Friday, May 29, 2009

Cleaning out the clutter!

My sister and I are busy, busy, busy cleaning out the clutter. This Saturday, May 30th, I will be having a garage sale at 316 Bugbee Dr., Watertown, to benefit CMN/ Miss America. So if you're in the neighborhood please drop by! There will be furniture, baby clothes (courtesy of my niece Giovanna), and of course gowns, which any pageant girl has plenty of!! I never knew that a family could accumulate so much stuff, good thing Dad is away because we might have a tug-o-war with some of the things we are getting rid of! Oh I don't know Dad probably wouldn't want to part with that hot pot he had in college or those corduroy pants he still thinks are in style.
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

Life without passion is no life at all~ This happens to be one of my favorite quotes from Sean Combs. I take it to heart. Imagine a life without drive, ambition, motivation- what would that life contain? An empty 9-5 job followed by zoning out in front of the television until you manage to fall asleep. I could never live that way and for people that do- how do they manage? One of the books I have read is called 'Come On People', by Bill Cosby. It talks about motivating people to become heroes and victors instead of remaining victims. It's a truly powerful book and a must read!

I wanted to take some time and reflect like I usually do about the things that I have accomplished in the past and right now I would like to share my past year as Miss Thousand Islands with you and catch you up to speed on my life.

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.
Two years ago I created a "Celebrity Friendship" quilt. I wrote to designers and celebrities- sending them "The Pink Pledge" and a pink square to sign. The squares I compiled were then made into a quilt which was raffled off for my local Relay for Life. The celebrities who had signed were: Al Pacino, Barbara Walters, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Taylor, Charles Barkley and several more. The reason I bring up the quilt has to do with a story with the motto "Always be prepared".

I was at the Atlanta Market networking with designers about "The Pink Pledge" when I heard that Miss America and Miss USA were going to be at the market. I ran to my purse to grab pink squares but to my dismay there were none. None?!? How could that be? Okay, I was a girl scout, I was always prepared. "Taxi!!" I headed for the nearest fabric store but settled for Super Walmart 20 minutes away. I was looking for the fabric section but there wasn't one. So add a pink curtain + shears = and "ta da!" We have pink squares!! I was so thrilled when I finally met Miss America 2008- Kirsten Haglund and had her sign a square along with Miss USA 2008- Crystle Stewart.
My sister Lauren, Miss TI Teen 2006, Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund and me!

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!

Stephanie and me at Sugar Plum Ball

Two lovely young ladies enjoying the festivities

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.

The New Year started off with a bang! I initiated and hosted a fashion show to benefit Children's Miracle Network. The fashions were provided by A Touch of Grace and Nelson's Formal wear. There were over 75 models of all ages and sizes ranging from 2-22. Even at the last minute I wrote in three models, who were in a quincenera and wanted to be part of the festivities. There were several prize packages that included a gown, tuxedo, jewelry, tanning package, dinner and a limo package. Aside from all of the glitz and glamour, it was important to share the message of Children's Miracle Network. We showed videos of how CMN has helped change several children's lives here in our local area. Here I am pictured with Miracle Children McKenzie Clemmons (left) and New York State 2008 National Ambassador for CMN Madison Draper (right). View news coverage of the fashion show

The fashion show tickets were sold out with little standing room. There was also a photographer there to take their photos! It was a great accomplishment for the teens who gained self-esteem by modeling. The fashion show raised over $2,150 which all went towards our local CMN organization here.
Here I am pictured with Jocelyn Meijas of Children's Miracle Network at a check presentation at A Touch of Grace.

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!

Now normally I am competing in pageants but in March I was a judge at the Miss Ireland Pageant in Watertown. There were several beautiful young ladies who were vying for the title. If anyone was nervous, it was me. I had never judged anything, I've always been the one being judged. Let me tell you it was not an easy task at all! All of the ladies were so beautiful, poised and intelligent. How could I choose one? Thank goodness there were other judges there- we all helped one another along!

Pictured here in the photo- were myself and the other judges at the Miss Ireland Pageant.

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.

God Bless!!



Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day! My weekend began yesterday with a cookout surrounded by my family in honor of my mothers birthday! My grandfather and his brothers all fought in World War II, defending our freedom. At this same time millions of men and women are overseas doing that very same, ensuring the freedoms that we Americans take for granted each and everyday. My father is currently still overseas in Morocco but regardless still on my mind today. I am so very proud of my father, a solider, a defender of freedom. After he came back from Iraq one year ago, he explained how he aided soldiers wounded during battle. Knowing that my father was able to be there to be able to save the lives of others makes me eternally grateful.
I would like to share a poem I found:
True Heroes Never Die
Everyday leads to another
Each one different from the other
Sometimes life don't seem fair
It's a game of do or dare
But true heroes never die
They just leave before good-bye
Hi Ho Silver away
We'll meet again someday
Legends live on and on
You were the unknown phenomenon
It's funny how time slipped by
Like the blink from a teary eye
I see your face in the full moon
Sometimes your voice fills the room
You are my true hero
Your light forever glows
God Bless all of our armed forces today! Thank you for all that you do!

Friday, May 22, 2009

All the Single Ladies!

It may sound strange but my two year old niece Giovanna, loves the song "Single Ladies" by Beyonce. The moment she hears that beat she starts screaming, laughing and dancing all at once. It is the funniest thing I have ever seen. My father will be surprised to see this when he comes back from his overseas trip to Morocco. My father is a Physician's Assistant as well as a Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserves. Two years ago he left for Iraq to fight the war on terror and ensure freedom for Americans everywhere. Currently my father is strengthening ties between America and Morocco through medical services. My father will be back just in time for the Miss New York State Pageant!!

Last night I was an honored guest at the Cirque de Arte show at the State Office Building. Several young children displayed their vocal, dance, instrumental and other various talents. I also had the esteem pleasure of crowning Miss Thousand Islands Teen 2009- Chelsea Mejias at this event. I felt so proud crowning my new little sister who is funny, smart and ambitious.

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


Welcome everyone to the blog of Miss Thousand Islands 2009. I know it's a little late to start a blog but "better late than never". I am currently getting prepared to compete in the Miss New York State Pageant next month. I am very excited for this wonderful opportunity to represent my area as well as my platform "The Pink Pledge".

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!