Sunday, May 31, 2009

Funkshon Designer Showcase

One of my favorite restaurants and lounges, Red Maple in Mount Vernon served as a vibrant backdrop to Funkshon. The narrow space and up against the wall seating formed a natural stage for a runway show. The fashion soiree and designer showcase featured pieces from the semi-finalists to the Sew Me What You Got competition sponsored by Ikea and Fashion Icons. And lucky me scored a front row seat.

The unique designs resembled nothing like the immediately recognizable home furnishings sold by the Scandinavian furniture and accessories giant. I was partial to the styles that were more feminine-- hot pink piping brought a light grey and white floral print to life while a black and white asymmetrical dress was softened by a wave of petals that formed its skirt. Designers, whoever you are, call me!

Big fan of Magnami Style & Co that also introduced a new collection-- a prelude to the fall season, Paco paired copper tones with shades of turquoise. A man after my own heart, his high-waisted, plumeting necklines and loose skirts are easy yet sophisticated.

Photos below are of me and Managing Editor of Iconography Magazine Ty, MUA extraordinaire Bethany, my fave pieces and 92Q's Konan.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lia Sophia Party

Join me for a light dinner, drinks and designer jewelry!

An official sponsor, Lia Sophia, will be hosting a jewelry party in my honor at which they will be presenting me with a generous gift and introducing their new line-- please let me know if you are interested in attending the event.

The link below is for the Spring/Summer 2009 collection:

Date and venue to be determined based on RSVP. Thank you for your support!

Monday, May 25, 2009

National Memorial Day Parade

Growing up in Maryland, I can't believe I had never been to DC for Memorial Day. While I am certainly enjoying my day off from school, it has been a great opportunity to pay tribute and express my gratitude to all those who have served our country. It was a sincere privelege not only being at the event, but being escorted around the parade by a corps of Marines!

6 hours of meeting attendees and being in the Parade was pre-empted by a photo shoot (hello to our new photographer friend, Matt!) for Blumpari Handbags and a deliiiiicious thai lunch at Temple Lounge in Arlington. I can't wait to be back in the area to enjoy another meal! Thanks Joy Hodges Miss DC United States (class of 2009!) for everything. More snaps to our group of volunteers who continued to hand out fliers and flags to the masses.

Aaaand I had the pleasure of spending the day with Miss United States 2008, Brittany Williams. From free carousel rides on the mall to charlies angels posing in the Smithsonian garden and meeting Gary Senise (thanks for sneaking in that shot Michael haha)!!! I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

As for the rest of the evening, I'll be throwing my feet up on my ottoman and avoiding 4 inch heels til... my next appearance!

Check out a clip of me in the parade, fast forward to 7:29 --

Photos below are of me, Matt, Em and Brittany taking a break from shooting, Sergeant, along the parade route (thanks Jeff), my favorite spectator English bulldog Gibbs, dance party in front of the monument (thanks again Jeff), and our volunteers at Temple.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mrs. Maryland United States

Congratulations to the beautiful Mrs. Southern Maryland, Ginny Meerman! The trip to Harrisburg was well worth seeing the Maryland United States delegation complete this evening. Talk about rhinestone city...I think there were more reigning titleholders in attendance than audience members.

Hello's to the Galaxy contingency and my friend Evangelia Zervos, Miss Maryland Galaxy-- two years after we both competed in Maryland USA, we are now queens.

Photos below are of me and Radiah, Ginny's crowning moment, Lia, Mrs Pennsylvania US 2009 Kate Cohen, and my Maryland United States sisters

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thumbs Up for Blumpari

Wednesday was my first unofficial day at my internship-- hosting the 3rd Annual Women Spanning the Globe Forum. I was overwhelmed by the inspiration and breath of knowledge I gained from some of the most innovative and charismatic women in town.

For instance, Cherry-- she is quick to tell you she is named after the fruit her mother had cravings for during her pregnancy. Memorable not only for her name, but for her infectious enthusiasm for her business venture-- handbags. Utilizing her Fulbright experience to study microfinancing and handwoven textiles in Thailand, her line (Blumpari) is as beautiful as it is socially responsible; yep, socially responsible.

If you have a moment, I'd encourage you to visit the handbag designer 101 website to VOTE (thumbs up) for her collection. She was selected to be in the finals among 600+ other submissions!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ms. Maryland United States

More congratulations to my other sister queen and new Ms Maryland United States 2009-- Ms. Radiah Hyatte!

Vegas here we come...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Miss Teen Maryland United States

Huge congratulations to Emily Pettine Miss Teen Maryland United States 2009!

Looking forward to sharing this year with you.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, Continued

While I wasn't technically making an 'appearance' and was attending the last night's event at the Children's Guild to support the premiere of the public service announcement I was in, I couldn't help but be inspired by the work these organizations have done to promote awareness of children's mental health--something that impacts 20% of our youth. Thank you to Dr. Ross, President and CEO of the Guild and Chris DeVore of the Maryland Coalition (aka my biggest Miss Maryland U.S. supporter!)-- I look forward to collaborating with you both throughout the year.

And Mrs. Phelps! My knowledge of who she was was limited to what I saw on NBC during the Beijing games-- proud mother of an Olympic superstar. To see her in another light, as an educator (she is a principal at a Maryland school) and advocate is testament to the many hats all mothers wear. It is in fact the hardest job out there. I'm sure Michael is getting her an awesome Mother's Day present! [PLUG: You can also meet Mrs. Phelps on Saturday at her book signing at Barnes&Noble in Ellicott City. The address is 4300 Montgomery Road and runs from 2-3:30 that afternoon.] Mrs. O'Malley is scheduled to appear at a separate event but she sent me a citation from the Governor in her place-- going up in my office!

Photos below are of me and Mrs. Phelps, the directors at Producers Video, one of my adorable co-stars Kyle, and Chris...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Children's Mental Health Awareness Week

Last month, along with Debbie Phelps (mother of Olympian Michael Phelps), Catherine O'Malley (wife of Governor Martin O'Malley) and some talented children from my agency, I shot my first public service announcement-- for Children's Mental Health Awareness. Starting this week, it can be seen on WBFF Fox and WMAR Abc.

In support of this cause, I will be attending an event sponsored by the Maryland Coalition of Families for Children's Mental Health and Mental Health Association of Maryland today:

"In Maryland, there are approximately 10,100 children in foster care, of which
over half are from Baltimore City. National studies suggest that between one
half and three-fourths of the children entering foster care have mental health
needs, a rate that is five times greater compared to community-based programs
for youth who are not involved in the child welfare system."

For more information, please visit the Maryland Coalition's homepage at

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


"People are marvelous in their generosity if they just know the cause is there."

Just in the past 24 hours, I've been humbled by the support everyone has shown me.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to address something that has been brought to my attention-- the Miss Maryland US site has not yet been updated by the web master to reflect me as the new titleholder. While we are getting the kinks straightened out, I thank you for your patience!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Today is where my book begins

WOW, there's no better cure for the rainy weekend blues than becoming Miss Maryland United States! And it is with great humility and anticipation that I begin my reign. For sponsorship information, please leave a message or email me directly.

Someone once said that, “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” I recited this to myself for years—believing that perseverance and surrounding myself with people that supported my endeavors would be the key to achieving my goals. After two prior attempts at a ‘Miss Maryland’ title, I can finally use the crown as a platform for supporting causes that mean the most to me—education and women's health.

Since 2006, I've visited 8th and 9th grade students around the state and shared the importance of success in the classroom as a spokesperson for Maryland Business Roundtable for Education and their Achievement Counts Program. Desiring to contribute more to the organization, I became a member of the Advisory Board in 2008. I also believe that body image remains one of the most challenging issues facing young women today. I look forward to sharing my personal story as well as serving as a mentor to those that have been affected by eating disorders.

Born and raised in Baltimore, I am proud to represent my home state! There's just nothing like a bushel of blue crabs, Old Bay and the O's! I blog often, run daily and am a huge book worm. The last three books I read-- Thomas Friedman's "Hot Flat and Crowded," Jason Reynold and Jason Griffin's "My Name is Jason, Mine Too," and "I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti" by Giulia Melucci. Oh, and I secretly aspire to be the next Rachael Ray!

Team Ortiz-- Mom, Dad, Paul and Farrah, I couldn’t have done this without you. Friends, my pageant family and sponsors, thank you thank you for rooting for me! Gigi, you’ve opened doors I never knew existed. My director, Chris—cheers to a great year to come; get ready to go all the way! And to everyone I will meet on this journey, I hope you are inspired.

Watch me July 17th at the Miss United States Pageant from the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas!

All my best,
Nicole, Miss Maryland United States 2009