Sooo after my trip my laptop totally pooped out on me and was gone for well over a week! I wrote about my headquarters experience on the plane ride home while it was fresh in my brain. In addition to the HQ trip, I was also apart of the Grand Opening of the Alex & Ani store at Woodfield in Schaumburg, IL. It was an exciting event so I added some pictures in from that as well!
What I wrote on the plane…
WOW. I don’t even know how to start this off. For those who don’t know, I have gone through a long process of emails and interviews to become the University of Kentucky’s first ever Alex & Ani Ambassador! In becoming one of the 13 ambassadors, we were all flown to Cranston, Rhode Island which holds Alex & Ani’s HQ. This trip was only the beginning, but I know that this experience will be one I will remember forever and hold close to my heart. I have found a new love for the east coast and would honestly love to end up there one day. The scenery is wonderful and I am a 4-season type of girl so RI is perfect for me. The schools represented by the 13 ambassadors are, the University of Kentucky, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Penn State, THE Ohio State, the University of Tennessee, West Virginia University, the University of Florida, Florida State University, the University of Alabama, Notre Dame, the University of North Carolina and Virginia Tech. The other ambassadors and I clicked right away and he have been in contact ever since!
Day 1 of the trip was considered our travel day. I was able to fly out of Chicago to Rhode Island with another ambassador, Maeve, who also happens to be an Alpha Phi as well. Obviously, we instantly clicked. We spent most of the day travelling and changing our flights due to delays, but we didn’t even care because we were so excited. By the time we got to the hotel, we had 15 minutes to get ready, but we pulled ourselves together quickly and were off to dinner. I wore a yellow floral off the shoulder jumpsuit with my black wedges and long white beaded necklace. At dinner I finally was able to meet all the girls I had seen on Instagram and been talking to on GroupMe and we all instantly bonded. It was like we had known each other the whole time. We ate at the Chapel Grille, where I ordered salmon (it was delicious). After dinner, we headed back to the hotel where we had a meeting to meet everyone, formally introduce ourselves, and the best part, guessed each other’s baby pictures.
Day 2 was one heck of a day. We started off at HQ meeting the president of Alex & Ani, Cindy DiPietrantonio I was seriously starstruck. Being a fashion merchandising major, women such as Mrs. DiPietrantonio, are such an inspiration to me. She told us all about her life and how she came to Alex & Ani. She explained what she wanted with the new College Ambassador Program that they were launching and how what we are doing is truly making an impact on their company. After we met with her, we took a tour of the HQ. The CEO, Carolyn Rafaelian, strongly believes in a positive work environment which is why she hires an interior decorator to make sure the space is the most productive and relaxing for her employees. Truly, such an amazing woman. The office was decorated with beautiful crystals, black panthers, and all American made goods. After the tour we were able to take some headshots with their awesome photographer and later attended a bunch of workshops with many members of the Alex & Ani team which is so amazing and interesting. One of the biggest surprises of the trip was receiving a box full of product personalized to each and every one of us. We were able to get our hands on product that hasn’t even launched! The way everyone talked about the company was so positive and inspiring and it made me so happy to be a part of it. Later, we walked through Providence and took some photos which turned out beautifully. After Providence, we headed to dinner and later watched the Bachelorette with some of the other girls. Everyone at HQ was so excited and happy to see us and I instantly felt welcomed into the Alex & Ani family.
Day 3 truly wrapped up the whole trip in the best way. Right off the bat, we headed to Newport, Rhode Island to take some pictures and explore the downtown area. Not to mention, we visited the first EVER Alex & Ani store. Later, we visited the Belcourt mansion which Carolyn Rafaelian purchased and restored to its original beauty. Being a history nerd, I was totally in my element. Though our mansion tour was short, I could feel the history in the walls. From the chandeliers to the woodwork, everything was absolutely astonishing. It also felt pretty special knowing not many people are allowed to enter the mansion. Carolyn is a true Rhode Islander, giving back so much of what she has to the community which I believe to be incredible. After the tour, we got on the bus and headed to the airport where we said our goodbyes. Though it all seemed to be over, our once in a lifetime trip had just started our journey with Alex & Ani. I am so proud to be representing a brand I hold so near and dear to my heart and to tell my story through my jewelry. Feeling empowered is one of the best highs a human can feel and through my Alex & Ani jewelry and the people I was surrounded by on this trip, I truly felt that.
I can’t wait to get started with this journey and where it will take me! Stay tuned for more posts on my blog, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Click the links in the sidebar to follow me on all my socials to stay up to date with me! Also, be sure to follow my new Instagram @tinaamarieeblog !