Pollen was in the air in North Carolina, y’all! I had the best weekend traveling to be with the Miss North Carolina Organization. Friday morning I packed up and made my way to the airport for the long haul. I tell you what, this whole West Coast to East Coast and back again flight is taxing! It was well worth it, though. I was greeted by my host, Miss North Carolina 2003 and make-up mogul, Dana Evans, at the airport and then the weekend was off. First order of business? That pajama party I was telling you about. I was quite proud of my cute pajamas I found on sale at Bloomingdales and I wore them in public with pride! I mean, when will I ever get to go to another appearance where pajama’s are the only requirement? I signed a zillion “Miss America” pillowcases and then posed for pictures with all of the little ladies before I finally got a chance to boogie down. There were over 120 of the Carolina Princesses and no shortage of ice cream and cookies. Boogie turned in to more of bouncing….off the walls. I had a chance to meet so many sweet girls, but perhaps the most touching was a 7 year old named Abby. We had so much fun at the party together taking selfies!
Abby wanted to sit down cross-legged for photos in front of the back drop. Bunny ears commenced! Photo by: Lenn Long, http://www.PageantPics.com
Photo by: Lenn Long, http://www.PageantPics.com
After the party on Friday night I had a chance to hang out with my host, Dana, and one of the Miss North Carolina Board Members, Neal, for a while. It’s always great to sit and chat with people who are a part of the Miss America Organization from another state. I learned a lot about Miss North Carolina and was able to use my new knowledge on Saturday as I spoke to the Teen and Miss contestants.
Before the dinner, though, I had a chance to visit with the vendors who came to be a part of their Work Weekend during the day. There were so many local businesses there! Each vendor had something unique and fun to present the contestants so it was really great to have a chance to see what they had to offer. I may or may not have left with a few sets of earrings. I can’t help it. I’m a girl (and a pageant one at heart!).
The evening approached quickly and it was really an honor to see how the Miss NC Organization goes about their contestant lottery. They adopted the Miss America style this year and we had a blast watching the girls, one by one, pick their placement for this summer’s pageant. In addition, this year is the 25th Anniversary for Miss North Carolina 1989, Kelly Fletcher. We were honored to hear her speak about her successful branding and marketing business based out of Atlanta. She gave a wonderful Prezi encouraging each young woman to find her “Lovemark,” or uniqueness in the world of pageantry. I loved hearing her speak! I, then, had the opportunity to share with the girls what I thought (in my experience) made an effective and successful title-holder. After the lottery was over, I had a chance to meet several of the contestants and I was so impressed by them! Many expressed their concerns with competing, their hesitations for “trying again” or their stories of how MAO has positively influenced their lives. I am positive that NC has a great group of young women and one of them will make a fantastic state representative.
Photo by: Lenn Long, http://www.PageantPics.com
The next day was Sunday and a chance for me to relax with Dana and her family. Dana’s parents, the Earp’s, made a phenomenal lunch of stuffed flounder!! We had a great time together just laughing and having fun before I was off to the airport. Now, I’m back in LA and relishing in these next two weeks of being still. The travel that’s coming up is about to be enough to make me crazy and I came back from NC with a fierce allergy cold. I haven’t stopped sneezing ALL DAY. That, and I feel like my head might actually explode. Praying that my Claritin will do the trick soon.
Today I started reading Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive, and I am hearing her loud and clear. I had a chance to meet Arianna on several occasions in Washington, D.C. last year and I was always just blown away by her. Reading her book, it’s as if I can actually hear her speaking. The introduction (duh) of the book is simply an overview of why she chose to talk about well-being, wisdom and wonder, but there’s so much information about our society and our inability to live a full and complete life that it’s alarming. She says, basically, that ‘burnout’ is our civilization’s disease. It seems crazy, but it’s true. So many of us are just running on fumes and wishing for more time. I certainly don’t feel that way lately, but to be honest, I’ve never known anything but that. It makes sense that now I am suddenly less fulfilled than before. I’m used to being busy 24/7! The whole first chapter of her book is about the ability to listen to your body and it’s stress levels. I have a feeling, when this book is over, I’ll be glad I read it in my mid-twenties instead of fifteen years from now. Regardless, it seems like a message most people need to hear. Although it is essentially geared toward women, I can imagine it would be beneficial to men as well. It kind of reminds me of Sanburg’s book. I wish they hadn’t marketed Lean In so heavily toward women….men could really, really benefit from her message. I encourage you to pick up the book and read along!
Tonight the current Miss Arizona, Jenn Smestad, and her sister, Kalynn, got in to town. I’m excited to have them here and show them around L.A. a bit! Tomorrow, I think we’ll find our way out to Santa Monica for a little sunshine action. The weather has been beautiful!
That being said, I’m aware that the weather across our country is not. I’m incredibly saddened by the recent tornadoes in the South east area and am praying heavily for those who have lost their loved ones and homes. Tonight, my hometown and family are under tornado watch. Natural disasters are always a swift reminder to be thankful for each day and those you love, because nothing is guaranteed. I hope you all are safe.