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

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