Sunday, March 8, 2015

What's Next?!

While this chapter of my life has come to a close, the time has come to start a new one. One of the questions I've been asked a lot recently is, "What's next?!" Well, a few things...

I'm going to begin to blog regularly at Sweatsational, my fitness blog. Fitness has become a huge passion of mine throughout my journey through pageantry. I learned so much about creating a healthy lifestyle, and I'm excited to share some of that information on my blog while learning more about aspects of fitness I'm not familiar with.

I've put graduate school on hold. With a year of full-time work in the public health field under my belt, I'm finally able to truly articulate what my passions are and pinpoint just what it is I'd like to do with the rest of my life. For now, the plan to making my dreams a reality doesn't include grad school. I'm really excited to start taking baby steps forward towards (hopefully) becoming an entrepreneur in the future.

At the moment, I don't have any concrete plans to continue competing in pageants. That may change in the future! I will, however, be staying involved in the Miss America system by supporting my friends who are still competing and managing the Empire Pageants website.

I will continue my volunteer work, particularly with My Sisters' Place, Girl AGain, and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

I should be receiving my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award later this spring, as part of the New York Metropolitan Area Duke of Edinburgh Fellows program.

And of course, I'll also be spending lots of time relaxing on the couch (sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on style) with Duke, my adorable golden lab.

Look out world, here I come!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Year in Review - Video Style

I hope you enjoy this video I put together to highlight some of my favorite memories from my year of service as Miss Empire Star 2014.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

National Pancake Day 2015

Last year, I kicked off my reign as Miss Empire Star 2014 with an appearance at my local IHOP for National Pancake Day 2014.

Raising money at the Yonkers IHOP last year

So, it was serendipitous that National Pancake Day 2015 happened to fall just four days before the Miss Empire Star 2015 pageant coming up on Saturday, when I pass on the crown to another lucky young lady! Unlike last year, where I served at my hometown IHOP, I was invited to spend this Pancake Day in the Capital Region supporting Bernard and Millie Duker Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center.

 Brr...but ready to warm up with my coffee!

My boyfriend Tom (who was kind enough to spend the day with me) and I hit the road for Albany around 6:30 AM on Tuesday. Naturally, that meant we made a stop about halfway up 87 for snacks. Even though I can't have caffeine, I appreciate a good vanilla latte for a sugar kick first thing in the morning!

We arrived at our first stop, the Clifton Park IHOP, shortly after 9 AM. I was excited to be meeting my Miss New York sister, Lauren, there. She is the reigning Miss Upstate New York, and she was already hard at work collecting donation alongside Miracle Kid Joey when I arrived.

 Lauren & I

I spent my time at the Clifton Park location visiting guests, telling them about Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, and selling awesome supporter wrist bands. Once my time at Clifton Park came to an end, it was time to head over to the Albany IHOP, where I ran into Meghan, Miss Altamont Fair 2015!

Meghan & I

I spent my time at the Albany IHOP visiting tables with Keaton, one of the Miracle Kids in attendance. Keaton is an adorable two year old who has already been through three heart surgeries at Albany Med. He was such a cute kid, and so full of energy! It is really amazing how resilient children are. I am so glad that the Children's Miracle Network has made it their goal to help kids like Keaton receive the care they need in a place that allows them to still make the most of their childhood.

Chatting with Keaton

Originally, I had planned to visit three more IHOPs downstate when I returned home from Albany yesterday. Unfortunately, the snowy weather made that impossible! Tom and I made it home just as the snow was beginning to stick to the ground, and called it a day.

I had such a wonderful time making these final two appearances. I can't believe my year of service has come to a close! But, you can bet that you'll still see me at IHOP next year -- don't look for the girl with the'll find me sitting at a table, enjoying my pancakes and making a donation to support the organization that has firmly planted itself in my heart over the last year.


Monday, February 23, 2015

I LOVE Girl AGain!

If you follow me on facebook or instagram, you've probably picked up on one of my new favorite stores...Girl AGain in White Plains!

Girl AGain's website does a great job of explaining their mission: Girl AGain sells gently used American Girl dolls, clothes, and furniture. It is operated by Yes She Can Inc., a nonprofit organization that teaches and develops job skills for young women with autism.

I discovered Girl AGain simply by driving past the store one day while I was in White Plains! A quick goggle search made it clear to me that Girl AGain was a store I wanted to support. Was anyone else obsessed with American Girl dolls as a child? I treasured my Samantha doll, and learned so much about American history by reading the stories that accompanied all of the dolls.

I reached out to the store, and gladly signed on as a volunteer! Volunteering at Girl AGain is something that I will be doing long after my reign is over, but I was delighted to attend the store's Valentine's Day T-Shirt event as Miss Empire Star. The store welcomed a group of American Girl doll-loving girls to come design and decorate t-shirts for their dolls with the help of the store's employees. Here are some pictures from the day!


 The finished product!

If you are in the market for an American Girl doll or accessories, check our Girl AGain! They have a huge selection of both classic products (ie. the ones from when I was little) and current products. Plus, you'll be supporting their incredible mission of providing valuable job training for young women with autism. It's a win-win all around!

Girl Again Boutique
4 Martine Ave. Store 2B
White Plains, NY 10606
(914) 358 1460

Saturday: 10am to 5pm
Sunday: 11am to 4pm
Wednesday: 11am to 5pm
Thursday: 11am to 5:45pm
Friday: 11am to 5pm
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

FREE PARKING inside The Seasons garage!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

It is hard to believe that another year is coming to a close. This time last year, I was making the last minute choice to compete at Miss Flower City, and planning a trip to Rochester in the midst of a huge snowstorm. I didn't know what the future held for me in terms of pageantry, but my 2014 New Year's Resolution was committing to making the most of every opportunity that came my way. I had no way of foreseeing just how incredible the year ahead would be.

After months of hard work, many highs, a few lows, and countless memories made, I was crowned Miss Empire Star 2014. I never saw it coming. Throughout the pageant season, I had gone into almost every pageant feeling confident that I could walk away with a crown. The Empire pageant was the first competition where I felt certain I would not. There were too many girls competing, just one title up for grabs, and my confidence was faltering after placing runner up time and time again. I almost withdrew from the pageant, but the support and love that came from my family, pageant family, and friends gave me the strength to persevere. Winning the crown was not only an incredible honor, but also a humbling reminder that I don't always have everything figured out!

Being crowned Miss Empire Star 2014 was just the beginning of an incredible journey as a local titleholder. I have enjoyed each and every moment of making appearances in my community, supporting my favorite local charities, and visiting so many fun areas of the state.The journey hasn't always been easy. I have doubted myself, become frustrated, and even shed a few tears. Each bump along the way has been an opportunity to better myself, and I am so proud of the woman that I have become in 2014.

I have just a few short weeks left as Miss Empire Star, and I know that the days will fly by. My 2015 resolution? Just like in 2014, I intend to make the most of each of them.

Happy New Year, everyone! Wishing you a year full of love, health, and happiness!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bark for Life 2015

Seasons greetings, y'all!

It has been a fairly quiet December on the pageant front. I have been extremely busy with work, teaching Pure Barre, and working on obtaining my health coach certification. One of my planned holiday appearances was thwarted by a faulty GPS -- I drove all the way to Albany only to have my GPS and phone die as soon as I entered the capital region, with no way of figuring out how to get to my final destination! I also have been hard at work putting the finishing touches on an official website for the Miss Empire Rose and Miss Empire Star organization. I can't wait to share it with you!

As the end of the year approaches, so does the end of my reign as Miss Empire Star 2014. But, I intend on making the most of these final months of service! One of my favorite events from this year was attending Bark for Life last Spring.

 With one of the adorable pups from Adopt-A-Dog at Bark for Life 2014

Bark for Life brings together dog lovers and their furry friends to support the American Cancer Society. My dog, Duke, was a little bit TOO overexcited to be there last year, but I am hoping that this year I will be able to bring him back for some fun. I was delighted to hear from the Bark for Life team this week when they reached out via email to invite me back to the 2015 event and to their Kick Off Party on Monday, January 12, 2015. You're invited, too!

I hope that you'll consider attending this kick off event, and joining me to support the American Cancer Society this coming spring--Bark for Life 2015 will take place on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown. For more information, and to RSVP to the kick off party, email

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Beating the Cold During Winter Appearances

One of the occupational hazards of being a titleholder in New York is making appearances during our cold winters! Over time I have learned a few tips for staying warm and still managing to look very put together! Here are some of my favorite tips, clothing items, and accessories.

Staying warm during a parade during my year as Miss Westchester 2012

My basic setup for winter appearances is simple: I layer a "warm gear" sweatshirt over a thermal shirt. I tuck the thermal shirt into "warm gear leggings." I wear fur lined boots with a slight heel, and then put a dress coat over everything. The dress coat is fashionable and appearance-appropriate--you can't even tell that I'm wearing all exercise clothing underneath!

Lululemon Speed Tight *Tech Fleece - These aren't the exact pair that I wear. Mine are actually two years old! That is why I can highly recommend them, in spite of the high price. They're incredibly warm and mine still look brand new. The tech fleece lining really makes a difference and keeps the bitter cold wind from being too biting.

Thermal Sweatshirt - Make sure you choose a specially-designed thermal sweatshirt for sports. Fleece will keep you pretty warm, but I find the thermal sweatshirts to be a bit warmer. They're also more breathable. Even when it's cold, you can work up a sweat and don't want to feel clammy. The sweatshirt I wear is from Under Armour, and I picked it up on a great sale at Dick's Sporting Goods. It was less than $30!

The piece that ties it all together? A fun jacket like this! I love jackets with a defined waist. I've had great luck finding pieces like this at the end of the winter season for a bargain. My favorites include a winter white pea coat with ruffles (classic!), a sleek dark pink coat (fun!), and a black and white tweed jacket with a hood (great for the colder days!). 

Knit Infinity Scarves - A good collection of scarves will help to get you through a winter full of appearances! Classic red (Christmas, Valentine's Day) and green (Christmas, St. Patrick's Day) will serve you well while keeping you cozy.

180s Ear Warmers - These keep your ears warm, but still allow you to wear your crown during winter appearances. My pair even features tiny rhinestones for a bit of extra sparkle. I picked them up at Kohl's and have had the same pair for years. They're very durable!

Leg Warmers - Leg warmers are one of my favorite winter accessories because you can pair them with both dresses and pants. When you match them with high boots, they are barely visible, but you can feel the warmth! I've been rocking my Pure Barre pair lately because of my exercise addiction, but there are SO many different styles and colors out there to try.

The following pictures are old, but I'm looking forward to making more winter memories as Miss Empire Star without freezing in the process!

I hope these tips were helpful for you!
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