Body Image

Ever since I was a baby, I’ve had the most sensitive skin. My mom tells me she’d have to lather my entire month old body with heavy duty Aquaphor because I’d break out in rashes and other skin issues. As I got older, my body started reacting to different products, foods and sudden changes in emotions that drastically affected me both internally and externally. For example, I know if I wear earrings for three days in a row, my earlobes will break out in hives, diamonds or not. I know if I eat a delicious cheesy burger with must have fried french fries, I’ll be hunched over with stomach pains within about an hour. Lastly, and the most alarming of all of my body’s reactions is when I go through sudden drastic changes in emotions. It’s quite amazing how the body knows “when something is wrong” and it goes into defense mode. You see, for as long as I can remember, whenever I’ve felt under extreme pressure or feeling of no control, my body literally goes into shock and the lovely results are what I’m dealing with today: skin rashes on my arm and all across my chest and neck.

It all started when I woke up to find I had become the latest victim of an EVIL sneaky little spider who decided to also be part of the bikini portion of the pageant and bite me on my stomach! Luckily, it’s small enough BUT a spider bite isn’t something I’d like to take with me this weekend (especially since I already have a scar from an infected bug bite I got while vacationing in Jamaica in September). Then, after about spending almost an hour with a telemarketer trying to return a faulty beauty product, I was trapped inside my carport since the driveways of all of the apartment complexes were undergoing construction and residents were not given notice. I decided I’d then do some work on my computer only to find our internet was down so there I was again spending another hour going back and forth with two Comcast representatives, only to find out they could not help me via telephone. Meanwhile, I had my sister texting me all of the information I needed to be as a witness for her mock trial law school final later in the evening. By this point without having eaten lunch and about 30 minutes away from needing to be fully engaged at work, I needed to get myself together because I knew worrying and stressing out anymore than I had already been doing for the majority of the day would only take an unnecessary toll on my body. Usually, I would have put some light music on but this time was different, I needed to get myself under control ASAP so I laid belly flat in my living room, nose smushed into the carpet.

I began running my fingers through my scalp, massaging my neck and did multiple breathing exercises while telling myself I’d now have to rearrange tomorrow’s BUSY last minute pageant “To-Do” list in order to fit everything else I did not get a chance to do today. Fortunately, after recollecting my thoughts I was off to work and had a great last day before Thanksgiving break. I then headed off to my sister’s final and I had an awesome time pretending to be a witness of a crime, where it gave me an opportunity to do some public speaking in front of a large crowd…just the extra practice I need!

I think what was most upsetting about today was that I know this should be a very exciting week and full of positivity and having what seemed like everything happen all at once, unfortunately got to me and now I’m dealing with the consequences. Fortunately, my family was able to help reboot my confidence and I’m back on track with a goal in mind. Tomorrow is a brand new day and I’ll be making the most of it to compensate for today’s lack of a gracious attitude towards life and in the meantime, I’ll be a walking Aquaphor advertisement.

Love,

Kassie P.

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Behind the Scenes

My favorite day of the week is Sunday because I get to visit my parents and spend some quality time with them while taking advantage of a quarter free laundry system, of course. I keep all of my most prized possessions at my parents house so it wasn’t a big surprise that I’d keep all of my pageant odds and ends tucked away in my old room’s closet. In a previous post, I mentioned I was almost done purchasing all of my outfits items and thankfully today marked the final shopping day for all of my pageant gear meaning a complete head-to-toe dress rehearsal was definitely necessary.

After about two hours of makeup, hair and outfit changes, I was finally done! I practiced walking in all of my outfits (evening gown especially) and adjusted a few buttons here and there. I am so happy I have everything set because this is just one less thing on my mind now that the pageant is exactly two weeks away.

A lot of my friends have been asking if I’m getting nervous but in complete honesty, I’m getting very excited. I am having the time of my life soaking up all of these opportunities and experiences that I’ve had that being part of the pageant has given me and I’m now ready to actually be in Pasadena!

Love,
Kassie P.

Back to the Basics

If you were to ask my family how I studied for exams and presentations during elementary and early middle school years, they’d probably cringe at the very thought of those oh so memorable years, right Mom?! You see, many of those pre-test-nights consisted of me bawling my eyes out laying faced down on the kitchen table literally suffering trying to memorize facts and those horrible irrelevant math word problems! My mom (who I’m pretty sure wanted to strangle me a few times during these melt downs) patiently tried to help me figure out new ways to study and when her patience ran out, in came the switch-a-roo and boom!…my older sister was there for the rescue, that was until she’d toss the papers in the air out of frustration and say, “Mom, it’s your turn.” Eventually, I learned my personal style of studying and once high school and college came around, I hardly ever asked for help and was always above a 3.0 GPA.

When I at last figured out writing in sections, dividing questions and answers in parts and circling and boxing in phrases was my style of remembering, I wasn’t surprised since after all, I’m a writer. I learned when I began writing down notes or key words that needed to be remembered, it was imprinted in my head. Once the test or presentation came, I was then able to visualize my study guide and know exactly there had been three key points about that one subject on the left hand side of my notes and four facts about the other topic underneath of it, circled. I remember multiple professors asking me during tests if I was okay since I’d have a burning look within my eyes staring at the whiteboard or at my classmate’s shirt, when in reality all I was doing was visualizing my notes. 

Over these past few months, I’ve had the great opportunity to discuss my personal beliefs on politics and world and local issues with my family that I feel I may be asked during pageant weekend. In my head, I’ve kept tabs on certain key points I’d like to hit just in case I am asked those questions but since almost anything is game, obviously that’s a whole lot of key points I’d need to store in my memory bank! Then, it dawned on me…why not keep a small journal of all my pageant related thoughts, beliefs and facts?! I knew this was going to be ideal for pageant weekend and I’d “study” and review everything throughout the weekend. Though I will not of course memorize everything word for word, I know having my journal will help reduce the nervousness. My journal will symbolize everything I’ve done thus far to make it to the pageant and it will be the ultimate reminder that I already have all of the answers…for my writing pieces are not ordinary things to simply be memorized;  they are what is written inside of my heart.

 

What’s all the Babble about?

My good friend, Claudia Candelas, and I met up earlier this week to discuss our future blogging venture collaboration: Stiletto Girls. Claudia and I met through mutual friends at San Jose State University and we instantly hit it off because of our passion for media and all things related. Working while surfing the web for content ideas at Santana Row, I happen to come across a link to Babble.com*. The site was calling all bloggers to enter a chance to be named one of “Babble’s Best 100 Bloggers 2013.” I immediately signed this very blog to the list under the categories: Latina and Humor & Entertainment…and within hours, my stats blew out of the water. Though Babble editors and staff will end up selecting the final 100, just having my profile on another platform gives me that much more exposure to my pageant experience.

As you know from previous posts, I’ve been getting myself mentally prepared and doing everything else in between that will make the “Big Day” a success but to be honest, it hasn’t really hit me that it’s just around the corner! To think that exactly one year ago in September I had my initial pre-selection phone interview amazes me. Even though I didn’t create my blog until long after claiming the title of Miss San Jose Latina, I’ve had an amazing time documenting this experience because it’s something I’ll always be able to look back and reminisce on, with or without that Miss California Latina crown.

*To visit my Babble page and leave a comment, please visit: http://www.babble.com/babble-100/babble-100-readers-choice/kassandra-pena/

Love,
Kassie P.

Final Stamp of Approval

My pageant experience would not be possible without the financial support of all of my sponsors. I have been so blessed and thankful that each of my sponsors have been supportive of my journey and have made this experience a cherished memory of a lifetime. Of course I am grateful for every organization that has joined me on my run, however; I’d really like to extend my deepest gratitude to my biggest financial supporter: Caribe Nightclub. After the initial interview for the pageant, I remember thinking to myself how on earth I’d come up with close to $1,000 to participate.* Since I personally know the owner of the club, I knew I’d be able to ask for his support but I was definitely nervous not knowing the outcome. Luckily, after quickly stating the amount (hoping the sound would gently roll off of my tongue and kind of go in one ear and out the other) the owner blew out a whistle and agreed to paying the full amount. I distinctly remember the feeling of burden being instantly lifted off of my shoulders as if pageant angels had come to the rescue. Since then, I had been making payment installments every other month to Miss California Latina… up until earlier this week. I could not believe how much time had already passed and now I was making my final payment.

As mentioned, when I first found out exactly how much it would cost to participate, I remember having a feeling of “Well there goes that experience” because I knew that I, myself, could probably not have come up with the cash meanwhile paying off my car and monthly rent. I remember feeling pretty down because I truly wanted to try something different but wasn’t confident I could come up with the funds, that is; until I realized it was me who was holding myself back, not the money. I knew in my heart I’d find the means and it would only take my dedication and time to find sponsors. Thankfully and by the grace and timing of God, I found all of my sponsors and the birth of my journey had officially begun.

Though my contributors have been a big part of this experience financially, I’d also like to take the time to thank my other “sponsors,” my readers! My passion and calling in life is creative writing and I feel so honored when my readers comment, email and tweet me positive feedback on my posts. I feel an overwhelming amount of satisfaction and fulfillment when my readers take time to hear my voice. Thank you all who have joined me on my journey and who are rooting for Miss San Jose Latina 2013!

*Participation fee includes the following: Hotel Lodging, All Meals, Purple Carpet Media Event Transportation, Opening Number Dress/Jewelery/Shoes, Swim Wear, Weekend Competition Sash and Goody Bags from Miss California Latina sponsors.

Love,
Kassie P.

Welcome to the pageant life!

I first remember being introduced to the Miss California Latina (MCL) pageant a few years back when I was “YouTubing” and just happened to click on a MCL winner’s Youtube Channel, Vivian Fabiola. After doing a some research on the pageant, I remember thinking how great it was to see the contestants who look like your everyday ordinary girl. The Latina contestants looked like my own friends and like young women who I could really relate to. I visited the site quite a few times after being fascinated by Ms. Fabiola’s journalistic career (whom she thanked MCL for playing a part of her evolving career) and had often revisited her Youtube Channel for her latest posts. I had also often wondered if entering a pageant could potentially help launch my own career, especially since I too, studied Broadcast Journalism at San Jose State University. After being introduced to the pageant world, I put the thought of entering any type of pageant on hold as I pursued other opportunities like studying abroad in South America and playing a small role on a few episodes in Bravo TV’s reality show, Start-Ups: Silicon Valley

Fast forward to a few months ago: I was lounging around the house while surfing the web and just before I knew it, I was back on MCL’s website. I took a look at the requirements and in a matter of time, I began drafting my response of why I’d like to participate in the pageant. I sent the paperwork, turned off the computer and immediately called my family to let them know what I just did. No one in our immediate or extended family had ever participated in a pageant so they were quite surprised I had entered myself in the competition. About one month later and one interview completed, I received an email stating I had been accepted and would be representing the lovely city of San Jose, Calif. This pageant had become official and now I would be participating in the Miss California Latina event in November, with absolutely no experience but with SO much excitement.

With that, here I am today, sharing my journey of the unfamiliar with you. So, sit back and enjoy this new chapter of my life with me as I prepare for Miss California Latina!

Love,

Kassie P.