Tuesday, July 24, 2012

John Hancock Observatory, Boys & Girls Club, and Group Dinner & Pictures (Day 5)

Bright and early this morning all of the contestants loaded the buses for a trip into the city. It was raining so we had a change of plans. Instead of visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo we went shopping! We also visited the John Hancock Observatory which has the most breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Meghan Orsley, Miss Florida International 2012, and I had a great time this afternoon sightseeing together. At lunchtime we headed to the Boys & Girls
Club to spend time with the children and eat pizza. I was paired up with the cutest 3 year old. Aubrey was so spunky and full of life. She held my hand and guided me around the room to all the other Miss contestants. She had me read to her what
state they were from and then she asked for a signed picture from each contestant. Later in the evening we were treated to a wonderful dinner and inspirational speech by the famous Eddie Peterson (the California Intl director). All the ladies wore beautiful evening gowns for the group photo. All in all it was a great night with an amazing ending.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Orientation (Day 4)

The evening started with a wonderful dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen, then it was time to get ready for Orientation. It was so nice to finally meet all of the contestants face to face. Everyone looked fantastic and the room was full of energy. After an introduction of all the executive staff, we went over the timeline of activities and rehearsals, introduced ourselves, and had time to mingle. I am looking forward to this week and excited to have this experience.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Free Day (Day 3)

I got the opportunity today to spend time with my California crew. I am so privileged to have such a great group of people who make my pageant experience so great. First things first...Family is very important to me and I could not do anything
without my forever family. I am so happy to have my Papa with me every step of the way this year. I know my grandma is watching from heaven enjoying every minute of this. My mom (who always seems to duck out of pictures) is my foundation,
and without her I would have never been given the opportunity at a second chance at life. Kara is the most uplifting and motivational pageant coach...not to mention an extremely talented hair & make-up artist. Let's not forget my dear friend, Austin, who made me shine on the California stage last September and helped me obtain the title of Miss California Intl 2012. I am so glad you are here to support me and make me laugh. My sister
titleholder, Amanda, who is a true delight to always be around. I am so happy to spend this time with you and watch you shine. Last but never least...Eddie, you are and have been the greatest director twice! I value our friendship and love your support. Our friendship is unique and I would not change it for the world. Thanks for everything!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mrs. International Finals (Day 2)

The Mrs. International final was amazing this evening. I was so surprised to see Sarah Bertrand (Miss Teen Illinois International 2010) who I competed with two years ago for the title of Miss Teen International. She looked beautiful and it was great to reconnect. I am so proud of my sister titleholder, Jessica Cassidy, for her 1st runner
up placement. She is such a class act and I am honored to reign with her. At the end of the night the coveted Mrs International crown went to Sarah Bazey, Mrs. Minnesota International. Congratulations Sarah...your story & platform are amazing.

Chicago Here I Come! (Day 1)

Today was, hands down, one of the most eventful, fun, and exciting days of travel I have ever experienced. Our day started at 6 am, when we all hauled our 10 pieces of luggage to LAX. Mom, Papa, Kara and I spent the morning in the Admiral's Club chowing on delicious muffins and bagels. Our flight was canceled due to maintenance issues. After about an hour we were booked on another flight and we were off! After boarding
the plane I was pleasantly surprised to be called to the cockpit to meet the Captain. He asked to take a picture with me and wear my sash and crown. Once we landed in Chicago my Papa took a nasty fall in the airport. He just had back surgery so after a call to his surgeon, we were told to go straight to the emergency room, do not pass "GO", do not collect $200. Circumstances put aside, we had a blast in the hospital with the patients, nurses and doctors. By midnight Papa was given the thumbs up to be released and we were on our way to Skokie.
We were dead tired but our adventure was not quite over. With very empty bellies we searched relentlessly for a food establishment and were so grateful when the neon pizza signs glowed our way. Kara and I spent a good 30+ minutes rehearsing in the middle of the pizza parlor while our pizza was in the oven. What an eventful first day, can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

$10,000 donation to Luggage of Love from the Scott Foundation

I want to thank the Scott family for your generous donation of $10,000 to Luggage of Love. I am beyond words with your generosity, love, and support. So many children will benefit from your donation and it is people like yourselves who truly are making a difference in the lives of our foster youth. Simply put I am speechless.

Make-A-Wish grant of luggage for Tori's trip to Paris

Today I met the most inspirational young lady. Tori Sather is living with brain cancer. At an early age Tori found herself having mood swings and tripping all the time for no reason. Since the age of 5 her brain tumor had went undiagnosed until she was in her teens. Finally they found the culprit of all of Tori's troubles...a tumor the size of a softball. At the age of 15 Tori underwent surgery to remove the tumor. During the surgery, the left side of Tori's body became paralyzed. Since then, she has spent
countless months recovering in the hospital. She never gave up on her fight to gain feeling and mobility on that side of her body. Today she is mobile and continues to fight on. I am so inspired by Tori and all that she has gone through. She is a beautiful and strong person with a heart of gold. I adore you and your outlook on life. I hope you have the most amazing time in Paris and that you and your mother enjoy your luggage.