I'm not sure if it was the unbelievably tumultuous weather patterns or frail hope of a new and warmer day ahead that made April fly....all I know is that it seems spring called in sick this year and led us straight to summer!
Regardless, my month's happenings kept the cold from getting to me and my spirits high! I had the incredible honor of speaking and performing at the first annual Tracie's Night, honoring the life of Tracie Joy McBride and celebrating the legacy she leaves.
As a past recipient of the Tracie Joy McBride Talent Awards in 2010 and 2012 and finalist for the Quality of Life Award in 2012, I am so grateful for the scholarships this fund has provided me.
In addition to raising proceeds for the scholarship fund, this evening gave such a beautiful tribute to what an incredible woman Tracie was and the testimony she left.
I am thrilled to share that approx. $8000 dollars were raised by this year's event! Thank you to everyone that made this event such a success and to Stacie for making this opportunity possible for young women like myself.
I had the pleasure of joining a couple of my favorite radio hosts for the Late Debate's live show with in-studio audience!
Under a slightly different format, I 'competed' with Jack and Annie in a game show format that required proficient current events knowledge....
I couldn't help but feel like I was preparing for my Miss America interview all over again!
On Saturday, April 20th, I took part in what has easily become one of my favorite events of this entire year!
Camp Odayin (a camp for kids with heart disease) hosted their annual Have a Heart Benefit at the Graves Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. This year, I was asked if I would do the special honor of Emceeing this spectacular evening.
In addition to enjoying a fun night supporting such a wonderful cause, I even got to meet local celebrity and finalist on the Voice, Nicholas David!
My month rounded out with another special honor of speaking at the University of Minnesota's Power of Nursing Alumni Dinner!
Hosted in the lovely St. Paul Country Club, we had well over 100 alumni celebrating their decade year. Thank you Laurel Mallon and the School of Nursing for inviting me to be a part of your celebration!
Until next time! Your Miss Minnesota 2012,
With spring FINALLY in full swing, the Miss Minnesota schedule has, similarly, followed suit! This past weekend could be considered a sort of 'kick off' to the busy two months that lie ahead, as I sadly approach the end of my year.
But I could not have asked for a better week to begin my last hurrah! Full of the things I love - CMN, Miss Minnesota, The Lillehei Heart Institute and Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen.
My weekend began on Friday, when I traveled to Duluth, MN for the annual Bridesmaid's Ball, benefiting Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. This Children's Miracle Network hospital provides life-saving, specialized medical care for numerous children throughout Minnesota and the Midwest. As the national platform of the Miss America Organization, I am honored to serve as an advocate for these incredible kids.
The event was held at the beautiful Greysolon Ballroom and featured dancing, a silent auction, and even awards for the best (or is it worst?) bridesmaid's dresses.
The next morning I was up and off to the Eden Prairie Highschool for the Miss Minnesota Class of 2013 Orientation.
I was honored to have the chance to share some insights, encouragement and advice with our lovely and accomplished local titleholders. After speaking with them, I feel such peace, knowing that the Miss Minnesota legacy will continue on in very good hands - whoever those may be.
Immediately after our orientation adjourned for the afternoon, I hopped into my telephone booth (aka backstage Miss MN Outstanding Teen dressing rooms) to change into an evening gown and curls for the much anticipated Red Hot Soiree, benefiting the Lillehei Heart Institute! My favorite accessory? Why, a $10,000 ruby necklace I had the privilege of showcasing for the evening's raffle of course!!!
I was wonderfully blessed to be named this year's Honorary Chair of this beautiful event. At the VIP reception, I enjoyed meeting and chatting with UMN President Dr. Kaler and Mrs. Kaler, Mr. and Mrs. Bayer, and Mr. and Mrs. Hubbard...just to name a few! Needless to say, I feel extremely humbled to be recognized by the Lillehei Heart Institute and am excited for the successes we will accomplish together in the future of cardiovascular research.
Then, escorted by a beautiful white stretch limousine courtesy of Glidden Limo, I arrived back in Eden Prairie for the Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen Pageant.
Though, incredibly bittersweet to realize the end of our journey together as 'official' sister queens, Bailey has made me so proud this year and will always be my 'Lil Sis Queen'. With the incredible work she has done raising awareness for Alzheimer's Disease and the lives it affects, I have no doubt she will see many more success in her future.
How exciting to congratulate and welcome my new sister queen, Corrina Swiggum into the Miss Minnesota family! We talked excitedly about the two months we get together, her - for the laughs we would share, and me - for the half pint bodyguard with full ability to do some serious damage...I am loving this woman already.
Huge congrats go to our 1st runner up, Alyssa Mitzel and 2nd runner up, Kathryn Kueppers! You ladies have more than earned this honor. I cannot wait to see all that you will continue to achieve in the coming years :)
Your Miss Minnesota,
I have long said I have the best job in the world. Earning scholarship for school, advocating for my passion of cardiovascular health, and, hey, even having reason to sport a little bling are just a few perks of the job. Likewise, the events of this past week provided yet more reasons on my ever growing list of why I love this organization and opportunity.
On Thursday, I had the amazing chance to meet with our Gov. Mark Dayton! While much was discussed during the meeting, our agenda focused on my extensive advocacy and travels with the Statewide Health Improvement Program. The governor is quite the fan of this preventative approach to addressing the issue of heart disease and other chronic diseases in our state.
I wanted to sincerely thank Gov. Dayton for supporting SHIP through his budget and describe the exciting future of this program.
That afternoon, it was time to swap out the suit coat for a 'lil black dress'! That evening, I was to appear at the VIP reception at the W Hotel followed by the premiere of 'Profile of a Killer', filmed and produced here in Minnesota!
We began the evening at the W Hotel for the preshowing cocktail party with the cast and Minnesota celebrities. It was so neat to meet such talented, yet down to earth people! From here, we were brought by limousine to the theater for the premiere of the film. This was my second time walking the red carpet...and let me tell you....I am definitely game for future opportunities!
Finally, some exciting news and updates! With the Minneapolis Half Marathon coming up in a few months, I am excited to share I made my bench mark of 7 miles yesterday...and proceeded to stumble off the treadmill, literally soaked in happiness. The second announcement comes from my favorite campers and crew at Camp Odayin. I am thrilled to have been asked to be this year's Emcee for the 13th Annual Have a Heart Benefit! This incredible evening happens April 20th at Graves 601 hotel - can't wait!
Your Miss Minnesota,
It's keeping me moving! Even after a wave of warm weather, followed by winter's final reprisal (to the tune of 10 inches), my car has faithfully brought me all over the cities the past few weeks. The first destination of which was the warmer, sunny south side of our state!
Well maybe the temperature difference was not so great outside....but it sure was heating up inside as Mankato hosted its first Dancing with the Mankato Stars! Along with two other fabulous celebrity judges, we watched over 10 different couples waltz, jive, and tango their way across the dance floor. And all for a great cause!
Congrats Pauly!!!! Our big champ for the night! But the real winner was the American Red Cross, with over $45,000 dollars raised during the event!
On Wednesday February 27th, Bailey and I were invited to join Miss Minneapolis, Samantha Phillippi at Eaglepoint Elementary for Jump Rope for Heart! These students had me beat after only 10 minutes of jumping! Way to go kiddos!
The next morning, I spoke at Martin Luther Campus Assisted Living. The residents were so engaged as I told the story of my dad and shared my message of heart health. What a great way to bring even more attention to Heart Disease Awareness Month!
The weekend brought a fun interview with Brad Carlson on AM 1280! If you missed our chat, recapping my year of service and Miss America experience you can catch it by following the link: http://salem-wwtcam.media.streamtheworld.com/audio/narn_3__102206081.mp3
This past week, I was asked to be the Emcee at a very special fundraiser for the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic. This clinic provides free care to under served populations that would not otherwise be able to access it. The care is made available by students in various fields of healthcare training and overseen by healthcare professionals.
The fundraiser featured a silent auction...hmm what do I want to bid on?...
I had the loveliest 'date' there! =D Charlotte, former Miss Minnesota, graciously chaperoned me for the evening.
On March 9th, I was honored to be serve at another wonderful event...the crowning of the new Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota! These women range in age from 17 to 60 and serve as advocates in their own communities for their personal platform as well as speaking out for citizens with disabilities.
The evening was bittersweet as Bailey and I realized this would be our last appearance together. In only a few weeks she will be crowning the new Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen 2013. I will try not to get too sappy in this blog, but I can't help feeling a twinge of sadness as Bailey prepares to give up her title. She has been an incredible representative, and I can honestly say, just like a sister to me. She is one of my craziest, most hilarious, and dearest friends. Lady, I love you.
But what a fantastic evening it was! Congratulations to the new Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota 2013, Carissa Knott! This young woman is very well spoken, sincere, and will make a terrific representative for this quality program.
Until next time!
Your Miss Minnesota,
While its true that famous day of love (Valentine's Day) has come and gone, the abundance of red, pink, and decorative hearts are not for want of being found. But, as I have mentioned before, its real HEALTHY hearts that I am after this month! And my appearances the last 2 weeks have turned up quite an encouraging find.
On February 12th, the American Heart Association hosted one of its biggest events of the year, "Heart on the Hill". This special day brought advocates from around the state of Minnesota to speak to their own representatives and senators about the importance of supporting specific heart health policies that are presently before the legislature.
I began the day at the Kelly Inn meeting room, invited by the training team to speak to the volunteers. Pictured above are the amazing people from the AHA, Justin Bell, Rachel Callanan, and Anne Simaytis who prepared the day's advocates.
After training that morning, we were headed to the Capitol for the rest of the afternoon. Demonstrations were set up in the rotunda featuring pulse oximetry for detecting congenital heart defects and recipients of the Statewide Health Improvement Program's grant money.
While spending the day there, I was pleasantly overwhelmed by some very avid fans, hoping for an autograph and picture! =D
In addition to supporting SHIP funding, we advocated for legislation that would require all newborns to have a pulse oximetry readings taken before being discharged. This fast and easy procedure measures blood oxygen to detect the presence of congenital heart defects - currently the number one most common congenital defect in newborns and affecting 1 in every 100 babies. No different than taking a temperature, its quick, noninvasive, and simply put - a no brainer to saving lives!
My Valentine's Day was extra sweet this year, kicking off with a visit to Cottage Grove Jr. High! I came by to log some biking miles on stationary bikes as a part of their 'Tour De Grove'. Their goal was to log 1000 miles broken down into 25 minute segments by the students, and thus raise at least $7,500 for Gillette Children's Hospital and Children's Cancer Research. The results? Over $10,000 was raised! Way to go Middle Schoolers!
Here again, once the presence of Miss Minnesota was discovered, students were giving me their own version of a 'group hug', hoping to grab a picture and autograph =D Here's a fun one for you - can you spy with your little eye a sparkly bit o' bling in the crowd?
Lastly, I am very honored and excited to be the Honorary Chair for the Lillehei Heart Institute's Red Hot Soiree! On behalf of the incredible organization that I promote as their ambassador, I have enjoyed working on their behalf this month to promote and raise funds through wine tastings and speaking engagements for this exciting event. Can't wait for April 6th!
Your Miss Minnesota,