Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Send Off for Brooke Bibeault, Miss Massachusetts Teen USA

On Saturday evening I attended the send off party for Brooke, Miss Massachusetts Teen USA at her family home in Uxbridge, MA. Brooke and I first met when I asked her and Lacey, Miss Masschusetts USA to join me on a Habitat for Humanity build project in Bedford, MA back in February. Since then, Brooke and I have done so many events together bringing awareness to so many causes such as Habitat, Breast Cancer, American Heart Association, Best Buddies, to name a few and I am sure there will be so many more to come. We had an amazing appearance together at the UMass Worcester Pediatric Unit where we got to visit some great kids and their families, and we were so touched to be welcomed by everyone as we were. Brooke is an incredibly accomplished young woman with so many different sides to her. She is an amazing basketball player, has modeled in NY Fashion Week, has biked 100 miles to raise funds for Best Buddies, graduated high school this year, and also won Miss Massachusetts Teen USA on her second try. Its been an incredible year for her, and her next stop is Miss Teen USA in the Bahamas on July 24. I am so proud of Brooke, she is like a little sister/daughter to me. Her parents are two of the most genuine people I have ever met, and they have done such a great job of raising Brooke and her little brother. When I asked her father how they did it, he said it was easy as Brooke is one of the most humble people he has ever met, and that is such a true statement. I am so proud that Brooke is such an incredible role model to young women in our state (and hopefully the nation soon), and I look forward to the many years of her being a role model to my daughter Sierra!

Good Luck at Miss Teen USA Brooke! The Marshall Family loves you!

Habitat for Humanity House Dedication

On Saturday, June 26, I was invited to attend the house dedications for the Nguyen and Wiggins families with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell. This was such an honor for me as I worked on the Wiggins family home in February as well as in May. In February, I got together with Miss Massachusetts Teen USA, Brooke Bibeault, Miss Massachusetts USA, Lacey Wilson, and Miss Connecticut USA, Ashley Bickford to work on this house and we all met for the first time ever. As we arrived, we were all presented with Hot Pink Hard Hats that had Crowns attached to them. It was such a nice gesture and something that will forever stay in my life as a trophy of this experience during my reign as Mrs. Massachusetts International 2010. It was so incredibly cold that day, but Brooke, Lacey, and myself were put to work to dig the master sewer trench in the basement. This was no easy task as the ground was almost frozen solid. With a little assistance from a Jack Hammer, we were able to break through the ground and rock and dig about an 8 foot long by 1 foot deep trench. It was an amazing experience considering I have never done such a thing, and to see three beauty queens put there muscles to some hard work was awesome. We definitely changed the perception of beauty queens that day! In May I came back during the Women's Build Week with a few of my co-workers. That day I learned to use a few different table saws as well as a nail gun. I was taught how to measure out pieces of hardwood floor to put down, cut them down to measurement, and then install. I also nailed down the baseboards. The room that I worked on that day was for Dimitrius Wiggins who is the young gentleman that has Cerebral Palsy, and this home needed to be designed with handicap accessibility.

On the Saturday Dedication, I was finally able to meet Alexis and Dimitrius. I had heard so much about them from their mom Debra. Debra is herself an amazing woman and so deserving of this home, Bbing a single mom and raising three amazing kids, she's worked so hard. She also understands the dynamic of the Habitat for Humanity program and giving back to an organization that has helped her family. She was given the opportunity to choose a home anywhere in the world to have Habitat for Humanity help another family. Not only did she raise funds for this effort, but she chose a family in Bulgaria who she felt a connection with as one of the children also has Cerebral Palsy, and knowing how Habitat has helped her and Dimitrius, she wanted to give back to a family that would have the same type of help.

I cannot wait to get back from Chicago as my next task at hand will be to go shopping with little Alexis and pick out the perfect yellow color paint for her walls, and I am going to help her paint her room. She did mention that Micky Mouse is her favorite character, so I am thinking there will have to be a little Micky to keep her company. Dimitrius mentioned that his favorite colors are blue and red, and his favorite character is Spiderman, so I think I will have to come up with something creative for his room as well!

Congratulations to such a deserving family, and thank you to everyone at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell who make dreams become a reality. Thank you to Kim Trainor for welcoming me into the Habitat Family and I can't wait to work on the next home, which I hear is going to be built by women only, and I have been asked to be a part of that planning committee!

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Journey as Mrs. Massachusetts International 2010

As I prepare to leave for Chicago to compete in the Mrs. International Pageant, I reflect on my time as Mrs. Massachusetts International 2010, and cannot believe the journey that I have had. I have come a long way since being crowned in October, and I am so thankful for the opportunity. After not having been involved in pageantry since 1994, I decided to compete again eight weeks after my daughter was born as a means of motivation to get back into shape. The first pageant was a learning experience and I realized that I wanted to do more then just compete to get back in shape, I wanted to stand up for a passion very near and dear to my heart. In 2006, my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer, and unfortunately in 2007, she lost her battle with this disease. Two years after losing her, I felt that I needed to share her story and show people how important awareness and early detection are. You see, I experienced two sides of cancer with my mother. In 1990, she was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and was a survivor after surgery due to early detection. She lived so many years of celebrating life, birthdays, traveling, etc, until that July in 2006 when she, my dad, and I heard the words "You have breast cancer". Those words changed our lives forever. My mother was the strongest women I ever knew. Something that many people don't know is that my parents came to the United States in 1969 from Poland and Czechoslovakia with nothing but themselves and a few personal belongings. From that point on, they learned the English language, found jobs, started a family, and became US citizens. If that doesn't exemplify strength, nothing else does. As she fought this battle with breast cancer, I knew that our time was limited, and when she passed in November of 2007, I realized there would be so many things that she would miss out on in my life. Because she was so ill at the time, she never got to meet my boyfriend at the time, Rob, who in December became my Fiance, and in September of 2008 became my husband. She would never meet my beautiful daughter Sierra. Having gone through this loss and not being able to share these monumental milestones in life with her, made me want to fight to make a difference so that no other family has to experience the loss and saddness that we did without my mom. Awareness and early detection are the most critical factors in helping someone diagnosed with breast cancer conquer this disease. We are making leaps in research and our death rates have been decreasing since 1990 because people are aware, screening, and treatments are getting better each day.

I started my reign by making introductions of who I was and what my platform was and asking to volunteer wherever I could. Little did I know the doors about to open up to me. I was welcomed by Lowell General Hospital and asked to become their Honorary Chairperson for TeamWalk for CancerCare. I was asked to speak at several Relay for Life events with the American Cancer Society. I raised funds for LGH TeamWalk for CancerCare, Susan G. Komen, Avon Breast Cancer, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association to name a few. I participated in a Polar Plunge to raise funds for cancer and I also dug a master sewer trench and learned to use table saws and a nail gun to put down hardwood floors and baseboards at a house for Habitat for Humanity. At work I coordinated fundraisers which also provided educational sessions for breast cancer and also heart health for my fellow employees. I have traveled my state sharing my mother's story as well as mine and have learned so many new things with regards to breast cancer awareness, prevention, heart health, and working in my community. The confidence I have gained is amazing. When I spoke at my first Relay for Life Kick-off, I could barely get through my story without my voice quivering and tears rolling down my face, now I share the story with a smile and strength as I know I am making my mother proud and making a difference. This has not only been a rewarding journey, but also therapeutic one in a sense knowing that I am not the only daughter that has gone through this with the people who have shared their stories back with me and said thank you for coming out to share mine with them.
I want to thank Lowell General Hospital's Andrea Jackson, Ellen Kallman, Meg Lemire, and so many others for welcoming me into their organization and helping me spread my word. To Kevin Campbell, Helen Sullivan, Beverly Siebert, and all the other Surivors and Patient Families, you have filled my heart with hope and inspiration with all you do to remember your loved ones and for your survivorship. To Lisa Einstein at the American Heart Association who shared with me ideas on how to better my life with heart health as well as sharing knowledge that helped me earlier this year when my father was going through heart related issues, I thank you so much! To the American Cancer Society who has amazing programs for cancer patients and their families, thank you for putting together the most amazing event, The Relay for Life. To my Relay for Life Team, Queens for Relay, I thank you so much for all your hard work to raise funds and help our team come in second place for fundraising! The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition is an amazing organization that focuses on PREVENTION of breast cancer, I am so proud that you are an organization in my home state educating our residents on how to prevent breast cancer. The New England Coaltion for Cancer Survivorship which helps patients after they have fought the battle of their life and helps them in their new journey in life as Survivors. To the Chelmsford Rotary Club and the Town of Chelmsford for including me in your events and making me so proud of the town I live in! A new opportunity that came my way was winning a contest to be a Mommy Blogger with the Merrimack Valley Moms! I've always had a passion for writing, and this is an amazing opportunity to share and learn through writing on life as a mom.

I will be off on a jet plane to meet some of the most amazing women at the Mrs. International Pageant on July 13. Facebook has been such an amazing tool for us to create friendships well in advance. I am so looking forward to meeting my new friends Feryl, Cydney, Deanna, Julie, Shannon, Shana, Anita, Jennifer(s), Toni, Bernadette, Elaine, Nancy-Ellen, Cynthia, Heather, Remy! You have all been so supportive and encouraging to me, and I cannot wait to finally meet you! Being an only child, I feel like I have lots of sisters now! To all the other ladies that I will meet, it will be an incredible time, and I know that the Class of 2010 will produce the most amazing Mrs. International ever! Mary Richardson, thank you for choosing me as your Mrs. Massachusetts, your support, and belief in me. You have an amazing organization that supports women to be the best that they can be and to help them promote what is nearest and dearest to their hearts in their platforms and their families.
Thank you to my husband Rob, my daughter Sierra, my father, and all my family and friends! Your support and belief in me means more then you will ever know, and I could not have done this without you! Because of you and this experience, I am a better wife, mother, and person. Life is a gift, and each day needs to be cherished as if there is no tomorrow!

Thank you all for being a part of my life and I hope to make everyone proud as Mrs. Massachusetts at the Mrs. International Pageant and beyond!

Mom, I know that you are looking down on me and you have guided me down this path in life. Thank you for teaching me to be a strong woman and laying the foundation for me to be the mom that I am to Sierra! You are always in my heart and I know that you will be on that Mrs. International stage with me, in that dress that you chose for me so many years ago saying "Maybe someday when you get married and compete in a Mrs. Pageant, you can wear this!" That day has come and I know I will feel beautiful and have you right there with me! I miss you and love you!

Chicago, here I come, and I know "Tonight's Going to be a Good Night!"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Skydiving for a Cure by Audrey Rose for Susan G. Komen

Congratulations to Audrey Rose for putting together an amazing event to raise funds for Susan G. Komen and Breast Cancer. With this event, she raised $2500 where $50 of each jump was donated to SGK as well as the proceeds of the raffles and refreshments and food. It was such a beautiful day and to see people who are survivors jumping and those that support this cause made the day even more beautiful. Congratulations to Barbara on her jump and I loved hearing her enthusiasm after the jump, and also to my friend Maureen for introducing me to Audrey and Barbara and this event! Who knows, maybe someday I'll jump for a cure, now that would be something!

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition - Against the Tide

On Saturday, June 19, I attended the event held by the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition called Against the Tide. This event included a 1 mile competitive or recreational swim, a 2 mile kayak, a 3 mile walk, and a 5K FUN run. I had the opportunity to speak right before the recreational swim and to do the countdown for the swimmers to start. This was very special to me as I was a competitive swimmer in high school, and it definitely gave me the urge to jump in that water. It was amazing to see how many people turned up for this event.

What makes the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition special is that it is very unlike many of the breast cancer foundations we are familiar with, this organization focuses on prevention with our environment and our diet. I think that this is so important to educate people about prevention, because although we hope for a cure someday, we have to live in the present and work to prevent breast cancer now. Please visit their website to learn more on how you can learn to prevent and about this amazing organization at http://www.mbcc.org/.

I want to thank the many sponsors who were at this event with the wonderful food products to feed the participants and to educate about healthy eating. Whole Foods, Cabot Cheese, Eddy's, and Paino Organics to name a few. A very special thank you to Cheryl Osimo, Director of Special Events and Communications for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful event and teaching me about PREVENTION and helping me add it to my platform of Breast Cancer Awareness and the Importance of Early Detection. I'm so proud that there is an organization based in my state of Massachusetts that is working so hard to get the message about breast cancer prevention out to the public.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Merrimack Valley Mom Blog

Earlier this month, I on a whim decided to enter a contest that I went back and forth on about participating in. I thought to myself that entering the Merrimack Valley Mom Blog Contest would allow me to share my experiences as a wife, mother, career woman, and someone who gives to her community. The reason I chose to enter was because I feel that holding the title of Mrs. Massachusetts International 2010 has given me a voice to advocate about Breast Cancer Awareness and the Importance of Early Detection and sharing my mother's story of losing her battle to this disease. Little did I know that being chosen as Mrs. Massachusetts, I would have opportunities of a lifetime come my way. I have learned so much, have become part of organizations that I never knew existed, and have been able to share it all with my family. As I go along this journey, I learn to be a better mom and hope to one day have my daughter look up to me with all the positive things I have done and to follow in my footsteps. When I say that, it doesn't mean that she has to be involved in pageants, but I hope that she will be someone who gives back to the community and to those that are less fortunate. I hope that she finds a cause that is dear to her heart and is able to make a difference. Above all, I want to see her be a happy little girl, grow into a beautiful young woman, and eventually have all her dreams come true, whaterever she chooses to do in her life.

Social networking such as Facebook and blogs have allowed me to share with people all that I have done with the Mrs. Massachusetts title, and I realize that there will be so much information to give and to absorb communicating about issues that moms experience each day.

I can't wait to start, and will keep you posted on all the new developments and posts that I am part of with this new endeavour.

I want to thank the people who were tasked to choose the winners of this contest, and I want to congratulate all the ladies that entered. You should be proud that you were confident with who you are as a woman and mom to enter into this wonderful opportunity. You all have so much to offer based on what I have read with all your entries, and I hope that our paths cross and that we continue to inspire one another with our experiences and our stories. This is an opportunity for me to share, but to also learn from you, and I am so very greatful for having been chosen.

To see more details of this contest and the other winners, please visit: www.mvmoms.com/.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fundraiser for Bella Tucker

On July 3, I am fundraising for Bella Tucker along with Miss Massachusetts Teen World, Tamara Sacharczyk, Miss Massachusetts Teen USA, Brooke Bibeault, Miss Pink, Trish Grzela, and Miss New Hampshire National Miss, Shauna Conwell, at our booth at the East Longmeadow Carnival to be held at Veterans' Memorial Field.

Bella is a beautiful 8 year old girl who on Easter Weekend was rushed to the hosptial with a strep infection. Little did she or her family know that their lives would be forever changed. Bella lost all four of her limbs as a result of this infection. She has been between Children's Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Center since Easter Weekend. As you can imagine, the medical expenses are rising each day for Bella's family. We are gathering at the carnival to raise awareness to Bella's story and help raise funds for her ongoing treatments. Bella is from Londonderry, NH, and her dad grew up in my hometown of Chelmsford, MA. My heart has been filled since first hearing about Bella's story, and being a mom, I cannot get her beautiful face out of my head. I am hoping to share and spread my passion for Bella with all of you in hopes of making this a successful fundraiser. If you are not able to attend the carnival, but would like to make a donation, please visit http://www.friendsofbella.org/.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Rotary Club of Chelmsford

Today I had the opportunity to speak to the Rotary Club of Chelmsford. I introduced myself, spoke about my platform as Mrs. Massachusetts International, talked about the community service and involvement I have had, and my plans for the future. This appearance was very special as my husband was able to attend and hear me speak about our life and this year that we have shared together as a family. Once again, I was amazed at the support and thanks I received after speaking and how many people came and told me that they themselves were cancer survivors and appreciate what I am doing with my platform and the organizations I work with. I was also asked to become a part of this organization after I return from the Mrs. International Pageant, as they saw a perfect fit with my community involvement and the values of the Chelmsford Rotary Club. I am once again so honored, and I thank the Mrs. International Program for giving me this opportunity and helping me to become the person I am today because of the opportunities that have come my way by holding this prestigious title. Having this title has allowed me the chance to have a voice and make a difference.

Mrs. New Hampshire America 2010

Congratulations to Mrs. New Hampshire America 2010, Heather Merrill, who will be going to compete at Mrs. America in Tuscon, Arizona later this summer! I first met Heather earlier this year when she competed in the Mrs. New Hampshire United States Pageant and was first runner-up. I know she will have an amazing year and I know that our paths will cross at least a few times. Heather, make this year a chapter in your life that you will never forget. You will share many special times with your family, and you will be making your state incredibly proud of you in serving you community! Welcome to the sisterhood of titleholders and once again congratulations on your new title!

New England Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

The New England Coalition for Cancer Survivorship had a booth at the Channel 7 Health and Fitness Expo, and I was asked to be a part of it on June 13. This organization focuses on helping cancer patients and their families and care givers to educate, advocate, and empower the patients after going through the fights of their lives. Cancer patients focus on their treatment plans after they are diagnosed as do their families, doctors, and care providers. It is after the treatments end that survivors need support as they move into the next phase of their lives. I saw just how important this is in the stories I heard yesterday and how thankful those that have fought the battle of cancer were to learn that there is an organization already in place to help them through this next chapter of their lives. There was a woman that I met that was a one year breast cancer survivor. I was so touched by her story and how hard she worked along with her family to get her to the point she is today. She shared with me that the Dana Farber Cancer Institute has asked her to be a speaker and I encourage her to do so as she is a role model to the women that face this battle. She was so excited to meet me and to talk to Karen from NECCS to learn that they had similarities in things going on with their bodies now that they are both survivors. There was another older woman that I met who had tears brought to her eyes when she learned what NECCS does for cancer patients. I told both women that they are the face of Survivorship, and although not always easy, they provide the hope, the strength, and the inspiration to those that are just entering the journey of becoming a cancer survivor. They represent the fact that you can survive cancer and live. NECCS is an amazing organization that is built from survivorship, and I am so proud and honored that they have asked me to be a part of their organization. I look forward to the opportunity and to see this organization grow and see the wonderful things they will do for the people that are survivors. To learn more about NECCS, please visit their website at www.neccs.org.

Remember Beads

I came across a booth at the Channel 7 Health and Fitness Expo that touched my heart and promotes Breast Cancer Awareness and Early Detection. As I was heading to the NECCS booth which I was going to be a part of for the afternoon, a woman came to me and asked if she could talk with Mrs. Massachusetts for a moment, which I agreed to as I saw the booth name from afar and was going to stop to take a look at anyway. She started off by telling me that their products are designed to promote Breast Cancer Awareness and immediately I stopped the woman and told her that my platform as Mrs. Massachusetts is Breast Cancer and the Importance of Early Detection. We automatically had a bond and connection. This woman is Marth Hayward who came up with this idea after she herself went through breast cancer treatments. You see, Remember Beads promote the awareness to a woman to know what she is looking for when doing self breast examinations which are a must by all women to detect breast cancer at an early stage. The size of each bead represents the different stages a tumor in the breast. What better way to open up conversation and bring awarness then having something that people will ask questions about. The products include lanyards, doorknob hangers, keychains, and necklaces. Another part of the conversation I enjoyed with Marth is that the way that many times they get these products made are by getting together for a party, enjoying conversation and with appetizers and drinks, and making these products. We all have had parties to promote comanies to sell products, but what about making products that actually bring meaning to awareness of a disease that takes too many women away from us each day because they are not aware of how to detect tumors in their breast or what to look for. I am very passionate to learn more about this company, and to have a party of my own with friends to promote my platform and belief in this cause! Please visit the website at http://www.rememberbeads.com/. I thank Martha for her generosity with some beautiful pieces which I am so excited to share with friends and at Mrs. International

Channel 7 Health and Fitness Expo

On Sunday, June 13, I had the opportunity to attend the Channel 7 Health and Fitness Expo. Brooke Bibeault, Miss Massachusetts Teen USA joined me to attend the session by Tedy Bruschi, former New England Patriot Superbowl Champion who is also a Stroke Survivor. I was very interested to hear Tedy speak about his journey after suffering a stroke, especially since the Mrs. International platform is the Go Red for Women Campaign with the American Heart Association with one of the major health risks being stroke along with heart disease. It was wonderful to hear Tedy speak and then have the audience ask questions and make comments. There were a few people that got the opportunity to thank him for giving them hope to be able to bounce back to normalcy in life as they themselves were stroke survivors and were going through the same issues of vision loss, coordination, and various other symptoms from suffering a stroke. Tedy then signed some autographs, and gave the opportunity to 20 lucky kids to throw around a football with him. Brooke and I then walked around the floors of the Hynes Convention Center and were so touched by all the fans we had asking us to take pictures with them and sign autographs. One of the rewarding things of being Mrs. Massachusetts is to be able to be there for children as a role model, especially since I am now a mom, I know how much this means to parents. I then headed to the New England Coalition for Cancer Survivorship booth which is an organization I have partnered with. Before I got there, I came across the booth for Remember Beads (http://www.rememberbeads.com/), which was so touching as the start of this company was inspired by a woman who was a breast cancer patient. The story is amazing, and I will be sharing it with you in a post all of its own. This was an afternoon that was one of the highlights of my reign with all the people that I met and the stories that continue to inspire me when it comes to cancer survivors.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Relay for Life of Tyngsborough

Where do I begin but to thank my wonderful team, Queens for Relay, for doing such an amazing job fundraising. Currently we are in first place for our Relay for fundraising, raising over $1040.00, and the tally is still going. You did such an amazing job spreading the word and taking a stance for a wonderful cause. The money raised from Relay will go towards the amazing programs that the American Cancer Society offers to cancer patients and their families as well as to fund research to one day have a cure for cancer. Two of my favorite programs are the Look Good Feel Better Program (http://www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org/) and Hope Lodge (http://www.cancer.org/docroot/subsite/hopelodge/index.asp), which we are fortunate to have two locations in Massachusetts, one in Boston and one in Worcester! My team included Dana Matthews who unfortunately could not walk with us as she was diagnosed with a double ear infection and strep throat! Thank you for stopping by to visit us and offer us your support and dropping off more of your donations, YOU ARE AMAZING! Also included were Jennifer Korzeb, Mrs. Massachusetts United States, Shauna Conwell, Miss ANTSO New Hampshire Miss, Maureen Polson , Lisamarie Forte, and Brianna Mccombs! Jennifer, I will always remember trying to put the tent up in the rain and then having Lisamarie walk down with Maureen and Brianna and telling us that they didn't know that was us, and to think how much they were laughing at us. Thank you to Shauna for all the wonderful conversation as we took laps! Maureen , I thank you for coming back into my life after graduating high school all those years ago, ok, 22 years ago, LOL, and also for bringing Lisamarie and Brianna into the walk and my life. To Brooke Bibeault and her mother Donna, thank you for coming out to support me in the rain and hear me speak during the Fight Back portion of the Relay! Thank you to all the staff and walkers of Relay for Life of Tyngsborough for putting this event together and allowing us to be a part of it! The Luminaria Ceremony was very special and emotional for me to remember my mom and why I walk and participate in Relay. I know that she was with me and thanking me as the song "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban came on. The Josh Groban concert was the last concert we went to together, and she told me that she would never forget that night, and that song coming on was a sign to tell me she is ok in heaven! I love you mom, thank you for giving me the stength you do and for making me the woman and mother I am today! I miss you so much!

I finally left Relay at 4:00a.m. to go home as I was exhausted and needed a little bit of sleep as I started on with my next day full of appearances! I'll post all about those tomorrow!

Fashion Show at Sunrise Assisted Living Facility

Christina Polanco, Miss Junior Teen Massachusetts National Teenager helped to coordinate a wonderful prom themed fashion show for the residents of the Sunrise Assisted Living Facility in Leominster, MA. Amongst the models were Amber Coehlo, Miss Teen Massachusetts National Teenager, Brooke Bibeault, Miss Massachusetts Teen USA, Shauna Conwell, ANTSO New Hampshire Miss, Jennifer Korzeb, Mrs. Massachusetts United States, and my niece Lexi Marshall-Sobczak. We each chose a dress to model for the show and so many different colors, fabrics, and styles were showcased. My dress choice was a jersey knit that was black and white diagonal stripe over one shoulder and black on the bottom with a slit on the left leg. This dress is one that my mother and I got many years ago, and it was nice to get the compliments I did on it. I did add a flower to the strap on the left shoulder which everyone liked and thought it to be unique that I had added it. It was a very special memory for me to wear this dress and make me think of my mom and our times together as mother and daughter. You could hear the oohs and ahhs as each girl went out to model her choice dress. Oh, and did I mention that my daughter Sierra was also a model? When it was my turn to walk out, I was carrying Sierra on my hip. As soon I walked out with her, I could hear the gasps and comments about how adorable she was. I put her down on the rug, and she immediately started waving to the residents which prompted even more giggles and cute comments. At the end of the show, we did a parade of dresses and then we got to mingle with the residents. I cannot tell you how touching it was for me to share this experience with my sister queens that I have met throughout my reign as well as my daughter. The cutest part of the event for me personally was when one of the residents asked if she could buy Sierra from me or if I could create a duplicate of her. I was so touched that a little girl could make these people smile as much as they did and I was so proud to share the moment with her. This was one of my favorite appearances and I look forward to one day sharing the story with Sierra and showing her the pictures!