Time, is the most precious gift one can give. Each moment is unique because it will never happen again.

There are two common questions that people have asked me post Miss America. One, of course how was it to be at Miss America, and if you haven’t read my last blog entry you should because it explains everything to answer that question! The second, what happens next? That, is an excellent question. Most people assume the last 5 months before giving up my title as Miss Idaho are slow and not nearly as busy. But I always told people that no matter if I won Miss America or if I came back to represent Idaho, I was going to make sure during those following months I was out in my community and continuing to make a difference. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing!

Of course I did take a week off to enjoy catching up with friends, going snowboarding with my dad and sister, and having some time to reflect on my amazing experience at Miss America. I got into doing some cooking, did a little go-carting, and even celebrated my dad’s 50th birthday! It didn’t take long before my schedule got back to being packed and I was enjoying constantly being on the go.

I had a few interviews with different newspapers followed by going to Boise State for the “B! Active! Girls and Women in Sports Day” where I talked about self-esteem and made “self-esteem bubbles” with kids. In the bubbles, they would write things that they loved and made them feel happy and fortunate. Then, when they had a tough day or needed a confidence boost, they could look at the bubble and be reminded why they have such a great life.

The next day I had a very early morning interview with Channel 2 news where I also got to meet Hi-Lite from the Harlem Globetrotters! He was in doing an interview as well for their games that weekend. After talking with him, and asking him just how tall he was (6’7″, over a foot height difference even with my heels on!), he gave me tickets to see them play and my sister and I gladly enjoyed watching.

A couple days later I went to visit with Centennial Job Corp where I talked about the part of goal setting that nobody ever really wants to discuss. What happens when you don’t accomplish your goals and how to overcome adversity along the way. One of my favorite quotes is “The joy is in the journey, not the destination”. I used this to talk about how it isn’t the accomplishment of the goal that is important, but rather how you grow along the way and the people that you meet during the journey.

I then went over to give a self-esteem workshop to a group of 5 and 6 year old Daisy Girl Scouts. I love working with this age group because I feel like I always take something in return and they can make me laugh like no other! That evening, they told me that they loved my show (Miss America) and wished me better luck next year. Only something like that could sound so sweet coming out of a 5-year-old’s mouth! We talked about how important it is to be nice to others because you never know what kind of a day they are having. Someone could be having a bad day, and you saying one nice thing could flip their day around for the better. They then taught me that giving someone a compliment is like flipping a pancake. It can be gooey and not look so good on one side, but then when you flip it the pancake becomes golden brown and declicious! Smart kiddos!

The next day I went to speak at Boise Valley Adventist School where I spoke to kindergarten-8th grade about why it’s important to set goals and not give up on our dreams. The kids had forgotten to tell me it was pajama day though! They all looked great in their princess, cars, and monkey pj’s. Remember how I told you I always learn something from this age group?
Today was no different as I learned that there are two different types of goals. There is the goal that you set for yourself and try to obtain, and then there is a ‘gull’ as in a seagull. I asked the kids what a “goal” was, and one boy responded that it was a bird with a long neck that went around with it’s mouth open which looked like a bucket as it tried to catch fish. I think he was describing a pelican, but I learned that day that I need to be more specific when I ask what a goal is!

That evening I went to meet with the contestants competing for Miss Boise. We are in the midst of our local pageant season and I am loving getting to know all the new contestants. It’s hard to believe in just 3 months, one of them will be named Miss Idaho 2012! After a successful orientation, Miss Boise 2011 Meg Rowe and I went to have a little girl time and watch The Vow.
Bad…idea…I now remember why I don’t watch sappy chick flicks in theaters and I wait for them to come out to RedBox. 1. Tickets and a small package of Sour Patch Kids, Milk Duds, and a small Diet Coke= as much money as I make in one successful work day. 2. Two single women, surrounded by teenage girls and their boyfriends who have drenched themselves in Abercrombie’s Fierce Cologne. I don’t know if it was the tear jerking story of Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum or the overwhelming smell, but we were both a blubbering mess within 5 minutes of the movie. Note to those who haven’t seen it, wait for it to come out to Redbox or bring your own candy and a box of highly absorbant tissues.

Valentine’s Day was the next week and I got to spend it with not just one sweetheart, but several! My morning started off playing piano at the Idaho Veteran’s Home for the couple’s brunch.
I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite things to do is play piano at the Veteran’s because I love to see their reactions and enjoyment as I play classics from their generation and will typically wear dresses from their era. It’s like taking them back to the past and I loved peering out of the corner of my eye while playing and watching the couples hold hands and sing to each other.
One woman loved to pretend like she was playing piano as she would move her fingers up and down and close her eyes as she swayed her head side to side. Occasionally, her husband would remember just how much this used to annoy him in the past, and he would put his hands over hers. But she still continued to smile and play along. A little bit later some of the elementary kids came in with Valentine’s.
One little boy came up to me, placed a card in my hand with a little bag of candy and bashfully ran off before I could even get two words out of him! The students all looked great in their red and pink attire; some girls even had hearts on their tights and in their hair. After playing, I went over to the veteran’s hospital and walked around handing out Valentine’s to the patients.

All the Valentine’s and abundance of sweets reminded me one of my favorite things about Valentine’s Day. I used to love decorating bags in elementary school and every student giving each other a valentine. So I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to relive that favorite memory with one of my favorite teachers and one of my favorite classes?
I decided I would go and surprise my 3rd grade teacher’s class and celebrate with them. If you don’t feel loved, surrounded by a bunch of 8-year-olds wrapped around your legs giving you mini heart shaped chocolates and little hearts with messages on them , well I just can’t think of a better way to spend Valentine’s Day! The cherry on top of an already fantastic day was watching Little Rascals with my best friend as we devoured even more sugary goodness!

That weekend I participated in the Special Olympics Penguin Plunge, an event put on to raise money for the Special Olympics where individuals and groups jump into freezing water in the middle of February. I’m always looking for ways to help out in the community, but add a bit of adrenaline to the experience and you can count on me being there! In honor of the Girl Scouts preparing to celebrate their 100th anniversary, I wore my Girl Scout shirt and even managed to keep my crown on my head as I jumped into the freezing water.
An added bonus, I didn’t even get my hair wet! So I was able to pretty much directly go over to the Girl Scout 100th Anniversary Display at the Idaho Historical Museum. I got to visit with some of my favorite Girl Scouts and board members and look at all that Girl Scouts have done in the state of Idaho. Imagine my surprise as I turned the corner and there was my picture in the museum on display with the Girl Scouts. I would have never imagined having my picture placed there, but it was such an honor to be placed with such an influential organization.

The next couple of days I celebrated my mom and dad’s birthdays with a little snowboarding and lots of chocolate cake and cheesecake! I also had quite a memorable evening at work. I typically don’t bring up to clients and customers that I’m Miss Idaho when I’m working with them (however, my co-workers give it away pretty well!) This evening I was working with a woman just as myself so when I went back to grab her some things, the lady asked my coworker if I was “Genevieve Nutting”.She told her yes, and the lady told her about how her daughter had met me and had my picture up on her dresser right next to her bed. She said that even though she hadn’t personally met me before, she felt like she knew all about me. I loved hearing that and it made me so happy to know that even after I met that girl, she kept my picture and I still can be influential even if I’m not right there beside her.

Miss Boise was that weekend and I got to emcee with my great friend Meg Rowe and watch as she gave an inspiring farewell during her final evening as Miss Boise. It’s crazy to think back at the last 5 years that we’ve spent together in the Miss Idaho Organization, I honestly don’t think it would have been the same without her. All the trips out to Melba for the 4th of July Parade, the crazy face pictures, always knowing I had a spray tan partner and someone to help me put on my eyelashes and teach me how to tease the heck out of my hair to keep it out of my face, and having someone to connect with who was just as passionate about Girl Scouts and building self-esteem in girls as I was. I’ve learned so much from our friendship, what it means to be a true supportive friend, how to just breath and go with the flow, and to always find a way to laugh and smile through any given situation. I am so proud of all the work she has done for our community and the astonishing woman and role model she is today. I knew as she handed her title over to the new Miss Boise, Kacie Bitzenburg and Miss Capitol City, Laura Hampikian that there were definitely big shoes to be filled and I can’t wait to see what these incredible women accomplish in the next year.

I started off the next week working with the Children’s Miracle Network during National Pancake Day at IHOP. Did you know that Pancake Day was originally a day when the English would use up all their dairy products to make buttermilk pancakes right before they would fast for lent?
Today it is a day where you can come eat a free short stack of pancakes and make a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network to help families who may be unable to afford their children’s medical bills, purchase new equipment, and provide training and funds for research. I met early that morning with Brenda Mee from Kissin’ 92 and then walked around interacting with tables and helping judge pancake decorating and eating competitions. This year over $3 million was raised for the 170 hospitals across the nation, with all funds raised going towards the local hospitals in their community.

That week was also the birthday of someone very special and influential in every child’s life during the development of their reading skills. He introduced us to Cindy Lou-Who and wrote Horton Hears a Who! He created Gack and Gox, and wrote about a fox who wore sox! Have you guessed it yet?
Well that’s all the hints that you get! This year, Dr. Seuss celebrated his 108th birthday and I got to celebrate it with the students at Horizon Elementary. I read to the school ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’ and then got to experience lunch with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade and what an experience that was! I think I managed to get 3 bites of my yogurt in during all the chaos and hugs that went around in the lunchroom. I also got to come back that evening and read ‘Cat In the Hat’ for Dr. Seuss night and then got to be a celebrity reader where I read ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and ‘Dream Big Little Pig!’.

The next stop was Pocatello for the first Miss Gate City pageant. All the women did wonderful and put on quite the show. Emily Hosman walked away with the title of Miss Gate City 2012 and will do a fantastic job representing her community at Miss Idaho in June.

We drove back to Boise that evening to prepare for the Miss Idaho Outstanding Teen lottery drawing for contestant order for the state pageant at the end of March. The girls would wait for their name to be drawn and come onto the computer screen. When it did they had 5 minutes to call in and choose if they wanted to be in the red or blue group and which contestant number they wanted to be. The pageant is less than 3 weeks away and those girls are ready to go! Best of luck in the last of your preparations girls, can’t wait to see who will be our next Miss Idaho Outstanding Teen 2012!

It’s hard to believe I have less than 3 months as Miss Idaho, it has been such a fast but very fulfilling year and I am so thankful for all the opportunities I have had this year and the people who I have met. As I get to meet more of the phenominal ladies winning qualifying titles for the Miss Idaho pageant, I know that the next Miss Idaho is going to do a wonderful job representing our extraordinary state and I am eager to see who will be the next few ladies to join the class of Miss Idaho 2012 contestants!

Goals for this week

1. Try and live by the words of Oprah Winfrey for the last 3 months of my reign as Miss Idaho “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”

2. March 12 is Girl Scout’s 100th Anniversary, which means a busy day of running around all over the Treasure Valley to celebrate with the Girl Scout community. Which also means an abundance of Girl Scout cookies everywhere! Despite this, I will do my best to refrain from eating a whole box of Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs.

3. Sign up for summer classes at Boise State and figure out what I want to do for a fall internship! (New York, La? All I know is whatever happens is going to be another journey I can hardly wait to embark on!)

Much love and hugs,