The past couple of weeks have been fantastic. The last I wrote to you all, I was star-struck and geeking out over meeting Beyonce, but so much has happened since then! Following the Taste of the NFL weekend, I was excited to get out to Los Angeles for the first time. Karen and I had a 3:30 am car pick-up that Monday morning and we were off to the IHOP headquarters in Glendale, CA.
Upon arrival and a quick change, I was escorted around the IHOP offices to meet all of the people who were working hard to make National Pancake Day a success. I even got to go in to the IHOP test kitchens, make a few pancakes and interview with some student reporters from a nearby university to talk about Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and how excited I was to be at the Hollywood IHOP that Tuesday. After that, I headed over to the Children’s Hospital LA for a pancake party! And as it turns out…National Pancake Day was a success. Some of the Miss California local title holders and I had a fantastic time flipping and serving pancakes to the community for their donations to CMNH.
The rest of my week in LA consisted of none other than the Hub TV Network’s My Little Pony. I spent many hours in front of their green screen shooting promos for the (then) upcoming Princess Coronation Concert and I got to exercise my (non-existent) acting chops. The week ended with a special theater screening of the Coronation Concert where Twilight Sparkle became a princess! It was so much fun to see the children so excited about the coronation and after I had a chance to meet and take photos with every one in attendance including Miss California, Leah Cecil. So awesome.
On Sunday I was off to Hawaii where I continued my stint in the warm weather. Our incredible scholarship sponsor, Amway, brought me along to be a part of the Diamond Club Independent Business Owner’s (IBO’s) retreat on Maui. It. Was. Beautiful! I spent much of my time speaking with the IBO’s, taking photos and shooting promotional videos for Amway. They really have the most amazing team of people behind the scenes. I loved getting to know all of them and especially the “Dukes.” They’re a hoot. I also had the opportunity to see a few of the Miss America family as well. Skyler Kamaka and Rhonee Rohas (one of my Miss New York 2010 judges) flew over from Oahu to say hello and catch some rays with me. I was so excited to see them. We may or may not have spoken in a British accent for the entire day. You’ll never know!
While in Maui I also had the opportunity to learn about the Amway health and well-being brand, Nutrilite. I am excited to explore the products and find which supplements and wellness formulas work best for my body. Nutrilite’s team was fun and informative at our Valentine’s Day lunch with their celebrity “comedian” chef and Body Key spokesperson, Jason Roberts. We all had a great time and I look forward to working with them this year as Miss America. How lucky am I?
The week in Maui rounded out with the Women in Business Forum where I spoke about my mother and her influence in my life as a leader and businesswoman. I also had the opportunity to hear correspondent Frank Luntz speak about how to improve business relationships and gain trust among the work place. It was incredibly empowering and a great way to end my time with Amway in Hawaii.
However, in true ‘Miss America’ fashion, we went from one extreme to another! After a week of fun in the sun, I am here at the Montreal airport looking out on the snow and reflecting on the past three days with the team from our official clothing sponsor, Joseph Ribkoff. I had such a blast with them! Tuesday we started with radio interviews and a tour of the Ribkoff offices. I met almost every Ribkoff employee (including Mr. Ribkoff himself), took photos and toured the warehouse. It was fascinating to learn that all of the Ribkoff clothing samples are still made right there in their building. Fabric is cut, sewn, stitched and then checked, right there, by the employees. I had the opportunity to sort through the fall collection and pick out some super-cute clothes. They have some amazing pieces coming out this fall. Be on the look out!
Following the tour, I was so happy to go visit the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Mr. Ribkoff gave a donation of $5,000 and we were able to deliver big, snuggly, plush teddy bears to fifteen patients who were anxiously awaiting the presence of ‘Miss America.’ I met quite a few children who clung to my heart, but only one challenged by tap dancing skills. He claimed that he was better! I informed him I would take him up on that one day. We were sad to leave, but excited to attend the evening reception held at the local boutique, Ambre.
We were greeted at Ambre by press, interviews and fans of the Joseph Ribkoff collection. My favorite part of the event, though, was meeting eleven year-old, Alexa. She turned out to be my French teacher! We spent much of our time learning phrases (my crown is a couronne), taking photos with each other and playing “what’s in this hors d’ oeuvres.” She was usually right. The night ended with a delicious dinner at the local eatery, Liverpool House, where we spotted Anthony Bourdain. It was nice to get to know the Ribkoff group and chat about life a little bit.
Wednesday was fairly simple. We spent the morning at Global TV, where I was interviewed about my time in Montreal, my non-Brooklyn accent and the relationship between the Miss America Organization and Joseph Ribkoff. After, we were off to a media luncheon where I had the opportunity to meet many of Montreal’s best fashion bloggers, talk about my experiences with Miss America and show off some of the fall collection clothing by Mr. Ribkoff. I had a fantastic time!
Next stop? Home! Today we are heading back to New York for another Amway event and a trip to Rent the Runway before really hitting the ground running with my personal platform next week in Washington, D.C.
Are you guys ready?
February 21st, 2013