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.

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