Cooking with Miss Contra Costa County: Pistachio Vinaigrette

Pistachio-Vinaigrette-American-PistachiosHi everyone! Angela Laird, Miss Contra Costa County 2015 here. Often times, as a “pageant girl”, I get asked: “but what do you eat?” There seems to be a stereotype that once you enter a pageant, you are forced to eat birdseed. Contrary to popular belief, I still eat pasta, burgers, and the occasional cookie. The lifestyle and fitness portion of the competition is meant to promote a healthy lifestyle filled with veggies, protein, lots of water, and being active, not starving oneself to become thin. Many girls who compete consume 6 meals, over 100 grams of protein, and a gallon of water a day!

Anyway, before I get too off topic, I’m here today to share with you one of my new recipes, made with American Pistachio Growers pistachios! Did you know that the Queen of Sheba decreed pistachios an exclusively royal food, going so far as to forbid commoners from growing the nut for personal use? No wonder pageant queens love pistachios! But seriously, they’re a great source of fiber and protein.  You’re likely to eat less but feel fuller, longer.  They are also one of the highest-fiber nuts.  Fiber helps control blood sugar, helps you feel full and aids with weight management!

Pistachio Vinaigrette
¼ cup American Pistachio Growers brand pistachios, chopped
½ cup olive oil

1 clove garlic (½ tsp chopped garlic)
2 tbsp vinegar
½ cup hot water
½ tsp sugar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (more to taste)


Pour all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve on top of your favorite salad and store in a salad dressing bottle.
My favorite salads are filled with spinach! For this recipe, I tossed spinach, bacon bits, cranberry raisins, and cheese. I would have loved feta cheese in this recipe if I had some! I settled for parmesan. I had 6 oz of grilled chicken on the side as well as a cup of steamed green beans (my favorite!). The vinaigrette tastes great with the saltiness of the bacon! Try out this recipe and tell me what you think! You won’t be disappointed, I promise!

Until next time!
Angela Laird
Miss Contra Costa County 2015

Home from Miss America!

MissCaliforniaCOVER-marina-miss-caHello Family and Friends! Thank you for everyone's kind words and support over the past week since Miss America. I have been enjoying some serious rest time at home in San Diego. Im pretty sure I have slept more this week than I have in the last month. Haha Its good to be home and I look forward to the rest of my year as Miss CA!

I am so happy for our new Miss America, Kira Kazantsev! She will be a wonderful representative for the Children's Miracle Network, an advocate for STEM, and a pioneer in the fight against domestic violence. Kira is a beautiful soul who I am honored to call my friend and I know she will be an incredible Miss America!

I want to send out another huge thank you to everyone who came out to Atlantic City to support me. It meant the world to see so many smiling faces from the stage, at the parade, and after each show.

I also owe incredible gratitude towards the many people who helped me get to the Miss America stage! It truly takes a village and I could not have done it without the help of so many people! You all know who you are!

I will admit that it was very hard to have not made the Top 15 at Miss America. Each year, the women from CA face tremendous pressure to be the best of the nation. I am honored to have even made it to compete on the national level and be among the 53 most intelligent, talented and successful women of our country. It was such a great feeling to be on that stage in Boardwalk Hall and perform my talent, walk down the famed runway in my evening gown and spend time in historic Atlantic City representing California. Though I may not have been among the top 15 favorite contestants for the judges, I am still honored to have represented our state at the 2015 Miss America Pageant! I had an incredible time with my Miss America sisters and I truly enjoyed the experience. I was exhausted from the moment I left CA, but it was worth every drop of blood, sweat, and tear to get the opportunity of a lifetime to be on the Miss America stage!

I am so blessed to come home to such a beautiful state and spend the rest of my year as Miss California. Thank you to all who support me. I can't thank you enough!!!

Love always, Marina

My Time at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen

After I won Miss California's Outstanding Teen, I had about three weeks to prepare for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition in Orlando. Those weeks leading up to Orlando were quite busy, full of trying on dresses and filling out paperwork. I was very anxious leading up to the pageant, but I was also extremely excited!

Upon arriving at the hotel, I was able to meet some of the girls at our AMAZING Tony Bowls photo shoot. It was so much fun to have our hair and makeup done, and dress up in some gorgeous dresses. Some thereafter, we had our first rehearsal, and that was the first time we were all together in one room! We all had an instant connection, and I was ready to begin the week!

After orientation that night, we said good-bye to our parents (and our phones) and we were off to our rooms to spend our first night with our roommates! I was a little… no… I was REALLY, REALLY nervous about my roommate, Megha from Kansas. I mean, I was spending a week rooming with someone I had never met before. I was worried we would not get along, but thankfully, it was just the opposite. We became great friends, and that made my week a whole lot easier. We helped each other get ready, made sure we were on time, and picked up anything the other needed.

In the days following, we went to many different events and many long hour rehearsals. Through it all, we became closer as friends, and it was long before we all started acting like sisters who have lived together their whole lives. The funny thing is, the reason we all became so close is because we didn’t have our phones. We had no access to the social world, and we had to make conversation. I am so glad that they took our phones because if they hadn’t, we wouldn’t be as close as we now are.

The prelims came and went fairly fast. I was extremely proud of each of my performances, including my private interview. I was so humbled to be able to stand on the stage with some of the most amazing, talented, beautiful, and kind teenagers in America. After the prelims, we are all so anxious for Saturday night, but we had to wait two whole days! On that Friday, we had no competition, so we went to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, and met some of the hardest working people I have ever met.

On Saturday, excitement (no not nerves) was high, and we could not wait to see who the new Miss America’s Outstanding Teen was. After the top 12 was announced, I was so excited to watch my friends compete! When it came down to it, I (along with everyone else) starting freaking out and crying when Olivia’s name was called. Olivia (Georgia) was and is one of the most down to earth, real, and inspirational people I have ever met in my entire life. She is going to be a rockin’ MAOT, and she will change the face of the organization in the best way.

So, after all of that, I am very excited to be back home in California, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of my year has in store for me.

Thank you all for your love and support!


Miss California Marina Inserra’s Onstage Question at Miss America

Thursday, September 11, Marina competed in the preliminary onstage question portion of preliminaries. Watch below as she shares her passion for Breast Cancer Awareness!


LIMITED EDITION: 90th Anniversary Shirts

We know you're all excited for our 90th Anniversary Celebration, so we have added an exciting and limited edition product to our merchandise shop.  This year, the Miss California Organization will sell these exclusively designed shirts in honor of this historic competition year of #90years.

Miss California 90th Anniversary T-Shirt


The Miss California Shop is growing every year and we will be adding the official shop to our website soon.  In the meantime, you will only be able to buy this shirt during pageant week, in the lobby of the Saroyan Theatre in Fresno, CA.  Michele Moser, our wonderful merchandise director will be there to help you get your Miss California 90th Anniversary Shirt!


June 24th-27th – Miss California & Miss California's Outstanding Teen Preliminary Nights

June 27th – Crowning of Miss California's Outstanding Teen 2014

June 28th – Crowning of Miss California 2014

***LIVE Stream of the final night of Miss California competition starts at 7pm PST on Saturday, June 28 and is found on our website or by clicking this link


Many thanks also go to Damion Lloyd Photography for providing beautiful images of our merchandise and crowns.  

Welcome to the Miss California Blog

Please bear with us as we learn our new system and start to provide you the timely information that you want.


– Miss California Team