Southern Belle in Training

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

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 





  1. Sounds like you had an amazing year!!! Congrats on the job offer. I've been to DC twice and it's such a beautiful city. Would love to go back!!

  2. delilah is so sweet congrats! i love your wrap up year in review. i love you in that pink bathing suit the ruffles are so fun!! i'm so impressed by your book reading! audible helped me get through more than usual, but not as much as you. woo! clare K. oh

  3. What an amazing year. This is one of the things I appreciate about blogging. I have a record of what’s happened during the year. May you have an adventurous 2019!

  4. What an awesome year! I haven't spent the time writing a post like this, but I really dig it and it is so fun living vicariously through others! Wishing you an even better 2019!

  5. You've had an awesome year!! Congrats on your job promotion!

  6. You had an amazing year! Congratulations on the job promotion. 2019 can only continue to get better. Your post is inspiring me to do a year in review.


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