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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