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Archive for May, 2014

I’m going to start at the beginning, and take you along my entire journey. Brace yourself for a bunch of picures of me and no pictures of dollies.  Sorry if it gets boring.

A couple months ago, I had a dream that I was in a beauty pageant. Normal girls wouldn’t do much about this, but I decided to make the dream a reality. I googled “pageant for a 31-year-old?” and the first one I found that had dates that worked for me was the Pride of America pageant Memorial Day Weekend.

So I packed my bags for Texas. And it was the hardest packing ever. I had 6 dresses and 6 pairs of shoes, a sweater and a violin. Couldn’t get a nonstop flight at a time that worked for me, so I ended up on 2 different airlines, which made me nervous to check bags. So I went with carryon baggage only! I enlisted my friend Valarie to help me carry luggage and drive me to the airport. She actually ended up being an extremely awesome pageant mom. I don’t think I would have survived without her encouragement.

We left on Friday night immediately after work for a midnight flight. A 3 hour flight to Minneapolis followed by a 2.5 hour flight to Dallas put us in Dallas at 9:30 Saturday morning. Yes, you are correct in thinking that there was no time to sleep. Registration was supposed to start at 9, but by the time we got there at 10:30, nothing had happened. We waited for hours to register (for some crazy reason they only did 1 person at a time). Next on schedule was orientation, where the director read to us off her paper, mostly stuff we had already been given. Not impressive.

On Saturday was the Optional competition. I participated in 7 optionals (additional fee of course), because you were entered for Grand Supreme if you entered that many. They were speech (100 word limit, I wrote about the state of Washington), western wear, theme wear (the theme was around the world), talent, and 3 photography categories. I don’t have any photos from these events because they were all quick changes, and photography was prohibited on stage (they offered a 19-year-old “professional” photographer who charged $100 per day. I passed). I do have some photos from the portfolio Valarie shot weeks before we left.

Western Wear:

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(I also wore petticoats and bloomers, but they hadn’t arrived before I took this photo)

Theme wear:

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Oh yeah, at the last minute I packed Kit Kittredge onto the top of the suitcase and a bunch of outfits for her. I had no free time to get her dressed though, which was kinda sad. But she was in the pageant during Theme Wear! She sat on top of my Canada suitcase, wearing the Canada Day T-shirt from Maplelea.

I added some bling for the pageant, but here’s a cute photo of my talent:

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I played my piece (a couple of Irish jigs) perfectly, and I smiled and it felt awesome!

Talent concluded the optional comptetion. Here are the photos I entered, along with a 12-image portfolio from my photo shoot with Valarie:

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After optionals we had rehearsal for our dance number. The dance didn’t have counts! How are you supposed to learn from “first you do this, you wait a bit, then you do this”?

Did you notice the lack of lunch time? I sure did, so after rehearsal we grabbed the hotel shuttle, that took us to a mediocre burger joint down the road. It took forever for the shuttle to come back for us, so I was late to the pajama party.

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Kit came to the pajama party too. She wore her beach pajamas. There was a Saige doll at the party too, and a girl in some of the red and gray Coconut pajamas!

On Sunday we went to the Dallas World Aquarium. It was a pretty cool aquarium, but it was really, really, crowded. And we were divided into chaperoned groups, and our chaperone was really obnoxious. Cute photos at the aquarium:

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I made a friend! One of a small handful of contestants not from Texas. Meet Chelsea, Pride of Idaho:

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Chelsea was in the age group below mine (20-24). After the aquarium we went to lunch at a place called Cheddars.

Then we grabbed a quick nap before Optional Awards. The award ceremony was quite the emotional roller coaster. I was pretty sure I would win talent, as my talent was difficult and I played it well. But if you’re a Grand Supreme winner, you’re not eligible to win any other events. My name didn’t get called for anything, so I thought I might have had Grand Supreme, which would have been amazing for a 31-year-old pageant rookie! But no, I got nothing. The grand supreme winner was a 50-something pageant veteran. The talent winner was a boring dancer, who happened to be the daughter of a friend of the judge’s cousin or something. So lame. I was annoyed, and Valarie was livid. I cried because I had done my best, and I was devastated that my best wasn’t good enough.

There was a part of me that didn’t wanna continue. Even though finals were judged separately from optionals, I didn’t wanna win to represent an organization that wasn’t fair. I sent Valarie downstairs to get directions to the theater for Monday, but she was gone for a long time. When she returned to the room, she said she had “stirred the pot” and had spoken to the director and the photographer. The director called me on the phone that night and told me not to be discouraged and optionals was judged separately and bla bla bla.

It was super difficult to get psyched for finals on Monday. We started with interview (I was blessed with a late interview time which meant we got to sleep in a little), and the judges were nice. I had a lot of dead air because I gave clear, concise answers with the first judge, so I rambled a bit with the subsequent judges. Who would think that I would ever get marked down for talking too much? After interviews we got into our gowns. And I felt like a princess. I was able to take the sparkle of the gown all the way to my smile. So that was the mantra I took through the rest of the competition: sparkle.

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That’s a photo of the 3 girls in my age group, ages 27, 31, and 32. The 32-year-old won.

The walkthrough in my gown was rough (we reviewed where to walk and pause and such) because I kept stepping on my dress. I was a little freaked out, but a 17-year-old suggested to keep my shoulders back to bring the front of the dress up a bit, and it totally worked. When I stopped looking at the ground (that’s where I was looking for the X’s), I could walk just fine.

After the gown competition it was time for the production number (Valarie went with Chelsea’s boyfriend to go get me a sandwich to shove in my face–they really should have scheduled time for lunch!) They had said the judges would be watching but not judging so I totally cheesed up the dance number, but the judges weren’t there. Valarie said I was the most confident dancer, and I believe her. If we were judged, I probably would get points deducted for being too over-the-top in the dance number and not fitting in with the rest of the group. But I wanted to sparkle!

Next up was patriotic wear. I wore the adorable dress I bought at the WWII museum in New Orleans. I was so proud to say that I wear that dress in real life! Not the best photo, but it’s all I have for now. Makes it easy to see why I didn’t get last place in my group (see the girl on the right). That’s all I will say so I don’t say anything too mean.

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Then it was back in our gowns for the Parade of Beauty (not judged) and the onstage question. I found my question quite infuriating. We had been given a question bank before the competition. My question wasn’t on the list! It was from the younger girls’ list. I talked to a younger girl and she said her question wasn’t on her list, but it was a question on my list. So annoying. You’re not supposed to ask a doctor about her career ambitions! So my initial reaction to the question was that it was a stupid question, so I conveyed that I don’t have a career ambition because I’ve worked hard so far to reach my career goals. Valarie snuck a video of my answer, and it sounded great! She was a proud pageant mama. To add to the annoyance, the girl after me got the same question! Her answer was something like, “even though I’m an FBI agent, I aspire to be a pageant director.” I watched the judges eyes look all impressed over “FBI”. Sigh.

Crowning came and I got runner-up. Not a surprise. I’m thankful I don’t have to return next year. I didn’t go to the pageant to win, but I did go to have fun. But I didn’t have fun. Everything was so unorganized that I felt uncomfortable most of the time.  There was no “everyone’s a winner” feeling.  I had to claim that after I got home.  I have my state title (for which there was no competition) to represent all the hard work and preparation that went into the pageant.  It wasn’t until I saw photos and some video that I felt proud of myself.  I am glowing in the photos.  Dressing up and appearing on stage made me sublimely happy.  I look a bit like a blushing bride, in a gown she loves.

I went to the pageant to improve my public image and make it more mainstream, but it had the opposite effect.  I put my whole self out there: bubbly, fun, not-too-serious, and I rocked it.  I left more confident of myself.  I don’t need to change myself so more people like me.  I like myself.  I love that I could compete and keep my standard of modesty (I was wearing 2 of the 3 sleeves in the entire evening gown competition, and we were the only 2 girls over age 13 not in strapless).

The only reason I’d compete in another pageant is to get more mileage out of the gown, but I’m not sure I’m up to paying more pageant fees…

…Oh yeah, the fees!  This pageant felt reasonably priced when I paid ($350 combined state+nationals) then $25 per optional.  I was surprised when we got there and had to pay for a program, dinner tickets, theater tickets, aquarium tickets.  I was more surprised when our participation trophies and runner-up medals were cheesy plastic.  But I didn’t feel truly ripped off until the day after when the pageant director put on facebook that she lost her wallet that had the donations for the troops in it.  Part of the pageant’s thing was collecting money for the troops!  And I don’t believe her.  I think she knows exactly where the money is, and my guess is somewhere in the vicinity of her pocket.  I then did some research on pageant scams (should I report this?) and it seems most pageants of this size are a bit of a scam.  You pay to participate, and some of that money goes into the director’s pocket.  I’m a little okay with that; you can’t really run a pageant for free, but don’t steal charitable donations.  It’s a rough gig for those who sponsor a pageant girl.  What exactly is your donation funding?  Pre-pageant paperwork said this pageant had “potential” scholarship prizes; in the program, it is elaborated to “we will be working diligently in obtaining scholarships to various select colleges and universities for them to choose from.”  Good thing I like throwing money away.

I think I will close now, here’s a cute photo (that needs to be photoshopped to get rid of the wet floor sign):

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(turquoise was by far the most popular color!)

 

 

 

 

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Kit and I got home late last night from a pretty incredible adventure, that was not entirely successful. I may or may not put up a full report after I find my camera, but here’s Kit this morning, and she looks a bit how I feel:

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Last week red, this week orange.  I love these girls’ outfits!

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On Saila: Pelee Pizzazz

On Brianne: Sizzling Breeze

On Alexi: Alexi’s meet outfit

On Leonie: Sunset Sundress

On Taryn: Cabbagetown Karma

On Jenna: Alexi’s pajamas

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Check out what my dollies are up to this weekend!  Here are Amelia and Clementine enjoying an ice cream treat.  Doesn’t the backdrop look amazing?  It’s from Samantha’s Scenes and Settings.  The table and ice cream are from a set from American Girl–2007 or so.  Adorable! ice cream parlor 001

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The Maplelea Girls are all in red today!  Here is Jenna in Landmark Lore, Brianne in Montmorency Waltz, Leonie in j’adore la musique, Alexi in Crochet Coordinates, Saila in Pop Star Plaid, and Taryn in Leonie’s Meet Outfit.  These are all Leonie’s outfits, but I think all the girls look lovely in red.

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Aloha all! This is Kanani. We got home from Maui last night. Here are some photos!

 

Bus stop on the way to the airport:

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Meeting up with Cecile at the airport (not the Cecile that lives at my house):

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Above the clouds at the summit of Haleakala (that’s Hawaiian for House of the Sun):

With Cecile’s mommy:

the endangered Silversword:

Cecile borrowed my dress to go to the luau:

we got a ride from our best friend, age 8 going on 30:

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Music lesson at the luau:

Chilling with the musicians:

Luau!!

my favorite photo from the whole trip:

we got to meet the dancers afterwards:

We went on a plantation tour on Wednesday.  It was a bit of a tourist trap, but there were some nice flowers:

Hey, what’s going on in this toy shop?

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and me and Cecile in our new dresses at the airport on the way home.  I chose the dress with the canoes because Marjorie and the rest of the humans went canoeing.  They saw whales!:

It was a pretty good trip.  I spent a good amount of time napping in the hotel while Marjorie and the humans played at the beach and the pool.  It was fun playing with Cecile though.  We even met an Isabelle at the airport in Maui who was also wearing a new dress (Didja know that Cecile, Isabelle and I all have the same color eyes?).  And I did a good job keeping Cecile’s mommy entertained on the airplane.    I’m surprised my long long hair survived the long long journey (I almost didn’t get to go on the trip because my hair is so long and Marjorie was worried it would get too messy).  But it survived, and we survived, but it might be a while before I go on vacation again with 4 kids!

Aloha!

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