Thursday, January 28, 2010


Can't believe I made this hole in one!

A few weekends ago, my boyfriend and I traveled to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a weekend away. On Friday afternoon of the week before my school started, we were feeling the impending doom of class schedules and study time and John casually suggested we take a trip somewhere. I initially thought he wasn't serious.

We've visited a lot of areas near where we currently live, but we decided to expand our trip to up to four hours travel time. And guess what? Gatlinburg was right at four hours.

Let me tell you, the internet highly undersold this great destination. We weren't expecting much. We made a reservation at a cheap hotel ($57, again not expecting much), ordered tickets for Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, and woke up at 5Am on Saturday to travel.

We stopped on the way there in Abingdon, where I'll be next weekend hosting the Miss Mountain Empire Pageant, and then continued on.

Let me push Gatlinburg here as a great place to travel if you live in SW Virginia. First of all, we paid something like $50 each for museums, but that gave us an "aquarium plus four" (the aquarium itself is around $20 to do just that). But we went to a motion theater ride, ripley's believe it or not, a house of mirrors (which I successfully guided us out of), the aquarium and a mini-golf place (where I got four holes in one including the final "impossible shot", winning me a free game. Luck was on my side!)

If you love food, this is a great place to visit. We ate twice at the pancake pantry. I'm a simpleton so I stuck with buttermilk but John tried a few kinds and really loved it. Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede is Southern Cooking at its best. We also found a great little place called AppleBarn that had delicious apple butter!

As for shopping, they have a great outlet mall there. We got John a totally new wardrobe for $200 at Tommy Hilfiger. The associate remarked "It's like Wal-Mart in here" and it truly was.

The Dixie Stampede was one of John's favorite things and the show they put on was great. How they feed 1600 people twice a night, I have no idea, but we had great seats and service. Highly recommend this!

Now, for the best part. I consider myself an aquarium aficionado. I've been to many cities around the world and explored their aquariums, and up til now the best one in my memory has been Boston for their excellent sea jelly assortment. However, Ripley's was promised as the best in America and it did not disappoint! They have an AMAZING collection of deadly animals there, a huge octopus who came out and gave us a full show, and an incredible moving escalator under a HUGE tank, easily the biggest I've ever seen. Just standing on the moving walkway takes a good ten minutes... we stepped off a few times after sighting neat animals. The only thing they were missing was penguins, but this was definitely more of an underwater life place. However, it's worth it! Great family destination.

Another great museum was WonderWorks. It's like a giant play area. I spent about thirty minutes blowing bubbles.

There's also a great Thai restaurant there, we gorged on this trip!

I've included a few pictures from the trip. We're planning to go back in March or April once Dollywood opens. We had a blast!
After checking out last night's swimsuit and EG pictures, I'm adding New Mexico to my 15! OK is close.

Caressa looked gorgeous!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Miss America predictions 2

If Miss America were held this moment, my prediction would be:
Winner: Virginia
1st Runner up: Ohio
2nd Runner up: Puerto Rico
3rd Runner up: Dc
4th Runner up: Alabama

Spots 5-10
6/7: Tie with Louisiana and Georgia
8: Tennessee
9: Missouri
10: Arkansas

New Jersey, Indiana, California, Illinois, Utah

Miss Virginia wins talent!

Miss Virginia won preliminary talent last night, and that didn't affect my top spot placing in my predictions, but I did move around a few others.

Miss America: Caressa Cameron, Miss Virginia

Remaining top 5:

Alabama (this spot will probably be someone unexpected, like Iowa last year), Ohio, DC , Puerto Rico

Remaining Top Ten:






Remaining Top 15/On the Edge: New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, California

Non-finalist talent: Utah, Maine

I keep changing this around- I had PA in my top 5 but I didn't like her evening gown. I think DC is flying under the radar but will deliver a solid presentation. I'm torn- I want MS in the top ten but I'm not sure if she'll be in that tenth spot or not!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Entertainment Weekly

Have you read this article by Entertainment Weekly about Miss America? I am not too smart with technology but I used a file uploader on my personal website to be able to share it with you, since it was passed to me by email.


To check it out!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bridal Gala

This weekend I was a model for Bride's House for a big bridal gala in Roanoke. It was definitely a lot bigger than I expected, and there was a huge variety in gowns. I strongly recommend to all pageant girls and brides-to-be that you visit Bride's House, because they have a great selection of all things formalwear!

And yes, I got to wear ballet flats because apparently 5'11 is the perfect height for bridal gowns, but not any taller!

PS: Make sure to tune in this weekend to Miss America

Monday, January 11, 2010


If you thought I'd drop off the face of the pageant planet just because I'm not competing, you're wrong! Several things coming up where I'm making "appearances" for the last few times as Miss Hill City or just to help out as Laura.

January 24th I'm modeling in the Bridal Gala for Bride's House at Hotel Roanoke, January 30th making a pit top in Lynchburg at a women's show before heading back home to watch Miss America, February 6th hosting Miss Mountain Empire, and February 27th I'll be back in Lynchburg to help with Miss Lynchburg/Hill City!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Good luck at Miss Chesterfield!

The following contestants are competing tonight for the title of Miss Chesterfield:

Christine Ching
Ashley Faucher
Charlotte Fraser
Kourtney Ginn
Caitlin Graham
Victoria Maiden
Christina Nichols
Christina Nicholson
Veronica Rohrmoser
Natalie Smith
Katie Turner
Taylor Witte

Hopefully many of my readers are attending to watch the hilarious, intelligent and giving Stephanie Connelly crown the next Miss Chesterfield!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Important News: Miss Lynchburg

The Miss Lynchurg/Hill City pageant has been rescheduled to February 27th, 2010. Please consider competing. The pageant will still be held in Lynchburg at the James River Conference Center. If enough contestants sign up, two titles will be awarded!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I started a blog for the first time when I spent the summer living in Boston. I thought it would help keeps friends and family updated about my activities. Over time, it became a way to chronicle my journey to the Miss Virginia pageant and the great deal of community service I did as part of that.

Now that I am officially retired from the pageant world of Miss Virginia, I can exercise a little more freedom in my opinions about things, particularly pageants. I've never "censored" myself, but I've been careful about what's been said because I keep track of all the visits and searches people make to find this blog. I've been writing creatively most of my life, whether it's fictional stories or just writing about life. In this new year, I'm excited about the opportunity to return to writing for my sake.

Despite the fact that my blog has mostly followed pageant happenings, I think there are many things about me that just never came up- or never seemed appropriate in this setting. For example, while in Boston I lived in a disgusting fraternity house right next to the river (tip: don't put your friends in charge of finding housing). I decided to eventually hide my blogs about the ridiculous happenings in this house because I thought people would take it the wrong way. But the fact is, all the girls competing are real people. You wouldn't want a Miss Virginia or Miss America who wasn't. But that experience is all part of what made me who I am.

Most people also don't know that last spring I embarked on a project to write a book about dating between men and women, following the encouragement of a college English professor to tell the tales of how men and women communicate.

Many people don't know that I'm working on a master's thesis about mail-order brides, exploring areas of research largely untouched by scholars.

So, in this new year, I'll be more about embracing who I am!

Thanks for reading,