Sunday, February 14, 2010

"What the world needs now, is LoVe, sweet LoVe, ...Its the only thing that there's just too little of... no, not just for some, but for EvErYoNe..."

<3<3<3VaLeNtInE's DaY<3<3<3
February 14

I had a FULL DAY of fun-filled events with my Cade on V-Day!

We headed off to Dallas and  had an amazing time enjoying the Dallas World Aquarium, visiting family, and of course, stopping at SPRINKLES and buying over a dozen cupcakes!!!! haha...

He also had a spa day planned up his sleeve where I received a relaxing hot stone massage.  Afterward, we had the opportunity to go to the NBA All-Star Game in the new Cowboy Stadium!!!!

(The Manitee's were my favorite! :))

(A rare leafy sea dragon)

(My favorite flavors are chocolate, chocolate peanut butter chip, red velvet, and strawberry :))


( I LOOOOVE Massages)
(And I LOOOVE Basketball! :))

WOW! What a day, huh?!

Have a good one and spread the love! ;)


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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Start spreadin' the newsss, I'm leaving todayyy...I wanna be a part of it--New York, New York!!"

New York, New York
~FEBRUARY 4-9th~

(I LOVE peanut M&M's!)

 
(The view from my hotel room)

Hello everyone! I apologize for being a bit “MIA” for the past few months.  I have been traveling like crazy and haven’t had a chance to update. Since the last post, I've been to Tulsa, Houston, Dallas twice, Kansas City twice, New York City twice, LA and many other exciting destinations!  With all the speaking engagements, appearances, and photo shoots I’ve been doing, I feel like I’m already living the life of Miss USA. It can be exhausting, but the best kind of exhausting! ;) I am grateful for every second of the journey. 

The first week of February, I spent nearly a week in New York City.  I can't describe in words how much I enjoyed my visit, even walking miles in the cold. ;) --You should of seen me. I was like a real “New Yorker,” speed walking throughout the busy city!  There is something incredibly empowering about NYC.  The atmosphere makes you come alive.  There is so much to take in... the sounds, the smells, the people, the voices, the cultures, the foods... it's really incredible.

Yep, there is nothing quite like the big apple…. Worlds away from my home in Moore, Oklahoma. ;)

(wink, wink!)

I traveled to the city that never sleeps with my mother alongside me, who ADORES NYC, and for good reason.  My mom is a born and raised New Yorker believe it or not. (Although upstate) …She is a physical therapist and lived and worked in the New York City Baptist Hospital in her 20s.

- On a side note, she packed up and moved there all on her own without knowing a soul.  Not only New York City, but many other fascinating places, like Venezuela!

I too, have this identical spirit that she had as a young woman. I long to travel all over the world and embark on a similar great adventure of my own. My entire life I have had an deep fascination for other countries and cultures. Whatever I end up doing in life, I do hope it allows me the ability to travel, experience new things, see new places, and meet new faces.

Because of this great love to explore new places and experience new environments, winning Miss USA would be a dream job. (And even more so, Miss Universe)  It embodies everything that I am and everything that I love in life. – Meeting new people, inspiring others daily, being a role model, a public speaker, a model, a diplomat, and of course, being an ambassador of love and strength and beauty –inside and out.

Thursday:

(Modeling the awesome hats at the M&M store, lol)

Anyway, back to my trip to the city. So, naturally, even though we’ve been to New York, my mom and I had to visit the typical tourist spots. We had quite a time making our way through the three-stories of the M & M store. And being the chocoholic that I am, I couldn't forget to make my stop at the Hershey’s store. On our way back to the hotel, we also decided to graze through the massive Time Square “Toys R Us” for my niece and nephew. My brother in law, Matt, is an Oklahoma City police officer so we made sure that baby Luke had NYPD onesies when we got home ;) The last stop we made was my favorite, the ESPN Zone, of course! I got some great shirts for rehearsals at Miss USA.

Friday:

The day of my photo shoot with Fadil we ordered in a big room service breakfast.  It was deeeelicious!  Wrapping up the shoot, it could not have gone any better. The staff I worked with were not only incredibly talented, which we all are aware of, but they were genuinely wonderful people as well. I also shot briefly with a male model originally from Slovenia named Yuri. He was a gifted model and had worked for many huge names, including Gucci.  Yuro also had recently finished shooting a lady gaga music video. Amazing! (I felt like I was rubbing elbows with the rich and famous ;)) The craziest part about meeting Yuri however, was that as it turns out, he played college basketball in Oklahoma at one point in his life, no more than thirty minutes from my hometown. What an amazingly small world we live in. 

I also met an amazing young woman named Yuko at the shoot. She did my hair and makeup.  Yuko is one of those staff members I mentioned earlier-- not only is she a talented creative manager, but she is a phenomenal person.  We had so much in common and I consider her a dear friend now.  Hopefully I will see her again soon.

Afterward, Fadil suggested we go to a steakhouse located under his studio. It turned out to be the most exceptional steak I have ever had! Also joining us during the shoot and for dinner, was Ashley Bickford, Miss Connecticut USA. It was a pleasure meeting her.  I loved hearing about her triple crown accomplishments.

Once we finished our cheesecakeand chocolate mousse cake for dessert, we shared a taxi to her bus stop to make sure she made it safely. Our taxi driver was a HOOT. He was an 80-year-old Vietnam Veteran with such a vibrant, lively personality.  (I hope I have that much spunk at 80!)  I made sure to thank him for his service to our country before we parted.

Saturday:


Saturday was the most brutally cold day of the trip. The piercing west winds still didn’t stop me from walking all over New York, though. Mother and I walked to Time Square and then to Columbus Circle to do some shopping. Although, while we were expecting to purchase some clothing, the only thing we ended up buying all day was food! Haha…And the only thing we got on our stop into Columbus Circle was a bag full of Godiva chocolate ;) …After Columbus Circle we fought our way to 5th Avenue facing the strong winds head on. After gazing upon the shops with one thousand dollar shoes and extravagant jewelry that would make me go bankrupt, we decided to have lunch at the Rockefeller Center. We had lunch in a location underground where we could watch the ice skaters. My favorite part about the Rockefeller was the flags circling around that rink that represented countries from all over the world. They flew proudly in the air.



…On our way home, (Or back to our hotel, that is. –I’m already calling NYC my home. LOL) we made a short stop at the NBC store, and then, naturally, made our way to Magnolias once again for cupcakes. When we arrived back at the hotel, we watched the OU/Texas basketball game. We ended up pulling the upset and beating Texas, which was a huge win for the Oklahoma Sooners! woohoo!!  Later, we headed out for dinner.

We were supposed to fly home on Sunday, but our flight from Baltimore was cancelled and rescheduled for Monday. Then, on Sunday night we received a call saying our flight was cancelled for a second time, except this time out of New York. Haha…( I chose to see this a sign that I was clearly supposed to stay in New York!!! ;) )


Sunday:

Moving along, since we had a few extra days in my future home, we decided to really get the "New York experience." We found a great pizza place for lunch and later enjoyed a wonderful off-broadway show. We chose on a whim to see the Fantasticks. It’s been performed for over 50 years so I figured that it must be worth seeing. Off-broadway was fascinating as I could literally reach out and touch the performers. I loved the intimacy of the stage production.


When we got home, we cleaned up for dinner and actually took a taxi this time. We enjoyed the lovely ambiance at Tao restaurant. They did a grand job with lighting and d├ęcor, not to mention outstanding service. Five stars for Tao!

Speaking of Tao, my food consumption in NYC  was OFF THE CHARTS! Haha... I had pretty much everything you can imagine.  And just to show you how phenomenal of a memory I have, haha... I will name off some of the outrageous foods I got to indulge in!!!......Chips and salsa, steak, shrimp, pork, chicken fajitas, corn mix, guacamole, bacon, eggs, oatmeal with brown sugar and strawberries and raisins, breakfast potatoes, pineapple, cantaloupe, STEAK, broccoli, cheesecake, chocolate mousse cakes, teddy grahams, trail mix, nutri-grain bar, cheez its, Nabisco cookies, Magnolia’s, 4 chocolate cupcakes, pineapple cupcakes, peanut butter and brown sugar cookies, bagel and cream cheese, egg bacon and cheese breakfast sandwich on English muffin, several cappuccino’s, a handful of hot chocolates, pepper jack cheeseburger and fries, a bundle of breads and muffins, GODIVA – chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry/banana shish-ka-bob, dark chocolate covered blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, empanadas with avocado, Caesar salad, 21 layer crepe with berries, a large half pepperoni/sausage and bruchetta pizza, Snapple, edamami, hot and sour soup, shrimp toast, onion rings, filet, orange chicken, rice, molten lava cake, chocolate chopsticks, chocolate fortune cookie, vanilla bean icecream, strawberries, French toast with powdered sugar and maple syrup, scrambled eggs, everything bagel with cream cheese, more pizza and dessert….among other things of course. Haha…

 mmmm...mmmm...mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ;)

(Yes, I attempted to taste test all 18,000 restaurants in NYC within a week, haha…but was unsuccessful. Hopefully I burnt a few calories here and there from all the walking I did. ;))


Well, I hope you enjoyed hearing about my trip to New York City! That was pretty much it in a nutshell ;)


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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

*Striking poses in Kansas City*


*****First off, on January 23 I attended a MACU basketball game in honor of my brother-in-law, Matthew Lindsey.  He was awarded a spot on the "TEAM OF THE DECADE." We were so proud of him. Congratulations, Matt on your wonderful accomplishment as a college athlete.*****

A couple days afterward, I headed off to Kansas City for the first of three Vanbros "bootcamps."  January 29, 30, and 31st was reserved for spending  time with my beautiful Vanbros sisters, pictured down the left of the screen ;)

I left a day early because of the bad weather in Oklahoma City to be safe. (You can never be too careful when you have a six hour drive to defeat in the snow) 

....Since I was in town early, I was allowed to relax and do a little shopping at Oak  Park Mall.  While I was there, I managed to snag that killer black blazer you see me wearing in these photos. ;) ...Later, I made my way to Borders to grab a hot chocolate and do some reading.  I love the atmosphere and vibe of bookstores.

....The next day we met with Jen briefly to work on our Miss USA profiles. (Unfortunately for me, there were some glitches on the main page and everything we worked on was deleted. :( ) Nonetheless, I received some great feedback.  After seeing Jen we were freed to spend time with one another. 

That night we all met at "Spin Pizza" and had a great meal. (Bethany and I were the only ones who ate pizza, though...haha ;) )  After our "pizza party," we all jetted over to Miss Kansas Teen USA's house, Olivia Harlan, for a Miss America Watch Party!! -It was an absolute blast! Nebraska, Arkansas, and Oklahoma made the top 15 so we were proud of our states. ;)  Mrs. Harlan made us an incredible apple dessert and coffee as we enjoyed the show.  She had a BEAUTIFUL home and could not have been more hospitable.

The next morning we had our photo shoots for the Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas websites.  It was a fast paced day, but we had a lot of fun in the process. 
...I got up extra early to stop by Panera and purchase some bagels and cream cheese for the ladies and the staff for breakfast.  I knew it was going to be a long day for everyone, so a carb-loaded breakfast was essential. ;)  There were also some homemade chocolate chip cookies at hand, and some delicious trail mix to munch on...

During our shoot, we had to face the freezing cold weather outside!!! (There was even snow on the ground! ha)  However, we all bravely fought through it knowing the end result would be nothing short of fantastic, and it was!

We also had the pleasure of meeting some awesome people in the process, including Lisa Proctor, makeup extraordinaire, and the fabulous Bryan Wood, who assisted her. Also to help was our titleholder prize package hair stylist, Kitch.

And of course, all of the photo credits go to the one and only, Will Patterson!  -Thank you, Will for all of your hard work.

Feel free to check out Lisa and Will's websites. They are both truly talented people. 

Lisa Proctor - Makeup - http://www.lisaproctor.com/
Will Patterson - Photography - http://www.willpatterson.com/  
 
I hope you enjoy the photos above and below!  Have a terrific week and God bless. :) 
 
  

Monday, February 1, 2010

MOVE FOR LOVE



HAPPY FEBRUARY EVERYBODY! :)


Today, I am not going to talk about Miss Oklahoma USA appearances, and I am not going to talk about glamorous photo shoots.

Today, I want to talk about LOVE.


I want to begin with a brief story.  ...Ok, so my dad has been driving around in a beat up silver mini van for as long as I can remember. Over the years the van has adopted the names "silver bullet" and "the chick magnet." lol

This summer my dad finally bought a new car, although, he rarely drives it. (The chick magnet still makes its daily appearances) Well anyway, last week, my dad decided to drive his new car to grocery store. (Which is literally across the street from our house)  Being the wise man that he is, my dad parks as far back into the parking lot as possible so that his car won't get any nicks and such. (No one parks in the farthest space from the building if they can avoid it) Regardless of all of these precautions however, when my dad walked back out from the grocery store he saw that some Jerk decided he was going to blatantly key the entire passenger side door of my dad's brand new car.

When I came home, I could see the pain in my dad's eyes and it was clear he was hurting. 

He has worked incredibly hard at his profession to love and provide for his family. When he finally treats himself, someone does...THAT.
...And it got me thinking.

There are some really hateful people in this world.  And frankly, that makes me sad.

...I think of all the discrimination, the crime, the pain... and I ask myself, why do so many people choose to hate, ...when they can just as easily choose to LOVE??

Listen friends,

In life, we are ALWAYS going somewhere. We are always acting.

So the statement is not merely: “move”… Because that's already being done.
And the statement is not merely: “act”… Because we're already acting.

The statement needs to be move for...
And the statement needs to be move by...

We all come from diverse backgrounds, with different beliefs... Many of us have dissimilar passions and support different stances... And we may not agree on everything in life or belong to the same political party or whatever it may be... but we can still choose to love each other.


Mother Theresa said, "If you're too busy judging people, you don't have any time to love them..."


So I ask you today, be passionate about moving for love....and watch it not only change your life, but the life of those around you... My encouragement is to move for LOVE today...and every day.

Move for love... For People. Your mom. The mailman. The barista at Starbucks. The lady that cut you off on the highway. The homeless man on the sidewalk. The Haitian orphans. Your waiter. The guy that keyed your car.


Why do we so often live as though we can love God and hate people? We can't. It is hypocritical. And the world doesn't need hypocrites. They need real, live, GENUINE, lovers of God and people. Genuine people who are willing to step outside of themselves and live a life of love...

Love in the small things. They often leave the biggest impact.

Help someone with their groceries.
Pay for the stranger behind you when you go to Starbucks.
Offer to baby-sit for a friend one night for free.

What if we saw someone hungry or in need of clothing and shelter, and desired to meet those needs as if it was US hungry, or in need of clothing and shelter??  --Imagine possessing that kind of love, and imagine the impact that love could make on another person's life.

Real love is selfless.
Real love is constant.
Real love is unfailing.
Real love is compassionate.

Real love will break for a complete stranger.
Real love is praying for those who curse you.
Real love is showing justice and mercy and grace.
Real love is putting the needs of others before your own.
Real love is caring about every single person you ever come in contact with.

-Friend, enemy, acquaintance, or stranger-


So we move for love. But we move for love BY...?

MOVE BY: There is no formula or set way to move for love. I think that’s the beauty of it though really…

Because here's the deal: You can move for love in any and EVERYTHING.

any occupation…
any activity…
any community…
any location…
any situation...
any circumstance...


You will always have a CHOICE to love. You can move for love in the business world. You can move for love by sponsoring a child in Africa.  You can move for love by being crowned Miss USA. ;) You can move for love by staying in your hometown. You can move for love by traveling the world. You can move for love by going to college. You can move for love by being a bus driver. You can move for love by being a doctor. You can move for love by being a big brother. You can move for love by being a mother. You can move for love by serving in a community of faith. You can move for love by engaging in random conversation. You can move for love by giving away your money, time and energy.

So it really doesn't matter HOW you move for love. It is just important you move.

And when we do this...

The world begins to change.
Love becomes a chain reaction.
And we start moving for things that matter.

Love freely.
Forgive with grace.
Be kind and merciful.
And dare to LOVE.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Get up. Go. Do. Act. Live. Be. LOVE.


With LOVE,
P.S. - Hope you like the pictures! I shot these with Aaron Snow about 8 or 9 months ago.  We just drove through Oklahoma and stopped on the side of a random road to shoot in this field! ha... The pictures are low-rez and unedited, but I still love the simplicity of them. :)