In less than a month, I'll be competing for Miss Massachusetts USA 2020. It's my second time competing, and I feel more prepared and ready than ever to get the crown.
This isn't my first time competing in a pageant. I competed for Miss Massachusetts USA 2017 and placed Top 15 - at my first ever pageant! Since then, I've had such an itch to get back into pageants and in March, I decided to take the plunge and commit to the pageant which takes place in January. I've been slowly telling my family and friends about my big goal and I've been getting a lot of questions on why I'm doing a pageant... questions like..."Why would you ever want to walk around in a bikini on stage?!" "Isn't that wrong in today's age?" "Shouldn't you be spending your money on something more important?!"
For me, the truth is that competing for Miss Massachusetts USA is so much more to me than a beauty pageant.
For me, it's a natural next step as a former Celtics Dancer. While representing one of the largest, most well-known sports franchises in the WORLD, I learned how to act professionally around some of the biggest stars (um hello Steph Curry!!!), athletes and Boston figures and I learned how to command attention in a way that also commands respects. I learned to how dedicate myself to an organization and something so much bigger than myself and most importantly, I learned who I am.
To me, becoming Miss Massachusetts USA is a way to continue to positively impact my community beyond my reach as a Celtics Dancer, a fitness instructor and my current involvement with Read to a Child. I want to be a role model at community events. I hope to be that woman that girls get excited to see, and hug, and talk to because to them, Miss Massachusetts USA represents working hard and achieving all of your dreams. I want to advocate for Read to a Child, educate the community about the causes of low literacy rates in Boston, and tell stories about the impact my reading buddy Nichol has had in my life.
The last time I competed in Miss Massachusetts USA, it changed my life. I gained way more confidence than I had ever had, and had the confidence to chase after and achieve all the dreams I never thought I'd be able to. I worked hard with the pageant sponsors and my coach, Kaet, to achieve a look that suited me, and for the first time, I learned the importance of investing in your appearance and the confidence you can gain when you find your LOOK. I proved to myself that through hard work and dedication I could reach my fitness goals I had only dreamed of and I finally saw myself in a new light - one that my friends and family who love me had already seen. I proved to myself that I could successfully do something that scared me, and that the only way to succeed is to push fast fear with confidence. With my newfound confidence, I went out on a limb and tried out for the Patriots Cheerleaders (and failed) but didn't give up and tried out for the Celtics Dancers and made the team! Without pageantry, I would have never gone for it like I did and I can't wait to see where this year's pageant takes me.
For me, becoming Miss Massachusetts USA gives me the chance to become a true leader in Boston, one that I've always known I can be. I'm confident that with the leadership skills I've gained teaching fitness classes, coaching a college dance team and representing my company as a spokeswoman gives me an edge in this competition and that I have a real shot at becoming a leader and a role model in my community.
This isn't the best blog I've written or the most grammatically correct one. But I hope that after reading this you too, will go for all your dreams. Life's too short not to chase after your dreams, no matter how big or small. You've got this!
Today is my third anniversary at my job, which means I've been in the corporate world for three whole years! I can't believe it. Time flies. I was a super senior in college, so I feel very lucky that today's not my fourth anniversary!
I've learned a LOT over the past three years - about professionalism, friendships, mentor-ship, etc, but I thought it would be fun to list the 11 things I wish someone had told me three years ago on my first day. What do you wish someone told you about working in the corporate world? Let me know in the comments below!
1. Learn how to make coffee on your first day, and make it when the pot is empty.
Oh yeah... and ALWAYS make it with two bags of coffee.
2. Do little things to help out your team
I grab the mail for my team every day to make their lives a little easier. It shows that I'm willing to go beyond my job description and gives me a little bit of face time with my boss when I drop the mail off. Offer to print the agendas, run the stupid errand and create the damn excel spreadsheet.
3. Never say no
Starting out in the business world was really intimidating for me. I would try to avoid social gatherings, company events, and speaking and presenting at department meetings because I was scared. My boss pushed me to go and pushed me out of my comfort zone, and at every event, I gained new opportunities, had more exposure to senior management, met new friends and felt a deeper connection with my company. Next time you're asked to do a presentation you're afraid to do, just say yes.
4. Don't over drink at company events
Or even the happy hour with your coworkers.....
5. "Off the record" conversations are truly never "off the record"
The PR term "off the record" is applicable for all parts of business. NEVER trust that an off the record conversation is off the record at work. This is a business, after all, and some people are only in it for self-gain.
6. Introduce yourself to the ceo and say hi every time you see her/him
7. Lighten up
Relax when you're speaking in meetings, create personal relationships with leaders at the company, and be true to yourself. People are quick to see through a phony personality. Be yourself and have some fun at your job.
8. Ask about social norms at work
In your first week, as what the social norms of the team is. What time is it OK to come in at? What time do most people leave? Does business casual dress REALLY mean business casual?
9. Buy the expensive work clothes
I work harder and better when I feel confident in my outfit. People will notice the effort you put into your appearance, which translates to you caring about your job.
10. wear high heels
This one's up for debate, but for me, it's a huge one. Buy a nice pair of tall pointy-toed heels and wear them everyday. Tall people are seen as more leader-like and authoritative (yes there are REAL STUDIES done about this), and it puts you on the same level as many of the men you work with. I did a poll of my coworkers to guess my height and most people thought I was 5 feet 10 inches (!!), when in fact I'm 5 feet 6 inches. In a male dominated industry, it's really important for me to use my "height" to my advantage.
11. And finally...You were hired because you were deemed as valuable
It's easy to doubt your place in a company as a young professional. People will treat you like an assistant. People will over look you. People will go over your head to your manager because they don't trust you. Always remember that you were hired because you were seen as an asset to the company. Don't forget that.
Happy Earth Day! I love this day. I love appreciating the beautiful planet we live on and all the natural resources it provides us. I also love taking a few minutes every Earth Day to think about ways I can lessen my impact on the planet over the next year and years to come.
Last year, I asked my Instagram friends for their tips on reducing the amount of trash they're throwing out. Some of the changes were small and some were much bigger. I tried to implement at least three major changes, and at first, it was daunting to change my habits. A year later, I feel so great about reducing my personal waste. Here are a few tips I have to reduce your impact on our planet!
1. rethink the way you drink coffee
2. Shop with Reusable bags
3. Suggest a cost-saving, waste reducing initiative at work
what are you doing to reduce your impact on our planet?
These are just a few ideas I've implemented over the past year. Tell me what you do in your daily life!
Today is the start of a new week and a new month and I couldn't be more relieved. March was nicknamed "Messy March" by me and my girls, and it feels so good to start a new month, which I've already nicknamed "Awesome April." I have positivity, strength, happiness and goal-setting on my mind.
"Treat every new month like a mini New Year's Celebration."
One of my New Year's resolutions was to learn how to enjoy my mornings. I am the first person to admit I am not a morning person. I use and abuse my snooze button on the reg. The first few months this year, I had a hard time committing to getting up earlier AND waking up in a good mood. But now that the sun is out early, I'm getting up earlier too and learning how to love my mornings. I'm trying the start of April as another chance to set goals and resolutions (just like New Year's) and I hope you do too.
1. Grocery shop for a killer breakfast you're excited about.
Getting out of bed is so much easier for me when I'm excited about the breakfast I'm going to make. When I shop for the week, I splurge on my breakfast items like Vital Farm's Pasture Raised eggs and Oatly oat milk because I love feeling great about the quality of the food I'm eating for my first meal. I love making omelets with sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, with a homemade honey and oat milk latte from my super affordable and easy to use Mr. Coffee espresso maker from Target. When I wake up with visions of my yummy breakfast, it makes it so much easier to hop out of bed with the first alarm.
2. buy an alarm clock and move your phone away from your bed.
You've heard this one hundreds (if not thousands) of times, but I am living proof that it works. Move your phone away from your bed and buy that damn alarm clock! In January, I bought an old school alarm clock and set it up next to my bed. I moved my phone's charging station across the room to a spot where I have to physically get out of bed to look at my phone. Every night, I set my alarm and then set my phone to "Do Not Disturb." This has exceptionally improved my sleep quality and my ability to get out of bed only snoozing once... ok twice...
3. Light Your Favorite Candle.
I learned this trick from my savoir and queen, Olivia Culpo. I love waking up and lighting my favorite candle of the moment. I love the soft light the flame gives off and find that my favorite scent can totally set my mood right. Lately, I've been lighting a favorite from TJ Maxx (also available here) Lemongrass and Coconut Milk by DW Candles.
4. Turn on your favorite show or music.
I love getting out of bed and flipping on the Today Show while I make my latte and breakfast. It puts my mind at ease and somehow reminds me to focus on the moment I'm in. There's no point worrying about the meetings I have later that day, or the event I have to go to later that night because it will only ruin your day. Watching (or listening) to something that makes you feel good is a great way to start your day off on the right note.
5. Make a To-Do List.
I love making to-do lists for the day, especially on the weekends. I find that writing down the tasks I want to accomplish for the day, clears the clutter from my brain and makes room for productive thinking. I have truly found that I can't get anything done unless it's on a to-do list, and nothing feels better for me than checking off the boxes when I've completed my task.
6. Change up your commute.
I walk to work everyday and tend to stay on the same mindless path. At the beginning of the year, I decided to switch up my walking route 1-2 times a week and have learned that it puts me in a great mood. I love seeing different people, different buildings and even walking up and down different elevations. Working a 9-5 office job can feel very monotonous and this is one easy way to add some spice into your routine.
What do you do to make your mornings more enjoyable? Let me know in the comments!
One of my 2018 New Year's resolutions was to read one book a month. I also promised myself that I would read a variety of genres. and not just my go-to murder mysteries. I finished out the year just shy of my goal - 11 books read, not 12 - but was proud of my accomplishments and read some truly spectacular novels. I'm excited to share with you my top five must read books for 2019.
I'd love to hear what books you loved in 2018 - comment below with your recommendations for me!
Historical fiction: "Burial rites" by hannah kent
After returning from Iceland (read my travel recap here!), I truly missed the cultural and the wonderful Icelandic people. I was researching Icelandic history when I stumbled upon the true story of Agnes Magnusdottir - the last woman to be executed in Iceland - and this book, "Burial Rites," which is a fictional retelling of her final days. The book was slow to start but ended magnificently in the most heart-breaking way. A must-read for the cold winter months.
Synopsis: Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
thriller: "the couple next door" by shari lapena
I'll get right into this one - "The Couple Next Door" was the best thriller I've read in years. I devoured it in just a few days. Author Shari Lapena takes you on an emotional roller coaster with twists and turns on every page, right up until the very last sentence. I had no idea what was going to happen, and that's coming from someone who can predict the end of a horror movie in the first 20 seconds.
Synopsis: Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.
Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years.
What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.
In today's turbulent political climate, it's nice to daydream about what it was like when President Obama in the office. If you miss the Obama administration, then you'll love this memoir by Beck Dorey-Stein, an Obama-era White House stenographer. You'll get a real sense of what it's like to work in the highest arena of politics and you'll miss every second of 2008-2016. Sigh...
Synopsis: In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate D.C. outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers—young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president.
As she learns to navigate White House protocols and more than once runs afoul of the hierarchy, Beck becomes romantically entangled with a consummate D.C. insider, and suddenly the political becomes all too personal.
Against the backdrop of glamour, drama, and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heart broken, learning what truly matters, and, in the process, discovering her voice.
romance: "me before you" by jojo moyes
I know I'm about seven years late to the "Me Before You" obsession, but it's better late than never. This story got me! I felt a kindred-ship with the characters that I haven't felt in years. If you haven't read it, or are looking for a good re-read, I recommend this one for you.
Synopsis: They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
"One Day in December" is a beautifully written, romantic holiday novel you won't be able to put down. You'll laugh and you'll cry (several times), but most importantly the characters and their stories will stick with you for days after you're done. I shared my copy with Mom, a harsh literary critic, who read it cover to cover without stopping. This was my favorite book of 2018.
Synopsis: Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away.
Certain they're fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn't find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they "reunite" at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It's Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.
What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.
Pictures and synopses are pulled from Amazon.com.