Thursday, September 16, 2010

Zone 2

This may be common knowledge, but I have just learned something very interesting:

I have been busting my butt at the gym trying to get my cardio in gear -- running on inclines at 7.0, 7.5, even 8.0 mph, sweating through multiple shirts, getting my heart rate up as high as 191 and maybe sometimes more, its madness ... and its extremely tiring.

Finally, I decided to ask one of the trainers at my gym to tell me why I work so hard and am not seeing much of an improvement. He took one look at my heart rate monitor that I try to wear during all of my workouts, and gasped. APPARENTLY, getting your heart rate that high is over-training and isn't really benefiting me. I'm burning the muscle I worked so hard to gain and the fat just kind of gets bypassed. When I asked him what to do to burn the fat, he said I need to do EASIER WORKOUTS!!!! WHAT?! Yes. He suggested I try to keep my heart rate right around 150, which would put me in my "Zone 2," or my fat burning zone. I tried it this morning, and all I had to do was walk at 4.0 on an incline to get it there. IT WAS SO EASY!! I couldn't believe it, and frankly, I didn't trust it. So ... I went on the Internet to see if what he said was true.

It turns out, staying in the fat burning zone is EXACTLY the way you can shed those extra pounds, which means keeping your heart rate lower and not working as hard. This concept is just beyond me, but facts are facts. I'm nervous to give this a try, but I don't think I've got anything to lose! I'm going to focus very strongly on staying in zone 2, and MAYBE it will work! WHO KNEW?! If anyone knows any more information about this or can offer some encouraging success stories please let me know, I'm doubtful and curious. YIKES. But here goes nothing ... :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Well well, today is Wednesday. It has been such a fun and busy few weeks!! I judged a crazy hat contest at the Barker family picnic, I attended Winfield Days and judged a talent contest, I participated in a shoe kicking contest (its exactly like it sounds, lol), I was on the radio to promote the SOS Children's Village, I helped raise money for the Castle Challenge in Dekalb with Miss Iowa USA ... and the list goes on and on! Excitement is never more than a day away, and as the days go on I am beginning to realize how fast it all goes by. ITS CRAZY!

I continue to be excited that there are so many young women looking forward to this year's competition. It is definitely going to be a great year to compete since this is the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Miss USA Pageant system. I think its going to be an absolute ball of a time, and I can't wait to meet all of the lovely and driven women in person at the seminar in October. For those competing -- make sure you keep asking questions, getting help wherever you can, and working hard! Only two months left!! YOU CAN DO THIS!

The best part about life for me lately has been reconnecting with old friends and figuring out what I want to do with myself. For the past few years I have had such a strong focus on finishing college, getting a job, and winning a pageant title that I haven't given myself much time to just enjoy things. I am excited because although I am still quite busy, I have taken some time to get back in touch with old friends, finish reading a few books, and practice the piano again. It may seem petty, but its very exciting for me! Also ... I am THRILLED because I have FINALLY found my calling. After quitting my job with Robinson & Maites, exploring the world of Sales with IST Management, working part time as a freelance designer, writer, and training at the gym, I have FINALLY decided what the heck I want to do with my life! It is such a relief too, because this is something that has really been bothering me. I have had a lot of experience this year with radio and television, getting up at a microphone in front of an audience, and participating in some really cool things that get me very excited. I have decided that I absolutely 100% want to be in broadcasting in one form or another. I am very excited about it, I am driven to do it, and I am determined to make it happen. I am grateful for the Illinois pageant system, Daphne Ortiz, my mom, and all of the people who have helped me this year for giving me the opportunity to realize this!

Sooo, besides that, I am very much looking forward to the next events I have lined up. I will be volunteering at the SOS Village Balloon launch to help raise money for the orphan and foster children in Lockport. I will be working with the Save Abandoned Babies organization to help kick off their newest awareness campaign. I will do a ribbon cutting at a new restaurant in Arlington Heights called Salsa 17, I will be mingling with the Boy Scouts of America at their 100th Anniversary celebration, doing a photoshoot, working with the Honor Flight, and so much more. Fit it all in before the title is passed on to the next girl you say? Well, alright!! :)

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cure Juvenile Myositis

Please Vote!!! Cure JM at:

They're so close to the big win, and today is the last day to help. Its a wonderful cause, please vote!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Game Time Dine

Thursday evening I had the opportunity to give a live cooking demonstration with DC Crenshaw for "Game Time Dine." I was to prepare, cook, and serve two of my favorite dishes for the live studio audience. I chose to make my home-made pasta noodles with a creamy vodka sauce, as well as crispy golden chicken with potatoes. I wasn't told to bring anything with me to the studio, so I came with nothing by myself (and my camera of course!)

This was to be the final episode for the second season of Game Time Dine, and their first ever live performance. I think it made everyone a little nervous, and sadly, we didn't seem to create the perfect show. However, we had a fabulously fun time doing it, and the viewers both in the studio and watching at home on Facebook seemed to be interested -- they asked a lot of great questions.

One question that came up a few times for me was how I choose to eat when I am prepping for a competition such as when I was getting ready to compete for Miss Illinois USA and Miss USA. Well, to be honest, it's not very exciting, guys. I try to eat as clean as possible, meaning everything is fresh. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh fish, cottage cheese, etc. Basically, if it doesn't rot in a day or two it shouldn't be going into my body. However, that's what I do when it starts to get down to the wire. There are a lot of great, tasty and filling things you can eat for the months leading up to your competitions that will help your body get itself in the right shape. Check online or at your local bookstore for books like the Flexitarian Diet, Clean Eating, etc. I just take recipes from books like those and try to eat at least three or four times a day along with drinking lots and lots of water. Not only is it good for my body, it's great for my skin too!

Speaking of skin, I remember when I was growing up my mom always told me that I had so many pimples because I ate too much chocolate. I didn't believe it for a second and kept right on eating it ... I just saw a dermatologist to help the problem. However, it seems that mom may have been right (don't tell her I said so though!). When I was clean eating for Miss IL USA and Miss USA I really didn't have any skin problems. BUUUUT, when I got home from Las Vegas after the pageant and ate what I wanted without hesitation, my face looked like a pepperoni pizza. Not only that, but the weight I had worked hard to lose had started to come back. Sooo, I started clean eating again a few weeks ago, and I have already seen a huuuuge improvement in my skin, as well as the fit of my clothes. I hadn't changed my workout routine at all, I simply started eating better and the changes began to take place. This, again, reiterates how important I think a healthy diet is when you are trying to be in great shape. Truly, I could work out for hours and wouldn't have much to show for it if I didn't eat right. The two must work together!!

And now I'm off to the airport. I'm flying to Atlanta tonight on a business trip! I return tomorrow evening and Tuesday morning I move to Chicago. OOOOOH the madness. :) I'm looking forward to very busy and exciting week!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Saturday evening, Brandon and I competed in the DWI4 Latin Rhythms dance competition. We rocked the show with a nearly flawless performance, and the crowd went wild. As nervous as I was right before getting on stage, hearing the audience cheer that way was the most exhilarating feeling I've had in a long time, and all my nerves turned to excitement. My advice to anyone who is ever watching a stage performance ... be a good audience! It brings so much more life into the performer, and you will definitely see a better show. The cheering helped my confidence, which improved my dancing, which made the show more exciting to watch. I can't wait to get the video and watch it from an audience view! I am so so so happy I had this opportunity to learn to dance, and I can't wait to continue learning at Latin Rhythms this fall. Look out for me next summer at DWI5!


Last week, I attended a business/leadership seminar in Dallas, Texas. I was hesitant to go since it was a lot of money and I just left my full time job to pursue other interests, but I'm so glad I decided to go through with it. It was extremely motivating, and at some parts even made me cry with the stories they were presenting to us. Who knew a business seminar could be so powerful? One thing that really touched me is when one woman said this:

"God didn't have time to make a nobody. He only had time to make a somebody -- and that is you."

I thought this was an awesome quote, because its true! I keep thinking about the girls who will be competing in the Miss Illinois USA pageant this year, and as I've said in past blog posts ... it makes me excited. I remember this time one year ago, I was at the gym twice a day, thinking about what my evening gown would be, practicing my interview with my parents, and just focusing 100% on the goal I wanted more than anything in the world to achieve. I was just being myself ... a recent graduate, living at home, working a new job, wondering whether or not I would ever make my dreams come true. Little did I know in just a few short months, my life would be changed drastically. It could happen to anyone. If you just realize that you were meant for greatness and put your heart and soul into it, it could be YOU with that crown on your head in November. WHO KNOWS! But what better way to find out if Miss Illinois USA 2011 is your destiny than by giving it your best shot?

Something else that touched me at the seminar is, "If your friends don't laugh at you, your goals aren't big enough." I remember my first year trying for Miss Illinois USA I didn't tell anyone I was doing it. I didn't want to spread the news and come home without anything to show for it. But after I had that first experience I knew I had to let people know my intentions if I was going to make it happen. I told everyone. Friends, family, even strangers! It kept me accountable. A lot of people were shocked when I told them, because back then I didn't even wear make-up let alone high heels, but it gave me something to prove, I think. If everyone in my life knew I was trying to be the next Miss Illinois USA, I had to follow through. My thought was, "Even if I go home without the crown, I'll know I gave it my 100% BEST effort, and that's just the way it was meant to happen."

The trick with pageantry ... or with ANY aspect of life ... is that you simply cannot wait for your ship to come in. You have to swim out and get it. If you want something badly enough, you will find a way to get it. For me right now, there are many things I wish to achieve, but of course, some of them or closer to my heart than others. What is it for you? What do you want more than anything in the world? Now ... how do you go about getting it?

I am sooo excited for the coming months, as I'm sure many of the women in training and preparation right now are too. My wish to you is to enjoy the journey, and get help where you need it. Ask me, ask your friends, your family ... but set that goal for yourself and turn it into a reality. If you're going to bother dreaming at all, you might as well dream big ... and if you're going to bother trying, you may as well try your best. GET IT, GIRL!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tech Rehearsal

Mom and I are about to leave momentarily for the tech rehearsal to my "dancing with the instructors" competition. I am so excited for her to see the dance that my partner Brandon and I have been working so hard on over the past few weeks. It's going to be a tango that turns into a salsa ... its very fun, sexy, and fabulous. At the end we do a really cool trick where Brandon throws me up in the air and I spin around really fast, then he flips me over and pulls me into a final dip. Oh boy oh boy, it's going to be amazing. I can't wait for the competition next weekend! Lets just hope this time I don't nail him in the face like I did during the last round's tech rehearsal. YIKES!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dew Tour

This past weekend I attended the Dew Tour at Soldier Field in Chicago. I got to sit at the Q-101 radio station booth signing autographs and taking pictures for awhile before I was escorted to the VIP section to watch the athletes compete. I had never watched a BMX event before, and it was incredibly exciting to attend. After the competition I was delighted for the opportunity to present the awards to the winners along with NBC Sportscaster Daryl Hawks. It was a very exciting event that I am glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of as Miss Illinois USA.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


It really hasn't been getting any better as far as busy-ness goes. I haven't seen the sunshine much this summer ... I hear its been kind of hot out there. Late nights and early mornings with an average of 3 hours of downtime for showering (maybe) and sleeping between commutes has finally gotten to be too much for me. I've decided that I simply am not happy, and have come to the conclusion that I need a change. After all ... no one is going to change your life for you. If you're unhappy with the way things are going, you are the only one who has the power to turn things in a more positive and productive direction. So I've taken the first step -- I have put in my two weeks notice at my prestigious career. Eek! Unfortunately, I did this without having anything lined up, which perhaps isn't what most would suggest in this rough economy. However, I have come to realize that you are either going for your dreams and making your life what you want it to be, or you are giving up and settling for what you are. I refuse to settle.

So now I am embracing life's next adventure, and I am confident that the universe will produce something good as long as I continue to work hard toward my "next big thing." Its scary to be without work right now, especially since I now pay rent for my own place and am no longer living in the warm and comfy confides of my fantastically amazing parents. However, I am certain (albeit daring) that I will make something work for now.

But what is it that I want to do? I've had such specific goals for so long that were incredibly important to me that I am almost unsure I can top it! In fact, I was thinking again about the last time I *really* knew what I wanted - when I was training to compete for the Miss Illinois USA title last year. Maybe you'll be interested to hear a quote that had inspired me then:

"There is only one quality which one must possess to win, and that is the definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it."

-Napoleon Hill

Perhaps this is what I need to discover for myself, and what you reading this right now needs to discover as well. What are our true goals and desires? What do we want for our lives? Are we settling, or striving for something bigger and better which we are confident we can achieve? Maybe its a weight loss goal, maybe a career goal, or maybe its even something to do with building better relationships with friends and family. Regardless, it probably wouldn't hurt for us to take a step back, analyze where we are against where we want to be and map out a way to get there. Haha, well ... I'm glad I had this talk with my blog, because I think I may have just figured out my next steps. Woohoo!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm so excited for all of the wonderful young women who are in preparation mode for the 2011 Miss Illinois USA Pageant! A few girls have gotten in touch with me with their questions, and I must say ... the energy is incredible. I'm so proud of everyone who is laying out her goals and going for it! As Walt Disney once said, "If you dream it, you can do it." I believe it!

This weekend I'll be attending an event in Chicago that should be a great time. There will be live music, vendors, shows ... and I get to hang out in the VIP tent! Earlier in the week my dance partner and I began really rehearsing our dance number for the competition that will take place in Chicago on August 7th, and woooo it's gonna be saucy! We're doing a tango that breaks into a salsa, I'm so excited :) He's teaching me to do some wild moves though, and actually on Tuesday I totally threw out my neck! It still hurts to look down no matter how much I stretch. EEK! But now that my neck knows the trouble its in for, it probably won't ache as much after the next practice (at least I hope not).

Have a great weekend everyone, keep working toward your goals ... and don't let yourself get too hot with this icky weather!! :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quick Updates

I cannot believe it is the last day of June and I haven't had a chance to post an update since the 15th. So much has been happening, and I apologize for waiting so long to write!

Life has been nuts. I don't have a clue how I'm handling it right now ... and to be frank, I'm not really balancing it well at all. I always considered being busy as a blessing, but being soooo busy might not be as good as I once thought. I've been so stressed I'm getting sick, I haven't slept more than 4 hours a night in three weeks, and the worst part -- OK lets see if I can admit this to the world -- I have now found 9 gray hairs on my head. 9! And there are probably more in back, yikes! I blame it completely 100% on stress, although my mom tends to think it has a bit to do with heredity. Whatever mom, if you want to take the blame be my guest!

However, amidst all of the chaos and sleepless nights, I have been having some fantastic adventures: Of course as you know I advanced in my dance competition and will get to compete in the final round in August for which I've been trying to rehearse as much as possible. In addition to that, I had the opportunity to participate in my home town's "Old Canal Days" parade; I rode a float with local girl scout troops and each girl had her own little tiara -- so cute! I've been to 2 out-of-town weddings with about 5 more to come before my summer is through. It has been wonderful to see people beginning their lives together, and now that I can enjoy the cake without feeling guilty (!) its extra wonderful! I co-hosted the ABC 7 Traffic Jam 5K run in Grant Park, and I played BINGO with adults with disabilities at Bethsham in Palos Heights. I'm planning to move August 1st, so finding a place to live has been lots of fun -- we haven't found anything yet, but I am confident my roommate and I will find our gem eventually! And lastly (almost), I've been trying to be as active as possible in different areas of business to learn as much as I can about my career and being a successful business woman and entrepreneur - tonight I will attend an event in Chicago called "Step Up for Beauty and Brains." And lastly (for real), I've been setting up appointments to instruct women on proper skin care as I had planned, and have been scheduling appointments for myself on how to keep my body healthy and balanced through proper nutrition and exercise. It really has been a crazy load of different activities lately, and I've been learning so much. There really is nothing like learning and networking and having new experiences!!!

OK So now I've got to run, but that was the quick update. I hope to have a more thoroughly composed and more interesting blog post to write in the next few days, but we'll see. I hope everyone has a safe and fantastic holiday weekend!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Advancing to the Final Dance Round

Saturday night, after many long days of rehearsal with lots of sweat, sore muscles and even a bloody nose or two, Brandon and I rocked the dance floor at the Chicago Theater for the Performing Arts advancing to the next round of competition. I was soooo excited, not only because I tried so hard, but because I really wanted to continue working with Brandon and learn more beautiful dance moves! After failing to reach my goal at Miss USA, this felt wonderful. My face beamed, I could see my mom as happy as could be in the audience, and I was just plain HAPPY. The hard work paid off -- and it was a BLAST. Brandon and I will start rehearsing for the final competition to be held in Chicago on August 7th. I am so so so pumped!! Who knew I could even dance at all, and now here I am advancing to the final round. Wow!

So theeeeen ... this morning I read something in a book that really hit home:
"Most people live and die with their music still unplayed. They never dare to try. Why? Because they lack self-confidence. Women, especially, have so much potential they never tap."

This really got me thinking because all my life, I never would have guessed that I would participate in the Miss USA Pageant. I never thought I'd throw out the first pitch at the Cubs game. I never thought I'd have 4 different business cards at one time, and I never thought I'd be the star in a 'dancing with the stars' competition and get to work with, in my opinion, the best dancer there ever was. Throughout my life I have tried so many things and failed them, but I never stopped exploring new opportunities. But I have to ask -- why women? Why are women the ones that fail to tap into their natural gifts? This really bugs me. I may have 'failed' at Miss USA among other things, but it opened up doors to try so many other avenues I never would have discovered otherwise! I suppose my greatest failures have lead me to my greatest adventures. Try and try again, as they say -- its worth it!

It has been said, "We fail forward to success. We learn from our failures. The person who never fails never attempts anything." I think getting back up when you're down and trying again is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only to experience all of the amazing things life has to offer, but also to give yourself a new thrill every now and then -- to have something for which to strive, something to be excited for, and something to dream about.

OK I'm done being a philosopher for now ... but think about it. Have you explored your inner gifts? If not, you should. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING if you put your mind to it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

BlackHawk Fever!

Chicago is a madhouse! I took an early train in today because we were supposed to have an early meeting at 9, and although the meeting totally didn't start yet I'm glad I came early because it is CRAZY on the streets!

The reason it is nuts is because there is a parade today celebrating the Chicago Blackhawk's win Wednesday night when they took home the Stanley Cup. The streets are totally painted red with people and their clothing and banners supporting the Hawks. Even the fountain at Daley Plaza is dyed red!

There are police and barricades along the path of the parade. The event doesn't start until 10:30am, but when I walked through around 8am and it was packed. I can't imagine what it's like right now at 9:30!

This is a very exciting day for Chicago Hawk's fans. I can hear sirens going off constantly from my office and I wonder if its for emergencies or just crowd control and excitement. Looking out my window now, you can't even see the sidewalks -- its all just people in red. So exciting!!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

An Explanation on the New Business Venture

Recently, a close friend wrote me an email in response to something I had posted on my blog a few days back. It made me wonder if others were feeling the same way ... so I have decided to address his concerns publicly.

He wrote:
"I happened upon your blog today, where after reading about refreshingly strange hair dreams that felt out of sync with the previous gauntlet of pageant preparations, I found this:

'I have decided to use the skills I gained while preparing for Miss Illinois USA and Miss USA to influence and help other women. However, I am going to take it slowly. If there is anything I have learned through all of this, it is that rushing things just causes you to do it at a lower quality than you should. I want to do this right, and slowly but surely, I think I will.'

Which felt like pure concentrate wisdom bubbling with well-adjusted purpose. But then my admiration was ... murdered?

'So what is my new goal that is going to help other women? I am going to sell make-up! LOL!'

Most of the time I make it my mission to outrageously support you, even twist my ethics a bit to explore dimensions of thought and ways of being that I find uncouth, but tonight I'm going to nix the sideshow and ask:

Are you certain selling make-up is going to lead to women's empowerment? Should (can) confidence come in products? Wouldn't you say, be better positioned to teach people how to exercise to tone their body in a healthy way or eat right instead of hide/amplify/alter what they actually look like for a cultural construction of beauty that keeps them enslaved to consumerism, objectification and emphasis on, what, at the end of the day doesn't matter that much?"

Reading this message naturally caused me to become a bit defensive. I was even a little angered, and didn't know what to think. My gut was saying, “How could he, a friend, not even a stranger, have perceived your words like that? Doesn’t he see the humor in my remarks?” I must come off differently via typing that I do via personal interactions. However, I have gone ahead and let this comment "bake" for a few days. Now ... I think I'm ready to answer his question. You see, sadly for me, he was right in much that he said. However, the problem is that I explained my motives poorly under the pure assumption that people would understand what I was thinking without a proper explanation. I caused a reader (and a friend) to misunderstand my thoughts and in turn think negatively of my intentions and actions. This is a serious thing that needs to be addressed, and I hope to do so now.

First of all, I feel that a woman's empowerment and confidence comes from a multitude of different areas. It’s unique for every woman, but for me ... I am confident when I am feeling at my best. That means my best physically, emotionally, and mentally among other elements. It's simple really -- when I look good, I feel good. When I am in a good mood emotionally, it radiates and attracts the good moods of others creating positive energy. When I am mentally in the right place I am able to take charge of myself and my surroundings, making the best of it. Those three parts create a confident woman who is happy. But that is what works for me. Other women, perhaps, work differently. However, it has been my observation that over all, women DO feel the most confident when they are happy with their appearance. This may be the driving force behind the media and displays of "perfect" looking woman achieving fame, success, beauty and love ... but nevertheless it is a feeling many women cannot avoid.

Sure, I could teach people how to "exercise to tone their body in a healthy way or eat right instead of hide/amplify/alter what they actually look like [through make-up] ..." However, I somehow feel that it is almost on the same level of insult.

Now, my intention for selling make-up is not truly just that as it sounds. My intention was to take the skills and lessons I have learned as Miss Illinois USA to bring confidence to other women. You see, before being crowned Miss Illinois USA I didn't wear much make-up. I also didn't wear jewelry, my nails were rarely manicured let alone colored and my hair was often thrown into a bun on top of my head. If you can picture this you will see a very casual girl and not the "typical" image of a beauty queen. Gaining the title of Miss Illinois USA offered me the opportunity to rethink those attributes. I was never forced, never asked, or never influenced to take hold of my appearance, but I found that as I went to different events and met various people I just felt a lot more confident and outgoing when I knew I looked my best. Maybe that is how this style and, may I say, stereotype of beauty queens came to be -- through women trying to gain confidence by looking and feeling their best.

Thinking of this early on, I wondered how I could be certain to feel as confident as possible at the Miss USA Pageant. I did my research and found some people to help me. I took lessons in walking, interviewing, applying make-up, doing hair, and more. I worked with people on developing a professional and attractive wardrobe. I worked with others on health and nutrition, as well as sculpting and leaning out my body. And still I worked with others on ‘working a room’ and creating random (but insightful) conversation with strangers. I learned to look, be, and feeeeeeeel like a confident and impressive woman ... and I liked it.

Now -- when thinking of a way to develop a NEW GOAL for myself, keeping in mind that I sincerely desire to earn additional income, I came up with a solution I thought was quite perfect. I could combine the skills I have learned, practiced and developed with the things I truly care about, while earning a living that might possibly put me in a financial position that is better than the one I'm in now. As different opportunities came and went, the one that stuck out the most was the opportunity to begin my own business selling skin care products including make-up, and instructing on application. Although this isn't something I ever thought I'd do, it has recently become attractive to me for many reasons:

1. It brings people together. I am itching for an opportunity to speak, network with, and get to know more people. I love one-on-one engagements with people, as well as the fact that you truly can make an impact on another person's life through something as simple as conversation. This new business venture provides me with the opportunity to do that.
2. It helps me help women feel confident. I have learned so much over the past year and have developed immensely. If I can turn myself from a roll-out-of-bed slug to a hey-look-at-me diva who has the world at her fingertips, why can't I educate others in taking a similar approach to embracing their inner [powerful and confident] woman? I would love the opportunity to show people the things I've learned. This new business venture provides me with the opportunity to do that.
3. It helps me develop myself as a business professional while earning extra income. Unfortunately, the idea of providing women with skin-care and make-up lessons did come with a bit of selfishness in the sense that I have tried different ways of earning additional income with little success, and truly require an increase to reach further goals of mine. The sales woman in me got excited about the possibility of marketing my knowledge and skills to yes, better the lives of others, but also ... to better my own life.

When considering my alternative options and/or interests (teaching piano lessons again, working at a gym, or further developing my freelance web-design business), sales seems like my best bet. The fact that I could do sales for products I have spent the last year getting to know inside and out and learning to love was just a bonus. I think this business venture may be good because although it may not necessarily be the thing I am the "best" at, but it is something I'm interested in, something I feel I could excel at, and something that is flexible enough to work with my extremely chaotic schedule. Another bonus! With the opportunity being dangled in front of me like a bone to a dog, I jumped at it. If it turns out to be no more than another business venture gone sour, so be it. But if it ends up being a move that helps me and others to feel good -- great!

It is disappointing to know that my ideas are not always supported, but I believe this is just part of life. I have come to learn that I can never please everyone, as hard as I may try. My dad used to tell me a metaphor that goes: "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." It means that sometimes things go great and sometimes they don't, but its all part of the game. You just have to keep playing!! Well, this is what I'm doing and I'm VERY excited about it. I have big plans to make my newest venture my best yet. I know it will be as successful and as rewarding as I make it, and although it would be easier with the support of others, a lack of support will not distract me. For any confident woman, it is important to keep your eye on your goals and never give up. This is another stepping stone toward an ultimate goal I have every intent on achieving.

And that's all she wrote! Comments welcomed and encouraged.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Weekend of Fun Events

Things really got exciting this past weekend. First, on Saturday … my dance partner and I rehearsed for the local dancing with the stars competition over and over and over. It got to be soooo much fun once we started getting the moves with the music. Its so nice to have our choreography come together with the song and I just can’t wait to get on stage this Saturday! We’re doing a salsa/rumba dance to a piece by the Four Seasons. It’s so sexy and sensual, but so fun and exciting. I think it’s really going to get the crowd going … but may make my boyfriend a bit nervous, haha. Brandon (my dance partner) has really helped me to feel my body with the music. He is teaching me how to expose my sexuality with dance, and to capture the moment in a captivating and sensual way that will excite the audience. I never thought to utilize my body this way with dancing, and it’s has been a truly amazing new experience. But truly, my boyfriend has nothing to be nervous about – he’s going to loooove our dance so much he’s going to want to become a dancer himself!

On Sunday, I attended an event for Athletes Against Drugs held by Stedman Graham. I was instantly thrust into a room jam packed with celebrities and loved every moment of it. The event was amazing, but sadly, I’m so bad at knowing celebrities I really didn’t even know who the heck I was meeting – what a waste of a ticket on me!! At one point I was talking to a group of really huge men and was thinking to myself, “Oh geez, this is probably the whole starting line of the Chicago Bears and I don’t even know it!” I didn’t know who Stedman Graham was either at first, and when Oprah walked in I was like, “Err, whoops!” I met one of the members of Destiny’s Child, an actor who is up and coming in a bunch of hit television series, the head honchos of many major organizations such as FedEx, Sara Lee and more, and my all time favorite … Mr. Jim Oberweis, founder and owner of Oberweis Dairy. I actually sat next to him for dinner which is why I’m so excited about it. Number one, the man specializes in ice cream – is there anything not to love about that? And number two, he is about to take a trip abroad with his wife in which he will spend a few days in Rome. Between ice cream and Rome, I don’t think there is much else in my life that I just truly, truly love with all my heart. This man made my whole night, and he was such a nice person too. He gave me a pass for free ice cream at Oberweis!! I mean, that was a deal maker. Mr. Oberweis – you’re da man.

OK but for those of you who don't know ... here's a little bit of history of Athletes Against Drugs. AAD is an organization of athletes, celebrities, and corporate leaders whose goals are to educate youth in making good (and healthy) life choices. Their goal is to allow drug-free athletes to influence and become positive role-models for children. Athletes Against Drugs offers great alternatives to drugs including events and activities that will help children become part of a team, or reach a personal goal – something that will get them off the street and away from drugs. It is such a wonderful cause that I am thrilled I had the chance to be a part of. I am excited to know how strong and large of a support system they have with athletes, celebrities and corporate leaders. If it can get me excited, I’m sure it can definitely get kids excited and hopefully help to point them down the right path.

Well, that’s a wrap of the weekend. It was a good one … but this coming weekend will be fun too when I get to “dance with the stars!” I can’t wait!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Strange Dream

I had a strange dream last night.

I dreamt that I had soooo many hair extensions, and therefore my hair was just humongous. I was in the shower shampooing it all, and suddenly it all just started falling out. I pulled clumps and clumps of hair extensions out of my hair, but I was OK with it because I knew there was so much left I wouldn't miss anything. When I got out of the shower I looked in the mirror to see pieces of mold in different mushroom-like shapes growing out of the hair that had been underneath the extensions! It seems that I had so much hair that the under-hair had never fully dried after washing it all that time, and was growing mold. Now that all of the extensions fell out I saw the mold and knew something had to be done. However, the mold was everywhere do I ended up shaving my head completely!!

Weird dream. And who knows where that craziness came from. Maybe I fell asleep thinking about new hairstyles ... although, I don't think I'm ready to shave my head just yet. =P

Random, but I hope you enjoy my dreamy madness! I wonder if hair really can grow mold if it doesn't dry for weeks and weeks. Maybe next time I get a hair cut I'll throw some in a plastic bag and find out. Err, OK this is getting a bit strange now. Maybe I won't do that. =)

New Goals

I have been itching for something interesting to blog about since my last post was well over a week ago -- for days I didn't think I had much to tell. I guess I just couldn't come up with something clever ... although it may have been a reflection of my attitude, which had been floating down into the dumps of self-pity since returning from the Miss USA competition. After all, it is such a difficult realization to work hours every day, focusing toward a goal you want so badly, just to have it end in the blink of an eye. Returning home, my life was still there and all the wonderful things that accompany it, but there was some large piece just missing.

Over the past week I have been trying to figure out the root of all of my blue moods. I think I just needed something to strive for -- a new goal if you will. So I found one! I have decided to use the skills I gained while preparing for Miss Illinois USA and Miss USA to influence and help other women. However, I am going to take it slowly. If there is anything I have learned through all of this, it is that rushing things just causes you to do it at a lower quality than you should. I want to do this right, and slowly but surely, I think I will.

So what is my new goal that is going to help other women? I am going to sell make-up! LOL! I have taken three excellent make-up lessons from two professional artists in Chicago as well as one artist in Houston. I have also received many free products to try, tips from the experts, have made fabulous contacts in the beauty industry, and have had plenty of events and reasons to practice on myself and my friends. I feel that if me, the girl who didn't know what to do with a stick of liquid eye-liner a little over a year ago, can utilize make-up to help build my confidence as a young woman ... then anyone can. And I want to help them! Literally, I wouldn't have been caught dead using false eyelashes in 2008, and last month I was asked to do make-up for two girls for their prom. WHERE did this talent come from?! I don't know, but I like it!

So as a bit of self promotion I will let you know ... if anyone would like to take a make-up lesson utilizing the products I have found to work well and that have proven themselves to me, please let me know. I am planning to host a few get togethers in the coming months, particularly for the girls who are preparing to compete in the Miss Illinois USA competition in November.

I'm so excited for my new venture, and I'm glad to have a new goal. Not only do goals give us something to be excited about, but they give us a reason to get up in the morning and work hard! They give us the push we need to be excited and energized about our talents and opportunities, and boy oh boy, I sure am excited and energized. I'm so glad to be out of my rut!!

Happy Friday ladies and gents. It's going to be a beautiful day!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Did You Know?

This YouTube video is two years old, but when my boss sent it to me I was so interested, I knew I had to pass it along. It's definitely something to think about, including what an incredible globalized world we are currently living in. This is the future ladies and gents!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Beauty Queen Gone Mad

Take away my title as Miss Illinois USA ... I think I've earned a new one. I officially proclaim myself the QUEEN of "wants what she can't have." Goodness gracious, now this is a title I can say I live my life by. YIKES!

Let me tell you a story. One day, my boyfriend and I were on our way to the movie theater. Having had eaten salads for the past 30 some meals straight, I reaaaaaally wanted to splurge on something "bad." We happened to pass a KFC restaurant on the way, and I just couldn't handle it anymore. I begged him to pull in and order two grilled chicken legs. And like the well trained, er ... I mean ... kind-hearted boyfriend that he is, he stopped.

When the server handed him my order through the car window, I jumped up and down with delight as I asked him to hand me the bag. "No, you can have it when we get to the movie theater and eat it there," was his response. I. FREAKED. OUT. Like a crazed maniac, I demanded he give me the chicken using a forceful tone in my voice that had never, in our four years of dating, EVER been used before. His glance at me turned to fear, but he still refused me the chicken. I was soooo angry with him I thought I would scream. First of all, I HATE when people tell me I can't do something, and secondly, when someone denies me food, I REALLY HATE IT. He was doing both. I was about to kill him.

This is a prime example ... I wanted what I couldn't have. YOU SEE -- It was bad for me to want fast food, but I only wanted it because I knew I couldn't have it. The same thing happened after the Miss USA Pageant. I wanted ice cream soooooo much, but when it came down to eating it, it was no longer everything I imagined it to be. And today, when I was walking through the grocery store, going down the cookie isles where I've longed to travel for months and months, I suddenly couldn't find anything appealing. At least not as appealing as it had been a few weeks prior. I feel like now that I'm ALLOWED to eat those things, I don't even want them. Instead, I want salad. WHAT?! Well, don't worry ... I can actually eat salad with dressing now. It's amazing!! Food food food, when did you become such a wild obsession of mine? Geez Louise.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Post Pageant Thoughts

Two weeks ago I boarded an airplane to begin the adventure of a lifetime. I embarked on a journey that only 51 girls get to experience each year, and I was ready to soak up every glorious moment of it.

From the minute I stepped off the plane I experienced cameras flashing, camcorders rolling, tourists screaming, exciting events, as well as outrageously beautiful, intelligent and talented women from all across the glorious United States. With thrills exploding from every angle, it’s hard to believe that it was only two weeks ago. Those quick weeks seemed to last a lifetime – I wasn’t even allowed to use the restroom without security guards! And now, much to my dismay, it’s time to get back to real life – but a life fully changed.

I say I’m returning home “to my dismay” because as I’m sure you know … Illinois did not succeed in taking home the beautiful crown for 2010. In fact, a woman from Illinois has not managed to bring the crown home for more than 30 years. The last woman to win the Miss USA competition from the Land of Lincoln was in 1974! I wish I could have been the girl to change that, but now it will be a goal for next year’s lucky lady to try. In the mean time, all I can do is share my story:

Spending two weeks with 51 of the nation’s most beautiful women who are competing for a chance at fame, fortune and opportunity can get a little messy. It is nearly impossible not to judge each other, to analyze them up and down, question them to find out their values (and also their intelligence!) and “borrow” whatever beauty tips you can get. Yes, we all laughed, smiled and had a wonderful time together, but it was a competition, the stakes were high, and unfortunately being overly judgmental is aaaaaall part of the business.

I think being in the top 15 at Miss USA was my true goal. I didn’t have my heart set on winning the crown as much as I did for the Miss Illinois pageant, but I really wanted to stand in the top 15. When the states’ names were called and Illinois wasn’t one of them, my heart sank deeper than it ever has before. For the first time in my life I felt as if I had failed at something I shouldn’t have. I trained for a minimum of 2 hours (sometimes as much as 4) in the gym every single solitary day since the beginning of December. I ate healthy food I didn’t really like. I said “no,” to outings with friends so I could practice walking, or interviewing, or building my wardrobe. I spent thousands of dollars I worked years to earn. I dragged my mom with me to cities all across the country to learn how to do my make-up, hair, and things of the like. And to top it all off, I invited everyone I knew to watch or attend the big event on May 16th. Over 50 people had flown to Las Vegas and purchased tickets to be present at the Miss USA Pageant so they could see my hard work pay off. I think it was to their dismay as well that Illinois was left behind with the other 35 broken hearted women.

As the 15 “chosen” ones stood on stage basking in the glory of the spotlight, the rest of us returned to our dressing room to change into swimsuits for the dance we were about to perform. Silent tears dripped from my eyes. I didn’t sob, I didn’t pant, and I didn’t make a sound. But the make-up that had taken over 45 minutes to apply was being ruined because I felt nothing but sadness and disappointment. Everything I worked for, everything I had given up had seemed a waste. I thought of my friends and family in the audience who were now there for nothing, and it make me cry harder. I thought of my boss who had given me time off to “be the best.” I thought of my trainer who didn’t see her kids as much as she would have liked because she was always working me out. I thought of the little girls who sent me letters and internet messages because they looked up to me and believed in me and couldn’t wait to watch me on stage. It felt awful. I tried to suck it up and wipe my eyes since I knew I would have to be on stage in only a matter of minutes, but there truly was no stopping it. Suddenly, although I was trying to stay quiet and keep to myself so the other girls wouldn’t see my sadness, Miss Alaska came up and squeezed me with an embrace so warm my body gave up. I finally let the noise out, cried to her, and apologized for being so silly. When I looked up I noticed she was crying too, as well as nearly 15 others. It wasn’t just me who couldn’t manage to be brave … we were all feeling disenchanted. What a terrible thing to work so hard and believe in yourself sooooo much, and be turned away in an instant. That moment was probably the most disappointed I’ve ever been in myself. And hopefully I will never have to feel that way EVER again.

Regardless of the fact that I am saddened by the results of the competition, I am now returning home with a brand new outlook on life. For a brief moment, I lived in the spotlight, and realized how much of a real person a celebrity is. Although at one point I thought so, I now know that fame isn’t everything, and neither is wealth. For the last few months of my life I gave up a lot that, for now, didn’t seem to do me any good. It only took two weeks for me to realize it though, and now I can move on and have no additional regrets from here on out. However, I realized that what I did for this competition, I am also doing in my daily life. In addition to being Miss Illinois USA I work full time at a marketing agency that takes me two hours to get to every morning and two hours to get home from every night. Once I return home I start working on my freelance projects … usually staying up for hours into the night designing and coding websites or putting logos and presentations together for my clients. I work work work work work and waste so much time making money that I don’t have time to spend on things I enjoy. During my time preparing for the Miss USA Pageant, I worked for six months to discover that I wish I had done it all differently. What this experience has taught me is that if I keep living my life the way I have been, I am going to eventually regret that as well – but its going to be 50 years of regret instead of only six months. I now realize how absolutely incredibly important the journey is. It is the experiences that make the memories, not the paychecks. Have you ever heard the phrase, “We spend our health to make money and then we spend our money to fix our health?” That’s how I feel right now. I don’t want life to be for nothing. I want to do it right so that in 50 years when I look back on it I can think, “Ya, I really had a good time.” This pageant has taught me that, for example, when my friends invite me to come over for a potluck dinner and movie night and I refuse because I’ve got to go to the gym, I’m being silly and I will regret it. Some things are just more important, and for me … that is life’s journey.

Now that this chapter is nearly at an end, I have some new goals. First of all, I would like to stop designing and coding websites as part of my freelance business in order to open up more time for “life.” I would like to focus on my career at Robinson & Maites, with the hope of advancing to a position within the company that would keep me from having to work side jobs. In addition, I want to participate in activities I enjoy that are NOT work related! Perhaps I will take a dance class, a cooking class, or even just visit with the Best Buddies program more regularly.

Lee Ann Womack once sang, “When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.” I hope that with this lesson under my belt I will say ‘yes’ to life experiences that are worth having. I hope I will befriend people and touch their lives in positive ways. For me, family and friends are what make life experiences grand. Without them to share things with before, during, or at the end of the journey, life is meaningless. I am happy to have had this ride down the road to the Miss USA Pageant, and I will carry the memories with me for the rest of my life. Yes, now that it is over there are things I would have liked to do differently, but it is all part of God’s plan. I can’t wait to see what He has in store next. After all … the journey has only begun. ☺

Monday, May 10, 2010

Addressing the Fadil Photographs

Oh my, how scandalous.

Our Fadil photographs for the Miss USA Pageant are causing quite the scene in the media. I was told that this evening my picture was one of those displayed on E! News. I understand compleeeetely why the media is talking, but I also stand by the fact that the Miss Universe Organization is trying to change the pageant scene to be more "21st century." Perhaps many feel that being provocative isn't the best way to display that modernity, but as a woman in a beauty pageant trying to display confidence, sensuality, and embrace my own femininity to make myself a stronger woman, I am happy to display these photos. I feel they are well done, and although they're a little edgy, they're classy, high fashion, and beautiful black and white images. They capture our bodies in an artistic light, as if our bodies are works of art. Isn't that sort of what the basis of beauty pageants is about anyhow? I can attest first hand that each of the 51 women here has been working her body to the max trying to create the best curves possible so her body CAN be a work of art on that stage next Sunday night. Now, when we are putting that hard work on display, it has become a shock to the nation. I understand, like I said ... the controversy here ... but I would like to say this:

Women have been putting their bodies "on display" as works of art for decades in the Miss USA Pageant. Now, these women are given the opportunity to take it to the next level -- they are able to embrace the world as it stands in 2010 and show off the hours and hours of work and dedication they have put into sculpting them. There is no nudity, there is nothing uncovered that should be covered, and each girl was treated very well, and given every opportunity to cover as much as she felt comfortable with during the shoot.

I love our photos, and I think they work well for the show we've put together for Sunday, May 16th. I think the Miss Universe Organization is a classy, high quality company that works hard to create roll models and leaders, and having confidence is the first step. Fadil was able to pull that confidence out of us right from the get-go, and if we can't hold our heads up high and feel proud about our motives for the photography, then we don't deserve to hold such a prestigious title as Miss USA.

I hope I have not offended anyone. I just want to say my opinion on this current scandal.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Having the opportunity to spend time with the people in the Best Buddies Organization was hands down the most rewarding thing I’ve done thus far as Miss Illinois USA. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but when I met Vanessa I fell instantly in love.

Vanessa is a sweet, beautiful and talented 17‐year‐old girl who suffers from a mental disability. Not only did I get to know about her likes, her dislikes, and her talents as a young woman, but I was also able to learn from her. Throughout the morning we chatted about this and that and played some games while she quizzed me on current events and the names of all the biggest stars. Vanessa knew every celebrity there ever was from John Stamos to the Jonas Brothers. However, it isn’t just her knowledge and memories I was able to learn from. I learned from her demeanor as well. The excitement filled her heart as she caught the eye of another Miss USA contestant. She gladly greeted each girl with a big smile and a warm hug, saying how pleased she was to be spending time with them. She seemed to know something about every state too, from the capitol, to the states’ sports team statistics. The girl is just brilliant!

As the day went on, some of the kids decided to show their talents up on the stage by singing to the crowd. Each performed in his or her unique way, but at the end, some of them chose to give brief talks. This was one of the most moving parts of the Best Buddies experience for me. One by one, they announced how blessed they feel, and how successful they’ve been even with their disabilities. They talked about how strongly they are against, and how hard they are working to stop … the “R” word. You know the one. Never ever again in my life will I use the “R” word as an insult. It simply isn’t something to be ashamed of. These kids have bigger hearts and a stronger will power than any people I have ever in my lifetime met. They see nothing but goodness in the world, and they want to spread it like dandelions to all the people who inspire them, care about them, and stand by them through thick and thin. They keep jobs, graduate from school, start relationships, and so much more. Having a mental disability doesn’t mean you cannot live as fulfilling a life as anyone else. It simply means you have to take challenges on a bit differently – and boy, do they.

The courage, the empowerment and the appreciation these kids showed me makes me so grateful to be in the position I’m in. They continued to say one after the other how happy they are to have had the chance to spend a day with the Miss USA contestants … but little do they know, I am the one who is thrilled that I got to spend the day with them. I wouldn’t trade those three hours for all the chocolate in Switzerland. Vanessa showed me how to stop stressing the little things and appreciate life for all its worth. She dreams to one day be a soap opera star, and I hope and pray her dreams come to life.

At the end of our time together, I hugged Vanessa tightly as I told her what a gem she had been to spend time with, and how it was something I will never forget. Sadly, I made the poor girl cry tears of joy, and she said some kind words back that made me cry too. We two emotional girls hugged each other with tears in our eyes. I wish so much we could be friends for life. Vanessa is my angel. I have never felt such wonderful things from someone I knew so briefly, and I hope I made as large a difference in her day as she did in mine.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Today was a great day, although it had a very early start. Most of us woke up at 4am to prepare for the swimsuit photoshoot at the Planet Hollywood pool. We lined up outside in our swimsuits in the super cold weather and smiled our best pearly whites while the photographers snapped away. We were being watched by a helicopter circling right above us almost the entire time! It was fun, but brrrr it was cold!

After the swimsuit shoot we headed to the PH ballroom to be worked out in a bootcamp. We did some cardio work as well as some ab exercises and worked up a good heart rate by the end. That was the first time we had the opportunity to work out since arriving in Vegas. I think that has the most difficult part for me ... not being able to work out. I'm not used to eating the foods they are offering me here, and then not being able to work out on top of it. It has really been paying a toll on my body. We have another work out tomorrow, which is good ... and we also start rehearsals tomorrow. I'm sincerely hoping that rehearsals will constitute as some sort of aerobic activity to get my heart going. I need a little blood pumping through these veins!

After the workout we split into groups and traveled around to different events in the city. I got to make cards for kids in hospitals, compliments of Project Sunshine. It was a really nice thing to do for the sick children, and I hope the kids in Chicago who receive my cards will be excited! :) After that, I had the opportunity to go to the Cupcakery ... a delicious little cupcake shop! We put on some super cute aprons and went to town with frosting, sprinkles, and even glitter to decorate cupcakes in all sort of different ways. They were sooooo so so so yummy. MMM! I took one lick of the peanut butter frosting and knew I was in heaven. The staff at the Cupcakery even made cupcakes that had our pictures on them!!! They were soooo cute, and also super delicious. MMMM CUPCAKES!

Later in the day we went to see the Price is Right Live in Las Vegas. It was similar to the Price is Right Game Show that you've seen on TV, just with different hosts. It was fun to participate and see the people win prizes while Kristen Dalton, the current Miss USA, modeled on stage, showing off the different products. She's so beautiful. I don't know how she does it every day!

After dinner, we went upstairs to have our evening gowns "checked" for the show. They needed to make sure everything fit properly, and that the girls knew what they were going to wear. Some girls brought more than one dress with them, and others knew exactly what they would be wearing. Everything is so beautiful. This is going to be one heck of a competition next week.

All in all, the day went well, but boy am I sleepy. I really really really want to work out in some fashion right now, but I'm worried that the moment I start I'm just going to want to go to sleep instead!! I'm considering taking a short nap since we have the night off, and getting started on a workout once I've had a moment of shut eye. The first presentation is only 5 days away, ahh!! I'm so excited for all of the action to begin!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


What a great day so far! We went to Ceasar's Palace to hang out by the pool, and were welcomed by a red carpet and a team of gladiators!! Kristen Dalton, the reigning Miss USA came in on a lounge chair being held up by roman guards. It was so much fun!

We hung out poolside beneath the cabanas and dined on delightful little salads and sandwiches. Mr. Belding was there, from the television series, "Saved By the Bell," as well as a chef who gave us a fun cooking demonstration. It was such a blast!!

Tonight we're going to be heading over to Sushi Samba to have some delicious sushi and sing karaoke -- my favorite!! I am such an awful singer, but I cannot WAIT to belt it out on stage. WOO!!!

Also ... the photos for the Miss USA program book were just posted on the Miss USA website. Check them out when you get a chance. Its at ... and then click on "contestants."

Thanks everyone, I'll continue to keep you posted while I'm here in Vegas preparing for the Miss USA Pageant!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dinner at the Paris Hotel

Tonight we had a welcome ceremony at the Planet Hollywood resort. We were introduced one by one, and were given the opportunity to announce our name and state. At the end, the reigning Miss USA, Kristen Dalton, came through and gave a short talk. We all posed for pictures and said some things for the news station cameras, but were sadly shocked when one of the contestants passed out. It was very hot outside, and we were standing for a very long time. I'm not exactly sure why she fainted, but it could have been due to standing with locked legs. Regardless, it was shocking, we were all very nervous for her, but in the end, everything turned out alright. WHEW!

The welcome ceremony was cool because crowds were gathering to see the contestants and to hoot and holler at their home states. We smiled and waved, cheered for each other and had a great time. Following the ceremony we split into groups for dinner. I got to go to Paris for dinner. We did a meet and greet, and then had the most amaaaaazingly delicious meal EVER! I wish it weren't so good because I just ate and ate and ate. Mmmmm! I'm going to have to do a tooon of cardio tomorrow to make up for this. Yikes! It's OK, I'll be fine. The swimsuit preview is only 6 days away. AH! I can't wait! Being at Miss USA is the most awesome thing in the world. I'm soooo excited to be here!!!!

More to come, I have so much to say but I have to get to bed for an early start tomorrow. Good night ladies and gents!

Tool Time Inspires Me

"If I just believe in myself, I could win this." - Tim Allen
"No no, if you just believe in yourself, you've already won." - Al Borland

You guys can tell I'm sitting in the hotel room watching TV at the moment, right? LOL. But I think this episode of Home Improvement has inspired me to keep it up. Its going to be a fast two weeks, and we're already two and a half days done!!!

Loving life today. :) I can't wait for the Miss USA Pageant!!!


The girls are very nice and extremely beautiful. I would hate to be a judge for this pageant! With so many different personalities, it’s hard to know who will be the next Miss USA. I guess it all depends on how each of us presents ourselves on stage. I’m so excited to start rehearsals!

Miss Iowa USA and I just moved into our rooms last night after a long day of hair, make-up, and photoshoots. I woke up at 5am this morning to prep myself for the taping I have to do today before going off to a “VIP” dinner with the whole MUO staff and the other 50 girls. It really has been a wild ride so far with everything that has taken place, but every moment of this experience so far has been better than I expected. It’s busy, yes, but its soooo much fun. I certainly hope good things will happen to me during the competition, but if they don’t … after only two days of being here I know I will have had the time of my life regardless of the outcome on May 16th.

Yesterday Kristin Dalton, the reigning Miss USA, stopped by the hair and make-up room to say hello to some of the girls. I didn’t get to meet her personally, but I saw her come in, and boy, she sure is beautiful. She seemed very nice too. I can’t wait to get into prelims next week to allow myself the chance to be in her shoes. What an amazing opportunity. AH! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!!

OK, and now I’ve got to run to get to the taping … wooo!!! Stay tuned, there is a lot more excitement to happen in Las Vegas over the next two weeks!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Las Vegas

Ok its day two and it couldn't be more fun. I'm typing this on my phone while I'm waiting to be taped in an interview for the live television broadcast on NBC may 16th! Last night we did a risque high fashion photoshoot with Fadil, an awesomeeee photographer from New York. Today we were fit into our opening number outfits and swimsuits. Like I said we've also been taping and being photographed all day as well. Going to meals has been fun too. We wear our state banners everywhere we go and lots of people have been saying hi, taking pictures and getting excited.

Being here is so unreal. Its so much fun and unlike anything I've ever done. I can't wait to see what happens when we start making appearances and doing rehearsal. I will do my best to keep you updated. Check for pictures online on Wednesday or Thursday!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Wow. It’s Thursday – only three more days until the adventure begins. All of my efforts over the past several months are finally coming together, and I simply cannot wait to get to Vegas. The excitement is out of control!

For everyone who has called, texted, sent me emails, written on my facebook wall, etc., your kind words are what remind me why I wanted to do this in the first place. I cannot begin to describe how heart warming this is for me, knowing what a great support system I have. I hope I do you proud at Miss USA!

So my wardrobe is set and my evening gown is complete. I’m still waiting on the earrings that are being made for me, but I should be able to pick them up tomorrow! Now its just time to pack, get myself mentally prepared, and maybe, possibly, if I’m really feeling good … take some time to sleep before the two weeks of busy-ness commences. AH! I cannot wait. Its going to be so busy and so nuts … but so incredibly amazing!! If time allows, I will be certain to write as much as possible while I’m there to keep you updated on all of the behind-the-scenes action. :)

I can’t believe its here I can’t believe its here I can’t believe its here!!!! I’m soooo excited!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Article in the Southtown Star

Thanks Liz, this is a wonderful piece! I'm so happy to have the community's support!

Read the article: click here.

1 Week Countdown

Here it is ... my last week to prepare for Miss USA. In only 7 short days, I'll be writing about leaving for Vegas. AH!

I woke up this morning feeling excited and anxious. I met my friend Molly at the recreation park at 9am and we ran hills until we couldn't feel our butts anymore. Then we did abs until they burned so badly we wanted to cry. And we did it all with peeeerfect timing, since it started to rain the moment we finished. It must have been God saying, "OK, you've done a good job, now go home and rest!"

I've got a busy week ahead of me, but I'm sure the time will fly. I'll be finishing up alterations on my evening gown, picking up my earrings for it, putting the final touches on my wardrobe for rehearsals and appearances, practicing the walk on stage, and doing mock-interviews. In addition, I'll be throwing the first pitch at the Cubs Game this Tuesday, working on fine tuning my body for the swimsuit competition, practicing putting on those dang false eyelashes (yikes!), and a bunch of other odds and ends. Thursday night my bootcamp is having a little send off party for me at the bowling alley, and Friday my mom has decided to have an open house with close friends and family. I'm so excited for this week and to leave for the Miss USA Pageant! Only 7 days. Wow. It's nearly here!

Friday, April 23, 2010

IADT Fashion Show

Click here to see the shout out from FOX CHICAGO!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm up late thinking about all the things I have to do to prepare for Vegas. I leave next weekend already, I can't believe it! I need sleep so much, but I'm so excited I can hardly keep my eyes closed! Also ... I keep having weird dreams about the crown, lol. Last night it was the crowning moment at Miss USA, but no one could find the crown so they had to use a plastic one for the time being. Gosh, I want to do well at this event. I've worked so hard and have been so passionate about doing my best, I just hope it pays off!

The only things I have left to do are practice interview, practice walking in my evening gown (it arrived to my house today, ahh!), and finish off my wardrobe. A lot of girls ship things to Vegas beforehand, and if I'm going to do so the shipping company suggests putting it in the mail no later than Tuesday. That's only 4 days away, YIKES! I've been talking to my roommate, Miss Iowa USA, about what we can coordinate for the trip, but there is still soooo much to bring for two weeks of appearances and rehearsals! :)

Bottom line, I'm so so so excited. It's so close now ... only days away! Now if I could only get some rest ... zzzzzzz.


I love love love love love my evening gown for Miss USA. It’s going to be soooo amazing I can hardly wait to get there and show it off. I’m excited to see what the swimsuit looks like since it won’t be given to me until I arrive in Vegas. My last thing to think about – the interview.

Interview is an important part of this competition because it lets the judges know why you are right for the job of Miss USA. You have to look right, sound right, be right, while still being yourself and showing them everything that makes you the best candidate for the job – and in only two minutes time. Dun dun dun.

So what have I done to prepare? Practice, practice, practice. If you go in there prepared, there is nothing to be frightened of, after all. Even if I don’t practice answering the questions they will end up asking me in the interview, I hope that I will have practiced enough other questions to make a solid point or argument. But the other thing I have done to prepare is choose a look that will make me feel my best. In my opinion, if you feel like you look good and you’re happy with yourself, your attitude will reflect that. At least that’s what I’ve observed in my own experiences. So for interview … I have nailed down two looks right now that I just love, and now the hard part is deciding which one I’m going to use!

There is so much to think about going into this pageant, but I love every bit of it. I love the planning, the thinking, the learning, the challenges. I love it all so much that I wonder why it took me 24 years to realize it! In fact my sister asked me last week, “When did you become such a girl??” My answer being, of course, “When I won the Miss Illinois USA Pageant!” AAAAAH I can’t wait I can’t wait I can’t wait for Miss USA!!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Getting Close

I'm in Marion, Illinois right now visiting with Michelle Holmes of the Pageant Room. We have been fitting my evening gown, going over wardrobe for Vegas, and practicing my on stage walk in both swimsuit and evening gown. Being here is making me very anxious to leave, although I know it will be here before I know it! Only 17 days to be precise :)

There are only a few things left to prepare now ... finishing up my wardrobe, practicing that interview, continuing to work on getting my body in the best shape it can be, and ... omg ... packing!! I'm so excited. I was just reading my contestant handbook I received via FedEx on Monday, and it was telling about the media photographs and interviews we should expect upon arrival to the hotel. What?! Paparazzi?! ME?! OK!!! Hehe I'm so pumped. This is going to be a blast. Woo hooooo!!!! Miss USA Pageant, I'm ready for you to be here!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Last night I was recognized by the City of Lockport and their Mayor at the executive board meeting. It was great to see members of the community so excited about the local girl gaining the title of Miss Illinois USA ... I guess I am the first one in this town to do so!

They allowed me to say some words, and then they presented me with a certificate that I feel is completely awesome. It is titled, "'Person you should know' certificate of recognition." Hah! I'm a 'person you should know.' AWESOME! Then it states, "This certificate of recognition is presented to Ashley Bradarich on this 7th day of April, 2010, by the city of Lockport, for your accomplishment in becoming Miss Illinois USA 2010. Congratulations on all of you achievements and best of luck in the Miss USA Pageant and all of your future endeavors." Isn't that so nice?!?!?! It certainly makes me feel good :)

The girls at boot camp are planning to take me out bowling before I leave for Vegas. It's so nice that everyone is expressing their support and excitement as the competition grows nearer. Even as I was getting my nails done today the people at the salon had all kinds of questions for me about "this and that" ... and said how excited they are to watch on May 16th. I hope I'm in the top 15! AH! :)

This is so awesome. I've never been involved in such a community-wide display of excitement. Well, except maybe when the Bears were going to the Super Bowl ... but hey, who can't get excited about that?! And this is so much different. I've poured my heart and soul into being the best I can be ... and I certainly hope it will radiate on that stage when the pageant finally arrives. I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Today that whole family went on a lunch cruise for grandma's 80th birthday. 80 -- that's a lot of years. I'm only 24, but sometimes ... I feel that's old. But geez, I've got quite a ways to go to catch up with good 'ol gram. It makes me wonder ... what was she like when she was 24? What are any of us like? Am I going to care about completely different things as I mature versus what I care about now? Are my career aspirations going to change? Will I be interested in different sorts of art, food, culture, men?

Today I spoke with my cousin who just turned 32 ... she says her life has finally begun. At 32 she knows what she wants to do, she knows where she's going, and she knows who she wants to be. She spent her 20s trying to figure out who she was. She was engaged twice, moved 7 times, changed jobs about twice that, and has finally, at 32 years old, settled in her career, opened her own business, dumped the nonsense men, and taken a hold of her life. And she's soooo happy.

When I was 23 my goal was to finish college, get a good job, save up some money, move out to my own place, and establish my freelance business. Now, at 24, my goals are somewhat different. But then again, my opportunities to grow are so much greater since winning the crown. I wasn't planning on the wonderful things that becoming Miss Illinois USA would bring, but I want to embrace them with everything I've got. My goal at this current moment is to be in the top 15 at Miss USA. Being in the top 5 would be AMAZING, and winning would be a dream come true. That's what I want for myself. My hope for this pageant and competition is that it might help me discover my life's passions, and give me a chance to really find my calling. I already know that I enjoy being involved with people a lot more than being behind a computer, sitting in the background ... but maybe there's a way for me to incorporate both. I'm open to change, in fact ... I LOVE change and welcome it. I can't wait to see where life takes me from here, whatever it may be. As much as I hate not knowing the outcome of things like the Miss USA Pageant, I think it's so exciting to know that anything is possible!! I can't wait can't wait can't wait to get to Vegas. It's like this is the new chapter in my life book. I'm so excited to see what happens!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Over Training, aaaah!!!

I started doing Bikram Yoga last Thursday, which is yoga performed in a room that is heated at 105 degrees. I did it Thursday and Friday following my regular morning workout. Then on Saturday I ran the football stadium bleachers at the local highschool. After that I ran a quick mile and went on to lift leg weights for a little over an hour. Unfortunately I didn't have much time to stretch because I had to get ready for Earth Hour. Then Sunday morning I ran thirteen miles on the treadmill at the gym and did yoga again later in the day. By Sunday night, my calves were so mad at me I couldn't move. Literally, COULD. NOT. MOVE. Monday morning came, I crawled my way to the gym to meet Toni for our morning workout, and was in so much pain I could hardly stand. She demanded I stretch it out, take a warm bath, and stay off my legs for awhile. Later Monday night I saw my cousin, who is a phenomenal massage therapist and the new owner of Six Essentials Therapy in Orland Park. She rubbed out my calves for over an hour, barely able to touch them. She said I was "ridiculous," and that I should definitely try to take some time off to let them recover.

And now sadly, its Tuesday morning and I still can't really move. I talked to Toni this morning and she thinks it may have been yoga that overdid it. It's odd that the stairs and running would have put me in this much pain, because I do that stuff almost every day. However, yoga was newly introduced to my body only last week. Its odd for me to think yoga did this to me, but then again, it is in a hot room allowing me to stretch and move much further than I normally can. Perhaps I pushed myself too far and didn't realize I had done it. Anywho, YIKES! My body!!!! I hope I don't gain too much weight taking a few days off. I'm so nervous! Friday I'll be fitted in my evening gown so it can be tailored for Miss USA!! I was hoping to be ready by then, but with the next few days stuck on the couch, I don't see that happening. 4 weeks and 4 days left until I leave! I better not over train again, huh? This is nuts!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Feels Like Home ...

Yesterday we recognized Earth Hour in Homer Glen -- my hometown. It was my first event to attend in Homer Glen with my title of Miss Illinois USA. As the crowd gathered to hear words from the mayor of Homer Glen, a state representative from Springfield, and Miss Illinois USA .. I was growing more and more excited with each additional face I recognized in the crowd. When the mayor introduced me, everyone clapped and smiled, and seeing those familiar faces in the audience excited to hear me speak gave me the GOOD kind of chills. It was awesome, and probably one of the better talks I've given thus far ... not because it was long and well developed, but because it was just ME. I didn't look down at the note cards I had prepared earlier in the week, I just talked from my heart. It was a conversation pulled out of nowhere with the information I had learned from reading about Earth Hour before arriving. My favorite part about the talk was that I was able to make the audience laugh. It was a truly wonderful feeling, and if I could make every crowd I ever talk to from here on forward laugh, I will feel like a successful person.

I never realized how much more comfortable I am doing public speaking or performing when there are people around me that I know. Some friends have told me they feel even more nervous when their family and friends are there, but it seems that I feel just the opposite. And this makes me happy to know that there will be many of my friends and family coming to watch me in Vegas. I hope if I do get the opportunity to compete among the top 15 contestants, that my fans in the audience will cheer me on making me feel comfortable and at home on that stage. Wouldn't that be just awesome?! Being in the top 15 at the Miss USA Pageant on stage in my swimsuit, hearing the voices cheering of the people who are there supporting me!? AAAHHH!!!! I hope so much that I get that opportunity!! I'm working so hard, I just have to believe I can do it, right?! 5 weeks until I leave. I'm soooo excited. :)

I'm a Crafty Lady

My mom and dad are in Mexico celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary right now. They're going to be a bit surprised when they get home to find that I've done a little remodeling :)

With only 5 weeks until I leave for the Miss USA Pageant, you can only imagine the vast amount of preparations that still need to happen. Well ... part of that includes organizing and styling my wardrobe for the two weeks I will spend rehearsing and making appearances with the other 50 delegates from May 3rd until May 15th. With my teeny tiny little "walk-in" closet looking more like it has been hit by a fashion tornado than the way it should ... I thought it best to install another closet rod to hang and organize my things. Ummm, but, not in my closet.

I chose one of my bedroom walls, went to Home Depot to get the supplies, found my dad's drill in the garage, and went to town. First I had to find a stud in the wall to mount my first bracket. It took me awhile to figure it out, but I finally discovered that studs are 4 feet apart behind my walls. Once I figured that out, it was a snap! I measured and drilled my three brackets along the wall, installed the silver 8-foot pole, and said "VIOLA!" Now I have a wonderful 8 foot spot to hang and organize my wardrobe for Vegas! Sooooo much easier and more efficient. And COOL that I figured out how to do it on my own. I'm a regular cratfyman. :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oh man. I'm so excited about life today. Well, besides the fact that it was 70 degrees yesterday and today it's snowing ... but anyway ... life is GREAT! I leave for the Miss USA Pageant 6 weeks from tomorrow, I have taken my leave of absence from work so now I have time to truly focus, tonight I'm going to a really cool event with my parents in the city ... tomorrow and Monday I'm working downtown at the prom expo, Tuesday my mom and I are taking a quick trip out to the west coast, and then Thursday I get to completely absorb myself in yoga and workouts and eating well, planning my wardrobe, meeting with sponsors and sooo much more. I'm so PUMPED!!! Yaaayyy Life!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Truly Focused

I never stopped working out after being crowned Miss Illinois USA. However, I did let the healthy eating take a plunge for awhile. It was a much needed break over the holidays, and I don't regret it, per-say, but I do wish I was back at my "pageant" weight so I wouldn't be completely dreading the weeks to come. The stinky part is, what you eat contributes to about 80% of how your body looks, while working out, stress and rest make up the other 20%.

Anywho ... Toni and I have been working out like MAD. She's really been taking me to town in the weight room, and I've been kicking up the cardio like never before. It used to be that I'd run the same workout every day until I wanted to pull my hair out, but now I've learned that varying up my workouts produces MUCH better results. I've included stairs, inclines on the treadmill, track sprints, and even the pool. It's sooo great that this kind of cardio works, because it keeps me from getting bored too! However, with the busy-ness of various events that captivate my life, I can't keep up with the workouts as much as I would like. SOOOO, my mom had a revelation FOR me.

She said, "Ash, you can work for the rest of your life. You can only be at the Miss USA Pageant ONCE." She told me she doesn't want me to regret anything, and that by putting my full time job on a temporary hold, maybe I would be able to put 100% of my focus into this very important event in my life for the next 6 weeks until I leave. She's a smart lady, but boy was I nervous to talk to my boss. Talking to him could only result in two things ... either it would work out and I'd have an extra 50 hours in my week to focus on my goal and return to work on May 18th, or I would lose my job permanently. I had to take the chance. After all -- what adventurer doesn't take risks, right?!

It turns out, the people Robinson & Maites are even greater than I thought, and I always speak the world of them to begin with. They have been completely 100% understanding of this once in a lifetime opportunity and agree with my mom indefinitely. My boss has agreed to allow me to work remotely (from home) for the next 6 weeks leading up to my pageant, and to then take the to weeks while I'm in Vegas completely off from work. They have also said it is fine for me to return to work full time once the Miss USA pageant concludes, if I don't happen to move to NYC as the new Miss USA. They are absolutely wonderful, understanding people and I am so blessed to be surrounded by such a positive and supportive team. I want to give the world to them (aware that I owe them that much) when I return (if ... IF! I don't win!!!). But for now, I feel like 1000 pounds have been lifted from my shoulders because I have 6 weeks to focus on preparing for Miss USA. I can train harder at the gym, work on my walk, my interview, my wardrobe, and everything else I need to work on. And I can sleep. Sleep! It sounds slacker-ish, but it really is required to keep me sane!

I'm a very happy camper today. I just hope I reach my goal of making the top 15. Or better! Top 5! AH!! So excited!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Public Speaking ... Bust?

Saturday morning I went to an event at Lake Zurich High School where I was asked to speak at the community and business expo where about 300-500 people were expected to be in attendance. When I arrived there were many people, however, not all of them decided to attend my little lecture. In fact, there were only about 10 people there. Bummer!

I walked up to the stage after I was introduced and was handed the microphone. I spoke into it introducing myself and realized that I was now being heard all throughout the expo, but I was only actually speaking to about 10 people. This frightened me. It was strange to feel such nervousness come over me because I have spoken in front of groups of people more times than I can count. It was tying my shoes ... something I did all the time! But this was a first for me with a loud microphone in a big room with only 10 people actually there to listen.

I knew immediately that I should just put down the microphone and speak to the people straight from my mouth. With such a small group not only would it have been easier to communicate and ask questions, but it would have made me feel a hundred million times more comfortable. However, I let the "rules" get the best of me, and I continued talking over the loud mic. SHAME. ON. ME. I should have listened to my guts. In my opinion my talk completely lacked my spunky energy and was blah, lame, stupid. I was soooo bummed and disappointed with my performance and immediately after I finished I walked up to my boyfriend who had come to watch and said, "Well, I stunk up the room, lets get out of here before they start throwing tomatoes."

Adam (boyfriend) said that I did a fine job, and that I probably just thought it was a bust because its not the environment I was used to. Well ... OK. Think of it what you will, Adam ... but it stunk. However, I learned a lesson from this. I learned that you have to learn to adjust to the situation and know what is right for you. It would have been better for me to just trust my gut, put down the microphone, speak loudly and make certain with the audience that everyone could hear me. I should have asked the questions I planned to ask in order to engage the group, and I should have taken my time to speak the way I had intended to from the beginning. I let the chaos of the situation and the unfamiliarity take over my strengths as a speaker, and although I feel it was a miserable talk, I am glad to have had the experience with only a small group of 10 people instead of the 300 that were expected to show. That way, I learned, and hopefully I will have a better idea of what to do the next time something like that happens!!!

Yay! You live. You learn. You move on. I love life lessons, don't you?!

What Impresses Upon You?

I have attended multiple different events over the past two weeks, and have a few more to do before this week is up. During my "travels," if you will, I've been meeting a multitude of fascinating people, some of whom still stick out in my mind and some who I have already forgotten -- even those I know I probably met this morning. Whoops! But this made me wonder ... what grabs peoples' attentions to make a lasting impression??

I am leaving for the Miss USA Pageant in 47 days. That means I only have 47 days to prepare myself in soooo many aspects of my life, many of which no one but myself can help me with. However, this one I am turning to YOU for ... my wonderful readers. When I step off that airplane in Las Vegas, I will instantly become a sort of zoo animal for everyone there to watch and observe to try and get to know me -- they must determine if I will make a quality Miss USA. But there are going to be 50 other women there vying for the same prestigious title. SO WHAT DO I DO TO SET MYSELF APART?!?!

So if you will ... please think about it. What kinds of personalities or actions have left a lasting impression on you? Is it the people who are the most helpful? Is it the people who are overly happy and jolly? Is it someone who told you a great joke? Is it someone who dressed well? What is it? I feel that for me, the people who tend to stand out the most are those that show a genuine enthusiasm for life. Well, that, or the people who are crazy, lol! However, I do love to be around people who are living for the moment, have a curiosity that explodes from within them, and who can lighten up a room -- whether it be with her smile, her attitude or her actions. However, this is broad. I need to really pin it down and know what makes a LASTING impression. Any suggestions will do guys, so please comment back!

Truth be told, I am a terrible faker, and it's easy to read when someone is faking it -- especially me. In the end, I can only be myself, otherwise I'm going to flop ginormously and that won't be good for anything. However, its still an interesting topic to think about what kinds of people and/or personalities catch others' attentions. I can't wait to hear what some of you think!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Time in Chi-Town!

In spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring!

That is a clip from a poem called "A Lover and His Lass" by William Shakespeare. However, I discovered it from watching the original "Willy Wonka," many years ago during the scene where Gene Wilder is peddling his bike in the room with the Everlasting Gobstoppers. I don't know why his pretty little sing-song tune has always stuck with me, but I just love singing it as springtime approaches. I hope I haven't started singing too early ... because it certainly looks as though spring may have sprung in Chicago!!


This week has been such a busy one for me and it won't let up for a bit of time. I love love love all of the things I'm doing, but I feel a major desire for some rest! I was out of the state this past weekend, came home to prepare for our important out of town guest, hung out with him for the past few days which was so much fun I'm sad its over, I'm working all day today and tomorrow, attending a grand opening tonight for my cousin's new health center in Orland Park, Friday I have two important meetings after work that will consume the evening, Saturday I give two lectures to young prospective business students about goals, Saturday night I get to take care of two sets of client work, one being a video creation I know very little about so I get to teach myself things, woo hoo! Sunday (daylight savings time!) I get to work from 8am to 5pm at the Home and Housewares Show downtown, same thing Monday and Tuesday, back to work Wednesday through Friday, a super duper important event next Saturday, and then SUNDAY I will get to rest. I think. I hope. WOO! What a stretch and boy am I pooped. I pray I don't wear myself out and can still manage to get my workouts in among all of that craziness. Only 52 days until I leave. I'm so excited I can't even stand it!!!!!!

Spring weather keeps me pleasant. Chocolate would do a better job, but that's out of the picture for the next 10 weeks. Miss USA, ready or not, here I come!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring Cleaning Comes Early

As a recent graduate from the University of Illinois, but a woman who is passionately entailed with the dream of becoming the next Miss USA, I have to admit … I still live with my parents. Some may see this as negative, but in fact … it’s marvelous. Actually, it’s so good that I don’t really want to leave! OK, that’s not true. I’m dying for my own place. But lets put the emphasis on how wonderful living at home is for now, and talk about my future aspirations later.

My fantastic mother keeps a very clean house, but over the past few days as we’ve been preparing for a few out of town guests to visit, we’ve been cleaning Danny-Tanner-style around here. I mean … I think I evened vacuumed the underside of rugs. My dad polished the knobs on the stove and dusted in the garage. My mom cleaned the laundry room so well that it looks like it could be a contender for the Good Housekeeping Magazine! I’m telling you – it’s been a cleaning madhouse around here. And for how clean our house usually is, I’m surprised at how much of an improvement this was!

Anyway … now that the house is in mint condition, I think my poor mother feels a little bit better. Tip for all the kids reading this: Making momma happy is a good thing. Take that for what it is and believe it with all your heart boys and girls. As the saying goes, “If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy!” Hate it break it to you folks, but it’s soooo true. And if your mom is anything like mine, then she must also be the most amazing woman in the world. My mom has jumped through hoops of blazing fire for me over the past few months. She will bend over backwards and twist inside out to help me, and I have no idea on the planet earth how I will ever in a hundred thousand million years repay her in the way she deserves. Do any of you ever feel that way? Finding a way to repay someone who has given her heart and soul to helping you? It’s a tough battle to find a solution, but I’m sure it can be done. Like the nice man who helped me with my suitcase proved, a small kind gesture can go a super long way!

I tried some new cardio workouts this week, which I will share with you soooooon! I’m officially at 55 days until I board the flight to Vegas so its mega crunch time. My magnificent trainer Toni gave me a new eating regimen to follow, and it looks like it’s going to be suuuuper tough, but I know I can do it. As my other trainer, Josh, put it … “You can do anything for 55 days!” And that’s exactly right!

Miss USA Pageant … here I come with my body in check, whether I like it or not!! Yahoo!