I was so excited when I found out I was able to be in the U of M's Homecoming parade. Here at the U, Homecoming is a huge deal...even if we may not win the football game. The big parade Friday night shows off all the great things about the University and the state. Numerous campus clubs (Engineering club was right behind me), Greek organizations, other royalty, our President of the University, and lots and lots of local organizations were all showcased in the parade. It was so cool to be one of those! During the parade is was so encouraging to look out into the crowd and hear cheers and see smiles from my Alpha Chi sisters, friends in the Greek community, friends from the dorms last year, and classmates. I was having the time of my life and it was awesome to have their encouragement. Although it was freezing and I was almost shaking from the cold, the energy from the entire crowd kept me going. In keeping with the theme of this year's homecoming, Legendary U, this appearance was one for the books.
Needless to say, the preparations for competing in pageants has taught me more than how to stand on stage and look pretty. It's taught me responsibility, self-discipline, finances, and provided an outlet for my creativity. Because of NAM, I feel I am better equipped to face the "real world" (which believe me, as a sophomore in college is pretty scary). I've been able to transfer my talents learned from NAM into real and applicable situations and I know that learning process will never cease.
Quick shout out to Breanne Maples, author of the NAMiss Rocks blog. She updates the site with farewell speeches of queens giving up their titles, announces newly crowned queens, and highlights their involvement in the community throughout the year. It's been so much fun to follow!
I recently checked it out and found a few very familiar faces on the blog, our 2012-2013 Minnesota royalty!
Check it out http://www.namissrocks.blogspot.com/2012/09/introducing-2012-minnesota-royalty.html
Photoshoot pictures are in! I'm so excited to share some of the wonderful photos Dan Davis and I created. Click to view larger. Enjoy!
So I've been working with Dan Davis for years and have had the opportunity to shoot with him on multiple occasions. When looking at my newest pictures, I thought how cool it would be to see the progression of me growing up so I've put photos of myself by Dan together. These range from 2009 to today. Enjoy!
Between all the craziness of recruitment, I was able to sneak away early on a Saturday morning to support an amazing and touching cause. The Hope & Hearts run is put on by the Missing Grace foundation which raises money to inform families on how to prevent stillbirths and support those families who have been through the loss of a child. It was so touching to see so many families and friends come together to celebrate and sometimes mourn for their children. There were prayer tents available if needed and a whole ceremony where balloons were released in that lost child's name. Kayla (teen) and I were able to help out with that part as we passed out balloons to the walkers once they were done with the 5k. Earlier in the day there was also a kids race where each little kid received a metal. So many of them wanted us to know about it! Kayla and I had so much fun talking to the kids that came up to us and the families at the run. We also ran into the Cambridge City Queens and got to hang out with them for a little bit too (which turned into a mini photoshoot, no big deal).
A huge part of my life is being in my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. These girls get excited when I have appearances (and two even came to see me get crowned) and get me through my tough times when I feel like my planner is going to explode. We all have been incredibly busy these last few weeks preparing for and being a part of recruitment. At the University of Minnesota 650 girls signed up to rush so I did a lot of talking these last few weeks, which is just fine by me. I've met some incredible ladies with a passion for volunteerism, a high value on academics, and a great, bubbly personality. Hmmm....sound like pageants?
What goes on behind the scenes of recruitment is crazy. We have a whole week dedicated to getting ourselves prepared for recruitment. What I love about Alpha Chi is that no matter what year, you're opinions are always valued which I saw as we prepared and throughout the week of recruitment. I was able to help our main recruitment chair by being her "right hand woman" during the first day.
Each day had a different theme throughout the week. Day 1 was open house where we quickly met a handful of girls and got a feel for each of their personalities. Day 2 was house tours so the girls going through recruitment could see how beautiful the inside of our house is (and yes, my crown and banner were on display in my room). Day 3 was Philanthropy where we tied fleece blankets to donate to Women's Advocates, our chapter's favorite place to volunteer, and the ladies learned more about how we help the community. And finally on Day 4, Preference. This is a very special night where each house is able to show their sisterhood and the ladies going through recruitment can see if they see themselves in our house for the rest of their college career. All of recruitment is done on mutual selection, meaning we love the ladies we meet and they love us! One thing I really enjoy about recruitment at the U of M is that every single girl who goes to all the houses she's invited to is guaranteed a bid!
And today was Bid Day where the ladies received their bid cards from Alpha Chi Omega! We were all so excited to welcome 47 new members into our house today with a throwback to the 90s theme. It still seems surreal. These girls are going to be lifelong friends, roommates, support teams, and sisters for life! Below are some great pictures from today. I ended up taking over photography for a sister who had to go to class, so I got to photograph most of the day-so fun! Our lovely new members are in pink and all the current members are rocking the black.
This post is going to be not quite pageant related, but still very important to me My boyfriend and I recently did a photoshoot to celebrate our two and a half year. We're high school sweethearts, now in college and I thought it was time to document our relationship. What better way than a photoshoot!? I kept Ashish in the dark until the day of the shoot and he was a great sport. My good friend, Louise Messina, took these photos to increase her portfolio and all three of us had lots of fun shooting that day.
Click photos to view larger
The Minnesota State Fair is what Minnesota is all about! Great greasy food on a stick, family time, and all braving MN's crazy seasons. Of course we chose one of the hottest days to attend the fair. I opted for the necessary tank, shorts, and natural hair. A thanks to my AXO sisters as they dressed me with a bright colored tank and white wedges. I love how sorority girls have great fashion sense.
At the fair of course I had to try something on a stick but being a vegetarian limited my options of crazy foods to try. However, I found a vegetarian friendly deep fried vegetables on a stick. With some sweet and sour sauce, it was actually really good! I also picked up some flavored honey sticks were are my favorite study snack. I had just a cheese curd or two because they were so salty! And because it was around 90 degrees that day, lots and LOTS of water and liquids.
With my sister queens and their families (especially Ava's little brother, Parker), we slid down the Giant Slide, visited Kayla (Teen) as well as the other Vikings Cheerleaders, tried a whole bunch of yummy food on a stick, and visited the Butterfly garden. Such a fun day! And I survived it all in heels. Success!
What a weekend! Going straight from a 5 day week of recruitment practice for my sorority, my mom and I hopped in the car and headed off to Wisconsin State Pageant. It took us a good 4 and a half hours to get up there (but only 3 to get back...hmmm?) Being visiting royalty is one of my favorite experiences of being a state queen. Knowing little girls can't get close enough or talk enough to you while the older girls look up to you and follow your example reminds me of what an honor it is to be a NAM queen. It takes a lot of effort and energy, but when you have Jr. Pre Teens complimenting every aspect of your outfit or connecting with Teens while you learn how active they are in their high schools, it's totally worth it. I had 2 full days of helping out with registration, rehearsals, formal wear competitions, and final pageants.
As I've grown with National American Miss since 6th grade, I've expanded my "NAMily" aka my NAM family. When I attend pageants like Wisconsin, I get to see them all! This includes the staff who have been around for years or 2010 queens I met at Nationals and current queens who were at the Minnesota state pageant.
Along with queens from across the country, I had fun being glamorous onstage helping with final pageants. Who doesn't like presenting huge trophies and beautiful medals? I was also able to be in the production number dance to You Make Me Feel. It was a challenge because usually queens learn a similar dance at Nationals. I didn't learn it at Nationals or Minnesota so just like the contestants, this was my very first time learning and preforming the dance but I rocked it and had fun dancing my heart out.
And even queens and staff get a little goofy at times! Here are a few great shots during our down times.
It was quite the unpleasant task to get my photoshoot hair from the previous day to de-tangle enough to be presentable at the Miracles of Mitch Triathlon this morning. With some help from my great friend Starbucks, I was able to make it through the 4:45am wake up call. I don't think I'll ever be a morning person.
But if I was fully awake or not, the triathletes were! I soon got rolling as I helped hand out t-shirts (which were an awesome turquoise/dark blue/orange) to the triathletes. I saw all ages, from 7 to 17 participating for a great reason. Returners or first-timers, these athletes were ready and excited to get the race started.
After a quick stop at the Prize Central tent which was loaded with Miracles of Mitch cow-bells, t-shirts, trading cards, mugs, dog tags etc., I lined up to cheer on the kids as they began their procession to the water to start the first leg of the triathlon: swimming. Then came biking and then finally running to the finish line where each participant got a medal. Together, Miracles of Mitch had 1,100 kids participating at the Lake Ann race and raised over $500,000 this year. WOW!