Friday, September 26, 2014

Pure Give Challenge -- We Did It!

Well...we did it!

Thanks to your support, and the support of the incredible Pure Barre Bronxville family, we were able to raise $5,061 dollars (my screenshot was bit premature) for My Sisters' Place through the #PureGive Challenge!

This is a huge deal for two big reasons:

1. All of that money is supporting the incredible programs My Sisters' Place offers: from resources for survivors of domestic violence to education programs for local teens.

2. We placed 8th in the nation out of hundreds of Pure Barre Studios...and Pure Barre Bronxville has been open for just 3 months!

Bronxville Studio Manager Hollis Morris was really the driving force behind this incredible outcome! From organizing a screening of 'Fed Up' to promoting the challenge in class and online to finding amazing items for a silent auction and raffle, she was a rock star. I am so grateful that she and the rest of the Pure Barre Bronxville team chose to support My Sisters' Place!

Thank you again for all of your donations...I really cannot thank you enough for your support! Special congratulations to the lovely Miss Syracuse Executive Directors, Kristy Lee and Linda, who won my raffle of a Pure Barre tank top and DVD!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Madison Avenue Street Fair!

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of joining my lovely director, Miss Janet, at the Madison Avenue Street Fair in Albany!

Janet and I at the fair -- it was an absolutely beautiful day!

Miss Janet, a former Rockette, teaches dance classes at local community centers. On Sunday, her "Timeless Tappers" were performing a number of dance routines at the fair. Four of her performers were able to make it out, and they wowed the crowd with their numbers. People were cheering, and children were dancing around! It is clear to see how much they love dance and the time and effort they have put in to perfecting their technique. Next weekend, they'll be performing at a show in New Jersey and I'm hoping to make it out to cheer them on!

I had the pleasure of hosting their performance alongside Miss Janet, and singing for the crowd. I chose to perform "Don't Rain on My Parade" and was truly touched when several people approached me afterwards to say they enjoyed the song. Singing has really been a major hurdle for me this year as I've competed in the Miss America system, and I'm glad my persistence and practice is paying off!

After the show, Miss Janet and I enjoyed walking around the fair and connecting with the community members in attendance!

Miss Janet and the Timeless Tappers

At the Albany Historical Society Table

Shopping with the Hudson River Shop

With an awesome poster of historical Albany landmarks!

Miss Janet and I headed to the Colonie Center after the fair for lunch together. She took me to Boscov's, a store with an important connection to the Empire pageant! For years, the Miss Empire Rose pageant was held in the store's auditorium, and the first Miss Empire Star, Laurie Jean Britton, was crowned here! It was so fun to learn more about the wonderful local organization that I am so honored to represent this year.

Overall, it was a great way to spend my Sunday, and I'm looking forward to returning to Albany soon!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pure Give Challenge - The Power of Your Donation

Hello, everyone! We are about halfway through the Pure Give Challenge at this point, and Pure Barre Bronxville has raised about half of our goal donation: $5000 for My Sisters' Place. Today, I thought I would share some of the ways your donation will make a difference in the lives of the women, men, and children who receive services from My Sisters' Place.

Here are just a few of the ways My Sisters' Place impacts our community:

  • Residential Shelters: MSP has emergency shelters that provide a confidential safe haven to those needing to leave an abusive partner. These shelters cater to both individuals and families. While at the shelter, residents are given the support they need to begin a new journey to safety, including supportive counseling and planning for their futures.
  • Counseling Services: MSP has counseling services for adults and children impacted by intimate partner abuse and human trafficking. These services are provided even for those not living in residential shelters. Both individual and group counseling are available, and counseling services are free to those seeking support.
  • Legal Services: MSP's Center for Legal Services provides information, referrals, advice, counsel, and direct representation in family law, immigration, and human trafficking cases. 
  • Education & Prevention: MSP's Domestive Violence Education Program (DVEP) works with over 5,000 youth by providing over 450 presentations on healthy relationships throughout Westchester. They host an annual "Love Shouldn't Hurt" Teen Conference and provide teen counseling services along with other wonderful education programs.
  • Advocacy & Social Change: MSP is committed to working with the community to change the perceptions of domestic violence and human trafficking. Activism is a key component to achieve this goal and ensure healthy relationships for all. 
Information from

This is just a small sampling of the work My Sisters' Place is doing! As a volunteer for the past 3 years, I have had the chance to personally witness the impact MSP is having on the community. I have provided childcare support for mothers accessing group counseling, sat beside women for emotional support at their court dates, represented MSP at community events, and supported their teen education program. I hope that these examples and my experience have inspired you to support the work that MSP is doing. This is about far more than monetary donations--education truly the key to ensuring healthy relationships. Over the next week, I'll be posting two more significant blogs: one on identifying the signs of domestic violence and another sharing the reality of domestic violence in Westchester violence. Keep an eye out.

If you're interested in making a donation, you can do so by visiting:

or by placing a bet as part of the silent auction:

Remember, for each $5 that you donate to the cause, you'll be entered in my raffle to win a Pure Barre tank top and Pure Barre DVD!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Miss New York State Fair 2014

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of hosting the Miss New York State Fair 2014 pageant! This pageant was the result of the creativity and hard work for the wonderful Miss Syracuse Directors, Kristy Lee and Linda! Their Salt City Royalty program promotes confidence in young women, and is such a wonderful alternative to glitz pageants.

Emceeing alongside our stage hostess Cady Ruth, Miss New York's Outstanding Teen!

Across the 6 age groups, nearly 40 young women competed for the chance to represent the Great New York State Fair! Side note--this was my first time at the New York State Fair. I was amazed at just how ENORMOUS the fair was! When we ventured out to have lunch, I saw everything from a butter statue to the poultry competition building. I also tried my first deep fried Oreo--delicious!

Back to show -- the younger age groups (Petite Princess and Princess) simply competed onstage in their choice of formal wear. The older age groups (Pre-Teen, Teen, Miss, and Ms.) competed in their choice of formal wear and answered a simple on-stage question: Why do you want to represent the New York State fair? Because this was a natural pageant, the girl's personalities really stood out on stage, and their diverse choice of formal wear allowed them to express themselves. 

Congratulations to the 2014-2015 Fair queens!

PETITE PRINCESS: Aeowyn Holmes of Baldwinsville
PRINCESS: Zoyee Newton of Weedsport
PRE TEEN: Maria DeCaro of Syracuse
TEEN: Leah Xiao of Rochester
MISS: Emma Silen of Ithaca
MS: Jessica Carbone of Buffalo & Syracuse

After a quick lunch break, it was time to return to the theater for the "There's No Place Like Home" talent showcase. So many of my Miss New York sisters and pageant family where there, and it was wonderful to spend time catching up with them!

Anneliese, Miss Flower City 2014, and I showing our NY state pride!

Madison, Miss Upstate New York 2014, Anneliese, and I after performing at the talent showcase.

With Colleen, the new Miss Central New York's Outstanding Teen! This was her first official appearance, and she rocked her talent performance.

The gang's all here! The best part of my pageant journey this year, hands down, are the friendships I have gained and the amazing sisterhood that I am now a part of.

Overall, it was an incredible weekend! I can't thank Kristy Lee and Linda enough for welcoming me to their pageant family earlier this winter, and inviting me to be a part of this State Fair extravaganza! I may just have to compete for the title of Ms. New York State Fair next year. After all, I already know how I'd answer my on-stage question...Why do you want to represent the New York State Fair? Because I'd get to eat ALL OF THE FRIED OREOS my little heart desires! 

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