Monday, February 28, 2011

A Weekend in NOLA

This past weekend I flew down to New Orleans for a fun weekend in between my University of Kentucky and Carnegie Mellon visits. I had never even been to Louisiana before, let alone New Orleans, so when my friend Luke mentioned meeting up there, I didn't hesitate to make travel arrangements!

On Friday, we didn't do too much. When we both got into town, we went out for dinner and caught a night parade in Metairie, a New Orleans suburb. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me to take any pictures!

Saturday was the day where I really got to see New Orleans. Luke's cousins live in Algiers Point on the West Bank, across the river from downtown. We went over to their house, then took the ferry to downtown New Orleans. Here's a picture of downtown from the ferry.

Exploring the city was so much fun, and the weather was perfect. Here's a picture of Royal Street on a gorgeous 75 degree afternoon.

Of course we had to check out Pat O'Brien's, a New Orleans bar that can brag about selling eight million dollars worth of Hurricane mixed drinks each year.

Here is a picture of the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral.

I was amazed by how many street performers there were. We saw magicians, a transformer, jugglers, bands, everything. This dancing group, shown below, has become so popular that this location is their territory. They had the most wild moves, including flipping over 7 volunteers from the crowd.

Here is another street performer, who actually does not perform at all. He just sits. And sits. And sits. And eventually he gets up and moves to another location where he sits. And sits. And sits. He won't even move when people disturb him or do inappropriate things to him. The photo below is a bit R-rated because of a generous gift from a likely intoxicated tourist.

Here's a picture of Bourbon Street, taken mid-afternoon. I was amazed by how many people managed to be drunk at that hour of the day!

After exploring downtown for a bit, we caught a cab out to the Garden District, a beautiful neighborhood in New Orleans. The houses in the Garden District are old, refurbished, and amazingly beautiful. I also got to see a traditional New Orleans cemetery, shown below.

Here's a picture of Luke and I in the Garden District.

After a delicious French dinner at Coquette, followed by gelatti, Luke and I headed back downtown to catch one of the evening parades. We ended up seeing three parades while we were in New Orleans, and I don't know why I didn't think of taking pictures during the day parade we saw. I think I was too busy trying to catch beads! Since my camera doesn't do well with bright, moving objects at night, I didn't get the best picture, but here is a picture of one of the floats.

Here's an even lower quality photo of an Elvis-themed float in the parade.

All in all, I'd say it was the perfect weekend. I had so much fun experiencing New Orleans in its early stages of Mardi Gras madness.

This week I am in Pittsburgh for a second visit to Carnegie Mellon University. My week started off pretty rough, with flight delays that caused me to miss Standards, CC, and chapter meeting. Then, I lost my luggage for the first time all year. Luckily enough, it was found and delivered to the CMU Kappa house at 8 o'clock this morning.

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Fake IDs

Being the goody two shoes that I am, I never had much experience with fake IDs. I'm not sure how I managed to get through my underclass years without a fake, but I must have been too busy hanging out in the library with my chemistry friends to really care about the bar scene.

This year however, I have a new fake ID every week. Let me explain.

Prior to going on a LC visit, I send an introduction letter to the chapter. It includes a brief biography, what forms the chapter needs to complete, and a list of very general requests. My three requests are:

1) Start meetings at 10 AM (if possible) to allow working out in the morning
2) A guest pass to the campus gym and a chapter member to escort me there every morning
3) A t-shirt or other fun Kappa item to add to my collection

First semester I had some additional requests and the current #2 was not in there. Believe it or not, "allow working out in the morning" was not a big enough hint that I wanted to workout in the morning. Adding the second request has made things much more clear.

I have learned throughout this year that many university gyms either a) do not have guest passes or b) their student workers have no idea if they do have guest passes. As a result, nine times out of ten, I am given some random chapter member's student ID to use for gym admission.

More often than not, I can get a hold of the ID of someone who I could pass as. While I rarely look like the person, I try to remind myself that if I was a senior in college, I probably wouldn't look that much like freshman "me" anyway.

Sometimes I get a girl's ID who has stick straight hair. Fine, I'll wear it straight that week.

Sometimes I get a girl's ID who has really blonde or really dark brown hair. Fine, people dye their hair.

Sometimes I get a girl's ID who is a little chubbier than I am. Fine, I'll puff out my cheeks a bit while I give a closed mouth smile.

Once I got the ID of an Indian chapter woman. WHOA. That is where I draw the line. I realize that student workers at the gym don't look closely, but no one is THAT stupid.

I'm not sure if the bar scene is so easy, but I have become a pro at sneaking into university gyms.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


This week I'm at the University of Kentucky. Here are two pictures of their beautiful old mansion! Their house is actually 140 years, as old as Kappa Kappa Gamma!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nu Province Meeting

I spent the last weekend at Nu Province Meeting in Nashville, TN. Every even year, Kappa holds its General Convention meeting in the summer, and every odd year they have smaller Province meetings around the country. Kappa is divided into 16 different provinces, and they are each holding a meeting this spring. Nu Province, where I was this weekend, includes Tennessee, North Carolina, and Kentucky.

Last week, I was at the University of Tennessee. At the end of the week, I drove with them to Nashville for this province meeting. After the meeting was over, I traveled to University of Kentucky with some of their chapter members who had been in attendance. Pretty clever, huh?

Province Meetings are quick, but eventful. Friday night, all 70+ registrants went to the Vanderbilt University KKG house for dinner and a philanthropy activity. Saturday was the busy day though, with meetings, four educational programs, and the banquet/awards ceremony. During the afternoon, I gave two different presentations, "Kappa Values," and "Getting the Most out of Your Kappa Experience." The first presentation was one that the entire Field Representatives team wrote and is working on sharing with chapters around the country. The second presentation was one that I put together last minute, but ended up being very successful.

The banquet on Saturday night is the highlight of the weekend though. We all sat down to enjoy a delicious dinner, listen to a beautiful and inspiring speech from a previous Loyalty Award winner (the highest honor a Kappa can receive), then celebrate the achievements of the chapters and alumnae associations in Nu Province.

Every chapter did very well, each winning at least one award, but I was very proud of the Epsilon Lambda (Tennessee) and Beta Chi (Kentucky) women since these are the two chapters I have the opportunity to visit.

Epsilon Lambda won awards for Risk Management and Most Improved. Here I am, pictured with the Tennessee chapter women.

Beta Chi won awards for Heritage and Most Outstanding Overall. Here's a picture of the group of us!

Here are two more pictures from the evening:

The first is me with Melissa, a previous Leadership Consultant and current Chapter Consultant

Here is a group of me with some of the "top dogs" in Kappa, (from left to right) Region III Director of Chapters, Nu West Province Director of Chapters, Fraternity President, Nu East Province Director of Chapters, and Melissa, the LC/CC.

This week I am the University of Kentucky, and so far, I am enjoying it very much! This morning I got to sleep in until 9 AM, which was much needed after this busy weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ok, Ok I Need to Blog: Part Two

Continued from Part One...

After a fun weekend in Boston, I took an early morning train to the University of Connecticut for the week. I was really excited to go back to UConn, because I got along so well with the chapter women when I was there in the fall. Last time I forgot to take pictures, so this time, I have a few pictures of the house covered in snow!!

Here's a picture of Hannah, the chapter President, and I in front of the house. With the various snow storms they've had, they have 3-4' of snow on the ground!

While I was in Connecticut, they got SO MUCH SNOW. I recognize that the entire country was being dumped on that week, but really, it was a lot. UConn actually ended up having two snow days while I was there! The first day there was a lot of snow, and the second day there was a lot of ice! Since the roads were so bad, I had all of my meals on campus. Trekking to and from the dining halls for meals was adventurous and comparably dangerous to hiking Mount Everest :)

Having snow days was interesting, because I still had a job to do, and many of the chapter officers live in the house. But when I wasn't in meetings, we were all just hanging out and being goofy. It was hard to focus and actually get work done!!

After my week in Connecticut, I traveled to Columbus, Ohio, home of Kappa Kappa Gamma Headquarters, for a Risk Management Focus Group. Seven chapter women, an RDC, the Fraternity Risk Management Chairman, and I were in attendance for the weekend. It was a busy and productive weekend. We scoured through the Fraternity's risk management procedures, policies, and documents, trying to see where adjustments needed to be made. I have always had an interest in risk management, but after the weekend, I have such a deeper understanding and appreciation for it. We had a lot of suggestions for the Fraternity, and I hope we can see a lot of them implemented in the next year!

Here is a picture of the group of us at HQ for the weekend.

Following my weekend in Columbus, I traveled down to Orlando, Florida for one last visit to Rollins College. The weather was just gorgeous that week, and I took a picture of the lake by Rollins when I was out jogging one afternoon.

This year, I have visited the Rollins chapter four times and have grown close with the chapter women. There are a few other chapters I have been to twice, but this is the only chapter I have been to four different times. It has been interesting and exciting to watch them grow, and I am amazed by how much they have learned this year. At the end of the week, they gave me a beautiful key necklace as a thank you gift. I honestly wish I could go back. Not to mention, I met a cute guy while I was in Orlando :)

This week I'm at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. UTK was my second visit of the entire year, and it has been really fun to be back. I'm having a lot of fun with the chapter women, especially because its not so hectic during regular visits. I think they like me too. Last night we accidentally killed a Kappa sister's beta fish while cleaning the tank. A group of us rushed out to a 24-hour Wal-Mart, convinced that we could replace her fish without her ever knowing. Of course, she realized right away that her fish looked different. After getting over the initial shock, she was surprisingly calm about the situation and decided to name her new beta fish "Roszhart." I, of course, am very flattered.

This weekend, I'll be traveling with the UTK-Epsilon Lambda Kappas to Nashville, TN for the Nu Province Meeting. Province Meetings are held on the opposite year as Convention Meetings, and are on a much smaller scale. I am really excited to see some old faces and get to meet a lot of new Kappas! At the end of the weekend, I will be traveling to Kentucky with the Beta Chi KKG chapter!

Ok, Ok I Need to Blog: Part One

Wow, this is embarrassing! It has been over a month since my last blog post. I have no idea where the time has flown or why I've been so busy!! Not only have I been a terrible blogger, but I've been a terrible communicator with friends and family overall. What I have been though, is a good LC. That has to count for something, right?

This semester started off with two crazy recruitment visits to Virginia Tech and Rollins College. I love recruitment, but everyone who has been through sorority recruitment can attest to how exhausting it can be! After these two visits, I realized just how "behind" I was with paperwork and correspondence for my job. I use the word "behind" loosely though. I never actually came close to missing a deadline, but it bothers me to let the work build up. Unfortunately, blogging never trumps paperwork.

My next visit was to the University of Florida. Here are two pictures of the Kappa Kappa Gamma house at UF!

I really enjoyed getting to know the chapter women, and as you might imagine, spending two weeks in Florida was also particularly pleasant in the month of January. I'll kick myself for it now, but while I was at UF, I found myself commiserating with the women about how "cold" it was...yeah 55 degrees is pretty painful. Two weeks in Florida made my blood thin!

After my weekend in Florida, I flew up to Boston, MA for the weekend, and dang was it cold! (I take back all comments about the chilly Florida weather.) Boston was so much fun! I stayed with Michelle, a previous LC, for the weekend and got to meet up with two other LC's, Kristen and Stephanie, who were in town for the weekend too. The most embarrassing thing though, is that none of the three of us had planned the weekend together!

On Friday night, Kristen, Michelle, and I went out to dinner near Fenway. Here's a picture of the three of us!

Then Stephanie and her boy joined us for a few drinks later that night. Seeing familiar faces on the road is always my favorite!

Saturday, Michelle and I spent the day on the slopes at Waterville Valley Ski Resort in New Hampshire.

Michelle's company had free lift passes (score!), so we made the two hour trek for a fun day on the mountain. I looooove skiing and haven't had the chance to go this year! Because of my travel, I obviously don't have room in my suitcase for ski gear on top of everything else. Michelle somehow was able to come together with an array of ski attire, but I was missing one goggles.

All in all, my outfit wasn't too bad. Things didn't match very well, but I had enough gear to keep me warm. BUT wearing sunglasses in place of goggles, I looked like a novice. When we went to rent skis, the guy working was very skeptical of my skiing ability. He looked at my form, where I had checked Type III skier, then looked at me, then looked back at the form.

Guy at the counter: "You realize Type III means expert?"
Me: "Well, yea, I'm a pretty good skier."
Guy at the counter, who is judging my mismatched attire and sunglasses: "Are you sure?"
Me: "Yes, really."
Guy, still skeptical: "You ski out here often?"
Me: "No, this is my first time. I usually ski out West."
Guy, still skeptical: "Fine, what length ski do you want?"
Me (Thinking: oh sh*t!): " fifty....three?"
Guy: "Yea, alright"

Whew! Why the grand inquisition?!

I was happy to finally get my gear and get on the slopes! Here's a picture of Michelle and I on top of the mountain.

The guy at the counter would be happy to know that I indeed skied very well that day, tackling all of the black diamonds and not falling once.

My lunch date is here! To be continued....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Travel Frustrations

One thing I have learned this year is just how stupid some people can be. Traveling is the perfect way to stumble across many of America's idiots, which has provided me both with entertainment and frustration.

Recently though, I have only been frustrated. Here are some recent examples:

Learn How to Read a Ticket
Last week I went to board a flight and there was a guy sitting in my seat already. I looked down at my ticket, which read 7A, then double-checked that I was looking at the right aisle. Yup, I was stopped at aisle seven.

Me: "Excuse me sir, you're in my seat."
Guy in my seat: "Oh really? Hm."
Me: "Yes.."
Guy, who doesn't seem to care: "It a'ight. I don't mind."

(These are thoughts, not words) What do you mean you don't mind?! Your opinion does not matter here. You are in MY seat, so it is really not up to you if this is ok!

I was annoyed on the principle, but it really wasn't worth the fight. You win, dude.

Body Scanners
Thinking about this story just makes me angry. Yesterday I had the worst TSA experience yet. During first semester, I got very lucky and never had to go through a body scanner. This semester I haven't been so lucky. Yesterday, I got randomly selected to go through the scanner. Annoyed, I stepped in the scanner and assumed "the position." When the scan was finished, the report came back that I needed to have an upper torso search because of the "large amount of metal" I was wearing.

Let me pause for a minute and explain exactly how much metal I was wearing on my upper torso. I was wearing an underwire bra and KKG lavalier necklace.

I don't understand how their high-tech body scanners couldn't detect exactly where the metal was located and figure out that I was wearing a normal bra and a tiny necklace.

Anyway, because of this large amount of metal, I was also given a very thorough pat-down, which involved touching every square inch of my upper torso. Every. Square. Inch. As if that wasn't uncomfortable enough, the TSA agent decided that complimenting my figure would be a good idea. I think I just stared at her in disbelief.