couple months up here (this is before I found the church that I now attend). My mom is an artist and photographer, and she's actually in a photography group that she found through, which she loves attending! Since she has had a positive experience with it, she told me about the website, and it was definitely worth looking into. is a website where people in the same local area can network or form groups based on shared mutual interests. The goal of the groups is the quite literally "meet up," either on a monthly or weekly basis, so that you can get to know others in your area. I gave this a try in my first couple months in Vermont, and looked for groups that matched my hobbies and interests outside of work. (as I didn't see any Vermont meet-ups for "radio" or "blogging.")
      Did this work for me in Vermont? NOOOO. This was the biggest no out of anything on here probably, lol! So Vermont didn't have a lot of meet-ups that applied to my age group and interests. I did join a couple of the groups online for 20 somethings or people who had recently moved to the Burlington area, but I still didn't get a very good feeling about any of them. One of the women's groups that I joined was having a meet-up at a local restaurant one evening so I decided to go. I actually showed up about 10 minutes late... and there was NO SIGN of anyone there from the meet-up! And like 15 people had said they were going. I confirmed that I was at the correct restaurant from the Meetup app, and then I asked the restaurant staff if they knew of a larger group coming in and they said they'd heard nothing about it. I'm still not really sure what all happened with that, but it was kind of an awkward experience and really discouraged me from using the platform again. Especially since none of the groups matched my interests *too much.*
     Will I try this again somewhere else? No. But I suppose I wouldn't rule it out as a last resort! Maybe in a really big city where there are a lot of specific niche groups for tons of interests and more groups for 20 somethings, I might consider it. But I'd probably try everything else on here first- haha.

     6. YOUNG PROFESSIONALS: Most US cities, both large and small, have Young Professionals groups. I'll explain in the next section about how I wasn't able to do this in Vermont, but since I haven't actually been in a YP group myself, I asked my blogging bestie Dana from Seersucker Sass to help explain! She's been involved with her local YP group for a few years, and even serves on the board. In Dana's words, "Young Professional networks help YPs find a sense of belonging in a community. Organizations will differ by community, but most provide members with social, volunteer, and professional development opportunities." Thank you Dana for helping to explain more about it- you're the best!! From my understanding about when I looked into the Charlotte one last year, Young Professionals groups are co-ed organizations, and sometimes run through the city's Chamber.
      Did this work for me in Vermont? Nope. I found the website for the Burlington YP group, and made a few attempts to contact the person listed as the president after I moved here. I never heard back. I also noticed that the website was pretty vague and hadn't been updated in quite a long time... so I'm not sure how active the group up here even is! It's something that I had meant to follow back up on this fall, but then my work schedule changed... and honestly I wasn't that impressed about what I found on it this spring.
      Will I try this again somewhere else? Most definitely! Young Professionals is absolutely something I want to be involved with in my 20s!!

      7. JUNIOR LEAGUE: The Association of Junior Leagues, International is a non-profit, international organization for women, with almost 300 chapters in four countries! In simple terms, Junior League is kind of a like a sorority for adult women, except its focus is mainly on philanthropic work. I first became aware of Junior League's presence when I lived in the South, as their Charlotte headquarters were close to my university, and they were pretty prominent in the city with their community efforts. Had I stayed in Charlotte or the South in general, this is definitely something that I would have wanted to get involved in. I didn't realize that the Junior League actually had chapters all throughout the country and not just in the South, so I was ecstatic to find that there was a chapter even in Vermont! Philanthropy was one of my favorite things about joining Greek Life in college, and Junior League seemed like a great way to meet like-minded, community and career focused women in my new state. It's also similar to Greek Life in that members pay annual dues, and attend regular meetings, in addition to the philanthropic work. I attended a new member recruitment event for the Vermont chapter in August.
      Did this work for me in Vermont? Really sadly, it did not. I loved attending the new member recruitment event and was SO hoping to join, but this was unfortunately around the time that my work hours changed. With my radio schedule changes that came in August, I work too late in the evenings to attend the Junior League meetings. I am so bummed this didn't work out for me in Vermont, as I think it could have really opened the doors to some new friends and also some great volunteering opportunities.
      Will I try this again somewhere else? YES!! As I said, I loved learning more about Junior League when I attended their new member event, and I am so, so hoping to be able to join wherever I move to next! Truly an amazing women's organization.

     8. SORORITY ALUMNI GROUPS: Sorority girls- you must know the saying "It's not four years, it's for life!" This of course refers to the fact that once you're a sister of a sorority, sisterhood doesn't end on college graduation day. There are lots of opportunities to become involved with your sisterhood in post-grad life. Lots of them are volunteer opportunities related to working with collegiate chapters. You can serve as an advisor to a chapter, or volunteer with events like sorority recruitment at a college, if a chapter of your sorority needs extra volunteers. If you're looking to meet other post-grad sisters, I'm pretty sure that all Panhellenic sororities have alumni associations, with various chapters in cities and states across the country! My sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, had a pretty active alumni group back in Charlotte. I was pretty busy last year between broadcasting school, blogging, interning, and job applications, so I didn't have a lot of time to go to their events. But I was really hoping to get involved with ADPi again- either as a chapter advisor or with an alumni group when I moved!
     Did this work for me in Vermont? Nope. I quickly learned that Vermont didn't have an alumni organization for ADPi. While it isn't too hard to start an alumni organization for your sorority, it is a time commitment, and where I have a demanding day job and didn't know how long I'll be in Vermont, I didn't find that this would be the wisest thing for me to get involved in starting. I thought that it might be better for me to get involved with the collegiate ADPi chapter that is here in Burlington at the University of Vermont. I reached out to them both through my former ADPi chapter advisor in Charlotte, and also through an ADPi alum that I met here in Vermont who had previously served as an advisor. Unfortunately, neither effort lead to anything, and I ended up finding out that they didn't need any advisors for this school year.
      Will I try this again somewhere else? Yes! I really would love to be involved in an alumni group for ADPi, and hopefully get to serve as a chapter advisor someday as well. I guess Vermont just wasn't the right timing for either of those things.

     9. NEIGHBORS / ROOMMATES: I investigated some roommate situations for my move to Vermont, but after five years of living with roommates both college and post grad in Charlotte, I really wanted to live on my own for a bit (especially since I didn't know anyone in Vermont). Even if you live alone though and don't have a roommate(s) to hang out with, it's still awesome if you live in an apartment or housing development that fosters community! Last year in Charlotte, I had friends in some apartment communities and neighborhoods that regularly planned events for residents. One thing that I definitely do miss about college life is having friends your age in such close proximity with dorm and on-campus life, so I love the idea of being good friends with neighbors.
      Did this work for me in Vermont? No. All of my close-by neighbors are much older than me.... like older than my parents. Lol! The plus side is that my apartment is very quiet and I haven't dealt with any noise issues since I moved in, but the negative of course is that where I ended up living definitely isn't a place to make friends.
      Will I try this again somewhere else? Potentially! Like I said, I love the idea of living in an apartment or housing area that values community building and neighborly relationships, but that wouldn't be the top thing I'd value in finding a place to live (location, price, and amenities would be things I'd consider first, similarly to my search here in Vermont).

     10. BLOGGING: It's no secret that I met some of my favorite people in Charlotte through blogging! What started as a hobby for me during my freshman year of college has become SO much more, and I'm not just talking about the business side of blogging. The friendships that I've formed over the past five years have become irreplaceable and so special! At the time that I was growing my blog, Charlotte really was the place to do that. It's a huge city for blogging (Almost too huge now- I feel like a new fashion blog pops up everyday there now!), and there were always brand events to attend, bloggers to meet for coffee, and local businesses that were open to collaborating. I got to serve as the InfluenceHer Charlotte area Regional Chair for two years, and it was so fun to plan seasonal meet-ups for other IHC bloggers! I am also a member of The Blog Societies, and attended some of their Charlotte area meet-ups as well throughout the years. I always tell girls who ask me for advice about starting a blog that a huge part of blogging is the community, and you truly get back what you put into it! I was excited to see what the blogging community was like back in Northern New England.
     Did this work for me in Vermont? Yes, but differently than Charlotte. A few weeks after I moved here I first met Nicholle from Nicholle Sophia. We first connected via Instagram, and she's a total sweetie!! I've also gotten to meet Rebecca from Caravan Sonnet- I actually have been reading her amazing blog for years, and didn't realize that Rebecca was in drivable distance to meet-up in the Burlington area! It's kind of cool because back when I started blogging, no one that I knew of was doing it in Maine or New Hampshire, but now on Instagram I've seen a few people pop up closer to where I'm originally from! Blogging is slowly but surely spreading to Northern New England. In all honesty though, I seriously miss the amazing community back in Charlotte though, and all of the fun events! I still get PR event invites on a weekly basis to stuff in Charlotte. I think Vermont is YEARS away before stuff like that for bloggers starts happening here.... haha.
     Will I try this again somewhere else? OF COURSE! Seriously I have met some of my best friends through blogging... I can't imagine not connecting with this amazing community in whatever future city I live in!

      11. RISING TIDE SOCIETY: Rising Tide Society is a networking community filled with resources for those who work in the creative or entrepreneurial industries. They sponsor monthly meet-up groups across the country called TuesdaysTogether, in which anyone local in a creative industry is welcome to come and meet and network with other creatives. I knew one of the people who started up the Charlotte TuesdaysTogether group through blogging, and although I never went to many of their events, their Facebook group is actually how I found my former photographer, Deeana! A blogging friend suggested that I join TuesdaysTogether here in Vermont, to see if it might be a good outlet to make new friends. It was a great suggestion, and I went to my first Tuesday meeting this summer. I actually found one of my Vermont photographers, Amanda, through the local group here, so if you're a blogging looking for a photographer, Rising Tide/TuesdaysTogether is a GREAT place to do that!
     Did this work for me in Vermont? Yes and no! I was able to connect with Amanda through TuesdaysTogether, so that's already one huge win! I was able to attend two meetings before my new work schedule prevented me from attending more. I really enjoyed the amazing group of creatives who are in the Burlington group. They were such a friendly and welcoming bunch of people! I was the first blogger to go to a TuesdaysTogether meeting here in Burlington, but I loved hearing about everyone else's jobs in various creative industries like photography, small business ownership, the wedding industry, and more. Similarly to not being able to do Junior League, my new work hours prevented me from going to future meetings, so I haven't been able to keep going.
      Will I try this again somewhere else? Yes. I'd preferably like to get more involved specifically with the blogging community, but Rising Tide Society is a great place to connect with photographers, and I did appreciate how welcoming the group was.

      12. CLASSES (EDUCATIONAL OR FOR FUN): The fun of being in the classroom doesn't have to end after you get your degree! Most community colleges let you sign up for individual classes in subjects that interest you, just to learn about something new. Most towns or cities also offer adult education programs with hobby-type classes (which cost less than community college), which can be a way to learn a new skill and also meet new people. Another place to look for classes if you're into DIYs is at local craft stores! I know that most Michael's and Hobby Lobbies offer things like cake decorating and sewing classes.
      Did this work for me in Vermont? Not something that I tried actually! I looked this fall into doing some crafting or baking classes at Michael's, but the weeknight ones started after I get out of work, which is the problem with a lot of things on this list. I'm definitely not opposed to doing a community college class in a field that interests me in the future, and it does seem like a cool way to meet people. However, going right into 10 months of broadcasting school after graduating college, I needed a bit of a break from traditional school this year! So this wasn't something that interested me a lot for this immediate stage in my life. I looked into local adult education classes, but didn't see too much that interested me.
     Will I try this again somewhere else? I might consider it!


     There you go! My complete guide to everything I can possibly think of to help with making friends in a new place! As you can see, I've definitely put in the time and effort to making friends here in Vermont. Unfortunately, my work schedule changes which happened in August, and the fact that the Burlington area is a very small city in general, both work against me, and I realize that. I'm hoping that wherever I do move to next will provide me with an easier transition to a new social life- but I know I went through the tough experiences that I did here in Vermont this year for a reason! I know that it will make me more grateful for future homes and social experiences, and not to take things for granted.

     If you've moved out-of-state recently, either for work or school, how did you make friends? Did you try these things that I shared, or did I leave something important out? Let me know in the comments!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese