August 16, 2018

Monticello Wine Trail: Veritas Vineyards.

     My summer of visiting local wineries continues! In today's post, I'm taking y'all on a virtual tour of Veritas Vineyards, as well as their summer weekend event Starry Nights. I had no idea what a big deal Starry Nights was in this area... several hundred people (if not over 1000 people- I can be bad at estimating) were there!! I'm not even sure that my pictures do the crowds that attended any justice. 😊












     Pictured above is the Veritas Viognier wine. Since moving to Virginia, I learned the Viognier grapes is actually the state grape! Viognier wine is my favorite type of Virginia wine -it's a sweet and summery white wine, with lots of notes of fruit. The Veritas Vineyards Viognier (try saying that five times fast!) is great.


     Veritas Vineyards is about 30 minutes from downtown Charlottesville, in neighboring Nelson County. It's a family-owned winery, which was founded in 1999. It's located pretty close to Afton Mountain Vineyards, which I featured in my last Monticello Wine Trail post. To find Veritas, you turn onto a long driveway, and are surrounded by fields upon fields of grapes on both sides, until you near the winery itself. It looks quite magical when you arrive! As I mentioned above, I recently attended Starry Nights, which is a monthly summer event hosted at Veritas. Starry Nights are outdoor concerts at the vineyard, featuring great bands. The band that performed this past weekend was The Legwarmers, an 80s cover band that has quite the local following! I'd heard a lot about The Legwarmers around town, so it was great to see them perform. The first couple hours of the event are for mingling, eating and drinking wine, and the latter part of the evening is the concert.  I was generously given two media tickets for the event, and I invited my friend Eden to come with me. We loved the buffet dinner that was served, and enjoyed a relaxing Saturday evening outside, listening to the fun music from The Legwarmers!


     We also checked out the Veritas tasting room when we purchased our wine, and it is gorgeous! If you visit Veritas on a normal day and not for a Starry Nights event, you can sit in the tasting room on the comfortable sofas, outside under a covered table, or on the expansive front porch. This is a larger winery, so it seems perfect to visit if you're looking for one that could accommodate a larger group.


    I really enjoyed visiting Veritas Vineyards and getting to go to Starry Nights! There are so many different local concert series in the summer all around Charlottesville, some free and some ticketed. I've been trying to go to as many of these as possible, and now I can check Starry Nights off!



     Past Monticello Wine Trail Blog posts:





     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese 



   








August 15, 2018

Midweek Ramblings.

Better Together Worship Service


{A look at the amazing worship service that I attended in Downtown Charlottesville this weekend, to mark the one year anniversary of the 2017 riots in the city. More about this below! Follow me on Instagram @miss_alk} 



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




Ramblings:
  • Beautiful words about Waiting: I've followed Nicole Cole's blog for many years- I think since the year I started writing Southern Belle in Training! She is quite a woman of faith, and her posts about Christianity and faith related topics through the years have always been an encouragement to me. Last week, Nicole wrote three posts all on the subject of Waiting. Whether you're waiting to get married, waiting for a child, waiting on a new job, or something else, I know that you will be blessed by these posts!! I only wish she'd written them last year when I was still in Vermont. πŸ˜‰
  • 7 minute challenge: I've been trying to find more creative ideas to mix up my workouts over the past few weeks! I've been getting back into fitness videos, and I really love finding ones that I can do in the comfort of my living room- they're great for days I don't make it to my apartment gym for a full workout! Last Wednesday, I first did this video for a 7-day 7-min fitness challenge. These exercises and stretches kick your butt, and it's been fun to see my stamina get better each day of the week that I've done the video. I want to check out more of Lucy's videos! 
  • Better Together worship service: This weekend, I was blessed to have the opportunity to attend the most amazing event here in Charlottesville. I posted the photo above on my private personal Instagram and my Facebook, with this caption: "One year ago, I was in Vermont, working my usual Saturday/Sunday air shifts in my old studio. In between talk breaks, I was glued to the news online about violent riots happening in a city in Virginia called Charlottesville. 1) I couldn’t believe that type of hatred was so alive and well, and 2) I was mind boggled that as a self-proclaimed geography nerd and someone who had driven through VA many times, I didn’t think I’d heard of Charlottesville Virginia. One year later, and this charming, beautiful, love-filled place in Central Virginia is my home. Tonight I had the honor of attending a worship service in downtown Charlottesville with hundreds (maybe over 1000?) of my Christian brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, from ALL types of Christian churches in Charlottesville. We worshipped and prayed together, and it was one of the most special things I’ve ever seen. THIS is the CVille I’ve fallen in love with- a place where God is living and working."


Weekend Recaps:
  • Last weekend: I hosted Girls' Night at my apartment for several awesome ladies from my church! I can't say enough how amazing my new church community is here in Charlottesville. And the best part is everyone is always down to hang out! 😊 On Saturday I started my day with a great workout in my apartment gym, called both my parents, and then headed to a housewarming party. After that, my friend Eden and I headed to a really fun evening event called Starry Nights at Veritas Vineyards. We had a great time- more on that in tomorrow's blog post! Sunday was church, brunch and sermon discussion after church with friends, and then I attended the Better Together worship service (mentioned above). 
  • This weekend: I am having an Annaliese date on Saturday, which is much overdue! My year in Vermont showed me that I actually really do enjoy spending time in my own company, and that it's important to do that regularly. I'm planning to head out of Charlottesville on Saturday and enjoy a solo day of exploring Virginia and I actually can't wait! I have busy weekends coming up, so it'll be nice to have a solo day. On Sunday, it's my first time hosting the weekly brunch and sermon discussion that my church's young adults group does each week after church. If the weather is nice, I'm hoping to have it outside at my apartment pool! 


Purchases: 
  • My dad kindly ordered me these water shoes! I was considering getting a pair of Chacos for outdoor activities (I think I mentioned this in a recent Midweek Ramblings post), but all in all Chacos are just not my style in the least! Haha. I did need some sort of water shoes though for an upcoming weekend activity, and these fit the bill! I'm normally a size 9 but I ordered an 8.5 after reading sizing reviews, and they fit perfectly.


Wishlist: 
  • I saw these adorable pens featured in another blogger's post this week, and I immediately bookmarked them! SO cute! I am totally a sucker for fun school supplies.
  • Another amazing Amazon find that I bookmarked from another blog post... this mug rack! I have so many mugs that I'm starting to run out of room in their designated kitchen cabinet. I think I need this! 
  • I've had my eye on this pretty bralette for months- and Nordstrom just started carrying it in more colors!
  • Kate Spade has entered the smart watch business, and this one is so different and cute! 
  • A ruffled floral dress that's ideal for late summer, and under $50!



Recipe of the week:



Song of the week: Outlaw by Selena Gomez & the scene. (Lol remember when Selena Gomez had the scene band? TBT!!) This song was never one of Selena's hits, but it was always one of my favorite songs by her. I totally forgot about it and rediscovered it on Spotify last week- isn't that the best feeling? 




On the blog this week: 


     
      xoxo Annaliese











August 14, 2018

What I've Been Watching on Netflix / On Demand This Summer.

     It sounds so cliche I'm sure, but it's the truth that watching TV is one of my favorite ways to de-stress and relax! Summer is one of my favorite times of the year, but one of the few things that I dislike about summer is that almost all of my favorite TV shows are on hiatus. Part of that is good I suppose- as it gives me more free time to do summer activities. But I also really miss my regular shows!

     This summer I've been on the hunt for fun new things to watch, and I've also been enjoying some older favorites. Sharing what I've been watching in my free time this summer- I'd love to hear in the comments if you've seen any of these shows or movies!


Best TV Shows Summer 2018



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





     What TV I've Been Watching: Live TV



  •      TODAY (NBC): I could probably count on one hand the times that I'd seen the TODAY show before I moved to Vermont. When my work hours at my job there switched from being on-air middays to afternoons (last August), I suddenly had a lot more free time at home in the mornings. I started watching TODAY off and on some mornings, but became a religious watcher this winter following Matt Lauer's departure. I love the fact that TODAY is currently a female-lead morning show, and each one of the ladies kill it every morning! Watching TODAY before work just puts me in a great mood, and I sometimes use the stories that I hear about on the show in my radio show later that afternoon! Plus watching TODAY in the summer means that you get to see the amazing performances in the weekly summer concert series!

  •      Megyn Kelly TODAY (NBC): I wasn't too familiar with Megyn or her style of journalism when she worked at Fox for several years. I have however grown to love her NBC show, which airs following the first two hours of TODAY. Megyn starts off each episode with a roundtable discussion with other NBC reporters (or sometimes people in other professions, like lawyers), to discuss the news of the day. It feels like a table of smart friends discussing current events, and I love it! Megyn also brings guests with absolutely amazing personal stories onto her show for interviews in the second half, and I am always mind blown at the types of stories featured on her show. This is one that I'd love to get tickets for the next time I'm in NYC! 

  •      Live! With Kelly and Ryan (Check local listings): This was my favorite daily show to watch in Vermont!! Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest have such fun chemistry as hosts. I want to be BFFs with Kelly- she is just the cutest and funniest person. My cable in Vermont aired NBC morning programming at slightly different times, so I used to be able to watch all of Kelly and Ryan before work. Now in Virginia I usually leave for work about 20 minutes into the show, but most weekdays now I still try and catch their fun opening monologue! 

  •     Younger (TV Land): This is the only scripted show I watch that has new episodes in the summer, instead of the traditional TV season. Younger is such a guilty pleasure show, and I love it. It's currently in season five. Sutton Foster stars as Liza Miller, a 40 something recently divorced New Jersey woman, who finds that getting back in the workforce after being out of it for years is harder than she anticipated. She lies about her age on a resume to get a job in NYC, and the TV show follows her city adventures playing the role of a late 20s single girl. Hilary Duff also stars in Younger as Liza's coworker and friend Kelsey! 



     What TV I've Been Watching: Streaming


  •     Friends (Netflix): Okay I know I'm the absolute last person on earth to watch Friends in full, but I'm committed to doing it! I started watching the first season a couple years ago when it first went on Netflix.... don't hate me but I just couldn't get into it! This winter I decided to pick back up with Friends and see if it got better further along. I'm currently in season four- it's definitely better now than it was at the beginning... but I still don't know if I love it? I'm a huge HIMYM fan and I keep comparing the humor in Friends to that, so maybe that's the problem. Either way I do want to eventually finish this. I put Friends on a lot when I'm working on my computer- it's a good "background noise" show.

  •      Dynasty (CW, on Netflix): This is a newer CW drama that finally went on Netflix! I've always enjoyed the CW shows that aren't superhero or supernaturally based, so I thought I'd give this one a try. It has somewhat similar vibes to Gossip Girl, in that it follows characters that are extremely rich, and there is a lot of drama thrown in as well. I love the fashion and costuming in Dynasty. The two female leads, Crystal and Fallon, always have stunning outfits! As far as the show itself, I'm about halfway through season one and still can't decide if I like it. Maybe it's like Friends and I have to keep going? I'll probably finish the first season eventually in my free time, but it would have to get a lot better for me to watch it live this fall. 

  •     Teachers (TV Land, On Demand): This is another TV Land comedy, and the third season is currently airing on Tuesday nights following Younger. I'd seen the commercials for this show so many times when watching Younger, so I finally decided to give it a try when I saw the entire show was available with Xfinity On Demand. I finished the first season, and got about halfway through the second before I gave up on it. Teachers is a sitcom that follows the lives in and out of the classroom of six elementary school teachers. There were some really funny moments in season one (I love the "Sex Ed" episode especially), but in season two I felt that the plot lines and jokes were getting too absurd and unrealistic, so I stopped watching.

  •      Superstore (NBC, On Demand): I'd been wanting to see Superstore pretty much since it premiered, but I missed the first several episodes of the show, and I hate to start watching sitcoms midway through. So I waited patiently for it to go On Demand or a streaming platform. The complete series so far finally went on Xfinity On Demand this summer!! So far I'm about halfway through season one and I LOVE THIS SHOW!!! Every episode that I've seen so far makes me laugh so hard that I cry. I can't wait to finish season one, and I hope the show stays good! 

  •      It Takes a Church (Game Show Network, on Netflix): Oh man... if you're having a Girls' Night anytime soon, this is a MUST-WATCH! I feel like this would be an odd show to watch alone, but it's made to be watched in groups. It Takes a Church is the Christian version of The Bachelorette! Christian pop star Natalie Grant serves as the host, and each episode is stand-alone and set in a different church community around the country. (The first episode is actually set in Charlotte, although I wasn't familiar with the church it was set at.) I don't want to spoil a lot of the magic of this absolutely ridiculous show, but I'll just tell you this. Each episode's "Bachelorette" is surprised by her church congregation and nominated to be on the show in the middle of a church service (truth), trade out Fantasy Suite Dates.... for very chaperoned and awkward group dates, and the pastor of the church is always very involved in deciding which Bachelors stay and which leave. This show is a train wreck. I watched a random episode during a Girl's Night last week and we were all laughing so hard that we cried! 


     What Movies I've Been Watching: Theaters


  • Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: This movie was one of the biggest delights of my summer! I've seen the first Mamma Mia! a couple of times throughout the years, and where I enjoyed it, I wouldn't say it was one of my all-time favorite movies. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again might have just changed that. I absolutely loved the sequel, and I thought the music was much better in this movie! This is truly the most delightful film to see on the big screen, and if you haven't seen it yet, try and catch it before it leaves!

  • Crazy Rich Asians: Okay technically this doesn't premiere until later in the week, but I already have my ticket pre-purchased so I'm counting this anyways. I know it's going to be amazing! The Crazy Rich Asians trilogy were some of my favorite reads of 2018, and I am just over the top excited for this movie to come out. 


      What Movies I've Been Watching: Streaming


  •      Ibiza (on Netflix): I haven't seen a ton of Netflix original movies, and I wanted to try a couple this summer. I saw the preview for Ibiza, and it looked like a cute film about a girls' trip to Europe. I'm not even sure I made it halfway through before turning it off. This movie is filled with over the top sexual content and drug references and use. I don't mind mature content if it makes sense with a plot, but this movie seemed like it added all of these things solely for shock value. Not a fan. 

  •      Set It Up (on Netflix): I enjoyed this much more than Ibiza (and I did watch it all the way through!). Set It Up is a 2018 millennial centric romcom, made exclusively for Netflix. It tells the story of Harper and Charlie, two 20 something NYC workers, struggling to advance in their careers due to having terrible bosses. Harper and Charlie meet by chance one night, and get the idea to try and set up their bosses on dates. Their plan doesn't exactly go as they'd like, but the ending of the movie is cute. 

 

     If you have any watching recommendations for me, please let me know! Comedies and sitcoms are my favorite types of shows to watch (I'm not into any shows that are too scary or violent), but I'm open to watching other things as well!




      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese 




August 13, 2018

Relationship Monday: How I Fell In Love With...Being Single.

     Relationship Monday is back!! For a couple years now I've loved writing these posts, however I only write them when inspiration for relationship-related topics strikes. Sometimes I'll write a few in a short amount of time, and other times it's months and months before I feel inspired to talk about relationships, dating and singleness on my blog. I'm pretty sure the last time I wrote one of these was this blog post written last winter, when I still lived in Vermont!


     Anyways, my inspiration as struck yet again, and I'm thrilled to be sharing some thoughts from my heart with y'all today. Ready to find out how my contentment with single life went from 0 to 100? Let's go!




How To Love Being Single!



   
   My Backstory: 


     My romantic life could literally be a TV show or movie plot. If I count the number of people that have told me over the years that I need to write book about the crazy stories I have related to this....good grief. Honestly so many people have told me that- I've lost count by now! Over the years I've learned to start laughing more and stressing less about the weird dating situations that I've been in (or.... er... "interesting" guys I've been on dates with), but there was a time that I didn't laugh so much and I took everything seriously. I've said this before on my blog, but I was always the girl a few years ago who wanted a Mrs. Degree in college. In high school, I really thought that I would meet the love of my life on a college campus, and have a ring on a certain finger by college graduation. Freshman year went by, than sophomore year, then junior year, and finally senior year... not only did I not have a ring, but I didn't even have a boyfriend!


     Sometimes I wish that I could re-do parts of my college years, solely for the reason that I would be content in the season of life God had me in then, and spend less time jealous and upset. I spent a lot of my college years feeling less-than, because I didn't have a serious relationship. A lot of my college friends were dating people seriously, and instead of being happy for them, I was secretly jealous, and would constantly play the comparison game. Sometimes I wonder if the reason a relationship didn't work out for me in college was because guys that I was interested in during those years got the vibe that I wasn't very mature at the time about dating and things like that! Who knows. I would also stress and get mad over the fact that very few guys at my university shared my Christian beliefs in regard to dating. Hookup culture ran rampant, and it always seemed like the few "good guys" there already were in relationships- another thing for me to be bitter about!


     Over the past couple years since I graduated school, I began to throw myself more into blogging and my radio career. Living on a small college campus (which I did all four years) can be a little weird in that sometimes you can start to feel like college life is the only life that you'll have, and you get caught up in the bubble. Being out in the real world and also moving out of state alone (twice!) was amazing for me to find confidence as a single woman.



      How I Became In Love With Being Single:


      Several different ways! And my journey to finding this type of contentment was not an overnight thing by any means. It took years of self-growth, prayer to God, making a some lifestyle changes, and a few bad dates over the years thrown in there as well.



  • Actually TRUSTING in God's Plan, and not just saying that as a cliche: My oh my, this one is easier said than done! I know I'm not alone in saying that, and a lot of you can probably relate. But there is soooooo much truth to be found in this. Christians need to not only walk the walk, but talk the talk. If we're saying that we believe in the plan God has for our lives (including our romantic relationships), we have to actually BELIEVE that!! You won't want to be throwing singleness pity parties if you wholeheartedly believe that the God of the universe has a perfect plan for your life. You might not see the end results you specifically want, and it might take months, years, even decades to get anywhere near the dreams of your heart. But God truly does have a reason for everything, even seasons of singleness. I am going to be honest with you- I used to really struggle in trusting in God's plans. Especially with my dating life/future husband, but really in all aspects. Last year when I lived in Vermont, my anxiety was at a high and I was struggling with mild depression as well. It was a season of feeling isolated, not liking the area I lived in, and also not enjoying my first job. Just bad feelings all around. I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to provide me a new opportunity in a new state when my Vermont lease ended.... and sure enough, He did! Life in Charlottesville Virginia has been such a redeeming and sweet season so far. Gods plans were far better than my own in terms of moving and my career, and I've seen that firsthand! How could I not trust him completely with my love life after that?

  • Focusing on aspects of my life that I can control: I'm Type A, and I'm very big on feeling like I'm in control of my life. Obviously life is life though, and there are always things you can't control. (I.e. WHEN FALLING IN LOVE / MEETING SOMEONE AMAZING HAPPENS) One way that I've been better able to find contentment in my single life is to focus wholeheartedly on things that I can control! Such as; how I spend my time outside of work, planning my finances, hobbies, etc etc. As a single woman, I don't answer to anyone, and nor do I have to ask permission of a significant other for living my life. Lots of parts of my life right now are mine and mine only, and realizing that was very liberating!

  • Remembering the grass isn't always greener in terms of relationships or marriage: Y'all... let's stop idolizing marriage. It's not perfect... at all. Yes, marriage is a beautiful and God-created thing. But it's not something to idolize or worship more than God Himself. Think for a second about the realities of marriage or being in a serious relationship. You have to prioritize someone else as much as yourself. You have a second family, and there are a lot of familial obligations that will come along with that. There will be disagreements- as not even the happiest relationships are without those. You have to think about someone else's schedule when trying to organize yours. Marriage is an awesome thing with the right person and in God's timing, but it's not the end-all be-all! Being single can be liberating in a lot of ways, and stopping idolizing marriage and serious relationships can get you in the right mindset. 

  • Planning your future around yourself, not others: Want to vacation in an exotic country someday? Do it! Want to change career paths? Do it! Want to make one of your personal dreams a reality? Do it!! Now is the time to plan your future and make things happen- you don't need to wait on a significant other to do it! In fact- from what I've observed from friends and people in my life, significant others usually make it harder to do all of this. 

  • Surrounding myself with strong and independent single women: It's easy to feel down about being single if everyone in your life is in a serious relationship! I mentioned earlier in this blog post that in college I felt like I constantly had to compare being single to my friends in serious relationships. While part of that responsibility does lie on me and my attitude, there is valid merit in the fact that naturally it's hard to be content in one season of life when it feels like everyone else in your life is in another! In adulthood, I've started prioritizing friendships with other single women. It doesn't mean that I'm not friends with people in relationships, it just means that I have more of an equal balance of women in similar life places to mine, which is really healthy. There are so many women out there who are content in their faith and being single- I LOVE that and it's so inspiring to me! 

  • Getting off dating apps: There's going to be a whole blog post about this coming later this year. The short story though: quitting dating apps is one of the healthiest and best things I've ever done for myself! I don't necessarily regret trying them (I think I would've regretted it if I'd never tried it), however I should have quit them back in 2015 when I started, not 2017. Again- more on this to come in a few months.... but for now I'll just say that being on apps like Tinder and Bumble just reiterated in my head that I wasn't good enough as a single person, and I needed to keep swiping and swiping to find some sort of contentment. (Which is a total LIE!)

  • Having lower expectations for first dates: Yes, I'm in love with being single right now, but it doesn't mean that I'm saying no to dating either!! It's all about God's timing and finding the right guy naturally. I have been on lots of dates since I quit dating apps last year! And the best mindset to go into a first date with is not to be too attached or have many expectations. Chances are, this guy isn't your soulmate. (None of the guys I've been on first dates with in the last year have been mine!) And you know what? That's okay! Dating as a 20 something is natural and supposed to happen. With each first date, I do learn more about myself, and more about the type of guy I'm looking for. Lately with first dates I've been focused on just having fun and being relaxed and enjoying the moment!! All that serious stuff can come out later if it's the right person.

  • Loving on my friends instead of a significant other: Don't have a Valentine? Make them for your friends and family! Don't have a Friday date night? Plan a Girls' Night Out! Don't have anyone to celebrate an anniversary with? Celebrate Friend-iversaries with your besties! Not having a boyfriend or husband doesn't mean that there should be a lack of love in your life- channel that love in other ways! 

  • Build distance with friends and family who make you feel less than because of your relationship status: We all know that person.... it might be a friend or family member, maybe even a coworker or someone at church. They ask the same questions "Anyone new in your life? Dating anyone? Any special guys?" Or this person might be a girlfriend of yours that's obsessed with boys. She might only ever want to talk about boy advice and drama, and she ditches you every time she has a new relationship. I say DITCH all of these people!! Have people in your life that build you up as a single woman, not someone who is less than or unworthy until she has a man in her life.

  • Becoming involved in the church: Let me first say that not all churches do a great job at loving on their single adults... which is sad. You'd think in 2018 that churches would do a great job of this! But not all do. The good news is though that there are some churches that are wonderfully welcoming to single adults, and they provide tons of things to get involved with. Since moving to Charlottesville and joining a church here, I've gotten involved with a women's bible study during the school year, a summer co-ed bible study, and have done numerous service projects and also made tons of friends, with both guys and girls! My church family lifts me up and makes me feel like the best version of myself, while also driving me closer to the Lord! The best part is that a lot of my new friends are single as well, so they're also there to have those serious conversations when you are feeling down and wishing you had a significant other.

  • Serving others instead of throwing a pity party: The more time that I spend helping others, the more content I feel as a woman. Being single in my 20s and without major family or household obligations gives me so much time to help others! I can spend my weekends doing service projects with my church. I'm hoping to get even more involved in community work this fall as I continue to settle in to Charlottesville, and hopefully do some service outside of my church as well. Serving others is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself for your heart and well-being! (Plus, when I do date, I think it's a very attractive quality to be with a man who values service! I'm sure the type of guys I'd be interested would think the same about women prioritizing service while single.) 

  • Remembering what God says about singleness: While some churches unfortunately might treat being single as a burden, God himself does not! In fact, He calls certain people to a lifetime of singleness, and to do it for him. NOWHERE in the bible does God promise everyone a husband or wife! I repeat, nowhere. The bible does have many verses about the beauty of marriage, but this is not everyone's life plan, or it might not be your life plan right here and now. In moments I struggle with being single, I turn for comfort in scripture. A key bible passage on singleness is 1 Corinthians Chapter 7, which is one of Paul's letters. 




      Okay- I think this might have been one of my longest blog posts in awhile!! But I hope you enjoyed. My mindset on being single has completely changed from the time that I graduated college, and I am so thankful to be in such a happy season of life. Would love to hear your thoughts!




      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese 

August 9, 2018

My Top Tips For Working Full-Time and Blogging.

     Today's blog post is almost certainly the one that I've gotten the most requests for over the past couple of years! A lot of you are curious as to how I balance my full-time day job in radio, as well as running Southern Belle in Training blog and its social media channels. In today's blog post I'm going to try and break down my blogging goals, time management tools, and general thoughts about working and blogging- I hope this post answers a lot of the questions that you might have on this topic!


Blogging and Working Full Time: How to Do It!


Photo by Melissa Lynn Images - originally used in this blog post



    My Blogging Backstory: 


     Before launching into all of the details about how I currently manage both blogging and my day job, let's back up to the history of Southern Belle in Training. I this blog on my 18th birthday, just a couple weeks after I began my freshman year of college (Heyyyy six year blogiversary next month!). For the six months of blogging, I didn't post that regularly at all. It definitely took a backseat to my academic responsibilities and extracurricular involvements. I ended up getting pretty sick in the spring semester of my freshman year of college, and I had to miss about 3 weeks of school. During all of my bedrest, I started posting on my blog more regularly...and I've pretty much never stopped since then! I guess having all of the extra time from being sick that semester allowed me to invest a bit more in my blog, and view it more seriously. Once I was back into my regular school schedule and feeling well again, I made a deliberate choice to continue to make posting on my blog 3-5x times a week apart of my routine. And I've never stopped!! My current posting schedule is 4x a week, Mon-Thurs. Occasionally I will share a Friday or Saturday post for something like a large sale event. 


     I had an entire blog post about this earlier this year, but my goal with blogging has never been to make it my full-time career. I would totally be lying to you if I said it was! However, blogging will always be my creative outlet, and for the past few years I have been working hard to monetize my blog and make it into a steady hustle income. If I'm going to make money off of this blog, full-time blogging or not, I have to hold myself to a high standard with content. I have to produce it regularly on a schedule, and have high quality writing and imagery to engage my audience. There's a lot of things in my life that I've never seen myself as a perfectionist at (i.e. math classes in high school), but blogging has always been something that I've wanted to hold myself to a high standard with. Not an unreasonable standard- I think I've always been fairly realistic with blogging goals and how achievable they'd be based on the fact that I don't do this full time. 




     Tips for blogging and working full-time: 


     In the previous paragraph, I said that to be successful at both blogging and working full time, you have to hold yourself to a high standard, but not an unreasonable standard. I believe this is so important that I'm saying it again! Here are some things that I've become aware of after doing this for awhile now:

  • Realize you won't be able to say yes to everything: Your blog is not your #1 priority. Your day job is!! That is where the majority of your income is coming from, as well as important things like health benefits and a 401k, etc. There will be weeks that you have to put in more hours than normal at your day job, or weeks where you're just plain stressed at work, and that has to come first. There will also be blogging campaigns or event invitations that you have to decline because you can't do it all. I'm guessing that you don't have unlimited PTO, so the majority of your weekdays each year won't be spent traveling for your blog. Once you accept this fact as reality, it becomes a lot less stressful to think about balancing both! When I receive a potential sponsored opportunity, I always ask the brand or PR firm for as much info as they can provide up front about the expectations of the campaign, so that I can have a clear picture on if I can take this on and not feel super stressed with work as well. 

  • An editorial calendar isn't an option, it's a must: I had a planner for my blog during my last year of college, but I didn't start fully utilizing an editorial calendar until my first year after college (when I was in broadcasting school, interning at a radio station, and also working retail- talk about busy!). I had to find a system that worked well for me, and mine is using a digital calendar instead of a physical agenda. I use iCal and I love how it syncs from my Macbook to my iPhone so effortlessly. Although I don't use this for my blog, I've also heard great things about Google Calendar! If you're not using an editorial calendar right now, DO THIS ASAP!!! And if you are using one but not religiously, start making it more of a priority to plan out what you'll be posting on your blog more in advance. I always shoot for having four weeks ahead planned with which posts will be on which days, and at the very minimum, two weeks! (I also use a feed planning app for Instagram which I try and do 4-5 days in advance.)

  • Shoot photography (or video) content well in advance: It is the worst feeling in the world to have a blog post that you need to get up, but to realize you've run out of time to properly capture the visual content to accompany it. Yikes! For the past couple years, I've been shooting with a photographer at least once a month, sometimes twice a month if I have a lot of sponsored content to get to. I look at my editorial calendar before my shoots to make sure that I'll be capturing not only fashion content for scheduled posts, but also "stock photo" type pictures that I'll need (pictures like the one I'm using in today's blog post of me with my laptop for example!). I still have occasional situations where I have last minute photo needs and have to ask a friend to help me out, but generally speaking I like to work a few weeks out on photo content as well as writing. 

  • Set aside blog office hours each week: When do you find that you're the most productive for working on your blog after work? You might be the type who likes to jump right into it when getting home from work to keep the productivity streak going. You might be like me and prefer to wake up early and get some blog posts written or tasks done before heading to work (I love working at my desk to the background noise of the Today Show and Megyn Kelly Today!). Or, you might like to keep your weekdays focused on your day job and spend your weekends working on your blog. Whichever your prime time is, stick to it and make "blog office hours" for yourself! Mine are early in the mornings before work. I try and keep at least two weekday mornings set aside just for blogging (sometimes I do have plans in the morning before work or go to the gym). I also sometimes work on posts and other blogging duties on weeknights after dinner between 8-10 pm. I hate staying up late to finish a blog post though- so I try and get writing done earlier in the days and save social media tasks for evenings. 

  • Make realistic blogging goals: I'm all about goal setting! I love working towards a personal achievement, and the feeling of knowing that hard work paid off is amazing. When setting blogging goals while working full time, it's important to be realistic about the types of goals that you're making! If consistency with posting is a challenge for you with your schedule, try setting the goal of two blog posts a week for the next month. Going from barely posting to setting a goal of six posts a week? Probably not going to happen, and you'll give up from feeling overwhelmed. I set a few personal goals for Southern Belle in Training for 2018 this winter, and by late summer I've had to realize that a couple of them won't happen this year. I have a very different lifestyle this year than I did last year in Vermont, so I've had to make adjustments to them. And it's totally okay that I've had to readjust a couple things- moving from Vermont to Virginia was a huge life change in all aspects of my life, so naturally that would affect my blog as well.

  • Use your lunch break or down time at work for blogging tasks: Hey hey- I'm doing this right now and finishing up this blog post with a cup of tea by me on my desk at work! You'd be amazed at how many things you can accomplish for your blog during your lunch break at work. It could be finishing a post like I am right now, tackling some Instagram engagement, linking fashion items in rewardStyle, catching up on Pinterest, scheduling tweets, etc etc. The possibilities are endless! Most of you know that I work full-time as a radio personality for a country station. I'm on-air in the afternoons, and my show is on from 2-7. Usually by 5pm I have tackled all of my other duties, (commercial production, work social media, everything else I do in a normal day!), so I have the last hour to myself, minus my on-air talk breaks. I often tackle blog tasks in this hour as well. DO NOT forgo important work responsibilities to work on your blog- but if your day does have some downtime built in, take advantage of that!

  • Take a true vacation at least once a year: I might be free from my radio responsibilities when I use time off to travel, but blogging and social media never sleeps! This past winter, I took a four day trip to visit a friend and I did a blog and social media break during those days, so it was a true vacation. It was SO needed! I came back feeling like I had so much inspiration. While you might treat some travel as work travel for producing blog content, I think it's really healthy to do at least one trip a year free of work from both your blog and day job! 



     These are my best tips for how I balance it all. I don't consider myself to be an expert in time management at all, and I need to stress that! It's totally a learning process. In college I really sucked at managing my time well, since every semester my schedule changed, and a lot of last minute stuff happens in college as well. I personally love having a day job now with regular M-F hours, and I think it's easier to blog regularly now in the working world than it was in college!



     I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post- especially from my fellow girl bosses who kill it at both a day job and blogging regularly! Do y'all use the same tips I do? 




      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese 



     












August 8, 2018

Midweek Ramblings.




{This Lilly Pulitzer outfit will be on my blog later this month! Follow me on Instagram @miss_alk


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




Ramblings:
  • Help and prayers for the Robson family: This is one of the saddest things I've ever shared in a Midweek Ramblings post, but I wanted to let y'all know in case you missed this update on April's Instagram over the weekend, or aren't familiar with her blog. Sweet April and her family live in Charlotte, NC, and she's been running a fabulous lifestyle blog for years now! I started following her about five years ago, when her blog was called A. Liz Adventures (it's now called A Smidge of This). April also sells LipSense and we collaborated for a couple fun posts last year. Her blog has been such an encouragement to me over the past few years, so I was devastated to hear this news. April's middle child, sweet toddler Charlotte, was diagnosed with a terminal and incurable illness last week. I can't even imagine the pain that the family is going through, and the medical bills for Charlotte's care will be exorbitant. There is a GoFundMe page for the family- if you've followed April for awhile (or just want to love on the family), I highly encourage you to donate! 
  • Dollar Tree Cleaning Haul: I'm not going to include this in my "Purchases" section of this post because I don't think anyone wants to hear me ramble about buying a bunch of cleaning products and supplies- but I did still want to put this in this week's Midweek Ramblings post anyways! Y'all- I had no idea that you could find such cheap cleaning stuff at the Dollar Tree! I've really only shopped there for holiday decor and greeting cards in the past, but there is SO MUCH good stuff to be found. I bought name brand dish soap for $1, as well as a ton of other cleaning supplies that I needed to replenish at home. I saved so much more money from Walmart (where I normally buy cleaning stuff), and it's ridiculous to compare my receipt to if I'd bought those same items at a store like Target or a local grocery chain. Dollar Tree has me converted now for cleaning supplies! I might work on a blog post soon of things I've started to buy there. 
  • Excited for Labor Day Weekend: Apologies in advance because I probably won't be shutting up about this anytime soon, but we are now less than a month away until I get to go back to one of my very favorite cities- my beloved Charlotte, NC! I will be visiting for the long weekend for Labor Day this year, and getting to celebrate my birthday a little early with my dear friends that still live there. True life: if I think about the upcoming trip in detail for a few minutes I will start crying because I am just SO EXCITED to go back to Charlotte! Did I mention that I CAN'T WAIT?! (I warned you I'd be annoying.) Minus a quick airport layover, this will be my first trip back since I moved in April 2017.
  • New Name for Midweek Ramblings: I've decided to start calling these weekly Wednesday posts simply "Midweek Ramblings" - instead of "Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist." I think just saying Midweek Ramblings sums up all of the different categories- and it's so much less to type! Lol.


Purchases:
  • It's one of my dear friend's birthdays in a few weeks, and I splurged on matching gifts for both of us! I'm not going to link them in today's post in case she's reading this. πŸ˜‰But I can share what it was in a few weeks. 
  • Speaking of my trip to Charlotte... this crazy and over the top jumpsuit is currently on its way to me. Is it very extra? Yes. Will it be ideal for wearing to celebrate my birthday in my favorite city with my favorite people? HECK YES!


Wishlist: 
  • A darling pink top that comes in a couple other colors and is under $20!
  • This pair of mules are adorable. They're such feminine shoes and I'd love to add them to my fall wardrobe. 
  • Kind of can't believe I'm admitting this on my blog- but these Chacos are officially on my wishlist! I've done a lot of outdoor activities with new friends in Charlottesville this summer, and most of the girls (and guys) I hang out with have at least one pair of these. They're such practical summer outdoor shoes- especially for water activities! 
  • Okay third shoe wishlist item of this post- but I've had my eye on these Valentino dupe heels for a long time! I might actually have to order them soon as a birthday or Christmas gift to myself. They look just like the real deal! 
  • I've been recently cleaning out my entire wardrobe, and while organizing my pajamas dresser drawers I came to the conclusion that I need some cute pajamas in my life ASAP! I have a few cute winter sets, but for summer I live in old oversized t-shirts, and that needs to end! This little summery pajama set is adorable. 


Recipe of the week: Apple Crisp Oatmeal Squares from chocolatexdiaries.  I shared in last week's Midweek Ramblings that I've been looking for more healthy breakfast recipes to make. Over the weekend I tried making these healthy Apple Crisp Oatmeal Squares! The topping is absolutely delicious on them. They really are more like baked oatmeal squares than traditional apple crisp, but still a fun and healthy-ish breakfast item.



Song of the week: Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden. Throwing it back to the 90s this week y'all! I have loved 90s pop duo Savage Garden for years and years but lately in the mornings before work I've been listening to a lot of their songs on Spotify. Truly Madly Deeply is just so good- ah!! What a precious and happy love song.


On the blog this week: 





     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese 



August 7, 2018

MEET MY PIGEONS!!!

     If you've watched my Instagram Stories anytime in the last few months, or are my friend on my personal Facebook, you have probably been cordially introduced to the family that I lovingly refer to as my apartment balcony subletters... aka the world's cutest and most entertaining pigeon family! I honestly never thought much at all about pigeons in my first 23 and a half years of life, but since April 2018 I have been readily invested in anything to do with this family of birds that has made my balcony their home. So without further ado, the Southern Belle in Training blog post introduction to my new friends!






     April 2018:

     Sometime between the night of April 12th and the morning of April 14th, 2018, a mom and dad pigeon arrived on the balcony of my Charlottesville apartment and made a nest. I remember reading on the balcony after work on the evening of Thursday, April 12th. On April 13th- I had a really long day at work followed by an event after work, so I was gone all day and didn't even have a chance to glance at my balcony. On Saturday April 14th, I suddenly noticed that a bird's nest with an egg in it had arrived in the corner of the balcony! Fortunately, they made their nest in the corner that's easiest for me to view from inside my living room. Within a couple days in April, a second egg arrived in the nest!! (Sadly, the second egg never hatched. πŸ˜“) Mom and Dad pigeon took turns sitting on the eggs each day, rarely leaving the nest unattended. Back in April I was too scared to go out on the balcony at all, so I would watch them and photograph them from inside my living room. When the pigeons first arrived, I didn't know how long it took for the eggs to hatch! I just assumed it would be only a few days. It seemed like such a long wait for the first round of babies to be born! I jokingly named the mom bird "April the Pigeon" after April the Giraffe (the pregnant giraffe that went viral last year).





     May 2018:

   
     I got so excited for the arrival of the two eggs! I learned through some google research about pigeons that eggs take between 17-19 days to hatch, and I think the first baby was hatched on the 18th day. Sadly, its sibling didn't make it. But Baby Bird #1 was oh so cute!! I had never seen a baby pigeon before so watching the little family love on their first baby was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. Mom and Dad were the most protective by far with the first baby. They almost NEVER left it during its first two weeks of life. It grew into what I call an "awkward teenage bird" by the end of May (much bigger, but still not flying). I went away for Memorial Day Weekend and I was so worried that Baby Bird #1 would have flown away and left the nest when I returned home. Amazingly, it was still there when I got back- just learning how to fly!









     June 2018: 


     Baby Bird #1 finally started flying and one day in early June, he/she didn't come back to the nest that night. πŸ™ I was a little bit heartbroken! I had really grown to love the little pigeon family on the balcony- despite the fact that they made a huge mess with their droppings- ha! It had been a few days since any pigeons were on my balcony, and I was just starting to think that maybe I should clean the nest.

     Then one day I happened to glance at the balcony as I walked across my apartment- and I could have sworn that I say the Mom and Dad pigeons.... er... having an "intimate moment" in the nest. It was the type of thing where I ran back to the window and did a double take. They had already flown away after seeing me, but a couple days later... MOM PIGEON WAS BACK AND LAYING ON AN EGG!!!! I am not even kidding- I ran to grab my phone and texted at least 20 people in my contacts that "ANOTHER ONE IS COMING" (cue DJ Khaled "anotha one!"). I was overjoyed. I came into work that day showing everyone pictures of the new egg. I debated adding the title of "Pigeon Landlord" to my Linkedin. A few days after the first egg, a second one arrived! Sadly that one did hatch but didn't end up surviving. 😒But one of them did- and Baby #2 was born at the end of June! Mom and Dad would leave Baby #2 unattended more often, and I finally started going out onto the balcony in June so that I could take some higher quality pictures! I love the last picture from this month- you can see how fuzzy the babies are.











     July 2018: 


     Baby Bird #2 was in that cute stage of being not a baby but not full grown- the teenage bird stage, when a surprise arrived on the balcony! Mom laid her THIRD egg- and yes, this one was laid before Baby Bird #2 was flying or had left the nest! There were some tight quarters in there for awhile, as Mom pigeon would try and lay on the egg, and the second baby was still trying to stay in the nest too. Sometimes when Mom or Dad would leave the nest, Baby Bird #2 would cuddle and lie on the egg- which was SO CUTE! Already looking after its little sibling (this is what the second picture below is of!). Baby Bird #3 arrived at the end of July, and this one is my favorite baby! It had SO MUCH fuzzy yellow fur when it arrived- it seriously looked like a teeny tiny baby duck and absolutely melted my heart.

     July is when the birds also started doing funny things on the balcony. Mom and Dad didn't feel like they had to be protective of the nest 24/7 anymore, and they started spending more time hanging out on the gutters or roof of my apartment building- where they could still have sight of the balcony, but not being directly on it. The Dad bird also started sitting on the light on my balcony- he must be a very heavy bird because unfortunately they broke the light!! Thankfully my building's maintenance came quickly to fix it, and they didn't disturb the nest. 😊










   
     August 2018: 


     My little family is still growing strong! Baby Bird #2 started flying last month, but it still comes back and hangs out by the nest when the parents are there. I'm not sure what happened to Baby Bird #1, but maybe he/she visits too! Baby Bird #3 is still in the cute and cuddly stage. No signs yet of a 4th egg.... but I'm hoping there will be one! The picture below if of Mom, Baby 3, and Baby 2 is lying in front of them! So cute!!




     Something that I learned while researching about pigeons this summer is that the male and females mate for life!! So it is the same family that keeps returning to my balcony. How sweet is that? Pigeons are wonderful parents and I love watching them feeds the babies. Unfortunately feeding is a quick process and they get very self conscious if they see me pull out a camera during it, so I don't have many photos of it. But it is cute! It looks like they're making out when they're feeding.


     A few questions I've gotten about them: have I fed them at all? Just once! I had some old pizza crust in my apartment and I tore it up and put it on the balcony. It took them a few days to eat it but they finally did. And the other popular question is if I've petted any of them. The answer to that is no! The parents flee and fly to the roof anytime I make a lot of noise in my living room, or come onto the balcony with my camera. I've read online that the babies are the easiest to pet and pick up- but I'm worried if I did that the parents would smell "human" in the nest and they would abandon it. So for now- no pigeons cuddles!




     I realize this post is WAY different than my normal blog content- but I hope that y'all enjoyed! Should the pigeons leave for good anytime soon or if I don't renew my apartment lease... I am glad I have all of these fun photos to remember the summer that I became an honorary pigeon landlord!



      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese

   

August 6, 2018

Summer to Fall Business Casual Look + INSTAGRAM Feed Talk!

    Happy Monday- lots to chat about today! I recently styled this outfit from JustFab for an Instagram collaboration, but I loved the photos and outfit so much that I wanted to share here on my blog as well. 😊Further down in this blog post, I'm also sharing some thoughts about the direction I want my Instagram content to go in, and I'd love your feedback!


Feminine Business Casual Look

Cute Fall Booties

Summer to Fall Dress

Pink Suede Shoes

JustFab Outfit

Julia Engel inspired style



Photography by Kate Greer


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



Dress c/o // Jacket c/o // Necklace c/o // Pink shoes c/o // Booties c/o // {Can't remember what lipstick I'm wearing in this post- haha!}




     Styling this outfit for an Instagram collaboration was actually my first time trying things from JustFab- but I can definitely say I'm a fan!! I was curious how this dress would actually look on me after seeing it online, but I love it. It's such a flattering style, and the grey floral print would be so easy to transition from summer to fall. Pair this dress with these pink suede block heels and suede jacket makes the ideal business casual look for this time of year. It's a bit too dressy for me to wear this outfit to my job (Although who are we kidding- I've worn stuff fancier than this to work!), but this is also an ideal church outfit in my opinion! I've always been #TeamDressUpForChurch- so you can bet I'll be wearing this outfit to a Sunday service this month or next. 


     Changing gears for a second to talk about something that normally try not to talk too heavily about on my blog: the I-word. Instagram!!! It seems like every time that a blogger says anything about Instagram online, it immediately becomes a long rant about how the algorithms are making their lives miserable, and it's all Instagram's fault if they aren't getting a lot of likes, engagement, or collaboration opportunities. While I do often *internally complain* to myself about how frustrating using Instagram as a blogger can be, I don't feel there's much of a purpose in sharing those rants here on my blog. It's all been said many times before by too many bloggers to count! What I would like to talk about today instead related to Instagram is my thoughts about the type of feed that I want to curate here on out.


      There were lots of fashion influencers already on Instagram way back in 2012 when I made my account. (My @miss_alk account was created a few months before I started this blog, and I used it for a long time as personal feed!) There were tons of fashion influencers on Instagram in 2015, when I made a separate personal account and started using @miss_alk really just for fashion and blog content. And today in 2018? TOO MANY fashion bloggers and influencers on Instagram to count!! Something that I've started to notice about a lot of the newer fashion blogger feeds that are popping up is that they all look exactly the same. And no- I'm not talking about how the photos are edited or the weird orange preset trend that's going around (that's a discussion for another day). I mean the types of poses girls are doing, the standard Instagram "props" that everyone has in their photos (Starbucks cup, flowers in purse, etc etc), the clothing itself... it's a rare day on Instagram now when I don't see several girls all wearing the same top or dress from Nordstrom. And captions! Oh my goodness, everyone's captions sound exactly the same. This might be what's been bothering me the most! You'll see a couple superficial lines about "OMG it's finally Fri-Yay! Who else is #WeekendReady?" or "I am so obsessed with this top! My favorite top ever! I bought it in all 6 colors omg omg omg!" And you know what I have to say about all of these repeat Instagram behaviors? After blogging and being apart of this world for almost six years... I'm sick of all of this! 

     I have nothing against putting time into creating visual content, whether for your blog itself or Instagram. I really do love and truly appreciate good photography- it's why I've been working with photographers for the majority of my own content for 2+ years now. The issue that I've been having lately with following fashion bloggers is that there seems to be no more creativity. Everyone is copying everyone else, and worse then that- everyone is trying to shove sales down my throat. I don't think there's anything wrong with using Liketoknow.it on Instagram (I obviously use it myself). It can be a useful tool to find out where items are from, and I have the app on my phone to use for shopping other blogger's photos sometimes. My issue is that for so many fashion bloggers right now, it seems like they only use Instagram because of Liketoknow.it. They're solely existing and operating their brands with the desire to sell me things, not to inspire me

     I started this blog during my freshman year of college as a way that I could share the fun and creative outfits that I'd wear to class and school activities on weekdays. I didn't have a huge budget to spend on clothing or accessories, and I wanted to blog to hopefully inspire girls who shared my love of fashion and also shared my limited budget. While my blog has changed a lot over the years, and now of course I do use affiliate marketing and create sponsored content for brands, my goal has remained that I want to inspire people.  I want girls (and some guys?) who read this blog to feel like we are virtual friends, and that if I'm wearing something or recommending something, it's like friend-to-friend conversations where I share things that I love. When I see fashion blogger after fashion blogger who only wants to sell me the latest thing that they're wearing on their Instagram, it feels less like a friend relationship and more like they're those annoying kiosk salespeople in the mall chasing me down. Anyone else feel that? 


     So why am I bringing this up today? I want to start making some gradual changes to my Instagram feed. I'm still going to use Liketoknow.it, because like I said above I do think it's a useful tool. However- I don't want this to be the focus on ANY of my posts (okay unless maybe it's a Lilly Pulitzer sale week- #honesty). I want my not only my photography on the 'Gram to be creative and detailed, but also my captions to be on the same level of thought. I want to STOP taking the easy way out and captioning a really beautiful photo something like "OMG love this blue dress!! Download the LiketoKnow.it app to shop it now" to funny captions, to have personal captions, to have a caption that makes you smile and chuckle, and also some captions that make you stop and think. I will still be posting outfit photos- because styling looks and shooting them is something that I enjoy (all in hopes to inspire someone else). But with that said, going forward with my Instagram I also want to include more of my own photography. I actually love taking my own photos when I'm traveling, or even locally sometimes!! Being behind the camera and not just in front of it is something that I want to continue to do. I want to share with y'all way more of my pictures of landscapes and flowers and city skylines and just anything that piques my eye to take a picture!! More uniqueness and true inspiration in my feed, less doing what everyone else is doing. I'm not saying that I'll never post a selfie or  picture of me doing a typical blogger pose while holding a coffee cup ever again- but if I do post a photo of one of those things in the future, there will be a purpose for sharing that image on Instagram, and the purpose won't solely be trying to sell you something on Liketoknow.it, or having to post just for the sake of posting. 



     Okay- this rambling about Instagram feeds turned out to be way longer than I expected. Whoops! But I'd love to know what you think about all of this- let me know in the blog comments below, or on Instagram this evening when I share one of these photos and a shorter version of all of this! πŸ˜‰







      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese