Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Adventure Continues

  "The Purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience."
-Eleanor Roosevelt
       With each passing day I get more and more excited for Miss New Jersey week!  With only a little more than two months to go, I have plenty to keep me busy.  I've also realized just how fun it is to receive emails from our Miss NJ co-executive director, Louie.  I love getting updates and breaking news about this year's pageant!  One VERY exciting piece of news I received recently was that our Miss America, Mallory Hagan, will be in attendance at the final night of Miss New Jersey!  Not only will we have a new state titleholder, we will all be able to meet Miss about an excitement overload.  Another email I was thrilled to receive was from our parade chair, Maribeth Neall, telling us the parade theme!  This year the Ocean City boardwalk will host a "Villains Down the Venue" parade.  I've chosen to dress as "Kissing Kate Barlow!"  The old western legend of Kissing Kate tells the story of a jaded woman who leaves a lipstick mark on all of her male victims after she kills them.  As I tried to think of truly villainous women, my mind came to the classic western shows I'd grown up watching with my Dad.  To me, Kissing Kate is a perfect example of a devious outlaw, with a feminine trademark.  I can't wait to start putting together my costume and car decor ideas!
       Before I made the trek home for Easter Break, I donated a few hours of my time and participated in the National Day of Giving.  My "big," Katie and I greeted customers at Jersey Mike's where 100% of the day's proceeds went to Juvenile Diabetes research!  It was a fun way to show our support for JDRF which is our sorority's international philanthropy, and I got to meet some inspiring kids who stuggle daily with diabetes.
       As I arrived home, I continued preparing for competition by writing, proof-reading, editing, proof-reading again, and completing my paperwork.  It's a genuinely difficult task to properly express who you are on just a few sheets of paper.  Thankfully my sweet mother was a second pair of eyes to aid in the many rounds of proof-reading that occured.  I was so relieved to have handed each and every form, essay, and contract in before the deadline.  What a weight that was lifted!  Now I can finally focus on the actual performance aspects of competition! ;)
       As many know, The Miss America Organization's national platform is the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.  Each contestant sets a goal for herself to raise money toward helping the cause!  To meet my personal goal for Children's Miracle network, I held an Easter flower sale.  Friends and family purchased tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils to celebrate the arrival of Spring and the Easter holiday.  All of the proceeds went straight to CMNH!  My mom and I had a great time making deliveries...the car smelled lovely and we got to spend the day visiting some awesome people. :) 

       I've always been one to appreciate "the little things" in life.  One "little thing" I celebrated was opening my mailbox to find an envelope from Richard Krauss, the official Miss New Jersey photographer.  Richard has been doing my headshots since I was Miss New Jersey's Outstanding Teen, and I always have the BEST time at our photoshoots.  Not only is he so much fun, but he's a truly gifted photographer.  The envelope I found in my mailbox contained my new photo cards! 

I'm convinced Richard has magic powers...he's awesome!
       Lastly, I was so happy to spend the Easter holiday with the people I love!  Although the youngest of my cousins on my dad's side is 14 years old, we continue to hold an Easter egg hunt each year, and each year becomes drastically more competitive.  Next year I will most definitely bring my running shoes. :)

My sweet Mom-mom surrounded by her grandkids :)

       With only a few weeks left of school, I'm ready to buckle down and get through these finals--all while hitting the gym, dancing, and watching the news.  Once I'm home for summer it'll only be a matter of time before we get to head down to Ocean City for an amazing week!  Can you tell I'm barely able to contain my excitement?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Very Busy "Break"

        "Motivation is everything.  You can do the work of two people, but you can't be two people.  Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people."
-Lee Iacocca

       Spring Break is already over!  While I was glad to get away from the stresses of midterms, I knew I had plenty to keep me busy at home.  On Friday, March 1st, I gave a presentation in my public speaking class and immediately following, was swept off to the airport!  There's never a dull moment.  It was so nice to see my family (& of course, my puppy)!
       The morning after I arrived home, I visited The Royal Court, a gown shop in Marlton, to get some ideas for my Miss New Jersey competition gown. I normally take a long time deliberating about any decision I make, but this time there was no question. I am happy to announce that I have officially purchased my evening gown!
       That very same day, I secured something even more exciting--my little stars!!  Two beautiful young ladies, Olivia and Brooke, agreed to be my stars for the Miss New Jersey pageant.  They are so excited to be featured in the parade and during evening wear modeling, but I can't wait to get them involved in my year of service as Miss Eastern Shore!  I envision plenty of tea parties and dress up days :)

Both of these lovely ladies dance at Tricia Sloan Dance Center (the same studio I attended & where I continue to train today)!  They were some of my biggest fans when I was Dorothy in my high school production of
"The Wizard of Oz." 
I know they'll continue to be my biggest fans on my quest to becoming Miss New Jersey!
Love you girls!!
    Since being home for break, I've also been taking lots of adult fitness classes at Tricia Sloan Dance Center.  It feels so odd to take "adult" classes where I grew up dancing!  The teachers there have definitely helped me get myself in gear.  I'm also looking forward to taking part in my first mock interview as a "Miss" contestant.  I'm so lucky to have been blessed with a great group of directors that care so deeply about their "shore girls." I was able to see some of the shore titleholders and lots of other fellow Miss New Jersey contestants at a few local pageants over break as well!  Congratulations to the tiny, little, pre-teen, and Outstanding Teen Miss Cape Resort titleholders!  Also, congratulations to Venessa Baez, the new Miss Stars and Stripes, and Madison Welsh, the new Miss Stars and Stripes Outstanding Teen!
The "Miss" titleholders at Miss Stars and Stripes

My best friend of 15 years, Britt, and I went to Centre City school where the pageant was held, from Kindergarten to the fourth grade!

       I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit a Children's Specialized Hospital this week!  My pageant sister, Anna Negron, and I sat in the lobby of the hospital and played with the children as they waited for their appointments!  It was awesome to see their initial nervousness disappear as we colored and played games. 
This little one and I had a great time coloring.  She was too cute :)

       To wrap up my break, I had lots of crayons to sanitize and deliver for "Color My World."  CMW is an organization that started collecting recycled crayons to clean and donate back to shelters and low budget schools.  I've joined their plight in teaming up with a local restaurant to collect crayons used with their kids' menus!  So far I've collected about 150 pounds.  I invited my little stars over to help me use a UV sanitation wand to get them cleaned up and ready to donate!  We had a great time...I hope Brooke and Olivia continue to help me out with service projects and start them on their own in the future!!
Here the girls are laying out the crayons and after they covered the table, they took turns using the UV sanitation wand!  They were a HUGE help :)

       It feels awesome to have things coming into place! I'm eager to stay busy in my academic life, and now in my pageant life. Let the Miss New Jersey preparation continue :) 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Everything's Coming Up Roses

"It will never rain roses; when we want to have more roses we must plant more trees."
-George Eliot
       The month of February was full of hard work and success.  I was able to make it through midterm week (a.k.a. the most stressful seven days of the semester) without any permanent damage!  After that accomplishment, I can tell you all about the wonders of "to-do" lists.  I had several different to-do lists going on at one time...but that's the busy life of a college student/sorority member/titleholder!  I wouldn't have it any other way :)
       A fun event I was able to take part in this month was the Alpha Gamma Delta Red Rose formal.  I had such a blast!
Meet my beautiful "sister-mom," Katie!  In Alpha Gamma Delta we have sister-moms and sister-kids instead of bigs and littles.  She's been an amazing mentor and friend to me!
       This month I also applied for the most prestigious job on campus, University Ambassador.  I was nominated by an administrator, and was asked to fill out an application.  From there, I secured an initial interview, and was then called back for a second interview.  I was proud to have made it that far, since almost 200 apply and only 30 are accepted, and was delighted when I got the news that I had been accepted into the program!  As a University Ambassador I will work as a tour guide for families visiting our beautiful campus, and a role model for both prospective and current students.  Training starts at the end of the semester and I'm super excited!
     After receiving this great news, I was off for Spring break!  Home sweet home :)  I was ready to buckle down and make even more to-do lists while home, and cannot wait to share with you some of my accomplishments! 

New year, New Beginnings

"They say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
-Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
     2013 has already been such a whirlwind for me!  I welcomed in 2013 from Tampa, Florida with the University of South Carolina dance team where we performed in the Outback Bowl.  A few days later I was off to High Point, North Carolina to begin a new journey.  I have always been taught to "never settle," so when I realized I was unhappy attending the University of South Carolina, there was no question but to explore my options.  I decided to transfer to High Point University for the Spring 2013 semester and I couldn't be happier with that decision. 

Here's a photo of my new room at HPU!  Home sweet home :)

       At High Point University I've joined the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, become finance chair of the 2013 pledge class, and have been accepted as a member of Panhellenic council! Being a member of Panhellenic council means I attend weekly meetings to discuss all of the exciting happenings of every sorority on campus.  We also use those meetings to plan how we can support each others' philanthropic endeavors!  I love helping the community with my new "sisters!"

The 2013 pledge class posing together after receiving our bids from Alpha Gamma Delta!

       In January, I was also able to make a quick 19 hour trip back to New Jersey to support all my teen girlies as they competed for Miss New Jersey's Outstanding Teen!  As a former Miss NJOT, I love to support the Miss America's Outstanding Teen program, as well as the beautiful teens I've  gotten to know!  Shout out to my "little sister" Miss Eastern Shore's Outstanding Teen, Yulemni, for placing 3rd runner-up AND winning the overall fitness award!  I was so proud :)

She is such a beautiful and talented girl-not to mention a sweetheart!

       With my fresh outlook for the new year, I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for me.  Blessed is an understatement :)  


       Hi, friends!  Welcome to my blog.  I'm so excited to share my experience as Miss Eastern Shores with you!  Being crowned as a local titleholder in the Miss America Organization has been such a blessing and I am anxious to keep you up to date.  With Miss New Jersey right around the corner, there's a lot of hard work and fun ahead...stay tuned!
Thanks to Richard Krauss, our amazing Miss New Jersey photographer, I was able to have my headshots taken over Christmas Break!
Not only did I gain plenty of responsibility and opportunities when I was crowned, I gained two beautiful pageant sisters, Anna & Carissa!  I can't wait to spend time with all of the Miss New Jersey contestants in June!