Sunday, September 8, 2013

Post-Nationals Contemplation

Now that it's been a little over a month since the national Mrs. United States competition, and I have been back to my more routine day-to-day life (if there is such a thing!) for a while, I've had time to truly reflect on the experience. That said, I have to say I am humbled, proud and very satisfied with how everything went! I thought today I would reflect on what I took away from the competition, share a few additional pictures with you, and let you know what I've been up to since Las Vegas

Since returning to Kansas, I've gone on a (fabulous and rather long) vacation to Cape Cod, traveled to both Minneapolis and Buffalo for weddings, and have been back to work for the start of another busy fall semester at the University of Kansas. Throughout that time, I saw family, was reunited with my close college friends, and spent some quality time with my husband, Alex, which reminded me of how truly fortunate I am -- as if competing at a national pageant and representing the great state of Kansas wasn't enough! I am truly blessed.

The success I've achieved in pageants and in life would not be possible if it weren't for all of the amazing people I have supporting me, and who have helped make me the person I am today. Looking out from under the bright stage lights at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas during nationals and seeing my family and friends smiling back at me, cheering me on, meant so much. There are few things more meaningful and inspiring! I no longer take that unconditional love for granted, and was able to finish a Top 12 Finalist, which I am so very proud of.

I am also reminded that pageantry is a wonderful way to improve yourself, to serve your community, and that it gives you the means to positively affect the lives of others. There may be (plenty of) high heels, sparkly dresses, crowns and big hair, but beneath all of that there are strong, confident, independent and caring women who are able to make a difference. Everyone I stood onstage with at Mrs. United States demonstrated all of those qualities; really, such an experience! I think John Baker described this the best when he said a "... 'pageant girl,' if there is such a thing, is not just one kind of girl, but rather someone who combines everything she already is with all that she strives to become!"

Want to see some of the photos from Las Vegas? I posted a Facebook album from the official photographer Terry Wright, and have also posted quite a few below, so make sure to check them out. I know I've said this before, and will likely say this again, but I really am grateful to be your Mrs. Kansas United States 2013!

As I wrap up today, don't forget that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Next weekend I'm heading to Eudora for Heroes and Halos, where families with children affected by cancer will have a fun-filled and care-free day on the farm. I'm really looking forward to it!

Hope you all had a great Labor Day, and you're enjoying the start of fall ... and football! Go Jayhawks and go Cowboys! So glad football is back, I just love it. Enjoy your week!

All the best,


Chatting with Mrs. West Virginia and my roommate Mrs. Missouri at registration on Saturday, July 27.
Photo courtesy of Terry Wright Photography
At breakfast on Sunday, July 28 with Mrs. Missouri and Mrs. Tennessee; go Vanbros!
Over 100 stories above the Las Vegas Strip at the Stratosphere Observation Deck
After my personal interview on Monday, July 29 in the VIP Suite at the Stratosphere.
My contestant introduction on finals night, Wednesday, July 31. "Rachel Karwas, KANSAS!"
Photo courtesy of Terry Wright Photography.
I made Top 12! Answering my onstage question during finals with our host, Jay Joseph.
Photo courtesy of Terry Wright Photography.
In my custom-made Allyce King swimsuit during finals.
Photo courtesy of Terry Wright Photography.
And in my Tony Bowls evening gown from Watercolors High Fashion.
Photo courtesy of Terry Wright Photography.
After the parade of gowns with Aquillia Q Vang, Mrs. United States 2012.
Photo courtesy of Terry Wright Photography.
Again, the contestants onstage, with Mrs. United States 2012, Q, in the middle!
Photo courtesy of Terry Wright Photography.
With my husband, Alex, after finals at the Level 107 Lounge on the (you guessed it) 107th floor of the Stratosphere
And, finally, I squeezed in a little gambling the morning of Thursday, August 1 before I caught my flight back to Kansas. I won a total of $11 with the help of my husband at the Stratosphere Casino!