Southern Belle in Training

Affordable Fashion // Attainable Travels // Authentic Living

February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day! Here Are My Favorite Relationship Posts...

     Happy Valentine's Day, friends! Whether you're single, dating, engaged, married, or even getting over a recent heartbreak... I still hope that today is a great day for you. Eat something sweet, and wear something pink and red and/or with hearts!! Tell someone that you love them- even if that's a friend or family member!

     I feel really lucky that 2018 (shortly after moving to Virginia) was around the time that I got into the most positive mindset of my life about being single. I stopped playing the comparison game against friends who were dating, engaged, or married, and have instead tried to make a genuine effort to have a heart of thankfulness for my current state of life each and every day. With that said- that hasn't not always been the case for me! In college, I struggled so much with being single, and I had a few rough Valentine's Days in those years. In college (I think especially if you live on campus like I did), it sometimes feels like a world of its own, and it can start to seem like everyone around you is doing something that you're not. For me,  it always seemed like everyone else on my small campus had a Valentine or was in a relationship. (Obviously this wasn't the case- but I'd throw these giant pity parties where it would seem that way!) Basically, I really struggled with contentment in singleness in my college years, and I so wish that 24 year old me could have said something to 18 or 19 year old me about finding joy during that season of life, even without a boyfriend!

     Anyways- here on the blog I enjoy writing about dating and singleness with my ongoing Relationship Monday blog series. I don't have a certain Monday of each month that I post these... I just kind of share them when I feel inspired! I wasn't able to get up any new relationship content for today on the blog, so I thought that instead I'd share a round-up of five of my favorite relationship related blog posts from years past!!

     1. Relationship Monday: How I Fell in Love With... Being Single! (August 2018) This past summer was really around the time that I started to find confidence and contentment in being a single woman, and this was the first time that I really shared a lot about that on the blog!

     2. Relationship Monday: An Open Letter to the Boy Who Broke My Heart (May 2017) One of my highest trafficked posts for that year- I was so glad that y'all enjoyed something so dear to my heart. ALSO an update about this: when I wrote this post, I was very careful not to give too much away about the guy that this post was written about (not really into calling people out by specific name on the internet- haha!). He wasn't in my life anymore at the time I wrote this, so I never thought he'd see it, I just assumed he didn't read my blog anymore.
     Little did I know- he was actually still reading my blog during the year we didn't talk! He did indeed read this post at the time it published and knew it was about him. 😂 He and I got back in touch (just as friends) after I moved to Virginia, and he mentioned that he'd read this. Boy was that an awkward moment! Thankfully- he didn't hate the post, and said if anything it made him realize that he hadn't handled things with me very well! So long story short- I'm still glad I published this!

     3. Relationship Monday: Finding Joy in Singleness During Engagement Season (December 2017) One of my absolute favorite posts that I've written about singleness. I wrote this one 100% for me, but it was great to see that many of you were encouraged by it as well! I feel like as the years ago by, this might be one that I re-read to myself at the holidays.

     4. Relationship Monday: Valentine's Prayers for my Future Husband (February 2018) Another favorite! I've been praying daily for my future husband for at least 10 years now, and I shared a bit more about my thought process behind that last year for Valentine's. I hope to tell a special guy someday that I've been praying about him for years!

     5. While I'm Waiting (February 2013) This blog post is now six (!!!) years old- mainly sharing it because it feels nostalgic. 😊 Freshman year of college, when this was written, was definitely a time when I was struggling with singleness and comparing myself to friends in relationships. I wrote this post to try and encourage myself to be thankful for the blessings I did have in my life, and stay busy with school! It's like I was trying to teach myself the mindset about singleness that I wouldn't actually believe until I was 23/24, haha- if only I'd listened to myself then!

     I'd love to know if you have any other blog posts (not just from my blog!) or anything else- whether books, podcasts, etc, that have encouraged you as a single on Valentine's Day! Feel free to share anything in the comments.

     I'll talk to you Monday- and I'll be diving into FASHION WEEK content!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese



February 13, 2019

Midweek Ramblings.

{Airport picture before heading off to NYFW last week! Follow me on Instagram at miss_alk!}

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

     (Other than the above photo, I'm not talking a lot about NYFW in today's post!! Pretty much the rest of my blog content for February is dedicated to Fashion Week- so today will be a little break from that for those of you not as interested in NYFW 😆)

  • Galentine's is coming: No romantic valentine for me this year (January was an... interesting month with dating. I'm planning to do a Relationship Monday post about that once my NYFW blog posts are done!), but as always I'm so excited for Galentine's! Technically Galentines Day is today (February 13th), but this year I'm celebrating a bit belated. On Sunday after church, I'll be headed to a winery with some of my favorite girlfriends. Of course I'll be wearing pink and red! (Last year I also had fun plans- check out this blog post here to read about the cookie swap I hosted!)
  • Hilarious Virginia satire: Obviously the state of Virginia hasn't been portrayed in the best light by the media in recent weeks due to all of the political turmoil (*sigh*), but here's something Virginia related that brought a smile to my face and gave me a much needed laugh! The Peedmont is a Virginia focused satire website, and they recently shared this piece, "Virginia's Major Interstates Ranked by Sexiness." OH MY GOSH- I don't think I've ever read such a funny satire article in my entire life!! This is a must read whether you're in VA or not.
  • Cutting a cable (box): I'm writing this out here on the blog so I can hold myself accountable. THIS WEEKEND it's happening... and by "it," I mean bringing one of my TV cable boxes back to the cable company! Yes, I'm one of those old fashioned people who still has cable (and uses it), but for the past few months I've been really fed up with the fact that I'm getting charged extra per month to have a second TV and cable box in my bedroom. Since my work schedule switched, I never use my bedroom TV anymore, so it seems like I'm paying more for absolutely nothing. This week I plan to put that TV away, and then bring the cable box back. Anything to save a few extra bucks a month!

Weekend recaps:
  • Last weekend: I was in New York City for NYFW!! I have a ton of blog content to share all about the trip over the next couple weeks, but in the meantime check out my vlog if you haven't seen it. 
  • This weekend: Looking forward to a very chill weekend! Nothing better than a relaxing Saturday and Sunday after a weekend being out-of-town. On Friday night I'm planning to catch up on all of the TV shows that I missed last week. I'm also looking forward to Saturday AM barre class, followed by brunch with some coworkers! On Sunday I'm teaching Sunday school, and then will be celebrating Galentines Day after. 

  • I love Michael Kors shoes- I think they're all such classic styles and that they last very well. I couldn't pass up the chance to snag some nude sandals for 75% off at Dillard's a couple weekends ago! What a deal. 
  • Found the cutest bralette for under $15 while in NYC! I think it looks similar to the much more expensive Free People ones. 
  • I desperately need some new pajamas for spring/summer, and I was super excited to find this adorable sleep romper for under $20!
  • These are some of the cutest hoop earrings I've ever seen (seriously) and I about died when I saw they were under $10!
  • I also made a big splurge purchase in NYC... some of you might remember my saga from last month of trying to track down Tory Burch Miller sandals at the Richmond Nordstrom (which was a fail). I ended up waiting to buy them at a Tory store in New York, and I'm so glad it worked out that way! Such a special purchase that I've waited for! (I bought these as a belated gift to myself for being promoted to morning show host.)

  • Kate Spade's new purses for spring are gorgeous. I saw this one in a store in NYC- if only it had been in my budget for an impulse buy! 
  • Absolutely dying over the new limited edition Lilly Pulitzer coffee table book! I checked it out in-person this weekend. I personally can't justify spending almost $100 for a book (😦) especially since I rarely read the coffee table books that I already own... but it sure is beautiful- I can dream!
  • Here's a super fun top for spring that's under $20!

Recipe of the week: Didn't try any new recipes last week as I was prepping for my trip, but I have two new ones to try this week- so I should have more to share in the next Midweek Ramblings post!

Song of the week: Lost in the Fire by Gesaffelstein ft. The Weeknd.  Heads up that the original version of this is very explicit- so I'm linking the clean version for you! With that said- I think (musically) this might be my favorite song from The Weeknd ever- I am obsessed with the beat. 

Favorite blog posts of the week:
  • Lauren Kay Sims - Lauren shared her tips for traveling/flying with a baby on her blog this week! While I am still years away from even considering having kids, I thought this was such an interesting read, and I saved this post on Blog Lovin' in case it'll ever help me in a far away someday, or maybe a friend of mine!
  • Emma's Edition - Emma's blog is a newer one that I've gotten into reading. I loved her round-up of the most Instagrammable spots in Seattle- I feel like it inspired me while in NYC to be more aware of photo-worthy spots!
  • Design Darling - Does anyone else love Mackenzie's weekly Friday Q&As? Makes me want to do them more on my own blog. 

On the blog this week:

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

February 12, 2019

NYFW 2019: My New York Fashion Week VLOG!

     I'M BACK FROM NYFW!!! Caps lock totally needed, because what a weekend!

{Preview of a special blog collaboration with Pink Colony!! More to come soon} 

     Keeping today's blog post extremely short and sweet... because I'm sharing my Fashion Week vlog! I worked on this all weekend, and I'm so excited with how it came together. I'm definitely not a Youtuber by any means, and video editing isn't a strength of mine- this was all shot on my iPhone and put together in iMovie! But I really do enjoy making travel vlogs, and I think this is my favorite one that I've done yet. It gives a nice little preview of everything NYFW related and tourist fun related that Gentry and I did while in NYC.

     I have a lot more NYFW coverage coming to the blog in the next two weeks, but I'd love to hear specifically from you what you'd like to see! What content would you enjoy the most: recaps of what I wore, behind-the-scenes NYFW details for bloggers, show recaps,  NY travel guide things... a mix of all of that? Please let me know in the comments on this post! I'm planning to spend a good chunk of time this coming weekend getting NYFW blog posts ready.

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese


February 7, 2019

#CatMom: Finding Delilah's Food + Fun With an Indoor Cat.

     This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #proplanprobiotic #CollectiveBias

     Many of you know that I adopted a sweet rescue kitty named Delilah back in the fall! She has brought so much joy to my life since coming home with me, but there's also a lot that goes into being a cat mom that I didn't realize before I got her. Today I'll be sharing a few ideas for how to have fun with an indoor cat (keeping games and toys exciting for them), and first I'll also be chatting a bit about how I made the decision to change Delilah's food and start feeding her Purina® Pro Plan® Savor®

     I currently live in an apartment, so it was a no-brainer for me that if I were to adopt a cat, it would be kept indoors. I did buy Delilah a cat leash that I'm looking forward to using more when the weather warms up, but this winter she's been an 100% indoor cat! I wouldn't feel comfortable letting her roam free outside of my apartment (nor do I even know if that's allowed in my lease). Since Delilah is an indoor cat, it's important to me that she gets good nutrition and exercise that will continue to keep her healthy and strong.

     The rescue that I adopted Delilah from had sent her home with a small bag of the food that they had been giving her, but she was really not a fan of it. During her first few days home, I was still mixing that original dry food in with different ones I was trying, and she wasn't eating very much. I knew that I had to find her a new dry food! I was making frequent trips to PetSmart when I first adopted Delilah (crazy how many pet items you don't know you need at first, and then suddenly you need them!), and I was very impressed with their large selections of Purina® foods for cats. I decided to try Delilah on the Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® cat food, and she loved it from the first time she tried it! 

     Why did I look into Purina® food for Delilah? Because I trust them! My childhood cat (who lived to be 17!) at a type of Purina® food, and she was very healthy and agile well into her old age. Purina® has actually been fueling pets since 1986! The Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® cat food has five dry formulas with guaranteed live probiotics to support your cat’s digestive health. And real protein is the #1 ingredient in all dry formulas!
     Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® is conveniently available at PetSmart! PetSmart has two locations in the Charlottesville area, and as I shared above I'd made quite a few trips there in the weeks after bringing Delilah home. They have a wide range of Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® foods for both cats and dogs in the stores!  Even better- right now if you buy Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® at PetSmart,  you get $10 back in the form of a digital prepaid card. The offer (linked here) begins on 1/20/19 and runs through 2/28/19! Who doesn't love extra savings on their pet's food?

     A good dry food is very important for your cat, but that isn't the only thing that keeps them healthy! Making sure your cat is well cared for in other ways is important too. I also wanted to share a few of the ways that I've been keeping Delilah entertained and loved this winter- some easy things that prevent both of us from getting cabin fever! 😉

  • Cuddle sesssions: Delilah isn't a huge lap cat yet (she's only two years old so still very playful), but I do have this one extra fuzzy bathrobe that she's crazy about! Sometimes when I want to sit down and watch a TV episode or two on the couch, I put on my fuzziest robe to encourage her to come cuddle with me- which is always great for both of us. 
  • Keeping toys fresh: I have some cat owner friends who complain that their cats never play with their actual toys- but Delilah is pretty good about enjoying her toys! She definitely plays favorites with a couple of them which is so cute. It is important though for me to keep her toy selection fresh so that she doesn't get bored of them! So many sweet friends bought me cat toys for Christmas this year since it was my first year as a cat mom. After Christmas, I let Delilah pick out a toy from the gifts pile that she wanted to play with then, and I put the rest away. Every couple months, I'm planning to take out a new one for her to keep her engaged in her toys!
  • Be a host: I suppose this last tip applies more so to cats that are extroverts and love people, but fortunately that's Delilah! She is a friendly, happy girl and loves it when I have friends over! I've been trying to have people over at least a few times a month- either girlfriends for dinner or church friends on Sundays. She is always such a ham when there are new people around to play with her and talk to her. 

     I hope that you enjoyed learning more about how I selected Delilah's new food, and also about how we are having fun indoors together each week. Reminder that if you'd like to try Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® at PetSmart, there's currently a great offer for pet owners! Check out the link here to learn more about the $10 offer and Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® products. You can also learn more by clicking the shoppable image below:

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese

     P.S. No new blog post on Monday as I'll be in NEW YORK (!!!) for Fashion Week, but stay tuned to my Instagram Stories and feed all weekend for updates!


February 5, 2019

NYFW 2019: Why I Decided To Go + Preview My Outfits!

     Happy Tuesday! It's the first Tuesday of February, which means time to debut my latest Tuesday blog post series. I originally shared that this month's series would be all about routines (fitness routine, daily makeup routine, etc), BUT at the last minute I decided to shift those posts over to March! I'm headed to New York Fashion Week (NYFW) this month, and it'll be the first time I'm officially getting to attend! In addition to recapping the outfits that I will be wearing and the shows and events that Gentry and I are attending, I wanted to share more "behind the scenes" content with y'all as well, which is what I'll be sharing on Tuesdays this month! To kick things off today, I'm sharing why I decided to go in the first place, and a special preview of a few of the outfits you'll catch me sporting!

{Original post here}

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

     I'm pretty sure that it was way back in 2013 or 2014 that I first began to really take notice of influencers that were going to New York Fashion Week. I'd had Southern Belle in Training for a year or two at that point, and even though I absolutely loved blogging, I had a very, very small following (think like 1,000 IG followers at this point) , and didn't think that I'd ever continue blogging long enough to even consider being able to attend fashion industry events. 

    As the next couple years started going by, I started seeing that more and more bloggers of all following sizes were attending NYFW events. It started to actually seem in my mind like a realistic dream for me to work towards to go myself someday! In Fall 2016, I unexpectedly got to have my first little taste. I happened to be in Manhattan for a quick weekend trip for a family reunion (my dad is originally from Long Island, NY). The weekend I was in NYC was in September and during the same time as NYFW! I reached out to some blogging friends that were attending for the full weekend, and I was able to tag along with a few of them to a fashion show presentation one evening. It felt magical to get to attend that event- and be up close and personal to not only some incredible designer fashion, but also so many amazing bloggers! That little taste of Fashion Week was enough to finally convince me to make it an official goal to attend an NYFW in the future for more days. 

    It's already been two and a half years since I had that one night taste of NYFW, and my blog has definitely changed a bit since then. While I'm extremely proud of the content that I've produced in that time and the ways different ways that my blog has grown, my content focus has changed a lot from 2016 to 2019. Instead of being an affordable fashion blogger, I now consider myself to be a lifestyle blogger, who enjoys writing a few posts a month on fashion and style topics. So why would someone who considers themselves to be a lifestyle blogger, (someone who only has 14k Instagram followers) still want to attend NYFW?

    First and foremost, because it's seeing another dream to fruition, and that's something pretty special! It's been so humbling for me to see dream after dream with running this blog come true over the years. Some of them were very small dreams, and others have been larger, but a dream is a dream, and I figured why not now to make this one come true! Secondly, it worked out with timing in life for me to attend this upcoming February NYFW. I had a couple days of unused PTO at work that would be expiring in March, and I really wanted to use them for something travel related. I also have family in the NY area that I rarely get to see since I live in the South, so I was hopeful that I could work in a visit with some of them in addition to doing NYFW (which worked out!). 

    And third- I'm hoping that by finally experiencing a few days of NYFW, I'll feel more inspired with fashion and style content after attending. Being honest for a second? For over a year now, I've been feeling a little burnt out with fashion blogging specifically. (NOT all blogging- just the sharing outfits, sales, and trends part of it.) What used to be such a cool and unique way for someone to share their style with the world has turned into perfectly curated Instagram feeds of girls that all look very similar, wear the same trendy casual outfit from Nordstrom, and are solely trying to sell me that exact outfit. Blogs used to be the focus, and now it's much more "in" to be a fashion influencer on Instagram than a fashion blogger with quality writing and imagery on a website. I'm hoping that by spending a few days in New York (an extremely inspiring city to begin with) and attending fashion shows and NYFW events and seeing unique, beautiful fashion direct from the designers, I'll return home next week feeling re-inspired in terms of my own personal fashion, and how I'd like to share that with my followers on the blog!

     I'm not going to lie- part of me is a bit nervous to be attending NYFW influencer and industry events when I still have a small following as compared to other bloggers! I still don't have 20k Instagram followers yet... and I know I'll be meeting women who have 200k+. I'm extremely proud of the fact my blog's page views continue to increase each year, but I'm sure I'll be meeting bloggers with 50x the amount of page views I get! You get the point. But I'm hoping and praying that I can continue to showcase my authentic self at NYFW when I'm networking. I'm not the biggest influencer around and I know that, but my blog and personal brand are unique in its own special way, and hopefully I can connect with new people who are able to see that!

     And one last thing that I haven't really touched on yet- I get to go to NYFW with the most amazing blogger friend! Gentry of Girl Meets Bow will be my partner in crime for four days, and I can't wait! If you don't follow her yet- you absolutely must.

    Lastly- I thought it would be fun to give you a little preview of some of the things that will be in my suitcase for NYFW! A few of my outfits I'll be saving as surprises for the trip, but below I've linked a few things that I'll be bringing along- all at a variety of price points! Also wanted to link my travel jewelry organizer- I've had it for a few years and it's a gem.

     No Midweek Ramblings post tomorrow since this week is a little crazy between work and getting ready for the trip so I'll be taking tomorrow off from a new blog post. BUT I do have a really fun sponsored post going up on Thursday that I'm excited to share. Hint: it features Delilah! 🐱

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 


February 4, 2019

Winter / Spring 2019 Travel Plans!

     Happy Monday! As January came to a close last week, it hit me that I spent the entire month of January right here in Charlottesville. I didn't have any trips this month- not even a weekend overnight! Since moving to Virginia almost a year ago, I've had much more freedom and flexibility for travel. I used to work weekends at my previous job, so it was was almost impossible for me to get away, unless it was a brief vacation planned very far in advance. I currently have a lot more ability to travel, and you bet I do every chance I get!

     It was kind of nice to spend the whole first month of the year at home, but I'm more than ready to head out of town in the next couple months for some fun adventures!! I haven't always been in the best in the past on the blog with sharing where I'm traveling before it happens, so let's mix that up today. Here are the places I'm traveling to in February, March and early April of this year!

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

{This suitcase isn't available anymore, but this is the brand it's from!}

*NEW YORK, NY - I've already been talking about this quite a bit on the blog, and I can't believe I'm leaving in just a few days! I am over the moon to be experiencing my very first NYFW. I'll be doing all of the Fashion Week events and rooming with my sweet friend Gentry of Girl Meets Bow! I'm also heading up to New York one night early so that I can spend a night with my uncle and aunt, who live in Long Island. In addition to all of the NYFW fun, I can't wait to just spend time doing the fun, touristy things in New York! It's been over two years since I was last there, and this will be my first time visiting NYC without my parents, so I know it'll be a totally different experience!

*CHARLOTTE, NC - Y'all, I might be more excited for this than I am for NYFW, no joke. Headed to my favorite city / former home for a long weekend in March... BUT I get to take several fabulous friends from Charlottesville along with me! Most of them haven't been to Charlotte before, and I can't wait to play tour guide, and show everyone the amazing city that I got to call home for four years! I booked our hotel rooms last week, and am currently working on a fun itinerary.

*NASHVILLE, TN - Thrilled to be making my very first trip to Nashville in March! My dad has a work conference there, and my mom and I will be joining him to make it a long weekend trip. When I was growing up, most of our family vacations were in destinations where my dad had work engagements or conferences. It's been years and years since my parents and I were able to vacation together around one of my dad's work conferences, so I'm really looking forward to this! I also can't wait to experience all that Nashville has to offer: the great food, country music, and of course all the classic sights! If you have any Nashville recommendations or a travel guide, leave me a comment on this post!

*WASHINGTON DC -  Last spring, I got to see the incredible cherry blossoms in DC for the first time! I decided that I'm going to make it an annual tradition (for as long as I live in Central Virginia) to head up and see these while they're in bloom! I'm not sure yet if I'll be going up for a Saturday day trip or a full weekend, but I know that as soon as the cherry blooms are blooming, I'll be planning my visit.

*RICHMOND, VA - Last June, I did a really fun hotel collaboration with the Graduate Richmond! I've been invited for another stay at the hotel this spring, and I'm really looking forward to it. Richmond has quickly become one of my favorite cities, and I've made many trips there over the past year. I'm thinking that it'll soon be time to write an official travel guide, so it'll be great to have stayed another full weekend there.

    I'm so excited for all of these travels, especially since the first trip is this week! Soon I'll start planning out summer travel... my Type A self loves to plan things way in advance. Are you headed anywhere fun this winter or spring? I'm also sharing a few of my favorite travel essentials below:

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese


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