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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Miss Lights of the Delta 2012

It has nearly been one full month since I was crowned Miss Lights of the Delta 2012, and in that one month it has been busy! I have a lot to catch you up on, so get ready!!!

I'll start with the most recent...

Sunday, I performed at the Miss Arkansas Wardrobe Preview for Miss America. Unfortunately, I can't give you the top secret intricate details of her fabulous wardrobe, but I can tell you that I'm pretty sure none of the other state contestants will be able to compare! I, and I know Kristen feels the same, am so blessed to be a participant in the Miss Arkansas system. I would dare say that no other state could rival the amazing support from sponsors and volunteers that we enjoy.

I decided rather late to sing instead of play the flute for yesterday's entertainment. I chose to sing "The Impossible Dream" because Kristen has already surpassed one seemingly impossible dream, the dream I know she has dreamed for years, by becoming Miss Arkansas. I know that she may very well do the "impossible" again, and become our next Miss America. I wish her the best of luck! I am so disappointed that I can't be in Las Vegas cheering her on, but my thoughts and prayers will be with her from training camp in Atlanta. Be sure and keep up with her blog, newly redesigned and a wonderful way to get to know our lovely Miss Arkansas, secondchanceskg.blogspot.com. Here is a photo of this year's top five at the preview showing our support!

Top 5 2011: Sloane Roberts, Lauren English, Kristen Glover, Simone Mullinax, and moi!

Last weekend I, along with five other 2012 titleholders volunteered at the Arkansas Children's Hospital Miracle Ball. There is so much that I could say about the event from the decor to the wonderful people I had the privilege of meeting. But the most important thing I could mention from the night is that I can't think of a more worthy cause. The proceeds from the evening will go to funding isolettes for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU. One thing I learned from my time working with the March of Dimes Chain Reaction Youth Council is that in Arkansas 1 in 8 babies is born premature. That's the same as the national average, and in my opinion, much to large a statistic. The isolette machine enables babies born premature to have a fighting chance at life. It was an honor to be involved in this year's Miracle Ball.

Volunteers with Miss Arkansas, Kristen Glover, former 1st-Runner-up to Miss Arkansas, Mrs. Isom, and former Miss Arkansas, Sharon Bale!

And the week before my trip to Little Rock for AR Children's, my fellow sister queens and I enjoyed a little Christmas cheer by riding in the Blytheville Christmas parade and then volunteering out at the Lights of the Delta display! It was a great time for my new sisters and I to get to know each other. It is such a joy to get to be the "big" to Miss Lights of the Delta Outstanding Teen (or LOTDOT for short), Kelli Collins, and Miss NEA Outstanding Teen, Haven Cagle!

At the Lights of the Delta entrance! Haven Cagle, Myself, and Kelli Collins

Earlier that week, I got to be on my first radio show bright and early in the morning! Thank you so much Charles Moody for asking me to sing with you and promote the Light's display. I had a fantastic time, and I am looking forward to returning. (hint hint)

The Chuck and Steve Show
The night before the radio show, I was asked to attend the Blytheville Tree Lighting Ceremony. I had the privilege of meeting the Mayor for the first time, and the joy of singing Christmas carols with a group of kids.

With Mayor Sanders of Blytheville

And right after Thanksgiving came the night that made this post possible...and that of course is the night I became Miss Lights of the Delta 2012! It was a busy weekend. I passed on the title of Miss NEA on Friday evening, traveled through the light's display on a hay ride with all of the NEA and Lights' contestants, and then woke up early Saturday to get ready for interview! I was so excited in the afternoon to be awarded the swimsuit award and that evening I also received the talent award. I've mentioned it when blogging before that this pageant was my last opportunity to return to Miss Arkansas next summer because of my mission trip this spring. (Which you can read more about by viewing my other blog idwellinhope.blogspot.com.) And to say that I was nervous would be a bit of an understatement. I am so honored to represent the Northeast Arkansas area again this year to Miss Arkansas.

Thanks for reading! More to come soon!



Thursday, November 24, 2011

'Tis the Season...Almost!

So it has been awhile since my last post! I've been very busy with Uganda planning and, recently, with pageant preparations! For those of you who don't know I'll be competing in the Miss Lights of the Delta pageant this weekend, and I couldn't be more excited about it! But I'll get to that...

First, I want to say what a priviledge it has been to serve the entire Northeast Arkansas area as Miss NEA this past year. I can't believe that my reign is so suddenly (it feels like) coming to an end. This Friday night in Blytheville I will crown the new Miss NEA 2012, and it is a very bittersweet thing for me. Not only am I so thankful for the amazing year that I have had, and with that my top 5 placement at Miss Arkansas. But the people who make up the Miss NEA Pageant Association have become family to me, and I'm so grateful to them for all of the time and energy they have poured into me to not only make me a strong competitor, but also to help make me the best kind of representative that I can be!

As you now know, I will be competing for the title of Miss Lights of the Delta this Saturday! (Busy weekend!) This will be a wonderful pageant weekend and I hope some of you will be able to make it out to Blytheville for the pageants. This is also a pretty difficult weekend for me. You may have already done the math and noticed that this Saturday is the last preliminary that I am eligible to compete in this year, as I will be in Uganda throughout the Spring pageant season. My decision to go to Uganda was not made lightly. It is my last year to be able to travel with this group as it is a program for 18-22 year olds and this summer I will turn 23. One of my biggest considerations when deciding whether or not to go, was the Miss Arkansas Organization. This program is a huge part of my life and I knew at the end of the Miss Arkansas pageant this year that I wanted to go back and try again in 2012. It is difficult finally coming down to this weekend knowing that this is it for me this year, but I have complete faith that the right girl will be chosen for the job of Miss LOD. If that is not me, then I will support the winner, and I'll be back at Miss Arkansas this summer cheering on my friends. If the title comes to me this weekend, then (I will be ecstatic!!) I will consider it an honor to get back to the state competition! I have worked very hard in preparing for Saturday night, and I can't wait to be back on stage!

So the title of this blog is 'Tis the Season...Almost and the reason for that is, this past Monday night was the opening of the Lights of the Delta festival in Blytheville, and I, along with my sister queen Courtney Welsh, had the joy of volunteering to collect toys for the group Ignite, who collect toys for needy children during the holidays who otherwise wouldn't get a visit from Santa in December. This is my second year to work the opening of the Festival, and yet again, the Lights of the Delta board has prepared another wonderful lights display to help ring in the season! Here are a couple of photos from Monday night! Wish me luck this weekend, and I promise to update you on how the weekend turns out! Thanks for following my blog, and I hope you and your family have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Courtney and I handing over our donations to Santa and Mrs. Clause!

Us with the "golden voice" of Northeast Arkansas! Thanks for all of your support and the time you donate, George!

Me and Courtney together one last time before we give up our titles!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Ventures...to Uganda

Well it's official... I'm going to Uganda in January! I'm so excited. I couldn't wait to share it with you all. I've been thinking about this for a long time now (two years in fact) and I'm thrilled to finally be taking that step. I will be leaving January 13th and returning May 9th. It is a semester long missions program where I will be doing missions work all over the country.

Because I originally designed this blog for updates on my involvement with the Miss America system, I have set up another blog site idwellinhope.blogspot.com (to visit click here) to be about my international travel. The idea for the blog title "I Dwell in Hope" came from Acts 2:25-26:

     For David says concerning him, "'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is
     at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, 
     and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh will also DWELL IN HOPE.'"

I will continue to update this blog throughout my journey (hopefully!) to Miss Arkansas 2012 as I know I am not finished with that part of my life. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I have been blessed to be a part of the Miss Arkansas Pageant and I plan to always give back to that organization. If anything, it is my involvement with this system that has spurned my desire to not only work in community service here in the United States, but to also take my knowledge and desire to make a difference all over the world.

I hope you'll also choose to follow my journey in Uganda by following my new blog. Now, I've said that I'm officially going, as I have been accepted by the program, but to be honest it is a very expensive undertaking. I will be fundraising from now until the end of December. Only if I'm able to raise the funds will I get to see this dream accomplished. That being said, you can help make this a reality for me by e-mailing me at somer.allen@hotmail.com to find out how you can make a donation. Please feel no obligation, but your contribution is greatly appreciated (even if it is just in prayers!!).



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MGJ 2012

Congratulations to the new Miss Greater Jonesboro 2012, Bethany Bell!!! Also to the new MGJOT, Sierra Gorton! I know that these two girls will make a great addition to the MGJ family! I was privileged last year to crow Natalie Marcus MGJ 2011 and to crown Bethany Bell as Miss Crowley's Ridge 2011. It was wonderful watch Natalie place that crown on Bethany's beautiful head Saturday night. Both of these young women are excellent representatives in this system and I'm proud to call them friends.

Sarah Hamilton was announced as Bethany's 1st Runner-up! Sarah was my MGJ teen queen in 2010. We aren't joking when we say this is a family! Congratulations to you Sarah! I can't wait to see what's in store for you.

Also in attendance Saturday night was our wonderful Miss Arkansas, Kristen Glover! She performed an exciting new acapella tap routine that had the audience wanting to join in her rhythm. We have a fantastic representative here in Arkansas and I can't wait for the rest of America to see that on the Miss America stage!

Here are a couple of photos from the night:

The contestants for MGJ 2012!

My Diamond State Princess, Maddie, and me! She and her family are so supportive. Plus her big sis was a teen contestant!

Probably my favorite photo! My current teen and my first teen, Courtney Welsh and Sarah Hamilton. (note that they are taller than me...) 

I was fortunate to grab a photo with our Miss Arkansas, Kristen Glover! Doesn't she look fabulous?!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Greatest of These is Love

I want to share with you guys one of my new favorite songs! I don’t know if you are a fan of MercyMe, but they really have some great songs (lyrically, musically, emotionally, etc.). The past few weeks I feel like God has been dealing with me about my purpose, my calling in this lifetime. The beautiful thing about this is how many confirmations I feel like I have seen recently regarding my next steps. This song is one of those. For some it is something beautiful to listen to, for others (like me) it is a call to be the body of Christ to our world.

This song is called "Won't You Be My Love" and as I have recently begun to understand more about God’s love, it really represents exactly what is meant by the many scriptures God gave to us about love.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
Here are the lyrics:
When you fall asleep tonight
In your warm and cozy room
Know that I'm awake
And I've got no shelter and no food
This verse is so moving because it really speaks to a big problem I think exists in the U.S. today, and that problem is one of comfort and through that comfort, a lack of awareness of the issues plaguing our world. (And not just our international world! These issues are right here, under our noses, on American soil. Hunger, poverty, disease, etc.)

I am not alone
My friends are broken and lost
Looking for someone to lead them to my cross
I need your help, I need your help

Won't you be My voice calling
Won't you be My hands healing
Won't you be My feet walking into a broken world
Won't you be My chain-breaker
Won't you be My peacemaker
Won't you be My hope and joy
Won't you be My Love

I just love this chorus. I truly believe this is what God meant when he said that we are the body of Christ and He has called His body to LOVE the world!

The other side of the world
She is just a few days old
A helpless little girl
With no family of her own
Personally, this verse is what first caught my attention listening to this song for probably the 20th time in my car on the way to work the other day. It continues…

She is not to blame for the journey she is on
Her life is no mistake
Won't you lead her to My cross?

…and it just breaks my heart. None of us have chosen the lives we were born into. Whether we were born into wealth or poverty, this country or that, to a family or as an orphan, none of us made those decisions. But God sees us where we are and He loves us. He has a plan for our lives.

Won't you be My voice calling
Won't you be My hands healing
Won't you be My feet walking into a broken world
Won't you be My chain-breaker
Won't you be My peacemaker
Won't you be My hope and joy
Won't you be My Love

Again, that call to be His hands and feet, His love, is getting stronger.

To those I call My own
To those I've set aside
As spotless without blame
The chosen ones My bride

Hello Christians!!!! (It’s like He is screaming for us to wake up!)

We will be Your voice calling
We will be Your hands healing
We will be Your feet walking into a broken world
We will be Your chain-breaker
We will be Your peacemaker
We will be Your hope and joy
We will be Your love

And this is our response!!! Oh thank God for his beautiful love!

A Busy Weekend

So this post is a little overdue, but here goes! I had a wonderful time competing in the Miss White River Pageant on the first weekend of this month. Participating in Miss White River included attending the Miss Batesville Pageant where a made a new friend with Miss Batesville 2012, Norma Lopez, and spending the weekend with four other contestants. Each of the contestants were uniquely talented, which made for a very appealing pageant, and I enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them better. Here are before the luncheon honoring Miss White River 2011, Simone Mullinax!

The contestants for Miss White River 2012!
Courtney Welsh, Me, Brooke Ault, Helen Wisner, Dorothy Shepherd

I was delighted to be named 1st Runner-up and I'm very excited to congratulate Helen Wisner on being named Miss White River 2012! Also, a huge congratulations to my roommate for the weekend, Dorothy Shepherd on being named 2nd Runner-up! We were a very close-knit group since there were so few contestants so we got to know each other really well. Helen will make a wonderful representative of the White River pageant and I'm excited to see her back at the state level after she competed so well in her first year. Dorothy and I spent a lot of time together since we were roommates and I'm so thankful to know her even better now than I did at state this year. She is a wonderful woman of God and a wonderful competitor! I had the priviledge of getting to know Courtney Welsh over the course of this past year because she was my teen "sister queen" as Miss NEA Outstanding Teen. I'm SO glad that she has decided to compete in Miss Arkansas prelims and I can't wait to see her on the stage next July. Good Luck Court, I'm rooting for you (even though now we're competing together!!!) And finally, I'm so glad to know Brooke Ault. What a voice?!!! Not only is she a wonderfully talented vocalist (notice she won the talent award!) but she is also an amazing person off-stage! She kept me laughing the whold weekend and was a joy to compete with! Definitely another girl I hope to compete with again at state next July!

In addition to spending time with the contestants, we had the joy of being chaperoned by Miss Arkansas 2008, Ashlen Thomason. One of my favorite formers (It's kind of a given, she played the flute!!!) She has been so very helpful to me and I truly appreciate her sincerity! She is always available to help any contestant and is the true representation of what this system is all about! Thanks Ashlen! And thanks to our other chaperones and volunteers who helped make us contestants feel stress free all weekend! Here are a couple more photos from the weekend:

Miss White River 2011, Simone Mullinax and Me at A Formal Affair in Batesville

Riding in the White River Water Carnival Parade!

A Celebration Fit for a Queen

I also had the pleasure of performing at our Miss Arkansas Kristen Glover's homecoming in Stuttgart along with Bethany Bell and Bethany Whitfield. We were each given the opportunity to say a little something about our friend Kristen and then we performed for the gathered crowd. I chose to play Amazing Grace on the flute as it is one of my favorite songs and I thought to myself that there was no better way to honor Kristen than to play something that represents her faith. I am so glad that we have a Miss Arkansas who is a faithful, God-believing young woman. We share that in common and I am proud to call her friend because of it.

Saying a few words!

I snagged a picture with our beautiful Miss Arkansas before leaving!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Moving My Bestie

This week I am writing you from Tempe, AZ! I wish it were under different circumstances, but unfortunately, I am in the process of helping my best friend, Michelle, relocate for grad school. Those of you who know me well, are aware that M (for short) and I have been best friends for the past 10 years. We are polar opposites in absolutely EVERYTHING, but somehow we’ve made it work. We survived four years of high school together, followed by 4 years of college. We both began at Arkansas State University seeking degrees in scientific fields, and in the end, we both graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. You hear talk of soul mates, in the romantic sense (I have yet to find mine), but as for the friend of my soul, that person is Michelle.
So you can imagine how difficult it is to move her 22 driving hours away into Tempe, AZ.  I am, however,  thankful that I’m getting the opportunity to spend this week with her exploring her new hometown. We began our journey with an 18 hour drive from Jonesboro to Deming, NM where we took a day to rest with some of her (amazing) family. May I just say that Texas really IS as big as they say! It was nearly nothing but flat land through most of our trip, and once we made it into New Mexico, the drive was flat, but in the distance the landscape included mountains. Very beautiful! After the last four hours that took us into Tempe, AZ we were definitely happy to see her new home!
She and I have spent the last few days exploring the town, which is right outside of Phoenix. Today we’re thinking of tackling the big city, and if all goes as planned on Friday we’ll visit the Grand Canyon! I’ve never seen this much of the west and I’m crazy excited about getting to see one of our nations natural treasures!
I know this blog is mostly about my experiences in the Miss America Organization, but Michelle has been with me through it all. She was there Saturday night at Miss Arkansas cheering me on, and I’m going to miss her complaining (though with little conviction) about my dragging her all over for preliminary pageants!  Here are some of our photos! Hope you enjoy.
Much Love,
Michelle and me in New Mexico!

Michelle and the massive real-life cactus! (we were impressed, ha!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

After Miss Arkansas 2011

I was hoping to have this post up a little sooner, but I’ve been going and going since I left Hot Springs. First thing I want to say is…WOW! What a week! My first year at Miss Arkansas was definitely one to remember and I only thought that nothing could live up to it. I was wrong. Returning to the pageant as a veteran provides me with a very unique perspective, and I’m so glad to have had the experience. This year’s pageant was so improved upon from last year, and I didn’t know that was possible. Congratulations to our new Miss Arkansas, Kristen Glover! I've gotten to know her over the past couple of years. I truly feel that this is her year, and I will be posting some more about our friendship later! We share a similar story and I look forward to sharing it with you!
The people who put together this year’s production all the way to the volunteers who did the brunt work went above and beyond what was asked of them and they created, in my opinion, a show that everyone could enjoy. From a contestant’s point of view backstage, the show went by quickly, but efficiently. I had plenty of time to feel comfortable getting back on the stage and I never wished that the show would move along faster. Believe me, when you are competing in an environment as stressful as this, that feeling of comfort is VERY important. I’m very thankful for all of the people who put in all of the time and effort that must have gone into this year’s show. You helped make my week successful.
I am SO, very honored to be the 3rd Runner-Up to Miss Arkansas this year. First of all, coming off of a successful year last year and knowing the caliber of competitors in this year’s competition, I knew that it would be a year to have to work for it. Every contestant brought so much to that stage, and I am humbled to have been chosen a second time for the Top 5.
Speaking of contestants, I won’t name names for fear of forgetting one, but I said it last year and I’ll say it again… I now have 45 new best friends! It makes sense if you think about it. Getting a group of women together with the same drive and competition goals, who live their daily lives in service to their communities, is an equation for friendship. I so enjoyed getting to know, better, my friends from last year. I was honestly surprised at how easy it was to make friends with all of the newer girls. I look forward to getting ready for next July, and that is due in large part to the quality of friends I know that I will make!
I was hoping to tell you a little more during the week of Miss Arkansas, but as you can imagine, it was a little hectic! So instead, I will leave you with a few photos. You can also find me on Facebook. I have tons of photo albums if you want to see more from the pageant!
Thank you for following my journey and for supporting me! I appreciate your continued support as I begin local competition again in preparation for Miss Arkansas 2012! I am pleased to let you know that I will be starting with Miss White River August 5th and 6th in Batesville! I’d love to see you in the audience!
God Bless,
Top 10!!!
Photo credit: Toni Bahn

Dueling Banjos in my wonderful gown designed by Shelley Kelley!
Photo credit: Creative Touch Photography

Miss America Katie Stam Irk and me! (refer to previous post!)
Photo credit: Michelle Roberts

My biggest fans! Erin, Bret, Jazzy, and little Olivia!

Before leaving Hot Springs! Love the sign!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Meeting My Favorite Miss America

For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that one of the reasons I am involved in the Miss America system is Miss America 2009, Katie Stam-Irk. Watching the 2009 national pageant, seeing her crowned, and then following her year of service, is what introduced me to the potential this program has to affect the lives of young women for the better.

Tonight Katie will be co-emceeing the Miss Arkansas pageant. I hope you'll be there! Because of this, she was in rehearsal with us today. I had the opportunity to grab a few quick minutes with her, and she is exactly as you would expect a Miss America to be, better even. All the contestants could talk about today was how captivating she is. We are fortunate to have her visiting our great state. Thank you Katie!

And my favorite part of the day (so far)...

Miss America 2009, Katie Stam-Irk and me!

P.S. Blog about the last two prelim nights will be up soon!

God Bless,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Interview and 1st Prelim Night

So I'm playing catch up! It has been a whirlwind week! I can't believe that tomorrow is Thursday. I am having a wonderful time, and I can't imagine it already being over half finished. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to post sooner, but we have definitely been busy the past couple of days. Anyways, I thought I would catch you up on the goings on of the past few days.

I competed in interview on Tuesday afternoon. And last night was our first night of preliminary competition. My group this year is, again, Group B, which means I competed in evening gown. I would love to write you more on my thoughts so far, but it is around 1:30am and my talent rehearsal begins at 7:30 in the morning! Thank you all so much for keeping up with me this week!

How about some interview and prelim night #1 photos?!

My roomie and me before interview!

Ashley, me, and Amy during rehearsal!

During Preliminary Presence and Poise with my Diamond State Princess, Madeline Adams!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Miss Arkansas Day 2

Whew! What an exciting first day of rehearsals. We were on the stage starting at 7:30am, and after a lunch break, we were back out there learning more about the show. If you are still trying to decide whether or not to come see the show this week, let me help you: COME! It is going to be fantastic this year. Our production volunteers have truly worked beyond what is required of them to guarantee that this is the best Miss Arkansas Production we've ever had! We have a beautiful stage complete with screens this year. So everyone will be able to see no matter where you're seated (though there isn't a bad seat in the house). Special thanks to Micki Koneceny, Stacy Jones, June Felix, Fred Osborne, and all of the production and sound volunteers for EVERYthing you are doing for this program. And though you'll hear more about them later, (evil grin) I must thank our chaperones for being our moms, friends, sisters, and bosses for the week!

Also, I'm having a great time with all of the girls! I've made some new friends and strengthened ties that were begun one year ago at Miss Arkansas 2010. I love being a part of this organization, and I hope that you will choice to support us by attending the pageant which will be at:

7:30pm Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

or online at:


I didn't get a chance to blog about Arrival yesterday, but I'd like to mention a couple of the high points. I am humbled to have been named one of the top 5 fundraisers for CMNH. Thank you so much to those of you who donated to CMNH through my account, and to Fox Meadow Intermediate Center for their donation through the fundraiser I did at the school! Also, thank you to Matt Johnson with KATV for taking the time to interview each of the finalists. We truly appreciate the support of the media.

Somer Allen, Tracy Neal, Kacey Keefe, Helen Wisner, Kelsey Dow

Here are some photos from today! Hopefully you'll hear from me tomorrow after interview!

Much Love,


My sister queen and me!

Spending time with Alicia Haflich at rehearsal!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Arrival Sneak Peak!

To say thanks for following my blog, I thought I'd give you guys a little sneak peak of what I am wearing to Miss Arkansas Arrival in a couple of hours! I hope you like it, and be sure to check back later. I'll be posting photos from the day, including the whole outfit!

Fascinator courtesy of Shelley Kelley at Clark's Bridal!

What do you think? I was going for a little bit of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge! ;-)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Countdown to the Crown: MA 2011

It is so hard to believe that I leave for Miss Arkansas in just two days! And while I'm still in shock, my to do list just keeps on going. If you've never packed for a state pageant, let me give you a comparison. I'm pretty sure it's equivalent to moving into a dorm minus the lamps and decorations. Only when I moved into my dorm, I could take 3-4 trips back to my house, with the pageant being in Hot Springs, I only get one shot at remembering everything! Yikes!

It was one year ago, right after Miss Arkansas 2010, that I took a couple of days to decide if competing again was for me. Well, I was supposed to take a couple of days, but I'm pretty sure it only took me a couple of minutes. It's hard to describe the sense of loyalty that I have to this program. I've received so much from participating in the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant, more than just money and accolades, but true friends, strong connections throughout the state, and life skills that will stick with me in every new venture I take on. Because of this, and the people who are involved in making Miss Arkansas what it is, from Executive Directors, Board members, to each and every volunteer, I feel a strong loyatly to remain a part of the program. Even when I am unable to compete any longer, I hope that I can be a support to this system that has so long supported me.

My very first on-stage question answer, back when I was 13 years old, included this verse: "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" Proverbs 3:6. I, also, wouldn't be where I am today without the love of my Savior, Jesus Christ. As I tackle these last few days before competition, I can't help but remember all of the blessings in my life. I am thankful to know who God is, and even more thankful that He calls me friend and daughter.

Before I end this post, I have two more things to share with you. The first is that I truly hope that I will have the time to blog during the pageant week. I can't make any promises that I'll be able to post everyday, but I am taking my camera with me in the hopes that I can post at least photos from each day for you all to keep up with. It's a very busy week, but I'll do my best to keep you posted.

2nd thing: I had the privilege of attending the Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen pageant last Saturday! The new MAOT was absolutely stunning. I'm pretty sure her talent brought a tear to my mom's eye. And her final night on-stage question answer definitely blew everyone away. I look forward to seeing the great things she will do for our state! While I was very impressed with our new MAOT, I have to mention how proud I am of my two sister teen queens, Courtney Welsh, Miss NEAOT, and Bailey Moses, Miss LOTDOT. Courtney placed in the top 15 and did you know this was only her 2nd pageant...ever?! I cannot describe how proud I am of all of her hard work. Bailey placed 1st Runner-up, and let me tell you, I'm so glad that Arkansas was able to see how much work she has put into her on-stage performance, but as someone who spent a week with her shortly before the teen pageant I have to tell you that I don't know of anyone who has devoted so much to their dream. Bailey impressed me so much at Beauty Bootcamp, that I remember thinking to myself, I need to work harder for Miss Arkansas! (and as you all know, I spend nearly every waking moment preparing for this) If that's not saying something, I don't know what is. Congratulations to all of the girls. They were fantastic and really set the bar high for us Miss queens.

Speaking of Miss queens, here are a few photos:

Bethany Bell, Miss Crowley's Ridge; Ashlen Thomason, Miss Arkansas 2008; and me!

Sloane Roberts, Miss Ouachita River; Maegan Inzer, Miss Central Arkansas; Kim Smith, Miss South Central Arkansas; Me; Dorothy Shepard, Miss Apple Blossom

Kelsey Dow, Miss ASU; Bethany Bell; Me; Alicia Haflich, Miss UCA; Lauren Howell, Miss Spirit of Arkansas

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beauty Bootcamp

Whew! I'm still recuperating from our week at beauty bootcamp in Blytheville! Every year Marrietta Jerome and Eva Graves, along with the other Miss NEA Pageant Association board members, host a "bootcamp" to prepare their four queens for their state pageants. "Bootcamp" is definitely the right term for it! We have loads of fun, but it is also a lot of hard work. I'll take just a second to tell you about some of the things we got to participate in this week, but first I have to tell you about my trouble getting into Blytheville...

Last year before Miss Arkansas I was told when I went to get my oil changed in June that I would be needing new tires before the end of the summer. Long story short, tires are expensive and as of last Monday, I still hadn't gotten new tires! So I'm driving along on my way to bootcamp when I start to hear a repetitive thudding. You guessed it! Flat tire! Funny as this was NOT, this wasn't the first flat I've experienced in making preparations for Miss Arkansas this year! Two tries and lesson learned...Promise! Travelling with my director earlier this year, we also experienced a flat! Basically, I'm just really unlucky when it comes to tires! ;) I mention this on my blog because I was blessed last week with a set of entirely free, lightly worn, tires. Just when you think there is no where to turn, God is always there reminding you that He is in control, and it would be remiss of me not to mention how greatful I am to know a wonderful, loving, and protective Heavenly Father!

Now back to bootcamp! My sister queens and I spent all of last week experiencing a small taste of what the job of Miss Arkansas is really about. We were apart for one week from our family and friends, we stayed in a hotel, visited local service organizations to discuss our platforms and perform our talents, visited with the Boys and Girls club and learned how to dance (see below), and did all of this while also preparing for our state competition with onstage practice for 4 hours each day! I'll say it again...Whew! The past week has only solidified for me, my desire to one day be Miss Arkansas! This is such a wonderful organization to be a part of and to represent! Just when you think you are too tired to go on, a little girl will come up to you and ask if you are a real princess and can she be one too, you're day will instantly brighten, and you'll remember that what you are doing with that tiara on your poofed up hair is actually making a difference in communities around our state!

Thank you to everyone who made last week possible for me and my sister queens!

Here are a few photos from our week...

Posing with a couple of Lions!

Getting some make-up tips from Lori, one of the Miss NEA Pageant Association Sponsors at her shop, Me and My Sister/Merle Norman!

Telling the kids at the Blytheville Boys and Girls Club about serving their communities!

Dancing to the Cupid Shuffle with the kids!

All of us outside the Boys and Girls club in Blythevile!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tony Bowls and Scholarship

They're finally posted!!! I'm so excited to share this on my blog. At the end of May all 46 Miss Arkansas Contestants participated in a photoshoot hosted by Tony Bowls! I previously posted the iPhone photo that Tony Bahn took that day, and I'm so thrilled to finally post the finished product!

So...Why the big deal? Well, other than the awesome experience that the photoshoot was, YOU have a chance to help your favorite contestant receive money to use towards her education. The girl with the most votes will be named the Tony Bowls/Mon Cheri People's Choice Award Winner and will receive a scholarship on the final night of the Miss Arkansas Competition. Simply go to www.missarkansas.org/photoshoot to vote for your pick! It cost $1 dollar to vote, and you can vote as many times as you choose. So take this opportunity now to not only check out some amazing photos, but to help one of us continue our higher education goals. I'd very much appreciate your support! Thank you Tony Bowls and everyone who made this opportunity possible! Catch you next time!

Much love,


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Miss Summer Sweetheart Pageant

I am happy to announce that the first ever Miss Summer Sweetheart Pageant Benefitting Children's Miracle Network Hospitals was a success! It was very interesting being on the opposite side of the crown for this one. There is so much work and planning that went into making this pageant as successful as it was, and it makes me think about how much more work goes into planning a local preliminary pageant. Our Executive Directors (EDs) do such a fantastic job getting everything together for their pageants, and not only that, but they do it every year and spend the remainder of the year preparing their titleholder for Miss Arkansas! Of course I owe so much to my last year's directors, Sean and Ellen Pollock, for everything I learned from them. And now, I can't begin to describe what a blessing Marrietta Jerome and Eva Lee Graves have been in both my daily life and my competition life! I'm so thankful to have been blessed with wonderful directors two years running! From what I hear, Arkansas is blessed with fantastic directors all around. So thank you to all of the local EDs for all you do!

Here are a few photos from the pageant Saturday! A big thank you to Charles Andrew Fleeman for taking these for us. And the last photo is courtesy of Kimberly Adams.

All of the volunteers!

The hosts!

My Diamond State Princess Maddie Adams was in the Young Miss division!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Workout Slump...

Just finished my first 5K! Wow! That was exciting. I didn't run the whole way, but I'm very happy to say I finished! With a little rest, I'll be ready to do another soon. With all of this exercise, I thought I'd sit down and fill you in on a few of my workout secrets.

Right after finishing! *note the bottle of water*

Preparing for Miss Arkansas means I have a lot of daily tasks that I have to accomplish everyday if I want to perform well in July. One of the biggest things I have to keep up with throughout the summer is my workout schedule. Now lucky for me, I love to workout and I maintain a pretty healthy diet throughout the year. My mother is gluten intolerant and I have, in the past year, joined her in keeping my diet mostly gluten free! So with diet not a big worry, I spend most of my time preparing for the Lifestyle and Fitness competition with differing daily activities. I know this blog is meant to be mostly about my appearances as Miss Northeast Arkansas, but it wouldn't be very complete if I didn't let you guys in on some of the struggles I face getting to competition in July.

I decided to write this post in order to encourage those out there who are trying to lead healthier lives. I can assure you, it needs to be a lifestyle change and not a diet. I've really struggled lately with the energy and desire to push to the end of my workout. Do you ever just get to that point where you want to just drop it? Or think, I can work harder tomorrow...and never do? Yeah, I've been there. Recently. So I wanted to share the little tricks that have been helping me to work over that slump.

1. I work out at home a lot so when I get down, I put up my iPod up and go to Youtube. Now, be careful not to waste all your time searching, but search some of your favorite singers or groups. Create a video playlist and have them play while you're working out. Guilty confession: I always watch Pussycat Dolls' videos. The girls are all dancers and they have great bodies. Talk about motivation to get in shape!

2. When I get to that low point in my workouts when I don't feel like pushing myself, I call a friend. Just recently, I went for a run in the park with a new friend of mine who is a soccer player. Now I've never ran over 10 minutes straight by myself, but by having someone at a better running level go with me on my workout, I pushed harder than ever before. I finished a 2.4 mile run having only walked 4 minutes of the entire treck.

3. Finally, find a workout routine that you LOVE! Not all workouts are for everyone. I used to spend (waste) a lot of time in the gym without seeing many results. Now I've found activities that I LOVE to do on a daily basis. My favorite? Pilates! I do pilates 3-4 times a week at NEA Total Fitness here in Jonesboro, AR. I started with Frank Kasper who owns the studio last summer and he helped me prepare for Miss Arkansas 2010. I love everything about pilates. I know that my pilates workout is going to give me the look and flexibility that I want and that helps me stick to the routine even when I don't feel up to it.

At Miss NEA.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Spring Meeting!

What an amazing weekend! (busy, too!) This will be a big post. ;-) LOTS of photos!!! Probably should have made it a day by day post, but here goes! First photo: All the contestants in our venue sponsor shirt at the Golf Tournament with Miss Arkansas, Alyse Eady.

So starting with last Saturday, Natalie Marcus and I rode together (along with my mum) to Little Rock. I've known Natalie for a while now (we worked together), but I really enjoy spending time getting to know her better. She is an incredible young woman, and I am blessed to know her! We left my hotel in the downtown River Market area together and walked to the Tony Bowls photo shoot. Did I mention that I love downtown Little Rock? We all had such a phenomenal time at the shoot. Meeting Tony Bowls for the first time was exciting! And I can say from experience, he is SO involved in his photo shoots. You can tell that his designs mean a lot to him, because he doesn't just let someone take photos of them. He is right there with you, encouraging how you model in the shot, and sometimes he is even the one holding up your train for that perfect image! Here is an iPhone shot of my shoot, courtesy Toni Bahn. I can't wait to see the final photos. And don't forget to check out www.missarkansas.org for the final photos. There will be a link to view and vote on your favorites, and the winning contestant will receive a scholarship!!!

Taken by Toni Bahn at the incredible Tony Bowls shoot!

Sunday was the Spring Meeting a.k.a. Contestant's Meeting. We enjoyed delicious food at the Pleasant Valley Country Club. I must say that the Coconut Pie was AhhhMazing! All 46 contestants got to model for different vendors across the state. I modeled a beautiful gown from Rebekah Lane in Harrison. Here is a picture of Kelsey Dow and I getting ready for the runway show.

Now, the meeting was great. Meeting all of the contestants always makes competition feel more real, and you realize it isn't as far off as you've been thinking! I was really excited to win a Tony Bowls evening gown from Venue as a door prize! But, the most exciting thing for me (possibly from the whole weekend) was the announcement that Miss America 2009, Katie Stam, will be co-emceeing the first two nights of competition at Miss Arkansas this year! This may not seem like much to some, but while I am a fan of all our Miss America's, Katie Stam is my favorite! I credit my desire to get involved in this program to watching her win in 2009 and then keeping up with her year of service. I have the utmost respect for her and I can't wait to meet her! I'll do my best not to be "that" giddy school girl that you have to kick out of rehearsal. ;-)

After the meeting, we headed off to Solemates for a drop-in event. Shelly Arnold is such a wonderful sponsor of the Miss Arkansas pageant and she takes great care of all of us girls! She is responsible for my amazing interview shoes, and I came home this week with a new pair of Chinese Laundry heels that I adore!

My sister queen, Ashley Walthall, and I posing with Shelly and Margie at Solemates!

 The final stop for all of us contestants was the 2nd Annual Golf Tournament benefitting the scholarship program. We experienced some interesting weather. I started the day with the girls from NEA and we huddled together in our little golf cart to hide from the sudden downpour! After that, we had sun in the sky! It was a great day. I got to know Rosalyn Taylor later in the day as she drove me around the course. I enjoyed getting to know a fellow baton twirler. I used to be a majorette, and I can't wait to see her routine at Miss Arkansas.

The NEA gang! They let me drive...

Rosalyn and I rode around the golf course together!

Finally, I ended my day with total relaxation, and a little therapy session, courtesty Kay Talley. She is another one of the amazing Miss Arkansas sponsors, and she is helping me to have flawless skin! I so enjoyed my afternoon with you, Mrs. Kay! 

Me with Kay Talley after an amazing facial!

Until next time....

All my love,