Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Charlottesville, VA

December 31, 2018

2018: Blogging Highlights + Favorite Outfits.

    Welcome to my second year-end post of 2018! Yesterday's blog post focused on memories and accomplishments in my personal life, and today's will focus on all things blogging. As always, I'll be sharing my 12 favorite outfits of the year (one for each month), the five most popular posts of the year, and just a few thoughts about blogging this year in general!


December 27, 2018

2018: Highlights From My Year.

    I seriously look forward to writing my year-end posts all year long! Each year when I sit down to do this blog post and my year in blogging post, it gives me time to truly reflect on all of the blessings and adventures in my life. 2018 was quite a year, so it was really special to take the time to remember some of the biggest moments! Today I'll be recapping the biggest moments of the year (day job, friends, personal moments) and Monday's post will look back at the year in blogging and on Southern Belle in Training!

     2018 Accomplishments:

     SO much happened this year, but I'm going to try to narrow it down to what I think were the five most important life updates. The biggest thing about 2018 was of course that it was the year that I moved back to the South! I moved to Vermont in Spring 2017 for my first job, and lasted only 11 months up there. 😉Pretty much from my first month in Vermont I was praying for a new opportunity to come that could move me back south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I first visited Charlottesville to interview for a new job in February, and I moved just a few weeks later in March! Two of my personal favorite blog posts from the year were announcing my move and new radio job (part one and part two). I have loved living in Virginia, and I truly hope that I can have the rest of my career here in the South! Below is a picture of one of my favorite selfies I've ever taken... a very special rest stop on the road trip from Vermont to Virginia!

    The other big accomplishment of 2018 happened just a few weeks ago... I found out that I was unexpectedly promoted to full-time morning show host on a different radio station here in Charlottesville! This was (and still is!) a huge shock and dream come true. Getting to do morning radio so early in my career is unbelievable. The Z 95.1 Morning Show with Marc and Anna Lise (I spell my name slightly different on-air  😊) actually premiered yesterday! More information about my new job can be found in this blog post.

     Next are three personal accomplishments. Since moving to Virginia I have made the most wonderful friends, but more specific then that, this is the first time in my life that I've ever had a "group." I really struggled to make friends for most of high school, it truly wasn't until senior year that I felt like I had made friends that were equally invested in being my friend! The first three years of high school were so rough. When I got to college, it was much easier to make friends! But the thing about my college years / time living in Charlotte was that I had friends in so many different places. I had sorority friends, roommate friends, friends from my undergrad major, broadcasting school friends, and blogging friends! While I am thankful that I got the chance to know so many different people in Charlotte, the fact that I didn't have a specific friend group sometimes made planning get-togethers a little weird. I was always introducing friends to each other!
     I started attending my current church about six week after moving to Charlottesville, and it's lead me to the most wonderful group of girls! This is truly the first time in my life that I've had a solid group that's all equally friends with each other to do things with. We have had so many memories this year- from movie nights to dinners to day trip adventures! I hope that in 2019 the group will continue to get even larger with more amazing girls. Here's a recent picture of everyone- we did a special lunch at The Melting Pot last weekend to celebrate my job promotion!

     Another personal accomplishment of the year was going above and beyond for one of my 2018 resolutions! It was my goal this year to read 30 books... I read 47! My new goal for 2019 is to read 52 books- a book a week.

    And finally... I can't take personal credit for this one but I can thank my body! I am no longer allergic to cats!! In high school, I became extremely allergic and would develop full body hives when I was around them. I would pray that someday I'd outgrow the allergy so I could have a cat of my own. I had allergy testing done in July of this year and learned that my body had cycled through the allergy- so I was all set to get a pet cat! My mom helped me pick out my sweet Delilah this fall.

     2018 Travels:

     This was the first year that I actually got to go on several weekend trips for my blog! I decided I'll recap those travels in my year in blogging post (coming Monday!), so today I'll just share about personal travels.

     I had a very quiet NYE welcoming in 2018! I flew out to Indiana right before New Years, and spent a few days in the fun college town of Bloomington visiting a high school friend who moved there for grad school. While touring IU, I had to get a picture in front of my sorority's beautiful house near campus!

     My second trip of 2018 was my job interview in Charlottesville! It was a whirlwind 48 hours, and will always be such a special memory to me. I flew into Richmond (about an hour away), and I think I fell in love with Virginia the second my plane hit the runway! I knew pretty much the second I got to Charlottesville that I could move here and be very happy... and I was right! Below is a picture of my first time checking out Downtown Mall.

     One of my favorite things about moving to Charlottesville has been how easy it is to get to DC! Prior to moving to Virginia, I had only been to Washington DC once, and it was back when I was in elementary school! I made four trips to DC this year- spring to see the cherry blossoms (something that I think will become an annual tradition!), summer to do museums with friends I had visiting, fall for a concert, and I'm going this weekend for one last trip of the year, to do some belated holiday activities! One of my good friends from Maine, Mercedes, lives just outside of DC, so it's very convenient for me to go see her and stay at her place! She's always a fantastic tour guide.

     I went home to Maine for three days during Memorial Day Weekend! While the weather wasn't as warm as I hoped, I still enjoyed seeing my family and a couple friends.

     My first trip back to North Carolina was a really quick weekend trip in July, for a very good occasion! My college friend Michelle got married just outside of Greensboro, NC. One of my best friends, Becca, was a bridesmaid in the wedding, and we got to room together for the weekend as well. It was a very brief but great trip, I'm so glad I got to see some dear friends.

     I had an absolutely wonderful Labor Day Weekend- I got to go back to my second home, Charlotte! This was my first visit since I had moved away. It was pretty much a perfect weekend! I was proud of myself for being able to coordinate seeing so many friends while I was in town. The best part was doing a joint 24th birthday celebration with my friend Caroline (she's born two weeks before me!).

    I spent Thanksgiving this year just outside of Houston, TX! My friend Ciera moved there this summer for a promotion with her company, and since she wasn't able to get back to the East Coast for the holiday, I went to see her. The Houston area was really fun to visit, and the weather was perfect in November- 60s and 70s! You can read my travel diary for this trip here!

    I made one more quick trip home to Maine, which was this past weekend for Christmas! I got to see my mom's side of the family, and two of my best friends. 2018 is the first year that I've spent barely any time at home- I think in total less than a full week. I'm hoping to spend more time there in 2019- especially in the summer, that's definitely the best season to be in Maine!

     Other 2018 Memories:

     I was still in Vermont from January-March last year! Although the weather was terrible during those months, that's actually my favorite part of my time in Vermont. I have been open about this before on the blog, but I really struggled to make friends during my first six months there. And the few friends that I made I could barely hang out with, because my work schedule was awful at my job there (I worked both Saturdays and Sundays for the first six months and had a weekday day off). Right before the holidays last year, I felt like I was finally doing a better job of being social up there, so most of my favorite memories are from my last couple months in Vermont. One of my biggest highlights was throwing a Galentine's cookie swap party last February, which ended up kind of being an unofficial going away party as week later is when I applied for my job in Virginia! Here are a few of my favorite memories from my final months in Vermont:

     Taking a ski lesson at Smuggler's Notch Resort with my friend Anna was so much fun! I wish I'd gotten the chance to try skiing more while I lived there.

     I went to a fun semi-formal event with my friend Jana last February! These three beautiful ladies (Sarah-Beth, Sophia and Jana) were roommates at the time. I just wish I had met them sooner while living in Vermont!

     Blog photoshoot fun with my photographer Amanda, who also became a good friend to me!

    I miss this girl so much- Niki (Nicholle Sophia) was my very first friend in Vermont!

    During my last week in Vermont, my friend Ronica (Relatable Roni) and I had the most fun shopping day outside of Montreal!

    After moving to Virginia in March, life kind of went by in a whirlwind! I had the most wonderful spring and summer. I had so many chances to explore Charlottesville, and meet new friends! Here are just a few favorite memories:

    I had a pigeon family that lived on the balcony of my apartment for about six months!! It was amazing to watching the parent pigeons care for the eggs, and then get to watch baby pigeons grow up. (Seriously- sometimes I'd tear up watching them because the babies were so cute!) I actually wrote a blog post this summer dedicated to my "neighbors."

     I became a wine drinker this year! Confession: I never really liked wine before moving to Virginia. Charlottesville is located right in the middle of one of the largest wine regions in the state, so it didn't take me long after moving here to start appreciating local wines! I visited nine Virginia wineries this year, and recapped most of them on the blog! I also went to the Monticello Wine Festival with my friend Alicia (Alica Tenise) in the spring.

      I spent a ton of time by the pool- both solo and with friends! My apartment in Vermont didn't have a pool (plus it's such a short summer season there), so I wanted to fully enjoy the luxury of my apartment complex pool this year. It was really fun- my pool became the designated hang-out spot all summer with my friend group from church!

     The rest of summer was a wonderful and busy blur- I went to a ton of free outdoor concerts with friends (and even got to emcee some for work!), went on some local hikes, had a taste of local nightlife, and had fun exploring Richmond on a few weekends!

     Lastly, one very special highlight from summer. All of you I'm sure know about the tragic race related events that happened in Charlottesville in August 2017. This past August, there was a special memorial service with tons of local churches in attendance, held downtown near the sites that everything had happened the year prior. It was an incredible service, and I'm so blessed that I got to attend it with friends from church! It made me proud to live in a city that is truly committed to peace and love, and moving past the horrific event of the year before.

     Fall was a crazy season for me. I thought for a couple months that work would be transferring me out of Charlottesville, so a lot of weeks went by in a blur getting wrapped up with all of that. In early November, I began a long-term fill-in role on the country station morning show, so I also had an unexpected major schedule change!

    A couple fall highlights though were becoming a pet mom to Delilah and celebrating my first Halloween since college!

     This is the day I adopted Delilah!

     One of my favorite memories of 2018 did happen this fall, right in the middle of all the work craziness! During my fall trip to DC, I saw one of my very favorite music artists in concert. I am obsessed with Romanian pop star Inna! She doesn't tour in the US very often, so getting to see her with my friend Mercedes was a dream come true.

     2018 Visitors:

     It's so fun to look back on all of the people who came to visit this year! I love Charlottesville, and getting to show it to those that I love is so special!

     Mercedes - March

     Caroline - May

     Ciera- June

     Ciera & Priyanka - July 

     Anna - October

     My parents also visited me a few times each since I wasn't able to go home much this year!  My dad helped me move in March, and also came back in October. My mom visited three times; April, October and November! On my mom's second visit, she helped me welcome home Delilah!

     Other 2018 Happenings:

     *Weddings: Michelle & RJ in July

     *Concerts: Inna, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, Dave Matthews Band (and attended free Charlottesville concerts Sunsets at Sentara and Fridays After Five)

     *Hikes: Humpback Rock, Blue Hole / Sugar Hollow, Jones Run Falls

     *Five favorite memories from 2018:
  1. The day that I had my final interview in Charlottesville and received my job offer
  2. The day I was promoted to morning show host
  3. Inna concert in DC
  4. Seeing the cherry blossoms in DC
  5. A really fun summer Saturday that involved a winery visit and pool party

    Stay tuned for my second year-end recap post on Monday, which will cover blogging highlights and memories from this year!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 




December 26, 2018

The Easiest Half-Up Hair Tutorial Ever!

     This post was sponsored by Revlon Hair Tools as apart of Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. 

Photography by Kate Greer

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

     One of my resolutions for 2019 is to get more creative with the hairstyles that I wear for both work and play! (I'm serious... this is an actual goal of mine!) I love having long hair, but with my recent major work schedule change, I often get lazy with it on weekday mornings and just wear it naturally straight. I'm not always the most creative with weekend hairstyles either. In my quest to become more creative with my hairstyles, I want to master a few easy looks that won't take me long to do, but will elevate my looks a lot!

     Today's easy half-up hairstyle is so easy! I am no hair expert, and it took less than fifteen minutes for me to get to the final gorgeous finished product. I can't wait to wear this style throughout the winter months! I obviously have very long hair, but you could easily do this look if you have mid-length hair as well. Let me show you in today's blog post how to achieve the look! I couldn't have done it without some Revlon Hair Tools products!

     I start out by brushing all of my hair with the Revlon Hair Tools Perfect Style XL Make It Straight Paddle Brush.  If you also have really long hair, you know how easy it is to get your hair tangled and have a painful brushing experience. The Revlon XL Paddle Brush was able to get out my tangles pretty painlessly, and made my naturally straight hair truly shine! Fun fact about me: I rarely blow dry my hair. But if you are #TeamBlowDry, this brush is specially formulated to make heat drying easier!

     While brushing my hair, I began to heat my Revlon Hair Tools Perfect Heat Curling Iron. The one I own has a one-inch barrel. It only takes a few minutes to get hot!

    Next, I begin curling my hair! In the past, I was a little intimidated by curling irons with a clamp. I thought that curling wands were so much easier to use. After I got my Revlon Perfect Heat Curling Iron, it took only a few minutes for me to get the hang of it! This hair tool is extremely easy to use and creates beautiful curls.

     I section my hair into fourths (securing the hair I'm not curling with a clip), then I open the clamp and attach it to the ends of a small section of hair (about half an inch wide), and then close the clamp and begin winding the iron upwards. When I reach the top of the hair section, I hold it for 5-10 seconds, and then release. It's that easy!

     When I'm finished curling all of the hair in a section, I clip that section up and then start on the other section of uncurled hair. After one half of my hair is done, I spray the curled pieces lightly with hairspray! Then it's time to repeat on the other side.

     Before I know it, my hair is completed curled! That's how easy it is with the Revlon Perfect Heat Curling Iron. The end result is beautiful, soft curls.

     Next, I use my fingers to separate the curls and make them even looser. I also like to flip my head over and run my fingers through them that way! After, I'll add a touch more hairspray.

    Now it's time to get started on the "half-up" part of this hairstyle! I separate two tiny sections of hair from each side of the front of my face, and one at a time I start twisting them to the back of my head. Once each piece reaches the back, I temporarily secure it with a bobby pin.

     After both of the hair twists are bobby pinned to the back of my head, I reach for one of the Revlon Extra Thick Elastic Hair Bands! I make a pony tail with the hair twists as well as a little bit of extra hair. Once the twists are secured with a hair band, I remove the bobby pins.

    Now it's time for the final step! I flip the pony tail through itself, which gives it a more defined and prettier end look.

     And... voila! Easiest half up hairstyle ever right? It's simple enough that you can wear it on weekdays, but is also elegant enough to wear for special events. A true win-win, all thanks to Revlon Hair Tools!

     All of the Revlon Hair Tools that I featured in today's tutorial are conveniently available at Walmart!

     You can also connect with Revlon on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube for more hair inspiration. If you decide to try this look, tag me or send me a picture of it! I'd love to see your end result.

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

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