Often times in the whirlwind of life, I will admit, I neglect this blog! Blog posts can be extremely lengthy and when I am constantly posting pictures on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and updating my Fitness Tumblr, the time and energy needed to write a blog post slips away. But then I remember why I started this blog in the first place...My blog role model was (and still is) Jenna Harvey (now Jenna Harvey-Woods), who was 1st RU to Miss California 2009. I hope that my blog is an asset to future pageant girls when they think about their first time going to Miss California. I've always wanted that. So...I've decided to stop neglecting and start sharing what I did at Miss CA Orientation 2015!
Friday, April 10th (my birthday)
We left Contra Costa County at around 3:30 PM on Friday, the car fully packed and headed down to Fresno (Fres-Yes as some girls say). I had my outfit planned for weeks. After all, it was my birthday...plus I had worked so hard to get back to my beloved Radisson (now DoubleTree), I had to make a good impression. Right?
We checked into the hotel sometime around 6:30 or later...unfortunately, our DoubleTree reservation was mysteriously cancelled, but we didn't let that rain on our parade! We went out to dinner at the Elephant Bar, where I got a little birthday surprise dessert. After dinner, we mingled at the DoubleTree in the hotel lobby before returning to our hotel about 10 minutes away. Of course, if you are staying at the DoubleTree, the commute will be different...but it is always fun to mingle in the lobby.
That night, Hannah and I opened the most wonderful bags you will ever lay eyes on or have the privilege to own. If you don't own one, RUN, don't walk, your little mouse over to this link! Suzanne Beasley is one of our AMAZING sponsors and so generously donated these terrific bags to Hannah and me. I would have been lost without my bag!
Saturday, April 11th
Orientation starts bright and early around 7 AM for breakfast, with the real show starting as close to 8 AM as possible. There is a breakfast spread of orange juice, coffee, water, bran and other assorted mini muffins, fruit, bagels, cream cheese, etc. Carb heaven. I'm a bran muffin lover myself so I am always happy. Bob always gives great speeches before it is time to go off to the scheduled activities. After he's done, you usually give a quick "hello" to him if you haven't introduced yourself, or just because, and then you run off to your next activity. I believe he spoke to the teens alone after he spoke to all of us, and I turned in my hostess paperwork and other miscellaneous paperwork, like our resume, platform statement, short resume, etc. Our hostess paperwork has any allergies we might have, what we usually eat, who our roommate will be, and a few other items.
At 10 AM we had walking practice with Jonna and Jenna Aluisi, which is always great because they are great at walking! I tried my best to walk but I'll be honest, my feet were crying. My heels were definitely more on the "cute" side than the "comfortable" side. But I survived. ;) Close to an hour later, I had my short mock interview with three judges. My judges were George Bye, Sharon Terrill, and Lurece Hunter. They were a blast! The time flew by...although, I think it was only about 4 minutes long.
After killing a little time and mingling some more, we had lunch from about 12-1. We had assorted salads: lettuce salad, pasta salad, potato salad, build your sandwiches, maybe some fruit, and my favorite, cake. Haha. There was also iced tea and water at each table. My greatest advice for girls in terms of meals, especially for those of you who weightlift like I do, BRING SNACKS. Oh my goodness. I was starving in between meals. Protein shakes, protein bars, fruit, nuts, whatever. Bring it in your mythirtyone bag and your life will be saved.
My schedule was pretty spread out, so after lunch I listened in on one of Bob's Current Events Talks. I would highly recommend, if you have some spare time, that you jot down some notes during one of his talks. You get to hear news stories broken down, as well as the opinions of Bob and your peers. It is very enlightening to hear different opinions on issues, especially state issues, since it may affect Northern Californians differently than Southern Californians.
Around 2 PM, I started getting ready for my talent presentation. Do you know how awkward it is to warm up your voice in a public restroom? Just one perk of not staying at the DoubleTree (lol). I faced that fear and warmed up anyway. Gotta do what you gotta do, right? I blended in with the crowd in my hot pink robe and sat in the comfy sitting area right behind the waterfall until it was time to unveil my talent outfit to the talent panel. Dramatic, huh? lol. The talent panel is always led by the wonderful Donna Jones and Paul Sanfilipo. You go in, give them your CDs and your music release form, they check your CDs, then you perform your piece. If you play piano, they have a keyboard. If you're a dancer, you have a very small wooden platform to dance on so you don't go full out. If you're a singer, you go as full out as possible, minus most of your choreography (if you have any). I felt way more comfortable this time around than I did two years ago as Miss Solano, so I was thrilled. I feel very confident in my song choice and I am just so thankful and happy I get to perform this piece at Miss California.
Because of talent delays, I ended up missing my talent intro recording but we are flexible here at Miss California. Tom Woods helps you record a short (20 seconds or under) summary of your talent piece. Either why you chose it, what it means to you, something that gets the attention of the audience and maybe says a little something about you. My first year, I remember girls had elaborate paragraphs that they studied over and over until it was perfect. I just had a sentence or two memorized...either is fine. But, if you can fit something meaningful into your talent intro, you should! This will be read if you are announced into the Top 12 (or whatever "Top" gets to perform talent).
I was fortunate enough to be able to film my contestant promo video earlier. Thank you to all of the girls who let me cut ahead of you! My promo video filming time was waaaaay after everything else and I was ready for a quick nap. I had a great time chatting with Leah and letting some of my personality shine through on video! It got a little silly, but nothing Leah couldn't handle. Check it out here!
While Hannah had Teen rehearsals, Khryste, Paula, and I went back to the hotel and had some downtime, before we got ready for dinner and picked up Hannah again. The Teens had rehearsal from 4-5:30, with no host cocktails being at 5:30, and dinner starting at 6:30. We missed cocktails because we were getting ready in a hotel room at the DoubleTree, but if you can go to cocktails, you should! Of course, pageant girls don't drink, but there is a ton of mingling and picture taking that is always really fun.
By dinnertime, I could have eaten someone. Bring snacks! Dinner was FABULOUS. We had bread and butter, salads, chicken, veggies, and a rice pilaf. Dessert was chocolate mousse in a champagne flute. But I would have much rather had 3 more plates of chicken. We also had iced tea and water at the table. There are raffles during dinner. They have raffle items like wines, Miss America memorabilia, etc. and they also have donated gowns that you can choose from if your ticket is called. I didn't win a dress, but I'm holding out for something a little bigger! We also got to hear a little bit about Marina's trip to China. It was great to hear about her experience in China and it gave us an idea of what to expect should one of us be crowned Miss California!
After dinner was the beginning of Miss rehearsals! This is one of my favorite parts of Miss California...the dancing! I do love to dance. I have taken ballet since I was a little, little girl, and I was also a cheerleader in high school, so I am no stranger to 8 counts. This choreography and soundtrack this year is awesome (no surprise there! Cassie Nordgren is a phenomenal choreographer!) and I am excited to dance up on that stage once again. Your lifeline will be the packet Cassie gives you that tells you exactly where you should be in the dance at all times. Do. Not. Lose. That. Packet.
Also, expect to be dancing for hours!
Sunday, April 12th
It's an early morning! Rehearsal starts at 7:30 AM SHARP (regardless of where Cassie is). You dance for a very long time! Bring snacks for that morning. Since 2013, the Miss CA classes have had Class Shirts with their names on them. You will wear this shirt on Sunday for a group picture.