Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Extreme Makeover: No Body's Perfect FOOD Edition

At No Body's Perfect I am always tweeking and adjusting my workshops and presentations to the needs, interests, and age of my audience. My take on "Eat This, Not That" has been a wonderful success-- the presentation puts fast food menu options head to head in a nutrition battle. I would love to try to build healthy makeover recipes for budding chefs for all of our favorite but bad for you meals into my next string of workshops. Here was my inspiration:

Paula Deen a beloved Food Network personality is working on the launch of a new television show. In an interview at the View this past week, Barbara Walters expressed great criticism over her recipes and Paula's contribution to the growing waistlines of today's youth. While she is not a personality I follow because I rarely make southern comfort food, it got me thinking... there should always be a way to enjoy our favorite foods in a healthy way.

So here's where YOU come in-- please leave a comment here, Twitter or Facebook message or email me at missmdus09@aol.com with a recipe/food/treat you'd like me to tackle! In return I'll come up with a yummy alternative and post here!

Thanks in advance for your help in this project!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blog Update

Good evening readers! Help me gain some feedback about my posts and appearances! I've added the "reaction" application to the blog-- after reading an entry, feel free to select "great entry!," "fun photos," or "wompwomp!"


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rite Care Bull and Oyster Roast

Excuse me while I loosen the belt on my dress! The masons at the Scottish Rite sure know how to throw a bash! From a wine and cake wheel (I won a bottle!) down to the buffet style roast, the event to support Rite Care was reminiscent of the pancake breakfasts and fundraisers I frequented in my youth at my church.

It was a treat to jump start our collaboration with the organization in Baltimore. Greetings to Dr. Mason and brothers and many thanks for your hospitality this evening. In possession of the Masonry's highest honors, Dr. Wilhelmson is also an alumni of Loyola College, a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, received his D.D.S. from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, and serves on the Loyola College Board of Trustees (just to name a few items on his resume). And I thought getting my MBA was impressive! Wow!

Home to the Miss Maryland US pageant, our relationship with the Rite is rooted in a relationship built by my director, also the director for Miss Virginia US. With nearly 200 clinics nationwide, Rite Care Childhood Language Programs provide diagnostic evaluation and treatment of speech and language disorders, as well as learning disabilities. Through fundraisers such as these, their reach continues to grow.

For more on the Program and upcoming events, please visit: http://www.scottishrite.org/what/phil/ritecare.html

Photos below are of Dr. Wilhelmson and I, attendees and our $10 raffle (for $10 dollars you received as many tickets as you could reach!)

Viva Italia to benefit the Children's Guild

No rain/umbrella debacle to report today-- only sun and shiny cars! At the 5th Annual Viva Italia car show, I spoke to hundreds of car afficionados and Children's Guild supporters about my year as Miss Maryland US, the importance of education, my experience with the Guild and Dr. Ross's contribution to the community. Knowing I was reaching the end of my MBA program, the emcee made a hilarious remark about why everyone was gathered there today...
We are here for two reasons, to support the Guild and find Miss Maryland a job!

What started in Annapolis as a small idea for a fundraiser has since grown to fill the streets of Harbor East with over 100 of the area's finest cars! Check your tickets to see if you've won the Toyota Prius! (For more information on how you can donate , go online to: http://www.childrensguild.org/ )

And no Children's Guild event would be complete without performances by their staff and students. My personal favorite was Hank Williams' Hey Good Looking kindly dedicated to me by a wildly talented trio of friends.

Also ran into ex-KPMG'er Matt and his beautiful wife Cari, spotted a blue jump suited 'Elvis', hung out with my new friends at Handbags in the City, took a hilarious photo of a Lamborghini with a Filipino license plate and purchased the most expensive 20oz fountain soda from Taco Fiesta (wompwomp).

Photos below are of Dr and Mrs Ross, addressing the audience and Baltimore's youngest Idols!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Baltimore Book Festival with Ingrid Hoffmann

AH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can hardly contain my excitement. Not only am I a huge book worm I am an even bigger foodie!

Where do I begin! Okay... after the Dress for Success Fashion Show I made my way 6 blocks down Charles Street to the Baltimore Book Festival. Having not checked my weather bug I had not exepcted the huge rainstorm that came down. I literally found myself asking patrons of the event who were on their way out if I could purchase their umbrellas. Two desparate inquiries later, I ran into a couple of women who just happened to have a stack of them in their van. Amazing! I begged them to let me pay for their parking and they finally resisted.

$4 and 10 minutes later, I had my umbrella. Success.

Time check-- I had approximately 12 minutes to make it to the cooking stage where I would be meeting Food Network's Ingrid Hoffmann, host of Simply Delicioso. She was not only more beautiful than she appears on tv, her 'chica tips' and poblano and tomatillo shrimp held the attention of a max crowd, despite the pouring rain. We also made coconut rice and a radicchio salad-- all with 5 ingredients or less. And if we hadn't been chatting for two hours on stage, the meal would have probably taken 30-40 minutes from start to finish.

A self proclaimed 'professional eater' and extremely knowledgable about her ingredients, she described her culinary perspective as a 'mutt," leverging from both her European and Latino heritage. Cooking side by side with Ingrid exceeded all my expectations-- I can see why these celebrity chefs do what they do, 24/7, it's exhilerating!

If you don't already have it, I suggest you run to your local B&N or sign onto Amazon to purchase your copy of Ingrid's cookbook-- Simply Delicioso. Mine is signed! Photos below are of Ingrid and I.

Stepping Out in Style Fashion Show

As I dive into my gift bag from the Dress for Success Stepping Out in Style Fashion Show, I can only feel honored to have been part of a beautifully executed event. It was with grace that Cleona (CEO and Founder of the Baltimore Chapter), the Board, special guests and sponsors came together in a continuing effort to support women who strive to be successful in work and in life.

The Kimpton Hotel Monaco on Charles Street was a modern backdrop to this networking event and fundraiser. If you have not yet been to this new addition to the downtown hotel district, I strongly encourage you to book a stay there-- the customer service is world renowned and lived up to all of its accolades. With guests to the walls of the back lobby turned runway for the evening, it is no wonder why the organization has experienced tremendous expansion-- a committed following of supporters and clientele.

I ran into Debbie Phelps for a second time during my reign. Not only do we both advocate for the Children's Guild in Baltimore, providing long term solutions to the community is also the foundation of our platforms. I'm sure she's met 1000s of fans in her travels and speaking engagements, I was pleasantly surprised to find she remembered me and our conversation about education.

And as if that wasn't enough, Al Reynolds was the Emcee! I also met the owner of one of my favorite shopping destinations in Harbor East-- Handbags in the City. The most amazing accessories and now clothes call this boutique home. He was kind enough to donate the bags used in the fashion show to Dress for Success-- lucky ladies! And I WILL be stopping by after Viva Italia tomorrow! Please visit their expanded location on Aliceanna as well as in Mt Washington Village or online at handbagsinthecity.com.

Photos below are of Cleona, Debbie and Al.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Brittany Williams for Miss Nevada USA 2010

It's that time of the year again-- USA State pageant season! And I couldn't be more happy to support Brittany Williams, Miss Nevada United States 2008 and Miss United States 2008, for the 2010 race in Nevada!

From our first meeting in DC for Blumpari and the National Memorial Day Parade (as hosted by Joy Hodges, Miss DC United States 2009) to my journey to nationals, she has stressed one important key to success, on and off the pageant stage-- Be Yourself. Her personal platform is aptly named BYoutiful-- the oragnization builds workshops, and programs that help to develop young women's appreciation for the unique gifts they possess. Please check out her website for more information about her year as Miss US 2008 and details about sponsorship. http://www.only1queenb.com/

I've got my BYoutiful tshirt-- do you?! Think of it as an early Christmas present to yourself and your entire team of queens for that matter!

Photo below is of Brittany (in her black BYoutiful logo tank) and me in Vegas!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ban Pro Anorexia Websites

As a marketer/blogger/social networker I have come to appreciate the power of the web. The internet and social media have greating changed the way we communicate. And now only are we consumers of information, vehicles such as Word Press, Facebook, Twitter and the like have enabled us to create our own content.

Earlier this week I came across a video link on CNN that was just so disturbing. It shed light on the growing phenomenon of pro anorexia (aka "pro-ana") websites. http://tiny.cc/08LN4 I browsed through a few, whose promotions suggest a place of refuge, sense of community and source of advice. I will tell you these sites are none of these things. If anything, they further support body dysmorphia and go so far as to create a game out of losing weight and offering "how to's."

If you or anyone you know are suffering from an eating disorder, I suggest contacting the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt (locally) or the National Eating Disorder Association (nationwide).

CED at SP: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
NEDA: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Young Women of Color Conference

I am so happy to pass along the following information about the 2nd Annual Young Women of Color Conference:

Please mark your calendars for October 24 for a day of empowerment. For only $15, you can join the dialogue about such topics as leadership, self-esteem and community spirit! And if anyone is an authority on these issues it is our very own Miss Jr Teen Maryland US Tiara Smith who is among the speakers! I am always blown away at her confidence when we are out at appearances. [For more on Tiara, please visit her website at the link in the right column of my page.]

I often laugh and think back a decade-- yes, I am 10 years older than Tiara, I cannot believe it. The young woman I am today is much different than the girl I was 10 years ago who although was a fixture in the community and active in a wide range of activities, struggled internally to find a voice for herself. And for everyone that knows me, those days are long gone-- I take advantage of every opportunity this title has given me to share my story!

This year's conference theme: "I Am Powerful." Please visit the event website for more information, http://youngwomenofcolorconference.web.officelive.com/default.aspx

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"A Better Community" Cookie Workshop, continued

Leave it up to the Girl Scouts to bring the fun on a rainy Saturday! Myself, along with my two favorite Program Specialists and a handful of dedicated parent assistants, held our first Cookie Marketing Workshop-- a successful one if I do say so myself.

From cookie stars who channeled the personalities of their favorite cookie to the basics of advertising their booths, the young girls are well on their way to reaching their goals this year. Up for grabs for those selling at least 500 boxes, a trip to Disney on Ice-- so if you see the familiar brown and green uniforms, please stop by and support them! And also be sure to pick up a box of the newest variety-- "Thank You Berry Munch." A short bread cookie baked with real cranberries-- delish. And combine with a few ingredients to make granola, great atop yogurt or by itself. (Recipe courtesy of GSCM.com)

1 box Thank U Berry Munch Girl Scout Cookies
2 Cups oatmeal (dry) ½ Cup flaked coconut
½ Cup slivered or sliced almonds (or other nuts)
½ Cup shelled sunflowerseeds
½ Cup honey
Cup cooking oil
½ Cup dried cranberries or Craisins
½ Cup white chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 300°. Grease a 15" x 10" x 1"
baking pan. Break Thank U Berry Munch cookies into ½" pieces and set aside. In a second bowl, mix together oatmeal, coconut, almonds (or other nuts) and sunflower seeds. In a third bowl, mix together honey and cooking oil. Stir Cup of honey/oil mixture into the cookie pieces and set aside. Stir remaining honey/oil mixture into the oatmeal mixture. Spread evenly onto greased pan. Bake 10-12 minutes. Stir cookie pieces into the baked oatmeal mixture. Bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until lightly brown. Remove from oven and cool. Once cool, stir in cranberries (or Craisins) and white chocolate chips. ENJOY!

Photo below is of me and my 5 cookie stars!

Friday, September 11, 2009

"A Better Community" Cookie Workshop

My two loves-- baked goods and marketing, together in the first series of what are shaping up to be several Cookie Marketing workshops throughout the year. My highly anticipated shipment of new autograph cards arrived today, just in time for tomorrow's appearance with the Girl Scouts! Watch out Central Maryland-- there will be cookie sales like you've never seen!

And, to get in the spirit, I am whipping up a batch of angel food cupcakes to enjoy over the weekend. Now I'm no photographer, but those are some darn good lookin' treats!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Once a Mercy girl, always a Mercy girl

It was Fall 2000 all over again, in traffic for my 30+ minute commute to Mercy high school this morning en route to my meeting with SMAS aka Sr. Mary Anne Smith who in a prior life was my Spanish teacher turned Alumnae Director. Never mind the new score boards on the soccer fields, fresher than I remember coat of paint in the hallways and just ripped from their boxes, top of the line MAC/PCs in the west wing... it was the same Mercy I remember. Mr. Stoddard was copying away in the business office, Ms. Cumming was looking better than ever and all of my teachers had remembered my name as if I had sat in their lectures earlier that morning.

The Miss Maryland US sash has a funny way of drawing excitement from passerbys-- so imagine the students reactions as I sat down with them in the cafeteria, in my old lunch seat 2nd row from the back by the windows. My favorite moment was walking down the alumnae row with SMAS and passing the class of '01. I was witness to one of the worse photos taken of me in history, forever memorialized in this hallway. Haha.

"You named three people we should contact if we ever lost contact in your senior evaluation-- do you remember?"

Jen C, Megan R and Erin D.

Bingo. Such great friendships, turned college roomate and now conquering the east coast one state at a time. I wish I had made a greater effort to keep in touch since college! But Facebook is great for things like this, touching base with old friends and wishing them the best in their careers.

Ms. Simmons allowed me a brief interruption of her Geometry class in session. "Comment about your experience at Mercy and how it's helped you in your endeavors." The only piece of advice I had for this group of sophomores was to

believe in the system and the tools the institution is providing. You will soon realize the value of the Mercy tradition and the name that has been made in the community by alums.

In Baltimore, more than any other place I've heard, you will inevitably be asked where you went to school. Not elementary or college, high school. Your legacy and those of the women before you will be with you always.

It's great to be home-- looking forward to my many appearances at the school this year! For a list of events and more information about MHS visit their website: http://mercyhighschool.com/alumnae/newsevents.asp Last time I was on campus was last year's Career Day representing KPMG and the Accounting/Finance fields-- what a difference a year makes!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dress for Success

As a woman, young professional and Miss Maryland US, I realize the power a great suit can have on my confidence at an event, interview or appearance. And that is the sentiment behind an organization like Dress for Success.

I first met Cleona on my first day at my internship and our Women Spanning the Globe Event. There, Dress for Success accepted donations of gently used or new professional attire and accessories for women transitioning into the work force. It was a collaboration that just made sense-- the region's leading female business leaders empowering Dress's clients, most of whom are single heads of households and in need of job training and assistance.

I extended my hand to her and she responded in an invitation as a guest to their "Stepping Out in Style" Fashion Show. I urge you to not only attend but forward the information along to colleagues, friends, family, sister queens, etc.

The organization's supporters include such institutions as Bank of America, my former firm KPMG, and T. Rowe Price, just to name a few. For more information about how you can donate or volunteer, please check out their website: http://www.dressforsuccess.org/