Tuesday, December 29, 2009

PJ's for Pals!

PJ's for Pals was a huge success! Thank you so much to everyone that donated their time, money, and effort into making this pajama drive as big and meaningful as I had hoped for. Things started off pretty slow, my intentional start date kept being pushed back and fear of it failing constantly got in my way. With the help of my family and Jonathan I built up the courage to finally start in the middle of November. The drive lasted for about a month and after people began to hear about it the pj's started pouring in! I set up drop off boxes at Camden-Wyoming Fire Company, Lifestyles Fitness Center in Dover, Calvary Assembly of God in Dover, Best Buy of Christiana, and the Sheraton in Wilmington. My pageant family and supporters were a huge help as well, along with the employees of DNREC, Wal-Mart of Dover, and AppleTree Answering Services. We collected over 220 PJ'S!!!!

It was my goal to make this an effort that the success would be dependent upon the involvement of the community, and Delaware definitely stepped up to the challenge! I feel that it is my responsibility as Miss Delaware to get the name of our organization out in the community, and I feel that it is my responsibility as a citizen to help others that are in need. I took both feelings and combined them into a pajama drive for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Pajama's ranging in size from premature babies to teenagers were donated. So many businesses and community members, as you can see from the above paragraph, displayed exactly what I teach when I visit schools. Their action is exactly what defines a person that is a good citizen and more importantly one of good character. When I sorted through all of the PJ's that were donated and came across a bag with a receipt from South Carolina for a bunch of PJ's, I knew that the goal of PJ's for Pals had been reached. It was a drive for the patients at CHOP, but it was also something that I hoped would spread and touch the hearts of people all over. If someone from South Carolina could donate a few pajamas for a Miss Delaware pajama drive, then certainly we all can take a moment to help out those in need within our own state.

With love and great thanks,

Monday, December 28, 2009

Weekend Trip to Johnstown!

I began my trip to Johnstown by stopping by the Bridal Suite for my first fitting for my Miss America wardrobe, including several cocktail dresses and a few gowns. That evening Debi and I attended the Little Miss Merry Christmas pageant held by Ronnie Weaver. Miss Pennsylvania, Shannon Doyle, was there as well. We each performed while the judges finished calculating their scores. It was great to hear the feedback from the audience after my performance. Many of them had not heard opera before, so I was proud to introduce them to what I feel is one of the greatest classical pieces ever written, Adele's Laughing Song.

After the pageant, Shannon, myself, and several other local titleholders went to the nearby hotel for a fabulous holiday dinner party held by Deborah and Ronnie. I felt so much love from them that evening. I received gifts from people that just met me! Their thoughtfulness showed the true meaning of hospitality. Anything I wanted or needed that weekend, I got. It is always nice to meet fellow titleholders and see the beauty that flows from inside each and every one of them.

I was amazed by the size of the tree in the restaurant! It had to be the fattest tree I had ever seen! I thought it complimented my dress very nicely, so we took a quick holiday photo in front of it.

The following morning was the Northern Cambria Christmas Parade. Most of us that were there the night before, bundled up to brave the cold breeze that blew strongly that morning. We decided, what better to do that take pictures while we wait for directions on where to go!

After finding our horse drawn carriage, we wanted to make sure we took a picture in front of it because it was so beautiful! We felt just like Cinderella! As we went through the parade, the Tribune Democrat managed to snap a picture of us and titled it "Visiting Royalty", I was very flattered when I heard I made it in a Pennsylvania newspaper!

Whitten's Jeweler's Holiday Event

Some of you may remember Whitten's Jeweler's by now, but for those of you that do not, they are Miss Delaware's jewelry sponsor. I received a beautiful Whimsy ring from them when I won along with three contestants that won a watch from Whitten's for the Community Service scholarship. I also attended an auto show in Wilmington to hang out at their booth one afternoon. When I received notice that I would be not only attending but modeling one of their pieces for their special holiday event, you can imagine that I was thrilled! The piece you see me wearing is gorgeous and the design is called "Ribbon". There are diamonds throughout the ribbon as well, making it worth over $1600!

Debi Wilson, my Executive Director, attended the event with me and took pictures for me. We decided to be a little artsy in this picture. I am looking into a glass case full of beautiful gold jewelry that was specially marked for the holidays...if you weren't there you missed out!

While their mom's were visiting the store I caught up with these lovely ladies to see if they were excited for Christmas.

The big excitement of the evening was the drawing that took place. For months people that spent $50 were entered into a drawing, and every $50 dollars spent meant another chance in the drawing. It was for a stunning gold bracelet worth over $2000! The suspense was killing people as we picked a few names before hand to receive gift certificates, then once the final moment came the person that was called wasn't there!!!! So we pulled another name.....and they weren't there!!! (You had to be present to win.) Finally Cindy pulled another name and sure enough the woman called was there! She was shaking with excitement. This would make her 10th trollbead bracelet! Talk about a deserving person.

It was great being there to greet people as they shopped for the holidays and to witness the excitement of the drawing!

Delaware State Trooper Holiday Visits

For three days I traveled all over the state visiting children with the Delaware State Troopers. The first day I went with the Sussex County DTF from Troop 4 to Howard T. Ennis, Del Tech Day Care, and the Stokley Center. It was amazing to see all of the children's faces light up when we came in. Now, I think Santa might have been a bigger hit than me sometimes, but the moments I had with some of the people we visited will permanently have a place in my heart. Lance isn't in the picture above because he was taking the pictures for me, but I want to send out a thank you to him as well for being my personal body guard for the day! It's pretty cool having State Troopers watching out for you.

The following day I went throughout Kent County with Troop 3. We added a Storm Trooper and Spiderman to our lovely bunch! We visited another day care, Charlton School, and Kent General Hospital. Let me tell you, these Troopers are some of the best people to spend the day with. There was never a dull moment!

My week ended with New Castle County and A. I. DuPont Children's Hospital. There were over 20 State Troopers at the hospital! I met up with Troop 6 to drive over to the hospital, and when I thought we had a decent group from Troop 6, you can imagine how amazing it was to see so many troopers from various other locations at the hospital as well. We spent all day going throughout the entire hospital, room by room, bringing gifts to the patients. We were accompanied by the Chick-fil-A cow and Rocky from the Blue Rocks, too! If you're wondering, most of us are wearing masks in the picture because, for the safety of the patients, those that did not have both flu shots had to wear a mask. We gave each child a teddy bear, gingerbread house, signed Miss DE photo cards, and goodies from Chick-fil-A and Rocky! They made out pretty good thanks to the hospital and everyone else involved.

Former Miss Delaware's and several others told me this would be one of my most touching and rewarding appearances....and they couldn't have been more correct! From a father telling me his daughter hadn't smiled for days, and it was great to see her smiling and talking again, to a little baby that wasn't even old enough to speak sitting straight up after he was given my picture when the mom had been continuously trying to get him to sit up all morning, I have been truly blessed. It is appearances like these that make my year and my life as Miss Delaware so special.

Monday, December 21, 2009

December...just the beginning

After two canceled parades, Donald and I finally got to an event that Saturday that wasn't cancelled...The Governor's Open House. Before things got started Donald and I made sure to take a few photos in front of the beautifully decorated tree.

Then it was off to work! See that gorgeous punch bowl in the bottom right corner of the photo above? That is one of the most prized possessions in the mansion! The punch bowl is one piece of a silver set comprised of over 20 pieces. The national and state seal are on it along with other symbols like the national eagle, which holds up the punch bowl to represent that Delaware's prosperity rests upon our nation's foundation. It has so much history, and I had the honor of watching over it. I served punch from another punch bowl inside the large one you see. As people walked by eating their Christmas cookies, they would stop by to marvel at the punch bowl, and to their amazement punch was inside! Even Governor Markell took a moment to refresh himself with some of the delightful punch I was serving. It was a great time and it was very nice seeing Governor Markell once again!

The last of my Delaware Christmas parades was the Rehoboth Christmas parade. It was yet again another chilly night. I proudly wore my lovely fur coat from Richard-Donald Furs and road with Donald throughout the parade. There were so many people there! What a festive group of people. Even Donald had on his winter sweater! The lights along the main street in Rehoboth are beautiful! I love seeing the decorations people put up for the holidays, and the lights are my favorite to see along the streets.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Heading into the Holiday Season

On my way out of the Chocolate Festival, at Dover Downs, I looked at all of the intricately designed Christmas Trees donated to sell in support of Delaware Hospice. They were all so beautiful! I had the pleasure of singing a few holiday songs as entertainment both on Friday and Saturday of the festival. I even ran into some of the choirs that would be performing later that day. They were fantastic! Mario Rocco did yet another spectacular job hosting the event. Anyone looking for a DJ or host or a fun entertainer they should look up Mario online. There were chocolate fountains all over the event for dipping bananas, strawberries, pretzels...anything you could imagine!

I also attended the Miss Delaware USA pageant over Thanksgiving weekend. Nicole and Vicenza are former Miss Delaware USA's as well as current and former contestants for the Miss Delaware America pageant. Steffi and Kristina joined us in the fun evening, both current contestants for Miss Delaware America.

At the final night of Miss Delaware USA I ran into a few friends of mine from the Mrs. Delaware competition. It's great seeing so many pageant titleholders attending other organization's events. We really do stick together! Congrats by the way to Miss Delaware USA 2010 Julie Citro!

That following Thursday I had the Georgetown Christmas Parade. It was soooo cold that evening, and I was certainly glad I had my fur coat to keep me warm! Thanks Mark! Donald's car was yet again a huge hit. The boys sure do love his Corvette. I did have two little boys afterward come up to me to say hi. It was sooo cute. They would say hi then run off, come back two minutes later to say something else, and then come back again to tell me the other loved me...it was an adorable moment! My mom, sister, and Donald enjoyed watching it happen.

Novemeber on fast forward

Congrats to Miss Capital 2010, Heather McKinney! You looked beautiful and danced with the same grace you always do! Good luck at Miss DE this year!

I went to Richard-Donald Furs in Wilmington, DE to pick up my fur coat for the winter! Thanks to Mark we found the perfect dress coat. It has kept me warm at several parades and events so far and it has only been about a month! I sure am lucky! I feel so elegant every time I wear it. They are located right on Market St if anyone is looking for a warm gift for a special someone for Christmas!

Recently, there was the Miss Sussex County 2010 pageant as well. It was a great event, however I had to leave early so I could not get a picture with their new titleholder, Miriah Hearn! It is going to be a tough year this year! All of the girls are so beautiful and talented! I had the chance to perform during the pageant, one of my favorite things about being Miss Delaware. It is so exciting to be able to share my gift of singing with so many people throughout our state. I truly believe nothing moves people like music. I am so glad that I have the power to share that!

The reason why I had to leave early was to sing the National Anthem at a MMA event being held at Delaware State University. Through my friend Valerie, I was asked to perform at "Total Disregard" which was a mixed martial arts competition between local fighters. It was such an interesting experience. I was actually asked to sing in the middle of the cage! I can only imagine how these fighters must feel when the cage is closed before a fight...I was in there for two minutes with it opened and I was nervous!

On my way out, I was stopped by the people with a company called Policy. They gave me a T shirt just to take a picture with them! I've never felt so much like a celebrity! The shirt by the way is one of the most comfortable ones I own. Look them up online, they are so friendly and have great stuff!

more fun in the life of Miss Delaware to come...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wine Festivals and Princess Teas

I attended one of the best Princess Tea Parties I have ever been to, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church! Tables were filled with little princesses, and every one of them had a tiara and a feather boa. There was a small salad served along with finger sandwiches, desserts and of course tea (or juice for the ones that did not like tea). I sang In My Own Little Corner and A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes from Cinderella. Then, right before Cinderella and Prince Charming came out, I walked around to take pictures and meet all of my fellow princesses.

That same weekend I had the Wine Festival and Dover Downs.

The theme for the weekend was the 1950's! There were cars and trucks from the 50's along with other memorabilia like a map machine (sort of like a soda machine but it dispensed maps). Vendors had tables placed throughout the Rollins Center while the public enjoyed various acts of live entertainment in the evening.

Right after I performed, none other than Elvis Presley came out to entertain us for a while. Mario Rocco was the host for the event, and I never knew he had such a voice! We sang a duet Friday night to Summer Lovin' from Grease, he was amazing! During my performance I sang songs such as Be My Baby, Stop in the Name of Love, Hopelessly Devoted, Rockin Robin and a few others. There were wine tastings and samples of foods from various local restaurants. It was a great time, and the Miss Delaware Org was thrilled to be a benefactor of the event! Stay posted for a clip from the Wine Festival...I seem to be having technical difficulties for the time being...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Running Around

First and foremost I want to Congratulate two lovely ladies for becoming contestants of the 2010 Miss Delaware pageant! I am completely late on this so I apologize, but Marcie Smith is our Miss Rehoboth Beach 2010 and Shaila Gillis is our Miss Mid-Atlantic 2010. It was a great evening and all of the young women that competed that night did a fantastic job. I am truly not kidding when I say I would hate to be in the judges shoes! It's a tough job picking the winner!

I was all over the place in Novemeber! Ranging anywhere from Rehoboth Beach to King of Prussia, PA. Crowning Around sponsored a fantastic Pageant Prep Expo for girls all over area that were interested gaining various assistance in pageantry. There was a fashion show in the beginning after the keynote speaker, Don Baker, said a few words. Then everyone that came was able to enjoy networking with people that can help with almost any part of preparation you can imagine. There was wardrobe for any phase of competition, interview coaching, healthy diet planning, talent coaching, and so much more! It was a wonderful experience being able to model for my friends at The Bridal Suite! I wore a beautiful, short dress by Heather French Henry. It was great being there for the very first Pageant Prep Expo by Crowning Around and being able to share the experience with my fellow pageant queens!

One of the most touching and memorable appearances I have had so far would be the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial service that I attended on Veteran's Day this past November. I was honored to sing the national anthem for so many of those that put their lives on the line for our country. My Dad is a Veteran and is now retired military from the Air Force, so our nation's armed forces have always been something near to my heart. My cousins have fought overseas in Iraq, with one still being over there. War is something that affects so many families, and unfortunately not everyone has a positive experience. We honored the Delawarians that were killed during the Vietnam War with a beautiful Memorial and service. Several people shared their stories, and many eyes were filled with tears. It was a time I will never forget and I am so proud that I was able to partake in that experience.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I made a trip to East Millsboro Elementary to speak to their Just Say No group about the importance of holding true to one's character to set an example for others. We talked about how each of the six pillars of Character Counts can be used to say no to drugs. They came up with several examples on how they could use good character to help friends see that they are going to take the high road when it comes to drugs. By the end of our talk the students were able to share ways that they could be a role model for their friends, family, and fellow school mates. I shared with them that singing is something I love to do, and in order to do my very best when I sing, my lungs need to be as healthy as they possibly can be. Therefore, one reason why I don't smoke or use drugs is because my singing abilities would be significantly damaged. So after sharing a song with them, we decided to take a few funny pictures before a couple last minute remarks were shared by their teachers. It was great seeing so many students dedicated to being their best self and setting themselves as an example for others!

In November, we celebrated Medical-Surgical Nurses week, where Kent General Hospital held an Ice Cream Social celebrating everything these nurses do to help out the patients that come in everyday. Lt. Governor Matt Denn was there to read off the official proclamation from the State, dedicating the entire week to Med-Surg Nurses. I was invited to help serve the ice cream with two other very special princesses, Sara Garrison and Samantha Ponsell. I had the chance to speak with several nurses there, and I was even given a tour of the hospital. I learned so much about how sections are managed and how the hospital is so successful in what in does. The patients really are the most important aspect of that hospital, and everything from the layout of the building to the interior decorating is chosen to best help the patients staying at Kent General have an enjoyable stay.

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