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.

Here We Go!

Seven. Days. Left. Yes that’s right, Miss California Latina is exactly one week away. Next Sunday, at this very hour I will either be the next reigning queen or I will look back on this amazing year and still feel a great sense of satisfaction. Everything I need for the pageant is set in stone and ready to go: travel plans, makeup and hair looks, and freshly steamed outfits.

I have had such an amazing time preparing for the pageant and I am honestly able to say I’m ready to be living the actual experience. I have been waiting exactly one year for this day and now that it’s right around the corner, just amazes me. I have had so much support from my family and close friends and knowing I have all of their best wishes and positive vibes is giving me that extra boost of confidence I need. I’ve sent a few questions via email to the pageant coordinator about certain details throughout the weekend but I also figured it’d be best for me to just go with the flow and experience the mystery as the days go on.

According to our itinerary, we will be busy from about 7am to 11pm throughout the entire weekend and the only time we’ll be in any contact with our families is on Sunday, the final day. Though I’d like to spend some time with my family to shake off some last minute jitters, I know I will be having a great time participating in interviews, photo shoots and outfit fittings. Out of all of the events that will take place, I really am looking forward to the personal one-on-one interviews (taking place on Saturday). I feel this is truly going to be my perfect opportunity to really connect with the judges and allow them to get to see my true self. Plus, who doesn’t like to talk about themselves?!

I’m so thankful for everything that has come my way as Miss San Jose Latina and I am so ready to see what doors will open for me next week!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.