Southern Belle in Training

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

December 29, 2023

2023 in Review: Highlights From My Year.

       How is it already time once again to write my favorite post of the year? I love taking the time to write and reflect on each year. Let's take a deep dive into all things 2023: the highs, the lows, the big moments and the everyday. This was certainly a memorable year! 


December 20, 2023

Wedding Wednesday: My Ring Shopping Experience. 💍

    Time for my second Wedding Wednesday post! I already know that this whole series is going to be so much fun to write and document over the next couple of years. I kicked Wedding Wednesday off two weeks ago by sharing our proposal story!  The next few Wedding Wednesday posts that I wanted to write included the full story of how Ryan and I met and started dating, my experience with ring shopping and finding my dream ring, and an early wedding planning Q&A. I did a poll on Instagram about which post you'd like to read first, and the full story of how we met got the most votes! However, I know that will be a bit of a longer post for me to brainstorm and write out (similar to the proposal post), so I've decided to put that one off until after the holidays. I knew that today's topic (ring shopping) would be an easier post for me to write, so I thought I'd knock that out for this week! 


December 15, 2023

Trend I Love: The Lady Jacket

      I think we are long overdue for a good ol' fashioned outfit post here on the blog... is it 2015 again? 😊


December 6, 2023

Wedding Wednesday: Our Proposal Story

      It's finally time to recap in the best moment of my life in full detail on the blog! I shared a brief engagement announcement blog post a couple of days after the proposal, but I wanted to have the time to fully write out the full story with all of the little details. This is also the first blog post of my Wedding Wednesday series! I've enjoyed seeing other bloggers do their own versions of Wedding Wednesday series for years and have dreamed about the day when I would be in that life season to document on my own blog!

     This blog post turned out to be quite long! I wanted to include all of the special little details; partly for you to enjoy, and partly for my own memory. But this post truly is special, because Ryan wrote his own side of the story for it! I'll share my version first, and then stay tuned at the end for his.


November 24, 2023

Black Friday Sales 2023 + What I Plan to Buy

     Happy Black Friday!! Historically, this is one of my favorite days of the entire year. I went shopping at the mall every single year from 2007-2021 without fail. By 2021 I started to realize that I think my days of getting up early and braving the crowds were coming to an end, but I still really look forward to Black Friday shopping online of course! (As well as Small Business Saturday!) 

      Here's a list of all the deals from my favorite stores! I also am including a small business section too sine I have really grown to love Small Business Saturday. Stay tuned at the bottom too for what I am planning to purchase or have already purchased. 

     As always- I can't thank you enough for shopping through these affiliate links in my blog post! It means the world to have blog readers support my website simply by using my affiliate links.


November 21, 2023

We are ENGAGED!!!!!

       I cannot believe I get to share the most happy news of my life with you on the blog today! It did not feel real typing out the title for this blog post. (Yes, five exclamation points in the title were 100% necessary!)



November 15, 2023

Travel Diary: 48 Hours in St. Pete, FL

      Last weekend, I made a quick trip to Florida! It had been close to five years since I last saw my good friend from blogging, Gentry from Girl Meets Bow. Gentry is a Florida native, and I was excited to visit her home city of St. Pete, FL for the first time. 48 hours isn't nearly enough time to do everything that St. Pete has to offer, but Gentry did show me many of the local highlights! 


November 6, 2023

HOTEL GUIDE: Kimpton The Forum Hotel in Charlottesville, VA

      I recently got the chance to stay at Charlottesville's newest boutique hotel, Kimpton The Forum Hotel, located on the property of the University of Virginia. It's always great to be back in my former home city for a weekend, and I love keeping tabs on what's new in the area. The Forum has guest rooms with an air of modern luxury, and one of the best and most unique locations of any hotel in Charlottesville. The hotel was quite busy the weekend that I visited, and there was such a diverse clientele of guests. I saw business travelers, young families with children, older folks and lots of 20-30-something friend groups who looked like they were in town for weddings or UVA events. 

      I spent a fall weekend at The Forum with my good friend and fellow influencer Caroline Coleburn. Fun fact: Caroline and I met in Charlottesville almost five years ago when I was living and working there as a morning radio host, and she was a morning reporter for a local TV news station! I'm now doing radio in Virginia Beach, and Caroline is on TV in Richmond. It was extra special to visit my former city for a weekend with a special friend like Caroline who I met during my time there.


November 1, 2023

October 19, 2023

HOTEL GUIDE: The Iconic Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN

       As a travel lover and an avid travel blog reader, I've had a running hotel bucket list in my brain for years. It's always exciting when I get to actually stay at and experience a hotel on that list. And the absolute perfect scenario? When my day job in radio brings me to one of these hotels! It hasn't happened very often, but I'm thrilled that I've now gotten to stay at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN twice for work conferences. This hotel was always high on my travel bucket list, and it has been awesome to experience in person multiple times now. Since I've stayed here twice in the past year, I think it's about time I write a Hotel Guide for this iconic American hotel.

     Even if you don't stay at The Peabody Memphis when visiting the area, I still think it is worth a visit for a drink or a meal! It's truly a historic gem. While there are many pros to staying here, there is one thing that I've found to be a con on both visits. As always- I'll give an honest review of the good and the bad!


October 11, 2023

101 in 1001 List: 1 Year Update.

      It's already been a year since I started my latest 101 in 1001 list! Let's get right into all of the goals that I've hit over the last six months. If you haven't ready any of my past 101 in 1001 posts, you can see them here. The 101 in 1001 is a type of bucket list created by blogger Mackenzie Horan from Design Darling. You try to hit 101 goals in various categories of your choosing in 1001 days! I'm now on my second 101 in 1001 list, and love doing these. 


October 3, 2023

September 26, 2023

TRAVEL GUIDE: 5 Days in Maine - First Timer's Itinerary.

       For Labor Day Weekend this year, my boyfriend Ryan came to visit my home state of Maine with me for the first time. While I always enjoy seeing the beauty of southern Maine in the summer months, it was definitely special to see my hometown and home state through the eyes of a first-time visitor. I feel like my parents and I did a great job planning out a good itinerary for Ryan's first Maine trip, and I'd recommend a similar itinerary for other first-time Maine visitors.

      There were a few points in our trip that we visited with my family and friends, and I'll also add in additional suggestions for other activities you could do as a tourist with that extra time.


September 19, 2023

Lilly Pulitzer Birthday Cake! (And my 29th Birthday Recap)

     I turned 29 earlier this month. This year was a very low-key birthday, but it brought me the most beautiful birthday cake that I've ever had! The cake honestly deserves a whole blog post to itself, I think. 😉 But here's a little birthday recap today:


September 14, 2023

September 12, 2023

LILLY PULITZER SUNSHINE SALE: My Most-Worn Items On Sale + Daily Picks!

      *I'll be updating this post daily throughout September 12th-14th as new items enter the Lilly Pulitzer Sunshine Sale!*

     Excited to be sharing some of my top sale picks from the Fall 2023 Lilly Pulitzer Sunshine Sale, as well as some of my favorite items in my own closet that are currently on sale! 


September 8, 2023

LILLY PULITZER SUNSHINE SALE: Fall 2023 Sale Dates + Info! 🌴🌸

      Lilly Pulitzer has officially announced their 2023 Sunshine Sale dates! There are a few new changes regarding this sale that are a little bit different than how they've done the sales in recent years. But I think these are all good changes, since they give Lilly fans more ways to shop.


September 6, 2023

29 Fun Facts About Me For My Last Year in My 20s!

      Today starts the last chapter of my 20s. Real talk though- how am I 29?! I swear that internally I don't feel older than 23/24 (and sometimes I still feel 18). 29 just seems so grown up to say out loud. In some ways, I am living beyond my wildest dreams in my late 20s. In other ways, there are certain life milestones or experiences that I would've guessed back when I was high school that I would've hit for sure in my early 20s, and a lot of those still haven't happened yet. I guess that's the beauty of life though- things never end up going exactly according to our plans! 

      It's been about a year and a half since my last fun facts / about me post. Why not bring this type of post back for my birthday this year? 


August 28, 2023

TRAVEL GUIDE: My Favorite Spots in Greensboro, NC

      Greensboro, NC is a city that I've spent a good number of weekends in over the past decade. Although I've never lived in Greensboro or the surrounding Triad area myself, I have so many friends and connections in this area. It's kind of funny honestly how many ties I've had to this city over the years (and continue to have). My college friend Michelle and another college friend live here, my friend Cara is from the area and got married here, and I also have a few friends from radio networking that live here and work for Greensboro stations. I've been to multiple weddings in the area in recent years (including one for friends that don't even live there, they just got married in Greensboro!). This summer, I found my way down there for the Wyndham Golf Championship. Basically- life just keeps bringing me back to Greensboro time and time again!

     Greensboro isn't a tourist destination per say, but there are a lot of wonderful restaurants there, and some great lodging options. If you ever find yourself passing through the area or spending a weekend there, I wanted to share my recommendations that I've accumulated over the years of various Greensboro trips.


August 11, 2023

My First PGA Golf Tournament Experience (2023 Wyndham Championship)

       I attended my first professional golf tournament over last weekend! My friend Amanda and I decided early on in the year that we wanted to attend a PGA tour event in 2023 together. We ended up going to one day of the 2023 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, NC. I wanted to write a quick recap blog post before I forget too much about the experience. This was also our second annual girls' trip! Last year we went to the iconic and luxurious Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia.


August 3, 2023

August 1, 2023

My First Queen of Sparkles Dress.

      I recently did an Instagram collaboration with a new-to-me brand, and I loved the dress I received so much that I wanted to share it on my blog, too! I don't do fashion content on here as much as I used to anymore, so when I do have photos of a cute recent outfit, why not share on the blog too?!


July 27, 2023

A Couple Health Updates.

      The first half of 2023 brought some frustration and uncertainties when it came to my health. Luckily nothing has been serious enough to warrant hospital stays or anything like that, but everything still brought me anxiety.  Not only was there health anxiety, but financial anxiety as well from having not-so-great health insurance and a lot of medical bills in a short amount of time. I am so thankful now that one of the things seems to be on the road to healing, and the other thankfully ended up just being a scare that never turned into anything further. But it was a really tough first half of the year with these things going on, if I'm being honest with you! 

      Writing blog posts of a more personal nature like today's is always cathartic to me and can also help bring a natural sense of closure with life events. I'll give you a heads up that today's post is pretty lengthy! (I'm not offended if you skim since it is lengthy. 😉)



July 12, 2023

July 5, 2023

A Different Type of Moving Announcement!

     I've shared a lot of moving related announcements on the blog over the past decade. In fact- the whole idea of starting this blog was kind of based on the idea that I had just moved far away for college, from Maine to North Carolina! And in the years since college, there's been many more long distance and local moves within the various places I've lived for radio jobs. 

      Today's upcoming moving announcement isn't related to school or my career. I'm not leaving my current radio job, nor leaving the Virginia Beach area. It's a local move from one apartment to another. But it is a very big deal, and something that I might not have expected I'd decide to even as recently as a couple of years ago. On July 8th (this weekend!), I'll be moving into my boyfriend Ryan's apartment! 

This picture of Delilah in my apartment always makes me smile!


June 21, 2023

National Wear Your Lilly Day 2023.

       Lilly Pulitzer lovers unite! Today is National Wear Your Lilly Day, aka the first day of summer. I've been sharing my favorite Lilly outfits for NWYLD on the blog for many years, but this is the first year that I have a special guest in my photos! 😀


June 14, 2023

HOTEL GUIDE: Royalton Bavaro Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

      My dad and I kicked off the month of June by taking a dad/daughter trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic! We stayed at the Royalton Bavaro, which is a large all-inclusive beach resort. Years ago, my dad and I spent two of my college spring breaks together in another part of the Dominican Republic (read about that HERE), but we had never stayed at a resort right in Punta Cana before now. 


May 26, 2023

Memorial Day Weekend Sales 2023 + Recent Purchases.

      For the past couple of years, I've been shopping a lot less regularly than I used to for clothes, shoes and accessories. Partly because I finally have a good grasp on my personal style in my late 20s and don't make as many impulse fashion purchases anymore. And also, for trying to be more financially smart in all areas of spending (and cutting down on unnecessary fashion purchases is any easy way to do that). 

      I have still added some new pieces to my wardrobe throughout this spring. But almost everything has either been marked down to a good sale price, from a retailer that I had a gift card to, or found secondhand at a local consignment store. Since Memorial Day Weekend is such a big time for sales, I wanted to share links to some of the purchases that I've made in the last few months, as well as some sales this weekend at some of my favorite retailers!


May 24, 2023

The *BEST* DIY Nail Product I've Tried: Dashing Diva Glaze.

       It's been four years since I became an enthusiast of DIY manicures and ditched my costly monthly visits to nail salons. And I've never looked back! I first discovered ImPRESS press-on nails in 2019 and became obsessed. I then started playing around with different brands of nail polish wraps in 2021, and enjoyed incorporating those into my manicure routines when I wasn't using ImPRESS. Even though I had definitely found a variety of nail products that I did enjoy using at home, I kept feeling like there still might be something better out there for truly long-lasting DIY nails. And I was right! In 2022 I discovered the Dashing Diva Glaze UV Gel Nail Polish Wraps, and they are without a doubt the best nail product I've ever used. This is the magical unicorn product that I was searching for when it comes to doing manicures myself! It's about time I gave them a full review here on the blog.


May 9, 2023

101 in 1001 List: 6 Month Update

      It's now been over six months since I kicked off my latest 101 in 1001 bucket list! I like doing check-ins a couple times a year to see how many goals I've managed to accomplish, and to plan which ones I'd like to tackle next. I am proud of how many I've knocked off in the first six months. Definitely a strong start I think!


May 4, 2023

May 1, 2023

Relationship Monday: Our First (Dating) Anniversary Recap.

       I've got a different type of Relationship Monday post for you today!! Ryan and I celebrated one year of dating on April 24th. I thought it would be fun to share a little recap of how we celebrated, as it involved a fun day trip that I hope we can make an annual tradition!


April 25, 2023

TRAVEL GUIDE: San Juan, Puerto Rico

      Puerto Rico is 100% one of my favorite travel destinations that I've visited in the past several years. Whatever expectations I had about visiting San Juan beforehand were wildly exceeded! My Puerto Rico trip was in July 2022, but I was still taking my extended blogging break, hence why I'm finally recapping the trip for you now (nine months later!). 


April 17, 2023

HOTEL GUIDE: The Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico

      I'm well overdue to recap the amazing Puerto Rico trip that I went on last summer with my friend Liane! We stayed at the well-known Caribe Hilton in San Juan, which quickly became one of my favorite Hilton properties that I've ever stayed at. I truly don't think that we could've found a better hotel for the trip that was both of our first times in Puerto Rico! Excited to recap this wonderful hotel for you today. And very soon I'll be sharing a San Juan Travel Guide, too! 


April 5, 2023

April 3, 2023

A Month of Dinner by Larson Folkerts - Recipe Booklet Review

       I love cooking and baking, but sometimes feel overwhelmed taking the time to cook from scratch on weeknights. I stay pretty busy in my M-F life; between work (and sometimes having weekday evening work events), Junior League commitments, working out, spending time with Ryan, meeting up with friends, chores in my apartment...etc! I'm not even a wife or parent yet and I already feel pretty busy most weeknights. 

     I am a connoisseur of cookbooks with a decent sized collection on my bookshelves, and I also have many food blogs that I enjoy reading. But even with all of these recipes at my disposal, sometimes I still feel overwhelmed and too pressed for time to jump into anything. I can't tell you how many times I've tried a new cookbook recipe thinking it will be quick, and two hours later I'm still working on it. For years now, I've been looking for an organized "database" of sorts for recipes that are actually both quick and delicious that I can easily turn to on busy weekdays. Something that's easily accessible and doesn't involve digging through cookbooks or food blogs when in a pinch. For a couple years I really enjoyed doing the Hello Fresh meal kits, but their prices kept getting higher and higher. 

     What has finally helped to solve my weeknight dinner recipe dilemmas? The A Month of Dinner recipe booklets by Larson Folkerts! I have been loving these for the past six months, and it's about time I finally write a dedicated review of them on the blog. These recipe booklets have helped so much with my weeknight dinner woes, and I think they can help you a lot too!


March 21, 2023

RESTAURANT GUIDE: 5 Great Restaurants in Orlando, FL

       I just got back from a recent long weekend trip to Orlando. This was the first time I've been in Orlando and haven't visited Disney World at all. I was pleasantly surprised not only by how much there is to do in the area that isn't related to Disney, but also by how many great local restaurant options there are in the Orlando area! I felt like such a foodie on this trip, as it was one great meal after another! While there were some meals that were amazing standouts more than others, we didn't have any truly bad meals on this trip. 


March 15, 2023

TRAVEL GUIDE: Things To Do in Orlando, FL (That Aren't Disney)

      I am freshly back from a fun weekend in Orlando, FL! My boyfriend Ryan and I took a long weekend trip there in honor of his upcoming 30th birthday, which is next week. (We did the trip a little early as I'll be at a wedding over his actual birthday weekend.) We had an absolutely wonderful time!! I had a lot of fun planning the itinerary for this trip. I was pleased to find there is truly so much to do in the Orlando area that isn't related to Disney World! Orlando is a great weekend trip destination, even if you aren't visiting or staying at Disney. There's still so much great stuff to explore! 


March 7, 2023

February 27, 2023

Relationship Monday: 2 Resources That Finally Changed My Mindset on Dating.

       Long time, no Relationship Monday post! I used to share these a few times a year but haven't written one now for about two and a half years. A lot has changed between my last Relationship Monday post in Summer 2020 to now. I've moved cities and jobs, seen life pretty much go back to normal post-2020, made a lot of new friends and started my social life over again in my new city, and possibly most excitingly- I've been in a happy long-term dating relationship for almost a year! I haven't wanted to blog much about my relationship with Ryan in the first year. It's been kind of nice to keep a lot private and special for myself! Waiting so long to have something so good has made me want to soak it all up and treasure it. 

      But for now, at the very least I feel ready to write about the mindset change I had with dating at this time last year. Winter 2022 brought a wakeup call for me with how I viewed dating. And there are two specific resources that I can really credit for helping me change my mindset! If you've also been single for a long time and find yourself getting bitter about the current dating culture but do very much want to find love and a relationship, perhaps both of these things could be helpful to you as well! 

      I should also note- I am a Christian and very much believe in God's plans for our lives, including our love lives! But with that said, I do also believe that God gives us the tools we need to make things happen in our lives. It took me a long time to realize that for a lot of people, God doesn't just magically make the right dating partner appear in life at the right time. Sure- some people are lucky enough to have an amazing meet-cute situation straight out of a romantic comedy to meet their person. And that's great for them! But that is not the reality for most single people navigating dating as an adult post high school and post college. Dating is usually a good deal of work, even as a Christian. And that's okay! I have grown to hate the phrase that's something along the lines of "Love will happen when you least expect it and don't look for it." Uhh.... nope! That was actually the opposite for me. Love finally found me when I was actively dating and "looking for it" as much as I could. 



February 20, 2023

Travel Diary: Nashville, TN Bachelorette Weekend Itinerary 💍

      I recently got to plan my best friend Ciera's bachelorette trip in Nashville, TN! This was only the second bachelorette party that I've planned, and the first one that I've done that was a destination spot for all the guests. (Last year I planned my other best friend Julia's bachelorette weekend, but I was the only one guest traveled in for it, as we did it in Maine where Julia and everyone else invited lived.) 

      This was my third trip to Nashville, but first time going for a bachelorette party. Definitely a different vibe than my past trips for work and for a family vacation with my parents! I still need to get around to writing a full Nashville Travel Guide with recommendations from all my past trips for the blog at some point, but until then I just wanted to get up a little itinerary from the bachelorette trip while it's all fresh in my mind!


February 9, 2023

February 3, 2023

IRELAND TRAVEL GUIDE: Insight Vacations Irish Elegance Tour Recap.

      I'm excited to finally be recapping the full itinerary of the Ireland trip that my mom and I did in May 2022! We experienced two and a half years of cancellations for this trip, first from my mom having a medical emergency and then for the pandemic. May 2022 was finally our time! I've blogged so far about the nicest hotel that we stayed at in Ireland, a full guide to all of the other hotels we stayed at, and an outfit diary of what I wore on the trip. Now it's finally time to recap the trip in full! I was taking a break from blogging for most of last spring and summer, and as you can see, I'm still playing catch-up from some of the blog posts I wanted to write in 2022.

      We traveled with Insight Vacations for their Irish Elegance tour, and I'll be recapping all of it for you today!


February 2, 2023

HOTEL GUIDE: All the Hotels We Stayed at in Ireland

       Last spring, my mom and I finally got to take a much-awaited trip to Ireland! We had experienced two and a half years of trip cancellations, first from my mom having a medical emergency and then for the pandemic. May 2022 was finally our time! Now it's finally time to recap the trip in full! I was taking a break from blogging for most of last spring and summer, and as you can see, I'm still playing catch-up from some of the blog posts I wanted to write in 2022.

      I realized that my full Ireland Travel Guide blog post was going to be very long, so I did a poll on Instagram to ask if y'all would prefer one really long post, or two separate blog posts- one about hotels we stayed in on the trip and our tour itinerary day-by-day. More people voted for two posts, so that's what I'm doing. For today's first post, I'll be recapping and reviewing all four of the hotels that we stayed at in Ireland as part of our Insight Vacations Irish Elegance Tour. I'll be sure to link this post for anyone to refer back to when I share the tour itinerary later on! 


January 18, 2023

My 2023 Word of the Year.

      I've been picking a Word of the Year for the past several years, and it's always fun to watch the year go by and see how that word played into my experiences, goals, and memories of those 12 months. For 2023, I actually struggled a little bit with picking one! But I finally did make a selection, and I'm excited to share it today. 


January 13, 2023

The Best Books I Read in 2022.

       In 2022, I was able to read 45 books! That's the most I've read since 2019, when it was one of my resolutions to read 52 books (a book a week). I was shooting for 40 this year, but all of the time that I spent sick last summer gave me a ton of time to get ahead on reading, and I knocked out some extra titles thanks to that. 

       I would say that the majority of books that I read I rate at three or four stars. I am pretty picky with what books I will give my coveted five-star rating to. 2022 brought me a ton of three star reads, but also eight stand-out books that got my five-star rating! Here were my favorite books of the year:


January 10, 2023

January 6, 2023


      Happy Friday! It's also the second day of the Lilly Pulitzer Sunshine Sale! I did my shopping yesterday, but of course had to pop back on today to see the new arrivals that Lilly saved to drop on the second day. Recapping all that for you in today's post! 

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