Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oktoberfest for the Troops!

Now that the dust from a whirlwind week of midterms and Loyola MBA events has settled I can blog about the Oktoberfest for the Troops!

By my count I think there were about 500+ attendees packed into the main ballroom at Michaels in Glen Burnie! Vets, troops, families and supporters alike gathered to feast, raise money and dance the evening away. The top prize at the silent auction table-- two round trip tickets on British Airways and hotel accomodations, also raised $1000+.

And no 'fest would be complete without like Polka and party classics by "Memories." If anyone has photos of me joining the line dance, please forward them along! Hello to the staff at Skye Hospitality who attended the event as the presenting sponsor. Thank yous to Shauna and family for adopting me for the night, Reagan my ticket selling partner and the rest of the USO volunteers for your efforts.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Miss Teen Baltimore Final Competition

I wish every weekend was pageant weekend-- the lights, dresses, emotion! Congratulations to the the beautiful new titleholders particularly Miss Jr Teen Baltimore Elizabeth Woodson and best of luck to all the contestants in their pageant careers. Elizabeth is a student at the Park School in Baltimore and from the moment I met her in interviews just lit up every room and part of the stage she was on. Included in her amazing prize package is a trip for her and her family to Florda where she will join other to compete for the title of Miss Cities of America! For more information on the Nationals Incorporated system, please visit their website:

Thank you to my VIP's, my mom, ninang Flor, Ms Maryland United States 2009 Radiah Hyatte and Emily Pettine Miss Teen Maryland United States 2009 for coming to the show!

Photos below are some of the judges, getting mobbed in the hallway by tiny tots and Elizabeth and I.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Miss Teen Baltimore Interviews

Wow Wow Wow! It was quite a different experience being on the other side of an interview table at Miss Teen Baltimore! I am overwhelmed by the poise and talent of our young women. I have such a greater understanding of what issues are on the minds of teens, the value that pageantry has introduced to their lives and the community, how the composition of families has changed since even my own generation and am coming to terms with the fact that I wouldn't have stood a chance against some of these ladies when I was their age.

And the day would not have been as memorable without the company of a vibrant panel of judges, including CEO of Suited to Succeed Baltimore Cleona who I've already had the pleasure of working with, the even more beautiful in person Mrs Maryland Galaxy 2009 LaQuisha Hall, and my pal and Mercy Girl Miss Maryland United America 2009 Alicia Taylor.

I am very much looking forward to crowning the city's youngest and brightest queens tomorrow night! Join us at Lindale Middle School in Linthicum, MD for the final show!

Photos below are of the panel for Jr Teen and Teen as well as the state director and I.

Friday, October 16, 2009

University of Maryland Homecoming Alumni Luncheon

Today may have been the coldest/rainiest day of the season yet Riggs IV at the University of Maryland was filled with warmth and exhileration for the Inaugural All Class Reunion Luncheon. Cheers to the Alumni Association particularly, Dr. Rotter, President of the Alumni Association and Event Coordinator Virginia for hosting a high spirited afternoon and extending a kind invitation to me.

My front row tablemates included some of the most senior alums around, from the class of '43-'47. Seated next to me was a great friend of Adele Stamp. Yea, ADELE STAMP as in the STAMP STUDENT UNION Adele. And as hard as I tried to listen to their story of friendship, I couldn't help but think of my own college friends, namely FCA-ers and the countless lunch hours I spent there, in my glasses, stretch jeans and nike dunks. Thoooose were the days.

Anywhoo! I also had the surprising pleasure of meeting nutrition and health expert and class of '86, Joy Bauer. And if you tune into the TODAY show, Joy is no stranger to you-- I'm a huge fan of her segment and a now even bigger fan of her latest book, Joy's LIFE Diet, where life stands for Look Incredible, Feel Extraordinary. Thank you so much for my signed copy! xoxo

The attendees and people in general will never cease to be surprised that I was an accountant in a prior life. Resist the urge to think that someone who competes in pageants and someone who has graduated from a top business program have nothing in common! Most 'pageant girls' will agree they have never seen more fire and ambition than behind the scenes at a competition.

I attribute my drive, can do attitude and charisma to Maryland, particularly the Smith School of Business that equipped me with a skill set that has contributed to my overall successes in life.
Thank you College Park for that, and again thank you to all the alums I met today, who are in their own way, also contributing to the legacy and brand equity associated with being a Terrapin. Go TERPS, Beat Virginia!

Photos below are of Dr. Rotter and Joy as well as me and Testudo outside Riggs.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Read for the Record

Emily and I took part in the USO's Read for the Record. We spent the day at Indian Head Elementary School today in Charles County. In speaking with Principal Milton and welcoming staff in the library, I knew we were in for a treat-- the school was just notified of an award (I believe they have been recognized for four consecutive years at this point) that ackowledged the kind and well-behaved students attending the School.

As I mentioned in prior entries, we read The Very Hungry Caterpiller to 400+ students over three sessions. This book must have been written before my time because everyone seemed to have already read the book except me. So at the end (SPOILER ALERT), when the caterpillar became a beautiful butterfly, I was totally surprised! I think I was so intent on making it an enjoyable read for the kids and being extra animated that the story hadn't really sunk it until it was over!

We even stayed for lunch-- chicken nugget day, my favorite!

Thanks in advance to the reporter at Southern Maryland for your article, Lindsay at the USO for attending the event, Emily for making the drive and of course everyone at Indian Head Elementary for making it one for the 'record' books!

Below are photos of Principal Milton, me and the students and Emily.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

In a partnership with Pearson's Foundation, the USO will be holding its 2009 Read for the Record Campaign. It is an exciting collaboration that aims to highlight the education gap for military and low income families.

Miss Virginia United States, Christie Black at Fort Belvoir and myself (with my own sister queens) at the Indian Head Elementary School in Maryland will be joining 70 other USO centers as they host reading events at schools and military bases around the globe for soldiers and their families. Troops stationed abroad will also send recordings of themselves reading this year's book in time for their families to view on October 8th. It is the worlds largest shared reading experience.

Support this effort and hold your own reading session this Thursday-- pick up your copy of "The Very Hungry Caterpiller!"

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink yogurt lids and races around the country are conveying one message this month-- increase your awareness of breast cancer and join the fight against the disease. One of the stories last week on the cover of CNN featured a man who had been diagnosed. While he is certainly in the minority of those affected by the disease, everyone should be particularly aware this month about their breast health-- the keys being EDUCATION and EARLY DETECTION.

An estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer will occur among women in the United States during 2009. And an estimated 40,170 women will die from breast cancer. Also, about 1,910 men will be diagnosed and 440 men will die of breast cancer during 2009 in the United States.

Statistics courtesy of the Susan G Komen website:

Please join me in a Race for the Cure, October 18, 2009 in Hunt Valley: At least 25% of net proceeds are used to support the Komen Award and Research Grant Program. Up to 75% of net proceeds stay in Maryland to fund grants that provide transportation to appointments, financial support, appropriate diagnostic testing, and a comprehensive range of follow-up services.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baltimore's Annual Chocolate Festival!

Now THIS is the event I've been waiting for. When my dad was still working at UMMS, just a few steps away from Baltimore's famous Lexington Market, he would take my siblings and I to the Annual Chocolate Festival every October. And as much as I protested saying goodbye to summer, I knew the fall season would bring chocolate and more chocolate!

Attending the event as Miss Maryland United States certainly added a new dimension to the experience but it was just as I remembered-- although I'll have to admit I was never witness to the chocolate eating contest, which I had the pleasure of judging this afternoon. Two second year University of Maryland Medical students, 4 chocolate treats and less than a minute each (2 chocolate covered strawberries, my personal favorite chocolate strawberry shortcake, the biggest chocolate cupcakes I've ever seen and a fudge dipped apple) made for an entertaining time!

The festival will be running through to the weekend-- enjoy live music and the best eats (and sweets) in town! Speaking of live music, I walked away with a set of new drumsticks from "Inquiring Minds," today's band. Now all I need is a drum set! And you can't go to the Market without stopping by Faidley's for their award-winning lump crab cakes-- Bill, thank you so much for my delicious dinner tonight!

Hello to my new friend Pat Borque-- watch WBAL tonight for coverage of the event! Thanks to Darlene, the Marketing and Promotions Manager at the Market as well as the vendors who sent me away with a bag full of goodies! Below are photos of Darlene with the contestants (Priscilla and Qadira), daddy and my brother Paul as well as the friendly gentleman from Moore's chocolates.