Sunday, December 19, 2010

November 16- November 19th

Hello Friends!

Time has really flown by and it seems as if Fall has ended as quickly as it started! November 16th and 17th were spent rehearsing my dance routine, having some of my Miss America wardrobe fitted and a mock interview in Wilmington. Thursday, I woke up early to rehearse my dance and then visit one of my favorite sponsors, Carrie at Hockessin Day Spa for a facial and peel! Immediately after, I met my Executive Director, Debi to attend the "Celebrity Squares" event at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington. It was an honor to be one of the "celebrities" chosen for this fundraiser and even more importantly, it was humbling to hear the stories of the women who the money raised in years prior has helped to pay for their higher education. The woman who spoke that night was a young mother who may not have been able to receive her high school diploma, let alone enter college. But, God has blessed her so much through this foundation, that she will be graduating with her Bachelor's Degree this spring. All of the questions I was asked that night were Delaware-related; thankfully!

Friday, November 19th, I visited the gym and ran all the errands I was unable to take care of throughout the week. That evening I was asked to serve as the Keynote Speaker at Eagle 97.7's Delmarvalous Women Event which honored women from all walks of life for excelling in their careers or in their service to the community. It was my honor and my pleasure to speak that evening and meet all of the "Delmarvalous Women"! Politicians, Stay-at-home mothers, servicewomen, teachers, nurses and beyond were recognized that evening and it warmed my heart to see them have a moment to shine! I decided to bring my mother as my guest and travel companion that evening because she is my "Delmarvalous Woman" and she is a true superhero. If we have never met before, then you may not know the story of my family.

A few years before I was born, my father was serving as a Ssgt in the United States Air Force. He and my mother had not been married long when he was given orders to serve in Germany. My parents loved living there! But, one day my father was driving home and his car stalled on train tracks where he inevitably was involved in a near-fatal accident. The train crushed his car, and my father was declared dead on the scene. But, one of the responders decided to do everything he could to revive my father. God had a greater plan for my dad, and after having 1/4 of his brain removed and replaced with dental cement, along with other procedures, he was revived. From the effects of the accident, my father went through months of rehabilitation and he was declared 100% medically retired and disabled from the USAF. My father has not been able to work or drive since I was born, and my mother became the sole provider for our family. She is the strongest person I know, even though she has always worked three jobs, she still finds the time to volunteer and give back. She has been the greatest role model because she never complains about the cards life has dealt her, and she is still a woman of great faith. I thank the Lord everyday for the family I have and for the values they have instilled in me. They have taught me what is truly important in life.

Both of my parents have taught me, "Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it." (Hebrews 11:1)

I hope you have a calm and peaceful evening everyone!

Love,

Kayla

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 9- November 15

Dear Friends,

I cannot believe the Miss America Pageant is just two months from today! It has been a joy to serve as your Miss Delaware for the past five months, and what an honor it would be to be crowned your Miss America.

As we near closer to the pageant, my schedule has become even busier. I was recovering from a sinus infection last week, which slowed me down a bit, but I kept my focus all week long. Tuesday, Nov. 9th, I tried to rest and still be productive before judging the Phyllis Wheatley Middle School's Dress Code Fashion Show alongside MDSO Board Member, Chuck Ivins! I had a great time, and any chance I get to be with children always brightens my day. The kids did such a great day turning their school uniforms into a more personalized and unique outfit they could wear outside of school. Not many public schools in Delaware require uniforms, which made this an opportunity for me to learn how it impacts the students. Congratulations to all of the students for a job well done, and for all of your hard work!

My mom and Chuck treated me to dinner at my favorite restaurant in Sussex County- Jimmy's Grille! Their Limas and Dumplings are to die for- especially when you are feeling under the weather! It should also be noted that I passed up my favorite dessert in southern Delaware, Banana Cake! It is the best.

Wednesday I tried to take it easy since I was still on an antibiotic and steroid for my sinus' so I worked out at the gym, drafted a blog, and worked on my Quality of Life Application. Thursday was one of my favorite days this week! I had an interview in the morning with Craig from www.hairloss.com and from there I rushed to Dover Downs for a lunch with Emily, Lexi and their mom's! Emily is from NY and she, too, has Alopecia. Her best friend, Lexi has decided to make a film about Alopecia Areata and post it online for their peers to see so they can learn about Emily's condition. Emily was recently diagnosed, so this is all new to her and she is blessed to have such a fabulous mother and best friend by her side. Her positive attitude shined through the whole time we were together, and I see so much of myself in her. I know she will go on to do great things with her life, and I am glad we will keep in touch so I can be a part of it! The staff of Dover Downs is just terrific- they let me show the ladies around and even see the ballroom where I was crowned Miss Delaware a few months ago. We then filmed an interview where I shared my story and a little information about Alopecia for Lexi to include in the video. Spending the afternoon with the ladies was such a great time, and I felt like we instantly became friends :) When Lexi's video is complete I will be sure to post it on here for you to see!

Friday morning, my mother and I drove to Tinton Falls, New Jersey to help prepare for the "Let Your Hair Down" Event that evening. Perhaps the best part of the day was seeing my favorite girls- Lilliana and Isabella. Their mother, Donna, puts on this incredible event each year and has raised over $50,000 for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. For the past three years, Donna has included me in the event and I speak each year to share my story. This year, I spoke about the importance of loving yourself exactly as you are. In my heart, I know the greatest gift you can give yourself is love and acceptance for the person you are.

We all have something that makes us different, and thank God for that, because otherwise, the world would be a very boring place. 'Perfect' is boring. You may have issues with your height, your weight, your skin, your smile or even your hair. But in the grand scheme of things, none of that matters- and it should never hold you back from being the person you want to be. Look yourself in the mirror, and love what you see. It may not happen overnight, or in a fortnight. But, I can promise you, the day will come when you accept yourself will be the day you open your heart and open your mind to other beautiful things in life.

That night I was seated near the adorable Joe Sernio, from "All My Children", and the protective Artie Pasquale from "The Sopranos". Artie had me laughing because he was so interested in my preparations for Miss America, and our dinner arrived, he looked at my plate and said, "You aren't going to eat that roll now are you?" Then when dessert was delivered he gave me a hard time for eating my cake! But, he obviously has a sweet and generous side because he later brought me a plate of chocolate covered fruit from the chocolate fountain. He was sure to tell me that there was only fruit on the plate- "no marshmallows and what not" :)

Another highlight of the night was meeting Christie Maruka for the first time! Christie has generously offered to dress me for a few events before and during the Miss America Pageant week in Las Vegas! Christie owns Fashion Fix, the "ultimate mobile shopping experience"! She has dressed lots of celebrities and has years of experience in the fashion industry. Be sure to check out her website to learn more. Trust me, her BMW Van is filled with fabulous clothes that I wish I could have in my closet!

After a late evening, my mother and I woke up early Saturday morning to drive back to Delaware. That day was the Governor's Fall Festival and I had a meeting with George Lee that afternoon at Dover Downs. I went home to change and take care of the dogs before I was back at Dover Downs for the Wine Festival! Mrs. Kemmerlin was my travel companion that evening and we had a delightful time meeting and greeting guests and even chatting with Theresa McMaster for a bit!

Sunday- sick again. I should have rested more when I first started the antibiotics, because it finally caught up with me! But I slept for most of the day, so obviously my body needed it. And today is a much-needed catch-up day! Please keep me in your prayers as I recover and continue to prepare for the Miss America Pageant. Two months left! Too soon for a countdown, right?

Have a beautiful day! Don't forget to mark your calendar for my Miss America Send-Off Celebration at Dover Downs on December 12th from 2-5pm. Tickets are $25 reserved and $15 for children ages 12 and under. Please contact Faye at nuartist09@hotmail.com to reserve your tickets! This is your chance to see all of my Miss America wardrobe and send me off to Miss America with love and positive thoughts.

Love, your Miss Delaware,

Kayla

November 5- November 8



Hello Friends!




As you may already know, one of my dearest and closest friends, Julia, was married last weekend. It was one of the greatest honors of my life when she asked me to be a part of her wedding. Being a bridesmaid and standing at the altar with such a terrific couple was an experience I won't soon forget. If you do not know Julia, she is one of the most beautiful people I know-inside and out. I know that I can always count on her, and she will always be by my side. Julia was my roommate during Miss Delaware 2008 Pageant week! Ever since then we have stayed close and she has been one of my greatest supporters.





Friday, the 5th, began the two days devoted to Julia and her wedding :) We had a girls day with manicures and pedicures before lunch and wedding-related errands. We then dolled ourselves up and were off to the rehearsal! After rehearsing at the church, we all had a delicious meal at Kid Sheleen's where I was constantly laughing since I was sitting at the table with Chris, Mr. DE 2008 and Brittany Dempsey, Miss Delaware 2007! Post-rehearsal we just relaxed and kept the laughter going with Chris and Julia and a few others at her house.





Saturday morning Julia seemed so calm from the moment she woke up! It was her BIG day but she was as cool as a cucumber, even as we ate our breakfast of champions (cereal)! The morning was filled with hair and makeup by Sal of Michael Christopher's and we just spent time together getting ready. Everything went so smooth, and before we knew it, the time had come! Julia was the most beautiful bride I have ever seen. The best part of it all was that Julia was truly just excited to spend the rest of her life with Mike.





We took pictures before the wedding, outside at the Brandywine Zoo and they were gorgeous photos from what I have seen! Julia is a photographer so the pictures were the biggest priority for her :) When the wedding began, Chris (Mr. DE 2008) and I were the first to walk down the aisle. During the processional is when it all set in to me and of course, I began to cry. I promise I maintained composure. All sorts of emotions were going through my head, and I was thankful to have my friend, Chris, by my side. The wedding was perfect and couldn't have been better! The bride, the groom, the wedding and reception- it was all tremendous. We had such a great time and ... Julia and Mike were married!!! What a weekend :)





Immediately following the reception, I drove from Wilmington to Rehoboth Beach. This is not my favorite drive to make, but I am not a morning person, so it needed to be done! After a bit of rest, I was up at 6am to speak at the North East Regional Volunteer Forum which was held in Delaware this year! It was an honor to speak in front of professionals who are living examples of what it means to give of yourself unto others. I shared with them my experiences in 4-H and how they have shaped me into the woman I am today, and how 4-H has prepared me for the job of Miss America.





My mother was attending the conference, and so after we checked out, my family and I dined at my favorite beach stop- Nicola's! Nic-a-boli's are the most delicious meal on the board walk, and bring back lots of memories from my childhood.





From Rehoboth, I drove to Milford (my hometown) to rehearse for the Diamond Dance Company's annual production of The Nutcracker! I will be dancing several parts this year, including the Dream Fairy! It is hard to believe that eleven years ago, I was the first "Clara" in DDC's very first production. Be sure to come watch this holiday tradition at Milford High School December 4th or 5th!





After rehearsing and making a few phone calls, I was off to bed! This was such a busy weekend, and I had begun feeling sick so I knew I needed my rest. Just as I suspected, I woke up Monday feeling just awful and thankfully my doctor was able to fit me in and my schedule was rearranged. The "World's Best Mom" Award goes to Rhonda Martell for driving to Dover to pick me up, take me to the doctor and then the pharmacy since I could barely lift my head. I love you, Mom!





Boy, what a busy weekend! I can't believe it is already November! The Miss America Pageant is just around the corner. Keep checking back to see what happens between now and then!





Be sure to mark your calendars for my Send-Off Celebration which will be December 12th at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino from 2-5pm. Tickets are $25 reserved or $30 at the door, and $15 for children age 12 and under. This is your chance to see all of my Miss America wardrobe and see how hard I have been working to prepare for January! Please contact Faye at nuartist09@hotmail.com if you are interested in ordering/reserving your tickets!





God Bless!





-Kayla

Thursday, November 11, 2010

October 28- November 4

Dear Friends,

My schedule the past few weeks has stayed busy, as per the usual! Thursday, the 28th of October was filled with a workout, talent rehearsal and having a few dresses altered! Friday I woke up early for a workout at the gym, and had a quick lunch at home before I was on my way up to Newark to see my Miss America hair piece for the first time! Mario Rispoli, owner of Salon Rispoli, ordered a custom piece which is based on a mold of my head and the color my hair was when it grew back a few years ago! I absolutely love it, and I can't wait for you all to see it!

Following my appointment with Mario, I left with lots of positive energy and drove to Wilmington for a mock interview. The interview went really well, and I use each of these opportunities to prepare for the moments I will have with the Miss America judges. I hit some serious traffic on my way home, but made it just in time to put my costume on for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition's "Mask for the Cure" Halloween Event! I had such a terrific time attending the event as "just Kayla" with some of my closest friends. DBCC is an organization that I am proud to be involved with, and hope to stay involved even in my life after the crown.

Saturday, October 30th I rode in the Seawitch Parade in Rehoboth Beach- which is one of the neatest festivals of the fall! I decided to leave Bridgette, the dog, at home so I could have some of my favorite, yet sinful, treats after the parade! Grottos Pizza is one of my favorite things in the world- yum! Just use a napkin to dab a bit of the grease off, and you are ready to eat! Sunday was as close to a day off as I can get! With just a few things on my to-do list that day I loved being able to open the doors to the adorable trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood and give out lots of candy with Mrs. Gillis!

I decided to be as productive as possible Monday, since it would be quite a few days before I would have the opportunity to again. After a workout and a few errands, the day passed me by quickly. I stopped in Milford at Sun Dazed Tanning to get a summer-glow before I attended "Hope for Lymes" a fundraiser in in Georgetown to honor Tish Pusey-McQuay, a former Miss Delaware who is a recently diagnosed survivor of Lymes Disease. I only wish I could have spent time with her that day, because I think so much of Tish and admire her strength to not only endure this bump in the road, but also to be an amazing mother.

Tuesday I let myself sleep in a bit after another late night, and woke up with enough time to make myself presentable and hit the road to Milford where I continued the tradition of voting with my parents. Every year since I could remember, my parents and I would walk to the elementary school and they would let me pick who they voted for! Just kidding!!! But, they would let me push the red "Vote" button! :) This day was a little bittersweet for me, because I was thrilled to spend the daytime in my hometown, but I couldn't help but remember Election Day 2008 when I had my accident and suffered long-term effects from a concussion. It was a long recovery period, and quite a crossroads in my life, but I was blessed to have such supportive and loving, family and friends by my side. I love you all! :)

That night, I rehearsed my dance with my best friend, Miss Delaware 2007, Brittany Dempsey for a few hours until I nearly rolled myself out the door and into my car from pure exhaustion! After a full-night's rest, I awoke Wednesday with an all-new to-do list! After taking care of my own things, I helped my friend Ashley prepare her college essays before we rewarded ourselves at Sun Dazed Tan in Milford with a new, beautiful tan before the big weekend ahead! Velvet and Kaila always take great care of me :)

Thursday was the biggest day of my week- Returns Day! For those of you from out of state, Returns Day is quite the event in Delaware. Two days after Election Day, all of the candidates gather today for a reception and parade to honor the winners and their opponents and celebrate the end of another tough campain/election season. The theme is always to "Burry the Hatchet"! Delaware is the only state in the country to have such an event and I am proud to have been a part of it. It was neat to be in the parade and see these beautiful, old-fashioned horse carriages filled with the newly elected officials, their opponents, and their families together. Yes, Christine O'Donnell and Chris Coons were together, too! Everyone was delightfully civil and truly took the time to celebrate their hard work. My favorite part was hearing my great uncle referred to as, "Representative Kenton" for the very first time! I am so proud of you, Uncle Dickey!!! Love you!

Unfortunately, the rain was coming down all day long, but that didn't hinder anyone's spirits! However, it did eventually lead to a sinus infection for yours truly! The weekend ahead of my was quite an important one and I knew I needed my rest that night. After dining with my family and my driver, Donald, in Milford I drove home to ready myself for the weekend!

Thank you for being a part of my Miss America journey. Your love and support keep me fueled even on the not-so-wonderful days. Have a blessed evening!

With Love,

Kayla

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 18- October 27

Hi Friends!

I wish I could express in writing how incredible this experience has been thus far. Every day I feel so blessed to wake up and know that I am going to meet someone who could potentially change my life, or better yet, I could change theirs. As Miss Delaware I have the fortune of serving people in all walks of life, and meeting people who inspire me as much as I hope to inspire them. To be honest with you, I can't help but wonder if I could have found a better job! And I know in my heart that I am the right woman for it.

As I bring my blog up-to-date, I wanted to take a moment and read through previous entries to reflect on my first four months as your Miss Delaware. I found myself with tears in my eyes, and hairs raised on my arms from the memories I have shared with you. My life has already been changed in these roughly 120 days, and I will be a stronger and better woman because of these experiences.

On Monday the 18th I travelled to New York City, my favorite city in the world to work on my Miss America preparations. I am so excited for the pageant and I know that I am ready for the road that lies ahead of me. Be sure to tune in to ABC on January 15th to see me compete for the job of Miss America 2011. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers from now until then as I continue to work hard to represent you at the national level.

A few highlights from my NYC trip were seeing Chicago on Broadway, which was a surprise gift from my wonderful Mother, dining at a tapas restaurant and Serendipity (we sat at the same table the movie was filmed at!!!), and, of course...... stopping at St. Alps Teahouse for BUBBLE TEA! Bubble Tea is my favorite thing in the whole world, and I miss it terribly when in Delaware, because I have yet to find a teahouse nearby that prepares it the way I like. While in the city I also met with Ronnie and Deborah from The Bridal Suite to meet with Sherri Hill once more! The trip was very quick, and quite exhausting but I loved every second there. And I must say, it was quite productive!

As I returned to Delaware late Wednesday afternoon, I hurried from Wilmington to Milford to ride in the Milford Fall Parade. The drizzles of rain didn't stop my town from having lots of fun, and the parade carried on! I treasure every appearance in my hometown, especially those that are followed by time with my parents.

I was back up north on Thursday at one of my favorite sponsors, Hockessin Day Spa, having a facial done by the magnificent Carrie. That day was a relaxing day for me with a few personal appointments here and there. That evening I met with my Executive Director, Debi, at her home to plan for the months ahead of us, and to catch up on the past few weeks. Even though we chat weekly, sometimes daily, we definitely appreciate the meetings together to catch up. Thanks for the yummy dinner, Deb!

Friday was the beginning of my productive week as I worked on essays, blogs, emails, and even found time for my very first air brush tan from Sun Dazed Tanning in Milford! Thank you, Velvet for taking such good care of me! I was afraid I would look like a pumpkin and was prepared to change my Halloween costume at a moments notice, but she picked the perfect color for me!

Saturday was my second favorite appearance opportunity thus far! I had the best time at the Special Olympics Fall Festival Games at the University of Delaware, and I won't soon forget my time there. I had marriage proposals, learned all there is to know about Bocce Ball, took lots of fun photos, and was even given a pumpkin from the cutest young boy, Henry! My fondest memory of the day was walking into the Field House and passing one of the athletes, a young man, who was SO excited to see me! He had been waiting all day for Miss Delaware to arrive, and when he saw my crown he kept repeating, "Oh my, goodness! Oh my, goodness! It's Miss Delaware!" It honestly made his day to meet me, and the fact that I took the time to chat with him and get to know him, meant so much to his family. I am feeling emotional just writing this because it warms my heart to know that I can have such an impact on someone that I barely know. And I have learned that just as soon as you think you cannot relate to a certain person, or group of people, you realize that you have much more in common than you thought!

That is what excites me the most about the job of Miss America. You are chosen to represent and relate to all people, and be able to carry a conversation with anyone who will give you their time. And while no person can say she has something in common with every American, it is Miss America's job to find a way to relate to them. How incredible is that?

To finish my entry- Sunday was my Applebee's Pancake Breakfast for the Children's Miracle Network. Thank you to everyone who volunteered, or came out to support, and thank you to Milford Applebee's for generously donating the time, space and profits of the morning for a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I travelled directly from the fundraiser, to the Ross Mansion in Seaford for their 150th anniversary festival and agricultural celebration! I had such a lovely time with the Dairy Princess, Peach Queen, Sheep & Wool Princess and Watermelon Queen.

Monday and Tuesday were extremely productive for me. I worked on the Quality of Life Application and Essays, was fitted for many dress alterations, had a dentist appointment, worked out at the gym, tanned, danced ballet and even spent time with my dad on his birthday! My to-do list is finally dwindling!

Today, I let myself sleep in a bit, and have been finishing more work. Tonight I will be riding in the Selbyville Halloween Parade! I hope to see you there!

Have a great day, and thank you for being a part of my journey to Miss America.

God bless,

Kayla

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 3- October 17

Hi Friends!

The fall has been filled with some strange weather here on the East Coast! We have had days that are as cold as Winter, days as hot as Summer and rainy days to no end! Sunday, October 3rd was no exception to the unpredictable weather. I was scheduled to walk and talk at the Walk for the Alzheimer's Association at Rehoboth Beach, but alas, mother nature had other plans. It rained and I arrived to find an empty, but drenched park! I had a fabulous photoshoot that afternoon with Paul Pruitt and was able to have some time with my family that evening.

This week was a business-filled week. Monday and Tuesday were catchup days for me. I was catching up on missed workouts, sleep, paperwork, donation requests, thank-you cards, emails, photos, and so on. Wednesday morning I visited the Miss Delaware haircare sponsor, Michael Christopher's Salon in Wilmington to have my nails manicured with their new polish product! I ran errands while upstate, and visited with an old friend before heading down to Dover to volunteer with the Military 4-H program! Thursday and Friday I worked out at the gym, and called several local businesses soliciting donations for my live auction fundraiser. My to-do list was finally dwindling!

Saturday was the heavily awaited, annual Apple Scrapple Festival in Bridgeville! For those of you who have never heard of scrapple, it is essentially pork mush and scraps. Yum! The weather was rather warm that day as I participated in the Scrapple Sling contest with many local politicians where we each had to throw a frozen block of Scrapple and see how far we could toss it. My first toss was relatively acceptable, but the second slipped through my fingers as the Scrapple block began to sweat from the heat. Luckily, Miss Delaware has some pull, and the host 'inadvertently' kicked my Scrapple into the 8 spot! Although I did not win, I had a great time! That evening I was invited to attend a reception at the home of Joe Conaway where I enjoyed lots of homemade, delicious food made by his terrific wife!

Sunday I woke up early to speak at the Walk for Diabetes at the Dover Downs Monster Mile! I had a wonderful time there, and met so many terrific survivors. I had forgotten my camera that day, so unfortunately I won't be able to post photos. From the walk, I drove to Milford to rehearse for The Nutcracker with the Diamond Dance Company! It is great to be back in the studio and performing in one of my favorite shows! I decided to try to get to bed early that night because I knew I had a long week ahead of me!

Early Monday morning I was on the road with my second parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gillis, who were so generous as to drive me to Johnstown, PA. After six hours of traveling, we reached the Bridal Suite of Johnstown where I had my first fitting for my Miss America gowns! We also picked up the 25 Bridal Gowns that Ronnie and Deborah so generously donated to help me raise money to afford my dream talent costume!!! All of the gowns are so beautiful- I cannot thank Ronnie and Deborah enough for supporting me and for donig everything they can to make sure I look and feel like a Miss America when I am in my wardrobe.

Monday was a long day, but Tuesday was welcomed with a luncheon at Dover Downs with the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Staff where I spoke about my experiences in 4-H and had the opportunity to thank my mentors and colleagues for all of their support over the past 16 years. That night I packed up my suitcase and read over all of my materials for the two days ahead of me!

Early Wednesday morning I left Philadelphia and was on a plane to Columbus, OH for the National 4-H Council's Board of Trustees meeting! Once I arrived, I was shuttled over to the Ohio State University where I checked in, changed and readied myself for the reception that evening at the home of the University's President. My favorite part was not only the delicious food, but the terrific company. I had the pleasure of meeting the other 30 members of the Board of Trustees, Ohio State University 4-H'ers and even local 4-H youth from all different demographics.

Thursday was filled with board meetings where I quickly realized what an honor it is to have been invited as a new trustee. All of the members are successful in their respective careers, and genuinely care for today's youth. Landel Hobbs, the COO of Time Warner Cable was welcomed as the other new trustee, and it was a great opportunity to network with someone who works in the field of which I hope to pursue a career. Representatives from JC Penney, WalMart, New York Life, prestigious universities and much more are among the other trustees. Thank you to Don Floyd, the CEO of National 4-H Council for inviting me onto the Board and for making my first experience so comfortable. I look forward to playing an important role on the council and helping to make decisions that with shape the program which I attribute so much of my success.

After the last meeting that afternoon I was on a plane, returning to Philadelphia International Airport. I ate and slept as soon as I made it home. What a busy week already!

Friday morning I worked out and then drove to Milford for an early lunch and interview with Milford's newest online news source, Milford Live. Bryan Shupe, the creator of Milford Live asked all sorts of questions about my preparations for Miss America and what events I will be a part of in our hometown of Milford. After I talked his ears off, I was on the road again headed to the University and Whist Club in Wilmington for the Chocolate and Roses Tea. I was asked to model for Ladies Image, a shop in nothern DE and loved one of the dresses so much, I had to purchase it! One of the families in attendance was just so sweet, that I stayed after to chat with their daughter and her best friend. They were both so friendly and so beautiful- I asked them to consider getting involved with the Miss Delaware's Outstanding Teen Program, and I surely hope they do!

Saturday was the busiest day of all! My family and I were preparing all morning for my two fundraisers that day- the Bridal Blowout Sale, with the gowns donated by the Bridal Suite of Johnstown, followed by a Pulled Pork Dinner and Live Auction! The proceeds of these events were to benefit my Miss America talent preparations and dance costume. My mother worked tirelessly for days and weeks to pull off these events to ensure that I make it to Miss America knowing I had the best preparation possible. I could go on for days but I want to thank my mother for all of her hard work, and for caring more than anyone else that I am fully prepared for Miss America. I never doubt that she is behind me 100%, and I know she always will be. I love you so much, Mom!

Thanks to my mother and father, Herbie and Debbie Kenton, Georgeann White, Mr. and Mrs. Gillis, The Bridal Suite of Johnstown, Brittany and Vicky Dempsey and so many local businesses and community members, I was able to reach my fundraising goal for my talent! I love you all!

Sunday I felt a huge sigh of relief knowing the fundraiser was complete! That afternoon I spoke at the Kent County 4-H Banquet where I spoke about the relation between the 4 Points of the Miss America Crown to the 4 H's. I had such a lovely dinner and enjoyed my time with my 4-H family!

I rushed from the banquet over to the Rickshaw Rumble at Harrington Raceway where I participated as a driver! I was pulled by my "horse", driver, Victor Kirby! He was such a great sport, and took wonderful care of me. This was a fundraiser to protect retired horses, and hopefully find them homes. A special Thank You to Chuck Ivins for sponsoring me in this event! I had a blast and enjoyed the company of my best friend, and former Miss Delaware, Brittany Dempsey!

Whew! What a busy two weeks! Thank you for checking in to see how my year is going. I hope to make all of you proud in January!

Yours in service,

Kayla

Friday, October 22, 2010

September 27- October 2

Hi Friends!

I won't even begin by saying how busy I've been, because you probably know that by now! But, I wouldn't have it any other way. The job of Miss America is very busy, and she is always on the road. So, the past four months have helped to prepare me for the expectations of that job!

Monday, the September 27th, I had an appointment with Dr. Webster, who is generously making sure my teeth are perfectly straight and white for the Miss America Pageant in January! After my appointment, I worked out at Lifestyles Fitness Center. After a shower and quick dinner, I was off to a lyrical class!

Tuesday I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the kids at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This remains to be one of my favorite appearances since becoming Miss Delaware. I begged to be able to do room visits and spend one-on-one time with the patients, and Susan (the Miss DE Business Mgr) made it happen! It warms my heart to see the reactions of the children when I enter the room and get to know them. I met one boy in his teens who was in a terrible accident, and he had made such a quick recovery that they were sending him home early! He was so thrilled by the news, and I was fortunate to have entered the room briefly after he had been told. I signed a photo for him, and we joked that he could return to school and pretend he had spent the past three weeks with Miss Delaware!

I also met a little girl, who was undiagnosed and had a large and supportive family by her side in her room. We spent time talking about Hannah Montana and other Disney shows that she loves to watch. She had been told that morning that Miss Delaware was coming to visit her, and she had anxiously awaited my arrival for hours! The minute I entered the room, her face lit up as if she had just met Selena Gomez! Moments like that remind me just how important my job is, and what kind of impact I can leave on a child's life.

My most memorable moment was meeting a girl who had lost her hair as a result of medical treatment. I was visiting the hospital with my wig on, and as she and I were talking about her experiences at CHOP, she mentioned that she was waiting for her hair to grow back. She seemed quite concerned about it, so I thought I would open up and share with her about my hair (or lack thereof). She was so surprised and remembered that she had seen me in People Magazine! I know that I left an impression on her that day, and she has even emailed me to let me know that she is now home with her family. I thank God every day that I have the chance to meet so many inspiring people, and hopefully touch another person's life along the way.

That night I was thankful to have dinner with my family and reflect on my experiences that day. Wednesday morning I had an interview with Richard Gaull from Delaware Today Magazine at the lovely Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. We sat and talked for hours, and it was one of the best and most thorough interviews I have had to date. The article will be published after the Miss America Pageant. That evening, I drove to Wilmington for a mock interview!

Thursday I drove down to Paul Timmons at The Firm in Rehoboth Beach to workout, and boy, did he kick my butt! After my long and tiring workout, I stopped by Sun Dazed Tanning in Milford to tan quickly and spent some time with my father.

Friday was my busiest day of the week! I visited Benjamin Banneker Elementary School in Milford to give a Character Counts presentation in three classrooms! I left the school and immediately drove up to Wilmington to have lunch and meet with National 4-H's CEO, Don Floyd at the Hotel duPont. Our lunch was delicious, and it was a very productive and exciting meeting. I was asked to become a member of the National 4-H Council's Board of Trustees. This was quite an honor for me, because I am a third generation 4-H'er and I attribute so much of my success to my roots in 4-H. I learned to be a teamplayer, to give more than you take, and to continuously learn from growing up in a 4-H club.

After asking for a small to-go bag of the hotel's famous Coconut Macaroons, I was headed back down to Milford for a Breast Cancer Fundraiser at the Abbott's Grill with my travel companion and friend, Chuck Ivins. It was a pleasure to be a part of this event, and see so many familiar faces in my hometown. Since I didn't have time to eat, Chuck, Kevin and I went out for a Sushi dinner in Rehoboth after the event! I love the crab soup at the Cultured Pearl- if you are ever in the area, be sure to try it!

Saturday was one of my favorite days of the month! A young girl, named Jodi, came to Delaware from New York to visit with me and have lunch. Jodi, and her parents were the most delightful people, and we had such a good time that we just ate and chatted for hours! We met at Frankie's Restaurant in Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and the staff treated each of us to a delicious Tiramisu dessert! Then I gave Jodi and her family a tour, and she was able to see the stage where I was crowned Miss Delaware. We took some fun photos and just enjoyed the time together. Jodi has Alopecia, like me, but we had so much more to talk about than that! I hope the next time I visit NYC that we can meet for dinner and dessert! Jodi is an inspiration to me because she has such a positive attitude and a beautiful personality.

I feel so blessed to have this opportunity and the chance to make an impact every day. I cannot thank God enough for each of these blessings and for providing me with supportive family and friends to help me be the best I can be.

Thank you for checking in, and come back soon for more updates!

With much love,

Kayla

September 20- September 26

Hello everyone!

The past few weeks have been some of the busiest yet! The 20th of September I volunteered at the RE/MAX Annual Golf Tournament for the Children's Miracle Network at Back Creek Park in Middletown! I had such a wonderful time chatting with the golfers, and spending more time with Caitlin from CMN. Without even researching, I know the tournament was a huge success and they surpassed their fundraising goal! Every dollar raised will help a child to have a more comfortable stay in the hospital and keep their spirits high. Thank you to RE/MAX and all the teams for your generosity!

From the golf tournament I rushed over to my Executive Director, Debi's, house for.... the Miss America Contestant Lottery!!!! No, this was not the kind of lottery where you can win money, but I definitely was so thrilled that I felt as if I won! For those of you who may not know about the MAO Contestant Lottery, this is where each contestant logs online and is called in random order to select their contestant number/position for the Miss America Preliminary Competitions. Once George (Miss DE board member) and I arrived at Debi's we talked briefly about what my plans were for the lottery. Since Miss Delaware is usually called in the latter half, I did not expect to have many numbers to choose from. The lottery had begun streaming live, and Debi began preparing our dinner. I was about to go and change my clothes as the first state was selecting their number, when all of a sudden I see "Delaware" on the bottom left corner of the screen! I couldn't believe it- I was the third state to choose. I didn't even have time to put my comfy clothes on! I had 51 numbers to choose from, and ultimately selected contestant #9 from the Sigma group! This means I will compete in the Tuesday Interview group (the last to go) and Tuesday night I will model my Swimsuit and Evening Gown. Wednesday I will perform my talent, and Thursday I will answer my onstage question.

I know that many of you were confused about why I chose this number and group, but in my heart I knew that I chose the perfect number and group. I wanted to be in the last group for interview so the judges would have three opportunities to get to know me in one day. Then Wednesday I will continue the positive energy to perform my dance, and continue to leave my mark in the judge’s minds. Then Thursday, I will leave my lasting impression with the On Stage Question. I cannot wait!

The next day I worked out at the gym and drove to Wilmington for a mock interview. The interview was terrific, and I was thrilled to have another opportunity to prepare for the most important part of the Miss America Pageant. Then, Wednesday was spent at the gym, working on paperwork and ended with a ballet class that evening!

Thursday night was my Quarter Auction Fundraiser at the Millsboro Fire Hall, which was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who volunteered that evening, and came out to support me on my Miss America journey. I especially want to thank Georgeanne White for all of her hard work and for finding the perfect location. Thank you, to the best mother in the world, Rhonda Martell, for singlehandedly organizing this event and for losing many nights of rest to ensure that I raised enough to cover the costs of my talent choreography. Without everyone’s help, I’m not sure what I would have done, or how my talent would look in January! Thank you Shawn, Justin, Brenda, Ashley, Susan, Sandy, Rich and Melanie, Sussex County 4-H, Brooke and Sandy Mitchell and everyone else who lent a hand that night!

On Friday it was back to work as I met with Debi and George to work on the Quality of Life application and essays. I am so thankful they have me focusing on this with more than enough time to spare! I spent the night in Newark with Debi since we had quite an early morning Saturday! Debi and I drove to the Bridal Suite in Johnstown, PA to try on my Miss America Evening Gown, and pick out my walk-on gowns! It was worth the ten hours in the car with Debi and “Tom Tom” (her new GPS!) because I fell in love with my gown all over again, and found two amazing gowns to wear on stage Wednesday and Thursday in Las Vegas! Thank you Ronnie and Deborah for providing me with a wardrobe that is more than I ever dreamed it would be! Be sure to come to my Miss America Send-Off Party on December 12th at Dover Downs so you can see my entire wardrobe and send me off to Las Vegas in style!

Congratulations to Steffi Holmes and Jessica Tilley, our new Miss Diamond State and Miss New Castle County! Unfortunately, Debi and I had to miss the pageant as we were in the car until late that evening. George was sure to call us and give us an update! I know Steffi and Jessica have quite an exciting year ahead of them, and I cannot wait to see them on the Miss Delaware stage in June!

Sunday morning I was up, bright and early, to speak briefly at Glasgow Park outside of Wilmington to raise money for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. I feel blessed to have been named an honorary member of their board! The crowd was terrific, in spite of the questionable weather and everyone surely enjoyed themselves.

I rushed from the walk to my best friend, Julia’s, surprise Bridal Shower! Natalie, her cousin and MOH, did an outstanding job pulling everything together and Julia was definitely surprised! I made a few dozen Oreo Truffles, Strawberry Cake Balls, and Peanut Butter BonBons which served as yummy favors for everyone. Julia is the most kind-hearted person you could ever meet, and also the most talented- she photographed my headshots! It was nice to have an afternoon to just be Kayla, the bridesmaid, and celebrate this exciting time in Julia’s life.

Thank you all for following me on my Miss America journey and check back soon for the next update!

Love,

Kayla

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 11th- September 19th

Hello Everyone!

Saturday, 9/11, was a busy day, to say the least! I was up early to attend the Amish Country Bike Tour in Dover where I mingled and welcomed the cyclists back as they finished their race! I ate some delicious pulled pork sandwiches with my parents, who came to enjoy a few moments with me and I even sampled some homemade peach ice cream from my favorite local farm! It was an honor to be a part of this event because all the proceeds were to benefit our veterans, and I am proud to same that my father, grandfather's and uncles are U.S. Veterans!

From there I quickly rushed out of the heat, and over to the Miss Kent County pageant. Unfortunately, because of scheduling I was not able to crown the next Miss Kent County (my last local title before becoming Miss Delaware), but I was lucky enough to spend time with the girls prior to the competition, and emcee the first half! Congratulations to my local sister from 2010 and longtime friend, Heather McKinney for being crowned the new Miss Kent County! I am so proud of her for how far she has come, and I look forward to seeing her compete at the Miss Delaware Pageant this June!

Had I been able to stay longer, I would have delivered a farewell speech, which ultimately would have lasted an hour at least! But in lieu of a long-winded speech I would like to briefly thank my local directors and team members, Brittany Dempsey, Laura Moylan and Vicky Dempsey for their endless love and support the past seven months. They never doubted I could become Miss Delaware, and they never allowed me the chance to doubt my potential either! They were the best team I could have asked for and without their help, I may not be experiencing this exciting year ahead of me! I love you all so much, and I feel like you are all a part of my family.

Halfway through the pageant, I had to excuse myself from the microphone, and run to the Denim and Diamonds Event at the Delaware Agricultural Museum in Dover to benefit Meals on Wheels of Delaware! All I can say is, Fabulous! The event was beyond a success and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves! The food was terrific, the music was great and the auction items were quite a hit! I was assigned the role of diamond-saleswoman, for lack of a better term. As a part of the fundraising efforts, a local jeweler donated a 3ct diamond for the cause! Champagne glasses were sold with either one of the 49 fake diamonds, or "crystals" as I liked to call them, or the one glass with the real diamond. Mrs. Delaware and I were thrilled to be a part of this because it gave us the chance to really meet all of the attendees! And, boy, was it exciting to build up the anticipation of discovering the winner!

As you might imagine, I slept very well that night! And woke up Sunday morning to attend church and then head to Oaks, Pennsylvania where I attended the first annual "Mutts Making Money for Melaina" Dog Walk to raise money for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation! Bridgette (my beautiful and fluffy bichon-maltipoo) attended the event with me, as did my parents! Melaina is lucky to have such a wonderful family and Beth (Melaina's mother) did an incredible job with the planning! Thank you all for including me!

Monday I drove down to Selbyville to be trained by Kim for Miss Delaware given platform, Character Counts! After creating several lesson plans, working through several activities and just acting out teaching styles, I felt ready to get into the classroom! Thank you, Kim, for the sweet lemonade and for taking the time to work with me! From there I drove back to Camden where I purchased a new pair of pointe shoes from The Dance Collection. The next day I drove down to Rehoboth Beach to workout with Miss Delaware's Fitness Sponsor, Paul Timmons from The Firm, and boy was it a workout! I picked my dad up on my way down so I could have some company while I ran errands that day. And Wednesday I visited our wonderful skincare sponsor, Hockessin Day Spa for a rejuvenating facial! I so look forward to those appointments! In just four days, I travelled over 550 miles in my car!

Then Wednesday night, I drove to Wall, New Jersey to be with my two favorite little girls, Lilliana and Isabella! We had a very early morning Thursday and headed into New York City to be with Lilliana and her family as she received her very first hair system! She looks like such a diva in her new, strawberry blonde hairdo! I will be sure to include a photo! After eating lunch in the city, and surviving the torrential downpour followed by lots of traffic, we made it back to New Jersey in one piece! That night, the girls and I had a slumber party and made my favorite sweet treat- S'mores!!! Friday was another early day as I was a guest speaker at Central Elementary School, where the girls attend! I was able to tell Lilliana's peers all about what it means to have Alopecia Areata in a large assembly where all classes attended. Then I made individual classroom visits to the first grade classes.

After the school visit, Donna (Lilliana and Isabella's mother) took me shopping and to get my nails done, for a relaxing afternoon! Donna, Matt and the girls are like family to me, and I always have a great time when I am with them! Friday night I spent time with Donna, Matt and their friends as well as all of their children. It was great insight to what life will be like with kids! One little boy just fell in love with me, and I won't soon forget his supreme dancing skills!!!

Saturday was filled with busy work and helping Kevin move into his new apartment in D.C. Then, Sunday I spoke at the Seaford United Methodist Church about my life and how God has played such a large role in every piece of my journey. I have been blessed with many gifts and I am thankful to have the opportunities and the venues to share them with others- and all of that is thanks to God.

Thank you for following my year as Miss Delaware, and my Miss America journey. Please check back soon for an update on the end of September and to see pictures of all the appearances I shared with you! Have a great week!

With Love,

Kayla

August 30- September 10th

Hello Friends!

I am so sorry for the delay in updates. My days have been filled with such wonderful and exciting things, and I am doing my very best to respond to emails, and keep everyone up-to-date through blogging!

August 30th was filled with a dentist appointment at Webster Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, and then an optometrist appointment! That evening I held a Zumba Fundraiser at the First State Academy of Dance in Milford to benefit the Children's Miracle Network! Thank you to everyone who came out for a night of fun exercising for a great cause! And a special "thanks" to Maria Fry, a longtime friend and my childhood dance instructor, for volunteering her time to teach the class that night! We all really enjoyed ourselves!

Unfortunately, that day was very difficult for my family, as my parent's dog, Tater, passed away just before the fundraiser. Tater lived a long and happy life, and he would have done anything for my mother, father, or me. He was a part of the family, and many schedules and trips have revolved around him over the years, but he has always been such a well-mannered and faithful dog. We will miss Tater, but we know that he would not have survived a week without my family while they are supporting me at the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were filled with essays, workouts, paperwork, blogging and a meeting with one of our Miss Delaware board members. So, Friday was a welcomed change of pace as I traveled to the beautiful Winterthur Gardens to celebrate the marriage of my friend, Kellie and her new husband, Sal! Congratulations to the new couple, and I know they have a life filled with great love and joy ahead of them. Saturday and Sunday I was doggy-sitting for my best friend's family, while also spending some quality time with my family. Then, Monday evening I attended the Virginia Tech/ Boise State game at Fedex Field in DC! Unfortunately, Boise State won even though there were so many Hokie Fans in attendance! I had lots of fun tailgaiting, and eating yummy food before and after the game that night! We didn't get home until well after midnight, so I was thankful to have the chance to sleep-in on Tuesday!

Tuesday afternoon I met with Mario at Salon Rispoli to have my first-ever molds done for a suction cap wig! I have never owned a wig that was custom fit for my head, and that I could swim, run, or survive a windstorm in! I can't wait for the new piece to arrive! Wednesday morning I went to Michael Christopher's Salon in Wilmington with my best friend, Julia, the bride-to-be for our hair rehearsal for her wedding, with Sal (the Miss Delaware Hair Stylist)! I was lucky enough to have a few hours free, where I could have lunch with Julia and finally catch up on all things Miss Delaware and everything with her wedding! The next day I prepared more paperwork and went to Wilmington to meet with George and Debi (Miss DE board members) to work on Quality of Life essays!

Friday was the beginning of a non-stop week for me! I was at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the local CMN hospital, to volunteer for the 9th Annual WOGL Loves Our Kids Radiothon where nearly $400,000 has been raised each year! I was in good company, with my Miss America sister, Ashleigh Udalovas, Miss New Jersey!

Stay tuned to hear about the rest of my busy week and to see photos of each of these experiences!

Thank you all for being a part of my year as your Miss Delaware. I am loving every second of my new job!

Many hugs,

-Kayla

Thursday, September 2, 2010

August 23- August 29

Dear Friends,

August 23rd may have been my mother's birthday, but that did not mean it was a day off for Miss Delaware! I went with my mother to get our nails done and try to relax in celebration of her special day. Then I worked out at the gym, and ran several errands to prepare for my trip to Orlando, FL! In the afternoon, I visited my newest sponsor, Sun Dazed Tanning in Milford to make up for lost time in the sun this summer! Their facility is so lovely, and they have several options for tanning safely.

After leaving Sun Dazed Tanning I headed to Sunnybrae Mansion in Milford for my "Walk for a Miracle" Fundraiser to benefit the Children's Miracle Network. As a Miss America contestant, I have adopted the national platform of the Children's Miracle Network and I will fundraise for them, and volunteer in their hospitals during my year as Miss Delaware. And should I become Miss America 2011, I will inherit the title of Goodwill Ambassador for CMN!

Even though the rain clouds were making their way to Milford, many friends and family joined me at Sunnybrae Mansion for this terrific cause. We walked around the beautiful property and fellowshipped for as long as we could. The rain inevitably came, but only a few moments after everyone had begun to leave!

Tuesday I was in the gym and received the wonderful news that I am a finalist for the L'Oreal Paris's Women of Worth Award! My telephone interview was at 1pm that day, and they asked all kinds of questions regarding my commitment to creating positive change, and to volunteering in my community. To even be nominated is quite an honor, and to know I have been selected as a finalist is simple indescribable.

Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I packed with the help of Mrs. Gillis, for my trip to the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant! I was so excited to meet my Miss America sisters, and to cheer for Miss Delaware's Outstanding Teen, Katelynn Mayers. By Wednesday afternoon I was en route to Orlando, Florida with my travel companion and Miss Delaware's Field Director, Dulcena Kemmerlin. Our flight was on time but we arrived in Orlando with nearly twenty minutes to check in to our hotel, change our clothes, grab a quick bite to eat, and walk to the convention center. We arrived a few minutes late to the preliminary competition, so I was unable to officially meet everyone until after the pageant. Katelynn's talent was terrific and I was so proud to see her shine on that stage! Later I learned from Katelynn that she had broken her toe, but I had no idea while I was watching her perform! After the preliminary competition Mrs. Kemmerlin and I spent time with Katelynn and her family in the visitation/meet and greet. Katelynn was in good spirits and seemed to really be enjoying herself!

This group of contestants in the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant was phenomenal! Some wanted to be doctors, lawyers, or performers and so on. One contestant had already graduated high school and completed two years of college at the age of 16. And many of them had GPA's above 4.0! Plus, they were all extremely talented, philanthropic and beautiful young women!

Wednesday was a late night, and the next morning I had my video shoot with Tall Pony Productions (the Miss America Production crew) bright and early. Check back in the coming weeks to see if the videos have been released and to learn what they will be used for! All I can is that my shoot went well, and I had a great time! After the Tall Pony Shoot, I was surprised to hear I had been selected as one of ten contestants to film a video interview for Artistry Cosmetics- Miss America's Cosmetic and Skincare sponsor! While the other contestants had known about the interview, Debi, my Executive Director, decided to surprise me with the news. So I rushed to the Artistry bus to have my makeup done, and to learn all about their newest cosmetics! Their light-up lipgloss is my new favorite, go-to beauty tool! Check out their website later this month to see their all-new cosmetic line!

After the video shoot, Mrs. Kemmerlin and I spent some quality time together, catching up, eating lunch, and visiting the trade show! Before we knew it, it was time for me to change for dinner! Mary Sullivan, the Executive Director of the Miss Florida Organization and Regalia hosted our dinner at Maggiano's that evening and it was delicious! The lemon cookies were to die for. Thank you to Mary and everyone from Regalia for such a lovely meal! After dinner, we made our way to the convention center to support our 'little sisters' during the third night of preliminary competition! Katelynn participated in the Evening Gown and On Stage Questions portions of competition that night and she was stupendous! I was beyond proud of her poise and grace. Katelynn was asked about funding in public schools, and she showed that she could personally relate to school funding issues. That night, one of the contestants also performed to Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" on pointe and she was terrific! As a dancer, it is fun to see another person's interpretation of a song and how they display that with movements. During the pageant, all 53 of us competing for the job of Miss America 2011, introduced ourselves on stage. As I left the stage I slightly tripped over a cord! I had a big smile, laughed at myself and kept on walking :) I told myself that this was a good thing- God would never let me trip at MAOT, and then trip again at Miss America!!

Friday morning at 6:45 am, all of the Miss America contestants were on a bus and headed toward.... Disney World!!! It was a warm day, and in spite of the heat we all had so much fun channeling our inner child! My group was able to ride Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, The Haunted Mansion, and the Tea Cups! We each filmed a quick video interview with a representative from Disney World and spoke about our favorite Disney memory. I had a difficult time deciding between the time I was able to ride the rides with a friend visiting from my hometown through the Make A Wish Foundation, and the memories of visiting with my father who loves Disney just as much, if not more than I do! My dad's favorite character is Goofy, and so we covered every inch of the parks in search of one man- Goofy! My dad's biggest concern was getting a picture with Goofy, and hopefully getting his autograph :)

After we had too much fun at Disney World, we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the rest of the evening. That night we attended a fantastic fundraiser for the Miss America Organization at the Segal Estate. This was a fun and relaxing evening to spend time with my Miss America sisters. Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010 was in attendance as well as most of the Miss America staff. Everyone had a great time dancing, eating and mingling! Many local restaurants brought their specialty dishes and we were able to have quite the variety of delicious, 5 star food! My favorite part of all was the chocolate fondue! Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Segal for hosting such a wonderful event, and for raising money to help young women, like myself, achieve higher education!

Saturday was the big day! In the morning I attended the Miss America Orientation where Caressa Cameron spoke about the ins and outs of the Miss America job, and we learned all-new details regarding the pageant in January. I will keep you posted on the exciting things to come, but for now just trust that this will be a show you will not want to miss! Being that this is Miss America's 90th Anniversary, it will be a big celebration!

After orientation we changed and headed to the convention center to take part in an autograph signing just before the final night of competition. I was a nervous wreck for Katelynn, whom I am certain was calm as a cucumber! But I could not wait to see her on the stage once more! Even though Katelynn did not make the top 10, I am beyond proud of everything she has accomplished this year. For those of you who could not attend the pageant in Orlando, I know you would have shared the sentiment. Katelynn worked very hard and I am so blessed to call her my 'little sis' this year. Congratulations to Miss Oklahoma's Outstanding Teen, Lacey Russ, on becoming Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2010! I know she will do an incredible job this year.

Sunday morning, Mrs. Kemmerlin and I flew back to Philadelphia and returned to home, sweet home. Happy Birthday to Debi Wilson and Aimee Voshell-String, two active members of my Miss Delaware family! I hope you both enjoyed your special days and took some time to relax! And to Carol Stevens- thank you for giving Debi the best gift of all- A Tom-Tom!!! :)

Have a beautiful day everyone!

Warmest Wishes,

Kayla

August 14- August 22

Hello Friends!

It is hard to believe that I have been your Miss Delaware for two months now. Time has really flown by! During my interview with the Miss Delaware judges I made a promise to them that I would never let a single day go to waste, and looking back at my first two months on the job, I think I have still lived up to my promise. I only hope that I can continue to have such wonderful experiences and that I can make you all proud as my year progresses. 

Saturday, August 14th was my longest and most tiring day as Miss Delaware so far! And unfortunately, I was not able to spend the day with my best friend, Brittany Dempsey, on her birthday! So-- Happy Birthday Brittany!!!! Thank you for being such an incredible friend, and for helping me to achieve my dream of becoming Miss Delaware. I'm not sure what I would do without you, but I know I am lucky to have such a great friend! I hope you had a relaxing day! :)

That day I woke up very early to be in Wilmington at the Riverfront to speak at 9am. I attended the Women of Greatness and Power Expo and spoke briefly to the large crowd in attendance. I only wish I could have stayed longer, because I heard the inspirational speaker was outstanding! I left the Expo and was on my way down to Ellendale to attend the Ellendale Fire Company's Open House until 2pm. I was able to ride the fire truck and blow the horn, have my blood sugar levels and blood pressure tested by the lovely ladies from Beebee Medical Center, and sign many autographs for children in the area! It is heartwarming to see the faces of young girls who have never met a Miss Delaware before. It is easy for us to think we are just normal people, but to a little girl, we are a real princess!

From the Open House, I drove back up to Wilmington to throw the first pitch at the Blue Rocks game! Let me be honest with you. I had great intentions of practicing my pitching skills so as not to embarrass myself or live up to any person's expectations of a pageant girl. But, I only found five minutes the day before to rehearse with my second father, Kevin Gillis Sr. Luckily he was patient with me, and I felt confident that five minutes was enough :) So when I go to throw the pitch I focussed on one thing- not letting it hit the ground! So I threw the ball, and it made the shape of a rainbow! But, what is most important is the catcher caught it, and no one was harmed in the process! :) Plus, the crowd was kind enough to cheer!

I drove immediately from the game in Wilmington to my apartment in Northern Virginia. Sunday morning I taught my final session at Barbizon with my students in Fairfax, VA (where I was attending college). I was sad to say goodbye to them, but I am so proud of how much they have grown. They were  a terrific group of girls, and I can't wait to see them at their graduation!

Monday, August 16th, I drove from Northern Virginia to Rehoboth beach to have a fitting with the White House Black Market in preparation for their upcoming fashion show! I then drove from Rehoboth to my Executive Director, Debi's house in Wilmington to pick up the dresses Johnstown Bridal Suite. Ronnie and Debbie Weaver from the Bridal Suite had donated three cocktail pieces for me to wear while  at the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando, FL! Then, I drove back to Dover to get some rest, since the rest of the week appeared to be very busy! Lots of driving!

Tuesday I met with Paul Timmons, the Miss Delaware Personal Trainer in Rehoboth Beach and caught up on some blogging, correspondence, paperwork and so on. I take every opportunity I get to be productive! Then, Wednesday I visited with the kids attending Delaware Burn Camp at Camp Barnes in Frankford, DE. We were supposed to be swimming together, but Mother Nature just wasn't having that! So we ate lunch and made fun t-shirts together instead! Thankfully, that night I was able to spend time with Justin, a lifelong friend of mine from my hometown. I truly value every chance I am given to spend time with my friends, and just be Kayla for a little while. 

Thursday I spent time on the sand in Rehoboth Beach with Meagan and her mother Karen who are great friends of mine from Harrisburg, PA. Meagan has Alopecia Areata as well, and we have been friends for quite a few years now. She and her mother attended Miss Delaware every year, to support me. And they are even flying to Las Vegas to cheer me on as I compete for Miss America 2011! I love spending time with Meagan because she is like the little sister I never had. She is a freshman in high school this year, and I know she is going to have so much fun making new friends, and experiencing all kinds of new things! 

That night I modeled in the White House Black Market Fashion Show on the Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. The fashion show was amazing and I felt as if I were a part of fashion week in NYC! I modeled three outfits and loved one so much that my mother gave it to me as a present after the show! I had a little cheering section in the audience since my parents, and Laura Mattey's family came to see me walk the runway! I am blessed to have such wonderful family and friends supporting me throughout my journey. 

That day happened to be Laura Mattey's birthday and of course I scooped up the opportunity to dine with her and her family after the show, to celebrate!

Friday August 20th, I had a doctor appointment, and worked out at the gym. Then I headed with my parents to the Denton Summer Festival in Denton, MD. I walked in the parade, and was so delighted to have one last taste of 'fair food' before the summer was over! I only wish Lindsay, Miss Maryland, and I could have attended on the same day!

Saturday I worked out at the gym again, and met Crystal from Channel 3 News at Dover Downs to film an interview. I went home to change and then headed to Sunnybrae Mansion in Milford to attend a fundraiser for our wounded soldiers. I spoke briefly about the importance of supporting our troops, and why this is such a value for my family and I. My father is a disabled veteran and both of my grandfathers served in the military, and many of my friends have been deployed in recent years. I have seen firsthand how essential it is that we financially support our troops, but that we also physically and emotionally support them as well. I feel very blessed to be the daughter of a U.S. Veteran and I am thankful for the support he and my family receive.

During the event, many local actors from my hometown, including my childhood dance teacher, Maria Fry, and family friend/Sunnybrae owner, Karen McColley, entertained us with a "Who Dun It?" performance. They were superb and kept me laughing the whole time! They even involved me, and had the audience wondering if it was me who stole the gold! From the fundraiser, my family and Kevin's family celebrated with a crab-picking dinner! Our favorite summer treat!

Sunday, August 22nd, I attended the Lighthouse Christian Church for Friends Day with my friend, and Miss Delaware board member, Chuck Ivins. They were all so welcoming and just excited to meet me. And their musicians were some of the most talented singers I have heard in a long time. My uncle, Harvey Kenton attended as well, and I love every opportunity to spend time with him. Thank you to Lighthouse Christian Church for inviting me, and including my family and I in such a beautiful service. 

That afternoon I attended Representative Dave Wilson's fundraiser at Sam Yoder's and was able to see my Uncle again, and other members of my family!

Thank you for being a part of my journey to Miss America, and for following my year as Miss Delaware. Your support means so much to me, and I hope to make you all proud at the Miss America pageant on January 15th!

With Love,

Kayla

August 2- August 13th

Hello Friends!

The beginning of August was relatively calm, and I was able to catch up on some well-needed rest. I had a phone interview with Women's World Magazine and the Beauty Bean Blog which was followed by a dentist appointment at Webster Cosmetic Dentistry in Dover! Tuesday, August 3rd, I travelled to New York City with my mother and my Executive Director to meet with my favorite gown designer to find the perfect gown for the Miss America pageant! We met Ronnie and Deborah Weaver from the Bridal Suite at Johnstown just before the appointment, and they helped in the selection process. Thank you, Ronnie for making the appointment and for allowing my mother to accompany me on this special day! She and I will never forget this experience and it would not have been the same without her there! But I know I could not have made my choice without your help! Thank you, again, for supporting me.

Wednesday morning I recorded a Public Service Announcement for the Huntington's Disease Foundation and met with the Paul Timmons at The Firm in Rehoboth Beach for my consultation. On Thursday, I was at the Dairy Queen in Camden to celebrate Miracle Day and fundraise for the Children's Miracle Network! I am so pleased that my favorite ice cream spot donates thousands of dollars to such a wonderful cause. While at Dairy Queen, I learned how to make a Blizzard!!!! AND I discovered the newest menu item- a mini Blizzard- which is a pageant girl's best friend! The mini Blizzard is a smaller option and therefore a more calorie-conscious one as well! I was told by the manager that you can only know if you made a Blizzard properly if you turn it upside down, and nothing falls out! I am not usually very timid, but I was petrified to try this with fear it would spill everywhere! I decided to just go for it and come to find out--- I made it correctly! And to celebrate- I ate it correctly :) My father even trusted me to make his Blizzard as well!

Friday I worked out and attended the first part of Miss Delaware's Outstanding Teen, Katelynn Mayers' send off party. Katelynn looked beautiful in every piece of wardrobe, and I could tell she was ready to conquer the world! Or at least the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant. I was only able to stay a few minutes because I was then off to Dover Downs Hotel & Casino (where I was crowned Miss Delaware less than two months before) to judge the first night of the Elvis Competition! I had such a great time, and the contestants were all incredible. I gained such respect for the Miss Delaware judges that night, because it was very stressful to judge these talent men! Later that night, while I was still at the Elvis Competition, the 20/20 feature with Deborah Roberts aired on ABC. When I returned home I was able to see the piece and was beyond pleased with what the 20/20 crew produced. I cannot thank Ruth Chenetz, and Deborah Roberts enough for contacting me and highlighting me in such a positive way. They were so kind and helpful throughout the whole process!

Saturday I attended a fundraiser in Greenwood to raise money for a local family who lost everything when their home caught fire recently. It was my pleasure to be there, and help support a local family. The young daughter was just so excited to meet Miss Delaware and take lots of photos with me. Those moments really made me appreciate this opportunity, and I know I will never forget her. Thank you to everyone who attended the event and for spending the afternoon with me!

I left the fundraiser and rushed to the Possum Point Theatre in Georgetown to spend time with the Miss Tri-County contestants. Can you believe they are already trying to take my job-- and I just became Miss Delaware two months ago!!! Just kidding :) It excites me to think that one of those young women may have the opportunity to experience what I have in the past two months! I emceed the first part of the pageant, but was on the road once again to judge the final night of the Elvis Competition! Thankfully I was given the update later that evening that Erin Magnin became the new Miss Tri-County!!! Congratulations to Erin, and I cannot wait to see her compete in the Miss Delaware 2011 pageant next June!

The final night of the Elvis competition was lots of fun! Each of the ten finalists was able to sing three of their favorite Elvis songs- and boy, were they impressive! They sound, look and dance just like 'The King'! Even though I was not alive during Elvis' time, I have a great appreciation for his music, and luckily I am well-versed in his dancing style! Thank you, to Dover Downs Hotel & Casino for inviting me to judge!

Sunday morning rounded out the week for me with a fun, small-town parade. Donald Tatman, Miss Delaware's driver, escorted me in the Big Thursday Parade (ironically held on a Sunday) in Bowers Beach! I had a terrific time in spite of the heat, and enjoyed a fried oyster sandwich and homemade ice cream from my favorite local spot- Vitale's!

Monday was a day spent catching up on correspondence, blogging, phone calls, and organizing! Tuesday morning I met a young lady for lunch at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. She has Alopecia Areata, just like me! She flew in from California, and was brought by her aunt from Pennsylvania, who was equally as sweet. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and were able to talk about everything from how we lost our hair, to our favorite movies! We even had a mini photo shoot with the crown!

That night I attended the Delaware Electric Coop.'s Annual Meeting at the Delaware State Fair Grounds with my Business Manager, Susan, and her husband, Gene. This was a huge event with so many Kent and Sussex Countians in attendance! Dinner was provided by Mills Bros. (a deli down the street from my parent's home), and there were all kinds of free goodies including dessert- which you probably know by now, is the way to my heart! Thank you to the Delaware Electric Coop. for including me in this wonderful opportunity to meet so many Delawareans!

Thank you for being a part of my year as your Miss Delaware! Stay tuned for the many exciting things to come!

With Love, Kayla

Monday, August 30, 2010

July 25th- August 1st

Hi Friends!

My nearly three months as Miss Delaware has been very busy, and to say the end of July was any different would be a fib! Sunday the 25th my favorite little girls came from New Jersey with their family to visit! Lilliana, Isabella, Donna and Matt joined me as I visited the Delaware State Fair. That day I was able to just be Kayla, and enjoy riding the rides, and eating typical 'fair food' with the Hakims! State Auditor, Tom Wagner and his daughter joined us while we rode rides and we had a blast! A local 4-Her was kind enough to give all of us a tour of the animal barns, and Lilliana and Isabella were able to ride a horse! Before we left, I was able to eat some of my favorite food, deep-fried Oreos and some homemade lemonade!

Monday I was at the Delaware State Fair once again, to judge the Chocolate Contest in the Dover building alongside renowned musician and fellow Delawarean, Joel Andrus! Check him out! For those of you who know me personally, you know that I was in my glory that morning! I LOVE CHOCOLATE!!! I tasted some of the best chocolate recipes and some of the most unique I have ever seen! I truly hope they will have me back to judge next year, even if I am no longer Miss Delaware! Chuck Ivins, Miss Delaware Board Member and Travel Companion escorted me that day and I was able to experience everything I love so much about the fair! I even rode in the parade in a beautiful horse carriage, courtesy of Representative Dave Wilson!

Tuesday I visited for four hours at Absalom Jones Senior Center in Wilmington. I was able to enjoy lunch with the residents, sign autographs, speak about my platform and perform a dance for them! I drove immediately back down to Dover to receive an honor from the Kent County Levy Court with Miss Delaware 2009, Heather Lehman. What a great day this was!

Wednesday was my most memorable day as Miss Delaware thus far. I visited the Children's Beach House in Lewes, DE where I was asked to speak about being "different" and turning it into a positive thing. Let me tell you- this is the most incredible place I have ever seen!!! Having thought I had seen every inch of the beach, since I grew up so close, I was beyond shocked to find this beautiful property! I expected a typical beach house, and ultimately found this grand facility that offers an overnight camp for children/teens with a disability. These children are given the opportunity to take painting and sculpting classes, play on the beach, enjoy the water from inside a boat, and so much more! If you are ever looking for a local cause to give a donation (other than the Miss Delaware Organization, CMN and NAAF, of course!) then please consider donating to this magnificent cause. They are run completely by donation, and every child who attends this camp has a life changing experience. Without the staff and doctors/nurses who are on-site 24 hours a day, these teens could not experience an overnight camp. What a terrific organization!!!

I can't share any more details because I spoke about my experience at the Children's Beach House in a video for the Miss America Pageant, so tune in later to hear the full story!

Thursday I was at the Delaware State Fair all day long with Governor Jack Markell to celebrate Governor's Day! His wife, Carla, and two children spent the day with him as well and I really enjoyed getting to know the more personal side of him and his family! We walked around, rode a few rides, visited each building and stuck to our very strict schedule! Governor Markell and I participated in the Egg Toss Competition, facilitated by the FFA, and although we did not win (like he and Heather, Miss DE 2009 did) I think we did a great job! And I must say, the toss that fell on the ground was flung by the Governor himself :) So I don't intend to let him live that down!

I performed at the Governor's dinner in the Harrington Raceway and Casino, and was able to see my Uncle, Harvey Kenton and Aunt Jeanie!

That day I participated in the Pig Kissing Contest which is a fundraiser for the Delaware State Fair Exhibitor's College Scholarship! I was thrilled to be a part of this great cause, and also embarrass myself in front of the crowd, while doing the chicken dance! Governor Markell even chose to rearrange his schedule to come watch me compete! The funniest part of all was the pig's reaction to coming face-to-face, snout-to-snout with me. He squealed, and kicked and scared me half to death! Obviously he has something against blondes.

I traveled to Wilmington that night to stay with my Executive Director and we left early Friday morning to visit Atlantic City, NJ for the Maine Invitational. **This was my sixth state that month! I was able to meet a few of my Miss America sisters including Miss Connecticut, Miss Rhode Island, Miss Maine, Miss New Jersey and Miss District of Columbia! We toured the Convention Center where the applause of former Miss America pageants still rings, and blood/sweat and tears of former Miss Americas has been left on the beautiful stage. If you are a Miss America fan and have never visited the Convention Center, I really encourage you to do so. I have memories from sitting in the audience there, supporting Miss Delaware 2003, Erin Williams.

We also walked the boardwalk, took some fun photos in the sand, had dinner at the White House (a famous sub shop), and toured the Sheraton, where there is lots of Miss America memorabilia and Miss America 2010, Caressa Cameron's evening gown is displayed. Debi and I returned to Wilmington that evening (thankfully we found our way back!). The next day was Kevin's family reunion followed by the State 4-H Banquet, where I presented the awards! This was also the final night of the Delaware State Fair, so I was sure to partake in the last bit of 'fair food' that I would experience until next year!

I had a meeting the next day, and was even able to sleep in a bit! Overall, July was a great month and I was thrilled to spend as much time as I did at the Delaware State Fair! Check back to read about my next month as Miss Delaware and more of my journey to Miss America!

Have a blessed day!

-Kayla

July 16th- July 23rd

Good morning, Friends!

From July 16th-23rd I was extremely busy and visited five states (DE, MD, VA, PA, NY) in one short week! I was interviewed on Channel 6, the morning of the 16th for a Prospective Delaware piece. I had the fortune of traveling with my longtime friend, and Miss Delaware Board Member, Chuck Ivins to Philadelphia that day. It was wonderful to be able to catch up with Chuck and talk about everything from Miss Delaware, to my normal, daily life as just Kayla. That afternoon I had my pre-interview on the telephone with producer, Ruth Chenetz for the 20/20 piece. I appreciated how thorough Ruth was, and I could tell she was most concerned about making me feel comfortable.

That evening I drove to Virginia and taught my students at Barbizon all day Saturday and Sunday. Even though we had so much information to cover that weekend, my students found time to ask me questions about the Miss Delaware pageant, and my life since then! I have missed communicating with them as much as I normally had, since my life has changed quite a bit over the past few months! But, my students and their families have been very understanding and I am so proud of how hard they are working!

Sunday night, I left the Barbizon school in Virginia and drove directly to Delaware where I met Georgeann, the Miss Delaware Public Relations Coordinator. She and I hopped in the car and were dropped off just in time to catch our train in Wilmington- thanks to Mr.Gillis who got us there in one piece! We arrived in New York City very late that evening and rested before our early morning the next day!

Monday morning a car picked us up outside of our hotel at 7am, and chauffeured us to the Wendy Williams Show Studio. I had a blast being there, and enjoyed a delicious breakfast with Joey King, the star of the new film, Ramona and Beezus! My hair and makeup was done in a beautiful dressing room that had my name on the door! I was able to meet and chat with Lucy, the Editor of Self Magazine, of which I am a longtime subscriber, and also the host of the show, Wendy Williams. We talked wigs and New York, and food- which you all know, made my day! The filming was a great experience and I felt very blessed to have that opportunity. Sheila, the wig stand, concurs as she was also featured on Wendy's show that morning! :)

Immediately after being interviewed by Wendy Williams, I had to leave the filming early to catch a ride to ABC Studios at noon. I wish I could have stayed to see Jennifer Love Hewitt's interview with Wendy, but Susan, my Business Manager was able to fit everything into one day and we were sure to be on time! Georgeann and I enjoyed lunch at ABC Studios with several of their staff and were even given the opportunity to see Barbara Walters' office! I'm not sure how Barbara would feel about this, but I was so excited to take a picture in her chair!

We met Deborah Roberts before the interview began and I was quickly put on the set of 20/20 doing mic checks and lighting adjustments. The interview was a terrific experience, and Deborah was sure to leave no stone unturned. She asked some tough questions and challenged me to dig deeper to share my personal story. I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to prepare for the job of Miss America.

Georgeann and I were then rushed to Penn Station to catch our train that evening and were back in Delaware by 9pm! Talk about a big 'day trip'! Tuesday the 20/20 film crew met me at the Delaware State Fair Grounds to film me judging 4-H State Fair entries. Low and behold, the minute I entered the 4-H building I saw a HUGE picture of myself across the room! All week I referred to this as my 'shrine' :). The Delaware 4-H Staff decided to honor me as the first known 4-Her to become Miss Delaware and I am proud to represent them throughout my year of service. So much of who I am was shaped by my experiences in 4-H- plus I am a 3rd generation 4-Her! The biggest honor of all came from having my 'shrine' next to that of Joy Sparks. Joy was the leader of Delaware 4-H for many years, and she gave every piece of her heart to that organization. A few years ago, Joy passed away and I can only hope to grow to be half the woman she was and impact half as many lives. Having my photo next to hers was very emotional for me, and I will never forget that.

The 20/20 crew filmed me judging 4-H science entries, and even interviewed a young 4-Her with more spunk than you could imagine! My lifelong friend, Justin Pink was even shown in the piece as he judged with me!

From the Delaware State Fair Grounds, the film crew followed me to Giaccamo's on Forrest Ave. in Dover to eat a yummy lunch before the rest of the afternoon! Immediately after lunch, the crew and I headed to Lifestyles Fitness Center to catch a glimpse of the workout routine I used to prepare for the Miss Delaware pageant! I probably shouldn't have eaten such a big lunch right before a workout! Thank you to Brittany, and everyone at Lifestyles and Kent General Hospital for working with me and ABC's crew that day! Brittany was sure to not go easy on me, of course! She had me sweating and out of breath on national television--- thanks, Brit!!! ;)

The film crew said farewell to us at the gym, and I headed to visit Dr. Robert Webster Dentistry to receive my first set of Invisalign! And from there I was on the road to Wilmington to meet with Debbie from Lady's Image, a sponsor of the Miss Delaware Organization. Debbie had me try on several dresses to model at the Best of Delaware event a few days later! She was very efficient with our time, and we selected the first three pieces I tried on!

Workouts and correspondence filled the next two days before Delaware Today's, Best of Delaware event at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino that Thursday evening. Thank you to Lady's Image for inviting me as your guest and allowing me to model three beautiful pieces that evening. I tasted lots of DELICIOUS food that evening from all over the state of Delaware and all in all, had a really great time.

The best time of year had finally arrived---- the Delaware State Fair week!!!! Any 4-Her, or lifelong Delawarean knows, the Delaware State Fair is the place to be this week! Friday, Jul 23rd I had the fortune of meeting Paula Deen and her husband and dining in a private reception with her, before her cooking/comedy show that evening. Let me tell you- she is a hoot! The minute she walked into the reception she saw my crown and exclaimed, "Oh my goo'ness, you brought me Miss America!!!" I looked at Chuck, and thought to myself- do I correct Paula Deen the first second I've met her?! I opted to say nothing and let her know later that I am Miss Delaware, not Miss America just yet. Later, I had the chance to actually chat with her and Michael, her husband, and to say she was interested in my platform would be an understatement. They both asked me so many questions about Alopecia Areata, and they did not believe that I was wearing a wig, until I wiggled it a bit to prove I wasn't lying! They wished me well in preparations for Miss America, and said they felt certain I would leave Vegas with a smile and a new crown. :)

The show was terrific, and she kept me laughing, that's for sure! Be sure to check back to read how the rest of the Delaware State Fair went for me, and what I have been up to since! In the words of Paula Deen, "See ya later ya'll!"


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