Southern Belle in Training

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

September 6, 2022

10 Years of Blogging + How I'll Be Changing Things With Blogging/Influencing.

       Today my birthday, and it's also Southern Belle in Training's 10th blogiversary! On September 6th, 2012 as a college freshman, I wrote the very first post on here. How crazy to think that Southern Belle in Training blog is still going a full decade later! (And that I'm not 18 anymore and as of today I'm 28... but that's another story. 😊) Since I am fresh off of my extended blogging break for the past few months, I thought the 10 year anniversary of my blog would be the perfect day to share some thoughts on where I see my blog going for the next decade, and some changes that I want to make to the way that I do blogging and influencing. I'm definitely not quitting blogging, but some things will be changing for me. 

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      For the first 9.5 years of this blog, I never took any extended breaks. I'd take the occasional week or two off here and there for vacation or moving, but never anything more than that. Last winter, I started feeling really burnt out with blogging. It was not bringing me the same type of joy anymore that it had for the past several years. It was starting to feel more like a chore instead of something I did as a fun creative outlet. I don't think I would've actually had the courage to decide to take a break though if my old laptop hadn't unexpectedly died back in March! I kind of took that as a sign from God to really take a true break and revaluate why I was feeling burnt out on everything. Was I just getting tired from doing it for so many years consistently? Or was there more to it why I wasn't as into it anymore? I ended up taking off 4.5 months from my blog, and this big chunk of time really gave me so much time to think! I was still posting on Instagram and other social media this summer, but not so much with my typical blogging content, and more just with fun memories from summer travels and work things.

     There were some things that I definitely missed about blogging this summer. Probably first and foremost would be documenting my travel adventures! Travel content truly does bring me so much joy to create. I got to travel more in 2022 than I have in any other year since college, and going on so many trips in the past few months has made me really excited to share them on my blog! I also still love reading travel posts on my favorite blogs as well. While I do enjoy seeing travel content on platforms like Instagram or TikTok, there is just something so fun to me still about reading a detailed travel blog post. 

     I have also missed this space to write about personal topics when I felt like it. I thought a lot this summer about how special it is to have been blogging here for a full decade, and how much of my personal life I've candidly shared with y'all on here over the years. Everything from transferring colleges sophomore year, being involved in Greek life, the early years of my radio career, dating struggles and thoughts on being single later into my 20s than I expected, documenting daily life in 2020 at the height of the pandemic... and so, so much more. It is kind of special to have all of these moments and memories in my life documented this way. It makes me excited for the future- to hopefully be able to blog in the next decade about future career opportunities to come, getting engaged and married someday, maybe starting a family, and so many more defining life moments. A public journal to have for myself and to share with others!

     But while I did miss these things... there was so much more related to blogging and influencing that I did not miss

The early days of blogging - 2013

      It became very clear to me during my blogging break that I have no desire to be a fashion blogger anymore. This is kind of huge, as the whole reason I started blogging in college and stuck with it consistently was to chronicle my daily outfits that I wore for college classes and events! But the whole concept of fashion blogging has also changed a ton since I started 10 years ago. I feel like fashion blogs used to be just sharing your own personal style for fun, and in hopes of inspiring others. As the years have gone by, it's more and more consumption focused. If the outfit you're wearing isn't still available to be purchased and affiliate linked (which bloggers earn commission on), why even share it at all? Fashion blogging has evolved into something that seems to just be focused on how much you can buy, and in turn, how much you can sell to your audience through affiliate links. Fashion blogging these days is incredibly unrealistic, wasteful, and I believe promoting unhealthy financial habits as well.

      With all of this said- I still enjoy my own personal style very much! Lilly Pulitzer remains my favorite clothing brand, and I love putting together bright and colorful outfits that are a balance of trendy and classic. I still very much enjoy doing my hair and makeup most days. It's not that I have a disinterest in fashion and beauty altogether suddenly. I'm just not interested in it anymore in the context that most fashion bloggers and influencers seem to be sharing it these days. I want to shop at the stores I want to shop at because I genuinely like them, not because I make a lot of commission on LTK from getting followers to buy them. I want to focus more on shopping my own closet and re-wearing things I already own that make me happy, not always having to buy new things every week or month. So much of fashion blogging is so materialistic, and I kind of want to get away from all of that. 

The first shoot I ever did with a photographer for my blog - 2016

     I do still plan to share quick snaps of my daily work outfits on Instagram, and occasionally keep linking purchases that I really like and would recommend to others on my LTK and the blog (like the annual lists of my favorite purchases of the year! Things like that I still want to do). But other than that, I think fashion blogging is done for me. I don't see myself doing many styled outfit posts on the blog anymore, try-on hauls on IG Stories or Reels, or constantly sharing sales and items in a hope to attempt to get people to buy buy buy. I'm just not really interested in any of that anymore.

     Before this post gets too long, I'll switch gears into what will probably be the biggest change for me with blogging as I head into the next chapter. I want my blog to primarily be a fun hobby again, and not as much of an income generating side hustle. That doesn't mean that I'll never say yes again to certain types of sponsored posts or collaborations. If I get an offer for something that makes me really excited to create content for, I'll say yes! But overall, I am losing interest in the business side of blogging. While I am so proud of some of the brand collaborations I've done on the blog and the income that I've earned over the past 10 years... I just don't want that to be the focus anymore. My career is getting more demanding, I want to spend more time focusing on the relationships in my life, other hobbies and interests, and relaxing outside of my day job. I want to write blog posts when I want to write them, not because I feel like I have to get new content out on a schedule multiple days a week. If writing something or posting something on Instagram feels like work... I just don't want to be doing it anymore.

I've always loved wearing Lilly Pulitzer over the years, both on and off the blog - 2019

     Going forward, here's what you can expect with Southern Belle in Training. First, I don't anticipate taking any four month breaks again. 😊 But, I also don't expect to be blogging anymore on the demanding multiple new posts a week schedule that I used to have for many years for new content. I'm hoping to get into things by doing a few posts a month? Maybe some weeks a couple posts, some weeks one post, and busy weeks no posts. I think that sounds like a reasonable goal. (A bittersweet announcement: this does mean the popular Midweek Ramblings posts will not be coming back for the foreseeable future. I know a lot of you loved them for years, but doing them every week started to be way too much. Maybe I'll turn them into a monthly style of post down the road.)

     Expect more blog posts on personal topics, and still a good amount of travel content! And I'll still be sharing some fashion related things from time to time that I'm loving, but as I wrote above, it'll be in a different way than I used to do fashion content. I truly do feel so lucky for all of the experiences and opportunities  I've had through blogging in the past decade! I can't wait to see what's to come. Today is the start of a new chapter, and thank you for sticking with me!

     Also- if you've been reading blogs for years or blogging yourself, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how blogging and influencing has changed, and what you like and don't like as a reader! Leave me a comment below.

      Cheers to what's to come with blogging and my 28th birthday!

      God Bless,

       xoxo Annaliese



  1. I'm so excited for what's to come!!! I also agree with you when it comes to the business side of blogging. There's been way to much focus on making money instead of enjoying the beauty of creating for its own sake. That said, I will miss Midweek Ramblings, but I am so overjoyed that you're back and focused on making content that you love!

  2. So excited to follow along! Your thoughts on fashion blogging expressed how I feel perfectly. It used to be fun! I hope you continue to share your style, because I always love your outfits - even if there are older pieces that aren't linkable.

  3. Happy belated birthday and welcome back! I am glad you were able to recharge, reset and reflect. It's important especially in this ever-changing blogosphere! I know it's something I always think about in terms of what I want to do with my blog. In the end, I chose to keep it light and post for fun. I still get the tinge of wanting to do more with it at times but I already know it's not for me. The way things are less about community and more about selling really makes me turn away from it. So long story short, I applaud you for getting down to the bottom of what you want out of your blog and cheers to your new direction and journey!

    Maureen |


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