Southern Belle in Training

Affordable Fashion // Attainable Travels // Authentic Living

January 23, 2019

Midweek Ramblings.


{I've recently discovered that Virginia wineries are just as fun in the winter as they are in other months- and they're less busy in winter!}

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Ramblings: 
  • Midweek Ramblings is....: Last week was pretty busy for me, and I didn't have time to get a Midweek Ramblings post up for last Wednesday. I put up a poll on IG Stories to ask if y'all still wanted to see these posts every week, or if you'd prefer for them to be Monthly Ramblings at the end of each month. Surprisingly, the poll was tied about 50/50 at the end! That was enough for me to know that I should keep these posts on Wednesdays. So- here we go again, Midweek Ramblings back and here to stay!
  • Up and coming travel destinations: I loved this round-up from USA Today! It highlights some of the top beach destinations around the world, and many of them are up and coming or off the beaten path, with incredible deals to be found. I don't anticipate any international travel this year, but I'm totally saving this list for 2020 and beyond!
  • Helping with fellowship: When I first started going to my church here in Charlottesville, there was an incredible girl named Kaye who would organize a lot of social events and Sunday fellowship times for the young adults at church. She was such a social butterfly, and thanks to her efforts, so many of the young adults at church were able to connect and become friends! Kaye moved out of Charlottesville recently, so myself and my friend Lily have stepped up and are trying to continue some of the Sunday Fellowship traditions that she had started. This Sunday was our first young adults gathering of the year, and I think it went well! I hope that by getting involved in planning these church events, they will be a blessing to everyone, just like it was such a blessing to me last year when I was newer in Charlottesville!
  • Photography tips: I recently had a chance to review an e-book all about photography tips, and specifically photography for fashion blogging and Instagram! I thought this e-book was informative and fun to read- while a lot of the information was things that I've learned over the years from doing so many blog photos, I think this would be a great resource for someone starting out! You can save 20% on your purchase of e-book "How to Take a Better Photo" by Meg Cusick- use code MISSALK20!
Weekend recaps: 
  • Last weekend: On Friday night I hosted a swap night at my place with some girlfriends (I'll definitely share more about that in a separate blog post too!). Saturday I went to barre class in the morning, and then my had my friend Emily over for a cookie decorating afternoon. Saturday night ended up being a blast! My friend Abigail is in grad school and UVA, and she invited some of our friend group to accompany her to the grad school winter formal. It was a BLAST- I haven't danced that hard in so long! Sunday morning I taught Sunday School, and then kicked off the young adult Sunday Fellowship afterwards. Whew! What a fun and busy one. 
  • This weekend: One of my ADPi sisters, Perrin, is coming to visit for the weekend! I'm currently working on planning an itinerary that involves highlights of all there is to do in Charlottesville. 
Purchases: 
  • I purchased this mascara that so many of my friends have raved about! I'm currently layering it with two others that I really like for my everyday makeup, and I'm a fan so far. 
  • I stocked up on a few pairs these tights! They were 50% off last week, so I made sure to buy enough for NYFW, as that trip is coming soon. 
  • And a couple fun purchases, I bought this dupe purse and this dupe belt! I haven't ever really bought a lot of designer dupes before, but both of these came well recommended to me from a friend, so I figured I'd give them a try. I can do a review after I get them if y'all are interested! 
Wishlist:
  • Zara is one of my all-time favorite stores, and sometimes they have really incredible deals. This super cute tank top is under $10 currently!
  • How cute is this heart sweater for Valentines? I think this would be really cute if you had casual plans for the holiday- or for Galentines!
  • And sticking with the Valentine's theme... these adorable sparkle earrings! I love the heart detail.
  • Swimsuit season is still awhile from now... but if you're headed somewhere warm for Spring Break, I love this one-piece!
  • This business casual dress is effortlessly chic, and I think would transition well from winter to spring (wear now with tights, wear with spring accessories when the weather warms up!).
Recipe of the week: Christmas Sugar Cookies recipe from Southern Curls and Pearls. I've had this recipe from Caitlin's blog saved on Pinterest for so long, and I finally gave it a try! These cookies are AMAZING!! I didn't do them in Christmas shapes or colors, but the recipe works perfectly for normal decorated cookies too. πŸ˜‰

Song of the week: My Favorite Man by Irina Rimes. If you've been reading Midweek Ramblings for awhile you know that I listen to a lot of world music. Lately I've been obsessed with this song- it's has such a great beat that makes it perfect for a workout playlist!

Favorite blog posts of the week:
  • Style Charade - I loved reading about Jenn's dream blog collaboration with United Airlines!
  • BeYOUtiful - Torunn did her wedding recaps this week, and I especially enjoyed the post dedicated to her bridesmaids!
  • Olivia Rink - I just adored Olivia's honest and heartfelt post about the realities of being both a fashion influencer and a Christian woman.
On my blog this week:

     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese
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January 22, 2019

CHARLOTTESVILLE APARTMENT TOUR: Bathroom.

     I've been having so much fun sharing the different rooms of my apartment for my Tuesday blog post series this month!! Today we're tackling the smallest room (which actually isn't actually all that small): my bathroom! 






Photography by Meredith Sledge


    Similar with the living room and dining room/kitchen posts that I've shared, just about all of my decor in the bathroom is either from discount stores or is something older that I've had for awhile, so I don't have any exact product links for you! If you're curious where something is from, feel free to comment on this post or email me. 😊


     This apartment has the biggest bathroom that I've ever had! The amount of storage I have in here is crazy. I have way more cabinets then I need for storing bathroom things, so I actually keep some random household items in bathroom storage as well. Other than the floral towels pictured above, I didn't buy any new bathroom decor when I moved to this apartment! I think that whenever I do move next, it might be time to upgrade some things (like the shower curtain and mats), but for now everything was still in good shape. I love having bright accent colors for the bathroom decor- I feel like this room definitely personifies a bachelorette pad! If your bathroom doesn't currently have a lot of decor, I encourage you to try incorporating some bright colors in there! I do my hair and makeup for work each morning in here, and seeing all of the colors and fun decor always starts my day off on a happy note. 

     I guess that's about all that I have to say for the bathroom- this part of the apartment tour is very straightforward! You can check out the previous apartment tour posts; living room, updated living room with couch, and kitchen/dining room in the meantime. Next week will be the final post of January's Tuesday series, and I'll be finishing the apartment tour by sharing my bedroom! 

    Last week was pretty busy for me, so I took last Wednesday off from sharing my weekly Midweek Ramblings. I posted a poll on Instagram Stories asking if y'all would prefer if I switched them to one Monthly Ramblings post instead of doing them each Wednesday... and amazingly a lot of y'all voted to keep them each week! So Midweek Ramblings is here to stay for the time being, and returns tomorrow. πŸ™‚



     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese
     
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January 21, 2019

Back to Basics with Outfit Posts.

     Happy Monday! I can't believe this is my first true outfit post of 2019. Sharing a classic look that I wore for a weekend shopping day a few weeks ago, and also some thoughts on my blog's fashion content going forward.






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     Let's start with some blogging thoughts! A couple years ago, I would say that about 75% of my blog posts were fashion or outfit related, so this is definitely a big shift. In 2018, I celebrated my 6th blogiversary, and around that same time I made the shift from calling my blog a lifestyle blog instead of a fashion blog. Fashion is a component of my blog that I definitely want to continue writing about, but I no longer want it to be the focus. To me, my travel and faith/personal posts are just as important as style content- all of those three things together are what makes my blog unique! 

    Anyways, with the difference in how I'm classifying my blog, there are going to be a few changes this year to how I share fashion content on the blog. To start, I'll be working less regularly with blog photographers. I'm definitely not eliminating professional photography from my blog by any means, but I want to be more selective in using photographers. I'll probably just continue using them for sponsored collaborations and some travel content, rather than everyday outfits. I've had a DSLR camera for years, and I actually really do enjoy having friends snap my pictures on it and editing them myself! There's just something about that whole process that seems more "real." It seems like with each month that goes by, a lot of fashion Instagram accounts and blogs get more and more staged and fake, especially in terms of photography. I want to stay authentic as possible, and for me that means starting to do more blog photography on my own camera again. 😊

    As far as the outfits go that I wear on the blog, I'm done buying stuff just for blog photos! The outfits that you see this year will be exclusively real outfits that I have worn in real life, or will be wearing soon. It'll still include a wide range of everything from casual to dressy looks, but I'll only be featuring stuff that I actually wear. I've definitely fallen trap in the past of buying clothing or accessories solely because I think they would look cute on the blog or Instagram... and then I never wear them again! That just seems so materialistic and wasteful to me now. 


    Alright- now that all that's out of the way, let's get to today's outfit details! My mom got me this light pink sweater for Christmas. It is currently on sale! It's very soft and light, and the perfect type of sweater to layer over a button up shirt. I also pulled out one of my older favorite purses for this look- OG Southern Belle in Training readers probably remember when I was obsessed with this bag for a good couple years in college! πŸ˜‰ I wore this outfit a few weekends ago for a shopping day in Richmond. One of the largest shopping districts in Richmond, Short Pump, is just under an hour away from Charlottesville, so it makes for an easy weekend day trip. I love visiting bigger cities, so I'm usually in Richmond at least once every month or two!


     I hope that you're having a great Monday and start to the week so far! Last week was busier than usual for me (each weekday I had plans every afternoon or evening), so I'm hoping this week will be a little more relaxing. 





     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese
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January 17, 2019

How I Got a Couch + How I Buy Used Furniture!

     During the whole month of January, I'm sharing bits and pieces of my Charlottesville apartment tour here on Tuesdays. Last week, I shared my living room! The pictures in that blog post were taken before I got my first couch, so in today's blog post I wanted to share a little living room update, and chat a little bit about how I've accumulated used furniture. 






Photography by Kate Greer

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     Since I bought my couch, the pillows, and the coffee table ottoman used- I sadly don't have a lot of details for y'all about what stores they were originally from. πŸ˜‰But what I can tell you is the amazing story about how I got this furniture set! It was totally a God thing- and I don't say that lightly! I had wanted a couch of my own since I first moved from North Carolina to Vermont, almost two years ago. (My former roommate brought the couch to my Charlotte apartment!) Once it was clear to me that I wouldn't be in Vermont longterm, I decided to postpone getting a couch until I was living somewhere that I saw myself more longterm. After I settled into Charlottesville, I knew that I wanted to be here awhile, and that this was the place that I finally wanted to invest in some more furniture! 

    The only caveat? Couches aren't cheap - and that's an understatement! A good, comfortable couch is most definitely an investment purchase, and I just wasn't in a financial place to make that type of brand new purchase this year. Sure there are cheap couches you can find for a few hundred, but I wanted a couch that really fit my style, and that I'd want to keep around for awhile, not just a starter piece of furniture that I'd want to upgrade from.

    Here's where the God thing part comes in! When I first moved to Charlottesville in the spring, I was able to reconnect with one of my sorority sisters, who had been living/working here already. She ended up moving out-of-state this fall... and was kind enough to let me know that she was selling a lot of furniture from her apartment! She offered me her couch, the coordinating pillows, and the coffee table ottoman for an incredible price that totally fit my budget! I was absolutely ecstatic- her couch is such a beautiful color, and is exactly the type of furniture piece that I would've been saving up to by new for a lot more money. Now that I have this beautiful furniture set in my apartment, I feel like my living room feels finished and "real"! As you can see in one of the photos above, Delilah also loves the couch. I think she thinks I bought it just for her! πŸ˜‰

     This isn't the first time that I've gotten used furniture from a friend at a very reasonable price (or for free!). The desk that I use for my blog office and my dining set I also acclimated this way, as well as some other random home decor pieces! I will be honest- I think that buying used furniture from things like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace could be a bit of a gamble. Not saying that you can't sometimes find good things, but there is always a risk with buying something used from a total stranger. But when you purchase or receive free furniture from someone that you already know, you can trust the quality of it (or that they will be honest with you if the quality isn't the greatest, so you really know what you're getting). I've been really lucky in that during the last couple years, I've known a lot of people who have moved around. It's obviously very expensive to move furniture, so sometimes it's more economical for someone to sell or giveaway large furniture and home decor pieces. And that's worked out very well for me!


    I'd love to hear if you have any experiences with used furniture from friends and family! Or if you've taken the plunge and bought something used online from Craigslist or another place. Details on my outfit are below. (I realized after the fact that my skirt kinda matches the couch in these photos- lol!)





     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese 
     
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January 15, 2019

CHARLOTTESVILLE APARTMENT TOUR: Kitchen & Dining Room.

    I'm continuing my apartment tour in today's blog post! Last Tuesday, I showed my living room, and today we'll be moving over to the kitchen and dining room tours.






  Photography by Meredith Sledge


     Here is my little kitchen and dining room! I was so excited that my apartment here in Charlottesville had a specific open dining room area. I had a dining room spot in my first apartment in Charlotte, but my Vermont apartment had a mostly open floor plan, so I had the dining table at the edge of my living room. The dining room in my current apartment obviously isn't huge,  but it does have more than enough room for my table and chairs, and a few decorative pieces as well.

     Since these photos were taken, one of my dining chairs actually broke. This weekend I'm planning to go to At Home to look for two new dining chairs. As y'all know, I am obsessed with At Home and most of my home decor comes from that store! The two gorgeous paintings in my dining room are from there (of course!). I absolutely fell in love when I saw these two paintings- they reminded me so much of Lilly Pulitzer's bright and colorful designs!

    My apartment kitchen is very small, as you can see from the pictures above. The size has been an adjustment to get used to, as my kitchen in my Vermont apartment was about twice the size! But I do love the white cabinets, and how bright it is from all of the apartment natural light. Hopefully my next place will have a little more counter space, but I'm able to make do with what I have here!


     You can check out last week's post, my Charlottesville apartment living room, in this blog post! Next Tuesday we will be continuing the apartment tour.


     Midweek Ramblings will be coming up for your Wednesday tomorrow, as always! Thanks so much for reading, and hope you're having a good week so far.


    God Bless,


    xoxo Annaliese 


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January 14, 2019

My Best Purchases of 2018.

    I have always had so much fun in years past reading bloggers' posts that round up their favorite purchases from the past year! I started doing this last year, and I'm excited to share all of my best buys from 2018 with you today. 



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     This year's purchases include a whole wide range of things that I loved, including a few things that I ended up loving way more than I expected. Let's get to it:


     1. Sephora Beauty Amplifier Afterglow Primer: I started using this face primer a couple months ago, and I love it! I apply it each morning before putting on my foundation and other face makeup, and it provides a wonderful and long lasting base. On days that I don't wear full face makeup, it's also great just to apply this product only to add a little natural glow!

     2. Lawless Seal the Deal Loose Setting Powder: Lawless is a new 100% clean beauty line, which is now sold at Sephora! I follow the founder, Annie Lawless, on Instagram, and I loved her learning about her makeup line so much that I had to try something for myself. I've actually never steadily used a setting powder before finding this one, but now I'm hooked and have to use it everyday that I do full face makeup!

    3. Pearl earrings: This is crazy- but even though I'm a total jewelry aficionado, up until a couple months ago I never owned a pair of real pearl earrings! I had several fake pairs over the years but I'd always lose them or they'd break. There was an incredible Black Friday deal at JC Penney this year that had a pair of sterling silver pearl studs for like $10! I scooped it up, and have been wondering ever since why it took me so long to purchase this jewelry staple. 

    4. Ardell Magnetic Lash Accents in #001: One of my favorite beauty buys of the year was courtesy of my friend Niki from Nicholle Sophia! These falsies work SO much better than normal false eyelashes. Since they are magnetic, there is no glue involved which means they're much healthier for your lashes. It does take a few tries to learn to properly apply them, but once you get the hang of it you're good to go! I've worn these for as long as 12 hours, and they look great all day.

   5. IT Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush in Je Ne Sais Quois: This has become my everyday lip gloss to wear to work! It's a beautiful pale and bright pink, and it layers perfectly over lip balm or lipstick. It smells great, and also isn't super sticky like a lot of other lip glosses! Two thumbs up for this lip product.

    6. L.L. Bean Fleece Pullover: First off- I have a confession to make. Despite the fact that I'm from Maine, home state of L.L. Bean... I am not a fan of like 95% of what they sell! (Don't hate me!) Okay- now that I've shared that disclaimer, I have to say that this fleece pullover might just be the best thing they sell! I had a store credit to use at L.L. Bean after Christmas in 2017, and I ended up getting a teal fleece pullover. This is the comfiest thing to throw on going to/from the gym, and also for casual weekends or running errands! I wear it all the time, and it's held up well. (Mine is actually a slightly different style which isn't available online anymore, but I've linked a similar one!)

    7. JustFab Tan Alle Block Heel Boots: I actually received these boots as apart of a collaboration earlier this year, but I love them! I previously owned pairs of grey and purple OTK boots, but I definitely wear these the most frequently out of all my pairs. They've held up extremely well for the price- at under $50 they're affordable as far as boots go!

    8. Tory Burch Parker Zip Continental Wallet:  My parents bought me this wallet for Christmas last year, but I didn't start using it until midway through 2018! (Does anyone else think it's so annoying to switch wallets? Haha!) I have it in a nice grey color, and it coordinates with my Tory Burch work tote, which is also in the same color. I love that this wallet has a hand strap, so it's easy to carry on its own when you don't want to bring a full purse somewhere. It's currently on-sale!

    9. Talbots Haircalf Medium Shoulder Bag: This was another item that I received for a collaboration, but I use this all the time now! It's my favorite weekend bag for fall/winter. This bag is gorgeous, and I think it really looks like it could be a designer style! This bag is also currently on sale- grab it while you can!

    10. Barefoot Dreams Cardigan: This was my favorite NSale purchase from last summer! I'd heard great things about these cardigans before, but I couldn't justify paying full price for one (they're over $100 normally). There were a few Barefoot Dreams styles that were heavily discounted in last summer's Nordstrom sale, so I finally got one. Oh my gosh- this cardigan is everything! Honestly I love it so much that I would maybe buy another at full price. It's the softest thing I've ever worn, and when I wear it at work it feels like a blanket!


    All of my favorites from this post are linked below! I'm already kind of curious what the new things are that I'll find this year and fall in love with. 😊Did you have a favorite purchase from 2019? Please share with me!!






     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese  
    
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January 10, 2019

2019: Resolutions + Word of the Year.

     Time to dive into all things 2019!! I wanted to get this blog post up last week, but then the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale happened, so this is getting published a little later. 😊I'm so excited to share my 2019 resolutions and word of the year with you! I think this is the first time ever that I've picked a word of the year, but I'm really happy about the one I chose. I'll also recap my 2018 resolutions and let you know which I completed, and which didn't work out. 



{Photo from this blog post}


2018 Resolutions Recap:

     Last January, I shared my 2018 resolutions in this blog post. I had three for the year that I wrote about in that post, and one more that didn't make the blog. Here's how I did with everything:

  • Complete 52 Week Savings Plan again (previously completed as 2016 resolution): Yes and no for this one? I did a specific savings plan in 2016 to grow my savings account, and at the beginning of 2018 I tried to follow it again. Once I began my job in Virginia in March, I just started having a certain sum out of every paycheck taken out automatically for savings... which added up to be more than the plan I was following at the beginning of the year. So I'm going to say YES for this one?
  • Do a minimum of two workouts a week, with goal of running a 5k in 2018: A big fat NO on this one for the running part- I actually had a revelation in 2018 that I hate running and shouldn't keep forcing myself year after year to stick it out on the treadmill and become a runner. It's just not something I enjoy and I stopped being motivated to do it! I did however join a gym this fall in Charlottesville, and I was able to find workout classes that I do love and finally get into a solid fitness routine.
  • 3. Spend quiet time each weekday morning in uninterrupted prayer: Sadly this one ended up being a NO. I was great about this while I lived in Vermont, but after moving I didn't stick with morning prayer time. Now I think I'm awake too early in the AM to do this before work, but it would be nice to set aside a time for this each day in the afternoon or evenings now.
  • 4. Read 30 books: YES! So proud of this one. I read 48! My goal is 52 (a book a week) for 2019.
  • Pay off broadcasting school: YES! The majority of my education debt was from this, so since I paid that off in 2018 the rest of my debt from undergrad feels very small in comparison.

2019 Resolutions:

     Here are my goals for this year!! A couple self-improvement/serious ones, and a couple fun ones:

  • Pay off my remaining student loan: I want to get DEBT FREE this year!! And I am so close! I am very thankful that my parents paid a good bit of my college tuition, and I also had a generous merit scholarship as well. I did have to take out one loan to cover the rest, and this year I want to finish paying that off. Once I'm done my student loan debt, I plan to start saving for a car and a trip abroad! 
  • Get baptized: I feel ready to take this next step in my Christian faith journey! I accepted Christ in middle school, but all through high school/college I always felt like I wanted to wait until I was a young adult to be baptized. I feel very at peace in my faith here in Charlottesville and I feel like this would be a great year to do it.
  • Read 52 books: A slightly bigger reading goal than last year, but I love to read and utilize the library so I feel like this will happen! 
  • Go to the gym / workout 3x per week, no expections: I'm done making excuses for fitness and I want to work out at minimum 3x week this year! While I hope most of that is at the gym (since I pay for that membership!), things like hikes or playing tennis totally count as well of course. The goal is just to make being active a few times a week a must! 
  • Gossip less: This one will be harder to monitor, but I really want to hold myself accountable to watching my words this year. Less talking badly about other people, more words of affirmation! I really hope to honor Christ with the way that I talk about others.
  • Cook dinner at home two nights a week: I got very out of my cooking schedule in 2018- part of that was due to my work schedule shifting a few times, and also having more of a social life here in Charlottesville. I've finally figured out that I really want Sunday/Monday night and Thursday nights to be my cooking nights at home! The leftovers from those meals will help with lunches and other dinners, and then I can still go out to eat with friends once a week as well.

2019 Word of the Year:

     I am pretty sure this is my first time ever jumping on the word of the year train, but I'm really excited about it! My word for 2019 is "rooted." I picked this word because this is the first year in many that I don't (foresee) moving to a new city and state. I'm excited to spend all of 2019 here in Charlottesville! 2018 was a year of discovery- learning all about Central Virginia, making friends, and starting to feel acclimated in my new home. Now that I am fully settled in, I want to build on that. I want to deepen the friendships that I made last year, celebrate my one year working for my company and continue to educate myself in the radio industry,  continue to explore Charlottesville and Virginia as a whole (and start re-visiting my favorite places), and feel more confident handling the "adulting" responsibilities of adulthood. Another big part of my word of the year is continuing to become more involved at my church! Starting later this month, I'll be hosting social gatherings for the 20s/30s somethings at my church, and I can't wait to bring more of my love for hospitality into my church community.


     I did a resolutions check-in post midway through 2018 (which helped me stay accountable!), so I'll plan to do another one of those sometime this summer! I'm looking forward to wrapping up my 2018 recap posts soon, and next week I'll be sharing my favorite purchases from the year.



     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

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January 9, 2019

Midweek Ramblings.


{Downtown Charlottesville is so beautiful- even in the middle of a winter rain! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}

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



Ramblings:
  • #CatMom status: I don't talk about Delilah here on the blog as often as I do on Instagram Stories, so I thought she deserved a little update today! I ended having to bring her to boarding while I was in Maine for Christmas, as just about all of my Charlottesville friends were gone for the holiday. Since I brought her home from boarding, she has been so affectionate and sweet. For the first couple months that I had her, Delilah was a very good cat but very independent. She didn't really like to sleep or cuddle with me. Now she loves cuddling next to or on top of me when I'm on the couch reading or watching TV! I'm absolutely obsessed and hope she just gets even more affectionate in months to come!
  • New job: Still going really, really well! I feel pretty much adjusted to my weekday schedule of waking up at 3:45 am... or I guess as adjusted as I can be! I'm still absolutely loving being a morning radio host, and really enjoying getting to work so closely with a co-host as well. I feel so blessed that the new position is going well, and that I feel like I have so much to look forward to with work in 2019.
  • Britney Spears' sad news: Did you catch the breaking news this week that Britney Spears had to cancel her upcoming Las Vegas residency? It is so sad that family tragedy for her is the reason why she had to do that, I hope in upcoming years she can go back to Vegas (and hopefully I'll get to see her again!). 
  • Fun birthday party idea: My friend Eden's birthday was over the weekend, and I want to share all about the creative thing that she did at her birthday party! Eden's birthday is right after the New Year, so asked everyone before the party to think of a few things from 2018 that they wanted to let go of in 2019! At the party, everyone wrote down the things they wanted to let go of on ceramic plates (I think Eden got them at the dollar store)... and then each party guest had the chance to SMASH their plate!! Isn't that just the coolest party idea? I felt a little bad- 2018 was such a great year for me that I didn't have too much to "let go of" (Where was this party idea in 2016?! Lol!), but I did think of a few things, and felt great to symbolically get rid of them! 

Weekend Recaps:
  • Last weekend: A very full and fun Charlottesville weekend! I stayed in Friday night and watched a Bollywood movie (I adore Bollywood but rarely watch those movies anymore- trying to change that this year!). On Saturday I went to barre class, worked on the blog, and then that night was my friend Eden's fun birthday party. On Sunday I taught Sunday School at church during the early service, attended the later service, had lunch with a friend after, and then had a date in the late afternoon. Whew! 
  • This weekend: No plans yet, but I have an errand that I need to run in Richmond so I might work in a day trip to there on Saturday or Sunday.


Purchases:
  • I lucked out at both Old Navy and J. Crew - I found gorgeous sundresses at both stores that were on like 75% clearance from summer! Both are out of stock online so I can't link, but I can't wait to wear my new dresses this spring. Now is a great time to look for summer clearance at your favorite stores!
  • This was the cutest chambray shirt I've ever seen, I had to get it!
  • I bought a belated and much needed Christmas gift to myself... a new bible! The bible I'd been using I'd had since middle school. God's word itself obviously doesn't get outdated, but the style of bible I was using was. It was very much a "preteen" bible (with quizzes in the centerfold about things like middle school and crushes), and didn't have the resources I craved in an adult study bible. My new one is WONDERFUL- I will probably do a full blog post reviewing it! 
  • FYI: I have a new Shein discount code!! I know the ones I've had in the past have been popular, so if you want to buy anything from them soon please use this for an extra 15% off! Use code 1rainbowf15

Wishlist: 
  • I didn't buy an Lilly shift dresses in this week's After Party Sale, planning to wait for the summer one to buy one or more of those. But of course since I didn't get one this week, I'm crushing on the current ones majorly
  • One of my girlfriends recently bought these over the knee boots and they were so cute on her! I have a few pairs of OTK boots already but none in this color- so I might need these. 
  • I still haven't bought any dresses from the Gal Meets Glam line, but I can't stop thinking about this one! It's just so beautiful- both the dress silhouette and the beautiful blue color. 
  • This sweater would be great for casual Valentine's plans, an easy way to wear red and pink!

Recipe of the week: 
  • Penne alla Betsy from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Confession: before I got one of Ree's cookbooks for Christmas, I honestly had no idea who the Pioneer Woman was. I have a lot of friends that are big fans of her Food Network show, but I'd never seen it nor tried her recipes. My mom got me her cookbook for Christmas, and I tried this pasta recipe this past week! I really liked it! The original recipe calls for shrimp (which I don't eat) so I omitted that and just made the pasta sauce and penne, but it was very good. 

Song of the week: Arms Around You by XXXTENTACION and Lil Pump ft. Meluma and Swae Lee.  I'm not really a fan of any of the other songs from all of these artists- but WOW is this song good! Every single time I hear it I wish I could be on a dance floor.


On the blog this week:
     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese 


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January 8, 2019

CHARLOTTESVILLE APARTMENT TOUR: Living Room.

     I'm so excited to finally be sharing my Charlottesville apartment tour with y'all! These posts will be my Tuesday series for the month of January, so today and all other Tuesdays this month I'll be sharing different rooms of my apartment. In February, I'll have a new series to post on Tuesdays!

     I've shared my apartments in Charlotte, NC and Vermont previously on the blog, so I've been really excited to finally show y'all my place here in Charlottesville! I currently live in a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment. These photos were actually taken a few months ago back in the fall... but I'm just now getting around to sharing! Since then, I have purchased a couch, so my living room does look somewhat different! I'll share some updated photos of the room with the couch later this month. 







Photography by Meredith Sledge

{All furniture and decor pictured are older pieces or purchased from discount stores, but you can comment/email me if you're curious about where something specific is from!}



     Here's my living room / blog office in my Charlottesville apartment! The orange chairs, my blog desk, and a few other pieces of furniture came with me from my Vermont living room. My mom had the orange chairs were actually in the TV room at my home back in Maine, and she generously gave them to me to use in Vermont. I guess now they're mine! 😊 Now that I have a couch, the orange chairs are actually where the blog desk is in these photos. I've just shifted the location some stuff around in the living room to make room for the couch! 

      The gorgeous teal art piece above my television was a great At Home find! I am obsessed with the store At Home, I cannot walk in there and not buy anything. Usually I walk out of there after spending $100+, haha! Anyways, this art piece is one of my very favorite things from At Home. My mom actually picked it out for me when she visited me last spring! We went to Richmond for a day trip (where the nearest At Home is), and her great eye spotted that art piece amongst many others. I think it looks so much more unique and expensive than where it came from / what I paid for it, and I foresee having it for many years to come.

      
     I think that my living room decor style is bright, bold, and colorful, which is very similar to how my clothing style is! I can't wait to share some updated living room pictures soon which feature my couch- I feel like I finally have a "full" living room.

     My lease was expiring in a couple months, and I just renewed it for six more months. I am considering moving into a townhome with girlfriends in the fall when it's up (I'm sure I'll do a more detailed blog post on that if it ends up happening), but for now I'm loving my little Charlottesville solo bachelorette pad!


     Another room in my apartment will be on the blog next Tuesday!


     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese
     






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January 7, 2019

Lilly Pulitzer Winter 2019 After Party Sale: My Online Picks + What I Bought!

    The January After Party Sale is LIVE!! This is the best time to buy Lilly Pulitzer, as all of the best styles and prints are heavily discounted, and only through tomorrow! Sharing my favorite online sale picks in today's post, and also sharing what I purchased:


{Photo from this blog post}

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


     Reminder that the After Party Sale is final sale! If you're unsure of sizing, you can check out this try-on sizing guide that I wrote for the last After Party Sale last September. 


Casual Dresses:

Shift Dresses:

Cocktail and Maxi Dresses:

Tops:

Bottoms:

Swimwear:


Luxletic:

Accessories: 




My Purchases: 

     This year was a unique one for me- it's the first year in many that I'm not shopping the online After Party Sale! The reason being that I did recently get several new Lilly items. While I was home in Maine for Christmas, Pink Tangerine, which is the Lilly signature store in my hometown, had a huge Christmas sale and I ended up buying several things there. I did also make one APS purchase over this weekend from another favorite signature store of mine, Pink Colony in Stowe, VT!




     I'd love to hear in the comments below what you purchased in the APS today!! Remember that the sale will still be open online tomorrow as well- and rumor has it that new items will be added in on Tuesday!


     God Bless,


      xoxo Annaliese 


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January 4, 2019

Lilly Pulitzer Winter 2019 After Party Sale: ALL The Details!

     The month of January just got a lot more COLORFUL! The details about the upcoming Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale are here, and I'm breaking down everything in today's blog post. I typically do my pre-Lilly sale posts in Q&A style- I'd like to think I'm a veteran After Party Sale shopper by now!



{Photo from this blog post}

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



     Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale Q &A: 

  •      What is the After Party Sale? The After Party Sale is Lilly Pulitzer's best sale of the year! It is held twice a year, online and in Lilly Pulitzer official stores (some signature stores choose to participate as well), at the end-of-summer, and again right after the holidays in the winter. Lilly Pulitzer merchandise rarely goes on sale, and during the APS various fashion pieces and accessories are marked down between 30-70% off depending on the item! Shipping is also FREE (although it is always free shipping at Lilly- sale or no sale! πŸ˜‰). If you're familiar at all with the Lilly brand, you know that their dresses and other apparel can be a bit expensive. I buy a lot of my Lilly pieces during the APS since those prices fit my budget much better! 

  •      When is the After Party Sale? The winter edition of the After Party Sale is held in January- it's something fun to look forward to after the holidays!  This year the January APS is running online Monday, January 7th and Tuesday, January 8th. (MARK YOUR CALENDAR!) The in-store preview sale is being held THIS WEEKEND, Saturday and Sunday January 5-6thThe online sale always opens to the public at 8 am EST. Trust me... from experience, if you can be online and waiting in the shopping queue at 8, you WANT to be!! I realize that some of you might be at work or in class during that time, or doing your morning commute then. If possible, arrange your Monday morning schedule so you'll be able to shop right when it opens! The previous APS in September 2018 was my first time shopping in-store for the weekend preview, and that was a really fun experience as well!

  •      What is the queue shopping system? If this is your first time shopping in an After Party Sale, you might be surprised at how popular this is! Lilly's website gets an enormous amount of traffic in the first day of the After Party Sale! If you're online and ready to shop at 8 am, you will be placed into a queue while waiting for the website to open. You might get scared if you see your shopping number say something very high like 50,000... but don't panic! Lilly uses this system to try and prevent website crashes (which have happened before). Generally speaking, the line does move quite quickly. I can only think of one APS when I had to wait a full two hours for my number to get me into the website, and even then I was still able to purchase the item that I wanted! Other times, I've gotten into shop in less than 20 minutes. The main thing to remember is DO NOT refresh your browser! Just wait it out - it will pay off. Something you can do though is shop on multiple devices! Pull out your laptop, work computer, iPad, phone (Lilly has an iPhone app!), old iPod Touch, etc. A final tip for today- if you don't have a shopping account with Lilly Pulitzer yet, make one NOW! This will save you so much time for the day that the sale opens. 

  •      I hate online shopping and the queue sounds stressful! Can I shop in-store instead? YES! All Lilly Pulitzer company owned stores and most signature stores participate in the APS. This is a great way to support your local Lilly store by shopping in-store instead of online! Some stores even do an in-store preview of sale merchandise the day before the sale. Find your closest Lilly store here! A lot of signature stores post their APS merchandise on their websites or Instagram, so if something you love sells out on the Lilly website, you can try shopping that way too! Two signature stores that I love supporting are The Pink Colony in Stowe, VT, and Pink Tangerine in my hometown, Kennebunk ME. 

  •      Any shopping strategy tips? Something to keep in mind is that the After Party Sale is 100% FINAL SALE, so if you purchase something that does not fit, you will have to get creative in ways of reselling the items. I recommend browsing the Lilly Pulitzer website now to get an idea for the types of clothing and accessories that you might want. These exact pieces might not be the ones featured in the sale, but chances are there will be something similar! (Like the same style dress in another print.) What I'm looking for honestly varies each time there is an After Party Sale! It would be very smart to take inventory of your current Lilly pieces or your general preppy wardrobe this weekend, so that you can know if you're looking for a certain type of Lilly item when the sale opens online!

  •      How does sizing work for Lilly Pulitzer? This is a brand where sizing does vary between different styles of clothing! I've worn everything from an XS to an M, and numeric sizes 2-6, depending on the piece of clothing. If you're not familiar with Lilly, if possible try and get to a store before the APS so that you can try on some pieces yourself and get an idea for what you like. I published an in-store try-on blog post during the last APS a few months ago- you can read that here and find out more about which sizes I wear in which styles!


     I hope that helps you familiarize yourself with the After Party Sale! I have a confession to make though for my plans to shop it... this is the first After Party Sale in years that I'll be sitting out! 😱I know that you're probably thinking "WHAT?" Especially since I just spent this entire blog post telling you why I think this sale is amazing and why you should shop it. Let me explain!

     While I was home for Christmas, the Lilly signature store in my hometown (Pink Tangerine) was having an AMAZING in-store sale. Seriously... prices on some items rivaled APS prices! I had Christmas money fresh in my pockets, and that day I just ended up buying a lot more Lilly than I counted on! I decided to sit out this APS since I just bought a lot of new Lilly items just a couple weeks ago. The good news though is that I'm 99% sure everything I purchased (or at least most of it) should be included in the After Party Sale, so hopefully on Monday I can still link to what I recently purchased! 


     I would love to hear if you're planning to shop this After Party Sale, and what items you'll be looking for! And good luck to those of you who are planning to hit Lilly stores for the in-store preview this weekend- I hope you find some amazing pieces. 



     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 
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January 2, 2019

Midweek Ramblings.





{A snapshot of my NYE outfit! Follow me on social media @miss_alk}

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



Ramblings:
  • Welcome 2019: First blog post of the new year! Welcome 2019!! If you missed my 2018 recap blog posts, check out my personal memories from the year here, and the year in review for my blog here. Did you do anything fun for NYE?  I started off the year doing something totally new- I went to a Silent Disco! It was AMAZING! (If you're unfamiliar, it's a giant dance party where instead of having a DJ or live band, everyone listens to playlists on headphones, so it is "silent"!) The Silent Disco was also Black Tie which made it extra fun.
  • Lessons from a refugee pastor: This story from Christianity Today absolutely got me this week. I think it's a must read! The fact the man featured in the article not only still has faith in God, but also serves as a pastor, is absolutely unbelievable, considering the life circumstances that he and his family have gone through in the past. Truly a humbling story!
  • Biggest one-hit wonders: Last week, my radio co-host Marc and I got into the most fun discussion about our favorite songs from one-hit wonder artists. Does anyone else have an affinity for those types of songs from years past? This article from Buzzfeed rounds up the 90 biggest early 2000s one-hit wonders, and Marc and I had a lot of fun going through it!
  • Nordstrom mishap: I shared a rant about this on my Instagram earlier this week, but wanted to recap it here if you missed it! I decided that I wanted to treat myself to a Tory Burch splurge purchase to celebrate my new job. When it comes to big purchases, I often prefer to make them in-store. I think it's better to see the item in person first (especially for a big splurge!), and there's just something so satisfying about walking out of the store with bag in hand! Well, the Nordstrom website said the item I wanted to buy was available in-stock in the Richmond store in multiple sizes and colors. I got there on Sunday... only to find out it hadn't been in stock for months in this store. 😟Is it the end of the world? No! But was it annoying to drive all the way there and not be able to see the item I wanted? Yes! Have you ever had a situation like this happen? 

Weekend recap:
  • Last weekend: I was originally supposed to be in Charlotte last weekend, then that got cancelled so I was going to DC instead... then that got cancelled! I ended up having a pretty mellow weekend. I took down all of my Christmas decorations in my apartment, did some reading, and went to the gym on Saturday. On Sunday, I tried out a new church (mine took the week off from services) and then went shopping in Richmond!
  • This weekend: My friend Eden's birthday party is on Saturday, and then I'll be teaching Sunday School on Sunday morning.

Purchases: 
  • This edgy dress! It's definitely out of my fashion comfort zone, but I can't wait to wear it. Now I just need an evening out!
  • A cute crop top, which would actually be winter appropriate with high waisted jeans or a skirt! 
  • While in Maine, I bought a lot of Lilly Pulitzer items from the signature store in my hometown! Things I purchased included new luxletic leggings, a one-piece swimsuit, and one of my favorite tanks in a new print. 
  • This isn't a purchase from this week, but I wanted to link my formal NYE dress (pictured above!). It's under $25 and would be great for any winter formals you might have. 

Wishlist:
  • This dress (comes in many colors) is on sale right now for the Nordstrom half-yearly sale! I tried it on in-store... sadly the S was too small for me and the M was too big. ☹️ But it is soooo cute- I wish it fit! 
  • These pretty earrings would make a fun statement for winter outfits. 
  • I saw this striped sweater in-store this weekend and haven't been able to stop thinking about it since- the colors and sparkle is prettier in person!
  • This is one of the most chic one-piece swimsuits that I've seen- makes me wish I was going somewhere warm soon. 
  • This printed dress is beautiful, and not a bad price. 

Recipe of the week: Cheese and Corn Chowder from the Fix It and Forget It cookbook. I want to get better about using my crockpot this year- it's such an easy way to make meals during my busy weekdays. I have the Fix It and Forget It slow cooker cookbook, and I kicked off using it last week with a yummy chowder recipe.


Song of the week: Can't Live Without by Hollyn. I first head this song on a podcast that I listen to, I wasn't familiar with Hollyn beforehand. I really like this song and think Hollyn is pretty talented! 


On the blog this week:


      God Bless,


      xoxo Annaliese


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