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!

Monday, November 17, 2014

I Came, I Saw, I Plunged!

This past weekend, I finally participated in an event I've always wanted to attend, but have been to chicken to try...

the Polar Plunge!!! (Can you spot me?)

The Polar Plunge is an event that raises money to support the Special Olympics New York. The premise is simple: gather a team (or choose to go solo), raise funds, and then run into the Long Island Sound on a cold winter (or in our case, fall) day. Compared to some years, this weekend's Plunge was fairly warm at 40 degrees. Some Plunges take place when the weather is so cold, the water has begun to ice over. Brr!

 I was excited to plunge with my alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College, and their student athlete team! As a former student athlete (I played volleyball for the Gryphons) it was a blast to meet some of the current students and the new coaches and athletic director. It was also great to have a fun group to plunge with--I'm not sure I could have handled it alone!

 As promised, I pulled on my Miss New York swimsuit and plunged into the Sound. And to be perfectly honest...it wasn't THAT bad. Don't get me wrong--it was SUPER cold! But I think that because I was already cold just waiting to do the Plunge (we were outside from around 10 AM until noon when the Plunge happened) it wasn't such a huge shock to my body. My mom was waiting for me with a giant towel, and I layered up in my coziest sweats to celebrate a morning well spent.

So far, the Westchester Plunge has raised over $67,000 to support the Special Olympics! I'm already looking forward to (or, okay, at least just not dreading) next year's Plunge!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Kids & Crowns

You know those events that are so awesome and you're so busy that you don't have time to take as many pictures as you like? I've had two of those in the past week: the Miss Syracuse Triple Crown Pageant and the Westchester Children's Association Centennial Benefit. Here's a quick recap of both events!

Miss Syracuse

Anastasia Harisis was crowned Miss Salt City 2015, Willa Hahn was crowned Miss Erie Canal 2015, and Anneliese Trust was crowned Miss Syracuse 2015! I was particularly excited for Anastasia, as we competed locally together last year and I would have loved to have the chance to compete alongside her at Miss NY. She is insanely talented and I can't wait to see her rock the stage this year. I was ecstatic to see Anneliese take the Miss Syracuse crown, as I know that she is going to represent her city with style and grace this year. She is one of my favorite pageant sisters ever, has an awesome sense of humor, AND she introduced me to Pure Barre. Enough said.

Emma Silen was officially crowned as Miss New York State Fair 2015 and Kristina King was officially cornwed as Miss Central Square Apple Festival 2015. I had the chance to get to know both of these lovely ladies at Miss Syracuse last year, and I couldn't be happier to see them have the chance to compete at Miss New York 2015! Before they were even told they would have the chance to take their festival titles to the state level, they hit the ground running making appearances in their community and promoting their platforms. Keep rocking it, ladies!

It was bittersweet to see my friends Nina, Adrienne, and Caitlin pass on their tiles. They were three of my absolute favorite people to spend time with at Miss New York. I honestly don't think I would have made it through the week without them! Special congratulations go out to Caitlin, whose boyfriend proposed as soon as the pageant was over! Wishing all of these ladies all of the best in the future.

WCA Centennial Benefit

For the past three years, I have volunteered at the Westchester Children's Association annual benefit dinner. This year's dinner was particularly special, as it marked their 100th year of working to ensure that every Westchester child is "healthy, safe and prepared for life's challenges." Their work is truly remarkable and encompasses so many areas, from supporting shelter for teens in crisis to creating a playroom for children attending court with their parents and so, SO much more. The dinner celebrated their success and also worked to raise awareness and support for the future.

I love that as the holidays approach, my calendar is filling up with fun appearances statewide. I'll be sure to keep you all updated!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Zumba and Zuppa

This past Saturday, I had the chance to take part in an event that was very special to me. First, it took place at my church, Holy Trinity Lutheran, in Yonkers. Second, it involved two of my favorite things: exercise and eating. Third, it was organized by my wonderful mother! She has spent the past few months working a project that she is passionate about: engaging the children from the community our church is located through fun events. This was her first planned activity: Zumba and Zuppa, an event to promote a healthy diet and exercise.

First, the children helped to cook two delicious pots of Zuppa -- soup! There was one vegetarian version, and a hearty chicken version. We were joined by a group of culinary and fashion students from Saunders High School, who volunteered their time to help in the kitchen. The kids had a great time peeling, slicing, chopping, and pouring the ingredients. We had two basic recipes on hand, but ended up just adding our ingredients to the children's specifications. They loved having control over their recipes!

While the soup cooked, I led the children in a short Zumba class to show them just how fun exercising can be. I had so much fun adapting some of my favorite Zumba routines to be child-friendly. That included substituting some booty shaking with jumping, group circles, and freestyling. They all had a blast, and were surprised at how tired they felt after just a few songs.

After Zumba, Pastor Rigobert stopped in to talk to the children. Our new Pastor is great at connecting with the children and engaging them with his stories. He also impressed the young men in the group by telling him about his experience playing basketball for the Gambia's national team. When he finished speaking with the group, I let all of the girls try on my crown and sash and spoke to them about the importance about being a beautiful queen on the inside. They loved it!

Finally, it was time to enjoy the fruits of our labor!

I am so glad that my mom's Zumba and Zuppa event was a success, and I can't wait to support her community projects in the future. Next up, we're planning on baking Christmas cookies. Yum!

For more pictures, check out the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Facebook Page!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sweating for a Cause!

I can hardly believe that it is already November! I have just 4 months left in my reign as Miss Empire Star 2014. It feels like I was just crowned yesterday. Keeping busy, both at work and making appearances, has certainly made the time fly by.

October was a wonderful month filled with raising awareness for the prevention of domestic violence. Two of my favorite events of the month included sweating to support My Sisters' Place!

First up was a Spinathon hosted at Kinetic Sports Club in Pelham!

With Tyson from Team MSP!

From 8 AM to 12 PM, Team MSP took over the cycling studio. I made my way over to spin at 9 AM with my good friend and pageant sister Megan. We had a blast during the hour class conquering a hill, racing each other, and taking part in team relays. 

Megan and I after the class -- filtered to hide the sweat marks on our clothing, haha!

Last weekend, I sweat in support of My Sisters' Place once again with at Pure Barre Bronxville! Remember the Pure Give Challenge back in September? As part of the silent auction, an 80s-themed private party was up for grabs. My mother was the high bidder, and was so excited to invite her friends to join her at the studio.


Hollis and Jill, two fabulous Pure Barre Bronxville instructors, kept the 80s energy going as we lifted, toned, and burned to some throwback tunes. I was really happy to recognize all of the songs, and loved dressing up in my crop top and leg warmers!

As part of the Pure Give Challenge, Pure Barre Bronxville raised over $5,000 for My Sisters' Place! I am so thankful for their generosity in supporting an organization that is doing so much to prevent domestic violence and advocate for survivors here in Westchester County. I also have to give a huge thank you to my family and friends who made donations throughout the challenge. Together, we raised over $1,000. 

Exercising isn't always easy, but it is always more fun when it supports a good cause! I'm looking forward to future events with Team MSP! 

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