Southern Belle in Training

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

November 29, 2018

Try-On Haul: Black Friday 2018!

     One week ago today was one of my most favorite days of the year! I love Black Friday and typically save up for it in the months leading up. I thought it would be fun to do a little try-on haul for y'all so that you could really see the items I purchased this year. I personally am more of a fan of try-on hauls in blog posts instead of Instagram Stories. (I think they get really long on IG Stories watching them!) Anyways- I wanted to share these items now because a lot of retailers do December sales as well, so there is still time to get anything that interests you.

     I also want to note that did buy a bit less for myself this year than I usually do! That was mainly due to the fact that I was in Texas, and only brought carry-on luggage. 🙂
     P.S. - you can see Delilah in sleeping in most of these photos! My mom got this cat gym for her while she was visiting, and Delilah LOVES it!

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

    The item that I bought the most this year were... pajamas! My pajama drawer has been a sad state for a long time, think lots of old stretched out shirts with holes in them circa 5-10 years ago. Yuck! It was time to do a serious revamp in that department. I bought three pairs of winter pajamas- I'll probably buy new spring/summer pajamas closer to then.

     These first ones pictured below are from Old Navy - they had an amazing pre-Black Friday sale that I shopped here in Charlottesville with my mom. To be honest, I've barely shopped at Old Navy in recent years. But I think this season they really stepped up their game with both clothing and pajamas! FYI these run really small! I had to size up to an L in these- the S and M sizes were just too tight on me to be comfortable as pajamas.

     My friend Ciera and I went to Victoria's Secret on Black Friday in-store, and they had a BOGO sale on pajamas. These are the two I picked up and I love them both so much! I love the shorts and long sleeve shirt set especially, as I typically sleep in long sleeves and shorts, but I have found those types of pajamas are harder to find as sets. And of course- you can't go wrong with a long pajama set with the classic VS pink stripes!

     Back to Old Navy! So originally on this Black Friday, I wanted to buy my first pair of Lululemon leggings. An Instagram follower DMd me and told me that before I invested in a pair of those, I should check out the leggings at Old Navy (she preferred them to Lulu!). I did just that- and found a matching leggings and sports bra set that I loved! The cost of the whole outfit was still probably half the price of Lululemon leggings, so I think that was a win.

     Time for real clothes! New York and Company is a mall store that historically has had really good Black Friday deals. This year was no exception! They had a lot of $10 door busters, and a big sale on jewelry. I purchased some new black dress pants (something I really needed), and a cute top for work as well. I'm wearing a size S in the top and size 4 dress pants.

     The rest of the stuff that I bought on Black Friday in Texas were gifts for friends and family, so now it's back to more of my Pre-Black Friday buys from Old Navy! My mom picked out this duster cardigan for me to try-on, and I ended up loving it! So warm and cozy. The item that I was most excited about from Old Navy was this tank top! It gets really hot in the radio studio I work in (my coworkers call it my sauna), so if I wear sweaters to work I often overheat. Ideally I like to dress in layers, and this tank top is perfect for when it gets really hot inside, but is still work appropriate!

     I also got this blanket scarf! Did I need another blanket scarf? Nope. But I saw Caitlin from Southern Curls and Pearls wearing this (and looking SO cute in it), and then I saw it was under $20 with the sale. SOLD!

     And lastly, a couple items that I bought online that haven't come in yet. I purchased these diamond and sterling silver earrings, which were an amazing Black Friday doorbuster. They're very dainty and I think they will pair well with statement necklaces. I also purchased this setting powder- I've heard great things about this beauty line and have yet to try it, so I'm hoping this product will be awesome!

    Everything that I bought myself is also linked below for easy shopping! I'm also linking my slippers that I'm wearing in the pajamas pictures. Those are actually from Black Friday last year, but they're still in stock for this season (and so comfy)! Now I'd love to hear- what did you buy for Black Friday / Cyber Monday this year? Is it bad that I think I'm already ready for Black Friday 2019?

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

November 28, 2018

Midweek Ramblings.

{My mom and I last week! She came to visit me in Virginia a few days before Thanksgiving, and then kindly watched Delilah while I went out of town! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}

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

  • "Half week": This is kind of a weird half-week for me with work. I took Monday off to extend my Thanksgiving weekend trip, and Friday right after work I'll be leaving to go out of town for another weekend getaway (this one is a travel collaboration for the blog!). Lately I've been catching up on stuff around my apartment and blog work on the weekends, but since I've been gone for two in a row I have a lot to do during the weekdays this week! 
  • Thanksgiving travel stats: Is anyone else fascinated by stuff like this? This article is a report by AAA that estimated the amount of people traveling for Thanksgiving this year- both by car and air. The numbers in this blew my mind! I can't believe I was just one of those millions. 
  • Worst movie ever? So truth be told, I don't watch much Netflix. I think I have yet to watch one of their original shows! Anyways, I did watch their movie The Princess Switch over Thanksgiving break- it's been getting a lot of buzz lately since Vanessa Hudgens stars in it. Let me confess that I do love corny Lifetime and Hallmark movies- I'm all about that stuff. But The Princess Switch? MAN this was another level of corny! I loved the princess outfits that character Lady Margaret wears, but the plot itself was just terrible! Have you seen it? 

Weekend recaps:
  • Last weekend: I was enjoying my Thanksgiving vacation in Texas! Since this trip was solely holiday vacation and visiting my friend Ciera, I won't be doing a blog "travel guide" per say. But next week I am planning to share more of a vacation recap blog post, and some photos of everything we did! I love sharing both my blog travels and personal travels with y'all. 🙂
  • This weekend:  Headed out on a fun blogging collaboration trip! It's in a new-to-me part of Virginia. I love how blogging has allowed me to explore my new home state! My friend Caroline will be joining me for this adventure and I can't wait to see her!

Purchases: Sharing all of my Black Fridays buys in tomorrow's blog post! While I didn't get a ton of stuff for myself this year (#CarryOnLuggageProbs), I do love the things I got. I also finished a lot of Christmas shopping!

Wishlist: I wasn't able to do a Small Business Saturday blog post this year since I was traveling, so I thought instead of sharing my wishlist today, I'd share five Etsy shops that I love.
  • DecemberCaravan - My blogging friend Rebecca, who I met in Vermont, runs this darling shop! She specializes in making the most *beautiful* handmade journals. 
  • OhioDesign - My laptop case is from here- they have so many gorgeous styles of tech cases to choose from!
  • YouNameItMonogram - I am so excited that I have a fun giveaway coming up on my Instagram with this shop. They carry all sorts of fun monogrammed clothing pieces, including a lot of cute Christmas shirts and personalized shirts for Disney trips!
  • LingoSignWorks - This store features beautiful customized wooden cutting boards. One of my college friends got married this summer, and something from this shop made a great wedding gift. These cutting boards would also be great for a couple's first Christmas!
  • JRyanJewelry - I discovered this jewelry designer at a craft fair type event in Charlottesville this fall. This shop is Richmond, VA based, and the designs are all so chic and Southern! I'd love a pair of earrings from here.

Recipe of the week: Chrissy Teigen's mac n cheese from Cravings. Two years ago for Christmas, I was given the Chrissy Teigen's Cravings cookbook. I've enjoyed cooking many of the delicious recipes, but my favorite is her mac n cheese! It's so much better than any other homemade one that I've tried. My friend Ciera also loves it, and it's become our tradition to make it together. This year that was our Thanksgiving lunch!

Song of the week: Sicko Mode by Travis Scott ft. Drake. A very basic pick for this week, but this song was on repeat all weekend on a lot of Houston radio stations! I got hyped every single time it came on. 

On the blog this week:

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 


November 27, 2018

The Preppy Blouse Your Closet Needs.

     Hello and Happy Tuesday! I hope that y'all had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Did you get any good deals for Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday? I passed on both this year since I was traveling (and my suitcase was already filled to the brim with Black Friday purchases!), but it looked like the whole weekend was full of great deals. In December I'll have only three more Christmas gifts left to purchase- then I am doing my shopping! I think that's pretty good to be like 80-90% done after Black Friday.

     In today's blog post, I'm sharing what I think might be the top of my dreams, and also a bit about why the boutique that it's from is extra special to me!

Photography by Kate Greer 

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

     So way back in 2012/2013, I started following Nicole from Nicole V. Cole (her blog used to be called Bloom back in the day). I started Southern Belle in Training in September 2012, and after my first few months of blogging I started looking for lots of other bloggers to follow! Nicole instantly became one of my favorites from the day that I found her blog. At the time she was engaged, and I remember anxiously following along with all of her wedding updates until her Big Day. Nicole's faith inspired me so much, and her posts on the bible or Christian lifestyle topics were such a blessing to me in my college years. 

     Fast forward to 2018! I've still been following Nicole all these years- she's now a mom of two adorable littles (one through adoption- her family has the sweetest story on that!). Earlier this year, Nicole and her younger sister Anna began an online women's boutique called Holly & Co. When Nicole reached out to me about styling a piece from their website on my blog, I was delighted! I just think it's so cool that all these years later, I'm not only still reading a blog that inspired me years ago, but also getting to collaborate with the blogger herself on her newest venture. 😊

     Nicole and Anna first got the idea to start Holly & Co. in 2017, and it came to life this past year! They wanted to create an online boutique with everyday girls in mind. (You know how some online boutiques carry a lot of clothing that's a little flashy, too trendy, or just too "out there"? You won't find any of that with Holly & Co.!) Modesty, comfort, and style are their priorities when they select items for their boutique. When I first took a look at the Holly & Co. website, I immediately thought to myself It's literally a boutique built off of my work wardrobe! At the radio company that I work for, there isn't a dress code for on-air staff. It would be pretty weird if I showed up to work in a suit and heels! But at the same time, event though it is a casual environment, I never want to look too laid back. I like looking casual yet stylish for work, and literally everything in their shop is something that I'd wear to work! Another perk? It's always free shipping at Holly & Co.! 

     For this blog post, there was no question that I'd style the Dark Rose Blouse! As soon as I saw this I knew that I had to have it. It's the most darling preppy blouse! I love the pussy bow combined with the layered pleats. Typically I don't actually love pleated clothing items, but I feel like it works perfectly on this top. The color of this blouse is ideal for fall and winter- it's not too bright, but still adds some color to your outfit. I'm wearing a size S and it fit perfectly. 

     I hope that you enjoyed learning more about Holly & Co. today! You can keep up with the boutique on Instagram here

     Tomorrow I'll be back with a new Midweek Ramblings post, and on Thursday I'll be doing a try-on blog post about all of my Black Friday purchases!

     God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese 


November 22, 2018

Black Friday Sales 2018!!!

     Happy Thanksgiving from Houston, Texas! I arrived earlier today, and I'm here visiting one of my dear friends. My friend Ciera moved here for a new job opportunity this summer, and I am so excited to spend a long weekend exploring her new home state and city!

{Photo from this blog post!}

     Tomorrow is one of my very favorite days of the year! I have gone Black Friday shopping in a mall (or many malls in one day!) every year since I was 13. To date, I've spent this holiday in seven states! Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Vermont... and now Texas! I have a feeling this year might be my favorite yet, as Ciera has raved about the malls near where she lives. 😊In the age of online shopping, I love the fact that Black Friday is the one day where so many people still head to traditional shopping malls and support brick and mortar retail. I worked in retail part-time for all summers in college, and the year following college graduation, so it holds a special place in my heart!

     If you do prefer to do your shopping online this year, I'd be honored if you supported my blog by shopping through the affiliate links below! Listed are the sales for my personal favorite stores. The Shein sale is especially good- it's 60% off their already crazy low prices, plus you can use my discount code for an extra 20% off!

*Black Friday Sales 2018:

     *Ann Taylor - 50% off everything. Use code BLACK FRIDAY.

     *Banana Republic - 50% off everything.

     *Chicwish - Extra $10 off orders $70+.

     *Express - Take 50% off everything + free shipping.

     *J. Crew - Take 40% off everything. Use code TOGETHER.

     *J. Crew Factory - Take 40-50% off everything.

     *Kate Spade - Take 30% off everything.

     *Lilly Pulitzer - Free gifts with purchase! Starting at $75 purchase.

     *LOFT - Take 50% off everything. Use code THANKS.

     *Michael Kors - UP to 50% off select styles.

     *Nordstrom - Up to 60% off selected sale items.

     *Old Navy - 50% off entire purchase.

     *Shein - 60% off everything. Use code "himissalk20" for an extra 20% off!!

     *Talbots -  40% off entire purchase.

     *Tory Burch - Take 30% off orders $250+.

     Leave a comment telling me what you purchased for Black Friday this year- I'd love to hear! I'll keep y'all posted on IG Stories about my Texas shopping adventures. I'm taking Monday off from a new blog post since I'll be traveling back to Virginia, but I'll talk to you on here on Tuesday!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

November 21, 2018

Midweek Ramblings.

{This is my new favorite picture of Delilah and I! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}

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

  • Week three of morning radio: This is my third week filling in on my radio station's morning show! It was a very unexpected opportunity to get to do this, but I am so thankful for the chance. Being a morning show host is one of my biggest career goals, so the fact that I've gotten to have so much exposure to this job position lately has been a really fun blessing. I finally adjusting to the 4 am wake-up time... but with that said, I am excited to sleep in for a few days for Thanksgiving break this week! 😉
  • Family time: I will be traveling for Thanksgiving this year, and I wasn't sure what to do with Delilah. I am going to be boarding her for Christmas, but it didn't seem ideal to board her for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, since the two holidays are just a month apart. My mom decided to fly down and stay with Delilah while I am traveling this week, which is so kind of her! Delilah loves my mom, so I know they will have a great time together. It's also been fun to have my mom here this week, as she arrived Sunday night. Since I've had morning radio work hours, I have been out of work by noon most days. On Monday afternoon, we went out to lunch for Thai food and then took advantage of the pre-Black Friday sales! So much fun.
  • "Blow up the bathroom": Not sure if y'all have seen this news article that's been floating around, but if you need a good laugh today, THIS is it! I laughed until I cried reading it the first time, laughed until I cried again after sending it to some coworkers, and laughed until I cried a third time after showing it to my mom! 

Weekend recaps:
  • Last weekend: On Saturday, I woke up really early (to try and stick to this morning show fill-in schedule) and got all packed for my Thanksgiving trip! Normally I'm guilty of packing the night before, but I wanted to be prepared this time. On Saturday afternoon, my friend Abigail and I went to Diamonds Direct in Richmond for their holiday event (read about that here!). On Sunday morning I taught Sunday School at church, and then picked up my mom from the airport later in the day.
  • This weekend: I will be traveling to a new-to-me city for Thanksgiving!! I have been to this state once before, but I was just five years old, and I've never been to this specific part of the state. One of my closest friends from college and a former roommate of mine, Ciera, moved across the country for a job promotion this summer. I'm so excited to see her for Thanksgiving and explore her new home! I have a feeling I'm really going to like where she lives now!

Purchases: Remember last week's mantra of "I'm waiting to shop for myself until Black Friday?" HA! Well... that was all good and great until early Black Friday sales began. I did some serious retail damage this week- and all of the clothing shopping was surprisingly at a retailer that I've rarely shopped at in the last few years. I also made a Sephora trip for the VIB sale before that ended. I'll be adding all of the purchases below to a "What I Bought for Black Friday Sales" blog post that I'll share soon! 

  • I saw this palette in-store at Sephora and it is BEAUTIFUL. It's a lot of money to spend on eyeshadows... but I mean look at those stunning glitter shades!
  • I'm hoping these turtlenecks will be 50% off or more on Black Friday- such staple pieces. 
  • I love the gorgeous fuschia color on this under $20 sweater- use code HIMISSALK20 for an extra 20% off!
  • At $198, this LBD is definitely a splurge. But it is so flattering and the feminine classic styles makes it the type of dress that you could wear again and again for years!
  • I love the pretty blue hue of this sweater, and the sleeve style is gorgeous.

Recipe of the week: Light and Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup from A Spicy Perspective. Since I live by myself, normally when I make a soup I'm not able to finish all of it since most soups make such big portions, and I get tired of eating it for many days in a row! This delicious chicken tortellini soup is the exception to that rule! It's become one of my favorite winter soups to make, and I never get tired of eating it.

Song of the week: Despacito (cover) by Conor Maynard. I love Conor Maynard and I've been listening to his music a lot lately on Youtube. He's a UK artist that is popular in Europe, but many of his songs haven't gotten radio airplay in the US (sadly). This is the most beautiful cover of Despacito that I've ever heard!

On the blog this week:

     No blog post tomorrow for Thanksgiving, but I am scheduling my Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales post for midnight on Friday!! Have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow, and safe travels to those of you headed out of town.

     God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese

November 20, 2018

Fine Jewelry Shopping For The 20-Something With Diamonds Direct!

     I headed down to Richmond this weekend for the most fun event that I'm so excited to share about with y'all today! I attended the Diamonds Direct Designer Holiday Trunk Show. It was an afternoon filled with the prettiest jewelry and lots of sparkle, and I also was able to seriously brush on up on my find jewelry education. Let me show you all of the stunning jewelry pieces and jewelry designers that I got to know on Saturday: 

Today's post is sponsored by Diamonds Direct. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Southern Belle in Training!

     Diamonds Direct has stores across most Southern states and a few midwest/western states as well. I remember hearing a lot of radio advertising for their Charlotte, NC store during the years that I lived there! I was absolutely thrilled when the Short Pump location reached out to me to partner with them. Short Pump is a high-end retail neighborhood in the west part of the Richmond metro area, and it's become one of my favorite destinations for weekend trips, as it's very convenient to get there from Charlottesville! Their annual Designer Holiday Trunk Show is a grand event, with representatives from some of the most popular fine jewelry lines visiting participating stores with special merchandise. Almost everything in the store was 20% off over this weekend's event. What an amazing deal to purchase a fine jewelry gift for someone or yourself Christmas, or an engagement or wedding ring! 

     I had a couple goals in mind for attending the Designer Holiday Trunk Show event. 1.) I thought it would be really fun to try on a few engagement rings! I've never even given much thought to the type of ring that I'd like someday if I get engaged, so I thought it would be cool to try a few on and see what types of styles that I like, for when that time comes someday! 2.) I was really excited to check out their selection of gemstone pieces, and especially hunt for those under $500. As I'm getting into my mid 20s, I'm realizing that while I have a huge collection of fashion and costume jewelry, I have just a couple of fine jewelry pieces. With the years to come, I'd like to save up for more fine jewelry that will last through the years, rather than just cheap trendy pieces. I was excited to see the types of gemstone pieces that Diamonds Direct had in-store.

    First- a recap of the engagement ring "search" process. (So funny to type that as I'm very single!) First up was a ring sizing! I learned that I'm in between a 6.5 and 7 (6.75? Haha!). My friend Abigail, who came with me to help with the photography in this post, had her ring finger sized as well. She learned her finger was smaller than she thought- which shows how important it is to know your accurate ring size!

     I tried on beautiful engagement rings from Tacori and A. Jaffe. Another line that I absolutely loved looking at were the engagement rings from Henri Daussi. I think that as of now, my dream enagement ring would be either a halo, or a solitaire with a larger karat diamond!

     Good news for us single ladies or anyone already married- Diamonds Direct has many more varieties of diamonds than just engagement rings! They had the most stunning diamond earrings, right hand rings, bracelets, necklaces... everything diamond that you could possibly think of, and more! Many of the stunning diamond jewelry pieces are from the store house brands.

     I wanted to try on a pair of diamond hoop earrings, and I was just in love with the ones that were suggested for me to try! Such a timeless and classy piece. The current silver hoop earrings that I own I purchased at least 10 years ago in high school, and I'm 99% certain they were under $10. So it's safe to say these gorgeous hoops from Diamonds Direct were a big step up for me!

     You can see here that there are diamonds on the inside of the earrings as well- Diamonds Direct goes the extra mile to make sure their hoops have the most sparkle!

     As stunning as all of the Diamonds Direct diamonds are, this store has so many gemstone jewelry pieces as well! I couldn't wait to head over to those cases and explore.

     My birth stone is sapphire, so I adored getting to try on these two pieces! The brand on these is Real Gems. The bracelet is pink sapphire and diamond, and the ring is classic blue sapphire. These might be two of my favorite things that I got to try on!

     The next ring, pictured below, is an incredible morganite stone. I love the rose gold tones of this amazing gem! Now I really want something with morganite. 

     As I shared earlier in this blog post, one of my goals for my store visit was to find several gemstone jewelry pieces that would be perfect "treat yourself" gifts, or nice gifts for a special woman, like your mom, sister, or best friend. It became pretty clear to me that Tacori is a fabulous jewelry line for these types of pieces! Tacori is sold at fine jewelry retailers nationwide, and Diamonds Direct Short Pump had a fabulous in-store selection. I loved these amethyst drop earrings and the long gemstone necklace, shown below! 

     I also loved this gemstone bracelet from Tacori. Look at how it's adjustable so that it's easy to put on and take off your hand! 

     And finally, this stunning gemstone ring from Tacori. Ahh! I love pretty much anything that is teal or aqua in color, so this ring was definitely one of my favorite pieces in the entire store. This would make a beautiful right hand ring, or cocktail ring! 

    The Tacori selection at Diamonds Direct Short Pump includes many pieces that are under $1000, and a fair amount that are under $500 as well! One beautiful ring that I tried on was $325. This is a great price point for one of your first pieces of fine jewelry- it's definitely an investment, but if you save up for it you won't break the bank! 

     The Designer Holiday Trunk Show also featured some delicious treats (think gourmet mini cupcakes!), and they even had a photo-booth company on-sight for the later part of Saturday afternoon! The whole store was bustling with activity during the time I was there. It's clear that the Diamonds Direct team goes all out for this annual event, and there was definitely excitement in the air! 

     To my Virginia friends- if you have any engagement ring or fine jewelry needs during this holiday season, I highly suggest an in-store visit to Diamonds Direct Short Pump! If you're a Charlotte reader friend, they have a store there as well.  And if you're not in Virginia or North Carolina- don't fear, as Diamonds Direct has stores in 12 states! Thank you so much to Diamonds Direct Short Pump for the invitation to this holiday event, and for letting me play dress-up with such beautiful jewelry! I'm already dreaming of so many pieces to start saving for.

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

November 19, 2018

Glo-ing My Way Into The Holiday Season...

   This post was sponsored by wet n wild as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Southern Belle in Training!


November 16, 2018

THE Dress to Pack for Thanksgiving Travels.

    TGIF my friends! Today I'm sharing what might be one of my favorite fall dresses ever in today's post! I'm also sharing an announcement related to upcoming holiday content on the blog- I'd love your thoughts on it.

Photography by Kate Greer

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

Dress c/o // Shoes // Ring // Hat {old, very similar here} // 

     In just a couple years, Shein has quickly become one of my top online retailers to shop at! I first started shopping there during my junior or senior year of college. At first it was just a destination that I'd buy really trendy pieces at (things that probably wouldn't be in style six months later), but I think in the last couple years that they've really upped the quality of products on the website! The items with slightly higher price points ($25-40) usually are very well made and have a nice fit. I've become so impressed with many of my recent Shein purchases, that I now rarely shop at fast fashion retailers like H&M and Forever 21. 

    This gorgeous floral bell-sleeve dress might just be one of my very favorite Shein purchases! I ordered the M (I'm normally an S in other retailers, but always order M at Shein), and it fits live a glove! It stretchy and so comfortable, and I think the length and bell-sleeves are so flattering! The best part about this dress is the fabric won't wrinkle! That's what makes this a perfect pick to pack for Thanksgiving travels next week. You won't have to worry about ironing or steaming it after it comes out of your suitcase! This dress is 100% coming with me on my Thanksgiving trip. 

    Shein has given me a discount code for y'all to use on their website!! If you decide to buy this dress, that'll make the already under $30 price tag even better! Use code HIMISSALK20 for 20% off your purchase. 

     Now for a brief update on holiday content on the blog. Drumroll please.... I've officially decided... not to do any gift guides this year! I know, I know... that's like breaking the blogger code of ethics to completely bypass Christmas gift guides right? A few weeks ago on Instagram Stories I did a little survey asking about what types of gift guides y'all wanted to see. So many of you responded with creative answers, so I really hope I'm not letting you down too much by deciding not to do them. There's a few factors that inspired my decision. 

     First and foremost... they take a lot of time to put together! Probably 2-3x the amount that it takes me to write any other type of blog post. Assembling the images of all the products and then making one large graphic takes a lot of time. And time is something that I don't have a ton of right now! Work has been absolutely insane lately, as what I thought would be a few days of filling in on my station's morning show has become a few weeks. In addition to work changes, I've had very full weekends (and have more on the way) and I'll be out of town for the next two weekends, so I have to really maximize the more limited time that I have to work on my blog. 

     Secondly... in addition to being time consuming to make, in past years I haven't seen the commissions that I'd like to be seeing from gift guides. (If you're not familiar with blogging affiliate programs - I use affiliate links in my blog posts to make commission on purchases made through my blog links!) Over the years, gift guides have never a high source of income for my blog, and with the time commitment involved I'm just not sure that it's worth it this year. Lastly- they seem to be very oversaturated in the blog industry right now! Just about every other blogger is doing many of them this season, so if you do like shopping through gift guides, there won't be a shortage to choose from!

    So what does this mean for my blog in the next several weeks? Don't worry, even with the craziness at my job I'll still be blogging 4x a week! 😊I look forward to bringing you holiday-specific fashion and travel content, as well as everything else that you normally enjoy on Southern Belle in Training. If you are curious about the items that I'd recommend for gifts this year, feel free to DM or email me!! I'd love to provide you with personalized gift recommendations. 

    Have a great weekend! Stay tuned to my Instagram Stories tomorrow for a fun event.

    God Bless,

    xoxo Annaliese 


November 14, 2018

Midweek Ramblings.

{Most of Virginia's foliage is gone now, so I'm glad I was able to snap a picture last week of these colorful leaves! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}


  • My COUCH is here: I shared this enthusiastically on my Instagram stories, personal FB page, and just about every other social media that I use- haha! I am still way too excited. I bought my first couch this weekend- something well overdue and much needed for my apartment! (Previously in my apartments I just had these chairs- I still have them but thankfully I have a comfier option now.) I bought my couch used and it's a crazy story how it all went down- if y'all are interested I will do a full blog post about it (and my experiences thus far with used furniture). 
  • Christmas tree: Last Friday night after work, I finally decorated my Christmas tree! It's been my tradition since college to physically set up the tree on November 1, but this year taking it out of the box was the only thing that got done. As the days went by I added the lights, tree skirt, and topper, and then it was finally decorated! Three of my girlfriends came over to help, and it was so much fun to do it with them there!! I am loving having it all done up in  my apartment. Here's a weird fact about me: even though I'm very pro "set up the tree early," I'm not a big fan of most Christmas music.
  • Praying for California: Everything that the state of California has gone through this week has been so heavy on my heart. To have such a tragic mass shooting followed by devastating fires less than a week later- I can't even imagine! The other night I was in a really bad mood over nothing at all (you know those moods?), but after going on Twitter and seeing more and more news stories about the fire damage, I felt so guilty for being in a bad mood when others across the country are suffering so much!! Please join me in continuing to pray for those affected, and there are many great organizations to give to if you feel lead. 
  • Instagram Giveaway! A fun giveaway is happening on my Instagram through tomorrow. Enter via this post

Weekend recaps:
  • Last weekend: Getting my couch was the most exciting part about my weekend! Some friends from church generously took time out of their Sunday afternoons to help me move it. I also went to a baby shower on Saturday morning, and then I had two back-to-back work events for the rest of Saturday. 
  • This weekend: On Saturday I'll be attending a really fun holiday event at Diamonds Direct in Short Pump (Richmond VA). If you're also in Virginia, I hope to see you there. Details can be found here. On Sunday I am teaching Sunday School at church, and my mom arrives that afternoon for a visit! 

  • Repurchased one of my essential drugstore beauty items! A friend told me they were on sale at Ulta. By the time I got there, the sale had ended. But I still bought them anyways! 😉
  • I also bought a few more Christmas gifts this week- as for any more personal shopping I'm waiting for Black Friday!

  • So I kind of want to get my first pair of Lululemon leggings on Black Friday this year. I am a total newbie to the brand (I typically buy cheap workout clothing) so if you have any tips for me on which style I should get (or if I should get something else form there that's not leggings) please let me know!
  • The best of both worlds- this is a turtleneck and poncho in one!
  • This has been dubbed "THE blogger dress" as so many bloggers own it in all of the colors that it comes in! (I have a dupe version of the original). Anyways- it was just re-released in metallic hues for the holidays!
  • I first discovered the brand Mango when I went to Italy a couple years ago. I still love browsing their website- isn't this winter coat stunning? 
  • I have two pairs of OTK boots, but they both have heels so I find I don't wear them often. I love this flatter pair

Recipe of the week: Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara from America's Test Kitchen. Weird fact about me- I actually don't like spaghetti at all! I used fettuccini for this recipe instead, and it still turned out well. I really don't like eggs- so I was proud of myself that I enjoyed an egg based pasta dish! 

Song of the week: Habibi by Faydee. I love listening to international pop music! Faydee is a very talented artist that I found either through Pandora or Spotify radio. 

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

November 13, 2018

Monticello Wine Trail: Pippin Hill Vineyards.

     Out of all the vineyards in Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the entire Monticello Wine Trail region... the one that I kept hearing over and over again that I just HAD to visit was Pippin Hill Vineyards! A lot of people that I've met in Virginia will rave on and on about Pippin's scenic location, their wide array of wines, and just the overall atmosphere of the winery. They're also one of the top wineries in the area for weddings and events, which I've heard they do a great job at! I wanted to save visiting Pippin Hill for the first time for a special occasion.

    My friend Anna from Vermont came to visit me last month, and I thought that was the perfect occasion to finally check out Pippin. I'd also heard that this winery was a great one to bring out of town guests too, and it didn't disappoint! Pippin Hill is located about 10 miles from downtown Charlottesville, and it's conveniently located right off of US-29. You're greeted by the scenic grey barn doors (pictured above) as you walk towards the tasting room! There is also an amazing pizza restaurant called Dr. Ho's Humble Pie located less than a mile from Pippin Hill- I highly recommend doing lunch there and then following it up with wine.

     Pippin Hill offers a large variety of both red and white wines. I'd love to return to Pippin and do a tasting, but on this particular day my friends and I decided to split a bottle of Viognier. I've shared in past winery reviews that since I moved to Virginia, Viognier has become my favorite wine variety. Viognier grapes are also the state grape of Virginia, so a bottle of that seemed perfect to introduce Anna to the Virginia winery scene!

    Not only was the wine wonderful, but there is something truly special about the atmosphere at Pippin Hill. Their tasting room is stunning, and there is so much green space in front of the winery that is perfect for having a picnic! Fun fact: there are even picnic blankets available for people to borrow in the tasting room. Pippin Hill does close early on a lot of Saturdays due to the high volume of events that they host. On the day we were there, we caught a bride and groom taking their wedding photos before their evening reception!

    I already can't wait to go back to Pippin Hill- I think this will continue to be the ideal vineyard to bring out of town guests to.

    Check out more of my Monticello Wine Trail blog posts!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese
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