Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Camp to Belong

Today my travels took me to Orange County. I had the opportunity to spend time with an amazing group of foster, kinship, and adopted children. I was honored to be asked as the Inspirational Night Speaker at this event. This wonderful camp is a week long event and is held yearly. It's a place where siblings have a chance to reunite with one another after being placed in different homes. I can not tell you how much each and every camper touched my heart. They really embraced my story and even shared some of theirs with me. I hope I inspired them to never give up on their dreams and understand that their circumstances only make them stronger. I concluded my speech by letting each of the 60 campers know that Luggage of Love brought a new piece of luggage for each one of them to take home. Should any of those campers read this blog entry, I want them to know that I believe in them and should they every need anything I am only an e-mail away. I love you all!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 9...Hair, Rehearsals & Miss Teen Intl. Finals...

Tonight was the final night of competition. This morning was an early one.....6:45 am hair appointment. Then it was off to rehearsals. I can honestly say that I had so many emotions running wild through me all day. Once rehearsals were completed I returned back to my hotel room where my whole family was waiting with open arms. They truly calm my nerves and in no time I was off to the theater to get ready for finals. I chose my best friend, Meghan, my boyfriend, Andy, and of course my mom, Tonya, to walk me to the theater. They are all so very important in my life and always put me in a good place prior to any competition. The teen contestants are all so very amazing. Each and everyone of them have a story and truly work their platforms. I am honored to be a part of such a phenomenal group of young ladies. As we took the stage with the Miss contestants the anticipation grew. When the top 10 were announced I was included. I was so honored to be a part of this group. When everything was said and done the new Miss Teen International was Miss Teen East Coast International, Juliana McKee. She is an amazing young lady who devotes her time to the American Heart Association and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. I know she will do a fantastic job and will use her crown and sash to bring awareness and educate the country on her cause. Although I did not bring home the title I feel like a winner no matter what. I met so many wonderful people and I am honored to be a part of a pageant system that truly showcases the women of today and their accomplishments within their community. More importantly I have the most amazing family a little girl could have dreamed of and they make my life better everyday. I am thankful for their unconditional love and support and humble to be given all these opportunities given my past.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 8......FREE DAY!!! Miss Intl Preliminaries Tonight

FREE DAY!!! So what did I do? I slept in of course! When if finally motivated myself to get up and around I went to lunch and had the most delicious chocolate shake. After lunch I came back to the hotel room and hung out with my family. We all just sat around and made one another laugh. As the evening drew near I had to get ready for the Miss International Preliminaries. All of the Teen Contestants met in the lobby before walking over. And to our surprise we were escorted through an underground tunnel from the hotel to the auditorium because it was raining. The Miss did very well, and it was nice to see my sister titleholder, Grethel, onstage working it. I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow in the finals.

Day 7......Judges Rehearsal & Prelims!!!

Yesterday was a very exciting day. I started early with a visit to Tammy's room to get my hair done. We had such a fun time laughing and learning all about the neat things in Alabama. Thank you "Mama" (Tiffany) for making my hair look amazing. Then it was off to judges rehearsal, where we perfected our opening number and had time to practice with our sister miss contestants. After rehearsal we were excused to get ready for the evening preliminaries. The venue looked great and everyone was so excited you could see the anticipation in their eyes. There were so many incredible dresses and we all had such a great time backstage. Congratulations Miss Teen North Carolina Intl., Megan Willey for winning the congeniality award. Megan is such a sweetheart and the award is well deserved. Also congratulations to Miss Teen Arkansas Intl., Mollie Parker for winning the photogenic award she defiantly wins it hands down...a true beauty! I want to thank my family and friends for supporting me I love you all with all my heart! You all mean the world to me and I appreciate all that you do. And Happy 50th Birthday Uncle Steve, thanks for celebrating your 50th at my really means a lot to me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 6...Make up, Personal Interview, & Rehearsal

Today was the very first day of the actual competition. The personal interview portion of the pageant is my favorite, and it just so happens that mine was this morning!!! I met with Stephanie, the make-up artist, at 9ish to have my make-up done, and she worked her magic. Stephanie is very talented and I admire her work greatly, she really has a heart of gold. I headed back to my room once my make-up was completed to get my interview suit on and I was off to my interview. Eddie, my amazing director, walked me to my interview and offered words of wisdom and advice. He is one of those people I could listen to for hours. Once up in the waiting room I posed for a few pictures by myself and with my interview group. My interview went extremely well and I would have to say that I really enjoyed every aspect of the process this time. Later that afternoon we all met in the lobby to take a few pictures and head over to practice. Once practice was over we all went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I had a lot of fun today and I can't wait to compete at prelims should be exciting!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 5 - Group Photo & Dinner

This evening we were treated to a fabulous dinner. All of the Miss and Teen contestants gathered in the hotel lobby before we were escorted to the front of the theater where we would have our official group photo taken. After the pictures we walked back to the hotel and went into the ballroom for a formal dinner as a group. We laughed and giggled at the different speeches, and had time to relax after a long day of appearances and rehearsals. All the ladies looked amazing in their dresses that seemed to reflect their own person styles. I had a really good time and I am honored to be a part of the International Pageant System.

Day 5.....Navy Pier and the Boys & Girls Club

Today was so much fun! We boarded a bus and headed into the city, our first stop....the Navy Pier. After posing for a group photo we climbed aboard a jet propelled boat called the "Seadog". I had the honor of sitting with Miss Teen Florida, Lauren Eschbach. She is very beautiful and genuine person. We visited, joked, and laughed a lot together. After the boat ride we headed back to the bus where we were driven to our next destination.

Our final stop on this outing was at the Boys & Girls Club, which I can say was by far the best of all three destinations for me. As you all know my heart goes out to any & all children so being at the Boys & Girls Club and having the opportunity to spend some time with these precious individuals was just the icing on the cake! Each of my pageant sisters and I handed out and autographed pictures for the kiddos. But I chose to flip the process around a bit by asking for the children to autograph one to me. They are just as important if not more and I really wanted them to feel like that. They were so excited when I would ask them to sign my paper. I had the privilege to be paired up with a little girl named Izabelle (Izzy). She was such a delight and full of love. To my surprise upon leaving Izabelle did something very interesting. She gave me her stuffed Lion named Simba. I was speechless. I had done something similar while at the shelter and I never knew the feeling the other person felt when receiving the I do. Words can not describe the feelings I felt knowing that this was one of Izabelle's toys, and she was giving it to me so I could remember her. It was such a heartfelt moment......for both of us.