Saturday, August 28, 2010

Some random rambling...

Happy weekend everyone! The first official week of school, even though we only really had two days of classes, is complete. I really like all of my classes and I think, based on the syllabi and first impressions, that my course load will be well balanced; some courses are going to challenge me while others will serve as 'easy A's' and 'refresher' courses. My biggest disappointment so far has been that because I am a junior and in higher level courses, the professors don't feel it necessary to have us introduce ourselves. The way that this usually goes is the professor gives us a formula for our introduction: Name, year, major, hometown, and FUN FACT. Normally, I can never think of a fun fact, but this year, I really wanted to be able to say, "My fun fact is that I am Miss Thousand Islands 2011!" Oh well!

Now, as I'm sure many of you have heard, Miss Thousand Islands 2010 Kristina Ferris's crown has been stolen. It was one of many items stolen in a burglary spree in her neighborhood. I wanted to take the time to first of all express my devastation for Kristina and the loss of her crown. Although the crown is 'just a thing', it is truly so much more than sparkly rhinestones. Not only does the crown stand for Style, Success, Scholarship, and Service (the Four Points of the Crown), but it also represents a titleholder's year of service and all of their accomplishments. As Kristina has stated in interviews with the media, the crown is not really worth much money, so to anyone but her, it is not very valuable. I am hopeful that the crown, along with the other possessions stolen in the string of burglaries, will be returned to their rightful owners.

To completely jump topics to something more positive, I am very excited to announce my first appearance as Miss Thousand Islands! I will be attending the Miss Italia 2010 pageant in Watertown, NY on September 10. The Miss Italia pageant is a part of the Bravo Italiano Festival that is held in Watertown every year. I have never been to the festival or the pageant before, and I am really looking forward to seeing a non-Miss America pageant. I hope to see you there! Although the winner of this pageant will not be a part of the MAO pageant family, I am excited to welcome in a new pageant sister to the Thousand Islands and Watertown area pageant family! OH...I'd also like to congratulate Allison Carlos, Miss Forest Queen 2011! Miss Forest Queen is a festival pageant, but she will be competing in Miss New York 2011 with me! Welcome to MNY Class of 2011, Alli! :-)

Before I go, I'd also like to give a quick shout out to Alison Stroming, Miss New York's Outstanding Teen who is competing in Miss America's Outstanding Teen pageant tonight in Orlando. She has been competing all week and won a preliminary talent award! I was lucky enough to meet Alison during Miss Thousand Islands and she is very deserving of this crown! Tonight is the big night, so send thoughts her way!

That's all for now!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Some advice for college freshmen...

After I posted last night, I was laying in bed, anticipating today, the day I go back to school. This year is of course different than any other year, and the change from dorm room to apartment is certainly a lesser change than going from home to dorm room for the very first time. I thought back to this same time, two years ago, when I left home for the first time and moved in to my college dorm room. For some, the transition seems easy, while for others, it is much more difficult. For me, it was the latter.

I remember crying when I left my house, almost all the way to Watertown, and then falling asleep for the entire ride to Ithaca. Once I arrived on campus, the biggest step, even though physically it would be the easiest, was getting out of my car. Immediately, we checked in, and started unloading the car. I was living in one of the two Towers, on the 9th floor. Luckily, there were elevators, and luckily there were upperclassmen and giant laundry carts to assist us in the move. Although I was still sad to leave home, my friends, family and the guy who was, at the time, my boyfriend, moving in was sort of fun. Now, not to say that I had the coolest dorm room, but my mom and I really took the ugly dorm room and its just as ugly furniture and made it look beautiful. So, the tiny dorm felt a little more like home, but until we went to dinner, it hadn't really hit me that I wouldn't be leaving with my family that night, and that I wouldn't be going home for a while.

I had a beautiful view from my first dorm room, and alongside Cayuga Lake was the highway out of Ithaca. Even though it was too far away to actually know if one of the set of lights that grew smaller and smaller was my family in our van, I perched myself right near that window, crying on the phone to my mom, watching and watching. She kept telling me that I needed to have fun and that I couldn't let my homesickness get the best of me. She told me that I would come home soon but that I had to push through the next few weeks. Looking back, this is advice that really applies to any type of trivial situation and honestly, anytime I am stressed or worried or sad, no matter what the occasion, she tells me basically the same things. As much as I appreciate my mom's advice, the painful homesickness really had already gotten the best of me and I didn't want to listen to what she said. Also, although her advice is good advice, it is really hard to follow when one first arrives at school and is left there. Now, I am a Junior and I have had some time to figure college out and I have some advice of my own that I still follow when I get a little sad...

1) STAY BUSY. For me, this is extremely important. Luckily, my major keeps me very busy with schoolwork, especially group projects, which are not only time consuming, but they allow a group of people who might not have met otherwise, really get to know each other and I have met some great friends through group projects. Check out the activities and groups on campus. Trust me, you will feel a lot better if you stay busy, rather than sit in your room doing nothing.

2) GO TO THE GYM. When you work out, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Plus, getting in shape is not only fun, but it makes you feel better about yourself. Taking care of your body by eating right and working out definitely helps to change your mood. Remember, you don't have to be athletic to work out. Even if you have never set foot in a gym, start out college and your life right by working out and staying fit - there are not only machines and weights, but lots of fitness classes too!

3) STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. This is a big one. College is full of opportunities waiting for you, but you have to find them. Most of the time, opportunity doesn't come knocking at your door. If you get a chance to do something, even if it is going to what you think will be a boring lecture, do it. You never know what great things could come from it. Now, don't be discouraged if you go to a lecture and don't leave feeling like a new have to expose yourself to lots of lectures and events and you will see, when you are in my shoes, how the bigger picture has been effected by stepping out of your comfort zone.

4) BE WITH PEOPLE. This goes along with staying busy. As much as we need time to ourselves and to be alone, during your freshmen year, many of us are plagued with vulnerability and being alone all the time is not going to help. It's not as easy to be alone when you have a roommate, but because I ended up living in a single after a falling out with my roommate, I had to learn to get myself out of the room even when I really just wanted to stay in bed. You will make friends in class, in your dorm, and all over campus, and in groups or within your major. Spend time making friends and not sitting alone.

5) VISIT HOME often, but not every weekend. My mom was do have to push through, especially the first few weeks because this is prime bonding time when you will meet the people who will end up being roommates and friends for life. When you visit home, make sure that your parents cook you your favorite meal (b/c dining hall food isn't always the best...) and that your laundry gets done, and that you see your friends. But don't forget that you HAVE TO go back to school and that you HAVE TO get your work done. If you think going home will make you want to stay home more, then do not go.

6) GET IN A ROUTINE. Get up more than 20 minutes before your first class, whether it starts at 8AM or 12PM. Give yourself time to get up, SHOWER, get ready (yes, actually fix your hair, make-up, and wear something other than sweats), eat breakfast, and get to class early enough to get a seat in the front (this keeps you from getting distracted and keeps you on task because the professor is right there). I thought I would try being a 'cool' college kid and just rolling out of bed a few minutes before I needed to leave my dorm to make it to class 'on time" (which Shelby would actually call late). I found that I didn't feel happy when I was dressed in baggy sweats, un-showered. Now, if you tend to normally dress in baggy sweats and you don't shower, I'm sure this won't be a problem for you. For me though, I LOVE getting ready and looking nice for class, so I don't know what I was thinking. Go to your classes and try to be excited about it, even though it sometimes is hard. EAT. EAT. EAT. Go to the gym or work out in some way. Do your work and don't procrastinate. Go to bed as early as you can, even though sometimes this is 5am. Basically, wake up each day ready for a new challenge, and keep a smile on your face.

Now for my pageant sisters, when college becomes difficult and you are feeling frustrated or sad, and you really don't want to do what you know you need to do, think, "What would Miss America do?" I know it doesn't seem like Miss America would come across these situations, so it might be hard to imagine what she would do...Miss America emulates true beauty. She is not only beautiful from the outside but from the inside too. She is a strong, confident women. She demonstrates the Four Points of the Crown each and every day and we must always think about this because it truly does help.

To my freshmen friends:

Whether you are going away or staying home, college is going to be a big difference and will present you with trials and tribulations that sometimes might seem unbearable. Listen to the advice above, listen to your parents and you will be just fine. I would like to wish you all good luck as you begin your college journeys. In these first weeks, know that I am thinking about you, and you are in my prayers! Have fun & be safe!

On a quick Miss T.I. note, I just wanted to share that I received a congratulatory letter from Congressman Bill Owens. I thought that was pretty awesome! :-)


Saturday, August 21, 2010

A week as Miss Thousand Islands...

I believe that as a titleholder it is very important to publish a blog post at least once a week, to keep my followers and readers up to date on my life and my plans for Miss T.I. I also really enjoy writing and by writing for fun, not just writing papers and essays for school, I am improving my writing skills, which Shelby would say is highly important, not only as a titleholder, but as a Public Relations professional and a successful person in general. So, although I have yet to make a Miss T.I. appearance and am unsure when I will first get to wear my crown and sash publicly, I have had a busy, yet wonderful, last week at home, that I would like to write about.

Tomorrow, I will be driving to Ithaca with my family and boyfriend, Tony, to move into my very first apartment where I will reside for the school year. Before I tell you about this, let's rewind back to Monday.

Not only was this week my last week at home, it was also my last week of work. This summer I was employed by the Crescent Yacht Club Junior Division, Inc. Junior Division, for short, is a Swim and Sail day camp program that is run on Lake Ontario at the Crescent Yacht Club in Chaumont, NY. I was the Senior Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor (which is the reason I had a terrible racerback tan line for the pageant!) So, aside from teaching swim lessons and lifeguarding, my job basically entailed supervising a group of awesome kids, ages 6 - 16, and hanging out in the sun on the lake all day. Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, in our last week we try to have as much fun as possible. The week started out with swim tests, which were a breeze compared to swim lessons, and then finished the week off with sponge dodgeball, water wars (which took place on Sawmill Bay while the campers sailed and the counselors were on the motor boats), and Watermelon Olympics, which entails covering watermelons in Crisco and then completing a series of events - the team whose watermelon breaks first, loses. Even though the Crisco left a big mess on our picnic tables, the activities were all a lot of fun. The week ended with the annual Awards Ceremony. Although this was my first time as a staff member, I had attended the ceremony for many years as my younger brother, Sky (who is also on staff), was a camper for many years, and I was in the program for a short time as well. As the swim instructor, I had four awards to give and present - two Most Improved, and two Best Swimmers (one for the younger group, one for the older). For each award, the staff member who is presenting, writes a brief, suspense building speech, and reads it to the group of campers, family, and friends, before announcing the recipient. Just a quick and interesting note about these awards: the Swim & Sail program is 79 years old and many of the awards which are trophies and plaques have been around since the beginning of the program. When a camper wins an award, they get to keep the trophy or plaque, carefully of course, for a year and have their name and winning year engraved before returning it the next year. Many of the trophies have winners dated back to the first year and many times, campers win an award that their parent or grandparent may have won many years ago! All in all, the entire ceremony was lovely and I believe that the recipients of my swimming awards were very grateful and I hope that I made them feel as special as I did, and still do, about winning Miss Thousand Islands.

With the rest of the CYC Jr. Division Swim & Sail Staff (From L to R: Me, Mark Derbyshire, Tommy Barber, Luke Norman, Billy Monks, Kent Derbyshire, and Sky Bocciolatt; not shown, Nick Sellers.)

With my brother, Sky :-)

So, now that the craziness has halted for at least today, I am rushing to get ready to go back to school. As I said earlier, I will be moving into an apartment. Even though my apartment is an on campus apartment, it will be a big change from the dorm rooms I have lived in for the past two years. I will be living with three of my friends, Lindsey, Monique, & Cassidy and since I lived in a single dorm room for the past two years, I am excited to have roommates! It has been a lot of fun shopping for the apartment, although I still have lots more that I need to get. Because of my busy summer with producing and playing Cinderella in Cinderella, and then preparing for Miss Thousand Islands, on top of my 40 hour a week job, I really hadn't had much time to shop until this weekend. Luckily, I have a few days before classes start and I will have time then to shop and buy any last minute items. Currently, I have nothing packed and we are set to leave for Ithaca around 11am tomorrow. I usually would try not to put something like this off, but I really don't like packing, especially for school because I never want to leave anything behind but don't have enough luggage to carry all of my clothing and other possessions! Well, with that said, I suppose I should try to at least unzip the suitcases... :-)

Pictures of the new apartment to come!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A few pictures...

Just a few pictures...

My first few days as Miss T.I...

Well, I'm not sure where to start. The past few days have been such a whirlwind of excitement that I have hardly had the chance to sit and process the fact that I am now Miss Thousand Islands. I couldn't be happier. I'd like to start this first post by telling you a little bit about my journey to become Miss Thousand Islands.

As I said to the judges in my interview on Saturday, "third time's a charm." I began competing in pageants following my graduation from Lyme Central School in 2008, my first pageant being the Miss Thousand Islands pageant. I had no experience in pageantry, and had never intended on competing. My mom was really the one who ended up convincing me that doing something I love, performing, for a chance to win scholarship money, wasn't such a bad idea. So, with my senior prom dress, an Italian aria I had learned for my NYSSMA solo, a normal bikini, and some painful shoes from a regular shoe store in the mall, I arrived on the day of my first pageant feeling very prepared. Little did I know, the pageant world was much more than I thought. Although inexperienced, I walked away with a few hundred dollars in scholarships, new friends, and had won 1st runner up! I think the most important lesson I learned from this pageant was to have fun, be confident, and let God's will be done. I ended up competing in a second pageant before going back to Miss Thousand Islands the next year. I decided that I wanted nothing more than to be Miss Thousand Islands. I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on pageant 'stuff' and was ready to win. The outcome of the pageant was not what I had expected, and I was devastated. After days and weeks and months of contemplation over this, I realized that what I had lacked in the pageant was confidence and I had taken it too seriously, and didn't let myself have fun. After competing in another 'practice' pageant, I came back this year not only armed with a lovely pageant wardrobe, but also with my true self and my confidence, and most importantly, I had a blast! I have absolutely grown and learned so much from the pageant world, and have realized that although the ultimate prize is the crown, I have gained so much from being involved in pageants.

I can't even describe how I felt when my name was called, and I was announced as Miss Thousand Islands 2011. I have to mention, and I am sure all of my had pageant sisters can relate to this: some of the most nerve wracking moments I have ever experienced have been on stage in pageants, waiting for the winner to be announced. The night I was crowned, I told someone that while waiting, it felt like my heart was going to pound itself out of my chest and roll out the opera house doors into the river! Looking at pictures, I feel as though I had a pretty typical pageant queen reaction, although there was no face fanning. It's hard to imagine what it will feel like to win or how one will react, and I must admit, I never saw myself as a crier - however, there were tears along with lots of smiling! Now, as we all know, pageant guru or not, there is always the first walk that follows the crowning (which is more like a wall squat - thanks Kristina :-)) during which the winner waves to the audience. According to Shelby, it is bad luck to practice this sequence, and while I am glad I didn't taint myself by practicing, I have to admit I was turning back to Kristina to ask what I was supposed to be doing. Let's just say, my wave needs some work! :-)

In terms of Miss T.I. duties, I have only had one and it has been to sign the program books for our sponsors as Miss Thousand Islands. As my first duty, I felt special sitting in my E.D.'s living room signing my 'autograph'. I'd like to take the time to thank all of our sponsors and the people who make this pageant a reality, especially Sue, Shelby, Gary, and the Board of Directors. You are all amazing and I am so excited to spend a year working with you all!

I'd also like to thank a few others for special gifts that I received as Miss T.I. Thank you so much to Sherry, Cyndi, and the girls at the Ritz Salon for the amazing gift basket - I love it! Thanks to Barbara Yerdon for the Mary Kay gift certificate! Also, a big thanks to Darcy Burns for the beautiful blue jewelry! To Kristina Ferris, Miss Thousand Islands 2010, thank you for your support, advice, and your special words left in my crown box. You will forever be in the Miss T.I. family, and always Miss T.I. 2010. Your warm welcome into the Miss T.I. family means the world to me (and by warm, I mean the burning of my thighs as you crowned me ;-P) Thank you to, of course, my family and friends, and to all of you who have been so supportive and left congratulatory messages for me - I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And to all of my pageant sisters, especially to those of you with whom I competed on Saturday, you are all some of the most talented and beautiful girls I have ever met and I want to say thank you for making my pageant weekend even more special and I hope that you all had fun, and will come back next year, and that I might see some of you at Miss New York!

As I begin my first week as Miss. T.I., I am preparing to go back to Ithaca College, where I am a Junior Communication Management and Design major in the Roy H. Park School of Communications. I will be living in my very first apartment and am very excited! It is also my last week of work as a Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard at the CYC Junior Division Swim and Sail program in Chaumont. So, with a busy week ahead of me, I need to end this post by thanking you all again. I will be posting as much as I can, hopefully at least once a week, and hope to hear from many of you!

All the best,


Miss Thousand Islands 2011