Southern Belle in Training

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

March 7, 2018

Big Life Update Part 2: HELLO VIRGINIA!!!

     Thank you so much to everyone for the kind words on yesterday's blog post and social media announcement! As promised, today's blog post is part two, and will go much more in depth with this big news and life update. I decided to write this post in Q&A style- hopefully this covers anything you might be wondering about my upcoming move, but if not, feel free to ask more questions!

     What was my original plan for staying in Vermont?  When I first accepted my job in Vermont (ironically it was a year ago before to the day of when I was offered my job in Virginia!), I was hoping to be here two years. Two years is a good length of time in general to be at a first job, and really the ideal timeframe for staying at one in the broadcasting industry. I kind of knew from the get-go that I didn't see myself in New England long-term ever again (Sorry mom and dad... not ever planning on moving home to Maine!), but my first job offer happened to come from Vermont so I made the best of it and prepped myself for two years here.
     Without going into a lot of detail on the blog, it became evidently clear to me this fall that I was only supposed to be here for a year. Some of those reasons you might already know if you've followed my post-move updates for the last year and read my blog posts about struggling for many months to make friends and fit in here. And some of the reasons I never talked about on the blog... some work related things. I'm not getting into it now, but with each month that went by, it became clearer and clearer to me that after the holidays I needed to start planning for my 2018 future to include a move out of Vermont.
    One "breaking point" that comes to mind about when I really knew I had to make plans to try to move move was actually when I was en route for my trip to Kentucky in December. I had a layover at the Charlotte airport. When the plane touched down on the runway in Charlotte... I immediately started bawling. This was technically my first time on Southern ground since I'd moved, and knowing that I was back in the city that I'd loved for so long (even just because of a 40 minute layover) was too much for me to handle. (I seriously feel bad for the person who was sitting next to me on the plane- they probably thought I was so weird!) Anyways, that cry-fest on the runway was kind of a come-to-Jesus moment for me regarding my future in Vermont.
    My friend (and former blog photographer) Deeana gave me the book Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin for Christmas. It's a novel (I'll be including my review of it in my next book reviews post!), anyways this quote from it really stuck out to me. It's from the main character, Ellen, who had recently left her home in NYC to move to Atlanta. Kind of the opposite of me- moving North to South and missing the North. Anyways, Ellen's thoughts about her move read "I've made a mistake in leaving (New York). A big mistake. The kind of mistake that brews resentment and dangerous fissures. The kind of resentment that makes your heart ache." After reading that part of the book this winter I was like "WOW. This!!! All of this. This is everything I've felt since I moved to Vermont!"

      When did I start applying to jobs? Right after the holidays! I was in in Vermont for Christmas this year (as some questionable weather prevented me from getting home to Maine), and then a few days later I headed to Indiana to spend a few days with a friend from high school. I pretty much started applying to jobs right after I got back from that trip. My lease in Vermont ends March 31st, and ideally I wanted to be moving right around the time that ended (and amazingly- that's pretty much exactly how it worked out!).

     Did I know that I wanted to go back down South or was I open to other places? While it's no shock to anyone that I have missed Charlotte dearly this year, when you work in a field like broadcasting and are new in your career, you have to move for the job and often don't get too much say about where geographically opportunities are available. My heart always longed to be back in the South, but I had fully prepared myself to live somewhere else for a few more years. I knew that the main goal was getting out of Vermont, and I truly believed I'd be happy in a lot of other places. In January, I had phone interviews at a few stations all over the place- none of them in the South actually! All would have been great career opportunities, and I really tried to make myself ready to make a move to a different region of the country. However, I didn't feel God's peace about any of these phone interviews or potential opportunities. I was actually crazy nervous. I also was still praying constantly for job posting that I was qualified for to open in the South. When I had the initial phone interview for my new job in Virginia, the nerves weren't there and everything just felt right. It felt even more right during my interview trip to Charlottesville!

     Why do I want to be back in the South so badly? Well, pretty much because "Southern Belle in Vermont" is a terrible name for rebranding my blog! Lol... 😊 (But really though...) Okay in all seriousness, this will be a longer answer. I'm a New England girl, born and raised in a small Maine coastal town. Being close to my parents and pretty grounded in high school, I think it surprised a lot of people when I started expressing serious interest in going to college so far from home in North Carolina several years ago. Heck- it even surprised myself a bit! But as soon as the plane my dad and I were on in February 2012 (for my first college visit in NC) touched the runway in Charlotte... I felt like I had come home. Seriously! From the second I had my first taste of the Carolinas- I knew that's where I was meant to be. Not all parts of my college years were easy of course (is anyone's?), but the one thing that continued to ring true was my love of Southern culture. It broke my heart a little bit last year when I realized that I wasn't getting any job offers in my industry in the Carolinas or the South in general, but I did what I had to do and was willing to make a move to begin my radio career. And I did that!! And have toughed out a lot this year. But I'm ready to GO HOME!!!!
      Another reason that being back in the South is important to me was to be closer to my friends. I think I've done a good job at staying close with everyone long distance (I blogged about that a couple weeks ago!), but the more months that went by the more I missed my people. Most of my closest friends are getting rooted in Charlotte, and I ideally wanted to be in driving distance. I already have one wedding on the calendar in North Carolina for this summer and I knew that in years to come there will only be more weddings and bachelorette parties and bridal showers and housewarming parties and baby showers (!!)... and I wanted to be there for all of that. In person! Not via Facetime.
     Charlottesville to Charlotte is the same distance as my hometown in Maine was to Burlington... so crazy how God worked that out!

Cute Moving Announcement Photo

     Did I want to (or try to) move back to Charlotte, North Carolina specifically? While I would have been open to moving back to Charlotte if the right radio job presented itself during this winter when I was job searching, I always felt in my heart like God would lead me back to the South... but not Charlotte right away. I'm very open to eventually settling down in Charlotte- it's the most wonderful city. But I didn't feel in my heart like it was my time to return there yet. Career-wise, Charlotte is a major media market meaning that even if there were job openings at stations there during my timeline, I might still not have been qualified yet. I really had it in my heart that I wanted to be in driving distance to Charlotte/North Carolina but not living there specifically... and that's exactly what has happened!
     As soon as I interviewed at a station in a city that literally had "Charlotte" in the name... I took that as a great sign! 🙂

     When did I know I didn't want to keep working in CHR (Top 40) radio? Around the time that I started applying for jobs (after the holidays), I did a lot of thinking about where I wanted the direction of my life to go. Both career-wise and personal-wise. I've never personally felt called by God to work in Christian radio. Christian radio is a great thing (I have one of the Vermont Christian stations on my car presets!), but it's a very specific industry, and I've never personally felt it's my life mission to work in it. That could change in the future... but for now it's something I appreciate as a consumer of radio but don't want to work in. Anyways, the station that I primarily work for here in Vermont rebranded in August, from a traditional Top 40 radio format, to a Rhythmic CHR station, which in radio terms means we play more hip-hop and urban music. Don't get me wrong.... I love me some hip-hop. I'm a huge Drake and Migos fan and will probably always be, and their songs definitely aren't all clean. However, as the months went on, I started to realize that while I enjoy listening to hip-hop, I don't enjoy working for a station that plays that type of music. There's a whole lifestyle that goes along with the messages in those songs, and a lot of the entertainment articles that I was talking about during my shows went against everything that I believe morally. It's one thing for me to like a hip-hop song and listen to it on Spotify at the gym... but it's another thing to work for a job that directly promote the lifestyles of the artists. That I wasn't okay with anymore. I kind of hit my breaking point when the song "Gucci Gang" by Lil Pump started getting airplay on our station this winter. I wasn't familiar with Lil Pump and after doing some research about him so that I'd be prepped for my shows, I was quite frankly absolutely disgusted by his song lyrics, his tweets, and everything he sadly represents as a 17 year old teenager who has somehow found fame. I didn't want to be working for a station that played music like that!
     I started really realizing that AC or Hot AC radio (true pop radio or a soft rock format... think stations that play the Delilah show) or Country would be a better fit for my next job, given my revelations about how my faith and morals play into my day job. Both of these types of stations are generally speaking more family friendly, and I felt like the radio personality lifestyle that goes along with these jobs would better fit who I am as a person. I actually did interview for a Top 40 job this winter (one of the ones that didn't work out), but in my heart I was really hoping for a shift in music direction. And of course, God came through on that!
    (And please don't take what I said above as me bashing urban music/hip-hop! Couldn't be further from that... and trust me when I say most of my workout playlist is hip-hop. It was just something I didn't feel comfortable working in for my full-time job.)

     What is my new job exactly? I will be working as an Afternoon Drive radio personality for a country station in the Charlottesville, VA media market! Minus the fact that I'm switching radio formats- not too much about my actual schedule is changing. I've been doing Afternoons in Vermont since August, so I'm used to the schedule. It took some getting used to at first- but I've found that I love having my mornings to myself, and it works out very well since I have mornings to work on everything related to Southern Belle in Training (photoshoots, emails, conference calls, etc).

     Am I nervous about anything related to the move? Honestly.... I don't have many of the same anxieties that I had about moving to Vermont! I credit that all to feeling God's peace with every part of this next step in my life and career. Of course, moving out-of-state is always a big task, both the physical act of the move and the before and after. I have a ton of stuff to do before the move and will have a lot after, so I guess I'm nervous about staying on top of all of the adulting tasks? But overall I'm not too worried! I've been mentally preparing for this for many months. One thing that I'm definitely not looking forward to is my third DMV trip in 2 years.... BUT it means I won't have a Vermont license/plates anymore, so actually that's a positive! My new job does have a few responsibilities that my former one didn't have, but I feel confident and ready to learn.

     What's the plan for Southern Belle in Training? I shared my latest blogging update last week when I recapped February's annual reader survey! In that post I spoke a bit about my blogging goals for the rest of the year. My goal is to continue posting four days a week, M-Th, upon moving to Virginia. I might be able to squeeze in a Friday or weekend post here and there, but I think four days a week is a great goal while acclimating to my new job, and also trying to dedicate more time to a new social life and getting involved in the community. I've already scheduled my first photoshoot in Virginia, and I can't wait to discover tons of beautiful new places to shoot fashion posts at! Travel blogging is something that I wanted to expand upon in 2018- however with starting most new jobs, radio or not, time off is limited for the first six months. That's honestly okay (I really want to focus my next six months on discovering my new home!), and hopefully I can pick back up with travel content around the holidays. Overall, I couldn't be more thrilled to be bringing Southern Belle in Training BACK to the SOUTH!

Fun Moving Announcement Photo idea

     Thank you so much for sharing this happy news with me this week! Since yesterday was my last day of work, I was actually supposed to head home to Maine to visit my family and friends there for the rest of the week. Unfortunately a Nor'Easter storm is headed to New England today and will hit Maine especially badly with snow, so I'm sticking it out here in Vermont with packing and moving prep- hopefully that's the right choice!

    I'll still be trying to blog at least 3x weekly during the moving process, and of course you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @miss_alk for more updates during this exciting time! And since this post went up on a Wednesday, Midweek Ramblings will be up tomorrow (Thursday!).

      God Bless,

       xoxo Annaliese



  1. Congratulations, again! It seems like the new job is a great fit and welcome back to the South! It is always crazy looking back in hindsight how much the Lord works in our lives. Good luck on the move! Moving is the worst.

  2. Congratulations on the move. I'm a southern girl through and through and there's not really anything that would ever change that, except the offer to move to Hawaii, if it ever came! There's something about the south that just makes you never want to leave! I'm happy you get to come home! Your job sounds like it's seriously fun, too!

  3. Congratulations! I can't imagine how hard it must have been to live somewhere that didn't truly feel like home. Excited to see how your new location works out for you!

  4. I'm so excited for you! You handled year one of your professional career with such grace, and I'm excite that the best is yet to come for you :) Wishing you a smooth move!

  5. As I said on your Insta, I am SO excited for you! You're going to love Charlottesville. When I lived there for a year after college, I got super involved with the Junior League of Charlottesville and found that was the most wonderful way to meet people and make friends. I would definitely recommend looking into that, especially since I think you were into your sorority in college (I've seen you wear the shirts in your Insta stories at least!), it'll feel like a natural thing to do. Also, there's so much amazing food there - Bodo's Bagels, Take it Away, gooey brownie at Arch's...omg, the list goes on.

  6. Awe yay!!! I'm so happy you're so excited! congrats on the new job and move!!

  7. this is so awesome! i love the entire q&a concept of this!!! :) i moved from the west to new england, and new england felt like home to me too :) sometimes you just know a certain place is for you, and i'm glad you found yours :)

  8. Ahh I'm so happy for you! The heart wants what it wants and I'm glad yours got what it needed :)

  9. How exciting! Congrats on the move and the new job! Looking forward to reading more about your new home!

  10. How awesome! Congrats on the move - I live in Washington, DC and it's only a train ride away from Charlottesville.
    It's also great that you're moving towards working at a radio station that's more aligned to your values. That said, I'm not as familiar with Lil Pump (and I'm a classic hip hop fan) as I am with other hip hop artists and rappers - how are his views different from most other rappers? Just curious.

    In any case, good luck on the physical move! That's quite a few miles away from Vermont! :]

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

  11. Congratulations on your new job & the move, sweet girl! I'm so happy for you, just as I know you're so happy to be back down South :)

    xoxo, SS

    Southern and Style

  12. Ahh congratulations! This is so exciting! Good luck with your move and I can't wait to read all about it.

  13. I am even more excited for you after reading this post! I know your travel time is limited during the first 6 months of your job, but I would love to read "stay-cation" posts of the gems you find in the Charlottesville area/within driving distance!

  14. I gotta say, I DO understand your love for the South! I can never see myself leaving North Carolina and wouldn't mind an extended stay here in Durham! Congratulations on the new job, hope everything is amazing in Charlottesville!

  15. Congrats on the move, so exciting! Sometimes you just know that it's time to go - and it sounds like you had that ah-ha moment!

  16. It is so awesome you had this opportunity before the two year expected time line but I totally get there are a lot of consideration and logistics that go into a big change like that! Congratulations!

  17. Congrats! This is so amazing!! I'm at a weird place with my career right now- I'm not feeling right with where I am and what I'm doing. This gives me hope that I'll find peace soon, too.

  18. I'm so excited about your move! I can't wait to follow along on this new adventure. BTW - I double checked and I'm actually 5 hours away, not two. Clearly I have difficulties with time/distance perception.

  19. Congratulations Annaliese! I'm so excited for you!



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