An Afternoon with President Obama

by Alli

Disclaimer:  This is not a political post. I’m headed in a little different direction!

I was honored to be among a small group of women invited to meet with President Obama in Charlotte, NC to discuss non-partisan issues that women face.  It was an “Invitation Only” event and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Who turns down an invite to spend an afternoon with President Obama?  Not me!

Here’s How it Went Down

After doing the happy dance in my mind, I quickly snapped back to reality when I realized how important this event was going to be and I had to portray a cool, smart, southern, sophisticated woman. Then an extremely national emergency question popped into my smart, sophisticated mind:  “What in the world am I going to wear?”

I couldn’t just wear my normal work-at-home clothes.  I mean, who meets with the President in yoga pants and a Duke t-shirt?  It wasn’t a formal evening event, so my collection of mother-of-the-bride dresses was definitely out of the question.  My Easter duds seemed a little, well, Easterly.  I know that’s not a word, but bear with me, I received an invitation to meet the President.

American Eagle jeans?  No!  Michael Kors jeans?  Nah, this meeting called for a special shopping trip. (Don’t all important meetings call for a shopping trip??)  I settled on a slightly preppy (think Banana Republic, J. Crew) look and my Kate Spade bag (when that email said no bags allowed, surely they weren’t expecting me to leave Kate at home?)

Then I checked my weather app AFTER my shopping trip.  Keep in mind that prior to the Wednesday, April 15th meeting (my mom’s birthday, tax day and meeting with the President day all rolled up in one) we were having beautiful spring weather.

What???  A cold front?  Heavy rain?  Highs in the mid 50’s?  I shook my iPhone, my fist and threatened to strangle Siri.  Yes, especially after that incident when she told me, and I quote, “that’s not nice, Alli.”

Had I known there would be a monsoon, I could have bought a really cute trench!  Hindsight:  I forgot about my really cute peacoat/raincoat hanging in the coat closet. Sigh.

Good thing I chose sensible, but cute, black wedge loafers because I had to walk several blocks when I picked up my ticket on Tuesday, April 14th.  The ticket required my signature because it was non-transferrable. Remember, invitation only!  I just love saying that phrase.

The Day Of

I very carefully applied my makeup in case a TV camera happened to pan my way.  I contoured the heck out of my face, added a bit more blush and thank God, I was having a good hair day.  My pink Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Volupte (I had to look-up the word Volupte.  It means intense pleasure that is both sensuous and spiritual; ecstasy; bliss) and my good ol’ Too Faced Lip Injection plumped my lips with subtle color and shine.  (Think Angelina Jolie – Just Kidding- I wish!)

The meeting was slated to begin at 2:30 PM, but the guests (me!) had to arrive between 1:00-1:45.  No one would be admitted after that timeframe.  My heart immediately went out to those women that are habitually late.  What time did I arrive?  It must have been a little before 1:00 because I had to stand in the freezing cold (for southerners, anyway) rain for a few minutes.  Good thing I had my trusty umbrella.

Remember that good hair day?  Rain was not my friend.  But I did meet some cool women while standing in the freezing rain.

As we entered the Joe & Joan Martin Center, we had to leave our umbrellas at the door per the Secret Service. I like saying Secret Service, too!  Note to self: Not only should you not have basic black luggage.  You shouldn’t have a basic black umbrella, either.

We were told to have our phones on as we walked through security.  It seemed like every woman in front of me got the wand treatment.  When it was my turn, I was motioned to stroll on in.  No wand at all.

An Afternoon With the President

An Afternoon with President Obama

Stuff I Remember

1.  Someone made the cute, albeit serious, Secret Service guy laugh.

2.  So glad I wore the perfect outfit.

3.  Country music played while we waited for the President.

4.  We were outnumbered by the TV crews.  They were barricaded behind us and I’ve never seen so many TV cameras, videos, etc.  I secretly lusted for the media lighting in that place.

5.  At the end of the meeting, I was interviewed by a TV reporter.  I’m sure I was a blubbering fool as soon as that video camera was thrust in my face.

6. As I was exiting the building, the rain was coming down even harder and then I realized that someone had taken my umbrella.  Thanks so much to the kind man who gave me his!  It’s actually prettier and bigger than mine AND it’s not basic black.

I didn’t ask a question, but here’s the one 3-part question I would have asked, “May I come help plan a party in the White House? May I just come and watch the party being planned?  May I actually attend the party?” I told you this wasn’t a political post!

If you’re reading this, Mr. President, and I’m sure it’s part of your briefing every morning, I want a party invite.  There’s no stopping me now!

I’d like to give a shoutout to BlogHer and Lisa Stone for the invitation.  Lisa did an excellent job moderating the event! #ObamaTownHall #WomensLives

Afternoon With President Obama