July 19, 2018

NORDSTROM SALE 2018: My Three Purchases Styled!

     Yes- you read this post title correctly! I'm a fashion blogger... and I only purchased three items from this year's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! That's right- I didn't blow my whole shopping budget for 2018 or go into debt shopping this sale, haha. πŸ˜‰I'm proud of the self-control I exercised during this year's NSale, and I'm really happy with the three items that I now own. Check out today's look to see how it all styled together!


NSale 2018

The Corner UVA - Charlottesville Photoshoot

My 2018 Nordstrom Sale Purchases

NSale Fall Outfit

NSale Barefoot Dreams cardigan review

Fall Fashion Grey Cardigan



Photography by Kate Greer 


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     Here you have it friends- my purchases styled! (One of them you can't see pictured- the Natori Feathers Contour Bra. But I am wearing it here and I have been wearing it a lot since I got it- it's very comfortable!) I'm absolutely obsessed with the Barefoot Dreams cardigan and this Caslon striped shirt. 


      Let's talk about the cardigan first. I am so glad I decided to spluge on a Barefoot Dreams cardigan in this year's NSale! One thing that you may or may not know about me is that I'm a bathrobe enthusiast. No- seriously! I have a ton of bathrobes in all different lengths and fabrics- but my favorite ones in my closet are the fuzzy and warm ones.  This cardigan literally feels like a bathrobe- except it's of course appropriate to wear out of your house. WIN WIN. This will sell out fast when the NSale opens to the public tomorrow, and I highly recommend it! I ordered size XS/S.


     I'm also loving this simple but cute striped long sleeve top! It comes in a variety of colors in the NSale in both striped and printed options. I am already thinking of endless ways to style this come fall and winter- with skirts and tights and a statement necklace, or dressed down with leggings and sneakers for a weekend look. There's so many options. It's under $20- which is a great price both for Nordstrom and also just for such a staple piece! I ordered size S and I liked the fit.



     So there you have it- my 2018 NSale purchases. I'm proud of myself for really sticking with a budget in this year's sale, and I know I'll be using and wearing all three of my purchases often. I can totally justify making a spluge on something if I will wear it all the time- like with the Barefoot Dreams cardigan!



      With the sale opening to the public tomorrow- I'm so curious as to what you'll be buying!! Did you also shop the sale Early Access? Or are you planning to after tomorrow? Or just avoiding it in general this year? You can check out my 2018 NSale guide to my favorite brands included in the sale in this post, and some NSale beauty picks as well in this post!







     Happy Shopping!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese

     

      





July 18, 2018

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.



{Fun with my girlfriends at Afton Mountain Winery this past weekend! Follow me on Instagram @miss_alk}


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     Ramblings:
  • Nordstrom Sale 2018: If you follow a lot of fashion bloggers, I'm sure you're well aware that the 2018 Nordstrom Sale is underway! I do personally enjoy shopping the sale, as I've shared in other blog posts. It's a great way to get designer merchandise at a good discount, and also a good time to stock up on fall basics. Personally- I love reading every blogger's post about the sale, to see what items everyone purchased! However, for my own shopping habits I make a point to not overspend each year- only buying things that I really love and will use a lot. I'm curious what your thoughts are on the sale, especially in regards to bloggers promoting it? I have another big NSale blog post coming up tomorrow and another one next Monday, but after that I won't be covering it too much.
  • 5k prep: In Monday's blog post, I did a "check-in" with progress that I've made of New Year's Resolutions. One goal for 2018 that I haven't done well with since moving to Virginia was getting good enough with running to run a 5k. Writing that blog post totally re-motivated me, and over the weekend I found an easy-ish treadmill 5k training plan! So far I've stuck with it... it's four weeks long, so wish me luck that I'll make it and be able to finally cross this resolution off! 
  • Organization inspiration: Olivia Rink is one of my favorite bloggers to follow on Instagram (stop what you're doing right now and follow her if you haven't!), and this past week I remembered how much I love her blog as well! She shared this blog post last week about how she organizes her bathroom and jewelry collection... #GOALS y'all! I thought I was fairly organized at home until I read this! 


     Weekend Recaps: 
  • Last weekend: Y'all- I think last weekend was the best weekend of my summer, SERIOUSLY!!! It pretty much started Thursday night and ended on Sunday. Last Thursday I went to a fun happy hour mix and mingle type event with my church's 20s/30s people, and there were other young professional aged people there from tons of other Charlottesville churches. I think over 100 people went- it was amazing! Friday night I had a work event, and friends came out to support me at that which was so sweet. Saturday's agenda was heading to a winery to celebrate a girlfriend's birthday in the afternoon, and then that night was a pool party! The pool party info was sent out to pretty much everyone who went to the Charlottesville churches mixer on Thursday, so a TON of people came! It was so much fun. Sunday the fun didn't stop... church in the morning and then everyone from my church did a river tubing trip in the afternoon! It was my first time tubing, and I got to cross that off my bucket list! I ended my Sunday with grocery shopping and Netflix. What a PERFECT and FUN weekend! Sorry this recap is so long- didn't want to leave anything I did out. πŸ™‚
  • This weekend: I am headed back to my beloved Tar Heel state (NC!!!) for the first time since I moved in April 2017! (Not counting a 45 minute layover I had in Charlotte in December...) I will be going to a wedding for a college friend, and one of my very best friends is a bridesmaid, and we are staying together Saturday night which will be so fun. Unfortunately I don't have time to visit Charlotte on this quick trip, but just knowing I'll be spending the night in North Carolina makes my heart SO HAPPY!!!! (Can you tell I've missed it?)


     Purchases: 

  • The NSale is underway, and my purchases have arrived! Looking forward to styling them for y'all soon. I was good this year and only purchased three things that I actually could really use in my wardrobe, and would wear often. I'm proud of myself haha!! #selfcontrol
  • My first purchase was the Natori Feathers Underwire bra. I'd seen a lot of other bloggers rave about how comfortable this is over the past couple years, so I figured I'd give it a try. In the past I've always pretty much just been a diehard Victoria's Secret shopper for undergarments, but I am glad I tried this bra! It is indeed very comfortable, and wears well under clothing.
  • My splurge purchase in this year's sale was this Barefoot Dreams cardigan. When I saw that this was over $100 full price, and marked down to $76 in the sale, I was like "Almost $80 for a CARDIGAN?!" However- the heavy AC at work has been a problem for me this summer, and since I'm cold now every weekday, I figured I'd splurge and try it. Y'ALL- this is the COMFIEST and SOFTEST cardigan ever!! I am already thinking I'll ask for another for Christmas. 
  • I also purchased this striped shirt- a fall and winter staple that I know I'll get a ton of use out oft!  


      Wishlist:


     Recipe of the week: Raspberry Coconut Muffins from Taste of Lizzie T. These are some of the tastiest muffins I've ever made and remain a favorite breakfast recipe of mine! I made them last week and was reminded how delicious they are. 



      Song of the week: Summer Fever by Little Big Town. Hands down this is one of my top new country songs for 2018- if not my favorite of all so far! SO catchy and the perfect summer anthem (and it sounds more pop than country!).  



     On the blog this week:


      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese 

July 17, 2018

Summer PR Packages Review + Nordstrom Sale Beauty Picks!

Happy Saturday! Popping in today to share my latest PR beauty package unboxing and reviews, as well as some fun beauty picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you're looking for more NSale content- you can check out my first Nordstrom Sale post from Thursday!

     The little disclaimer that I always share before PR beauty package posts is that this isn't sponsored in any way! These are just the "gifts" that I receive from some beauty brands every couple months- and all my reviews about them are honest and my own. πŸ™‚    



Blogger Beauty PR Packages



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     A double dose from one of my favorites, IT Cosmetics, will get today's beauty package reviews started! I first got into using products from IT Cosmetics a couple years ago, and my love for their products has only increased with time. IT also sends really generous influencer packages out throughout the year, and I'm excited to share what I got in both of these! The first one, which came to me in late spring, was a cute makeup bag filled with travel sample sized items of a lot of their best sellers, like the CC Cream, Bye Bye Makeup removing balm, and the Brow Power pencil! There were also a few new goodies that I hadn't tried before. 

     The second package is what they sent for the 4th of July! I love the star shaped makeup brush... is it totally terrible that I was most excited for the patriotic fanny pack? I totally wore that all day on July 4th and the following weekend on a DC day trip- ha! 






     Next up are a few things I received from a totally new-to-me beauty brand! I'd heard of Buxom Cosmetics before and seen it sold at Sephora, but had never tried any of their products. I received the lash mascara and two shades of the SexySmoky kohl eyeliners. I've now been testing all the products for a few weeks before writing this blog post, so I could really give y'all an honest review. Unfortunately- the mascara isn't my favorite. It's not necessarily a "bad mascara," it just gives lashes a super natural look. I prefer clumpier and bolder mascaras since I like a heavier lash look for everyday, so it wasn't my favorite for my makeup style. But if you prefer more natural lashes, this could be a good one to check out!
     I do like the kohl eyeliners, especially in shade. I recently stopped wearing liquid winged eyeliner everyday, and have switched to a lighter brown eyeliner (and not winged) for weekday and church makeup looks. This one is great!





     The last beauty related post I'll be sharing today is from one of my favs- Avon! I feel like I say this every single time I write one of these posts, but they send the most generous influencer gifts. The latest package that I received had several of their face masks to try, and they also sent the softest towel and a fun personalized terrycloth headband- perfect to use with the masks for a night of pampering! Doing a face mask is one of my favorite ways to de-stress, so I cannot wait to keep trying all of the new ones they sent.





     And one last package that's not beauty related. Had to share my latest earrings I received from Sugarfix by Baublebar of course! If you aren't familiar with Sugarfix, it's the Target exclusive Baublebar jewelry line- everything is super cute and very reasonably priced. Loving both of these beaded earrings from my latest Sugarfix package- I wore the red ones on July 4th for watching fireworks!





     Lastly- I wanted to share a some beauty picks from this year's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! The sale goes public on Friday- if you're not a cardholder or just haven't shopped yet, this week is a great time to start picking out things you'd like to purchase. In full transparency- I actually didn't make any beauty purchases from this year's sale. However, several of my favorite brands and products are included, as well as items I'd love to try in the future:







     Midweek Ramblings is coming up tomorrow on the blog!



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese

July 16, 2018

2018 Resolutions + Summer Bucket List Check-In.

     Forget how fast summer is moving... can you believe we are this far into 2018?! I sure can't- this year has flown by. Sometimes it can be easy to hit the ground running with New Year's resolutions or bucket list goals in the winter, and then we forget about them and neglect them later in the year. I don't want that to be me this year, so I thought today's post would be the perfect time for a resolution check-in, and also looking at my summer bucket list again! I challenge you to do the same soon too. 


Pink one-piece swimsuit



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     *Complete 52 Week Savings Plan again (previously completed as 2016 resolution): Haven't technically kept up with this, but also have? I haven't been following the same savings plan I used in 2016 for putting away money, but instead I now have a larger set amount from my paycheck that gets automatically put into savings every two weeks (both a general savings account and my new 401k). So technically I'm saving away more money than I would be with the 52 week plan? So I guess- yes, I have been doing this, and more than intended!


    *Do a minimum of two workouts a week, with goal of running a 5k in 2018: Yes on the workouts... running.... ehh haha. I was doing so well with building up my stamina for running when I still had a gym membership in Vermont. Around the time that I moved, I was running 2.5 miles on the treadmill! Then I moved to Virginia, and it look me about a good month of just adjusting to my new apartment and job to even think about finding the time to work out. Now I work out in  my apartment gym, and for the last several weeks I've gone to workout there 2-3 times a week. However- I've had to start over with running. Right now just running a mile is a struggle! This weekend while working on this blog post I got re-motivated with running, and I downloaded a 5k training plan- hopefully I can finally do it!


     *Spend quiet time each morning in uninterrupted prayer: Similar to the previous one... I did great at this while in Vermont, but haven't kept up since moving to Virginia. NEED to get back to this- a healthy prayer life and quiet time spent with God is so important!


     *Read 30 books this year: This resolution somehow missed being included in my blog post about the ones I had for 2018, but it was a goal of mine nonetheless! This is the one that I've done the best at! As of this weekend, I have read 24/30 books for 2018. Kind of hoping to way exceed and maybe read 50 books this year?! 



      Charlottesville VA Summer 2018 Bucket List:

     
     *Plan an overnight trip to see one of Virginia's beaches: Not yet! Still maybe crossing my fingers for this to happen in August, but it might not happen until Summer 2019 due to a lot of unexpected car expenses that have thrown my budget for a loop.


     *Visit one new-to-me hiking trail somewhere in the mountains. Yep! Hiked in Sugar Hollow Reservoir (in between Charlottesville and Crozet) on the 4th of July with some of my girlfriends. 


     *Find a local nature walking trail in Charlottesville for weekly walks. Yes! Have checked out the part of the Charlottesville Rivanna Trail that runs through Darden Towe Park, which is near where I work. I've also visited the Monticello Trail this summer, another great option for weekday walks.


     *Drive more of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nope- not yet. Hopefully soon!


     *Visit 12 wineries (by the time summer is over) on the Monticello Wine Trail! So far this summer I've visited two new-to-me vineyards, bringing my total of vineyards visited so far to seven.


     *Go to a polo match at King Family Vineyards. Yes! It was almost 100 degrees out on the Sunday that I went with friends, but hey I can still check this off! 


     *Go to Sunset Series at Carter's Mountain Orchard (Thursday night concert series). Yes! And I also went to Carter's Mountain for viewing the 4th of July fireworks. 


     *Shop at Short Pump in Richmond (the nicer shopping district, similar to Charlotte's SouthPark). Not yet! I did spend some time in Richmond in June but didn't get to do this yet.


     *Go tubing on the James River. Yes to tubing, but I did it on a local river instead of the James! This weekend a lot of friends from my church did a tubing afternoon on Charlottesville's Rivanna River. It was my first time tubing and it was so much fun!! Hopefully next summer I can tube on the James (bigger river). 


     *Continue meeting weekly with my women's Community Group at my new church. Yes! We met during Tuesdays in the school year (I joined the group in April shortly after moving), and throughout the summer we've managed to hang out at least a few Tuesday evenings out of each month. 


     *Continue participating in monthly service projects with my new church. Yes- for June! The monthly weekend projects are on break in July and August. I'm currently praying about finding a ministry that I can get involved with volunteering more regularly for in the fall- either through my church or separately. 





     I'm planning to share another summer bucket list check-in at the end of the season- probably around or after Labor Day! If you made resolutions for the year or a summer bucket list, I definitely suggest taking a few minutes sometime soon to review everything and adjust your goals if needed. Let's make things happen in the rest of July and in August!


 
     I didn't want to overwhelm y'all this year with Nordstrom Sale content, so that's why I scheduled this more personal post for today to get the week started on the blog! This morning I am shooting my Nordstrom sale purchases with Kate, and I'm looking forward to sharing those looks later in the week.



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese 

July 12, 2018

NORDSTROM SALE 2018: My FAVORITE Brands ON SALE!!!

     Happy Nordstrom Sale Early Access Day!!! Who else joined me in waking up at a crazy early hour to be the first to shop with your Nordstrom Card this morning? It's mornings like these that I'm thankful I had a morning radio internship a couple years ago... waking up in the middle of the night isn't that hard for me if I went to bed early thanks to that experience. πŸ˜‰Anyways- I was thrilled to see that a lot of my very favorite brands are included in this year's sale. Some I expected, like Tory Burch, and others I was very impressed with the selections, like J. Crew! Let's get right to it... in my first Nordstrom Sale post for this year, I'm sharing my favorite picks from my personal favorite brands.




Photo from one of my favorite Nordstrom Sale posts from 2017! Full post here


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     AG 





      AG Jeans are definitely a splurge item, but worth it in my opinion. They are some of the most comfortable jeans I've ever worn! It's a significant savings to buy a pair during the NSale. 



     Baublebar





     In the last couple of years, Baublebar has become a favorite destination of mine for fun statement jewelry, and a couple simple pieces as well. Nordstrom sells Baublebar as well, and there are some fun pieces in this year's NSale!



     BP





     Nordstrom has several "house brands," meaning that they're exclusive to Nordstrom. BP is my favorite out of all of these! Just about everything BP is under $100 at full price, and during the NSale most things are under $50, which is definitely affordable for Nordstrom. I own several BP things and find them to be a great line for basic pieces! 



     J. Crew




     Did you know that J. Crew is sold at Nordstrom?! You can stock up during the NSale on some preppy essentials, while indulging in the benefits of Nordstrom's free shipping + free returns, and earning points on your Nordstrom card! 



     Kate Spade




     So many fun Kate Spade picks in this year's NSale! I am CRUSHING hardcore on these gorgeous coats- doesn't the pink wrap one scream my name? This is also a great time to try out a Kate Spade bag or wallet. 



     Kendra Scott 




     Kendra Scott is one of my favorite jewelry brands- their pieces are so distinctive and you can wear them with so many things. I really love the beautiful aqua color that these Kirsten earrings and Kacey necklace are offered in for the NSale!



     Madewell





     Madewell is a newer brand that I've gotten into, but I was excited to see not only that Nordstrom carries it, but there's a wide selection in this year's NSale. I think this classic trench coat for under $100 on sale might be one of the best buys of this year's sale! 



     Tory Burch 




     And last but certainly not least, my favorite brand to shop each year in the NSale!! I didn't make any Tory Burch purchases this year,  but I was so impressed with the purses and shoes selection. Tory Burch Riding Boots are a preppy must! 




      Whew! And there you go with all of my highlights from my favorite brands in this year's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you're wondering what exactly this sale is and why you should shop it, check out this blog post from last week! 



     I promise not to overwhelm you with NSale content (I have totally unrelated blog posts planned for a couple days next week), but I am looking forward to sharing more about the sale, and talking about my purchases when they arrive. Happy Shopping!




     God Bless,


      
      xoxo Annaliese

July 11, 2018

Midweek Ramblings + Recent Purchases + Current Wishlist.



{Enjoying a glass of rose this summer! I'm currently giving away this cute t-shirt from Shop Women Who Love Wine on Instagram- enter here. Follow me on Instagram @miss_alk} 


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Ramblings:
  • Baby pigeon update: I know that some of you have been enjoying keeping up with my updates about the pigeon family that lives on my porch! A quick refresh: they arrived in April, shortly after I moved into the apartment. The first baby was born in the spring and left the nest in early June, and within a week the mom pigeon was back and had laid another egg! The second baby is now a couple weeks old, and is in the really cute and fuzzy stage. I've been doing some research about pigeons so I can learn a little more about them- did you know that pigeons typically mate for life? Babies also take between 17-19 days to hatch, and they leave the nest 3-40 days after birth. I never in my life would have thought I'd take such an interest in pigeons, but it's been so fun to have them on my balcony!
  • Should bloggers say no: Loved this post this week from my friend Alicia, about saying no to certain sponsored campaigns as a blogger! Alicia blogs full time, so I thought she had a great perspective on this topic. 
  • Another quick celeb engagement: Who else was low-key shocked by the announcement over the weekend that Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin are engaged?! I mean.... what?? I didn't even know they were dating tbh! It feels like a repeat of last month's engagement news with Arianna Grande and Pete Davidson. While it is cool to see young celebrities promoting marriage... at the same time I have a lot of doubts about all of this, and wonder if these quick engagements promote "cheapening" marriage if that makes sense. I have all the thoughts! 


Weekend Recaps:
  • Last Weekend: Trying something new in Midweek Ramblings this week! I'll be sharing a recap of last weekend, and my plans for the following weekend. Last weekend was super busy! Two of my friends from Charlotte were visiting from the 4th of July through Sunday. On Friday night after work, we all went to Fridays After Five (a free weekly concert series in downtown Charlottesville), and then went out for ice cream. Saturday was crazy- we went to DC for a day trip! It's about 2.5 hours away to DC proper, so that was quite the day. We did two Smithsonian museums and the US Botanic Garden. A really fun day- other than damaging my car's fender on a terrible pothole while parking! Sunday was fun and full as well, I had church, took my visiting friends to a 90s music themed brunch before they headed out, had people over from my church to my apartment pool, and then I ended the day with bible study and grocery shopping WHEW! 
  • Next Weekend: This weekend is looking to be just as busy as the last one. I have a work event Friday evening, and might do something with friends after. I'm still trying to figure out my Saturday plans- but one of my bible study friends has a birthday, and I was also invited to a pool party at someone's house. Sunday has church in the morning of course, and then there is a river tubing day trip for the 20s/30 somethings at my church! Tubing was on my summer bucket list so I can't wait for that. 


Purchases: This week I am finishing a four week shopping fast! I did it to balance out of my summer budget a bit, and get ready for the NSale- which starts TOMORROW. I did pretty well over the past few weeks- the only thing I splurged on was a couple things at Ulta. I had a 20% off prestige brands coupon, and if you love Ulta as much as I do you know those should not go to waste! I used to to buy more of my everyday CC cream, and I did make one fun purchase too- this liquid lipstick!



Wishlist:
  •  NSale is first and foremost! I am hoping to find some cute tops for work this fall marked down when the sale begins tomorrow. 
  • A gorgeous white crocheted top- perfect for late summer heat. 
  • A friend recently asked me where I buy a lot of my summer sunhats. Forever 21 is the answer! SO many cute ones- and they hold up well each year. I am loving this one with polka dots! 
  • I got gel nails the whole year I lived in Vermont, and since moving to Virginia I've been doing Dip/SNS at the salon, Lately I've heard so many raving reviews about this gel dupe nail polish!  I want to try it for myself and see if it works as well as the salon treatments!
  • It's been almost a year since I've gotten a new purse! Lately I've been loving using my smaller/cuter bags on weekends- this purse is so fun and it comes in five colors! Plus it is under $60!


Recipe of the week: Chrissy Teigen's Mac and Cheese from the Cravings cookbook. Y'all- this is the best homemade mac and cheese recipe in the world. No ifs, ands or butts about it. I have found it, and the prized recipe belongs to Ms. Chrissy Teigen! It's found in her first Cravings cookbook. I first started making this when I lived in Charlotte, and it seriously made my life. My former roommate and friend Ciera is also a huge fan of the recipe, so making it when we are together has become one of our friendship traditions! I had to make it last week for her and our friend Priyanka who visited!



Song of the week: Ciao by Enca. I love discovering new international artists! Enca is an Albanian popstar and after finding her music on Pandora I've become obsessed with a few songs. Ciao is a summer party anthem! 


On the blog this week:

     
     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese 

July 10, 2018

Chai Latte Date - July 2018

     Break out a chai latte (or your favorite hot or iced beverage!) and join me for my latest life update post! I'm excited to share some more details and personal notes about life in Virginia. Happy four months to me in the most wonderful city and state!







     SUMMARY: Sweet summertime in Virginia.... oh my, so fun! So far it's been filled with lots of pool days, good wine, fellowship with my new church community, and visits from sweet friends from out-of-state. Two months ago, in my first Virginia Chai Latte post, I wrote that if my first two months here were so good, I could only imagine how much better life was going to keep getting. That is 100% true!! I am in such a sweet season of life right now- God is blessing me immensely each day.
     The only bad thing I've dealt with over the past couple months is my poor car. I drive an older vehicle (my first car from high school) and since I moved in March, it's had a lot of maintenance issues. Between March to now, I've spent over $1000 on fixing various things, and this past weekend in DC I damaged my back fender... so now back to the body shop! I'd love to save up for a new car, but with some of my other regular living expenses and a remaining school loan, it will be quite awhile before that can happen. #adulting
      Oh- one other thing that I can't remember if I shared on the blog. I finished paying off broadcasting school in May!! (If you're new here: I did a 10 month broadcasting school technical program in Charlotte after undergrad.) It's a huge financial weight of my shoulders to have that debt taken care of! Now just have to tackle the last bit of undergrad loans.
 



     HOME: LOVING my apartment!!! The complex has a really nice pool, and it's kind of become the gathering place for all of my friends from church to hang out at, on both weekdays and weekends! So so so much fun. I'm going to be sad this fall when it's too cold to keep hanging out there with people.
     Something else I've been loving the past couple months is having overnight guests! I've hosted friends from out-of-state three times in the last two months, and it's been a lot of fun. I am looking forward now to a few weekends of not having company, but already have a few visits on the calendar for fall!
     I'm starting to think about if I want to renew my lease next winter, or move in with a roommate or two to save money. I really do love living alone, but it isn't super cheap. More of my salary than I'd like goes to rent right now. If I had a roommate or two, I know I'd be able to say yes to a lot more costly social activities (and also pay off school debt faster and finally save for a new car!). So just something I'm thinking about.
     Normally I love watching TV at night after work, but I'm not watching many things this summer! Younger is the only summer show I've been keeping up with weekly. I'm sure when the weather gets cooler though I'll be ready to start watching all of my favorite fall shows again.



     WORK: Still enjoying my job! I do not take for granted at all that I both work in the industry that I dreamed of and went to school for, and on top of that work for a great radio company. I'm truly happy to go to work everyday- such a blessing! I've started taking on some new duties at work, such as helping our production director with some weekly tasks related to commercials. There are a few country concerts coming to Charlottesville this fall! Crossing my fingers I might be able to get tickets through work- that happened a couple times for shows at my old job. But if not- I'd definitely still like to go!



     FAITH: I mentioned this a little bit above, but this has been such a sweet time of life and God has truly blessed me! My faith is in a great place right now. I credit most of that to becoming involved with the most amazing church in Charlottesville. I've been blessed to go to good churches in past places that I've lived, but never have I ever found a church that I've connected with as much or found the best Christian community as the one that I attend now! Most of my friends that I've made in Charlottesville have been through church, and it's amazing! I'm also in a summer bible study through mid-August at my church- which has been a great way to connect even more.
     I am trying to remember and meditate on the fact that even though this is a sweet season, God will still be there and be present through difficult seasons in other parts of life. Overall 2016 and 2017 were very rough years for me- filled with a lot of growing up and even doubting God's plan at times. 2018 so far has been one huge blessing from Him, but I hope my faith will be as strong as it is now in the future when things aren't always as good.
   

    
     SOCIAL: Oh my gosh- so many fun things in the past couple months! I have made some of the best friends here in Virginia- and I'm still in shock at how quickly I've made friends here. This experience couldn't be more night and day different from Vermont! Most of the friends I've made are from church, but I've also connected with people through other means. I have plans with friends every single weekend, and some weeknights as well! Summer has been a blast, but I'm already getting excited for fall fun too. I joined a women's community group at my new church in late April- we are "on break" from our regular bible study meetings for the summer, but a lot of us have still been trying to hang out once a week on a weeknight to still have something to look forward to!




     ACTIVITIES: Lots of time spent at my day job and lots of time spent blogging on the side, as always! The main activity outside of work things that I've been up to the past couple months is spending time at the pool! I didn't have access to a pool in Vermont last summer, so I feel like I have an extra year's worth of pool days to make up for. I'm out there most weekends, and a couple weeknights too. I've also been trying to work out a few times a week, and have still been reading a lot. Summer is just a great time of year to enjoy a good book! With friends, I've been enjoying trying new restaurants, going to free concerts (there are SO MANY free concerts in the summer in Charlottesville- it's nuts!), a few weekend parties, and of course pool time.



     5 NEW VIRGINIA THINGS I DID:

  • Visited two more Central Virginia wineries (now I've been to 7!)- Knights Gambit and King Family. 
  • Had my first taste of Charlottesville nightlife downtown.
  • Attended three different Charlottesville free concert series with friends: Sunsets at Sentara (Wednesdays), Sunset Series at Carter's Mountain (Thursdays), and Fridays After Five (obviously Fridays)! 
  • Hiked to a hidden swimming hole and waterfalls. 
  • Spent my first holiday in Charlottesville- the 4th of July! (I was out of town for Easter and Memorial Day.)


     The next time I write one of these posts, I'll have finally been back to Charlotte to visit (!!!), and it will be just past my birthday and Southern Belle in Training's 6th blogiversary! Already looking forward to celebrating my first birthday in my new home state. 



     I took a break last week for the 4th of July, but Midweek Ramblings returns tomorrow! 



     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese 

July 9, 2018

Having a Great Summer When You Can't Take a Vacation.

     Getting real in today's blog post! Both in my choice of outfit (this is a more casual look than I usually wear on the blog), and in the topic of today's post. Can't wait to hear y'all's thoughts about this topic! 


How to enjoy summer without a vacation

Striped t-shirt outfit

Charlottesville VA Downtown Mall

Summer casual outfit LOFT

Enjoying summer without vacation



Photography by Meredith Sledge


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






    Outfit talk up first: definitely keeping things very casual for today's look! This is a perfect example of the type of outfit that I'd wear on a summer weekend in Charlottesville. I picked up this cute striped t-shirt over Memorial Day Weekend, and I love all of the bright colors in it. These shorts have been some of my very favorites for a few years now- I love them so much that I re-purchased an identical pair this season since my previous pair was looking a little worn from years of love. To make this casual look seem a bit more put-together, I added a fun statement necklace, bright pink sunglasses, and a favorite pink crossbody purse.



     Now let's get to today's other topic: how to avoid FOMO and stay positive during the summer if you're not able to take a vacation this season. There's lots of reasons why some of us can't take vacations certain years. I actually haven't had a summer vacation since 2015, so I am hopefully much overdue for one in 2019! In 2016 I had just started broadcasting school, in 2017 I was still too new at my first job to use PTO, and this year, 2018, it's the same situation as last year! Radio is an industry that isn't famous for its PTO or benefits, and I have to wait until I've been employed six months at my new job for my time off to start. Of course, these are just a couple examples of reasons why you might not be able to take a summer vacation. There are tons: lack of PTO from work, being in school during the summer, family needs, illness, not having the funds, etc etc.


     It can be hard to stay positive about staying in your town or city all summer when friends are jetsetting all over the country and world (social media unfortunately makes the travel FOMO all the more real!). I wanted to share some tips in today's post to help with still having an amazing summer, even if you can't visit anywhere exotic or new.



      *Remember that social media is a highlight reel: We're all guilty of getting caught up in the downsides of social media sometimes. When you keep seeing perfect Instagram picture after perfect Instagram picture from people's summer travels, it can be easy to get into a negative mindset and throw a pity party. It's good to take a step back and constantly remind yourself that Instagram and other social media is people's *highlight reels.* 99% of the time, you're seeing only the highs, and not the lows that we all deal with. If the comparison game is really getting you down this summer, try to spend less time on social media!


      *Use the summer to reevaluate the reasons that you can't travel at this time: There's probably a major reason why you can't travel this summer. If you're staying close to home this month and next, take that time to remember your reason for not being able to go anywhere, and think about how you can fix that by summer 2019! For example, my reason for this summer is that I don't have PTO yet at my new job. When I start to feel down about not having any vacations coming up, I remember all the reasons that I moved to Virginia to take this new job, and how much I love my job, which makes it worth it for me. I also have started brainstorming a list of travel destinations I'd like to visit next year, which gets me excited about the future! If finances are the major reason you can't travel right now, I challenge you to save as much money as possible this month and next, and start a separate savings account for future adventures.



      *Plan a weekend overnight trip within a two hour radius: Y'all- never underestimate the power of an overnight getaway! Simply getting out of your home for a night and heading to a close by new city or town (or staying in your city for a staycation at a hotel) can do wonders! I had an absolute blast during my weekend trip to Richmond,VA last month (Richmond is just over an hour from Charlottesville). Weekend trips are generally affordable, and they can "hold you over" until you're able to go on a longer trip! Plus, I'm sure there's tons of places within a 1-2 hour radius of you that you're not familiar with yet.

     
      *Make a summer bucket list of local activities: I shared my summer bucket list on the blog last month- and I'm so glad I made one! The one I made has kept me motivated with trying new things in Charlottesville and Central Virginia this summer. If you're feeling especially financially thrifty, I challenge you to make a bucket list of only free activities in your local area!


      *Keep your social calendar full: Staying busy with friends is a great way to enjoy your summer and local area! Although I was bummed I can't travel this summer, I have been viewing it as a blessing in disguise because I've been able to devote a ton of time to fostering new friendships and meeting people in Charlottesville. If I was on-the-go all summer long, that probably wouldn't be the case! It was really hard for me to make friends in Vermont last year for the first few months (last summer), so summer 2017 felt so long and boring to me. I've had a much different experience making friends in Virginia, so summer has been awesome so far! I have different social things to look forward to each week, and it's all been a total blast.


      *Become involved with a summer activity in your local community: If you're staying put for the summer, it can be a great time to get involved with a summer specific activity or local project! I joined a summer bible study group at my church, and it's been a way to meet new friends at church, learn more about topics in the bible that I hadn't previously studied, and it also gives me something to look forward to each week! Other options include getting involved in a volunteer opportunity, joining a sports league, signing up for a fun class at community college or your parks and rec department, or even picking up a new side hustle.


   


     Are you traveling a lot this summer, or also staying grounded this year like I am? I'd love to hear in the comments!



     God Bless,


   
      xoxo Annaliese





July 5, 2018

Preparing for the 2018 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

     Can you believe it's already that time of year again?! No- it's not the holidays.... it's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale time yet again!! (Aka most fashion bloggers' craziest time of the year.) If you've been reading my blog for awhile or other fashion bloggers' blogs, you know that this sale is BIG in the blogging world. Most years I try not to go too crazy and really stick to just buying items that I really need in my closet or know I'll wear frequently, but a lot of bloggers do seem to go absolutely nuts with buying tons of stuff during the NSale. Early Access for the Nordstrom Sale begins one week from today, so I wanted to share some thoughts about the Sale, general tips, and what I'll be looking for in this year's sale!


Nordstrom Sale 2018 info!



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




     Nordstrom Sale FAQ: 


    If you shop the NSale annually, you'll probably want to skip this part of the blog post! But if you're new to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, this info might be helpful to you:


    *What is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? Each summer, Nordstrom hosts their biggest sale of the year, officially called the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, also known as the NSale. Items in almost all categories of the store (Men's and Women's fashion, Kids fashion, Shoes, Home, Jewelry, Cosmetics, etc) are discounted for a few weeks, before prices increase following the end of the NSale. The unique thing about the NSale is that the discounted merchandise is all new merchandise! While most retailers host summer sales to get rid of spring/summer items, Nordstrom discounts their brand new fall merchandise, so you can get great deals on things you'll need or want before the season even starts!


     *When is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? It begins (for Nordstrom cardholders) one week from today- yay! The 2018 NSale runs from July 12th-August 5th. On July 12th, the sale opens online at midnight PST (that's 3 am EST) for Early Access for cardholders, but with each year that goes by I've gotten used to setting an alarm for 2:30 am and being one of the first to shop the sale! I definitely recommend doing this if you're going for one of the hot-ticket items this year.


     *How do I shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? You can shop both in-store and online! Even though I'm generally more of an in-person shopper, I do actually prefer to shop the NSale online. Nordstrom offers free shipping and free returns- so why not?! If you'd like to shop the NSale right when it opens, you have to be a Nordstrom credit card holder. The NSale opens to the general public on July 20th


    *Is a Nordstrom credit card worth it? I think so! This is actually the only store that I have a credit card for. The Nordstrom credit card has an easy rewards system (you receive Nordstrom Notes certificates after reaching a certain number of points), and best of all you get Early Access each year to the NSale with your card! It's not too late to apply for one if you don't have it- more info here!


     *Why do my favorite bloggers talk about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale so much? Time to get transparent! A few reasons. For one, it is a really great sale. The fact that Nordstrom discounts their brand new fall merchandise is very different than how other retailers do their large sales. Nordstrom also carries a wide array of brands- from affordable house brands to designer labels, and all of that and more is included in the sale! Back when I was in high school, I remember thinking that only very wealthy people could afford to shop at Nordstrom. Not the case! They have plenty of affordable house brands- BP is a favorite of mine.
     To talk about the financial side of blogging for a second- most fashion bloggers (like myself) use affiliate links in our posts. If you're unfamiliar, this means that if you click on one of my links and then end up making a purchase from that website, I'll make commission. The Nordstrom Sale is one of the highest earnings times of the year for bloggers like myself that use affiliate links! So that's why you often see it "over promoted" on some people's blogs and Instagram accounts.
     I do shop and promote the Nordstrom Sale on my blog- but this will NOT be the only thing I'm posting about during the three weeks of the sale!! I try and balance out regular content with NSale content so no one feels overwhelmed. 



     Nordstrom Sale Tips + How I Shop the Sale:


     My biggest tip for shopping the NSale, or any sale, is KNOW YOUR BUDGET! As I wrote above, some bloggers do "over promote" the sale a little bit, and reading blog post after blog post like that can make you want to overspend. Yes- the Nordstrom Sale is awesome, but it is NOT a reason to go into debt or overspend for your monthly budget!! No sale is ever worth that. Remember that!


     This week and next are great times to analyze your fall wardrobe and see what you need. If you're planning to make a designer purchase in the sale, make sure you have the funds to accommodate that! Pro tip: the Nordstrom Sale is also a great time to purchase gifts for occasions you have coming up: birthdays, wedding showers, even getting a head start on holiday shopping for your friends and family! Nordstrom does release a sale preview catalogue each year, but FYI I've found the best items usually aren't in the catalogue!


     For the past few years, I've woken up in the middle of the night when the sale goes live at 3 am EST on Early Access day to get my first pick of merchandise. After I'm done shopping online, I usually write my first couple blog posts for the NSale to get that out of the way! It might sound crazy to wake up in the middle of the night for a sale, but there have been past years that I've been going for hot ticket items (like Tory Burch riding boots or Kendra Scott jewelry), and I want my first pick! It's my annual tradition now to wake up at a crazy time and shop online with fellow blogger friends! πŸ™‚



     What I'll Be Buying This Year:



     This is the first year in a few that I don't plan to make any "large purchases" in the sale! (Of course that could change if I see something I love, but right now I'm not planning to.) The number one thing I'll be looking for is casual and cute fall tops for work! I also might be purchasing birthday gifts for a couple friends with upcoming birthdays if anything catches my eye for them. Although this year's catalogue didn't feature these things, I'm interested to see if any Kendra Scott or Gal Meets Glam dresses will be in the sale! 




     I hope this post was helpful to you in preparing for this year's Nordstrom Sale! I'd love to hear what you're planning to buy this year. Or do you sit out the NSale? Either way- share in the comments!



     Have a great weekend! I have friends from Charlotte who came up yesterday for the 4th, and they're staying with me through the weekend. We have a fun day trip planned Saturday!!




     God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese