Lights, Camera, Action!

I came, I saw, I conquered…in Swimwear and Fitness that is! I’m very proud and excited to share with you I won “Best in Swimwear and Fitness” at Miss California Latina! As you know, I competed this past weekend and boy oh boy, did I have an experience of a lifetime! Below is a quick overview of all three days at Miss California Latina in Pasadena, California.

Day 1
We began our journey to the pageant around 4:30am from the Central Valley and eventually we arrived to the hotel where girls filled the hallways with luggages, evening gown dress covers and curlers set in their hair. We checked in where I received my Opening Number dress, shoes, jewelry and two piece bikini. Luckily during our fittings, I ran into a friend I had met through social media knowing we would be seeing one another at the pageant where she introduced me to other girls she met earlier in the day. I then said my goodbyes to my family and pageant weekend had officially began. For the majority of the day, we practiced our dance routines, took group photos and settled ourselves into our hotel rooms. In the evening, we attended our Purple Media Carpet event where we introduced ourselves to guests and took media pictures.

Day 2
Our Saturday began around 7am where we continued our dance rehearsals and patiently waited for our one on one interviews that took up the majority of the day. We also took our bikini group photos and ate dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.

Day 3
On our last day, we ran through the entire show multiple times and set up and finalized our beauty stations to get ready for the show. We didn’t have much time to relax since we were definitely on the go since 6am with about five hours of sleep.

Finally, it was 6pm and the Miss California Latina show was ready to begin. With girls running like crazy all around backstage, woman parts hanging out and all, it definitely was a fun chaotic environment since there was only about three minutes in between outfit changes. Eventually the show came to an end and once I was awarded with my certificate, I knew in my heart that all this work paid off and I was leaving home as a winner. After taking pictures and changing into comfortable clothes and much needed flats for my swollen and blistered feet from wearing heels all weekend long, my family and I headed back to home sweet home but not before making a pit stop at no other than…McDonalds!

To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll ever do another pageant again but signing up for Miss California Latina has given me a whole new perspective on pageants and what it means to be a supportive and an encouraging woman. Some of the girls I met (who had past titles and pageant knowledge under their belts) genuinely cared about everyone’s success and future goals just as much as their own and it was amazing to know I had support from girls I had met just a few days prior. I am so thankful to everyone who has cheered me on throughout this year and I am glad I am coming home with an award and new friendships. I have had an amazing year as Miss San Jose Latina and I am definitely looking forward to the new and unexpected opportunities that are coming my way.

Now, I’d like to take a moment and also thank all of my blog followers and everyone else who has stopped by and visited. I am very thankful you all took the time to read my posts giving me the energy to continue my writing posts. I hope you enjoyed reading some of my pageant experiences and I look forward to having you join me on my next blog adventure, The Kassie Khronicles*. Thank you again and I sincerely appreciate you all and your words of encouragement.

Love,

Kassie P.

*Once my blog is up and running, I will hyperlink The Kassie Khronicles so that you may find me and join me.

PS- Please feel free to see pictures from the pageant under my “Photos” page. Also, I was featured in another article where you can read more about me under my “Press” page.

“MGPTF”

Today I had the most amazing opportunity to be part of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s “Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force” (MGPTF) Community Town Hall meeting. As mentioned in a previous post, San Jose is plagued with youth violence and though city statistics show gang related crime is down 18 percent from last year, it still remains an issue for the nation’s fourth largest city. The meeting was held at a high school in the East Side of San Jose, where one can usually find some type of gang related graffiti or tagging on almost every street corner. Dozens of San Jose residents, young and old, poured into the gymnasium where the facilitators introduced themselves and stated what department they were associated with (SJPD, SJFD, Parks & Rec. etc). We later broke into groups where we could voice our opinions and desires of what needs to change to keep our communities safe. At the end of our team discussions, we were then to present to the entire body our top concerns.

I’ve always heard when groups of passionate advocators come together for a good cause, positive changes are made. So it wasn’t surprising to see out of seven large groups, six groups felt the number one factor the city of San Jose needs to focus on is educating parents on the overall notion of gangs. Presenters stated parents need to be more involved and more aware of what’s happening within our communities and more importantly, to their children. Many felt San Jose should hold parent programs paralleled with schools that focus on gang prevention and include other avenues of awareness like alcohol abuse and mental health issues. Today was the first of four MGPTF meetings that will be held in various districts of San Jose and once all Town Hall gatherings are completed, Mayor Chuck Reed and Council Members will compile all of the notes and ideas and will create a strategic plan that will be implemented by 2016.

At the end of the gathering, I also had the opportunity to be interviewed by Peninsula Press on why I showed up and what I hope for the future of San Jose. I talked about my Miss San Jose Latina title and platform and though the interview was short, I felt it prepared me for when it’s really my time to shine during pageant weekend.

Love,
Kassie P.

Little Miss Sunshine

By now, you’re quite familiar with the fact that this whole pageant experience is a new thing for the Peña family. I don’t think anyone ever really anticipated that someone in our family would be part of a pageant but there’s always that one special person in a family that puts the “fun” in dysfunctional (of course said with laughter and loving intentions).

Ever since I was little, my parents instilled the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Soda and cookies for example, were hardly stored in our cabinets and usually after the every-once-in-a-great-while McDonald’s Kid’s Happy Meal, I’d hear my father’s repetitive lecture of being mindful of what I put in my body given that Diabetes runs on both sides of our families. Pre-divorce family outings actually consisted of us stretching together before mile runs followed by picking fresh wild berries by an abandoned railroad track. I began playing various sports like basketball and track at the age of 8 and was on a team every year up until my junior year of high school due to a head concussion during a softball game. Nervous to get back on the field the following year, I opted to take a Weight Training class instead, which has stuck with me to this day.

Now we all know one of the main highlights of any pageant is the swim wear portion and although I will not be able to view or try on my swimsuit prior to the weekend, I am on a mission to get in the best shape of my fitness career. Though in my conscious mind I am fully aware of what that means (no sugar, processed foods and all other delicious goodies) the evil Kassie on my left shoulder speaks to me on an average of 3 times a week saying, “Eat that, it tastes great!” Thankfully my family is just as supportive of me and my first pageant goals as Olive’s parents were in the movie Little Miss Sunshine and they’ve decided if I will have to skip out on Halloween and Thanksgiving meals and treats, they will do it with me! We’ve decided to stock up on fresh pie and all other not so healthy foods for the remainder of September because once October 1st comes, it’s GO TIME…bikini bodies 2.0 for the entire family!

Without my family’s support throughout this new experience, I don’t know how confident I would be going into pageant weekend but to know they are behind my every move verifies I’m exactly where I need to be at this point of my life…and to thank them I’d like to shortly present them with fluffy oatmeal chocolate chips cookies straight out of the oven!

Love,

Kassie P.

Here’s My Card For Ya!

Earlier this week, I looked over my calendar of pageant events in San Jose that I will be attending and thought it would be great PR for me to pass out business cards to those I come in contact with. I quickly logged onto Vistaprints.com and created 250 fun, colorful business cards that have all of my social media contact information. In general, I think it’s always important to promote ones self and now with this pageant title under my belt, I truly want to get out in my community and let people know who I am and how they can support me. With my multicolored zebra print business cards, I know I will be able to create a larger network both personal and business.

I’m very excited to start attending events while meeting lots of new people of all different walks of life in San Jose. I know getting lots of exposure in this city will lead to great opportunities for me because you never know whose hands my business card may fall into!

Love,
Kassie P.