Southern Belle in Training

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

December 7, 2021

Inspiring Woman Interview: Meet Gentry from Girl Meets Bow

      I am beyond thrilled to share with you today the final Inspiring Woman interview guest of 2021 on the blog! Gentry from Girl Meets Bow has not only become one of my dearest friends from the blogging world, but has also become like an honorary "big sister" to me. We first met and bonded through blogging from a shared over and passion for Lilly Pulitzer and other bright and colorful fashion pieces, and over the years I've also grown to know Gentry's sweet heart and her genuine faith and loving for serving others. If you enjoy reading my blog, I can guarantee you'll love hers!

     Gentry's Inspiring Woman interview includes everything from loving life in Florida to her fun career to dating, marriage and motherhood. Enjoy!!

1. Introduce yourself! (Name, where you live, your job/family/blog)

     Hey y’all! I’m Gentry Blackwood and I live in sunny St Petersburg, FL! I’m married to my wonderful and hilarious husband Rob (I was a 2020 COVID bride!) and we are new-ish parents to our sassy and spunky 9-month old, Eliza Ann. I work full time as an Accessories Buyer at HSN and blog at Girl Meets Bow on nights/weekends after bedtime 😊 My plate is full most days- but I’m so thankful for all these sweet responsibilities!

2. You're a native Florida girl through and through, and stayed in your home state to attend the University of Florida! What did you love the most about your college experience, and is there anything you'd do differently if you could live those years over?

      Oh my goodness... what didn't I love about my college experience?! A little background... my parents actually met at the University of Florida, and my uncle and grandma attended school there as well, so I was totally raised a Gator baby. I did look at a few other schools, but the minute i stepped on UF's campus it felt like "home" and I knew it's where i wanted to attend college! I totally lived it up in college- I joined all the clubs, I took all the trips, I said "yes" to every opportunity to learn and grow, and because of that there's not anything I would change! I am so so thankful to UF for giving me the best education and experience I could have asked for! #GOGATORS 😊 PS- Didn't know it at the time but Rob and I actually overlapped at UF by 2 years! He comes from a long line of Gators as well! 

3. You moved out-of-state for a job opportunity in your early 20s, something I can relate to!  Although you ultimately ended up back in Florida, were there any life lessons or cool experiences that happened during your time in the Midwest?

     I always have such nostalgia when I think about the 2 years I spent in Kansas. It was such a transformative time for me, because even though I'm pretty independent by nature, this was the first time that I was truly away from my support system of family and friends and I couldn't just call them and have them come over if I needed something! I grew up a LOT working in my first corporate job (I worked for Payless Shoe Source), learning how to navigate a "real" job, as well as figuring out how to be an adult on my own- paying bills, keeping a budget, etc. I'm so proud of how my time there shaped me and for the two best friends I still have today! I always tell college grads to take the chances, make the moves while you're young and single!! It is so worth it because you can always come home, but you may not always have the chance to do these things throughout your life! 😊


4. You have an awesome career working for HSN! Walk us through some of the roles that you've held at HSN over the years, and your favorite thing about what you're doing currently! Any tips for new grads who might want to go into your industry?

     Goodness- it is SO hard to believe that February will mark 10 years of working at HSN! I feel so grateful to be able to say that I truly love my company, my job, and I can't imagine being anywhere else. I've also had so many amazing opportunities that I might not have gotten elsewhere.

      I started with HSN as a Show Planner, basically I planned the items and sales for those items in the hours/shows there were airing. While I learned a lot in the role, I knew that my passion was product and I ultimately wanted to move into merchandising. Thankfully, my former boss Marjorie took a chance on me and I became an assistant buyer in Jewelry. Marjorie was such an inspirational leader and truly poured so much knowledge and time into me. My career wouldn't have been the same without her! Under her leadership I was promoted to an Associate Buyer in Jewelry (and it was at this level I was able to start traveling for work!). We had some org changes and I moved over into Apparel as an Associate Buyer. Gosh I LOVED apparel! I worked for some of our celebrity brands and got to spend time with our in-house design team learning product development, trends, and every stage of bringing a garment to life. A few more org changes and I moved to Beauty as a Buyer 1. I learned so much in the beauty team about driving strategy, national vs. proprietary brands, and of course- product!! (Let's just say my skincare routine vastly improved, ha!). Finally, in October of this year I was promoted to a Buyer 2 in Fashion Accessories. I now lead a team of 4 and we oversee handbags, luggage, lounge, intimates, & fashion accessories! Each of my prior roles was so instrumental in helping prepare me to be a leader and run my own division!

     For new grads my best advice is this- be hungry to learn and have a great attitude. I can teach anyone how to buy product (at least the fundamentals!) but I can't teach drive, passion, positive attitude, hard work- those are things you have to innately have! Be willing to take chances, calculated risks, and learn from every role you have. 

5. You've been blogging at Girl Meets Bow for several years now! In addition to sharing some really cute outfits, I love how your positivity and sunshine radiates through your blog posts and Instagram. What inspired you to start blogging? Did you expect to still be blogging in 2021 when you started?

     Kind of a funny story... right before starting the blog I had gotten dumped! It was a BAD breakup and I found myself with all this time on my hands. I was always the girl in my friend group sharing sales, great finds, etc and a bunch of my girlfriends said "you should start a blog!" My Aunt agreed to help me by taking my photos (she still does about 80% of them to this day!) and the rest is history!! It was such a creative outlet for me when I needed it most, and it's been a way to record my life's journey and learnings throughout so many different stages. I didn't expect to still be blogging in 2021 (I almost threw in the towel when I had Eliza!) but I'm thankful that I didn't give it up and am still able to connect with so many amazing women today!

6. What are a few of the coolest experiences you've had through blogging? Any goals for Girl Meets Bow for 2022 that you can share with us?

     Goodness blogging has allowed me to do things I only dreamed of! Working with brands of my dreams and taking brand trips has been amazing! Of course New York Fashion Week in 2019 with you Annaliese was one of the MOST fun trips I've taken!! :) What I am most grateful for are the friendships- both local bloggers who have become my tribe- and farther away friends and growing relationships with the folks behind brands. Truly so so thankful!

      No immediate "big" goals for 2022! I finally feel like I'm finding a groove and a balance again with creating content and sharing, so I'm kind of hopeful at the moment just to keep that up! ha. I do have a few potential trips/collaborations in the works- so stay tuned!

7. You spent a lot of your 20s single, and didn't get married until your early 30s. One thing that I really admire about you is how you truly made the most of your single years, and absolutely lived your best life! :) Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for fellow single 20 somethings who are discouraged with modern dating?

     This could most definitely be a series of posts on it's own, so I'll try and keep it brief! I was single for about 5 years between when I got DUMPED and meeting Rob. Those were 5 of the most transformative years of my life! First and foremost, put your trust in God- in His timing and His plan, because I can promise you it's not going to happen 1 minute before it's supposed to. I think when that clicked for me, that I didn't have to/couldn't rush God, I was able to lean into my life. I also adopted a "say yes to everything" mindset- so I took the trips with my girlfriends, I went out for the Happy Hours, I went on every blind date and I learned a lesson from every one! Leaning in to my life allowed me to figure out who I was in God, what He wanted for my life, and allowed me to trust him in a way I never had before. So to singles I would say, don't get discouraged, have faith that if he has put a desire in your heart then he has a plan and timing to bring it to fruition- and it will be better than you could ever imagine! 😊

8. You and your husband Rob welcomed your sweet daughter Eliza Ann in March 2021! How is motherhood going so far? 

      Motherhood is by far the most challenging, and best thing I have ever done in my life! Eliza is our greatest joy, truly her little spirit is captivating and she brings so much hope and so much fun to every day! But nothing quite prepares you for motherhood, and the moments that can be so overwhelming & exhausting that you wonder why no one warned you. But then, Eliza will smile at me, and giggle and give me a "hug" (we're working on those!) and I feel like nothing has ever been more right in my world. She is our little love and I look at her all the time and am utterly humbled that the Lord looked at all the families in the world and thought that Rob & I were the right parents for her. She's exactly who our family needed and more than I could have ever hoped or dreamed! 

PS- If any new mamas read this and need a girlfriend to chat with about the trials and triumphs of motherhood, my inbox is always open. 😊

9. Your faith is such a big part of your life, and I admire how you share your love for the Lord and serving others through your blog and daily life. How do you prioritize faith and church involvement with everything else going on in your life? Did faith play a big role in dating for you?

     You are so sweet! I will be honest, these days with a new baby, we are figuring out how to reprioritize and fit in serving others as well as going to church. We watch more church at home now, (nap schedules you know??) and try and find family-friendly service opportunities. Giving back is such a big part of my heartbeat, and I'm excited to do more of it with Eliza and teach her the value of service as she gets older.

     And yes, my faith played a huge part in dating! There was definitely a period when I thought maybe it didn't matter... but ladies let me tell you IT DOES MATTER! Dating someone who shares your faith and values is like a breath of fresh air. While there are always going to be things Rob and I don't agree on, knowing that at our core and foundation we share the same values and love for our Lord makes things much easier to work through.

10. Between being involved in Junior League and other local volunteer commitments, despite your busy schedule you've always prioritized service and helping your community. How do you make the time to do all of this, and what would you say to encourage someone who might want to be involved more in their community?

     When people asked how I used to "do it all"- I'd tell them the truth... I didn't sleep! (Truly, I slept about 4 hours a night!) But I will say, you never ever regret the time you spend serving those in need. What I am learning in this current season of life is that service looks different for us right now. Previously I was able to spend my Saturday at an event in person giving my time. In this season, service looks more like adopting a family and being able to order things from their wishlist. Both are incredibly important ways to serve, but in each season we may be able to do different things! If you have a calling to give, don't deny it! 😊 I promise you can find the time. 

11. What's your favorite part about living in the St. Pete / Tampa area of Florida? Anywhere we should check out if we're in town?

     There is so much to love here!! While I grew-up in inland Florida, now that I live on the cost I cannot imagine living anywhere else! I love it here so much! My favorite hotel is the Don Cesar, it's right on the beach and is a literal pink palace! (I take a lot of photos there!) St Pete has so many good restaurants- if you visit let me know and I'll give you a list! 😊 We are a foodie town and love local, so there is always something new and yummy popping up to try!

12. Leave your social media and blog links here so we can connect with you:

     Thank you Gentry for being my final Inspiring Woman interview of 2021! To check out the other amazing bloggers and women in radio who were featured this year, click here

     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese



  1. Aw I love Genry's blog - this was fun to read!

  2. Loved this! I can't quite remember how I found Gentry's blog/instagram but I love following her for her positivity. She seems so genuine and sweet!


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