Friday, August 7, 2009
I know it has been awhile- I don't have to tell you how quickly the summer has gone by. I feel like I am just getting some down time between- family, work, friends and trying to keep up with all of it! In a little less than a week I will be giving up my title of Miss Thousand Islands and be handing it down to another lovely lady. There are all sorts of emotions going through me right now. Yes, I am sad that this amazing chapter in my life has come to an end but I am truly thankful for all of the wonderful ways it has helped shape my life. Even more than that, I have a a new extension to my family including- the board of Miss Thousand Islands, especially Shelby, Sue and Garry, my pageant sisters and the entire community of Watertown. This year truly couldn't have been accomplished without all of their love and support.
In preparation for the coming pageant, our board put on a garage sale to benefit Miss Thousand Islands. It was in a central location with lots of good bargains, so much so that people were lining up just to get into the garage..I wish I were joking lol. The sale was on a beautiful July day with lots friendly people showing their support for the pageant! Here I am pictured with Sue Pilon on this beautiful day. As you can see we have our stylish aprons on, to make change with, along with our Miss New York State tee shirts!
The following day was a workshop for all of the contestants in Miss Thousand Islands 2010. Looking at all of these beautiful ladies, with hopes and ambitions in their eyes reminded me of last year, being in their same position. Any one of these young ladies is going to make a great Miss Thousand Islands and I am so excited for them and their year to come.
The picture to the side is a traditional photo taken every year at workshop. We have newcomers and veterans, which is bound to make to an interesting pageant!!
If you are interesting in attending Miss Thousand Islands 2010- it's this Saturday August 15th, at 7pm, the Clayton Opera House. It's the 45th Anniversary of the pageant. So come and watch the "45 and Fabulous" Pageant!!
It's so funny to think that one year ago I was in their same position as these ladies. I was preparing, practicing and -juggling a summer class along with my preparation. In the end though it turned out pretty well, I'd say.( I thought I would add this blast from the past, photo of the contestants and myself from last year) I had the most amazing times of my life- gaining a new perception on myself along with making new friends. This pageant system has helped mold me into the confident, self-motivated person I am today. I will always be grateful for what the Miss America Organization has done for me and will continue to do for future contestants in years to come!
Monday, June 29, 2009
I am a firm believer in fate and that what's meant to be is meant to be. I was meant to be Miss Thousand Islands and compete in Albany. I know I changed someones life while I was there. At a fashion show we modelled in on Saturday a woman sought me out and told me how desperately clothing was needed for surviors. "Helen" was a breast cancer survivor having had a double mastectomy. Meeting this woman in Albany was no coincidence. I know I was meant tomeet her and talk with her about my platform. What makes it even more exciting is that the very same day that I met her, I recieved an email from Ursula of Switzerland requesting 500 Pink Pledge Hang Tag. These tags will be put on survivor friendy clothing and sent throughout the country to inform more people about clothing for survivors.
I may not have won Miss New York or even come in top ten but I learned more about myself than I ever imagined. This organization has helped me grow- spiritually, physically and emotionally. I am able to push myself past my limits and jump into new situations with open arms. Meeting new people and going to different places truly inspires me to make a change in this world. I know I can..I know I will.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Relay this year was a lot of fun! As soon as I arrived I ran into Marci Irvine- a former Miss Thousand Islands. I used to go and watch the Miss New York State pageant every year at the State Office Building here in Watertown. The year that Marci competed my mother was a hostess and my little sister Lauren was Marci's "little sister". The little sisters were assigned to each contestant and would perform a little dance. Marci may not have won that year but our family became close to her and we even attended her wedding! Now this is why I love pageants. Your pageant sisters become part of your extended family and you share so many special moments with them.
The next morning was a Children's Miracle Network event in Clayton at the Antique Boat Museum. It may have been cloudy and cold but that didn't stop people from coming out and enjoying the festivities. There was food, boat rides, a live band, face painting and of course the antique boats! There was something for everyone and you bet it kept the kids busy!
Here I am with Chelsea- Miss Thousand Islands Outstanding Teen. We tried to huddle together for warmth as well as raise money for CMN, which happens to be Chelsea's platform!
~It may have been chilly out but that of course didn't stop us from going on an antique boat ride! If you have never been to The Thousand Islands, you need to make your next vacation destination here! The water may be a bit rough on a stormy day but the scenery is breathtaking regardless of the weather. There are so many beautiful homes built on these islands, that it makes me want to buy an island...Hey a girl can dream!
I want to take some time to thank all of the people and businesses who have helped me along the way to Miss New York. I truly don't know where I would be without them.
- Nelson's Formal wear
- Watertown Sunrise Rotary
- Photography by Angela
- Community Bank
- The Watertown YMCA
- A Touch of Grace
- Uncle Tony and Aunt Mary
- Uncle Billy
- Jonathan Cooper
- Sandra and Sammy Fiorentino
- Frank Reff
- John Hulbert
- George Mead
- Nancy Kall
and the list just keeps growing... If you haven't had a chance to donate or are interesting in donating- don't panic there is still time to donate to Children's Miracle Network, please visit my page http://www.missamerica4kids.org/m.aspx?i=7644B8C5DF2131
Well it's late and I better get some rest- there's still more packing to be done!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I'd like to share with you "The Pink Pledge"- hang tag. This hang tag will be recognizable to breast cancer survivors everywhere displayed on "survivor friendly" clothing. Isn't this exciting? These tags are currently being showcased at my mother's store- A Touch of Grace. I am in the process of partnering with Ursula of Switzerland, Jordan Fashions, and other companies to feature this hang tag on their clothing. We have been working for a cure for so long but have neglected the needs of these brave survivors . They have been scarred mentally, physically and emotionally. The least we can do is provide them with clothing that looks and makes them feel beautiful. My mission is to see "The Pink Pledge" hang tag on survivor friendly garments in mainstream fashion.
Today I was assisting the Sunrise Rotary in delivering of roses from their rose sale. All the proceeds from this sale will benefit the Jefferson County Camp for Youth with Disabilities http://www.watertownnyrotary.com/sunrise/rotary%20camp.htm As you know, I have grown up with the Sunrise Rotary and I love how hardworking and dedicated this group is to its community. Last year my mother, father and I delivered roses out in Chaumont. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Chaumont, it's a small town on Lake Ontario, filled with seasonal cottages and year round homes. Around 9am, after morning rotary, mom and I loaded up the minivan with dozens of roses. Unfortunately we didn't get the Chaumont route, instead we went all around Watertown delivering roses and smiles. Around 11:30am, we had one set of roses left to deliver and I know we saved the best for last. The woman who answered the door was very friendly and as we were talking I saw a little baby walk into the room. Emma, who I was told just turned a year old, was smiling and walking towards me with one of my favorite books. 'Are You My Mother?' by Dr. Seuss is an all time childhood favorite of mine, which I have shared with Giovanna as well. Emma, the woman and her husband gave hugs and wishes of good luck to me as I left their home. It was the perfect ending to the afternoon!
Sunday, June 7, 2009
This past weekend I had a Children's Miracle Network event at my mother's bridal store, A Touch of Grace in Watertown. I sold paper crowns for $1 donation and each person was entered in to win a $100 gift certificate. Also 10% of all sales were donated to CMN/ Miss America.
(-You can still purchase a crown at A Touch of Grace and enter in to win the certificate. The drawing will be held at the end of this month. Good Luck!!)
When I awoke Saturday morning, to my father's freshly made pancakes (yes he's finally home from Morocco) , I saw that the weather looked a little grim. But you know me- I'm an optimist and even crazy weather can't stop me! It was cloudy and windy when I went to put balloons outside. As I was outside trying to tie balloons around the columns, the wind caused the balloon strings to get tangled in my crown!Thank goodness my mom was there to help let me loose. Then while I was setting up inside there were cars pulling in..yah for early birds!! A steady stream of people came through the doors all day long in search of sales while giving to a great cause. Several of my directors stopped by to show their support- Sue Pilon and Audrey Olin, as well as Miss Thousand Islands Teen- Chelsea Mejias. Around 2pm Johnny Spezzano from The Border106.7 came to do a live radio feed. Anyone who knows Johnny knows that he is very passionate about Children's Miracle Network, so I was thrilled to have him there! Thanks everyone for all of your support and a special thank you to Johnny. The delicious drink from the Brew-Haha really kept me energized!
Monday, June 1, 2009
Here I am with one of my board of director members Sue Pilon. Doesn't she look good in fur? Even though the garage sale was in competition with General Brown Days the sale raised a total of $180.00. I was thrilled! For those who don't know what General Brown Days are it's a weekend set aside with food, festivities and a parade in the village of Brownville. Every resident has a garage sale! I didn't realize when I was planning this that it fell upon the same weekend. Oh well! I really have to thank my sister Lauren, for being by my side and helping me with the sale. She was not only a good sales woman but good company as well. Between donations from Sunrise Rotary and Paul Simmons of AAMCO- the total reached over $450. Thanks to everyone for opening up your hearts to this wonderful cause!!
This was just too cute! My niece Giovanna trying to open the donation jar for CMN. She loves money or as she says it monies! haha
(A Special Day to Celebrate)
Yesterday was a very special day for my family. My nephew Jameson had his first birthday. It was a tremendous joy to celebrate this milestone not only in his life but in my family's lives as well. It was hilarious watching him curiously eye his cake then slowly dip his fingers into it. But as you can see he definetely made a huge mess! He is too sweet! It's moments like these that make life so precious. My family is extremely close. When Jameson was born it was an emergency C-section and he was in ICU for several days. His little body was hooked up to wires and monitors. We prayed that he would be alright. Now here he is- a happy, healthy one year old. I was sad that I couldn't be with my pageant sisters in Albany at the CMN Telethon but I was celebrating a miracle with my family.
Friday, May 29, 2009
We are filling our garage with great deals and it will be the paradise shopping of bargain hunters everywhere! The sale starts at 9am and we hope to see you there!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It was a year ago that I was preparing for my local Miss Thousand Islands while finishing up my junior year of college at Buffalo State. I felt that my life had truly come together and for once nothing stood in the way of my goal - no man, no job, no self- reservations. It was all coming together for me. I was calm most of the day and if something went wrong, I just knew it was going to be alright. When I won, I was ecstatic. There were so many beautiful, smart, talented girls to choose from. I knew I was chosen for a reason. I was meant to represent my area as well as my platform and continue on to the Miss New York State Pageant.
Here we are again with Miss USA 2008- Crystle Stewart
Although both of those women were incredible to meet and speak with, it was another woman who I was thrilled to meet. I was walking with my mom, sister Lauren and Aunt Mary when I saw the Miss America crown through a window. I immediately ran to the showroom without hesitation. I knew it was Miss America 2000- Heather French showcasing her new pageant line. As everyone else was left "eating my dust" I was becoming starstruck by Heather. I remember watching her from my couch at Miss America. I thought she was absolutely magnificent and wanted nothing more than to be just like her. Let me tell you she is more gorgeous in person than in any photograph. We discussed her work with veterans and I told her about my platform which she said was greatly needed. As a fashion major also, she had a lot of insight and advice to give. She truly is an amazing woman! Heather not only signed a square but sketched a gown design on it. Priceless!
Meeting Heather French Miss America 2000- Who offered to let me try on her crown
One of my first hometown appearances was at the Bravo Italiano Festival's Miss Italia Pageant. The festival was in its 24th year! Miss Italia is a heritage pageant where the contestants speak publicly, answer on stage questions and model evening wear. When I was fourteen when I sang as entertainment for the pageant. It was the first time I had ever sung Italian, which I taught myself from a Robert Goulet CD. Afterward several Italian men and women corrected me on my Italian .haha. In high school I entered the Miss Italia Pageant to get over my shyness as well as earn scholarship money. I was first runner-up the first year. But that didn't stop me from coming back again. The following year the competition was tough, but I thought "what do I have to lose?" I enjoyed myself and had fun with it. Although the entire time I talked about how excited I was to eat stuffed shells after the pageant! When they announced the winner my eyes were closed and I heard them call my name. I started to cry. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. When they placed the crown upon my head I thought how far I had come and where I was headed- even though I never imagined I would be here today. (Pictured above- Grandpa and Grandma- who makes the best sauce known to man. If you are ever in Watertown, I will take you to her house. Believe me you will never leave hungry!)
Mayors Ball was another favorite event of mine. I had the opportunity to discuss my platform with others as well as gain sponsorship for the Miss Thousand Islands Pageant. Here I am pictured with my Mom Kathy Lettiere aka my older sister, as well as my father Lt. Commander Michael Lettiere aka Dr. Mike.
One of my favorite events was being able to host the "Sugar Plum Ball", which was a holiday ball where over 500 fathers and daughters attended. All of the proceeds went towards the Watertown Family YMCA and the Samaritan Medical Center. I had so much fun dancing in my "Cinderella" dress with all the little angels! The girls and I were dancing up a storm from the macerena to the YMCA. After awhile I was on my way to sign autographs when a group of girls ran up to me asking for autographs. I stepped to the side of an entryway and began signing pictures and taking photos for my scrapbook. That night made me feel like a kid again!
During the winter season I rang the bell for The Salvation Army at my local mall Salmon Run. I had the honor of ringing the bell with the members of Sunrise Rotary with whom I have grown up with. Once a month for two years I would attend Sunrise Rotary before my orthodontist appointments. I grew up participating in many Rotary events, Christmas shopping and gift wrapping for underprivileged children, delivering roses so handicapped children could go to summer camp and many other events. The Rotary members put service above self and are like family members to me. My directors Gary and Sue Pilon were also there and rang the bells with me for hours. At one point I was ringing my bell so hard I broke it! Don't worry though Gary fixed it. He can fix anything! Then it was back to bell ringing for us! It was touching seeing so many generous hearts giving and sharing the joy of the holiday season.
Later that month I went to Corning, NY to the Miss Fingerlakes pageant. I drove up with my parents on a Saturday morning, mom and I went shopping and met up with Sue, Gary and Shelby. My father stayed in his room and worked on an essay for his Master's Degree. After we shopped til we dropped, we went to the pageant and cheered on ladies. Corrie Dartnell, former Miss Thousand Islands and Amy Valenti, pageant sister- were both competing. It was great to see the girls again! I also finally got to meet Leigh-Taylor Smith Miss New York 2008, who is as funny as she is beautiful. I am looking forward to spending a week with her in Albany along with my new pageant sister, Keelie Sheridan, who I also got to meet that weekend. At the end of the night the new Miss FingerLakes 2009 was Lorna Rose! She is such a vivacious and sweet young lady! At 5 am the next day we drove home to Watertown because my nephew Jameson was being baptized. It was a long weekend but filled with lots of fun!
There is nothing worse than being in the hospital. But imagine being young, in the hospital around the holidays. I visited my local CMN hospital, Samaritan Hospital, around Easter to bring joy and a smile to children. March was also National Reading month so I delivered books to children and read to them, in hopes to make them feel better. I had some of my favorite books for them such as Robin Hood, 101 Dalmatians, Cinderella and of course we had to have Elmo books. Some of the babies were brand new! They were so tiny and beautiful just laying there. It reminded me of my nephew Jameson, who was born a year ago. He was born 10pds and needed to be in the intensive care unit for several days. I am so thankful for all that CMN does and continues to do. Here I am with a head nurse, Sandy Foster, at Samaritan Medical Center!
Pageant Workshop! What a great time being able to meet all of my pageant sisters- some I have met and others I was meeting for the first time. I had such a great time meeting member of the New York State board. They are so loving and supportive, definitely a great group! After a fun filled day of paperwork and dancing, we had a cocktail event with the Mayor of Albany as well as friends and family members. It gave us a chance to unwind and get to know one another a little bit more. There was also a silent auction that took place to raise money for our organization. I really wanted to win the swim with Michael Phelps but it was a $3,000 starting bid..(sigh) But nonetheless we had a blast. Sunday was crazy- there was breakfast, then dancing, followed by running talents. Let me just tell you these women are amazing! I feel like we are on America's Got Talent or something. We also were measured for swimsuits then danced some more. By the end of the day- I was wiped out and couldn't wait to go home and sleep in my own bed!
Pictured: Mayor Jennings of Albany and me
Below: Me, Katie Birchenough- Miss Empire Rose and Angela Galasso- Miss Lewis County
When I was younger I struggled with reading, even the simplest things were difficult for me. This is why I think that it's so important to teach our children at a young age. I met some very special young children at the Flower Memorial Library and we read books in honor of National Pet Month. I took my time and selected my books carefully because I wanted them to be special. The children were very receptive to my books and we were both entertained by one another. Between book readings we put on music and danced. I felt like a kid again haha! Afterward I let the children try on my crown- girls and boys alike. One boy actually said to me "I can't wait to tell my uncle!" haha He smiled with such joy and even asked me to join them in craft after story time was over. It's important to remember that the children are the future of our nation, so let's give them all the knowledge and love we can offer.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Everyday leads to another
But true heroes never die
Legends live on and on
I see your face in the full moon
Friday, May 22, 2009
Well I better go, Giovanna put "Single Ladies" on repeat and won't stop yelling at me until I come and dance with her. God Bless and take care, even if your not a single lady!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
It has been a struggle for the past three years to get back to Miss New York and be able to compete for the title. But nonetheless it has been a very interesting journey. I have learned more about myself in this time and what I am capable of. I am not the same person I was several years ago let alone six months ago. This path my life has taken me may not have been an easy one but it was worth it.
This past weekend I graduated from Buffalo State College with a bachelors degree in Fashion Textile Technology. It was amazing to see how my four years of hard work and dedication had boiled down into this one moment. What made it even more special though was being able to graduate with my best friend, Samantha. Samantha and I have been best friends since freshman year in high school. She went to Buffalo State first then I visited and loved it! I felt a tremendous amount of pride hugging her after the ceremony, knowing if we could do this we could do anything!
Samantha and me at Buffalo State
Today being May 20th, is my wonderful mothers birthday! I am currently making her favorite meal "Chicken Alaska". I am not a cook whatsoever but a friend gave me the recipe which I followed intently and I think the meal came out pretty good. We will have to see what mom says. I don't think we ever take the time to tell our loved ones how much we love them everyday. My mother is such an amazing woman, whom I hope to be like someday. She came all the way to Buffalo with me and was my only family member to sit and watch me graduate. It made me so happy just to have her there and share in this special day with me. I admire my mother for all the strength and perseverance she instilled in me. I love you mom, Happy Birthday!