Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Leadership Institute

Wednesday! It's seriously Wednesday? Where is this week going? 
I haven't even recapped last weekend! 
I am behind. 

Anyways, this past weekend I was fortunate enough to go to my sorority's Leadership Institute in Nashville, TN. I have been a proud member of Alpha Omicron Pi since my freshman year of college and still volunteer as an advisor for my chapter. 

I flew in on Friday night and was greeted in my hotel room with this super sweet note from my roommate, also an advisor, for her chapter in Michigan. 

Once Amanda came back in the room we chatted for a while but were both pretty exhausted, so we went straight to bed. Have I ever told you how much I love sleeping in hotels? I know it's weird, but I LOVE it. Especially this hotel..I had a giant, super comfy king sized bed all to myself (sorry Jason, I still love you) and it was incredible. I literally slept sprawled across the bed from one corner to the other. 

My alarm went off bright and early on Saturday morning and I got ready in my blogger approved Leadership Institute ensemble. Thanks friends! 
Baby Bump is lookin' large and in charge in this pic! 

I mosied on down to the lobby to grab the essentials....
Iced Soy Chai, Blueberry Bagel, My Name Tag (those who know me know it was a HUGE deal for me to wear this thing--I don't do name tags) and my itinerary for the weekend. 

 After breakfast I had just enough time to pop in to the AOTT Emporium to do a little shopping!
We LOVE our pandas!
I found this adorable little onesie that I just had to get for Nugget, along with a couple little trinkets for myself. 

Then, it was time to get the show on the road. Our day started with a fabulous speaker, Stacy Nadeau. 
Who remembers that big Dove campaign for real beauty?
Stacy, our speaker, is the second girl in from the left. She told her story of growing up with insecurities about her body, her road to finding herself on a billboard in Times Square in her underwear, her appearances on Oprah, Ellen and The Today Show and the amazing life changing responses to the campaign as well as the negative backlash. 
She was an incredible speaker! I enjoyed it so much. She had some great and inspiring advice in regards to self-image, which I think we can all use. One thing she said that really stuck with me was, "You have more to offer than your pant size." And it's SO true, all of us women have something to bring to the table besides our smashing good looks, so why do we beat ourselves up about losing weight, or wearing designer brands or having perfect skin? I could go on and on about her and her inspiring speech, but I won't. I will say thought, if you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak, definitely do it. 

(why that highlighted itself, I have no idea! Blogger must think it's really important. )

After Stacy's speech we all split up in to Power Sessions. Basically, there were several sessions throughout the day that you could choose to attend based on your position and interests in the house. The sessions I attended all had to do with advising, and I found them to be really helpful. I got a lot of really great ideas that I am excited to bring back to the other advisors as well as the chapter. 

Then, it was time for lunch. All of the girls reassembled in the ballroom for lunch and awards...there are a lot of awards that Chapters, Members and Alumnae can win throughout the year and Leadership Institute is where they all get handed out. 
the super cute collegiate members that were with me from my chapter. 

After lunch there were more power sessions, as well as a big update on what AOTT has accomplished as an organization so far this year and what we have planned for the near future. 
And then once again it was time to eat and listen to more awards. 
me and the girls from my chapter after dinner. 

Once dinner was over they had some fun after hours stuff planned for everyone--black jack, dancing and other fun activities but this mama was TIRED. It had been a really long day and I was exhausted, not to mention starving. When you have super high maintenance preggo meal requirements there isn't a whole lot to eat at a convention like I did what any normal mom-to-be would do...
I went back to my room, put on my sweats, watched Pretty Woman on TV and ordered a pizza. 

and then proceeded to eat almost the entire thing. 

Not going to lie. It was amazing! And I was really happy to get some quiet, relaxing time to myself this weekend. 

Sunday morning came much too soon, but it turned out to be a fabulous day. We all met in the ballroom for breakfast and some more programming. They had a panel of members of all ages who shared some of their AOTT experiences. The theme for the weekend was "Why, AOTT?" So they each talked a little bit about why they joined AOTT and why they are still involved today. It was pretty awesome to hear. One of the ladies has been a member for 67 years! She was adorable and hilarious and totally inspiring. After some other general programming and announcements it was time for Leadership Institute to officially come to an end.

After LI was over, me and two of my girls went on a tour of our National Headquarters which is located in Brentwood, TN. Let me start by saying my new life goal is to own a home in Brentwood! Those houses are to-die-for! 

The tour of headquarters was great. It was so fun to see where all the magic happens! It's a beautiful place and I would not mind moving to Brentwood and taking a job at headquarters. 
 GORGEOUS chandelier hanging in the entry way...could I get this for my house please? 
A trunk of things belonging to one of our founders.  

 Our founders. 

 We had to take a belly pic, just in case baby is a little AOTT legacy. 

After the wonderful tour, me and the girls made our way to spend the afternoon in Downtown Nashville. 
We grabbed lunch, walked by the river and bought some souvenirs. I have been to Nashville once before and absolutely LOVED it and this time was no different. If I had the chance to move there, I would take it in a heartbeat. I think my favorite thing about the city is that you can walk by a bar or restaurant any time of the day (in our case 3pm on a Sunday) and hear live country music. Literally every place we walked by had a live band playing. I love that! 
Our trip ended with some DELICIOUS homemade ice cream.
Raspberry Cheesecake ice cream in a homemade waffle cone! Probably the best cone I've ever had. 
It didn't hurt that it was over 10 degrees in Nashville that day. 

The weekend was exhausting but so much fun. I feel so honored that I had the opportunity to attend and I am so grateful for the chance to spend the weekend with over 700 of my sisters. I truly have never been more proud to be an AOTT and I am so excited to continue to be involved and see all the amazing things this organization will do in the future! 

Alpha love, 


agalandherdog said...

My cousin was an AOTT too! Isn't Brentwood gorgeous? I love driving through when we're in the Nashville area (I live right outside of Memphis, so it isn't too far). You looked too cute!

Ruthie Hart said...

what a FUN weekend and girl, you look fabulous!

Jess Beer said...

Looks like you had a blast! I LOVE meeting other AGDs, so I can imagine how amazing this was for you (definitely with you on the pizza and sweats though!). Our headquarters is in Indianapolis, and I'm dying to go see it someday. Chris thinks I'm a little odd...he just doesn't understand!

Carolyn said...

This looks like such an amazing trip! I'd love to go to AGD's headquarters!!

Schnelle said...

Looks like you had a super fun weekend! That chandelier is to die for!!!

Lindsay said...

Wow! Sounds like a wonderful weekend! Lovin' the bump! You look great! xo

Carey said...

I've always wanted to visit Nashville. Looks like an amazing place! And you look amazing momma! Keep up the bump style ;)

Katie said...

So fun! and now I'm craving pizza and ice cream in a waffle cone thanks to you. AHHH! You look adorbs even in your jammies!

Dana Brown said...

Brentwood is beautiful! its where all the celebs build their homes.. i live in the nashville area so i love just driving around brentwood and looking at the massive mansions there. where did you get the homemade ice cream? it looks delish! :)

Ashley said...

Aww looks like SO much fun, your little nugget is already a traveler! :-)

Kelsey said...

your bump is growing so well! can't wait for an update tomorrow! looks like an amazing weekend you and PLL make me wish that I would have gone to a fulltime college and joined a sorority jealous!

Tiffany said...

Nashville is about 2 hours from me and one of my favorite places. It is beautiful.
Most of my best friends in college were AOTT's and loved it.

Ashley Canfield said...

Awww I loved reading about your experience at LI. Attending my sorority's national convention and leadership seminar(s) was one of my favorite parts of being an (over-involved) collegian. I really hope I have the opportunity to go back in the future as an advisor!

Tiffany said...

Ahh I love this! It makes me miss sorority so much! One of my goals to do when we move back to MO is to get involved with ASA again. It was such a fun part of my life! Your headquarters looks beautiful! Our new HQ just opened up in Indianapolis and I'm dying to see it. Looks like you had a great trip and you looked fabulous!

Linny said...

Glad Nashville was good to you! I am from here and also love the homes in Brentwood! Glad you had a good time!

RainStorm said...


Pandas pandas pandas pandas :) love them

Jessica said...

You look awesome. That pizza looks amazing. ;)

Rustic Love said...

I love that you chowed down on that pizza, come on, being pregnant can have a sweet advantage! :)