Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving and I am home alone… but in no means sad. While my family is enjoying delicious treats and the company of extended family members, I’ve opted to take this day to make final preparations and completely immerse myself in peace and tranquility. My day began by packing and organizing all of my weekend necessities and finding the time in between house cleaning and doing laundry to read and jot down some final thoughts in my journal. Throughout the day, I’ve received some amazing support text messages and it has definitely made this experience a lot more real.

For the most part, I’ve been doing a lot of self talk in order to get my mind focused but I know that in order to really live out this experience, I must live in the moment. Luckily, I’m not as nervous as one would usually think but I definitely am feeling a bit anxious. Later this evening, I will be joining my sister and heading out to Southern California where my life may change forever on Sunday.

Since it is Thanksgiving and all, I’d like to take a moment and thank all of my readers who have followed me on this amazing journey. Your comments, daily blog visits and emails have inspired me to continue my writing posts and I hope you have learned a lot about me and who I am as a person. To date, my heart is so happy with all of the opportunities I’ve had being part of this pageant and whatever the outcome may be, I know I will continue moving forward in life because if there’s anything I’ve learned this year, is that there is no other option but to.

As for now, I will go take my final walk as Miss San Jose Latina 2013 around my neighborhood breathing in the fresh air and admiring all that Mother Nature has to offer because that right there, is something to truly be thankful for.

Love,
Kassie P.

SoleExpo

When I was a Junior at San Jose State University, I interned for Bay Area’s legendary TV and Radio host, Chuy Gomez. Though he was usually out and about doing guest appearances and promotions, I definitely took advantage of my time as an intern learning as much industry knowledge as possible. Now I’m not sure if I got lucky or if Chuy just keeps a good relationship with all interns but we never stopped communicating post internship duties. Chuy has been a great help in giving me advice career wise while promoting a few of my past accomplishments so when he found out I was Miss San Jose Latina, he definitely wanted to help me get the proper exposure.

Last Saturday, Chuy invited me to the second annual SoleExpo* event on the East Side of San Jose. The event was held to help local venders sell and promote personal clothing lines and authentic urban style shoes. Since my family was on our way to Fresno immediately right after, I was not able to stay as long as I would have liked to but I definitely was able to interact with guests and of course, shop. What made this event more special was that I was accompanied by my older sister who hasn’t really had the opportunity to come to events with me since she usually is swamped with third year law school assignments or papers. Eventually, it was time to get on the road but I was happy to make another appearance on the same day my blog hits surpassed 3,000 views!

*To view a picture of myself and Chuy please visit my “Photos” page.

Love,
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!

Love,
Kassie P.

LatinoUSA on NPR

I had an amazing thing happen to me last week: I was invited to be a guest speaker on LatinoUSA on NPR. Yes, that’s right…this opportunity meant I’d be part of something HUGE. I received an email from the producer of LatinoUSA in Harlem, New York, asking if I’d like to be part of a panel discussing body image with the Latina and pageant industry. I was so in shock because NPR was something all of my journalism classes listened to at SJSU and the prominent journalists, in my eyes, were definitely high and mighty-celebrity like. After the initial pre-interview phone call, we finalized last minute details and like a child excitedly waiting for Christmas morning all year long, November 1st, my Christmas, finally came arrived.

Once my sister and I showed up to the station, we quickly set up shop and began mic checking and as soon as I knew it, the segment had begun with journalist and moderator, Maria Hinojosa, introducing me as “Blogera* Kassandra Peña, Miss San Jose Latina.” The conversation also included proud feminist and “Blogera” Patricia Valoy in which we all discussed how body image has changed over the years and what we think the future holds for Latinas. Eventually, the segment came to a final close and it was such an amazing feeling to hear my blog address and more importantly, my name be announced on air. Participating in an interview like this just made me even more determined to make a name for myself within the Latina social media community. I felt as if I were doing exactly what I was meant to be doing in life and I truly was at my highest self of fulfillment.

Though the conversation will be edited and aired within the next two weeks, I am so grateful the Miss California Latina organization exists. I would have never had the opportunity to be on NPR if it weren’t for the pageant and my creation of this very blog-how LatinoUSA contacted me. The “Big Day” is now just 26 days away and up to this point, I have had many great opportunities with just my title alone that no matter what happens, I still am walking away as a winner.

Ps- Please visit my “Photos” page to view a picture at the studio

*Blogera is the latest and trendiest “Spanglish” name given to a Latina woman who is a blogger.

Love,
Kassie P.

The Countdown

In exactly one month from today, I will be competing for Miss California Latina and I am so excited! It seems surreal to think one year ago, I was barely filing out the organization’s paperwork to begin the process. Earlier this week, all of the contestants received a handful of emails outlining the pageant’s weekend…and it is something I definitely am looking forward to. Some of the events include attending a Purple Carpet Media Event and lots of dress rehearsals throughout the day!

Now that the pageant is weeks away, I definitely have noticed more anticipation and nervousness within myself. Though these feelings have sometimes kept me tossing and turning before bed, thinking of how the weekend will play out, I know I am more excited than anything else. Years ago, I would have never imagined myself entering a pageant and having all of the great support and opportunities I’ve had thus far. The countdown is officially on and I am totally ready to put San Jose on the map!

Love,
Kassie P.