Friday, April 26, 2013

Adventures in Pageant Judging

Hello everyone! Hope you are having a wonderful Friday. It's a bit rainy here in Lawrence, but otherwise a little warm ... almost like spring weather. Almost.

I have been so busy lately and am so grateful for that! Last Saturday I had the privilege of judging the Miss Kansas, Miss Missouri, Miss Nebraska and Miss Oklahoma United States Pageants in Kansas City and I had an absolute blast. There were so many lovely, poised ladies competing ... which obviously made it really hard to pick the winners, too!

I was one of five judges, and we got started early on Saturday at the Overland Park Convention Center with private interviews. There were over 30 ladies competing in all age groups for each state - Junior Teen, Teen, Miss and Ms. I have to say private interview is my favorite part! I really love getting to know all the competitors by talking with them one-on-one.

Then, Saturday night was the live stage show. After the opening number, there was a fun fashion show then swimsuit, evening gown and onstage question. Everyone had to answer a randomly-selected onstage interview question, which I know gives contestants (including myself) a lot of anxiety! But everyone handled it so well. Then, finally, awards were handed out and the winners in each category and each state were crowned!

It was very interesting to judge a pageant as a contestant; a great learning experience! I got to catch up with Miss Kansas Teen USA Aly Klinzing, Mrs. North America Galaxy Kristi Nichols and see a few other old friends at the show as well. Thank you to the directors Lisa Forbes and Celine Ziller for having me as a judge - I really had a great time! The photo below is of me with the Kansas winners; Alexis Rewalt (Miss), Tobie Roberts (Teen), Kahley Schiller (Ms.) and Kiahna Beard (Junior Teen).

Also, check out a sneak peak from my first official photo shoot with one of my talented sponsors, Rachel Imdieke of Rachel Imdieke Photography/Simply Joyful Photography by clicking here! I love the photos so much; Rachel is so good at what she does, and the makeup and hair by the current Mrs. United States, Aquillia "Q" Vang, was flawless. Again, Vanbros has such a great team! So lucky.

Stay tuned for more pictures from, and details on, the photo shoot, and have a wonderful weekend! I'm off to St. Louis with my husband to see the St. Louis Blues' final game of the regular season tomorrow. Let's go Blues! After a crazy few weeks at work and making appearances, a weekend away is just what I need!

All the best,


Me in the center with all of the Kansas winners!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Appearances, Appearances ... and TGIF again!

Last Sunday I was in Kansas City as a guest judge for the Little Miss/Little Mister Imagination Pageant and it was so much fun! The little competitors were just adorable and I really enjoyed watching them!

It was hard to judge children - I didn't want to be too hard on them - but luckily they were all eager to compete and were so much fun to watch that it ended up being a great experience! They should all be so proud of themselves for what they did. Check out the picture I posted below of me with a little pageant girl and another one of the guest judges, Jennifer Barrios!

Would you like me to make an appearance at your event in Kansas? I'd love to - just email me at or comment below!

Also, I had my first VIP coaching session with The Pageant Coach Valerie Hayes this week and had a great time talking with her! She is so good at what she does and gave me some great advice. I am getting even more excited for nationals everyday!

Speaking of nationals, I am still not sure of the dates in July or the venue in Las Vegas quite yet, but as soon as I know I will make sure to pass along the information to everyone. I would love to have as many friends and family there to support me as possible - we must represent the Sunflower State!

I also keep forgetting to pass along the link to the photos from the state pageant in St. Joseph about a month ago. Oops! Click here to view contestant headshots from registration as well as all the photos from the live stage production at the lovely Missouri Theatre. Thank you again Rachel Imdieke of Rachel Imdieke Photography/Simply Joyful Photography! Great memories for all the ladies involved.

Another busy weekend is ahead of me as I hit the gym to stay in great shape as the countdown to July continues, and also perfect my wardrobe as well. So hard to do, right?! I have a busy week at work with multiple events going on with May (and the end of KU's semester) just around the corner, too. So fortunate to be so busy, though!

Keep checking back here for all the latest on what I'm up to, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @RealMrsKSUS and on Facebook.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and that all those affected by the tragedies in Boston and in West, Texas find healing and peace soon. My heart goes out to those communities ... so sad.

All the best,


Here I am with one of the other judges and a little pageant girl!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Photo Shoot Reflections

Last weekend was pretty busy ... CureSearch Walk with all the Vanbros ladies then receiveing my competition wardrobe on Saturday, and on Sunday having my first official photo shoot with Rachel Imdieke Photography, which was so much fun!

I shot with my sister queen Kristy Kelley and Aquillia Vang, Mrs. United States 2012 (also known as "Q"), was there to do my hair and makeup. I was so lucky to have a fabulous wardrobe and jewelry to shoot in thanks to my amazing director John Vannatta, plus flawless hair and makeup thanks to Q! It was a long day of shooting, starting at 11 a.m. and not ending until around 6 p.m. when all was said and done, but it was so worth it. With Rachel's meticiulous eye for detail, and the way she really puts you at ease, you would have to be crazy not to enjoy every minute! I truly had a blast! And who doesn't love feeling glamorous? It was a really amazing experience.

I know Rachel and John have looked over the photos, but I can't even wait to see them! I know there were some great pictures of Kristy and I in there that will make great headshots for the Mrs. United States website.

I also chose my competition swimsuit from Allyce King Swim, and ordered my Tony Bowls evening gown from Watercolors High Fashion for nationals last weekend as well. It's all becoming so real now! I receieved all of my interview coaching and preparation materials from Valerie Hayes The Pageant Coach and can't wait to start looking over that to prepare as best I can for Las Vegas in July. I can't say enough about the amazing sponsors we have - they really make a difference. Check out all the links to the right to get more on the sponsors; they're the best of the best! Seriously.

Busy day tomorrow, too. I am judging the Little Miss/Little Mister Imagination Pageants in Overland Park and can't wait to see all the brave and confident little children vying for the crowns!

I'll post pictures from the Little Miss and Little Mister Imagination Pageants as soon as I can, but in the meantime, check out more pictures from last weekend's CureSearch Walk, courtesy of Children's Mercy Hospital. I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

All the best,


A little pic I snapped in between an outfit change at the photo shoot!

Monday, April 8, 2013

CureSearch Walk 2013

I went to my very first official appearance this past weekend, the CureSearch Walk 2013 in Kansas City, and I have to say it was an amazing experience. Karen Elliott, Vanbros' long-time pageant choreographer and the captain of our team Warriors for Ross, said it would be a touching event and she was right!

All 12 of Vanbros' current queens were in attendance from not only the Mrs. United States system but also the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA systems, as were hundreds of families from around Kansas and Missouri. Mrs. United States, Aquillia "Q" Vang, was there as well! Everyone walked to remember and honor children who've lost their fight with cancer and celebrate those who have survived or who are currently in treatment. And all the money raised by each team who walked goes to fund research and clinical trials in an effort to cure cancer and save children. A very worthy cause! Make sure you visit CureSearch's website to learn more.

The Warriors for Ross team walked in memory of Karen's grandson Donald "Ross" Elliott who died in 2011 after being diagnosed with Leukemia. I can't imagine how devastating that must have been for everyone who knew Ross, so I was honored to support Karen, her family and Vanbros' official charity, also named Warriors for Ross.

Even though it was windy and cloudy in the morning when we first arrived to CommunityAmerica Ballpark, the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful day! I also really enjoyed spending time with my sister queen Mrs. Missouri United States Kristy Kelley and meeting the other 10 titleholders! It was a day to remember and was one of the most touching events I've ever been to. So glad I had the opportunity to go.

Check back later to hear all about my first official photo shoot with Rachel Imdieke of Rachel Imdieke Photography/Simply Joyful Photography, to see more pictures from the CureSearch Walk and learn about what else I got to do over this very busy past weekend!

All the best,


Me and Kristy Kelley, Mrs. Missouri United States, before it got too windy!

Friday, April 5, 2013

TGIF ... and Pageant Reflections!

I have to admit I am very glad its nearly the weekend! After a few hectic weeks I finally have time to write about and reflect on the wonderful experiences that I had at the Mrs. Kansas and Mrs. Missouri United States Pageant in St. Joseph March 23 and 24.

The women who gathered to compete at this pageant were just wonderful! Each one had unique and impressive traits as business owners, mothers and, in general, driven and confident ladies regardless of their age or where they were from. Between the photo shoots, rehearsals and then (finally) the live show we were busy but the weekend was so fun. It was made even better by the fact that I, and my sister queen Kristy Kelley, were crowned as the newest titleholders! The Holiday Inn St. Joseph staff were wonderful, as were the staff of the Historic Missouri Theatre - a truly amazing venue for this pageant. And, of course, the Vanbros & Associates staff put on a great show!

Winning this pageant means so much to me and I'm so honored and humbled to represent the state of Kansas for the next year! Many years of hard work and honing my skills paid off, and I am thrilled to serve my community as your new Mrs. Kansas United States 2013. In fact, I have my first official appearance tomorrow at the CureSearch Walk, which I am really looking forward to. I'm grateful to all the sponsors (see the links in the right-hand column) who so generously support myself and my sister queens, too. We couldn't do it without you!

So stay tuned and check back often as I blog about my journey and post pictures and stories about my many appearances, charity work, photo shoots and my trip to the national pageant in July. And remember to follow me on Twitter @RealMrsKSUS, on Facebook and if you've ever thought about competing yourself make sure to visit the Mrs. Kansas United States website for all the information you need.

Have a wonderful weekend!

All the best,


Photo courtesy of Rachel Imdieke at Rachel Imdieke Photography/Simply Joyful Photography