More Than A Hat

Disclaimer: I started to write this, this morning, not knowing where I was going with it or when I would post it, but knowing it was heavy on my heart. As the day went on, it came to my attention that today is National Hat Day, so I just had to share. 

Over the past few years I started to realize just how big of a role sports have played in my life. I mean I grew up playing soccer, basketball and volleyball. They taught me the importance of communication, working as a team and setting goals. However, my love for sports dates back even further then that.

Contrary to popular stigmas, I have loved, watched and know quite a bit about baseball and football. I’ve watched both games since before I can remember. I spent my summers and some weekends in the spring and fall at a field or at a stadium. Why you may ask?

My brother.IMG_8285

What some of you may not know is yes, I do in fact have a brother. His name is Trevor and he is 26 years old.  But here’s why you may not see much of him…

He and I could not be more different.

  • He has dark hair, while I was born a towhead.
  • He has brown eyes, while I sport those emerald greens.
  • He likes being behind the scenes, while I enjoy taking center stage.
  • He doesn’t use social media, while I hope to make it part of my profession.
  • He doesn’t need pictures to remember something, while I harbor over 3,000 photos on my phone alone.
  • He maybe the next Pablo Picasso, while I…well I’m content with stick people.
  • He is a realist, while I am an idealist.
  • He enjoys the country, while I like the city life.
  • He may describe himself as an introvert, while I would describe myself as an extrovert.

The list may go on and on, but through it all one thing remains. Trevor is my idol. He is extremely smart, he is thoughtful and he is driven. He always inspired me to push myself and never let others step all over me. If I can exude half of the courage and strength my brother has then I think I’ll be living life right. My brother was, is and always will be a large part of why I am who I am today and quite simply why I love hats.


If you look at my Miss America paperwork under interesting facts it will say; “baseball hat collection.” What I want to know is how many 22-year-old girls have over 22 baseball hats? I assume very few.

I started collecting hats when I was a junior in high school. I went to a Los Angeles Dodgers game and a collection was born. Since then I have bought a hat (or several) from my college, the one NFL stadium I’ve been to and every baseball field I’ve visited- Major league, minor league and spring training. It is on my bucket list to eventually visit all 30 baseball stadiums.


A baseball field, I’ve come to realize, is just that place where I feel confident, I feel safe and I feel myself.

The very first sports game I ever remember watching was my brother’s t-ball game when my dad, who also played baseball, was the coach. From there on out whatever my brother was doing I wanted to do.

For example: Growing up my brother had a bed comforter with MLB logos all over them. I would try to impress him by pointing out teams that I recognized-darn Marlins logo always threw me off for the Mariners. I was jealous when all I got was a purple and pink heart comforter. After he started to play football, I put my brother’s shoulder pads and helmet on and asked my mom if I could play too. When the answer was no, I tried anything to make him proud of me and make him notice that I could hang. In fact, in third grade I was out school supply shopping and I bought pencils with all of the NFL logos on them so I could learn the name of each team.

We grew and our hobbies, styles and favorite teams changed. However, one thing always remained constant- his love for hats. He always had stacks…like he could open his own store.

Oh how I would eye those puppies, just waiting for the day he would let them go- I loved hand-me-downs. But, because he is somewhat of a *cough* hoarder like me, he never let them go. I still remember he had an old school Arizona Diamondbacks hat signed that I wanted to get my grubby little hands on.

Well this Christmas I was finally able to. I finally inherited some of the hats that I had always wanted. Some of them were unique, like the old school Blue Jays hat or the Red Sox city skyline hat, while some were your everyday logos.


I didn’t care if they had ever been worn at all or worn too much. They were my brothers and that’s all that mattered.

I originally started writing this because I wanted to try and briefly summarize how much I respect him and look up to him, but I think the best way to explain it is;

My hats will always be a reminder, a memory and a keepsake. To him they might be old and tattered, to anyone else they may be just another accessory, but to me hats will always be more than just a hat.

Updated 2019: This year my hat collection will double in size because I am marrying someone who also collects hats. Over the last three years, we have traveled and made memories. We don’t buy many souvenirs, but I have a feeling the hats will be our favorite keepsakes.


Miss Washington Wednesday: The New Miss Seattle

Better late than never right?

Miss Seattle kicked off the 2015 pageant season here in Washington this past weekend. Congratulations to your new queen, Taryn Smith. Here is what she had to say just moments after being crowned!

For those of you who were not able to make the event, I want to quickly describe to you my favorite part of the show! At the beginning of any pageant, contestants are typically asked to introduce themselves. At Miss Seattle, the contestants did just this, but in a very unique and modern way. One by one the ladies walked down the “white carpet” in a fun and fabulous dress from Dolce Bleu-an incredible dress store in Seattle and our newest Miss Washington partner! Instead of introducing themselves live, the contestants strutted their stuff across the stage while a personalized voiceover played. It wasn’t so much a parade of contestants as it was a fashion show. It was so fun to see the different styles and colors on different body types!

Overall, I thought the pageant was very well ran and all of the ladies did a stunning job on stage! Kudos to you all!

Until next week,


Miss Washington Wednesday: the tools it took to rule 2014

2015 is basically knocking at the door and sooner or later we’re not only going to have to let it in, but embrace it.

Last year at this time, I was sick…sicker than I think I’ve ever been before. In fact, I was so sick that I somehow coughed my rib out of place. Just imagine it. There I was lying by my fireplace, trying to make minimal movements to avoid pain and coughing, watching the ball drop. Sounds like an exhilarating night, right? Well, lucky for me, my crummy New Year’s Eve was not foreshadowing my new year. While yes, there were some major lows; I think that 2014 was one of, if not the best, year of my life so far.

2014 rocked because last year at this time, I felt like 2013 had managed to quite literally knock me down…physically and emotionally…leaving me on my back. Quite frankly, it was in that time period where I was just so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was done with allowing myself to be weighed down by stuff that a) didn’t matter b) I had no control over or c) could have been changed with my attitude.

First photo of 2014
First photo of 2014

After a few days, I started to feel better. A few weeks later the Seahawks won the first Super Bowl in franchise history. A month later, I started my journey as Miss Spokane. A few months after that, I started my journey as Miss Washington. Two months after that, I was on the Miss America stage. Two weeks after that I was in CHINA speaking as a Washington State Ambassador. Two DAYS after that, I was flying to New York to celebrate the newly crowned Miss America. The year just picked up momentum the more it played out. In hindsight, I owe it to these 5 philosophies;

1. No more New Years resolutions. I, in no way, am encouraging you to not set goals. The key word in the that statement was, New Years. If there is something within the year that is bothering you, change it THEN. Don’t wait for an excuse like NYE to make changes, because, more often than not, we will continue to set a future deadline for ourselves. In the last half of the year my family has experienced a lot of change; I moved to Seattle, we lost my grandma and had to sell her house, my brother moved to Louisiana and my parents began to remodel our house. A lot of those were scary decisions, but decisions that I think will help better all of our futures. Take the chances that scare you and make the decisions that are going to change you…today. Choose today, change tomorrow.

2. Stop trying to please everyone. Stop trying-because the truth is you will never please everybody. This years Miss Washington competition was the third time I had competed for the job. The first year I was just learning what the organization meant and what the job entailed. The second year I was trying to fit the mold of who I thought Miss Washington was. The third time around, I threw out the majority of what I knew, stopped worrying about what I thought Miss Washington would do and started to wonder what I would do as Miss Washington. Now the job description wasn’t about being a prestigious titleholder, it was about being the best version of myself.


3. The world is HUGE. In June I graduated from college, so automatically I began to think what’s next? Where to next? I’d lived in Washington almost my whole life and I was pretty content on staying somewhere within the state. However, since my graduation day, I have flown more than I think I ever have before and been fortunate to travel to places I’ve only dreamt about. Seeing these new places has helped me grow as a person, network for my future and realize that I don’t know where to next, but I am excited to see where this World takes me. One of my favorite quotes is, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”


4. Leave it all out there. Moments are fleeting and before we know it they are gone. There was a lot that I put my all into this year, Miss America being a huge one, but where I learned to leave it all out there was in two other instances. The first being a relationship. Relationships are funny because we for some reason try to make them gray when really it’s just black and white. I think you find the b&w area when you stop playing games, leave nothing unsaid and leave the ball in their court.

The second was when I lost my grandma. It was the day before I left for China and I received a call from my mom explaining her condition. Without hesitation the saint Peggy Miller told me to get in the car and before I knew it we were on our way to Yakima. The next day God earned a new angel. Just hours later I was by myself on a plane, miles away from the place I wanted to be. However, I was able to be with her in her last hours, I was able to tell her how much she’ll always mean to me and I was so so fortunate to hear her tell me she loved me just one last time. In both cases, I was able to find peace because the rest was out of my control.

5. It’s all about timing. If something doesn’t work out, It. is. okay! We will fall, we will fail and we will get hurt. However, we will also get back up, become stronger and become smarter because of it. I promise you something better is ahead of us. To find it means we have to stop looking toward the past, turn around and move forward.


Cheers to a fabulous 15!


Miss Washington Wednesday: The November Update

Well well…hello everyone!

I hope you are all ready for the holidays because I know I sure am!

OK, so now that I have returned from my international and national travels, I wanted to give you an update on what else I have been up to and what you can expect in the next few weeks.

63949_10204364376983798_5343250754570275406_nWe begin with Eastern Washington University’s Homecoming weekend parade!Before the game each year, the main street in town is shut down for the Homecoming Day parade. I was lucky enough to ride in the parade alongside Mr. and Ms. Eastern and their court, the university’s marching band and several clubs and organizations.

It was so much fun getting to see familiar faces and watch the Eagles smear North Dakota 54-3.

Following came the Auburn Veteran’s Day Parade, Veterans Day Lunch and National Veteran’s Day Run.Each was so unique, but all celebrated the same thing, our veterans.

IMG_6236The Auburn Veteran’s Day Parade is the biggest on this side of the Mississippi, with over 200 units involved in the parade. The main street of Auburn was lined with parade-goers waving American flags and sporting their red white and blue. It was a beautiful sight, not to mention the weather couldn’t have been better. Following the parade, I freshened up on my military knowledge learning all about humvees, tanks and cannons.

The Veteran’s Day Lunch was held just a few days later at the Auburn Senior Center. The event center was packed with veterans who had served in Vietnam, Korea and in World War II. After hearing from the speakers, DSC00643it was hard not to shed a tear. My heart was so full because I was was/am so grateful.  One of the most inspiring stories came from the woman pictured here. She was a nurse in the Vietnam War.

IMG_6453I rounded out my week at the National Veteran’s Day run in Seattle. I woke up early to sing the National Anthem for the 5K/11K race, early enough to catch the sunrise over the lake. As the race participants finished, I was there to cheer them on and give them their medal.

IMG_6346Then, I had my fun filled day of shooting for my holiday cards with Select Photography. Bill and Laura Higdon are such a hoot and made feel like a supermodel. We shot in Watson’s Greenhouse and Nursery and customers milled about the store while we shot. I was in my evening gown and ugly sweaters, so it felt a little silly doing a photo shoot, but my oh my was the venue gorgeous. Pictures will be released soon.(Message me if you’d like to be added to the holiday card list!)

IMG_6496I then had the chance to sing at the Olive Crest Luncheon in Spokane. According to their website, “Olive Crest is dedicated to Preventing child abuse, to Treating and Educating at-risk children and to Preserving the family… ‘One Life at a Time.'” I heard from speakers about how they are helping to find children “forever families.” Again, the strings of my heart were being pulled at. I sang “For Good” and “Amazing Grace.”

Finally, I went back in time when I spoke at Columbia Elementary School in Burbank and my elementary school, Sunset View. I loved visiting with the kids at both schools and loved being able to go back to where I attended first through fifth grade.

10388176_10152897973445827_3115402873837083748_nAt Columbia Elementary I read “A Turkey for Thanksgiving” to eight classrooms and spoke about goal setting. I got asked hilarious questions like, “are you married to George Washington” or “Do you know the beast mode?”

13648_10152901690770827_5960339198236692461_nAt Sunset View, I spoke at their PRIDE assembly about making someone’s day.  I used my favorite analogy to best show how cool it is when you set out to make a difference. I tell the students they are a mento and Sprite is our world. This bottle is full of opportunities-or pop. When we choose to make good choices, our world is overflowing with love and kindness.

NOW here’s what you can expect:

A few weeks ago, I shot a few “how-to” videos at Brotherton Cadillac as part of our Crown Connections series. Keep your eye out for those weekly for the next few weeks. Here is the first of the series: Crown Connections- How to Check Your Brake Lights

Until next time,


Miss Washington Wednesday: The New Miss West Sound

Last Saturday we crowned our new Miss West Sound, who we will say hello to a little later.

But first, we take a look back at the evening.

Since it’s inception in 2010, Miss West Sound has been held at the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton.

This particular show is unique to the Washington pageant world because the theatre is typically used for dinner shows. This meaning, I throughly enjoyed a caesar salad and strawberry lemonade during the first half of the show.

The show began with 11 out of the 12 contestants- six teen contestants and six miss contestants- dancing to “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody,” by Fergie.

Mataya Giffey came out at the end of production number on crutches- bedazzled crutches I should mention- for contestant introductions. She unfortunately, broke her foot prior to the pageant. Apparently that didn’t hold her back much as she went on to take the title of Miss West Sound’s Outstanding Teen.

The first half included miss and teen physical fitness, talent and miss on-stage question.

Talents included piano, singing, signing to music, dance and trumpet, which was played by Giffey.

Cheriesse Martinelli, who later was crowned Miss West Sound, sang “Everybody Says Don’t,” originally sang by Barbra Streisand.

Contestants opened the second half dressed in flapper inspired outfits, fringe and pearls included.

Teens completed their competition phases with evening gown/ on-stage question.

Giffey wore a cobalt blue chiffon dress with a bedazzled top/straps and sweetheart neckline.

Then the miss contestants competed in their final phase of competition, evening gown.

Martinelli wore a black jersey gown with nude mesh inserts.

And just like that the competition was over and the scores were being tabulated.

Before Giffey and Martinelli were crowned, however, the second and first runners up were announced.

Second runner up for the teen contestants was Kaile Brant.

First runner up for the teen contestants was Abigail Dominguiano.

Kailia Olin was name second runner up for the miss contestants and Tamika Tiller was named first runner up.

Following the show, contestants and family gathered at Arena Sports Bar & Grille, where I had a minute to catch up with the newly crowned Miss West Sound.

Here is what she had to say;

Until next time,


Miss Washington Wednesday: The Big Apple Homecoming

The big apple, the concrete jungle, the city that never sleeps, the empire state…New.York!

This last weekend I was able to explore yet another city I had yet to visit. However, my weekend in New York was for a very special occasion.

Just a little over a month ago, we crowned the new Miss America. This incredible woman just happened to be my roommate and good friend, Kira Kazantsev- Miss New York. Each year the state board of the winning girl hosts a homecoming to celebrate her and her accomplishments. So, this year’s homecoming was obviously held in NYC- for the third year in a row- and I was so very fortunate to be invited to join in on the festivities.


I arrived on Friday for a cocktail party at the ABOVE on Staten Island. I was so excited to see 14 of my Miss America sisters, including Kira.

Other than some scrumptious snacks and an incredible view of several different boroughs, we heard from Kira about her year thus far and watched as the new New Miss New York, Jillian Tapper was crowned.


The following day we started our morning off with brunch at Wagner College. The Gamma Pi chapter of Alpha Delta Pi hosted the event for us. Here, we heard from Kira about her platform, Jillian- who was a ADPi at Florida State University- and the president of Gamma Pi’s chapter.


Then we jumped in the van to make our first pit stop, which was the Empire State Building. For those who don’t know, the first sight-seeing level of the Empire State Building is 86 floors up. This is pretty extreme for someone with an extreme fear of heights- like me. However, the view from the top is so worth it.

But, our adventure didn’t stop at the 86th floor. For a little extra, participants can travel 14 stories higher to experience an even better view. This level is all enclosed, so my fears had subsided…or so I thought.

Our tour guide then asked, “Who would like to go up just one more floor?” As she asked, she opened a door with what I could only describe as a sketchy set of stairs.

This was a once in a lifetime experience and one of my even bigger fears is allowing an opportunity to pass, so I just couldn’t say no. With a big gulp, I swallowed my fears and ascended the steep ladder like stairs.

At the top of the stairs was something like a control room and a single door leading outside. Yes, this level allowed you take a step outside the enclosed area and into the open air. The railing was the only thing separating us from the ground…103 stories down.

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After returning to the safe ground we freshened up and got ready for the night. Our next adventure was a dinner cruise on the Hudson River. Here, I was able to reunite with even more of my Miss America sisters!

The views from the river were stunning and the weather wasn’t too shabby either- minus the wind. We sailed passed the city skyline, under the Brooklyn bridge and got up close and person with Lady Liberty.

I have taken dinner cruises in Seattle before and the beautiful glow of the city lights reminded me of home. However, the sight of the new Freedom Tower, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building made it an exciting sight to be seen.

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When we got close to the Statue of Liberty, the most patriotic music you can think of erupted from the boat’s speakers. We’re talking Ray Charles’ version of “America the Beautiful” and Whitney Houston’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Needless to say, it was hard not to sing at the top of your lungs and feel like we were alive.

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Early the next morning, the girls and I got up to explore some more of the city. We started off at Chelsea Market in the Meat Packing district. This reminded me of a more organized version of Pike’s Place. Instead of fish and flowers, they sold jewelry and other accessories.

We then walked up to The High Line park- a man made park above the streets- and then over to Union Square.

We were all dressed up for the day and in were in such a large group that we should have been surprised when a woman passed by and said to her guy, “well, I guess the real housewives of New York came out today.”

We all had a good laugh about it.

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Kira took us to her old stomping grounds for brunch. Before capturing the crown, she was a waitress at an adorable restaurant called Harding’s.


It was a blast from the past next, when we then toured the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum. There were planes from as early as the 1940’s. Also, inside this massive aircraft carrier was the US Enterprise space shuttle.

My favorite plane was one featured in Top Gun. It took me back to Miss Washington week and the Danger Zone. 😉

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Several of us were starstruck at our next stop. Too bad the stars were entirely made of wax. That’s right, we were at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. We saw everyone from Brad and Angelina to Maya Angelou and Babe Ruth.

My fangirl fantasy came true when I could take a picture with N’sync and the Jo Bros.

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The iconic Time Square was our second to last stop. It was absolute madness. When you walked, it had to be with a mission because people were walking in every other direction.

When we finally got to the red bleachers in the heart of TSQ, all of us girls got in a line and started to take pictures. Again, we were all dressed up and taking up quite a bit of space in our line that I think people started to assume that we were “somebody” because they started taking pictures of us too.

This was maybe my favorite site-seeing spot. The lights and chaos made it so exhilarating.

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However, our finally stop of the trip was my favorite event of the weekend. The girls and I got to see the final showing of “Pageant: The Musical.” This hysterical show is a play on pageant stereotypes and in the end the audience gets to pick the winner- so it changes every night and the actors don’t know who will win. Oh, I should also mention that the entire cast are males. Wow! These guys can sing and dance…in heels, so I give them major props.

We ended the night with some fabulous New York pizza and said our goodbyes. It was a wonderful reunion while it lasted and it was so fun to celebrate Kira!

I wish her nothing but the best this year! Also, please help me in welcoming the new incredible Miss New York, Jillian Tapper! She makes an awesome addition to our class.


*A huge thank you to Linda Carbo for arranging the entire weekend and to Julius for taking some incredible photos!

Until next time,


Miss Washington Wednesday: The China Trip

Ne Hao! Last night I returned from my first trip overseas and one of the most unforgettable weeks of my life. Please enjoy as I recount my favorite adventures in Shantou, China.



My favorite appearance of the week was our trip to Shantou Welfare Community Center. Here, the government houses and cares for elders and young disabled children who have been abandoned. While heartbreaking, it was incredible to see the smiles on all of their faces when the Washington state delegation entered the room. I took a liking to an 11-year-old boy with down syndrome who held my hand, walked me around the playground and told me I was beautiful over and over again.


The next day we took a trip to Nan’Ao Island. We stopped at several places, but the one that sticks out to me most is visiting one of the most prestigious primary schools in the Shantou province. Fifth-grade students had prepared questions for the the Lt. Gov. and me in english. Between the two of us, we got asked about food, sports, and hobbies. Then, one student stood up and asked me “Do you like peace?” After realizing that he wasn’t saying peas, I laughed to myself and answered,”Oh yes! World peace!” This is the only instant when I believe that answer was truly acceptable. We then went outside where we found students filling the balconies on all five levels of the schools. There was constant screaming and waving and for a split second I felt like Taylor Swift waving to her adoring fans. It was one of the best feelings.

IMG_5777The reason I had been asked to go to China is to have the opportunity to stand on the main stage and present to about a hundred people about Washington state’s agriculture. I learned a lot in the process of preparing for the speech and got to share with the people of China just what makes my beloved state so great and unique.

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Finally, when returning yesterday, our tire hit a screw and a nail. This halted our trip for an hour, but I got to know our Lt. Gov. more and take in some final moments of sun and China scenery.

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Food, in itself, was quite the experience. Before leaving, I was warned that chicken feet were a delicacy. So on day 1 when I was offered a foot from our feathery friends, I sucked it up and gave it a whirl. I was actually surprised to find that it tasted like chicken and brown sugar. It wasn’t terrible, but it won’t become part of my daily meal. Another interesting dish was goose liver. This one I was not a fan of. Some of the foods I really enjoyed, however, include chilled mango soup with dragon fruit and watermelon and pumpkin soup with garbanzo beans and rice. Now, while I could try and explain to you all of the food I tried, I took pictures to hopefully give you a better visual.

Oh! But I did try Mcd’s and it tasted almost exactly like our beloved golden arches. However, instead of selling apple pies, they sell taro pies. It’s a purple and is a bitter sweet root. Since I have such a large sweet tooth, I think I’ll stick with apple!

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This was my first trip to China and I really had no idea what to expect when it came to how it looked. Hong Kong was very westernized and reminded of any other big city, except the fact that it was originally owned by the British, so they drive on the other side of the road.

Then as you travel further into China, you see A LOT of farms and crops. This scenery always reminded me of something out of a movie. The area we were in was pretty mountainous and had a lot of greenery.


The city was packed and there were cars and vespas flying every which way. Although there were a lot of buses, I don’t think I once saw an SUV. It is typical for doors and windows to have what look like cages over them and laundry hanging from them.


Nan’Ao is beautiful and slightly reminded me of Hawaii. Because it is positioned on the Tropic of Cancer, it is a tropical island with sandy white beaches, lush green mountains and unique flowers sprouting through the greenery. The bays were full of both traditional and historic looking fishing boats. The streets were paved, but some were cobblestone. In fact, one of our stops was to an almost finished bridge which stretched 11 miles from Nan’Ao to the mainland.

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Finally, the people of China made it an experience I will never forget! Everywhere I went, I was the tallest and my bright blonde locks stuck out like no other. People took pictures no matter if I had my crown on or not and whether I knew it or not. Each person I encountered was very respectful and treated the whole Washington delegation like queens and kings. They take tradition very seriously and I was so grateful to experience several traditions like a tea ceremony, toasting at dinner and being greeted properly.


Overall I had an amazing time and I am so grateful for my time in China!

Until next time,


Miss Washington Wednesday: The Show

53 phenomenal women. Two weeks. one crown. immeasurable memories.

Miss America 2015 was one of the most, if not the most, incredible experiences I have ever been able to take part in. I have absolutely no regrets coming away from it. I left it all out and tried my best. The fact that I was even able to walk down that iconic runway and represent the state I love is enough for me. However, I additionally gained 52 outstanding, beautiful, talented and intelligent sisters. Don’t worry America, the country is in good hands with these women at the helm.

“I, I did it all. I owned every second that this World could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did. And with every broken bone, I swear I lived.” Enjoy.

Miss Washington Wednesday: The Process

Here we are yet again my friends! Welcome and happy Wednesday!

I called this weeks blog the process because of the many weeks of preparation it  truly takes to make sure everything is close to perfect before I leave for Miss America. I found myself wondering today if I have really utilized my time as Miss Washington thus far to the fullest. The answer is that, much like anything else, it is a process. There are things that must get done before a routine is set. There must be a road laid down before the tires can dig in. Now, I am excited to say that because of this process I see a smooth road ahead and I’m ready to cruise down it.

It has been another crazy fun week and I was able to put a few miles on my car as I traveled from Puyallup to Tri-Cities to Spokane and back to Puyallup.

To follow my Miss Washington Wednesdays via Brotherton Cadillac Buick GMC, follow them on Facebook  and Twitter!

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Since last week, I have shipped off my final Miss America paperwork, finished a long and very well deserved list of thank you cards, and spent 3 long hours sifting through old photos trying to find 6 prime photos that may grace us with their presence in the Miss America program.

On Thursday of last week, I met with the fabulous Jill Ogden for my first hair consolation. She made it silky smooth and tamed the mane a little. My hair was so shiny smooth for the rest of the day that my pony tails would just fall out!


Before heading back to Tri-Cities on Friday, Peggy and I stopped by Wayne’s studio to pick up my final cut of “Someone Like You.” I have to tell you the song itself is phenomenal and I cannot wait to sing it for everyone at my send-off on August 24 and on the Miss America stage come September.

Saturday then started off early with a talent rehearsal at Kennewick High School for the show which would take place a little later that evening.

Next stop was Tayler’s Miss America’s Outstanding Teen send-off party, which I had the pleasure of emceeing at the Tri-City Country Club. IMG_3857

Tayler is someone I have had the pleasure of getting to know quite well over the past few years and it has been so exciting to see how she has grown and excelled. I say this not just because she is now my sister, teen, and good friend, but because I believe it with every fiber of my being. She is ready for the week of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen and the job of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. I am SO beyond excited to see her rock that stage NEXT week!

Following the send-off, Tayler and I had dinner with the Miss Tri-Cities judges and then it was showtime! IMG_3869

There are no words to explain just how nice it was to be back in the same auditorium where I first began my pageant journey with so many incredibly supportive people.

At the end of the show we said farewell to Miss Tri-Cities 2013, Janae Calaway (who always seems to make me cry somehow…darn her 😉 ) and we crowned Samantha Brown Miss Tri-Cities 2014!

Here is just a minute with your new miss:

Sunday started off early with a trip to Spokane to gather up the rest of my things from my apartment in Cheney.

Following, I was off to River Park Square for my Homecoming party courtesy of the Miss Spokane Scholarship Organization. It was so fun to see familiar faces, like my teen Elaina and the Spokane Indians mascot Otto!

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Monday then started off even earlier with a 5:30 am interview with KHQ. I was there to help promote KHQ Cares, Northwest Shares, which was asking for donations of all kinds for those affected by the recent fires.


In the afternoon I paid a visit to Audrey’s Boutique in Spokane. They are a FANTASTIC sponsor for the MWSO and the owner Victoria knows how to set a girl up! Keep an eye out for outfits courtesy of Audrey’s during my week at Miss America!10501948_10152586892115827_312531697681695953_n

Peggy and I then headed back to the west side and since returning, I have spent the time catching up on some sleep, finding those lovely photos/ videos for Miss America and catching up with a very good friend of mine who now lives in New York!

Here are some of the gems that didn’t make the Miss America cut: