Sunday, September 25, 2011

No Ordinary Moments

For me, I believe there are no ordinary moments, and recently being crowned Miss Cape Shores Outstanding Teen is no exception. Not only did I get a fabulous director, Mrs. Anne Bird, but she is also has been a remarkable mentor to me. For a short period of time, I was also blessed to have role model and friend, Kaitlin Davis as my big sister. It was another exciting moment when a tall, blonde, interview winner (just like myself) became my new big sister. I look forward to sharing a great year with Miss Cape Shores, Courtney Charatsaris.

On August 11th I was invited to the National Liberty Museum to receive the Young Heroes Award. I was one of 32 teens presented with this honor as an individual who works for positive change in my school and community. I was thrilled to be one them and to be recognized for my work with Crowns For A Cause, She’s The First and The Bullying Stops Here! It’s very exciting to know that my story will be in the museum for an entire year. As any one my fellow heroes would tell you, the things we do aren’t for recognition, it is to see a smile on someone’s face and to know that you helped to make that smile!

Last Saturday I participated in a mud run with some of my fellow crownheads. It was four miles of crazy, muddy, obstacle course fun! Anyone who knows me would have never thought in a million years I would do such a thing….I am not very athletically inclined and I definitely don’t like to get dirty! It was a cold and rainy day but our group, “Filthy, Fierce and Fabulous” still managed to finish the entire race, (and still had smiles on our faces). It was fun, challenging, and all for a good cause. This was way out of my comfort zone and I learned that by challenging my self, I can help change the world. Who’s up to the challenge of getting dirty for the cause with me next year?

How amazing is it that when we realize every moment of every day consists of lessons and messages? Not only can we learn something about ourselves, but about the lives and stories, and importance of other people.

Happy fall y’all,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dream, Imagine and Believe

I have three rocks that read Dream, Imagine and Believe. They were given to me by Mom who has always encouraged me to believe in myself and they serve as great reminders.

Since I was a little girl I have wanted to play the harp. My grandparents would take my brother and I to see the Nutcracker when we were younger. After the show we would always go to the Hotel Du Pont. While most would have visions of Sugar plums in their head I was fascinated by the harp player and the beautiful music filling the air. As I sat there I imagined myself and believed that one day I would play this beautiful instrument. Well that dream has come true and I recently picked out my very own harp. It is making it’s way here from Virginia and I will soon begin my journey with lessons. I am so excited!

Imagining that we can make a difference in the lives of others is really important to me and I have been fortunate enough to continue to share “The Bullying Stops Here!” message. Over the last several months, I have to spoken to groups of fourth graders, met with a Brownie Troop, taken pledges in exchange for Anti-Bullying wrist bands and shared my message with my teachers and peers at the middle school. My lyrical dance is something that I enjoy sharing as it is dedicated to those who are bullied. I hope that it gives them courage to know that they are not alone, there is help and they are “Strong Enough” to overcome.
Dreams do come true especially for family friend and newly crowned Miss New Jersey, Katharyn Nicolle. She is a true example of believing in oneself and ultimately achieving her goals. I’m thrilled to be traveling to Las Vegas to see Katie compete and support her in the journey of becoming Miss America. It will surely be the experience of a lifetime!

Someone once asked me what I felt was the best thing about being a teen. For me the best thing is having the freedom to discover who I am, by exploring and pursuing my own interests. Although I consider myself a “work in progress”, as my world is always expanding, I know that my parents will be there to help guide and support me as I grow into the person I am meant to be.

If you believe in yourself you will be able to achieve those things that you dream and imagine!

Happy summer!

Lots of love,


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy New Year!!!!

As 2011 begins it reminds me of the message in one of my favorite movies Kung Fu Panda. Some of you may not know but I have a thing for cute and cuddly pandas.

To make a long story short the movie is set in ancient China and the main character is Po, an overweight, clumsy Panda who idolizes the Furious Five, Tigress, monkey, viper, crane, and mantas. They are kung fu masters trained by Master Shifu who protect the valley and the dragon scroll. Because Po works in his family’s noodle restaurant, which by the way is known for it famous noodle soup, he is unable to achieve his dream of becoming a kung fu master himself. Spoiler Alert….through a weird twist of fate, Po is chosen to fulfill the ancient prophecy and is named the Dragon Warrior. But he as well as others question his ability to do the job. He is none of the things that other hero’s are agile, mentally focused nor lighting fast. Master Shifu starts to train Po and soon realizes that with a little reward of dumplings Po becomes a warrior. But before they know it, the vengeful leopard Tai Lung is headed their way. He is after the Dragon's scroll, which posses an amazing secret, one that bestows unlimited power on the reader. Shifu decides Po is ready to receive the Dragon Scroll, but when opened it reveals nothing but a blank, reflective surface. In a panic Po finds his father who reveals that the long-withheld secret ingredient to his famous "secret ingredient soup" is nothing, explaining that things become special if people believe them to be. Po than understands that is the message behind the Dragon Scroll and goes on to bravely defeat Tai Lung and saves the village.

The secret to being great is pretty simple… be yourself and believe in yourself! One of my favorite quotes is from Kung Fu Panda, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that’s why it's called the present.” My New Year’s resolution is to live each day to the fullest and have fun all the while just being myself!

p.s. I am excited to hear that there will be a Kung Fu Panda 2 coming out in May and yes of course I will be the first to see it!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Well, deck the halls and everything else!

Let it be known… Christmas is my favorite holiday! I am in such a festive mood and want to decorate everything! Thanks to the help of a family friend, “Sir James” (I am not allowed to call him Mr. McCafferty, we evn have lights on the roof this year.

Perhaps my excitement has something to do with my trip to New York back in November. Our first stop was Carlo’s Bakery to see how Buddy’s cannolis stack up to the famous Termini Brothers’ cannolis that I love so much. I have to say they were pretty good, but I was disappointed that they were missing the chocolate chips - what’s up with that?! Heading into the city was a breeze, but once we were there it was a whole different story-let’s just say that not all GPS’s are created equal. I made it just in the nick of time to walk with my fellow National Teenagers in the 91st annual New York City Veterans Day Parade. Throughout the long weekend, we had lots of excitement. We took a ferry ride to see Lady Liberty, went to a see the Rockettes kick to the beat at Radio City Music Hall, saw the tree at Rockefeller Center (it had just arrived so it wasn’t decorated), visited the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem, toured St. David’s Cathedral - it was breath taking, and strolled through beautiful Central Park. Of course we did some shopping…I know I joke about shopping being my sport, but in New York City it really is a contact sport. Shopping there is not for the weak! My mom, grandmom and I walked into one of the department stores and came across a gorgeous fuchsia/ red dress. There it was, up swirling around on a display in the middle of the store with some other holiday decorations. We fell in love with it, so the hunt to find it was on…Our sales associate Chuck was looking everywhere and even had to get management involved because the dress was nowhere to be found. To our surprise, Chuck called 5 hours later to tell us it was a “one of a kind” from some European designer. He said he would be able to take it off the mannequin on Monday and make a special appointment for me to try it on. Needless to say, we could not stay until Monday, but my point was “who makes a one of a kind dress for a mannequin?!” My grandmom promptly replied “Saks Fifth Avenue, that’s who!”

I don’t know exactly what it is about Christmas that I love so much. I think a big part is about Mia Famiglia and the special memories we share. As my mom and I started decorating I found our Christmas book that she used to read to my brother and me when we were little. I took a couple of minutes to flip through the pages again, and it is still my favorite. Maybe it’s also the newly created memories like visiting Macy’s in Philadelphia to see the Dickens Village and Light Show. It could also be preparing to dance in a holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, or even the carols we are practicing for the holiday concert. Quite possibly it’s when the whole family, including our dog, hops in the car to look at Christmas lights. It’s a great tradition that starts with a quick trip to Wawa for hot chocolate and some cookies. We just drive around looking at all the decorations while wearing our jammies and listening to Christmas music! All of these fun rituals make me think, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

Whether you say it like Buddy the Cake Boss “Buon Natale”, or in my favorite language “Frohliche Weihnachten”, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! May the good times and treasures of the present become the golden memories of tomorrow

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Well, let’s just say the last two months have been like a roller coaster ride! I have always heard people use that saying, but never really got the message until now. I am proud to say that I have ridden my first upside down roller coasters: “The Dragon Challenge” and “The Incredible Hulk Coaster” at Universal Studios. So get strapped in, hold on for dear life, close your eyes (wait, never mind, then you can’t read this ;) and enjoy my ride….

Things started lining up with 4th of July parades in Galloway, Wenonah and Pitman. Meeting Kate Shindle, Miss America 1998, at Broadway on the Boards was exciting and a definite highlight. The Let’s Lick Leukemia Ice Cream event was exhilarating and I will never forget the fun my family and I had scooping one of my favorite food while making a difference. I was invited to perform at the Little and Junior Miss Sea Isle Pageant and I was honored to crown their winners!

My journey at America’s National Teenager Pageant made me feel like I was at the top of the most amazing ride imaginable and it felt like a dream come true to be able to admire the view. I set out to make top 10 and I am proud to say that I did just that! I am so thankful to my family and friends who came to support me on my very first joy ride at a National level.

The ride didn’t stop there as I was asked to participate in a “back to school” photo shoot for Suburban Family Magazine. I just love doing photo shoots and modeling! I started cheer practice (go Pioneers!!) and went to see a long time pageant sister, Rachel Reese win the title of "Miss Ocean City". The Operation Backpack event thru Crowns For A Cause was a huge success. It is great to know that 13 kids in Gloucester County will start the school year off right with school supplies & backpacks donated by my organization's participants.

Speaking of education, I am so excited to share that I have a new friend in my life, Deepa. She is a 13 year old who lives in Nepal at the Kopila Valley Children’s Home. I can’t wait to exchange letters and hopefully someday (sooner than later) visit her! Thru my connection with “She’s the First” I was spotlighted on the “Bold Girlz” website and featured in the “Real People” section of the nationally syndicated magazine “Glitter- For Girls That Rock”!

I then got some major “airtime” as I packed up my oh-so-cute leopard print luggage and headed to Florida. There my mom and I met up with Mrs. Weick and Brenna for a “girls get away vaca”. Actually, we were there to cheer on fellow dancer and friend Andie Babusik as she competed in the 2011 Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition. We relaxed by the pool-when it wasn’t raining-did some damage, (of course I mean shopping) at the outlets, went to the Arabian Knights dinner show, modeled in the Red Carpet Fashion Show and for our last loop we went to Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure to visit the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

As with any ride it goes fast and doesn’t last long enough, so until next time enjoy what’s left of summer and remember…

"Life can be like a roller coaster...
and just when you think you've had enough,
and your ready to get off the ride and take the calm, easy merry-go round...
You change your mind, throw you hands in the air
and ride the roller coaster all over again.
That's exhilaration...that's living a bit on the edge...that's being ALIVE."
-Stacy Charter

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Time Fun Has Begun

June is always a busy month for me from dance rehearsals, showcases, recitals, auditions for community theater, school coming to an end, the Miss New Jersey parade and to the crowning of the new Miss New Jersey but it always proves to be an exciting month.

Things started to heat up with my dance company showcase and my performance of Cha Cha Heels. Recital was equally as sizzling, it was one performance after another. My favorite was the Hip Hop Zombie Bride to Threatened by Michael Jackson. My hair was teased, I had dark makeup on, the customs were ripped and to complete the outfit were Chuck Taylors.

Things cooled down just a bit as I head down to the Miss New Jersey Parade to board “Pirates of the Crown” with my pageant sisters. The float was awesome thanks to my Mom, Dad, Grand-Mom and Grand-Pop. Our ship featured a 15’ sail, crown treasure chest, plank, ghostly driver and let’s not forget the confetti cannons (special thanks to the Grdinich Family). I had a blast and so did "me matees"!

For the first time this summer I got the sand between my toes as well as getting my first sun burn :( However, my burn wasn’t the only thing that was hot and the temperature starting rising as the Miss New Jersey competition kicked off with their tribute to Red, Hot and Blue. All the contestants were great and, as I know myself, only one person gets to walk away with the crown, Congratulations to Ashleigh Udalovas. The after party was so much fun and I got to dance the night away with some awesome friends, Brenna Weick (NJOT 2009), Chris Saltalamacchio (Mr. DE 2008), Kaitlin Davis (Miss GC 2010), Andie Babusik (NJOT 2010) and my sister queens Madison and Kara.

The next adventure was Westville Day and I tried to keep cool by sipping some homemade lemonade. Thanks to Mrs. Welsh and Madison we had a table where we were raising money for charity by selling lemonade, fresh fruit cups and freeze pops. Equally as important was the fact that I was able to promote “The Bullying Stops Here!” I am proud to say 106 people signed a petition indicating that “The End of Bullying Begins with Me”. I handed out Anti-Bullying book marks, peace lip balm and peace sunscreen. Bullying will only end when people stand together to change what has happened to so many. It stops when people like you and me stand up and say, “Enough!”

So far my summer is off to a good start I can not believe we are already wrapping up June. Time flies when you are having fun, stay cool!!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Beyond the Crown….

"There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few that will catch your heart. Pursue these." Michael Nolan’s words are so true and She’s the First has truly captured my heart. She’s the First is a grassroots campaign that helps to enable girls in developing nations to have a better future with an education thru their online directory of schools with sponsorship programs.

We in America take for granted our public education, while in developing nations some girls never have the option to attend school. With an education these girls can overcome poverty, grow up to be leaders and better their world. With our help a young girl may in turn become the first in her family to graduate, the first female president of her country or even the first to discover a life saving drug. It’s possible that She’s the First but only with our help and every girl deserves the chance to be the first!

My personal mission is to help a young girl in Nepal who is living in the Kopila Valley Children’s Home. In 2007, Maggie Doyne of Mendham, New Jersey started construction on the Kopila home, in the town of Surkhet, that she built on a piece of land bought with $5,000 she had saved babysitting during high school. The vision of the home is to “sustain and improve the quality of life and the future for children of Nepal.”

How was I going to raise the money to see my mission through was my next question. With a little help from my mom, we came up with a project “Pocket Change for Change.” I figured we all have a little spare change jiggling in our pockets so why not put some collection boxes in local businesses. My good friends at Red Carpet Prom and Pageant allowed me to put one of my boxes at their register during Prom season. Wireless Electronics had one at their Berlin location and thanks to a special supporter, Janet Shaw, Kabuki Salon also had a box on display.

However, I had not raised enough money so I put my thinking cap on and decided to have a charity yard sale. “All things Girly” was a huge success and I was excited to have my mentor, Kaitlin Davis drop by. Although I was sad to see all my American Girl dolls and clothes go I was happy to know that the money was going to a good cause.

I am proud to say that with the help from my “own village” and complete strangers I have raised enough money to start my sponsorship. I can’t wait to see who my new friend will be and start writing back and forth with her. My hope is to continue to sponsor her year after year helping this young girl become and educated young women.

By the way, I am the first in my family to speak German!