Friday, April 19, 2013

Miss California 2013 Orientation!

Harlem Shake! Can you spot me? :)

Hi all :) Sorry if my posts seem is the end of the semester, so it is a busy time! Plus, every time I actually have spare time to write a blog, Blogger and Google team up against me and won't let me sign in. What's up with that?! :) I can't help it if I have a ton of different email addresses that I need all inboxes open at the same time! Oh well. I'm on now!

A week ago today, I left for Miss California orientation with my director, Gabino, Miss Napa County's director Sarah, Miss Napa County Noeli, and Miss Yosemite Valley Julianna! Sarah and Gabino gave us goodie bags before we hit the road. They included our super cute titleholder shirts! I put mine on immediately. I was really excited for orientation! Although we didn't leave on schedule, we eventually got to Fresno. On the way, we stopped by Pura Vida, owned by Jenna Harvey, 1st runner up to Miss California 2009, for some DELICIOUS shaved ice and kettle corn! YUM! It was the best shaved ice and kettle corn I've ever had. Plus, the workers there are very sweet! ;) It is a recommended stop on your journey to Fresno!
Me and Noeli after arriving in Fresno!

We arrived at the Radisson Fresno close to 6 PM. Only a few hours later than planned. ;) We settled in to our hotel rooms and I unpacked most of my stuff and put it away. I had the opportunity to room with Noeli and it was a real bonding experience. As if sister titleholders need to bond any more! :) As we were leaving for dinner, a very famous Mexican performer, Vicente Fernandez was coming through the lobby to go perform at his concert across the street! I managed to get a video of him as he was walking out. Although I had never heard of him before, everyone else was excited so I was excited, too. We originally planned on going to BJ's but the wait was an hour and a half. Whew! So, we went to The Habit Burger Grill instead. Julianna, Noeli, Sarah, Gabino, Gabino's aunt and uncle Shelby and Roger, and I had a wonderful meal that had a wait of about 7 minutes. I know that Habit Burger is known for their burgers, but since I filled up on popcorn on the way up, I ordered a grilled chicken salad. The chicken was SO good! It's one of my new favorites. After dinner, we made a pit stop at Target before returning to the hotel. We had an early morning the next day!
Me and Noeli at breakfast.

Me and Gabino before talent preview
Me and Noeli in our talent outfits!
Noeli and I awoke at 6 AM to prepare for the day. We had to get ready and get in line for breakfast by 7:30. I was extremely excited to go shopping in the merchandise room. I've always wanted the cute clothes that the Miss California contestants got to wear...and now I'm one of them! :) I really enjoyed breakfast...I am not a very picky eater. We were greeted with fruit, mini bran muffins, mini bagels, and mini croissants. They were all very yummy. We started out the morning with great speeches by Bob Arnhym, Leah Cecil, and Grace Lee Grant. After breakfast, we went upstairs to change into our talent outfits and rehearse before our talent previews. I must say, all singers, including myself, sound better in the bathroom (haha).
Me and Heidi Cheung, Miss San Francisco!

Talent previews were running a tad behind so we had a good amount of time to turn in our paperwork and shop in the merchandise room! When it was finally my turn to perform, I was excited. As I was performing, I choked right before my ending note. Ugh! I was and am still getting over a cold, so I'll just blame my cold and not my nerves. :) It was a good experience to sing in front of an audience in my gown. I just need to practice. Right after that, I ran upstairs (or ran to the elevator) and changed back into my interview attire to record my talent intro, just in case I make top 12! A lot of girls had elaborate talent intros, written on paper, with multiple versions to choose from. I guess my rookie showed through, because I had a short introduction that I had saved in my head. At least it was easy to record in one take! Plus, the volunteer who helps record, Tom Woods, was a sweetheart! It was easy to record in his company. Although we didn't have the scheduled 11 AM walking workshop, we missed we hopped into class! At first it was a little intimidating, but I ended up doing pretty well...hopefully! I didn't get any negative feedback so I'm taking that as a good sign. After losing Sarah and Gabino...and then finding them, Noeli and I quickly rushed to our room to grab our stuff for lunch and the Harlem Shake video! Lunch was another winner. A few different salads, build your own sandwiches, fruit, and yummy carrot cake. We grabbed our food and then Leah announced that we were going to go do our Harlem Shake! We must have been pros because it took less than 10 minutes to film. Leah is a great Miss California because she's always finding ways to keep us relevant and connected with social media! We had a break between 1:30 and 2 PM, so I went to Leah so she could film a quick interview video of each contestant, so the public could get to know each of us better. Another wonderful idea of hers! :) Noeli and I were very excited to go to our next workshop, MAKEUP!

Me, Bob, and Noeli
I was super excited to soak up all of Linda Ontiveros's makeup wisdom. I learned a lot of new techniques from her, especially about my face shape. She has great products which you can view and buy here! I encourage you to look around. :) While waiting for our last official workshop task of the day, we decided to stop by Bob's current events session. I am so happy I did! I could have stayed in there all day. I spent most of my time listening. I didn't want to miss any word anyone said. What other time would I be surrounded by so many different people voices their opinions? I made sure to take notes and really focus on what I believe in. Our last stop before dinner was mock went so fast! It was a short, sweet 5 minute interview which included some questions I'd never heard before. It was also interesting to hear the feedback from the mock judges. They were definitely busy all day!

MacKenzie, Marina, Millie, Jordan, Bob, Crystal, me, and Noeli. Phew :)
Posing with my yummy strawberry!
Me, Shelby, and Noeli at dinner.
ROOMIES! Me and Ashley, Miss Sacramento County.

We had a small break before dinner to get ready. We had a surprise while we were waiting! Noeli and I are spoiled. Shelby bought each of us a beautiful crown printed train case for our makeup. She is so sweet! She expressed how proud she was of each of us. I am so happy to have her as a volunteer and in my life. Sarah came in a few minutes later, bearing gifts in the form of chocolate covered strawberries from Kym McNicholas! Since Kym is very social media savvy, I instagrammed a picture of me and my yummy strawberry and tagged her in it. Soon, Shelby, Noeli, and I were all doing our hair in the bathroom, in anticipation of looking our best for dinner. I decided to wear a pair of earrings I bought off of, since they are pretty. They are clip-on earrings and they are padded on the back, but they really need to be padded all over! I was in pain 10 minutes into dinner. Bad idea! Here's my tip: don't wear new earrings to a special event. I wound up taking them off. Dinner was magical! We had a salad, chicken with a yummy sauce, steamed vegetables (my favorites), and a spicy rice. For dessert, we had a yummy chocolate mousse. During dinner, there is a tradition to buy raffle tickets to try and win a dress or other prize. The dresses are all donated by other pageant closets (what we call our local pageants' collection of clothing).
Me, Julie Ann, Shelby, Sarah, and Noeli
Julianna, Nikki, me, and Noeli

My field director, Gwen, was kind enough to buy each of us two tickets! Unfortunately, I didn't win anything. But that's okay! :) I think I've won enough just with the opportunity to attend orientation. Right after dinner, it was time for all of the contestants to learn our production number. I regret not getting any pictures of myself in my workout rehearsal outfit! Oh well :) We met Cassie Nordgren, the fabulous choreographer who planned all of our routines! I won't give away any details, but you're going to love everything! I know I do. I was super surprised when she said, "it's almost 11 PM, I should let you go!" We were very tired! 5:45 AM came very early the next morning...

We planned to take our field pictures for the program book on Sunday. I made sure to look picture ready! It was rough to be ready for rehearsal at 7:30, but that's the life of a Miss California contestant. Breakfast was pretty much the same, except there was no fruit when I got there and they had a few blueberry muffins. There is fruit in blueberry muffins...right? ;) We had a quick rehearsal with Cassie to learn our evening wear portion of competition. At 9 AM, we had a contestants only meeting with Bob. Our 10:45 break came around 10:53 and I spent a lot of time wondering what to do, as we were waiting to take our field picture but not all the girls were around. As Bob put it, "we try to fit 5 pounds of stuff into a 2 pound bag," and my choir teacher always said, "show business is flexibility." Although this isn't show business, I think it's relatable. Our next section was filled with great speeches by Bob, Caryn Brady, Leah, and other volunteers. Leah spoke about the Duke of Edinburgh award and its importance. It was great to hear her input on everything and to realize the great things she and Bob are doing with this organization. Unfortunately, I never had the time to attend Leah's social media workshop! Luckily, I've had a few workshops lately in class and in my mentorship, so I hope I have learned as much as I can. Our final task for the weekend was to learn our swimsuit portion of competition. All I can say is, the soundtrack is so fun and you are going to love the whole show!

Me after our field photo! Proud to be one of Gwen's Girls! ;)
Right before we left, we FINALLY got that field picture! :) Gabino, Sarah, Julianna, Noeli, and I had lunch at this yummy Mexican restaurant in Fresno called La Elegante. They have the BEST carne asada tacos ever! You should go next time you're in Fresno!

Phew...that was my weekend! I hope you enjoyed hearing about it...and bravo if you read all of it!

<3 Thanks for your support!!

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