Music Mania

For as long as I can remember, listening to music has always been my escape from my world while relaxing in peace. Throughout my school years, I listened to my Ipod while doing homework and studying for exams and while journal writing, I keep soft music playing in the background. In my house, a Pandora station is always on and the beats of the music keep me dancing in between hair brush strokes and more importantly, feeling alive! So in order to help keep my nerves down during pageant weekend, I figured I’d compile a list of my favorite songs and create a “Miss California Latina” playlist on my 2007 Ipod.*

Normally, one would ask why not just add the playlist or listen to Pandora on my Iphone however, I can not and will not take the chance of bad service or reception in the hotel leaving me without music. Though I have no idea how the weekend will play out, I know that I will at least feel more “at home” with my favorite tunes ringing in my ear buds.

Growing up, I was introduced to various genres of music from the people who raised me: parents, babysitters, the Catholic church, and TV. I’d like to think I have a wide and random taste for music so it’s not going to be a big surprise that my playlist will jump from songs from The Partridge Family to Blink 182 to Julieta Venegas. To people going through my Ipod, these random, completely different languages and messages may be a bit too much when trying to get a feel as in to who I am as a person but I think having a mixture of songs and genres shows just how diverse and culturally aware the average Latin American woman is today.

*Rock out to some of the artists I’ll be listening to with me:
Ace of Base
All American Rejects
Ariana Grande
Banda el Recodo
Banda Carnval
Brandon Heath
Chris Brown
Doobie Brothers
Gerado Ortiz
Hall and Oats
La Arrolladora Banda Limon
John Legend
Mandy Moore
Mary Wells
Metro Station
Patti Drew
Toby Mac
Toy Box
We the Kings

Kassie P.


Crunch Time

Over the past several days, all of the contestants have been flooded with Miss California Latina emails outlining the weekend and all of its fun events. We also received photographs of our Opening Number dress, our shoes, and two-piece bikini. Of course I’d like to share the photos with you but the organization asked we keep everything private until the actual weekend. What I can describe to you is the Opening Number dress is a simple one shoulder pink cocktail dress paired with nude opened toed ankle strapped heels. The bikini, however, is something I’ll have to physically see in person since the photo didn’t have the best quality and the pattern looked like something military personnel wear in combat. Regardless of how the outfits fit (which I’m hoping everything fits like a glove) I’m thankful they are free and all contestants get to take them home plus further goodies.

With all of the emails coming in full force, I finally feel like this is really happening. I had known I was going to participate in the pageant since September 2012 so now that it’s only three weeks away, my mind is blown away. I’m very excited to have this whole pageant experience part of my life and everything that has come my way because of my Miss San Jose Latina title. This whole year has been a blessing and I’m definitely looking forward to the pageant weekend!

Kassie P.

Operation Safeway

Though this pageant life is a new and an unexpected experience for me, I must say I am quite content with all of the opportunities that have come my way. I have met so many people and have gone to exciting events with my sash but one of the greatest perks of being a titleholder is being able to create and promote causes. As you know from a previous post, Santa Clara County definitely has its fair share of poverty and in a somewhat bittersweet feeling, I’m happy I get to work directly with some of these low income community members every single day. These fun, emotional, “too-cool-to-talk-to-you teenagers” constantly remind me how blessed and fortunate I am, and I’m probably 99.9% sure they don’t even know it. When a student tells me she wakes up at 5am because her mom couldn’t afford their house anymore and now travel from a distant city or how a family of five lives in a motel, I’m reminded but more importantly, motivated, to use the resources I have to help in any way.

Seven years ago, I met my best friend. My family had moved second semester of Senior year of high school to a new city (yes, I know, horrible!) and Felicia was the only person who gave the new kid any type of attention. We immediately clicked, mostly due to our faith, and our friendship blossomed and it wouldn’t be much longer until I’d learn exactly how many great connections pastors make throughout their community. Grocery stores like Safeway for example, would donate TONS of food on a weekly basis to her parent’s church so members including myself always left with some yummy treats. Fast forward until present day, it only made sense that I’d bring the “Safeway leftovers” to my work and have it distributed to the teens listed under the “Emergency Funds for Families”*. With the school’s permission and gratitude, “Operation Safeway” was underway. Unfortunately, the past few weeks didn’t pan out as planned: either a miscommunication amongst the Safeway distributor and our church member food picker-upper occurred or some other mishap took place, causing me to come to work empty handed. Luckily this week was different. Safeway must have known I had a ton of kids to feed because it took me a good 20 minutes to pack and stuff my Honda with over 200 loaves of healthy whole wheat bread, french rolls, and baguettes!

As school officials helped me unload all of the bread onto a golf cart, they couldn’t stop thanking me for sharing all of the food. Though I was happy they were happy, I honestly didn’t feel a sense of pride that this was my doing or my idea…I thought, “Well of course I’d bring this food, how could I not? Is there another choice I could have made?” We started dividing all of the bread into baggies for the teens in need when some of the office ladies decided we should start a weekly pantry system for our kids. I’d be in charge of bringing the majority of donated food and they’d provide pasta and sauce and other non-perishable food items. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to physically pass out the bread to the students since I needed to be elsewhere in the school but I was told the kids had looks on their faces as if they had been awarded 1 million hall passes. I was told the teens were overjoyed and it had been an unexpected surprise for many. According to the school Registrar, one student said, “My mom is going to be so happy…we’re going to eat.”


Kassie P.

*To read more about Emergency Funds for Families, please scroll down to “The Platform I Need”

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.


Tic Toc…Tic Toc

Every morning after deciding I’ve hit the “snooze” option far one too many times, I check my blog for new comments and get an update on my viewership. Today as usual, I did what I’ve been doing the past several weeks of my blog existence: wake up, stretch and yawn in bed all while hitting the refresh symbol on my blog. But today I noticed something was different…very different: My Countdown.

Though I began to share my pageant experience with the world just a few short weeks ago, I actualy had been accepted to participate in Miss California Latina since November 2012. Only recently however, have I been much more active and vocal about the pageant. Last month, when I began this blog, my countdown stated “The Big Day” was six months away. That’s half a year…a long time from now…no big deal. Today however, while in bed with messy bed hair and un-brushed teeth, “The Big Day” countdown had magically lost weight overnight and revealed a slim new figure in bold: “5″. The initial application, interview and paperwork I had turned in back in September 2012 had seemed so far ago, with plenty of time to “take my time.” Now that summer is just around the corner with exciting events to go to, I know these upcoming months are without a doubt going to pass by fairly quickly. I know it will be up to me to make the most of all of these experiences before I wake up in bed one day, post Miss California Latina, and wish I hadn’t “snoozed,” through this ultimate journey.


Kassie P.



Scored Another One!

!Viva Mexico!…Mexico Lindo restaurant, that is! A few months ago, I had the opportunity to meet the owner, Lino, through a mutual friend. We exchanged contact information as he suggested we could possibly collaborate and both benefit from one another during this pageant experience of mine. After much discussion (and even a job offer) Lino generously agreed to cover the entire cost of my professional photographs and offered to have multiple fundraisers/meet-and-greets at the restaurant, in San Jose. Luckily for me, Lino is quite familiar with pageants as he has sponsored other women who have competed for multiple competitions.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have all of these sponsors support me through this journey and I’m very excited to start promoting these businesses as much as possible! As of now, I thankfully have all financials covered by my sponsors but that doesn’t mean I won’t be on the lookout for sponsors in other categories, like beauty!

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!


Kassie P.