So I took a few weeks off of blogging to unwind after an amazing but busy few weeks! We went to the beach twice and I literally flew from the beach to Las Vegas to compete in the Mrs. Earth pageant. I got home at 10PM on a Monday night and was up at 5:30 getting ready for the rest of the work week! My Mama's birthday was the next weekend and last Sunday I celebrated my big 3-5 with all my family at my family reunion! It's been a whirlwind of a summer but we are all so excited for the school year and all the things that come with it, like the boys starting their new school!
I am so excited to talk about my experience at the Ms./Mrs. Earth pageant! First off, it was AH-MAZING and I had a blast! The one thing that was missing...my hubby and kiddos. I was so glad my Mama and Daddy flew out and met me there because it meant so much seeing them in the audience. They also served as house parents for several of my friends! LOL.
I started my adventure with an early morning flight out of Orlando. Okay, I know that I am used to flying out of the busiest airport in the world (ATL) but Orlando is crazy! I got there at 5:15AM for a 7:40AM flight and was about to have a panic attack I was going to miss my flight. Food for thought, if you can avoid flying out of there I would or just get there in plenty of time. I like to be able to sit down, get something to eat, gather my thoughts, etc. and after that I was just a ball of nerves getting onto a plane. Did I mention I don't fly well? Did I mention I was flying alone? Yep, I had to sit on the plane by strangers and have a silent panic attach and no one to hold my hand. Once I finally got my feet back on solid ground, though, I was so excited! It was also my first experience on Southwest. Being from Georgia, I am a Delta girl but I must say I had a great experience with Southwest. It was also extremely nice not having to pay for checked bags. The downfall, no move or delta map tracker to see where I was on the route. I did read my book, though, and managed to get a little nap.
We started off day 1 with orientation, crowning, and learning all the patterns for competition. Having the opportunity to meet ladies from all over the world was so awesome! I was lucky to have two amazing roommates that are fellow Eco Queens, Kristin, who was representing Ms. Eco US and Raquel, who was representing Ms. Eco US Elite. We all met at Nationals back in February, so this was our second time in Las Vegas together. We started day 1 with a group selfie before leaving to meet everyone and this became our tradition for the week!
After we finished day 1 rehearsals, we had a little down time before our Bowling Pizza party! Raquel got a new experience because she had NEVER seen anyone get a spray tan. She's naturally tan so she's never had the need for one but Kristin and I needed one so our friend, Lori, came to get us tanned up! Raquel finally said she'd seen enough and walked to the other room! Hahahaha!
It's finally time for the Bowling Pizza party! I was starving considering it was about midnight my time and I had not hardly eaten that day with traveling and nerves! We got some super cute Ms./Mrs. Earth t-shirts and our director told us to feel free to cut and style them the way we wanted to so Raquel pulled out the scissors and let's just say ours looked amazing!
Bowling was a lot of fun! I was more so socializing than bowling but I did stop long enough to throw a strike! We knew what an early morning we had coming, though, and after an incredibly long day I was exhausted!
We started off Thursday at 3:45AM with hair and makeup so we could be ready for our 6AM photo shoot by the pool! Talk about feeling famous, this was it. I had never done a swim photo shoot before but this was such an amazing experience. All of the ladies worked so hard for this moment and boy we felt like we were special!
Yep, I'm proud to say I'm a Mom of 2 kids and I rocked a swimsuit on stage and by the pool. After giving birth in 2015, there was a time where I thought I would never feel confident in a swimsuit again but instead of feeling sorry for myself and chalking it up to something I would never feel confident about again, I committed to getting healthy and setting a goal. Four years later I was standing on stage feeling like my best self and knowing my boys were proud watching Mommy "rock it" on stage. PS, whoever said a one piece can't be sexy obviously has not shopped the one piece aisle lately!
We were done with our photo shoot by 8AM and had the chance to go recoup before the afternoon festivities began! At lunch my roommates and I sat with team Asia and it got a little comical. If you have never tried to have a conversation with someone who does not speak the same language as you, you learn to get creative. My new friend, Jun, speaks English so she was remarkable at helping translate to the ladies who did not speak English.
Next it was a boat cruise! But before we went on the boat cruise I was able to see my parents! They flew across the country to support me so that Eric and the boys could stay at the beach with my In Laws. I think they were excited for a chance to go back to Vegas because it had been a few years since they had been.
We got all fancy and took a 30 minute drive to Lake Mead where we boarded a cruise boat for dinner and drinks. One thing I noticed was what is called the "bath ring" around the canyon surrounding Lake Mead. The water line has dropped around 70 feet in the last few decades due to over-population, water waste, and not as much ice melting to fill the lake. It's not only devastating but scary to think what the lake could look like in 20 years if the water continues to recess.
The cruise was so beautiful! I was a little fearful of getting sea sick so I had a few doses of dramamine and sported my sea bandz like I was in an 80's workout video but luckily for me it was a smooth ride! One thing that was amazing to me was getting to see Hoover Dam from the opposite side! How cool was that!
The boat cruise was amazing but at that point we were exhausted and it was definitely time for bed!
Friday came with so much fun because the younger girls were competing for their titles! Eek! We had rehearsals and then were released to get dressed to watch our littles take the stage. This was the first year there were younger divisions. I cannot wait to watch that area of the pageant grown in the coming years!
Our Eco girls, Raven and Karlee, both took home a title! We also had some great entertainment!
Once the pageant was over we were released for some free time and Kristin and I were able to go to the strip for dinner with my parents! This was so nice to be "normal" for the night, even though it was over 100 degrees even when the sun went down! We had dinner at Cabo Wabo and then off to bed because prelims were the next day!
Back at it with some early hair and makeup. Noemi and Lacey took the best care of us! I wish I could have them do my hair and makeup all the time! Talk about talent!
Once we were glamorous and ready to go, it was time for rehearsals and then Prelims! We first wore our Nation wear outfit in a non-judged opener for the promotional video. We were the first class of Earth contestants to do this. Next year this portion will be part of competition. I went for an Americana wonder woman type getup. My favorite part was my USA boots. Unfortunately for me the professional photographers failed to capture a lot of "good" pictures on stage so this is the best I got. Ha!
We wore black dresses for opening number in a style of our choice. Luckily we had a fairly easy pattern to walk around in before we made our introductions! Next was swimsuit and evening gown!
It was a great competition and felt confident in my performance. I knew that no matter the outcome, as long as I gave it my all then I could walk away feeling proud. Once Prelim was over it was time for interview. This was the first time I was on stage looking down to the judges for an interview but I felt that it went great.
Once we were done with interviews we were released for the evening. We had a cookout by the pool and then a few of us went for pictures and videos on the strip for the promo video! That was so much fun! Again, I took one of my new friends who spoke very little English. She and I giggled a lot but it did not take much for us to figure out how to communicate. She had never been to the strip before so she was absolutely amazed!
Up again early for FINALS! It was the final day and time to practice a walk through on stage and then get ready for the top 5 to be announced!
Talk about nervous, I could hardly stand it I was so ready to know if I had made the top 5. Lucky for me they started with the Mrs. Usually we are the last to be named but this one time they started with us. Good, I'll either be upset and be able to get off the stage quick or I will be excited and changing! "Alright, our first Mrs. in the top 5 is.....ECO!" It was ME! I have never been so happy to have been called first! I then got to stand there as the final 4 names were called and just do my best not to burst into tears of excitement because I was able to see my parents sitting there shaking their big signs of my face! LOL.
Both of my roommates made the top 5 in their categories as well! It was time to haul tail back stage and get ready for swimwear!
I loved my swimsuit and was excited to be in swimwear. It's weird for me to even think about saying that but I was. I worked hard for that moment and was proud of rocking it on behalf of all the moms out there! I even threw a little spin going down the catwalk. Ha, I felt like I owned the stage, even if for a moment! My favorite professional picture out of what little I received, was in the swimwear. I think the look I gave in this picture says it all!
Next it was evening gown! I loved my evening gown! I have always wanted a velvet gown and if you haven't noticed, blue is my favorite color to wear, so blue velvet, lace, and sequins...yes please! Johnathan Kayne knows he can make a dress and this is my favorite dress to date! It was heavy and hot and I couldn't really move my arms to well but dang if I didn't feel like a million bucks in it!
We all walked out to Dan+Shay's song, Speechless. It was an amazing song to be on stage. At this point I knew all I had left was the on stage question. And that was one I was about to hurl over. On stage question is hit or miss. You can know exactly what you are going to say but the minute the clock starts you could easily go blank or take it down the wrong rabbit hole and poof. If that was the make or break moment you just lost. Well, one thing I have learned is that you have to take it with a grain of salt. If you don't win, it was not your day. The judges are usually looking for the person who does not fold under pressure, who gets to the point, and who is memorable. Rambling gets you nowhere and if you circle the airport they will forget who you are the minute you walk off the stage.
I felt I answered it well but still was not sure if it was enough to win. Regardless I knew I had made the top 5 which means I would have a title. I had also given it my all and was so proud of myself for making it this far at an international level.
And now it's time! Time for the awards to be given out. And....I was named 3rd runner up and the title of Mrs. Water Earth 2019. Yes, I would have loved to take home the title of Mrs. Earth but I was so excited and proud to have made it to where I did. Some of these women have competed their entire lives. Competed as children, teens, miss contestants and then some are like me who started at age 30, married, and a mom of 2! In 5 years I went from never competing to placing in the top 5 at an International level. Yep, I'll take that achievement and run with it!
My roommate, Raquel, was 2nd Runner up in her category, and our roommate, Kristin, WON in hers!!!! We all agreed that our room was a lucky one since we all took home titles!
Once we were done and we took lots and lots of pictures...it was time for FOOD! We literally took our suitcases and stood in line at Steak and Shake before we went back to the room! It was AH-MAZING!
Lastly, we rounded out the pageant with a celebration party! We had a blast at the Bellagio and then called it a night so we could get packed and head home. I had had an amazing time but I was so ready to see my boys! I could hardly stand it!
I got up and basically got to the airport three hours early I was so ready to see my boys! LOL. I thought I was going to have another panic attack on the plane I was so nervous and it was so bumpy but once we got back to Georgia I was like, "Stomp it Daddy!" I was greeted at home by a Welcome Home sign! Not only were my kids and hubby glad to see me, but my dogs and cats were sitting all up on me too!
It was an amazing experience and I met some wonderful people. If you have ever thought about pageantry, I promise you, it is an experience like no other. It's an opportunity to challenge yourself, meet new people, learn new cultures, and gain a whole new perspective on giving back!
Mrs. Water Earth, 2019