Monday, June 25, 2012

Miss CA: Day 3

Today was our first official rehearsal on stage with the whole crew!  We started rehearsing at 9AM this morning at the Saroyan Theater and it was brutal trying to learn all that choreography, but we did it!  Cassie, our amazing choreographer, does a fantastic job every year and she has not failed us this year either!  It took us pretty much all morning to fully learn all the dance moves as a group, but since after our rehearsal this afternoon, we all are having a blast and the dance numbers are so much fun!  Can't wait for you all to see the show!  Below is a video the local Fresno news Channel 30 made about what's going on in Fresno and how the festivities are bringing BIG money into the city.  I guess they have had a slow year in tourism, revenue, etc.  But I mean, who hasn't these day, right? It's great to know that the Miss CA Org. brings in a lot of business into Fresno.  The whole video is great, but I want you to click in at 1:37 to watch me concentrate really hard on learning the dance! :)

In between our dance rehearsals, we got to visit the Rotary Cub of Fresno! We got to have lunch and visit with the members there!  Rotarians are always a hoot and today they definitely made their mark!  The out-going president of the Fresno Rotary was have a "roast" session at this event.  The whole club made up a huge skit to make fun and joke about him and his accomplishments.  The "roast" was full of inside jokes that none of us contestants really understood, but it was still so fun to watch!  It is always fun to visit with people that give so much to others!  I truly believe in their motto "Service Above Self" and I am proud to know them!  The Rotary club will always have a special place in my heart because the Garden Grove Rotary Club sponsored me at Miss CA last year and helped me grow and blossom from all the experiences that came with it.  Thank you Rotary!

Tomorrow is the first preliminary night!  I will be performing on my harp and I am SO looking forward to it! Keep your fingers crossed! :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Miss CA: Day 2

Ready for interview with
my crown pin and all!
Today was INTERVIEW DAY!  I had one of the most important conversations in my life this morning and I am so glad that I finally got to meet the prestigious judges!  It was such a pleasure talking with them and I'm glad that they finally got to know me in person and not just from Twitter/Facebook/Blog! I look forward to seeing them again during this week's competitions. I want to shine for them and for you all as well! We'll see what happens on Saturday night!

We had a dance rehearsal to learn the opening number even more.  WOW! It sure is fast! We're dancing to "It Don't Mean A Thing If You Ain't Got That Swing" and it's a lot of dancing! I hope I don't fall :)  Now, I am getting ready for the Rotary Gala tonight.  We get to be dressy and "glammed" up tonight! I have a very special place in my heart for the Rotary Clubs because last year, the Garden Grove Rotary Club was my sponsor at Miss CA.  The members of this club do so much to the community and I look forward to meeting the Rotary members of Fresno! Stay tuned!
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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Miss CA: Day 1

Hello World!

Yes, I am here safe and well!  I arrived in Fresno with Miss Culver City, Marina Inserra with 2 suitcases and 2 garment bags.  Yes, I travel compact and prepared! That's good practice for the job of Miss CA! :)

Day one is not over yet, I have more to write tonight!  But so far, today has been a blast!  All 58 of us went to the Fresno City Hall to meet Mayor Ashley Swearengin and take photos of course!  The Miss CA Organization has taken place in Fresno for the past 19 years, so we have a pretty good legacy here!  Every year it is tradition to visit the city hall with a gift that represents you and the title you are representing.  Now, Fresno and Southern California both have lots of sun, but I’m lucky to have the sun AND the beach!  This year, I brought the mayor a CD with sounds of the ocean and a summer-style cup for a refreshing drink.  She obviously has a very stressful job, so having a way to escape to paradise is always nice!

While at the city hall, I got to reunite with so many familiar and new faces.  All of the contestants this year are such dear and genuine young women.  I am proud to call them my sisters.

With my favorite food in the
world (other than Thai Food): 
The Bacon Cheeseburger!
After the event at City Hall, we headed to lunch and to a very unexpected location I might add!  We actually got to eat lunch at The Habit BURGER grill!  WHAT?!  Pageant girls eating burgers?? I mean, I know I do, but it was so nice to eat a burger even when competing for Miss CA!  If you know me, you should already know what kind of burger I got.  Of course I got a bacon cheeseburger!  Thank you, Habit for feeding us your custom-made and fresh burgers! I am a happy girl right now!

Our day has not ended yet! We are attending a delicious BBQ at a beautiful mansion here in Fresno! This event will be sponsored by the Fresno Kiwanis Club and I look forward to meeting all the members!  Stay tuned for more!
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Okay it is late and I should not be writing on my blog, but I just wanted you keep you all updated on how the BBQ went.  First of all, there was Karaoke! Caylynn Simonson (my roommate) and I sang Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like A Woman" and it was a blast! Thanks for singing with me, Caylynn!  The BBQ was hosted by the Lester Family, which has been a huge supporter of the Miss CA Organization for many years and they always have held this BBQ at their home.  The food was hosted by the Fresno Kiwanis Club and they were so generous! They are good cooks!
By the end of the BBQ, Noelle had a genius idea to make a little music video!  To the Miss CA judges... Won't you pick me, for Miss Cali, maybe? :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rady Children's Hospital Visit

Today was another wonderful day because I got to visit a Children's Hospital.  This time, instead of visiting CHOC like I normally do, I drove down to San Diego to visit Rady Children's Hospital!  I didn't get to bring my harp this time, but it was still a memorable experience being with the "kiddos".  The experience was even better because Anna and Van came along (thanks Kati for setting up this visit for us!!!) This children's hospital in San Diego was built just over 2 years ago, so it is still pretty new.  Before CHOC made their enormous renovations, Rady used to be the largest children's hospital in SoCal. Regardless of it's "smaller" size, Rady still makes miracles for so many children and families every day.  Rady is still ranked in the Top 10 in U.S. News' Best Children's Hospitals.  They hold this honor very seriously!

The kids we met today were so adorable and reminded me how strong these sweet spirits are.  I am grateful every time I visit a place like this.  We went to the first playroom where we met Cassie and Aashiya who are two amazing young women. Aashiya was there to color and craft while still recovering from an appendix removal surgery! Wow!  I would have never known she was uncomfortable because she was so happy and excited to color with us.  And little Cassie, oh my word, she was the cutest little thing I have ever seen.  I colored a picture of Winnie the Pooh for her and signed it with my autograph.  I will never forget her tiny little voice say, "Tink you" (and yes she pronounced it like that). Our next stop was another playroom and there was a sweet young girl named Leah!  She and I were definitely excited because we had the same last name.  :)  She was there at her craft table making crowns with glitter (how perfect!)  Our last stop was to visit little Isabella who is obsessed with Disney princesses!  When we walked in her room, Anastasia was playing and I wanted to stay and watch the whole movie with her because it is one of my all time favorites (even though she doesn't have a Disney castle)!  She showed us all the Disney dolls she  had including Jasmine, Belle, Ariel, and even the new princess Merida!  Bella's mom told us that Bella normally-without Chemo)-has naturally long curly orange hair just like Merida! So precious :)

I learned something really cool about this hospital.  The whole hospital has an ocean theme, which is very fitting being that it's in San Diego, but each floor has a theme with matching decorations and wall murals.  The first floor is "underwater", the second floor is "beach", the third floor is "sky", and the fourth floor is themed "space" and this floor is open to only special cases and treatments.  It's a beautiful hospital and I am SO glad I got to visit this one!  Every time I visit a children's hospital, I become more and more proud to be a Miss America girl because we work so closely with the Children's Miracle Network.  Every cent that we raise as contestants goes to hospitals like Rady and CHOC and you can only imagine what miracles take place because of the funds raised.  I know that if I win Miss California this year that I will visit more hospitals (childrens, general, or veterans) and make it a state-wide tour!  I look forward to bringing my harp along with me too! :)

With Belinda (aka "B"), Anna, and Van

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I am truly grateful....

This is an ever-growing list of people that have made an impact in my life.  I feel that when going through such an important and high-stakes competition like Miss CA, that it's essential to count my blessings.  To those on this list: Thank you for being in my life!  You all are people that I will be thinking about as I am onstage in Fresno.  You are the people that I am doing this for and you are the people that keep me going.  Thank you for influencing me to do my best and always be myself.  I hope to make you all proud at Miss CA!

This list is in alphabetical order by first name and it is still being updated!
Love you all!

Mom and Dad (they’re always first)
Ariel Justice
Arlo Jorgensen
Art Meacham
Barbara and Russell Bell
Bill and Betty Farish
Camille Knecht
Chasta Nechvatal
Connie Lema
Daisy James
Damon Johnson
David and Marsha Stamper
Dean and Mira Anderson
Diane Wurtz
Doreen and Bill Witty
Dorothy Rose
Ellie Choate
Ernest Koneck
Flo and Larry Kelley
Grama and Grampa Elder
Grama and Grampa Johnson
Jeff and Bev Cecil
Jeff and Cyndi Jones
Jen Brooks
Jennifer Gallo
Jessica Becker
Jessica Tonti and Family
Jill and Larry Leslie
Joe Whiteko
Judy and John Crowder
Kalawai James
Kandee and Marc Anderson
Kati and Joe Enea
Keith Tibbitts
Kristi Sexton
Kristi Winn
Laura Brodowski
Mary Opperman
Melissa Mattingly
Michael and Kerry Caldwell
Mindy Schreiber and Family
Noelle Freeman
Patti Peterson
Patti Wunderlich
Paula Brown
Remy and Darek
Rick and Kim Nitta
Robert Batey
Ryan and Heather Dickens
Sherry Cain
Stacy Margolin
Steve Velez
Sweetheart Girls
Teresa Scanlan
Terry Dickens
The Cypress LDS Stake
The Garden Grove LDS Stake
The Garden Grove Rotary Club
The Hikawa Family
The Kerstner Family
The Margolin Family
The Tibbitts Family
Tom Moletteire
Veena Goel Crownholm
Wanda Reyes
Wendy Smith and Family

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Miss Nebraska 2012

Yes, I am in Nebraska!  You're probably wondering why and what the whole "CALI-BRASKA" stuff means and that's okay!  Here's the story:

Once upon a time, a young woman named Leah Cecil won first runner-up at Miss CA and was awarded the fantastic opportunity to compete at the National Sweetheart Competition (click for more info).  Last summer she flew to Hoopeston, IL to compete amongst the top young women that the Miss America Organization has produced.  The 30 women competing were first/second runner-ups in their state, so it was like a mini Miss America pageant!!...okay enough with all the cheesy third-person stuff! :)  While in Illinois, I had a roommate named Mindy Schreiber and we just clicked! I was so lucky to have her as my BFF during my exciting time at the Sweetheart Pageant!  Mindy ended up getting Miss Congeniality (which was NO surprise to me) and I got awarded the Patricia Musk Talent Award, so we both walked away with some great honors, but most important, a new friendship.  While in Illinois, we combined our states' names and now we are team "CALI-BRASKA". :)

When Mindy won Miss Omaha, her next step was to once again compete for Miss Nebraska!  Early on, the idea of visiting her pageant seemed like a great idea, but not possible at the time.  But after talking it over more with Mindy, I realized that I should just do it and cheer her on in person!  I'm SO glad I decided to come to Nebraska because I get to see Mindy again and I get to see her homestate too!  The Schreiber family has been SO gracious in letting me stay with them in their hotel and have been so much fun!  Mindy has her parents, grandparents, three sisters and brother, and her sweet supportive boyfriend, Caleb here.  It's a fun wild gang for sure (just like my family)!  I definitely feel at home here.

Anyway, I arrived on Friday and it was surely an interesting journey to North Platte!  I had to leave my house at 4AM in order to get to LAX 2 hours earlier than my 6:30 flight (LAX is a nightmare) and I first flew to Denver and then took a little jet plane with propellers to the little North Platte airport!  Mindy's mom and her local director were there waiting for me at the door and we were all ready to party!  Interesting story, on the small plant to NE I met the husband of a former Miss NE and he was one his way to see the show as well!

Friday night's preliminary show was a great production! The pageant is held at North Platte High School and the auditorium is HUGE!  The production is very similar to Miss CA, except there are only 13 girls and not 58, so the show is very short. The stage is beautiful, the emcees are hilarious and entertaining, and the girls are gorgeous (especially Mindy, of course!).  Speaking of the emcees, one is Patrick Thomas from "The Voice" and boy is he talented!  I did not get to watch the show much because I was busy with school, but when I heard him perform last night he gave me goosebumps!  He is hilarious as an emcee and phenomenal as a singer. He and Miss NE 2011, Kayla Batt, sang a beautiful duet and they sound so good together that they could record something and make it a hit.  They could be the next Lady Antebellum!  Good job Nebraska for putting him in the show!

Today (Saturday) is the final night for Miss Nebraska, so someone WILL get crowned the with the coveted title! I know I sound biased, but Mindy truly deserves it the most this year.  She is SO ready for the job and will dazzle the judges at Miss America.  She has not won any prelims yet, but that's okay (neither Noelle or I earned any prelim awards last year at Miss CA and we were the last two standing).  Despite earning no prelim awards, she has received some of the most honorable of all: The Miss NE Community Service Award, The Miss America Community Service Award, and the CMN Miracle-Maker Award for raising over $3,200 for Children's Miracle Network!  She will make it to the Top 7 tonight and from that point on, anything can happen.  It's all in God's hands right now.  Mindy knows that God has a plan for her and so she's ready for anything.  If you're reading this and you're a Miss NE judge, PLEASE PICK HER!!! :)  Good luck, Mindy! I love you and I am SO proud to know you! CALI-BRASKA all the way to Vegas, baby!

With Miss NE 2011, Kayla Batt
Today was also the Miss Nebraska Parade!  They had the local Boy Scout troop there along with the only world-famous Buffalo Bill impersonator.  He looked pretty good on that horse!  Kayla Batt and the Miss Nebraska contestants rode on a classic car of their own and showed off their beautiful smiles.  The parade reminded me a lot of the Garden Grove Festival Parade and the Hoopeston Sweetcorn/Sweetheart Parade!  Mindy looked stunning, as usual!

Fun fact: I went to Godfather's Pizza for the first time today! It was SOOO good, that's what I call pizza!  Caleb introduced me to Taco Pizza and it was surprisingly delicious!  It was still a pizza, but they put taco ingredients on it instead. Good job, Mr. Herman Cain!  I learned that the official headquarters for Godfather's is here in Nebraska!

Mindy will be coming to Fresno to watch me compete at Miss CA and I am SO excited for that.  If she is Miss Nebraska, I will be even more excited to know that my other half with a state title is there cheering me on!  Let's make this happen!

Check my Facebook or Twitter for updates on tonight!  I don't have a smart phone, so I won't be able to update right away. If you're anxious, check online anywhere else you can!

Mindy got First runner-up and was so gracious all night! YOU GO GIRL! And of course, congrats to the new Miss Nebraska, Mariah Cook!

Here are some fun facts about the State of Nebraska!

  1. Nebraska was once called "The Great American Desert".
  2. In 1927, Edwin E. Perkins of Hastings invented the powered soft drink Kool-Aid.
  3. The state nickname used to be the "Tree Planter's State", but was changed in 1945 to the "Cornhusker State".
  4. State insect is the honeybee.
  5. State motto: Equality before the law.
  6. The goldenrod was declared the state flower on April 4, 1895.
  7. The Naval Ammunition Depot located in Hastings was the largest U.S. ammunition plant providing 40% of WWII's ammunition.
  8. The Lied Jungle located in Omaha is the world's largest indoor rain forest.
  9. Nebraska is the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich.
  10. Spam (canned meat) is produced in Fremont.
  11. Nebraska has the U.S.'s largest aquifer (underground lake/water supply), the Ogalala aquifer.
  12. Nebraska has more miles of river than any other state.
  13. Nebraska is the only state in the union with a unicameral (one house) legislature.
  14. Nebraska's Chimney rock was the most often mentioned landmark in journal entries by travelers on the Oregon Trail.
  15. The 911 system of emergency communications, now used nationwide, was developed and first used in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  16. Nebraska has more underground water reserves than any other state in the continental U.S.
  17. Marlon Brando's mother gave Henry Fonda acting lessons at the Omaha Community Playhouse.
  18. Lincoln County is the origin of the world's largest "Wolly Mammoth" elephant fossil.
  19. Weeping Water is the nations largest limestone deposit and producer.
  20. The Nebraska Cornhuskers have been to a record 27 consecutive bowl games and 27 consecutive winning seasons
  21. The University of Nebraska Cornhusker football team has produced more Academic All-Americans than any other Division I school.
  22. The world's first college course about radio personality Rush Limbaugh is taught at Bellevue University in Nebraska.
  23. Origin of Nebraska's Name: From an Oto Indian word meaning flat water
  24. Nebraska's State Gem is the Blue Agate
  25. The largest porch swing in the world is located in Hebron, Nebraska and it can sit 25 adults.
  26. Union Pacific Railroad's museum is headquartered in Nebraska.
  27. Buffalo Bill Cody held his first rodeo in North Platte, Nebraska July 4, 1882.
  28. In 1950, Omaha became the home of the College World Series.
  29. Sidney, Nebraska was the starting point of the Black Hills Gold Rush.
  30. Dr. Harold Edgerton of Aurora, Nebraska is the inventor of the strobe light.