Comfort and growth cannot coexist

miss-sonoma-1Since graduating high school in 2012 I had gotten comfortable. Now don’t get me wrong after a long day or busy week I like a little comfort. There is nothing better than watching your favorite movie and staying in bed all day when you really need it. If life were up to me I would spend most days “sweatpants hair tied chillin’ with no makeup on”. But in more ways than one comfort is my biggest enemy. Comfort told me I didn’t need to strive for more, I was content being average, I could live without graduating from college, I would be fine with a mediocre life. It was a parasite infecting my brain with negativity and fear of the unknown. I knew I needed a change.

miss-sonoma-3My comfortable rut I had gotten into changed December 2015. Through social media I became aware of the Miss Sonoma County program and found out they were having interviews the very next day for the class of 2016. I went on an absolute whim and was chosen as one of the 12 girls competing for Miss Sonoma County. I did not win that year (I got second runner up) but the skills I acquired and people I met started a snowball effect in my life. The committee challenged my complacent thoughts and believed in my success so much. I was more confident and outspoken and willing to put myself out there and challenge myself. I was finally growing instead of being comfortable.

miss-sonoma-2I knew that when I signed up again for Miss Sonoma County in 2017 what I had to do in order to win. Make myself massively uncomfortable! The main thing I have learned about myself over the past year and a half, and especially in the past couple months as Miss Sonoma County, is that things are never as uncomfortable as your brain builds them up to be. I am so thankful for the opportunity the Miss America Organization has given me to be the best version of myself and to do so many things I never would have done if I had decided instead to stay in my little comfy bubble.

by: Kristina Schmuhl – Miss Sonoma County 2017

Miss San Fernando Valley gives tour of CALARTS

By: Joye Forrest – Miss San Fernando Valley 2017

Miss Fountain Valley City Tour

By: Amy Tran, Miss Fountain Valley 2017

From Scholarship To Success

MacKenzie_Freed_01-cropScholarship is my favorite point of the crown. While the Miss America Organization is heavily focused on service and differentiates itself through the talent competition, it is, first and foremost, a scholarship organization. Miss America is ranked first among the organizations that award the most scholarship dollars in the country. This is distinguishing factor is the reason I chose to compete for my first local title. Four years later, my love for the Miss America Organization and all the points of the crown has grown and I am a major advocate for the many ways that competing in this organization can benefit and grow you as strong, confident woman.

MacKenzie_Freed_05I began my Miss America journey at the ripe age of seventeen. As a senior in high school determined to further my education, the opportunity to win college scholarships was impossible to pass up. Little did I know that my first Miss America Scholarship would, eventually, grow into over $8,000 that I have been able to put toward my education during my undergraduate career. I am so incredibly proud to say that, on May 6th 2017, I graduated summa cum laude from California Baptist University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Communication Studies and became the first person in my family to graduate from college. One night, I was walking back from getting dinner on campus and it struck me that this place I have called home for four years will no longer be my home. My feet may never again walk this route that I have taken from the cafeteria to my apartment almost every single day for four years. In the midst of this wave of extremely bittersweet nostalgia, I looked at my campus with new eyes. I tried to memorize every detail of the way things looked while remembering the ways it had changed during my time there. MacKenzie_Freed_03-cropMy time on my college campus was such an integral part of my growth as a student, as a thinker, and as an individual. My time on this campus has come to an end and now my time will be spent somewhere else, beginning a new chapter. I am going to graduate. This goal that always seemed to loom in the distance has been achieved. I FINALLY DID IT!

Reaching this point and having that exhilarating, sad, terrifying, joyful moment of realization would not have been possible without the Miss America Organization. This program is about so much more than a sparkly hat and pretty dresses; it provides you with an opportunity to achieve your biggest dreams. Becoming Miss California would allow me to completely pay off my student loans and I know there are many other titleholders who understand how incredibly valuable that chance is. The Miss America Organization’s mission is to allow young women the opportunity to reach their educational goals. I am a testament to fulfillment of this mission and I am excited to continue to law school where the hard work that I put into my undergraduate degree has paid off in admission and scholarship offers from four incredible institutions. I have loved and enjoyed every Miss America local title that I have held to date; however, I am most ecstatic and proud about my new title: Graduate.

MacKenzie_Freed_06P.S. Getting that education is the first step to success, but utilizing it as a woman in the workforce can be challenging. My platform, From Scholarship to Success, is aimed at giving women tips to be successful in the workplace while beginning to change the conversation regarding equality. Follow me on Instagram (@missnosorg), Twitter (@missnosorg), and Facebook (Miss National Orange Show) for information on how to move from scholarship to success.

By: MacKenzie Freed – Miss National Orange Show 2017

Views from the 805 with Miss Ventura County

By: Amanda Rodriguez, Miss Ventura County 2017

What on Earth is Speed Painting?

By: Emma Foss, Miss Tustin 2017

Got Ag?

Blaire-Bostwick-blog1Hey Ya’ll! Put your boots on, climb in the tractor and hold on tight while I take you through a brief tour of the breadbasket of the world – California’s Central Valley Agricultural Industry!

Did you know that over half of the fruits, veggies, and nuts are grown in our Central Valley? Or how about the fact that the Central Valley is also responsible for over 1/5th of the nation’s dairy supply? No wonder we have our “breadbasket” nickname – we’ve definitely earned it!

I was born and raised in California’s great Central Valley. Growing up county fairs, farm shows, and the World Ag Expo were the highlights of the year bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the valley! Here, you’ll find a dairy around every corner, a crop on every road, and an endless amount of hard work and dedication that is put into our world-renowned agricultural industry.

Blaire-Bostwick-blog2Here in the Central Valley, you won’t find a person in the agricultural industry who doesn’t have their community’s best interest in mind and vise-versa. We understand just how important locally grown products are and will do everything in our power to support our local AG businesses. AG is embedded in all we do. It’s why you’ll find our store filled with locally produced milk and ice cream and “My Job Depends On AG” stickers on all of our cars. It’s why country music is our tune and cowboy boots are our accessories.

As all of us in California are aware, we are still feeling the extreme effects of the drought that has devastated our Golden State. What not all of us may know however is just how severely the drought has affected the Central Valley. Many lost their crops, their livestock, and their businesses were drastically affected. As a community, we have overcome so much, but we have never let anything bring us down. No matter the drought, no matter the heat, no matter the freeze, we are a resilient community of hardworking dairymen, growers, and farmers who will do whatever it takes to put food on your table.Blaire-Bostwick-blog3

I could not be more proud to be a product of the Central Valley and all the hardworking men and women of our agricultural industry who work tirelessly to provide for all of us. Our world depends on AG and I hope we never forget those who provide us with the nutrition we need to make our livelihoods possible. Take time to thank an AG worker and remember the Central Valley whenever you crack open a pistachio or put those strawberries on your ice cream sundae!

Thanks for letting me be your tour guide,
Blaire Bostwick
Miss Central Valley 2017

Fun Facts about Miss Tulare County 2017

By: Elizabeth Sartuche, Miss Tulare County 2017

A day in the life

By: Kirstin Bangs, Miss Los Angeles County 2017

The Road to Feeding Our Future

By: Mandy Bakker, Miss Culver City 2017