Southern Belle in Training

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

October 31, 2018

Midweek Ramblings.

{Visiting my 9th Virginia winery while my friend Anna was in town this past weekend! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}

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

  • Happy Halloween: Hope that today is a great one for you! Are you doing anything fun for it? Before work today I will be visiting my local Krispy Kreme- they will give you a free donut if you go on October 31st in costume! My work is having a costume contest and party during lunchtime today, so I am excited about that. And then finally, I am going to a Halloween party tonight! I shared an easy DIY costume on the blog last week, but today I'm actually going as something else for work. 
  • TV Talk: Now that fall TV shows have been on for several weeks, I've figured out which new shows I'm sticking with watching. I am really like the new ABC drama A Million Little Things. A lot of people are comparing it to NBC's hit show This Is Us... however, I tried to get into This Is Us a couple years ago and really didn't like it! I truly can't figure out why I like A Million Little Things but not This Is Us. Anyone else feel the same?
  • Christmas Giving: My cousin asked me to share this with y'all- please check it out if you feel inclined! Her friend's young son is doing something amazing to give back this holiday season- check out more on their GoFundMe

Weekend recaps:
  • Last weekend: Last Thursday night, my friend Anna (who I met in Vermont) arrived in Virginia for a visit! I took Friday off from work and made it a long weekend with her. We went to Richmond on Friday, and I finally got to shop at Short Pump (something that was on my summer bucket list). On Saturday we went to Pippin Hill Winery, and on Sunday I got to take Anna to my church here in Virginia. It was so great to see her! I'm not sure when the next time will be, but hopefully sometime in 2019. 😊
  • This weekend: I am dog-sitting for a neighbor on Saturday and Sunday, so that should be fun. On Sunday, I'm going to Richmond to see a friend from my freshman year of college who I haven't seen in a few years! 

Purchases: This was Week 4 of my month-long shopping fast! I almost made it.... I took Anna to Hobby Lobby last weekend, so naturally I had to buy something (...or many "somethings"). Hobby Lobby is forever my weakness!

Sale of the week: Adding in a new category to Midweek Ramblings today! This week's sale is the IT Cosmetics Friends & Family sale. I discovered IT Cosmetics a few years ago, and have been obsessed with many of their products ever since. You can save 25% on your favorites during this sale- a great deal! If you're looking to try something new, I love the Superhero Mascara and Confidence in a Compact foundation


Recipe of the week: Oh-So-Easy Caramel Sauce from AllRecipes. My friend Anna is a talented baker, and she helped me make some fancy cupcakes while she was visiting. We filled and topped one type of the cupcakes with this homemade caramel sauce- and oh my gosh. I think this sauce might've been better than the cupcakes themselves! 

Song of the week: Someone to Call My Lover by Janet Jackson. SUCH a throwback, but I heard this on Spotify this week and was reminded how much of a bop this song is. 

On the blog this week:

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese


October 30, 2018

My Favorite Navy Dress + Recent Thoughts.

     Hello and Happy Tuesday! I took a mini break from the blog and my blog Instagram from last Thursday through last night. I was able to really be "present" this past weekend, and just have a much needed little mental break from the blog world. I'm excited to be back today- I have a lot of fun fall fashion, travel, and lifestyle posts coming your way soon! I've been waiting to share today's outfit with y'all, and I hope you love this dress as much as I do! I'm also sharing a few thoughts on some anxiety that's been creeping into my life lately.

Photos by Kate Greer

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

    I think that I've really started to develop an affinity for tweed in the last year or two. I was never that into tweed as a fabric back in high school or college, but now I think that tweed pieces are the epitome of class for a young professional. I just recently styled a tweed blazer in another fall outfit post, and in today's blog post my tweed obsession is continuing! 

    How pretty is this navy and gold tweed dress from Chicwish? It is both classy and classic, and I love the bow detail at the neckline! I think this will be my new favorite fall church outfit. I styled it for today's post with simple nude pumps and a fall crossbody purse, but I'm looking forward to wearing it with tights and riding boots as the weather gets colder. 

    Now that we've had outfit talk, let's get a little caught up with some of my recent thoughts! How is your fall going? Mine feels like it has started flying by in a total blur. I feel that my first summer here in Charlottesville was almost perfect- and it seemed long and leisurely. Ever since early September, life just seems to be flying by, and some days it feels like I can't keep up.

      I suffered from really bad anxiety in high school and for parts of college. It came back in full force around this time last year when I was in Vermont, but ever since I moved to Charlottesville it's been very minimal, which was a huge blessing! This month though I've noticed it starting to creep back into my daily life and thoughts. This fall I've been struggling with feelings of self-doubt about various things: my physical appearance, my social media following numbers (which sounds so vain to type that out, but as a blogger that is important!), my life outside of blogging and work, and more. Lately I've even started to have a lot of anxiety and down feelings related to being single- which is really odd since this summer was one of the happiest times that I've ever felt as a single woman (so much so that I wrote a blog post about it!). Over the last month my church has been doing a sermon series about Fear and how to combat it, so it seems all the more ironic that so many of my anxious thoughts seem to have returned this fall! 

    How am I combatting this additional anxiety? Number one- by acknowledging it! Burying it under the (virtual) rug in my brain and pretending it isn't there isn't helping. When I notice myself thinking self-destructive or anxious thoughts, I try to remind myself that this fall is a season of life, and I won't always feel the way that I do currently. That can actually really help put it in perspective. I've also been trying to remind myself of a blessing God put in my life after each time that I have a negative thought. I did a daily gratitude journal for a semester in college, and I am thinking about bringing that back into my life. Thankfully the anxiety that I've been dealing with lately hasn't been completely crippling (I have definitely had it worst in my past, and did see counselors at various times),  but it is still annoying to deal with. 

    Now that I've shared about my last month- let me know how you've been doing in the comments! If you would rather share something less personal- let me know if you also love tweed in your fashion choices. 😊

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

October 25, 2018

Modern Classic Fall Style with Talbots.

     This might be one of my favorite fashion collaborations of the year! I'm so excited to share this modern and classic fall look with y'all today.

Photography by my mom 😊

Today's post contains affiliate links from Talbots. Thank you for supporting Southern Belle in Training!

Coat c/o // Turtleneck c/o // Purse c/o // Earrings {old, but also from Talbots!}

      What comes to mind when you hear the phrase "Modern Classic Style"? For me, it would be wearing an outfit that is both current yet timeless. Something that I could wear five or ten years ago, or five or ten years from now, and still feel stylish wearing. The store that comes to mind? Definitely Talbots! Modern Classic Style happens to be their store slogan, and I think that it fits perfectly with their brand.

     Talbots is able to accomplish something that I believe few women's fashion retailers can in this day and age. They're able to successfully appeal to women of all ages. I began shopping at Talbots early in my college years, and fell in love with some of their more feminine and preppy styles of clothing, as well as the accessories. I know that I will continue shopping at Talbots without a doubt for years to come.

    The Talbots Friends & Family Event is currently going on now! They're offering 30% on all of their favorite styles, and this does include the new arrivals!! This is a great time to invest in some classic pieces for your fall and winter wardrobe. I am just obsessed with this gorgeous coat. It's called the Italian Wool Coat, and it comes in a few colors. I felt that this beautiful tan color would be the most versatile for my wardrobe! It also coordinated perfectly in that color with this chic purse and my black turtleneck sweater.

     My mom took the blog photos for today's post when she was in Charlottesville visiting, and I just wanted to add in a quick extra note about why that was special for this campaign. As I've gotten older, my style has evolved and changed (which I suppose is normal for any girl growing up). Anyways, my adult style often tends to be different from my mom's. Her sense of style is very classic, and she prefers minimal or more dainty accessories and jewelry. I tend to favor really bold (possibly flashy) colors- there is definitely lots of neon in my wardrobe. And as far as jewelry...  the bigger the earrings and necklaces the better!

     Anyways, Talbots has consistently been a retailer that my mom and I can both shop at together, and each leave with a full shopping bag of new clothes and accessories. This store is ideal for mothers and daughters to shop at, and each one would find things that they like. My mom has generously bought me so many things from Talbots through the years- the earrings that I chose to wear in today's post being one of them. I've also bought her things from there for occasions like Mother's Day! When I think of my love for Talbots, I always think of my mom, so it was extra special that she got to take the photos in today's post. 😊

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

     Thank you to Talbots for gifting me the items marked as c/o in today's post. All opinions in today's post are honest and my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Southern Belle in Training!


October 24, 2018

Midweek Ramblings.

{Enjoyed the most delicious ice cream cone with my dad this past weekend! Follow me on Instagram @miss_alk}

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

  • Obligatory weather complaint: When I lived in Vermont last year, I tried really hard not to complain about the cold weather. (That all went by the wayside last December when temperatures stayed below 0 for over a week... but other then that I did pretty well!) However, I will not be abiding by the same rules here in Virginia! I can't believe what's happened with the weather in the past week. It was 80 degrees less than two weeks ago... on Monday morning of this week I woke up to 32 degree weather!! 32- in the South in October!! I had to get the frost off my car with my ice scraper before driving to work. No thanks. It has been pretty sunny lately, but unfortunately it's going to rain all weekend, which won't help my weekend plans. 😥What happened to the beautiful 60-70 degree autumns that I remember from my years in Charlotte? Is that not a thing in Virginia?
  • Manifest:  Is anyone else watching the new NBC show Manifest? I'm really enjoying it! TV critics are saying this could be the biggest success in its genre since Lost ended several years ago. I though this article about the show and why it's succeeding was fascinating.
  • Sears video: I mentioned in last week's Midweek Ramblings post that lately I've been obsessed with this Youtube channel called The Company Man. (As you can probably guess by the channel name, this guy makes videos about America's largest brands and companies.) I wrote in last week's post that I was really hoping he'd do a video about Sears/Kmart declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Sure enough- he did! Here it is if you'd like to watch. 

Weekend recaps:
  • Last weekend: My dad was here in Charlottesville visiting! I feel so lucky that both my parents got to come visit Virginia this month. On Saturday, my dad and I went to explore Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. I have one blog post up about that adventure already, and another to come! It was so fun this weekend to introduce my dad to Delilah (my new pet cat) as well.
  • This weekend: I am so excited for this weekend! My dear friend Anna, who I met in Vermont, is coming to visit me in Virginia! Anna and I attended the same church in Vermont, and she was such a blessing to me during that hard season of life. I am a bit bummed as the weather is supposed to be terrible this weekend, but hoping we will still have fun.

Purchases: I'm in the middle of a four week shopping fast for the month of October!

  • Loft is having their Friends & Family sale, which means even the new arrivals are on sale! I love this beautiful blue skirt
  • With the holiday season approaching, this polka dot top would make a great closet addition.
  • This is a beautiful and ladylike wrap dress that could be worn with tights and heels for fall and winter.
  • The gold details on this miniskirt make it unique and adorable. 
  • My pajama drawer is in need of a serious overhaul. (Goodbye ratty sweatpants and ripped college tshirts!) This pair of pajamas is so classic and cute, I might ask for them for Christmas. 

Recipe of the week: Scalloped Potatoes from America's Test Kitchen. My best friend Julia gave me an America's Test Kitchen cookbook for Christmas last year, and my mom gave me a different cookbook by them when she came to visit! This recipe comes out of the book I just got. It's a slightly lighter but still delicious take on scalloped potatoes. I served them with turkey burgers and salad. 

Song of the week: ...Baby One More Time by Britney Spears. Had to throw it back to one of my all-time favs, 1) because the song turns 20 this month, and 2) because my Halloween costume is inspired by the music video! 

On the blog this week: 

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 


October 23, 2018

Easy DIY Halloween Costume: Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time"

    The last time (and I think only time?) that I did a whole blog post dedicated to a DIY Halloween costume was three years ago! Crazy how the time flies. Anyways, the blog post featuring my Bachelorette costume has gotten a lot of traffic this past month! That inspired me to share one of my costume's for this year in today's post. This is another really easy DIY costume! I spent a total of $10 on this- all I had to purchase were the socks and the hair accessories (and you might already own those things!)

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

{I'm not even going to bother to link anything specific that I'm wearing because it's all older pieces from my closet! 😉 That's how easy this costume is.} 

     If you've been reading here for awhile, you probably know that I am a huge fan of Britney Spears, specifically of her early music! Late 90s/early 2000s pop culture is my JAM. One of my biggest highlights of the past few years was seeing Britney's Piece of Me residency in Las Vegas for my 22nd birthday! My very first CD was Britney's sophomore release, Oops!...I Did It Again. I distinctly remember going with my mom to the CD section of Sam's Club and picking it out, and then listening to it on repeat for years on my portable CD player and boom box. ...Baby One More Time (the album with the look my costume is inspired by) is actually Britney's first album, I purchased her second and first out of order when I was growing up! But I loved them both (and still do!). I'm currently trying to figure out a way to get back out to Vegas for Britney's new show, which opens in the winter!

     Given my adoration for Ms. Spears, I'm kind of surprised that I've never tried to do this costume, or a different Britney look, for Halloween in the past! I guess I wanted to save this idea for a Halloween in the future, and now is the time! It worked out to do it in 2018, since this year is the 20th anniversary of the song. There are so many great Britney costumes that you can do, but I wanted to take it way back to her first single, as the sexy but innocent school girl look from the ...Baby One More Time video is so easy to recreate.

     Here's what you'll need if you want to do this costume:

     I am so excited to wear this costume either this weekend or on Halloween night! So easy and fun to put together, and it's a tribute to one of my favorite artists and 90s pop songs. 

     My company is doing a Halloween costume contest next week- I'm actually doing a different costume for work! My only hint that I'll give is that it's one that I've done in the past... but I've revamped it and made it better for this year! You'll have to stay tuned to my Instagram on Halloween to see that one. 

     Please tag me on Instagram or other social media if you try my Bachelorette costume or this one this year. I'd love to see!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 


October 22, 2018

Sweater Dress in Shenandoah...

     I am so excited about today's fall outfit and these pictures! I normally write Monday's blog posts on the Thursday or Friday before, but this one is getting written at 10:45 pm on Sunday night (last night)- so forgive this for being a shorter post than normal. Hopefully these photos will speak for themselves!

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

     A fall day trip into the mountains called for an outfit featuring warm and earthy autumn tones. I was so excited to find this dress in-store at Zara in DC last month! It's simple yet chic, and the burnt orange color made it both 1) perfect for fall fashion and 2) unique in my closet, as I don't own many clothing items in this hue! I paired it with a favorite paisley scarf, and the tan boots that I've been wearing on repeat this month. Navy tassel earrings finished the look, and I love how it turned out!

     I'm sure you're wondering if I wore this outfit all day during the day trip my dad and I went on into Shenandoah National Park. The answer is no! Right after these pictures were taken, I changed in the backseat of my car (in true blogger fashion) into casual hiking clothes. 😉 I just had a feeling that Shenandoah would offer some gorgeous backdrops to shoot this outfit against, and I was right! I love the fall vibes in these photos- I think my dad did a great job taking them. My parents are both so kind and always help me out with my blog and Instagram photos when we are together!

     This was my first visit to Shenandoah National Park and on Skyline Drive (the 100+ mile scenic road that runs through the park), and I have a separate blog post planned soon all about visiting Shenandoah in the fall, and the hike that we did! Stay tuned for that soon. My dad and I also took some video footage during our day trip so I'm hoping to make a short video to share once that blog post goes up. Youtube videos aren't something that I'm super talented at, but I'm having fun every few months making one for the Southern Belle in Training channel. You can check out my most recent video here!

      Have a great Monday- I have a CRAZY week ahead and it starts today!

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese


October 19, 2018

Designer Diaries: Tory Burch Parker Tote Review.

     Starting a new series on Southern Belle in Training today! Over the years I've really developed an affinity for the more affordable designer brands like Coach, Kate Spade, and of course, my beloved Tory Burch! These brands are still  an investment to purchase, but much more realistic for a 20-something's budget than YSL, Gucci, Chloe, or any of the other fancy high-end labels! Most of the styles of the brands that I love are still chic and timeless, and the quality is much better than cheaply made knockoff bags. And it's much more doable to save up a few hundred dollars for a special pair of shoes or purse, rather than a few thousand dollars! #NoThanks

      I'm not sure how frequently I'll be doing "Designer Diaries" posts, as I don't often make those type of investment purchases. But I look forward to sharing on this topic from time to time! Today I am sharing a bag review of my Tory Burch Parker tote, which I use as my work bag. My parents generously bought me this for my 23rd birthday last year after I asked for it! For 2018, the Parker style was replaced by a revamped version of the Robinson tote, but the Robinson is very similar to the bag I have, so I still thought I'd post this. I've been using this bag for just over a year now, so I feel like I'm able to give a good review of it. 😊

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

Parker Tote Details: 

     The Tory Burch Parker tote is a classic leather Tory bag. It is chic and bold, with minimal design elements. When the bag was released, it was sold in multiple beautiful colors, as well as classic hues, such as black and navy. The color that I have is called "Dust Storm", and it's the perfect shade that matches anything I wear in all seasons. I love black purses, but I didn't want something that dark for my work bag. I wanted a tote for work that could comfortable fit my laptop, agenda, phone, makeup bag, and all of the other things that are in and out of my bag on a weekly basis. This bag ended up being perfect!

     There is one fairly large interior zip pocket in the Parker, and several slip pockets. The front of the bag also has a slit pocket (although I don't usually use that one). The interior of the bag is lined in a light colored fabric. The entire bag can zip shut, which I appreciate when I am out and about. The bag's dimensions are 14" W x 12" H x 6" D. My parents bought mine directly through Tory Burch, and it came in one of their classic boxes, and with a special dust bag. I believe this bag retailed for around $350 when it was new, but it is still available at select retailers (and of course secondhand), and it can now be purchased at a reduced price. The Robinson tote which replaced it is retailing for $348 currently.

Parker Tote Pros: 
     I am so glad that I selected this bag for my work bag! The quality on this bag is incredible- it is well worth the few hundred dollar price tag. I've used this bag at least five days a week (some weeks all seven days) for the last year, and overall it stayed in amazing condition, despite all of the use. I am a bad bag owner and most days for work I stuff mine way past capacity. In addition to my laptop, wallet, agenda and makeup bag(s), I usually have at least one or two library books floating around in there, plus bulky snacks to eat at work. And amazingly, this bag can handle all my stuff!

     I'm so happy that I went with the beautiful grey color. It truly coordinates well with my work outfits at all times of the year! I know that this bag is a beautiful, classic style that I'll still be loving and using for years to come. My 23rd birthday was actually one of my least favorite birthdays in my life (I was dealing with a lot at that time and struggling with the beginnings of situational depression as well)... but receiving this beautiful bag for that birthday is definitely a bright spot in my memory!

Parker Tote Cons:

     I do have a few cons with this bag, but I have to preface and say that the pros way outweigh the cons, as I truly do love my Parker tote! The first con is that I wish there were more zippered pockets. There is one in the interior of the bag, so currently I have all the weird odds and ends that need to go in a purse pocket all in the big one. I think it would be perfect if there was also a small zippered pocket inside as well!

     I don't find that the slip pocket on the outside works very well. I tried using it for some magazines when I used this bag as a carry-on for a flight last year, but it seemed like having the magazines in the front slip pocket were really stretching the bag (and also not being held well), so I haven't used that since. Speaking of using this bag as a carry-on, I wouldn't recommend it. While it is a fantastic work bag, I think there are better designed and lighter weight bags that would suit a traveler much better for a flight.

    This is also a bag that you really need to carry a wallet with. There aren't any small zipped pockets or card slots inside the bag, so I'd be petrified to have money or credit cards floating around loosely inside. And for my last con- you'll probably laugh at this one. Since I use this as my work bag, I associate this bag now solely with my day job, and I don't love carrying it on the weekends! So dramatic of me, I know. But it's true! The fact that I use it so much during the weekdays gives me a chance to use some of my other favorite purses on weekends, so I guess this isn't too big of a con.

How I've Styled My Parker Tote: 

     My Parker tote has made it into many a blog photoshoot over the past year! See how I've styled it with outfits for both work and play:

Where to Buy: 

     As I mentioned in the earlier part of the blog post, the Parker tote was actually discontinued this year by Tory Burch, and replaced with a revamped version of the Robinson tote. I did find one retailer still selling the Parker tote in a pretty dark red color, so that was exciting! If you wanted a different color option though, you'll have to go with the Robinson tote, which all in all is a super similar bag. Tory Burch bags are sold online and in-store through Tory Burch directly, and at fine retailers like Nordstrom, ShopBopNeimen Marcus and more!


    Please let me know what you thought of my first Designer Diaries review! Next up I might do a post about my David Yurman ring.

     Have a great weekend!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

October 17, 2018

Midweek Ramblings.

{A recent outfit featuring a cute new blazer! Follow me on Instagram @miss_alk

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

  • Hilarious animal photos: This is the best link that I've clicked on all week! I had no idea that there was an annual Comedy Wildlife Photography contest, but I sure am glad I found out about it. It's a round-up of some really funny animal photos- it sure put a smile on my face to see these pictures! 
  • New favorite Youtube channel: I don't watch a ton of Youtube, but every now and then I find a new channel that I get obsessed with for awhile. The one I'm telling y'all about today has absolutely nothing to do with fashion or beauty- but I love it nonetheless. The Company Man makes videos about... you guessed it, companies! Specifically, informational videos about your favorite national brands and companies. He discusses everything from the history of your favorite companies, to why some of them fail. The Company Man videos are super informative and interesting, I love watching one while getting ready in the mornings. I'm curious if he'll do an updated one about Sears/Kmart since they just announced Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week!
  • Delilah update: If you follow me on Instagram and watch my Stories, you're well familiar that I have a new roommate- a sweet and fluffy cat named Delilah! Overall the first few weeks of being a cat owner have gone really well. The only thing that I'm really struggling with is having Delilah sleep through the night. During her first couple weeks home, I kept her in my living room at night, but she would cry so loudly all night that 1) I couldn't sleep and 2) it broke my heart! About a week ago I finally started letting her sleep in my room at night. Unfortunately, she's still been up all night! Whether she's trying to attack the window blinds, or lick my face for a few hours (seriously)- I haven't gotten much sleep since she came home. A few people on Instagram DMed me and suggested that I get a spray water bottle to keep and spray her with for bad behavior at night. I'm hoping she'll turn things around on her own so I don't have to do that, but we will see!
  • Charlottesville Travel Guide: Other than my winery reviews, I haven't shared much travel related content about Charlottesville on my blog yet. I wanted to wait until I lived here for a full year to do that! Anyways, in the meantime if you're thinking about visiting Central Virginia, you must check out Heather from Heather Bien's Charlottesville guide! She includes a few of my favorite places, and many that I haven't checked out yet. 

Weekend recaps:
  • Last weekend: Other than going to church on Sunday, I had zero plans, which has been very unusual for my weekends since I moved to Virginia! I ended up going to a workout class at the gym on Saturday, and then a nature walk later in the day. My big project of the weekend was deep cleaning my kitchen and bedroom, and I caught up on podcasts while doing that.
  • This weekend: My mom visited me earlier in the month, and this weekend my dad is coming. He hasn't been in Virginia since he helped me move back in March, but since we were so consumed with that he didn't get a chance to explore. We are hoping to check out the beautiful Shenandoah National Park while he's here- it should be just magical to visit in the fall!

Purchases: I'm currently doing a four week shopping fast for the month of October to save up for one of my favorite holidays... Black Friday!! 😊

FYI... I do have a discount code right now for Shein that I wanted to share with y'all! Use code HIMISSALK20 for 20% off any Shein order- and their prices are already amazing.

  • Lately I have been crossing my fingers that some of the Gal Meets Glam dresses will be marked down for Black Friday Sales! If you can't wait that long, this pretty one is 40% off right now. 
  • If I was headed somewhere warm in the next couple months, I would scoop up this pretty Lilly Pulitzer dress in an instant!
  • I have this same versatile sweater in black (I'll be styling it for an upcoming blog post!), but I just saw that the sweater also comes in a beautiful hot pink color. 
  • Since I recently joined a gym, I've been working out a lot more often. I want to purchase some more cute athletic attire, and you can't beat the price or style factor of these leggings!
  • I really want to buy this for Delilah- but since she's an indoor cat I'm not sure it makes sense to get it?

Recipe of the week: Apple Whoopie Pies from A Mix of Min. I'm finally out of my recipe and cooking rut! I tried three new recipes in the last week. This whoopie pie recipe is especially seasonal, which made me want to pick it for this week's recipe of the week! It's from fellow blogger Mindy from A Mix of Min, and it's perfect to make if you've recently visited an apple orchard. I brought some of these into work for my coworkers to enjoy, and they were gone by lunchtime!

Song of the week: Lost in Japan by Zedd ft. Shawn Mendes. Confession: I'm not really a fan of Shawn Mendes' other music- I think this is the first song of his that I can say I really truly like! But boy is this a catchy one. Makes me want to hop on a flight to Japan- ha!

On the blog this week:

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

October 16, 2018

Monticello Wine Trail: Reynard Florence Vineyard.

     Welcome back to one of my favorite new series on Southern Belle in Training! Join me as I drink my way (responsibly of course 😉) through Charlottesville and Central Virginia's most prominent wineries, which are all apart of the Monticello Wine Trail. I still can't believe the fact that I didn't really like wine (!!) before I moved to Virginia in March. Clearly- I just hadn't tried the right wines! Local Virginia wines are just incredible, and I've been having so much fun visiting and reviewing different wineries on the Monticello Wine Trail. 

    In today's post, I'm reviewing one of the smallest and most intimate wineries that I've visited so far. Some of the Monticello Wine Trail wineries (like Veritas and Afton Mountain) are sprawling properties, and have large tasting rooms and event spaces. Reynard Florence is much smaller in size than a lot of the others, but it's actually one of my favorites that I've visited so far. I went here for a solo afternoon adventure a couple weeks ago when it was still really warm outside! It was about 80 the day that I visited- ideal weather for sitting outside with a glass of wine and reading a good book.

     Reynard Florence Vineyard is located in Barborsville, in Orange County. (Fun fact: I recently learned that the town of Barborsville is actually located in three different counties!! #GeographyNerd) It's about a 30 minute drive away from Charlottesville. Your GPS will probably give you a few ways to find it- I took a different route there than I did leaving. My tip is to take Route 33 from either east or west to access the vineyard- I found that was the easier route. Reynard Florence is a family owned vineyard. I got to meet co-owner Dee when I visited the tasting room, and I also had the delight of meeting Ti-Ray, an adorable Corgi who is often found at the vineyard. (I sadly didn't get any photos of Ti-Ray, but there are some cute ones on the Reynard Florence website!)

    Normally when I visit a new-to-me vineyard, I like to do a tasting and then have a glass with my favorite wine. Since this was a solo adventure and I drove myself, I opted just to do a glass of white wine. (I also brought many yummy snacks so I wouldn't be drinking on an empty stomach!) I decided to go with the Chardonnay, and it was delicious! The perfect wine to sip on during a warm fall afternoon outdoors. I spent the next few hours sipping wine, finishing a good book, and just enjoying the beautiful views! I was one of the only people visiting the winery that day, so it felt like my private paradise. 

     Reynard Florence Vineyard is open Saturdays and Sundays, and on holiday Mondays (I visited on Columbus Day.) This vineyard may be one of the smaller ones on the Monticello Wine Trail, but it doesn't lack in natural beauty and great wine! I'm looking forward to visiting here again, and hopefully next time with friends. This was the first winery in Orange county that I'd visited, and I look forward to checking out more in that area.

     Previous Monticello Wine Trail posts can be found here!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 


October 15, 2018

If You Told Me 5 Years Ago...

    Today's outfit is about as classic and preppy for fall as you can get! I'm excited to share it with you. Also in today's post I'm talking about some of the ways that I've noticed myself change on certain things in the last five years- it's always fun to do some self-reflecting. 

Photography by Meredith Sledge

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Sweater {similar} // Shirt {similar} // Jeans // Shoes {sold out, similar here} // Necklace // Purse // Bracelet // Lip Gloss // 

     I am loving this combination of a white cable sweater paired with a gingham oxford shirt! It's an ideal fall look. You could pair it with a pencil skirt for work or any business casual occasion, and I love pairing it with skinny jeans and metallic mules for this casual look. I also want to make a quick note about my necklace! It's a classic J. Crew Factory piece. I asked for it for Christmas a few years ago, and I remember being so excited to find it in my stocking. To this day, I still wear it at least once a week. It's the most versatile piece of jewelry, and can really elevate an outfit! Do any of you also have this necklace?

     I thought it would be fun in today's post to do some reflecting! My 24th birthday was in September, but I feel like it really hit me the other day that I'm 24. Like... I've been an adult for a few years now, and I'm well out of college! When I'm by myself, I often think I feel a lot younger than I am. I feel some days liked I blinked and college was over! Anyways, the more that I thought about my recent birthday, the more I realized that I have changed and matured more as a person in the last five years than I realized. I thought I'd share a bit of that on the blog!! Five years ago, I was entering my sophomore year of college and had recently turned 19. I had been blogging for just over a year! I had just moved to Charlotte and transferred colleges. Here are some things that 19 year old Annaliese wouldn't believe about 24 year old Annaliese:

     *I'll become a morning person: True story- I was one of the biggest night owls ever until January 2017! During all four years of college, I think I can count on one hand the number of times that I went to bed before midnight. I remember that I had 8 am classes for most of my senior year and it felt like torture! 
     In early 2017, I began a three month long morning radio internship (I needed to complete it to graduate from broadcasting school). I had to wake up at 3:15 each morning to arrive there on time! I remember how rough the first week was, but I adjusted better than I thought I would to the schedule. I moved to Vermont pretty soon after the internship ended, and the whole morning person thing stuck when I started my first job. I wasn't waking up at a time as drastic as 3:15 anymore, but I began to love waking up early and being productive before work.

     *I'll still be driving the same car: This is just a funny one! I truly believed well into my college years that as soon as I graduated college and had my first job, I'd be able to lease or buy a new vehicle. HAHA! Naive little Annaliese wasn't considering things like a low entry level salary, and having to pay for rent and student loans. I'm still driving the same car I had in high school, and probably will be until whenever it kicks the bucket.

     *I'd move to Vermont for a year: Oh goodness if you told me at 19 that I'd move to Vermont for a year, I would have laughed in your face! I grew up vacationing in a rural part of Vermont with my parents (about two hours away from where I ended up living in Burlington area), and my only associations of the state were memories of staying at a very rustic bed and breakfast on family vacations! At 19, I was still pretty new to living in the South, and so obsessed with Southern culture. I did end up moving North for a year, but thankfully my obsession with the South stuck around, and now here I am in Virginia!

     *I'd still be single: Not going to go into a ton of detail on this one since I share more thoughts about being a single woman in my Relationship Monday blog post series- but let's just say at 19 I definitely wouldn't have believed that I'd still be riding solo. I also wouldn't have believed that as a single 24 year old, I'd actually be content

     *I'd still be blogging, and I'd have so many exciting opportunities come from it: My 1st blogiversary was on my 19th birthday, and at that point in time I was trying to squeeze in blog posts when I could with my busy college schedule. If I had the opportunity to receive a product for free to do a blog post about, I'd be over the moon! I never would have imagined that I'd stick with blogging long enough to make a decent side hustle income from it, and even get cool opportunities like attending a blogging conference and do travel writing opportunities

     *I wouldn't be allergic to cats anymore: This one is still so exciting to me! In high school (after volunteering weekly at the local animal shelter in the cat rooms), I developed severe cat allergies. After college I ended up outgrowing them, and this summer I had allergy tests to prove it. I'm now a new cat mom to my Delilah! 

     *I'd still have the same hairstyle: At the end of my freshman year of college, I cut about nine inches off my hair. It went from being very long to falling just above my shoulders. I started hating the haircut pretty soon after, and I became determined to grow my hair out long again. I've kept it long ever since then! I still don't dye it either. For now, I'm still very happy with my long brunette locks!

    *I'd grow to be proud of being a Mainer: I was so excited when I moved South for college and got to experience a different type of culture. I'd had such rough high school years that for a long time, I associated that with everything to do with Maine. It took making peace with the past and truly appreciating the beauty of my home state to finally say that I'm proud to be a Mainer. (Still glad I reside in the South though😉)

    *I'd enjoy reading thrillers: I was very sensitive to anything scary when I was growing up. To this day, I still hate horror films! For years, I really only read books for fun that were chick-lit, romance, or uplifting. Lat year I picked up my first thriller from the library, and I was hooked! The creepier and more mysterious the plot, the better. Joy Fielding is currently my favorite author for the genre. 

     *I'd love country music, and love working in country radio even more: During my freshman year of college I went through a slight country music phase (The prime moment was seeing Florida Georgia Line play at a bar before they made it big!), but when I transferred colleges at the start of sophomore year and moved to Charlotte, that phase quickly died. I was all about Top 40 and urban music for the rest of college. Last year in Vermont, I found myself starting to enjoy listening to the local country radio stations when I was outside of work, and realized how much I enjoyed the music! When I decided to look for new jobs, I specifically searched for ones in country radio. Now I adore country music and love my job as well! 

     Have you noticed any things about yourself that have changed in the last five years? Let me know in the comments if we share any in common! Or let me know if you also love a classic and preppy fall outfit. 😊

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese


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