24 Nov 2013
Tags: Apparel, Beauty, Beauty pageant, california, California Latina, Career, Clothes, Competition, Exciting, Fashion, Fitness, Fun, Hair, Health, latina, Life, lifestyle, Makeup, Miss California, Miss California Latina, Outfit, pageant, San Jose, Sunday
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,
14 Nov 2013
Tags: Bikini, Bodybuilding, Competion, Diet, Eating Clean, Eating Right, Exercise, Fitness, Gym, latina, lifestyle, Lifting Weights, Miss California Latina, Muscles, pageant, Pageants, San Jose, Tan
I’ve always been physically active for as long as I can remember: I played basketball (spraining multiple fingers), ran on the track team (in brutally cold weather) and had a passionate love for fast pitch softball (up until my concussion). Sports and eating healthy have always been part of my life so as I grew older and eventually moved out into the “Real World,” making time for exercise and whipping up a fresh meal was nothing ever considered out of the ordinary. When I found out I had been selected to participate in Miss California Latina, my first thought was Sponge Bob Sqaure Pant’s home, “Bikini Bottom,” knowing that of course with any pageant comes along that portion of the competition.
As mentioned in a previous post, I will be wearing my Senior prom dress so that should tell you I haven’t really grown since high school (though I still can fit into 8th grade clothing items but that’s a whole other blog post itself). For the past 10 months, I’ve been doing my regular workout routines however, to be completely honest, I’ve recently kicked up my workout a bit. You see, I’ve always eaten anything and everything I wanted because I knew I’d “work it off later.” Yes, I was (and am) the type of girl to go on a 7 mile run and come home and eat raw cookie dough without a slight of care. Though this lifestyle is fun and worry free, I knew I’d have to make some small dietary changes for the pageant.
So for these past two months, I’ve been trading in cake for protein bars and organic juice for fresh squeezed lemon, grapefruit and ginger mixed flavored water. I’d be completely lying to you if I said I haven’t had a sweet or two…or too many to count *guilty smile*, within these months. Psychologically yes, I get down on myself thinking I just messed up but then again, I truly think about it and I realize I’m not entering a body building competition and I’d be fooling myself and everyone else if I said that I only eat “clean” because everyone who truly knows me, knows I’m a proud Choc-o-holic. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely happy with what eating a processed food free life has done for my body, toning wise, but I think what’s most important is that I practice what I preach and that is the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and occasionally livening up the party with a peanut M&M or two.
The pageant is only two weeks away and though I’ll be in a bikini in front of hundreds of people, this portion is just a mere slice of what the judges will be looking for. Though I have been in the gym almost every morning, what I’ve been training more is my mind because anyone can get an “ideal” body with professional help but not everyone can offer a special mind and heart.
03 Nov 2013
Tags: Beauty, Bilingual, Blogera, Blogger, Fashion, Harlem, Interview, Kassandra Pena, Kassie, latina, Latino, LatinoUSA, Latism, Life, lifestyle, NPR, Race, Radio, San Jose, Spanglish, Winning, Yes
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.
21 Oct 2013
Tags: Blog, Blogger, Blogs by Latinas, california, Chuck Reed, Council Members, Districts, East, Education, Gang, Gang Prevention, Graffiti, High School, Involvement, latina, Latinos, lifestyle, Mayor, Mayor Chuck Reed, Miss San Jose Latina, Parenting, Parents, Politicians, Politics, Presentations, San Jose, San Jose California, San Jose Police Department, School, Town hall meeting, Violence
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.
27 Sep 2013
Tags: Babble, Beauty, Blog, Blogger, california, crown, Diary, Document, Facebook, Interview, Journal, latina, lifestyle, Miss San Jose Latina, pageant, Queen, San Jose, Santana Row, Stiletto Girls, USA
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/