April 20, 2018

My Sephora VIB Sale Picks!

     Calling all fellow makeup lovers! Sephora's biannual VIB Sale opened today to VIB members and Beauty Insider members of the Sephora rewards program. VIBs can save 15% on any purchases from now through April 23rd, and Beauty Insiders can save 10%. If you need to replace an empty product, or have been wanting to try something new from a high-end beauty brand, now is a great time to do it!

     Do you remember your first experience with Sephora? Mine was when I believe I was in 9th or 10th grade, when the first one opened in the Maine Mall (the mall where I'm from). I had heard about Sephora from magazines and online, so I was so excited to finally have one in my local mall! I remember that my first purchase there was a quad of turquoise eyeshadows. Hey- I've always like my bold and bright colors, even in makeup! A couple years later, Ulta also opened in Maine, and then my loyalty in makeup shopping kind of shifted. I know, I know... this is a Sephora focused blog post, but I'll admit it, I'm more of an Ulta girl! (Hence why I'm still just a Beauty Insider, and don't have VIB status!) But with that said, Sephora does sell a few things I love that Ulta doesn't, and I do still enjoy Sephora as well.

     I wanted to share some of my high-end beauty favorites in today's blog post in case you're looking for some new products to pick up during this edition of the VIB Sale! Happy shopping beauties!

Sephora VIB Sale Picks!

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     *IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Makeup Cleansing Balm: I use a few different products to remove my makeup, but this is one of my holy grails since I first discovered it a couple years ago! It breaks down everything from facial makeup to the toughest waterproof eye makeup, and it will all rub off after applying into a tissue. I will say that this isn't the best to use on your eyes for days in a row if they're sensitive- I usually prefer to use a different makeup remover directly on my eyes specifically. But it works amazingly well to get off all types of makeup! It's pricy- so the VIB Sale is a great time to purchase! 

     *IT Cosmetics Je Ne Sais Quoi Hydrating Color Awakening Lip Treatment: I've tried this product in both shades, and I love it! These are the ideal lipsticks for everyday wear or the workplace. I have the shade Rose in my workbag right now! I love them so much that I actually got more and gave them to some friends for Christmas last year since this is such a versatile lip product. 

     *IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara: Okay- one last amazing IT Cosmetics product! Overall I'm usually a fan of drugstore mascaras, but this one is a prime exception. It has incredible volume and length. I wear 2-3 mascaras daily, and this is usually my third mascara when I wear it, the icing on the cake for gorgeous lashes! The VIB Sale would be a great time to try it and bring it into your beauty routine.

     *Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation: This is my #1 Sephora specific holy grail item, as Ulta doesn't sell this! It is an expensive foundation, but so worth it. I am blessed to have very good skin (and I never suffered much from facial acne in high school), but despite that, I have always liked full coverage foundations for dressy looks and my photoshoots for the blog. This is my favorite foundation to wear for blog shoots. It blends effortlessly but definitely gives you a "made up with coverage" feel if that makes sense, but without feeling heavy! I can't recommend this enough, especially to other bloggers. It photographers very well too. 

     *Too Faced Chocolate Gold Eyeshadow Palette: This was a belated Christmas gift to myself this year, and I love this palette! The packaging is adorable (I'm a sucker for that). I really like how it has a balance of gorgeous neutral shades as well as fun colors- best of both worlds! I still need to play with this palette more and see what other looks I can create.

     *Becca X Chrissy Teigen Glow Face Palette: One of my favorite beauty purchases of 2017! I adore each one of the four items in this face palette, and I've long ago hit pan on the bronzer in here. This was my very first Becca purchase and now I'm loyal to their highlighters and bronzers. If you haven't played with Becca makeup before, this palette is a great intro to the line! And it's perfect for travel. Plus cute packaging too! 

     *Sephora Collection Face Mask: Sephora's own house brand has some great gems within the line. One day last summer I'd had a really long week and needed a little pick-me-up. I decided to try one of the face masks from the Sephora Collection, and it was just what I needed! So moisturizing and refreshing. I believe I tried the scent "Lotus." These are under $10 so you could stock up and save them for Christmas stocking stuffers or birthday gifts! 

     There's just a few of my stand-out favorites for y'all! Happy makeup shopping this weekend, let me know if you pick up anything from the VIB Sale

     My mom arrives in Charlottesville for a long weekend visit tonight! I will be taking Monday off from the blog to spend more time with her, but stay tuned for a new post on Tuesday! And of course you can keep up with me on Instagram @miss_alk this weekend- we have a fun weekend of adventures ahead.

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese 

April 19, 2018

Shop Your Closet For Wedding Season: Part 2 - Showers + Rehearsals.

     It's time to talk wedding attire again! More specifically, how to restyle pieces from your own closet for weddings. Today's post will focus on two more important pre-wedding events: bridal showers and rehearsal dinners. 

     Unless each of these events has a specific theme or dress code specified on the invitation, it's a general rule of thumb to wear something nice and seasonally appropriate for the event, but not as nice of an outfit as you'll be wearing for the wedding. I'm personally a fan of really dressing up for weddings themselves, so events like showers and rehearsals are a great time to break out some of your more casual (but still classy) dresses and skirts, or even jumpsuits if you have them! 

Shop Your Closet for Wedding Season: Bridal Showers + Wedding Rehearsals

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Bridal Shower Outfit Idea

     I think that a midi skirt and coordinating top with heels could be such a fun option for a bridal shower! I love printed midi skirts, but sometimes it's hard to find occasions to wear outfits like this to. I would probably wear a different colored blouse than white if I wore this to a bridal shower (just since it's best to avoid wearing white if you're not the bride πŸ˜‰), but I could definitely see myself re-styling this outfit for a wedding shower. 

Bridal Shower Outfit Inspo - pink outfit

     Here's another skirt and top combo that I loved wearing on the blog that could easily be worn to a bridal shower!! The off the shoulder top paired with such a bold ruffled skirt makes for a really fun outfit. An all-pink outfit just screams "girly things" - and a bridal shower is super girly!

Shop Your Closet for Wedding Season: Bridal Showers + Wedding Rehearsals

     A cute sundress in a summery color like bright yellow could be a darling choice for a summer bridal shower! I styled this look with a turquoise clutch and earrings to add even more pops of color. This dress or one like it would definitely be too casual for a wedding, but could be a great option for a shower. 

Wearing Lilly Pulitzer for Bridal Shower

     You can NEVER go wrong with Lilly Pulitzer for wedding related festivities! Especially those in the springtime. I do find a lot of Lilly dresses to be on the casual side for weddings themselves, but many are perfect for bridal showers and rehearsals. This specific dress is actually still in stock! 

What to Wear for Holiday Bridal Shower

     For holiday or winter wedding events, Lilly or bright colored dresses might not be the best choice. But you can still have fun with your outfits! This look was from a holiday blog post that I did a couple years ago, but I think it would be a great outfit to wear to a winter bridal shower or rehearsal dinner as well. The polka dots and bell sleeves give this dress such a fun twist. A similar dress is available here! 

What to Wear for Wedding Rehearsal

     This was actually what I wore to a rehearsal dinner that I attended last spring! The dress is from one of my favorite fashion lines, CeCe. I added a coordinating cardigan to make it a bit more modest for the church portion of the wedding rehearsal, and then wore it as pictured for the dinner part of the evening. My dress is now sold out, but this one and this one from CeCe would be cute for this season!

     Be sure to check out the first post in this series if you haven't yet, it's all about shopping your closet for bachelorette party outfits. The final post, all about weddings, will be up soon!

     Hope that you're having a great end to your week! My mom is coming to visit me in Virginia this weekend- this will be her very first visit to Charlottesville! Neither of my parents had ever been to this part of the state before, and I came here solo on my job interview trip this winter. My mom is really excited to see where I moved to, and I think she will like it here a lot.

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese 

April 18, 2018

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.

{My first "taste" of Central Virginia's wineries! Peep the photobomber in the background too. Follow me on social media @miss_alk} 

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  • Winery weekend: My 4th weekend in Virginia was another for the books. (Seriously... each weekend keeps getting better since I moved!) Alicia from Alicia Tenise was in town, and I spent my Saturday with Alicia, her boyfriend, and also got to meet some of their friends. We visited four different wineries, and I kind of fell in love with the Virginia wine scene! What a fun, fun weekend. Charlottesville and the surrounding counties in Central Virginia are known for the beautiful wineries, and I can't wait to discover more of them this spring and summer, and in years to come! It was also so fun to finally get to hang out with Alicia after reading her blog for years now.
  • #PigeonWatch2k18: If you watch my Instagram Stories, you will know that I have a new resident out on the deck of my apartment! A mama pigeon built her nest there over the weekend, and has laid two eggs in it. It is the cutest thing to watch mama bird protecting the eggs... I can't wait to see the baby birds soon! According to Google it takes about two and a half weeks for pigeon eggs to hatch- we'll see if that's accurate! 
  • New library card: Something exciting from last week was that I finally got my new library card!! I didn't really have time to read for fun during the last month with moving, so it was so fun to check out one of the new libraries here in Charlottesville and take a few books home with me. One of my goals for 2018 was to read 30 books so I have some catching up to do! I absolutely adore libraries- when I was growing up I was in book clubs at my local library back in Maine for several years! 

Purchases: No fun purchases this week (moving expenses are still hitting my credit card.... it is no joke financially to move out of state!), but my mom is visiting this weekend and I'm already excited to do some shopping with her this weekend! Both to get things for my apartment and also things for me of course, haha! 

  • I saw this gorgeous romper featured on another blogger's Instagram last week and I am OBSESSED!! If I had an occasion or vacation to wear this to coming up soon I'd order this in a heartbeat. 
  • Such a cute pair of bedazzled sandals- a fun way to add some sparkle to everyday summer looks. 
  • Not surprising at all but Lilly's new arrivals have DONE IT AGAIN!!! This dress is everything!
  • What a chic shirtdress!! As of the time I'm writing this blog post, it's on sale! 
  • Y'all know that I've been loving the Sugarfix by Baublebar jewelry at Target. These earrings just launched and they're so fun!

Recipe of the week: Thai Peanut Chicken Noodles from Damn Delicious. I made these on Monday night and posted it to my Instagram Stories, and so many of you DM'd me for the recipe!! They were pretty good and I definitely think I'll try this recipe again. I didn't put any cabbage in (I'm not a big cabbage fan) and I also just used regular Stir Fry Rice Noodles from the Thai Kitchen brand instead of Yaki-Soba noodles as the recipe requested (the grocery store I went to didn't sell those), but those were the only changes I made! I think next time I'll try and find the correct noodle type though. 

Song of the week: What a Feeling by Irene Cara. Do y'all ever have a week where you hear a really old song and forget how good it is? I heard this song from Irene Cara on one of the Classic Hits stations here in Charlottesville last week, and forgot how fun of a song it is! Added it to a Spotify playlist and BOOM! On repeat for days- ha! 

On the blog this week:

     Happy Wednesday!! Thanks as always for reading.

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

April 17, 2018

Guide to Moving Out of State: Part 2 - Packing Tips!

      Welcome to the second post in my moving out of state series!! Today we're talking all things PACKING! Packing is one of the biggest parts about any type of move... whether you're moving down the street or across the country. It can also be the most overwhelming part of a move, and the most tedious. But when executed with a lot of preparation and planning, it can go much more smoothly than done at the last minute!

Moving Out of State - Packing Tips

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Packing Supplies:

     The key with a large move is to buy your necessary packing supplies well in advance! I did a better job with this during my move from NC to VT. I'm emarrassed to let you know that with my recent move to Virginia, I kept running out of boxes up until MOVING DAY. Yikes! If I ever move again, I know I need to start shopping for supplies more in advance.

     Another thing to keep in mind is that it's always better to overestimate how many moving supplies you'll need (if you save your receipts you can always return unused supplies later!). That was my other issue with the recent move... I kept underestimating how much stuff I'd need and running out of boxes, packing tape, and other things.

    Here are the various packing supplies that I use, and what I use them for:

    *Suitcases - breakable items like mugs or fragile decorations, clothing, shoes
    *Plastic bins (Rubbermaid, etc) - linens, clothing, holiday decorations
    *LARGE moving boxes - bulky clothing (bathrobes, etc), shoes, artwork, decorations, holiday decor, kitchen supplies, bathroom stuff, linens, books, stuff for dining room, pretty much everything from apartment that doesn't have a specific packing method!
     *SMALL moving boxes - I save a lot of the boxes that I get from blogging PR packages, but you could also see if your workplace has any free small boxes if you don't want to buy these in small sizes. I use small boxes for packing certain specific areas of the apartment that I want to keep all together, such as a certain desk or kitchen drawer, my necklaces or bracelets, winter hats, etc. 
     *Packing tape - Self explanatory! You can never have too much as it's not just for sealing boxes. I use this to add extra protection on plastic bins and other packing methods as well. 
     *Bubble wrap - Some of it is for packaging your small fragile items, but mainly for protecting your furniture and large items going in the moving truck! You'll need LOTS of bubble wrap. 
     *Stretch wrap - For sealing the bubble wrap on large furniture items!
     *Moving blankets - To help package extra fragile furniture like mirrors, bureaus, etc.
     *Post-It Notes / Paper - To LABEL EVERYTHING!!! The more you label, the easier unpacking is. I promise! 

So I bought my boxes this time around at Lowe's, Home Depot and U-Haul... I wanted to test out all types and determine which was the best place to buy them at. Here's the honest truth- after moving... I have no memory of which boxes from which store I put which items in, or which I liked the best! I can report that all the boxes, no matter the retailer, did their job well! I don't think there is that much of a difference between the stores. I will say that the "Heavy Duty" labeled moving boxes from Home Depot and Lowe's were especially sturdy and seemed worth the extra few cents if you're packing heavy items in them.

     One thing that I did like purchasing from the U-Haul store specifically were some boxes designed for packing dishware and glassware. They have sectioned off spots for each fragile item, and foam padding built in. I was worried about some of these items getting broken in the moving truck, but they were fine!

Packing in Phases: 

     One major key to successfully executing an out of state move is packing smart, and packing early! While you don't want to start packing too early (it would be weird to be living amongst boxes for 4 months before a move), starting to pack too last minute will just make everything more difficult. I've tried to break down packing into three phases- early (one month-two weeks out), prime time (two weeks-one week), and last minute (one week- moving day). There are obviously some essential things in your apartment or home that you'll have to keep out and use right up until moving day, but the more you can do earlier the better!

     EARLY (One month-two weeks):

     *Holiday decor 
     *Clothing for opposite season (winter sweaters if you're doing a summer move, etc)
     *Books and cookbooks
     *Supplies for hobbies (crafting, sewing machine, sports accessories, etc)
     *Memorabilia (diplomas, stuff from high school/college, scrapbooks, souvenirs from vacations, etc... you know that random sentimental stuff that you keep in the back of your closet!)
     *Decorations around the home
     *Extra bedding / sleeping bags

     This is also the time to PURGE anything that you don't need anymore or don't want to take with you to your new home! Think about it this way... the more stuff you take with you, the bigger the moving truck you need and the more packing supplies you need as well. Use this time to clean out your closet, and also any other parts of the apartment with things that you don't want or love anymore. Make trips to consignment shops, Goodwill, local charities that take donations, etc, or give to friends. I cleaned out so much of my wardrobe before moving to Virginia, and so far I have yet to miss anything I got rid of!

     PRIME TIME (Two weeks-one week):

     *Shoes (I kept 5 pairs out to wear during my last week of work/moving week - probably would have been less pairs if I wasn't a blogger πŸ˜‰)
     *Kitchen (Dishware, glassware, portable appliances, non-perishable pantry foods, etc)
     *Bathroom (Extra linens, medicine cabinet, drawers, extra makeup, toiletries, stuff in bathroom closet) 
     *Jewelry (Like with shoes, I kept out some necklaces and earrings in a travel case to wear in my last week in Vermont)
     *Storage related furniture like shoe racks, portable shelving, closet storage, etc. This is also a great time to put things into ottomans that have storage!

     LAST MINUTE (One week-moving day):

     *Rest of clothing (pack a duffel bag or small suitcase of clothing to get you through moving day and first couple days in your new place) 
     *Anything that you're still using in the apartment (kitchen stuff, towels, toiliteries- don't forget this stuff!)
     *Cleaning supplies
     *Media stand
     *Rest of decorations / art
     *Home office space

    Bedroom furniture is one of the last things that my dad and I pack, but also has one of the most important methods!! My bedroom furniture was a college graduation gift from my parents and other family members, and I want to keep it in the best condition possible for years to come. My dad and I bubble wrap each piece of furniture from top to bottom (and sometimes double bubble wrap extra fragile pieces like my mirrors!), and then seal it with stretch wrap (you purchase this in large rolls at Home Depot or Lowe's.) Pictured above you can see what the headboard of my bed looked like using this packing method during this recent move! All of my furniture made it to Virginia with no damages using this packing method. Another thing that you can do on very fragile furniture pieces is make moving blankets the bottom layer, then bubble wrap, then stretch wrap.


     Now as far as unpacking... THAT is something this girl is not qualified to give any advice on, ha! Definitely not one of my strong suits. But packing itself I think I have picked up a few tips on with all of my college moves and the two out of state moves in 2017 and 2018, so I hope that what I've shared today might help you or someone you know with a large move in the future!

     Next week will be the last post in this moving series! I'm still debating what to do for the final post... send any ideas my way this week! And be sure to check out the first post if you haven't yet.

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese


April 16, 2018

Work to Weekend Dress for Spring.

     Happy Monday Friends! Today's post is a little shorter and sweeter than usual. I have longer posts on the way for later this week (the second post in my moving out of state series is on deck for tomorrow) so we'll just chat fashion today. But I am super excited to share this outfit with one of my favorite dresses- I know this will be a staple in my closet for awhile!

Spring Work Style Inspo

LOFT Spring Outfit - Preppy Style

Virginia Fashion Blogger - Preppy Style

Spring Work Style

Photography by Meredith Sledge 

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      There was a 50% off sale at LOFT a couple weeks ago, so I popped into the Charlottesville store one morning on my way to work. I loved so many of the LOFT new spring arrivals!! Their dresses for this season are especially cute and classic. Even though I work in radio, an extremely casual industry as far as dress codes go, I still like to look presentable and put together for work (it helps me to focus better on-air!), and in the spring/summer I wear dresses many days to work. As soon as I laid eyes on this dress, I knew it had to come home with me! It's pretty much the ideal spring dress. It can be dressed up for a more business casual workplace (doesn't it look nice paired with my black blazer?), but could easily be dressed down with a different hairstyle and shoes for the weekend. It's very flattering and accentuates your assets while still being modest... so a win-win in that department!

     I tried on several other things, and this top and this dress I also really liked! I wrote a blog post a few months ago all about my favorite stores and what items I usually buy from the stores I shop at. I wrote in the post that I think in some seasons LOFT's collections are a bit "basic" and especially oversaturated in the blogging world... but with that said I really am loving their spring stuff this year! It's worth a look for sure!

     Wishing you a great start to your week today! Mondays and Fridays are shaping up to be my busier days of the week at my new job (busy start to the week and busy end to the week). I also have a lot to do this morning for the blog and things around my apartment before heading to work- but I like productive Mondays so bring it on!

      OH- before I forget, I had a surprise Saturday blog post this weekend! Sharing one of the details about one of the outfits that I wore in DC for Easter Weekend- check it out here.


      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese

April 14, 2018

What I Wore for Visiting the DC Cherry Blossoms.

     Happy Saturday! I'm popping in with a surprise weekend post today. I wanted to share more about the outfit that I wore for Easter Sunday in DC this year! It ended up being chillier than I hoped that weekend, but I still wanted to wear something that reflected springtime, and was perfect for a day of cherry blossom sightings and city exploring. FYI: this outfit was made up completely of older pieces that I already had in my closet so for most items I'm linking similar things, but I was able to find similar pieces for just about everything! 

What to Wear to See DC Cherry Blossoms

Lilly Pulitzer DC Murfee Scarf

Cold Weather Preppy Easter Look DC Cherry Blossoms

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      I purchased this white wool skirt on a shopping trip in Canada last fall, but I actually never wore it once this winter! Easter weekend in DC had high temperatures in the upper 50s, so I knew that might be my last chance for this season to finally wear this cute skirt (this one is really similar from another favorite retailer of mine!). I brightened it up for Easter with one of my favorite colorful sweaters, and finished the look with a Lilly Murfee scarf (which I later realized the one I wore looks very similar to the DC scarf!). Normally as y'all know I'm all about getting dolled up for Easter with a new dress, but as I had untraditional Easter plans this year and the weather was cooler, this was a much better outfit choice! 

     In case you missed my DC travel posts, here is my guide to visiting the cherry blossoms, and here is my post about FREE things to do for a 24 hour or weekend trip to Washington

     Enjoy your weekend!! I hope it's a great one!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

April 12, 2018

DC TRAVEL GUIDE: FREE Things To Do For 24 Hours in DC!

         I've said this already, I'm saying it now, and you're going to hear me continue to say it: I LOVED DC!!!! I had only been here once before, when I was 10 years old with my parents. I really thought that going back as an adult for Easter weekend that I'd love seeing the cherry blossoms, but that would kind of being the highlight. Boy oh boy was I wrong! This place completely stole my heart, as did what I saw of the neighboring communities that border DC in Maryland and Virginia! I am absolutely obsessed now with DC, and I'm quite certain it's in my Top 3 favorite US cities to visit... which is a strong compliment!

     I feel so lucky that Charlottesville is just two hours away, and I hope to make many more DC weekend trips later in 2018! Part of the reason I fell in love with DC is because I totally forgot how beautiful it is!! This may be an interesting comparison- but out of any city I've visited prior, DC reminded me the most of Montreal. Montreal is fairly clean and beautiful as far as major cities go, and a lot of the residential neighborhoods especially in DC reminded me very much of Montreal. (If you've been to both places- do you see the similarities too?) I could have spent a full day, if not more, just wandering the cute neighborhoods of town homes. 

     One thing that I will note about DC- if you're visiting on a budget, this city is both good and bad. The good thing: the monuments, most museums, and a lot of the attractions in general are all FREE to visit- hence the title of this Travel Guide!! (Yay government!) Each one is absolutely incredible and unique, and it really is unbelievable that these things are all free. Uber is fairly cheap in DC if there isn't a price surge, and taking the Metro is an extremely affordable way to get around, so transportation isn't too badly priced. However, one thing that you do need to budget for is FOOD. Food is wonderful in DC, but very expensive. We ate at all cheaper restaurants, and still spent a minimum of $15-25 on every meal (with no drinks!), which can up quickly in a couple days. 

     So with most of my travel guides on the blog, I always include a review of where I stayed or some hotel recommendations, and lots of food recommendations as well- sometimes I even do a whole separate food travel guide! Everywhere that I ate at in DC was FANTASTIC (seriously- not a bad meal!), but I decided to hold off on posting any food recommendations yet, as I'm hoping to make more trips to DC this spring/summer, and I would rather do a larger comprehensive restaurant guide when I can, rather than just list the few places we ate at over the two days I was there! And I don't have a hotel to share this time as I stayed with my friend Mercedes, but maybe on a future trip I'll get to stay at a hotel in DC- they have some incredible ones. 😊So today's 24 Hours Travel Guide is solely recommendations of FREE THINGS to DO!

FREE Things to Do in Washington DC

     National Arboretum: After breakfast on Saturday, this was the first place Mercedes and I went, and it was such a great start to our DC weekend! The National Arboretum is a great place to see various varieties of cherry blossoms in full bloom without the crazy crowds that the Tidal Basin gets. In addition to the cherry blossoms, they have tons of other amazing trees, flowers, and plants throughout the grounds! It's an incredible place to take a walk and enjoy a beautiful day away from the hustle and bustle of downtown DC. (Definitely wear good walking shoes if you come here- I probably would have been better in sneakers!) Like all of the government owned museums, the National Arboretum is FREE to enjoy!! Read and see more pictures from my visit there in my travel guide to DC's cherry blossoms! 

     Tidal Basin / Jefferson Monument: This is the prime spot to see the cherry blossoms in DC! I'm not going to get too wordy on this section since I wrote more about visiting here in my Travel Guide for the DC cherry blossoms. But I will say whether you visit DC when the blossoms are in bloom or not, I would still recommend visiting the Tidal Basin! It's a beautiful walk and you can see a lot of the DC and Virginia skyline. You can visit the Jefferson Monument by walking along the Tidal Basin- which was a beautiful monument to see up close and in person!

     The White House: Tours are available to the general public of The White House! However, there is a bit a process to secure a tour. It involves contacting a Member of Congress from your state of residence, and needs to be done well in advance of your DC visit. (More info about this process found here.) However- even if you're not able to see the inside of one of the most iconic homes in the country, you can still get up close and personal to the outside of it! Take a stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue and take as many touristy pictures as your heart desires! I definitely did....

     Renwick Gallery: Almost across the street from The White House is a little gem amongst the Smithsonians: the Renwick Gallery! This museum focuses on contemporary American art. Like the other Smithsonians, it is free to visit! I think it's a must-visit if you're getting a picture at The White House... you're already right there, why not take advantage? When Mercedes and I were there, the latest exhibit had just opened the day prior. It's called "No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" and it will be up through next January. I'm not a huge art museum person... but I did enjoy my visit to the Renwick Gallery!

     United States Capitol: Kind of like The White House, you can set up tours for the Capitol building! Here is some info about that process if you're interested in doing that for your DC trip. If you're not able to tour the Capitol, still stop by and get some pictures! It's the most incredible building to see in person. It definitely gave me some patriotic pride to stand in awe of it- what a great country America is!

     The Smithsonian National History Museum: Out of all of the Smithsonian museums, this one is just a true classic! I had visited here with my mom when we came to DC when I was growing up, but it was awesome to see it with adult eyes. Mercedes and I spent a couple hours in here and did the Gems & Minerals Exhibit (home to the famous Hope Diamond!) and also the Insect Gallery. Museum entrance is free, but here is a special butterfly exhibit going on where you can pay for a ticket (I think it was $7.50?) and get access to a live exotic butterfly room where they fly freely and can land on you! Both Mercedes and I were glad we paid to do the butterfly exhibit, it was very cool!

     US Botanic Garden: I LOVE botanical gardens so I was so excited to see the one in DC! It is right near the Capitol building, so you could visit both one afternoon. They had an orchid exhibit up when we visited on Easter (sadly it just ended this past week) but it was so beautiful to see these flowers, as well as all of the other exotic plants there! If you're a botanical garden lover as well, make this and the National Arboretum must-stops on your DC trip.

     Night Monumenting: Mercedes told me this was a must for my visit since there was a full moon that weekend, and I'm so glad we did it! You can visit just about all of the popular DC monuments at night (it's actually quite popular to do so), and it was such a cool experience! We started at the Capitol at sunset and then strolled the National Mall, and saw the Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. The WWII Memorial was my favorite because of all of the states- I had to get a picture with each of my home states past and present! 

     And there you have it- so many great free things to take advantage of!! Minus the restaurants/eating- everything that Mercedes and I visited and did during my Easter trip to DC. I seriously cannot wait to go back (hopefully soon!) and discover even more that this city has to offer!!

     Have you visited DC before? If so- did you fall in love like I did?

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

April 11, 2018

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.

Evelyn Henson Map Art - Preppy Bedroom

{Loving my new Evelyn Henson Charlottesville Map print! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}

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

  • DMV debacle: If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my rant about having quite a difficult time at the Virginia DMV this weekend! This was my third DMV visit in the past three years (NC, VT, and now here!), so I thought that I knew how this process worked pretty well and that it would be an in and out visit. Nope! Each state's laws are a little different, and so it goes, I wasn't able to register my car and get the new license plates, due to a weird law here that applies to something with my vehicle specifically. This week I have to mail some paperwork to the state DMV department in Richmond- isn't adulting fun?! On the plus side- I was able to get my new license. They didn't show me a preview of the picture... hoping when I get it in the mail next week it's not awful! 
  • Weirdest weather: One thing that I forgot about life in the South is how unpredictable weather can be in early spring/late fall. Monday morning in Charlottesville began with SNOW. Weirdly this was the one year anniversary of my move to Vermont. Anyways- the end of the week and weekend is supposed to have highs around 80. That's a 50 degree temperature change in the same week! I can't y'all. I'm hoping it stays warm for good now!
  • Cardi B on the Tonight Show: So since I worked in Top 40 radio at the time when Bodak Yellow came out last year... I am quite familiar from my line of work with Cardi B's early hits- ha! I am not really a fan of her music... but since I used to talk about her on the radio everyday for months, I am quite intrigued by her as a celebrity still and I was both surprised and not surprised to hear that she announced her pregnancy this weekend! Anyways- I decided to watch her co-host The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon- I didn't catch it live but I was able to watch it On Demand the next evening. OH MY GOSH. I might not be the biggest fan of all of her music but Cardi B is hilarious!!! Can she become a permanent host on The Tonight Show please? I can't remember the last time I laughed this hard. This article recaps some of her highlights from episode. 
  • LiketoKnow.it changes: I'm probably the last fashion blogger ever you're hearing this from- but in case you haven't heard this from another blogger, LiketoKnow.it (the affiliate program that allows you to shop bloggers' Instagram photos!) was forced to go through a big update last week thanks to some Instagram API changes. LiketoKnow.it used to work by users liking an Instagram photo from a blogger, and then they were emailed details of what the blogger was wearing. LiketoKnow.it had to discontinue their email service due to the Instagram API changes. 😒 Good news though! They do have their own app- it's awesome and very user friendly. You can follow bloggers individually on the app, or screenshot photos from Instagram from bloggers and upload them to the app (that's how I use it!)- and still get all outfit and product details from myself and your other favorite bloggers! OR- you can always shop and get product info right here on my blog. 😊Let me know if you have any questions about this! I really do think the LTK app is super easy- I personally always preferred it to the emails!

  • I've tried a different scent of dry shampoo from this line before and it was one of my favorites! It works well and it's under $10! I decided to try a new scent of their dry shampoo this week and I love it so far! 
  • My friend Niki from Nicholle Sophia reviewed these lashes on her blog a couple weeks ago, so I had to try them for myself! They are so popular right now that they were sold out at a couple stores I tried, but I finally found them at CVS. 
  • In not very exciting purchases for the week- I finally bought a microwave for my apartment! My current apartment is the first place I've ever lived that didn't come with a microwave in-unit. This weekend I finally went microwave shopping (how boring and adult is that?), this is the one I bought if anyone is curious! I really like it so far. 


  • One thing that is lacking in my closet right now is a cute pair of dress shorts!! I definitely need a new pair for this summer and I have my eye on these dress shorts- they come in two colors! 
  • I've been trying to wear more of my statement earrings for work lately to make my weekday outfits more fun. I have such a crush on these beautiful blue earrings.
  • This isn't a fashion item... but I'm dying to get my hands on the Virginia Atlas!! I have the Maine and North Carolina atlases and love looking at them for fun- I'm a maps nerd! I know getting the VA one will inspire me to take road trips in my new state. 
  • How cute are these leopard print flats! I love the strap on them- it adds such a fun twist. 
  • Tie-front tops are so in right now. This striped one is so classic and chic. 

Recipe of the week: Pork Empanadas from Southern Living Fix It & Freeze It & Heat It & Eat It.  I tried making an easy empanada recipe this week from a cookbook I got for Christmas- and I LOVED IT!!! This recipe sadly isn't online, but this recipe is really similar! It uses beef but you could use ground pork instead if you wanted I'm sure. I never would have thought to use biscuit dough for empanadas but it worked so well.

Song of the week: Breathe by Jax Jones ft. Ina Wroldsen. Clean Bandit Radio on Spotify has been my jam this week! They play some Jax Jones songs in the mix, and that's how I discovered this one. It's so upbeat and should be a must-add to your workout or running playlist if you have one. I seriously love any European dance pop type music so much! 

On the blog this week: 

    Enjoy the rest of your week! My day is off to a funny start... I'll share this story on Instagram Stories once all is well, but I have to head to the dentist unexpectedly this morning!! I'm hoping all will be resolved with this visit.

     Wednesday Afternoon Update: Just got word that one of my favorite jewelry retailers is having a big sale starting today!! If you need some pretty new pieces for spring, now is the time to stock up! (Their stuff can normally be a little pricy so I like to shop the sales!) Shop the sale here! 

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

April 10, 2018

Guide to Moving Out of State: Part 1 - Pre-Move Checklist.

      If there's one thing that I've become very familiar with in the last few years, it's moving out-of-state! When I was a little girl, I never thought that I'd leave my home state of Maine. It wasn't until middle school that I started to dream about living my adult years out of state, and then looking at colleges during my junior and senior years of high school in different places was when I knew moving would be a reality! I actually never moved in my life until I went to college, so the act of moving was something very foreign to me for my childhood and high school years. Anyways, I moved seven times from Maine/North Carolina and vice versa in my college years, and in the last year alone I've done two big East Coast moves for radio jobs (North Carolina to Vermont, Vermont to Virginia). Moving out of  state is now something that I'm very familiar with!

     Since I most recently moved about three weeks ago and a lot of the moving process is still fresh in my head (and I'm still dealing with some of it, like DMV fun), I wanted to do a mini-series of posts here on Southern Belle in Training all about the tips and tricks that my dad and I have picked up over the last few years between my college moves and my apartment moves! There are so many logistics that go into pulling off a successful out of state move. Even though we've done it several times now, I still don't think that we have it all down. But, there are aspects to it that get better each time, and things I've learned in past moves from trial and error that I do automatically now.

     Today's post will focus on things to do before you move out of state- a countdown and checklist if you will! The second post in this series will focus solely on packing, and I'm still figuring out what to do for the third post (maybe a moving Q&A?).

Moving out of State Checklist!

     Before launching into the checklist, I want to say a disclaimer about moving out of state, and three things to keep in mind during the process. My disclaimer: I believe 100% that moving out of state while you're young is one of the best gifts that you can give yourself!! There are few things more incredible than building a new life for yourself and experiencing culture in a different part of the country- it builds your personal strength and character like nothing else, and gives you experiences beyond your wildest dreams! I've made it pretty known on my blog that Vermont was not my favorite place to live, but with that said, I'm still grateful that I moved there for my first job and spent 11 months there, because the experiences that I had in that time were unique and helped shape me into the person I am today. And obviously I'm so thankful I went to college out of state in the South and am now living here in Virginia- yay moving!

     With that said- three things to keep in mind. First, moving is really emotional. Partly because of the stress of everything that you have to coordinate and get done to actually execute the act of moving (I'll break down as much of it as I can in today's post to make it easier for you!), and partly for more psychological reasons. One chapter of your life is physically ending... with a move! There's going to be lots of distance between yourself and the life you once knew everyday. While that could be a good or a bad thing depending on the experience you had in your former state, it's natural to feel emotional. Second, ask for help! It is impossible to move all by yourself. I am so thankful that my dad has been my moving partner for all of my moves in the past years. I couldn't do it without him! (Literally- as he drives the rented moving truck and I drive my car!) This year, I was also thankful to have one of my Vermont friends come to my apartment and help me pack my kitchen, which made that part of the packing go a lot more smoothly. If you're Type A, it can be tempting to want to do everything yourself, but I promise that the more you ask for help, the quicker and easier it will go! Third and finally, moving is really expensive!! I can't stress this enough. There are ways to cut some of the costs and move somewhat on a budget, but all in all moving is extremely expensive. Sometimes if you move for a job your new employer will give you a moving reimbursement or cover a lot of the costs, which is nice. Unfortunately, the radio industry isn't one where this is very common. I've been very blessed that my parents have helped me with some of my moving costs for my past two moves (as I'm still paying off student loan debt right now), but even with them helping, there has still been a lot of unexpected expenses that I've had to pay for. I'll try and touch on that later in the post!

     Okay- now that that's all out of the way, let's get to my pre-moving checklist! I'm writing this from the timeline of two months out pre-move. I had two months before my move to Vermont, and just a month before moving to Virginia. The more time that you have, the better!

2 Months Before:

     *You're officially moving! YAY!! Take a second to jump up and down, get excited, and call your closest friends and family! Decide when you're going to share the news publicly on social media. A big life change and new adventure is headed your way, ENJOY THIS SPECIAL TIME!

     *Begin apartment search (either online or in-person if you're able!). If you're not able to look at apartments in-person in your new home state, try and plan a brief weekend trip out before the move to look at apartments. If you're not able to do that, research temporary housing accommodations (short-term rentals, Air BNB, extended stay hotels, storage for your furniture etc). I do not under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES recommend signing a lease for an apartment that you have not personally toured and visited in person, so if you're not able to visit your new home for a housing search trip, prepare other temporary arrangements and work on finding a permanent home after the move!

     *If your situation involves leaving your current job for a new one, plan out when to tell your supervisor(s) that you'll be leaving your current position. Depending on your relationship with your former employer, it might be best to let them know far in advance, or you might want to wait until just the standard two weeks notice.

     *Figure out all of the important dates and get them set on the calendar! (Approximate last day of work or school, moving day, how long it will take to reach the new destination, approximate moving day into new home, etc). Also figure out WHO is helping you with the move, and make CERTAIN they're able to commit. Decide if you're doing the move on your own (no movers) or using a moving company. If your new employer is paying for moving costs, this would be a good time to touch base on what all they cover.

     *(If your new employer isn't booking movers for you), research the best moving truck or company for your situation. The size of your apartment or home, distance that you're moving, and days on the road will all come into play for pricing. For example, if you're moving one state away and it's only a few hours, I can almost guarantee that the cheapest option would be to rent a truck and move everything yourself with family or friends. However, if you're moving across the country, it could be cheaper to get a moving company, ship your car, and fly to your new home. Research is key to save money!! Every situation is different.

     For both of my recent moves, my dad and I have rented a Penske truck. We have found their rates to be much lower than U-Haul, and they also offer an AAA discount on top of that. (I'm not being sponsored at all to say this- we just have liked using them both times!) My dad has booked local movers for an hour on moving day at each apartment- guys that will show up to carry the furniture out of the old apartment/into the moving truck, and then out of the moving truck/into the new apartment at the new place. But my dad is the one actually driving the Penske truck to my new state, and the movers we get literally only carry in the heavy stuff, we do everything else!

     *Check in with your former landlord about the process for leaving your apartment. All are different! In Vermont, I just told them verbally I would be leaving at the end of my lease and that was fine. In North Carolina- it was so different! My old roommate and I had to sign all of this paperwork a couple months in advance that we wouldn't be renewing our lease- if we hadn't done that, we would have been automatically put into a month-to-month expensive payment plan.

1 Month Before:

     *Figure out your going away plans with your friends in your former home! In Charlotte, I had the most wonderful going away party, and a few of my blogging friends also threw me a going away dinner in addition. In Vermont, I didn't have one specific friend group (each friend I had there I met through a different way), so it made more sense to say goodbye to each friend privately- breakfast with one, a shopping day in Montreal with another, and one came over to help me pack. Either way, definitely make plans ahead of time to say goodbye to your friends- take the chance while you have it!

     *Take inventory of moving supplies that you already own, and begin purchasing new supplies.

     *Begin packing non-essential items. I'll share more about my packing process in next week's post in this series!

     *Start wrapping up loose ends in your former city - things like returning any library books, using any local gift cards (I still have a couple from Vermont that I'm frustrated I forgot to use!), picking up dry cleaning, pay last month of gym membership and refilling prescriptions. If needed, pick up release sheets from your doctors and dentist for your medical records to be shared with offices in your new city.

    *Solidify last day at your former job (or school). I HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you've been working full time to have a week off after you finish work to just focus on packing and moving. Yes- it isn't fun to have a week of no pay. However I found that it was very hard for me to stay motivated with packing while I was finishing my last two weeks of work in Vermont, and I did the majority of it in the last week once I was home all day!

     *Schedule car maintenance! This one is so important- especially if you are driving a very long distance to your new state!! This time around I learned that I needed two new tires to safely get to Virginia- I'm really glad I had those replaced. Tell your mechanic that you're moving out of state and want to make sure your car is safe for the distance you're driving.

2 Weeks Before: 

     *Finish packing all non-essential items. Move into packing other things in apartment or home. Continue to purchase moving supplies.

     *ADDRESS CHANGES! This is so important and will go so much more smoothly if you set aside a couple hours to do it before you move. I made a spreadsheet on Google Docs of everything I had to change my address with and went through one afternoon until each category was completed. Here's a sample of some places I changed my address with:

  • OFFICIAL CHANGE OF ADDRESS WITH USPS (This should be the first one you do!)
  • Banks
  • Credit Cards
  • Store Credit Cards
  • Store Loyalty Programs
  • College / Sorority Newsletters
  • Charities I Support
  • All companies I've received PR mail for blogging from in past 6 months

     *Start packing up your desk area at work! (This actually took me a lot longer than I thought... I had a huge cubicle in Vermont and didn't realize how much crap I had stored there.)

     *Inquire with your landlord about the process for cancelling utilities. At my Vermont apartment, my landlord handled the water, electricity, and trash, but I was responsible for cancelling my cable and internet, which turned out to be a little more of a process than I anticipated. Set cancellation dates for your utilities if this is on you!

    *If you won't be saying all of your goodbyes at a going away party, begin saying your goodbyes!

    *Figure out the route that you'll be taking (if you're driving to your new state), and book hotel rooms if nights are needed on the road.

     *DOWNSIZE!!! This is the time for runs to Goodwill, the Habitat Store, Plato's Closet, etc. Or let friends come over and have their pick of what you're downsizing. True story: some of my favorite things in my apartment are things that I've gotten from friends who were moving!

1 Week Before:

     *Try to have your kitchen and bathroom completely packed, minus absolute essential items. I recommend keeping out travel sized toiletry items and a small makeup bag in your bathroom, and for food eating mostly takeout during your last week- as you don't really have time for washing dishes! Pack any perishable foods, and give anything perishable or that would be hard to pack to friends. (You'll feel much better than throwing it away!)

     *Get confirmations about moving truck, movers, any other logistics for move.

     *Pack suitcase for yourself during days of move. Check weather both in your former state and new state.

     *If you're driving your vehicle to your new state, start deciding which items you'll be putting in your car versus the moving truck. This time around, I put my technology (blog camera, laptops, etc), valuables, and delicate things like artwork in my car, as well as the suitcase that had things I'd wear and use until I got unpacked.

     *Finish your goodbyes with friends!

2 Days Before: 

     *Apartment should be 80-90% packed at this point! Drink lots of caffeine, put on some motivating music, and PACK PACK PACK!

     *Last minute runs for any more moving supplies. (I did much better with this when I moved from NC to VT.... on this most recent move, we were still going shopping for moving supplies ON MOVING DAY. I kept running out!)

     *Have a last meal at any favorite local restaurants.

     *Download some podcasts or new music for the road trip (or flight).

Moving Day: 

     *Clean essential areas of your apartment after furniture and boxes are moved out (bathroom, kitchen counters, vacuum floors, etc). Take out any Command hooks and take nails out of the walls.

     *Pat yourself on the back because YOU DID IT!!!! You're moving OUT OF STATE!

     I know this was a very wordy blog post, but I hope all of this information helped any of you who are curious about moving out of state or have a move on the way soon! Next week's post again will be a packing guide, and again I'm still figuring out the third and final post - maybe a Q&A?

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese