Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.- Mark Twain

And yet another month has passed, and what a month it has been! This month has been packed with Holiday appearances and preparations for Miss America.

After being in warm, sunny Houston, I came back to frigid cold Boise to jump right into the Holiday festivities, beginning with our annual Holiday Parade that weekend. Despite the cold weather, holiday parades have always been one of my favorites because of the energy going around and all the festive decorations. I saw a group of my Girl Scouts that day who had decorated their jackets with sparkly snowflakes and couldn’t wait to be a part of the parade!
That evening, I got together with my sweet little friend, Gracy, to help raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. To refresh your memory, Gracy is the Children’s Miracle Network Champion of the year and recently got back from Washington D.C. as well as Disney World. She told me all about getting to meet the Disney Princesses and also getting to meet Miss America!

The next week was the kick off for the Festival of Trees, a tradition that is the highlight for me during the holidays. Different organizations, schools, clubs, and businesses will decorate trees that are auctioned off later in the week to raise money to improve healthcare. Since it’s establishment through St. Alphonsus 25 years ago, over $7 million has been raised in the Treasure Valley.

Tuesday, I got to be a celebrity judge for selected trees with a group of women. One of which was a young girl who had been given the Miss Idaho name tag by mistake, it actually ended up making for a fun morning as we talked and she told me all about her passion for art. I also found out just how difficult it is to be a judge as I proceeded to attempt in judging a variety of trees including a “Sun Valley” themed tree, one decorated by an elementary school with paper mache ornaments, and even a Girl Scout “Cookie” Tree!

That evening I got all dressed up in a beautiful red Sherri Hill that was so graciously given to me by Margene’s Bridal. For the past 4 years, I have attended the Festival of Trees Gala as a local titleholder and have mingled with various people in the Treasure Valley from the Governor of Idaho to people who used to be regulars while I worked at Starbuck’s Coffee Shop.
It’s always a blast to get all dressed up and admire the beautiful gowns, catch up with people who I only see that one time every year, and simply enjoy the beauty of all the holiday lights, decor, and classic Christmas ambiance to top it all off. But I’ve always dreamt of the day I could one day attend the gala as Miss Idaho.

The next few days were spent enjoying Thanksgiving and balancing out the beginning of my chaotic training schedule. An enjoyable balance and realization that Miss America was less than 2 months away!

That Saturday I played holiday music on the piano in the main lobby for the Festival of Trees. I always enjoy playing some of my favorite Christmas music (if I could, I would play it year round!) and watching the families walk around and admire the beautiful trees.

A couple days later I participated in the fashion show for the Festival of Trees. I modeled a fun ski outfit from Ruby Loo in Meridian which consisted of a pair of maroon jeggings, high boots, a thermal top, vest, and an angora wrap scarf. The next outfit was a beautiful black dress that was 3/4 sleeves with little cut outs on the shoulder paired up with glammed out bangles and rhinestoned draped necklaces from Mimi Marie. I had a blast walking the catwalk with Maddie who I had met that morning and soon learned attened Harvard and was home visiting her family. What a fun way to raise money for St. Alphonsus!

I met with my Girl Scouts the next day, and I was so excited to see them after a week off for Thanksgiving. They were giddy with excitement for Christmas already! They asked me about Santa’s Reindeer and I told them about how my family makes reindeer food every year to give them on Christmas Eve. One of the girls raised her hand and told us about how when she was 3, she painted her nose red and ate 3 bottles of reindeer food and thought she had turned into a reindeer! I love my girls and they never fail to leave with a smile after our meeting, no matter how rambunctious they were that day!

After a busy day of training, I went to the Girl Scout Silver Sage Council Board Meeting to talk about the Annual Girl Scout Conference as well as my experience in Girl Scouts. It was nice to meet up with a few of the women who I went on the trip with and also talk with the board about why Girl Scouts is such a vital organization to keep alive and growing.

The next day I had my piano lesson and then a mock interview (one of the best I felt I’d ever had!) I felt rejuventated after the annual Girl Scout Conference and couldn’t wait to share everything I had learned. It was so helpful to hear their feedback as well so that I could continue to grow during my last month of preparations for Miss America.

I went to the Garden City Boys and Girls Club that weekend for their Holiday Party sponsored by the Soroptomist. Before I could even take my coat off, a girl ran up to me and took my hand as she led me to all her friends. She was so excited to introduce her friend Miss Idaho to them and go sing Karaoke. I had the best time belting “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas”, “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”, and “Frosty the Snowman”, telling Santa what I wanted for Christmas (He said he would put in a good word for me about Miss America!), and earning the new title of Christmas Miss Idaho (kind of like Christmas Barbie!)

The next couple of days were busier than ever! People constantly ask me what a typical day looks like for me when preparing for Miss America. Here’s what it looks like.

Sometime between 5:00 am and 7:00 am, wake up and go to either hot yoga or run for about an hour. I love starting my day off at Sumit’s Hot Yoga and feeling rejuvenated for the day!

Then, make a hearty, healthy breakfast packed with protein and some good carbs to give me enough energy to get through my day.

After this I will either go work at White House Black Market, meet with my Girl Scouts, make an appearance, or practice piano (depends on the day!)

I make sure to eat a healthy mid morning snack, such as a protein shake and banana so I keep my body energized and happy! Then I either run errands and meet with someone to help me with my modeling, speaking, presentation, wardrobe, piano presentation, and other areas of competition. I always make sure to make time to eat a healthy lunch afterwards with protein, veggies, and some more good carbs before heading to the gym to work on some strength training. I’m so lucky to have Axiom gym that supports me and enourages me to keep my body active, healthy, and strong! I always make sure to feed my body with a filling protein to make sure that my muscles keep up with all the hardwork I just put them through and can recover.

During the afternoons and evenings I’ll either have an appearance or work at White House Black Market if I didn’t work earlier that day. I love that I have such a supportive job full of wonderful people that are encouraging and always are there for me. Thanks so much ladies for being so fantastic this month and always being their when I need a big hug or simply a good laugh!

By the evening, I’m typically ready to just relax and pass out in my big comfy bed! But I always make sure to write about the people I met during my appearances and lookg into current events and statistics to help me with interview. I also reminences over some of my favorite memories and remind myself how blessed I am to be where I am today and why I want to continue this amazing job for another year as Miss America.

That week in particular consisted of finishing up my daytime appearance wardrobe while in Vegas, and who knew shopping for the perfect outfits for a week could be so exhausting and exciting at the same time. Thank you so much to Dillards for helping to dress me in the most fantastic outfits that make me already feel like I’m Miss America! I can’t wait to wear my beautiful new outfits!

The next week I met with the Borah High School female choir, who’s current choir teacher was my junior high choir teacher! It was nice to have a little girl time while talking about self esteem with them and answering their W.O.W questions. Each week, they choose a Woman Of the Week and ask them random questions. Nice practice for my interview! They ranged from “If you had a genie, what 3 wishes would you ask to be granted?” to “If you had shoes that played a song every time you walked, what would it be?” and my favorite “If you were a kitchen utensil, what would you choose, what color would you be, what would you make in it, and who would eat out of you?”. What a question! I left there still laughing and smiling from the fun time I had with them. I even ran into their Resource Officer who had his own crown, so of course we had to take a picture!

Following my girl chat time, I went to fulfill another one of my favorite holiday traditions. Since I was in high school, I have always enjoyed playing piano for the Idaho Veterans. I love catching up and hearing about where they served.

The next day I had another mock interview and also got to work with the Silver Sage Girl Scout Council and the Ada County Paramedics to help “Stuff the Ambulance”. Girls Scouts and Ada County Paramedics teamed up to help collect toys to give to children at St. Luke’s Hospital as well as other local hospitals and shelters around the valley. I brought a stuffed dog that lit up according to it’s mood, kind of fun and very entertaining on the car ride over as the dog started to bark and snore while changing colors! I also got to see my 5 and 6 years old Daisy Girl Scouts who immediately ran over to me yelling “Miss Genevieve!” and giving me a big group hug. I missed those sweet little girls!

That weekend I got to fulfill another thing on my bucketlist, now before you get to thinking too crazy it’s nothing like flying a stunt plane (can cross that one off!) or traveling to India (still need to cross that one!). However, it is something that I have been wanting to do for awhile, especially this year. That weekend I got to wake up early and be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. I remember when I was little, my sister and I would get so excited around the holidays when we would hear bells outside the grocery store and mall. Our mom would give us the change in her purse and we would run up to the bell ringers with big grins on our faces and drop each coin one by one and listen to it’s tink as it joined the other coins in the bucket.

That weekend was the first annual, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, formerly known as the Humantarian Bowl. I got to meet up beforehand with the Idaho Potato Commission to help christen their new vehicle that will tour around the country. The truck carries a 12,000 lb potato (enough for 30,325 servings of mashed potatoes!) and will tour the country to help with Meals on Wheels as well as promote potatoes as part of a healthy diet with their American Heart Association Certification. Are you wondering what the truck’s name is? Well, let’s just say Miss America won’t be the only one traveling around the country this year, Miss Idaho will be as well! Because the truck is named “Miss Idaho”!

After that we went to enjoy some potato hor devours and I got to talk with KTVB’s Larry Gebert about the Miss Idaho Spuddy Buddy! Frank Muir, CEO of Idaho Potato Commission, and I headed onto the field to help with the coin toss with Utah State’s Aggies and Ohio University ‘s Bobcats.
We also got to hang out with the Ohio band and cheerleaders, what a fun group! We enjoyed cheering on both teams and watching Ohio University win it’s first bowl as they pulled through in the final seconds to take the title with a lead of 24-23.

What a month it has been! It’s so hard to believe that in just a few days I will be on my way to Vegas to represent my spectacular state at Miss America. Is this really happening? Or as youtube sensation ‘David After the Dentist’ would say, “Is this real life? Is this going to last forever?” Well, I just pinched myself, and it is real life! And here is hoping that it will last forever, well at least until next January!

Goals for the week!

1. Breath! (Okay, this is a goal every week, but such a necessity!)

2. Savour absolutely every moment, this is an opportunity that only comes once in a lifetime. I want to be able to remember every moment and look back with nothing but a smile on my face.

3. No more near meltdowns in Walmart after finding out they don’t carry my greek yogurt anymore, or Kohls while trying to find a pair of running shoes in my size, or when listening to a song that mentions anything remotely relating to Miss America! That or it’s time to start investing in higher quality tissues.

4. Oh yes, and no spills this week! I would like to be bruise free for once during a pageant! (Knock on wood!) Stairs will be my friend and gracefulness will be my guide!

Much love and hugs,