Talent Presentation at the Miss America Pageant

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Hi everyone! Wow... it sure has been a long time since I have written! I just got home from attending Arianna's wonderful going away party and I felt this was an appropriate time to write. It was SO great to see everyone at the sendoff- I have missed you all! It astonishes me that it has been an entire year since I was packing and getting ready to head to Miss America! I am so excited to for Arianna to experience this and I am ready to scream, yell, cheer and celebrate as she shines on that stage!

I was asked my several people to do an update blog and also to share about the "secret" trip Nikki and I took last year and I have failed to do so several times but I figure better late than never!

Last October Nikki and I went to South Carolina for a total of 40 hours for fittings of my Miss America gown and onstage question gown, made by the incredible Gregory Ellenburg. I wrote a journal of our crazy, whirlwind trip and here are a few quotes to give you a glimpse of what the adventure was like.

Last night at 10:45pm Nikki and I boarded the plane to South Carolina... before we got on we were stopped and told our seats were changed to the VERY back row and we no longer had isle seats! Once we got to the end of the gangplank, they took our bags away from us! Also, Nikki got rubbed down and searched extra and I did too on the second flight. I wonder why the airline staff always thinks I look suspicious? Perhaps they wonder why I am carrying a crown on plane? After one layover, we arrived in Charlotte and drove in the pouring rain to Greenville. Then we had quite the adventure driving around and around in circles trying to find Gregory. Nikki and I both were laughing so hard we could barely contain ourselves and I found myself wiping tears from my eyes. After meeting Gregory and his staff and finally getting to see my gown in person, I was relieved and excited. "This is my MISS AMERICA gown," I thought to myself, "This is crazy!" I am so very thankful to Gregory for his generous sponsorship and the shoes that he gave me are fabulous! The next day we stopped and met my brother (who lives in North Carolina) and his wife for a quick lunch before heading to the airport. Before we knew it, we were back in California! And now I suppose it is just time to "hurry up and wait" for the gown to be finished! Miss America in 69 days!
Before we boarded the plane!
Freeeezzzing! Nikki and I at this cute river in the downtown area of Greenville

... Needless to say, it was an eventful trip and I am so very grateful that I had Nikki there with me :)

Several of you have asked me to keep up with my blog and I apologize that I have not done so more often. Let me start off by saying that last year still feels like a dream... I honestly forget that I was ever Miss California until someone reminds me... There is one little girl who attends the school in the building where I work who loves to shout "Hi Miss America!!" when I walk by. She is a reminder to me about the incredible year that I was fortunate to experience... I think someday soon I will have to break the news to her that I am no longer Miss California! ;)

Life has been busy and somewhat "normal" for me this fall. I started graduate school at Chapman University in Orange County and I am loving it! I have always loved school and learning- right down to the pencils and notebooks and yes, even the homework! I am currently working on my masters in teaching degree along with my multiple subjects credential and I couldn't be happier. I was convinced during college that medical school was my future but was continually challenged during my year as Miss California when I understood the importance ofpersonal connection. It was the children who I wanted to get to know and build relationships and I didn't feel I could do so while operating. I can't wait to motivate and teach young people in the future and I am thrilled at the opportunity to work with the "little people" as Bob always used to call them :)

I finished my first semester with a 4.0 and after two weeks of break, I am ready to go back to school! I also continue to work at the Crystal Cathedral as the Director of Children's Ministry. I have had a few opportunities to dance, performing in a local Nutcracker production with Tustin Dance Center and look forward to performing in the Pulse show in Orange County at the end of January. I am so thankful that I continue to have opportunities to perform and I have every intention of dancing as long as I am able!

Perhaps one of the most exciting events that has happened since passing on the crown was welcoming my first nephew into the world at the end of August. I may be a bit biased, but he is the most adorable little guy I have ever seen! My brother and I are worried about when we have children in the future because he has set the "cuteness" standard very high! My oldest brother Robby and his wife Heather came to visit us in November with their son Ethan. And, I have to tell you, being an Aunt is likely the best job in the world!

Anyways, enough rambling from me... I hope that gives you all a little update on what I have been up to! I would love to hear from you about all of your adventures, families and updates in life! Feel free to email me anytime :)

In closing, as Miss America approaches I urge you to send positive thoughts/support/prayers out for Arianna as I know how stressful this time can be! I always said that preparing for Miss America week was like preparing for 30 different proms.... with all the shoes, earrings, dresses, outfits, etc. Not to mention the pressures of interview, talent, swimsuit, etc! Arianna is a talented, beautiful, energetic and charismatic young woman and I am SOO excited to watch her rock the Miss America stage! Make sure you all tune in on January 15th!