Thursday, June 27, 2013

Boot Camp and (Many) Other Happenings!

I can't even believe it is almost July! This month has been so incredibly busy, I sincerely apologize for not having written a blog since the first week of June! Hope everyone's summers are going well and if you are experiencing weather like we are here in Kansas, you are surviving the crazy, humid heat! I thought today I would update you with what I've been up to since my last post.

I recently spent a busy weekend in Kansas City at pageant boot camp with two of my three Mrs. sister queens and four of the five Teen USA titleholders. I got to meet Amanda Uggla, Mrs. Tennessee United States, for the first time and was reunited with Kristy Kelley, Mrs. Missouri United States, for the first time in a few months. Nearly all the Teen USA girls were there, including Jasmine Fuelberth (Nebraska), Graham Turner (Oklahoma), Aly Klinzing (Kansas) and Brenda Smith-Lezama (Missouri), most of whom I hadn't had a chance to speak with much when we first met at the CureSearch Walk in April. I really enjoyed getting to know them better, and am looking forward to following their journey to Miss Teen USA in the Bahamas this August!

Over the weekend we practiced walking, posing and stage presence with one of our sponsors, former Miss Arkansas USA and Mrs. Arkansas United States, the fabulous Kim Forsythe. We also had two intense but extremely helpful mock interviews, as well as a crash course in hair styling and hair care from Nashville stylist extraordinaire (seriously he is amazing), Bryan Wood of Salon Capelli. It was exhausting but absolutely wonderful! It left me with a renewed excitement about nationals, feeling so fortunate to have this time to not only prepare as best I can, but to have a chance to get to know the six other Vanbros girls who were there so much better!

While in Kansas City, I received some new goodies from the team at Vanbros which I absolutely love! My director, John, gave me my custom-designed car magnets, business cards, stationery and an engraved business card holder, as well as a custom Warriors for Ross sash which I can wear to raise awareness of Vanbros' official charity and one of the two non-profit organizations (in addition to CureSearch) that I support to fight children's cancer! There are pictures below if you'd like to check them out. Everything is lovely. Thank you, Jason Vannatta, for designing not only these items but also my program book ad for nationals. You are so talented!

John also booked my flights a few weeks ago so I am off to Las Vegas for nationals exactly a month from today! Registration will be Saturday, July 27, kicking off what is sure to be a busy and exhilarating five days of competition to see who the current titleholder, Aquillia "Q" Vang, crowns Mrs. United States 2013! I am so excited, and so thankful I have a supportive director and three sister queens to share in the experience with. I would love for you to come out to Las Vegas to support me and the great state of Kansas! The pageant will be at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower and finals are Wednesday, July 31.

On another note, I also met Elizabeth Stephens a few weeks ago during our photo shoot for Kansas Alumni magazine. Elizabeth is the reigning Mrs. Kansas America, who is also a resident of lovely little Lawrence, Kansas and a fellow University of Kansas alumna! Rock Chalk! I'm looking forward to our article in an upcoming issue of the magazine. In my interview, I discussed my preparation for nationals, my connection with the University of Kansas, the causes I support and so much more. So if you're a KU alum, make sure you get your copy of Kansas Alumni in the coming months! Really excited about that. Really, really excited.

I'm heading to St. Louis this weekend to not only visit my in-laws, but also walk in a fashion show showcasing designs by my amazing swimwear sponsor, Allyce King Swim (AKS), as well as pageant dresses from Bridal Elegance and Mac Duggal at the Chase Park Plaza. Can't wait to see the custom suit Allyce made for me to wear at nationals! The fashion show is in conjunction with the Allyce King Swim Model Search, where six lucky ladies will win a $30,000 prize package and become the next faces of AKS, and a fabulous Pageantology Workshop by two former Miss USAs, Shandi Finnessey and Susie Castillo.

Auditions for the model search are taking place all weekend, so make sure you click here to register and select a call time! Interested in attending the Pageantology Workshop? Click here to see if there are spots left. Hope to see you all in St. Louis!

I know that was a very, very long post; I promise not to go for so many weeks without writing again! Have a wonderful Fourth of July holiday and I look forward to letting you know how the trip to St. Louis went!

All the best,


The goodies Vanbros gifted me with at pageant boot camp last weekend.
Thanks, Jason & John!

My beautiful blue and orange Warrior for Ross sash!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summertime Pageant Preparations

Summer is in full swing here in Lawrence! Most students have gone home and those who are still around for summer school at KU started their classes yesterday. Such a wonderful time of the year! Warmer weather and longer days, which means more time for me to try to do everything I can to stay involved in the fight against childhood cancer while preparing for nationals at the end of July!

I can finally announce that Mrs. United States 2013 is scheduled for Saturday, July 27 to Thursday, August 1 at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas! They haven't released the official schedule yet, but from what I've heard from the reigning Mrs. United States 2012 (and fellow Vanbros lady) Aquillia "Q" Vang, it is shaping up to be a great five days! I do know that registration and state gift exchange is Saturday, July 27; interviews are Monday, July 29; preliminaries are Tuesday, July 30; coronation is Wednesday, July 31; and checkout is Thursday, August 1 with plenty of appearances around Las Vegas, as well as rehearsals, in between. I know it will be a very busy five days, but I can't wait to meet the other ladies competing for the title and take in every minute of what is sure to be an unforgettable experience. I also hope as many of my friends and family can make it as possible so we can all see who the next Mrs. United States will be!

As nationals fast approach, I'm working with Vanbros' talented Jason Vannatta to design my ad for the national program book, while building my competition wardrobe, hitting the gym as often as possible to stay in swimsuit-ready shape, making appearances, and working with the fabulous Valerie Hayes on my interview preparation. So busy, and so thankful for such a wonderful and supportive director, John Vannatta, and such generous and knowledgable sponsors! Check out the photo below to see the lovely autograph cards I received to take to appearances with me. Vanbros is truly the best!

This summer I'm also continuing to learn more about childhood cancer in an effort to get more involved in raising awareness and funds to both find a cure and support the children fighting cancer and their families. Did you know that every day, 36 children are diagnosed with cancer and the average age of diagnosis is six? Through Vanbros' involvement with Ross' Foundation and Warriors for Ross, as I've mentioned before, I was privileged to walk on the Warriors for Ross team at the CureSearch Walk in April. That experience taught me not to take my health, or the health of the children around me, for granted. It also inspired me to use my title to spread the word about ways people all over Kansas and the country can help in this fight.

To that end, I recently signed up for the Ultimate Hike, where I'll hike 15 to 35 miles on the Ozark Highlands Trail while I help raise money towards finding a cure for children's cancer this winter. I'll keep you posted as I start training. Are you looking for ways to get involved, or do you want to learn more? Check out CureSearch's website or follow their blog. It's really such a worthy cause - think about all the children you could help!

In other news, Sunday marked my one year wedding anniversary, which was so very exciting! How time flies! And I am looking forward to visiting my parents in Dallas next week while I'm there on a business trip. June will be gone before I know it ... then onto July and onto nationals! Hope you are all having a lovely summer, too, and that time is flying just fast enough!

All the best,


The autograph cards the Vanbros team made me!