It is amazing to look back on the past year of my life and reflect on how much I have changed, grown, matured and learned. The past ten months of being Miss California have stretched me beyond belief and I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who has made it such a great year for me!
I apologize for the brief hiatus in blogging.. I have been so busy with work and my aunt got married last weekend so I was busy being a bridesmaid! I'm so happy to have an Uncle! Congrats Auntie Ahna and Uncle Brian!
With my beautiful aunt before the ceremony... I was SO honored to be a part of her big day!
The past few days have been quite busy! I woke up on Thursday morning at 4:00am, had a pot of coffee on at 4:02am and left Orange County by 5:30 to go to Hollywood for an appearance. I arrived at the famous Hollywood and Highland intersection next to the Kodak Theatre for CBS and KNX 1070's Breakfast Series where I represented Dale Carnegie. I promoted the two Dale Carnegie courses that I participated in (High Impact Presentations and Effective Communicators) and spoke about the many ways I benefited from the programs, both personally and professionally.
From there, Chelle and I hit the road and headed for Santa Barbara. After a beautiful drive up the coast, we stopped at Cottage Children's Hospital in Santa Barbara and I visited with some of the children there. I also recorded a PSA for their telethon that will take place in June. Once again, my heart was touched by the stories that I heard from the families in the hospitals and I was blown away at the strength that these children have. One story in particular that stands out was when I met Jonathan during his chemotherapy treatment. His parents and younger sister were so sweet and I really enjoyed hearing their story.
With Jonathan who was incredible and his darling little sister!
Taping the PSA for the telethon to air June 5th and 6th
Don't worry we were stopped at a red light :)
We left the hospital and made a pit stop at Yogurtland (you all know how I love my frozen yogurt... and this was Chelle's first time! Needless to say, I think I have her hooked). Then it was back on the road again. With several GPS systems, a computer, two cell phones and Sirius radio on hand, we sang country music for four more hours and ended up in Salinas for the night! On Friday morning I visited Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital where I once again spent time with the children (actually, mostly teenagers here) and recorded a few segments for an upcoming TV special. The tour was wonderful! One thing I especially loved was that outside of the hospital they had an adorable playhouse which they auction off to raise money for Children's Miracle Network! What a great idea for a fundraiser! I absolutely LOVE playhouses :)
This is the darling playhouse!
Once again, after the hospital visit, it was time to get back in the car and head to Miss California Orientation in Fresno. I had a really great time on Friday night seeing the state staff, production crew, and many local executive directors that I hadn't seen in a while. And let me tell you, orientation is a lot less stressful on the other side! It was a jam packed weekend full of meetings, rehearsals, talent reviews, lottery drawings, mock interviews and of course, constant picture taking. I was so excited to meet the 56 girls who will vie for my crown in July! They are not only beautiful but intelligent, gracious, and extremely talented. I had the wonderful privilege of sitting in on the mock interviews and really getting to know the girls which was an absolute blast. I think I almost have everyone's names, faces and titles memorized!
Yayy for the lottery!!
Russ deserves a HUGE pat on the back for running such an efficient and FUN lottery!
After a busy day of running around, we all had a chance to get dressed up and attend a lovely dinner complete with raffles, scavenger hunts and chocolate cake! I also did a short presentation for the contestants showcasing all of the wonderful sponsors from this past year. The slideshow highlighted pictures from this year and gave the ladies a glimpse of the many things they will receive when one of them is the next Miss California.
Almost all of the contestants, I think we missed a few unfortunately!
The girls were attempting to grab my crown... they didn't know it is semipermanently glued on my head for the next two and half months :)
My favorite business manager!
With Mary, Ernie and Tom, great additions to the Miss CA Org!
With my local ED, Linda Dash!
This morning it was my pleasure to speak with the contestants, explain my job description, and give them my "tips" for pageant week. It was very surreal to stand up there in front of 56 expectant faces who so badly want to wear the crown next year. I remember sitting and listening to Melissa (Miss Cal 07) and Jackie (Miss Cal 08) speak and wondering to myself... "Can I do this job? Do I have what it takes?" and imagining myself in their shoes... and while I was up there I was once again humbled and grateful. Where else in the world can you find so many incredible girls and so many volunteers who so freely give everything they have to make this such a life changing experience? I guarantee you that you cannot find another organization like this one. This year truly has flown by and I am completely in denial that it will be over in just 10 short weeks. My plans for the next ten weeks are the same as my plans at the beginning of this year: take advantage of every opportunity. I plan to do just that.
Quote of the week:
I maybe here for a short while, gone tomorrow into oblivion or until the days come to take me away. But, in whatever part you play, be remembered as part of a legacy...of sharing dreams and changing humanity for the better. It's that legacy that never dies”
- author unknown
Song of the week:
"Legacy" by Nicole Nordeman
Days until I leave for Miss CA 2010: 66 days