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Miss Ventura County: Sisters At Last

IMG_9933Growing up, all I wanted was a sister. When I was four years old, I got a little brother named Jack. I did my best in the most important job I had ever had: being a big sister. I hugged him and kissed him constantly, just to make sure he knew how much I loved him. Three years later, my mom was pregnant again. I hoped and prayed that it would be my sister. I dreamed of playing dress up with our dolls, braiding her hair, and playing fairy princesses in the backyard. I couldn’t wait to teach her everything I knew and share my excitement for life with her. When my mom came home with another boy, I refused to lose hope. I loved Matthew just as much as Jack, and I quickly moved on from the fact that he wasn’t a girl. Three more years, and it was my last chance. I remember gathering up all of my favorite girlie toys and books and blankets, and waiting eagerly for the arrival of what I was sure to be my perfect little sister. You can probably guess where this is heading- my brother Cooper was born in 2004. With three little brothers under my belt, I pushed aside my dream for a sister and focused on being the best role model I could for them. I played soccer with them (until they were too big and way better than me), I encouraged them to pursue theater and music, and I strived to set the most positive example I could in all aspects of my life. My dream of a sister was pushed aside in favor of loving and appreciating the gifts of my amazing brothers.

house2When I headed off to the University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall of 2013, my lost dream of having a sister was quickly fulfilled when I joined the Delta Gamma sorority. Instead of just one sister to dress up with, I had 140. It was pretty evident that God had planned this all along, by giving me beautiful brothers growing up and inspiring sisters when I left home. Delta Gamma has given me opportunities to pursue service, engage with alumnae, and grow as a college student. Being surrounded by women who support and care about one another has transformed my college experience. Now, living in a house with 43 of these ladies, I can appreciate the family that we have created. I cherish each one of them, and I know that our friendships will last many years after we throw our caps at graduation.

IMG_7326On January 17, I was welcomed into another sisterhood: the Miss California Class of 2015. From the moment I was crowned Miss Ventura County, I have been surrounded and supported by amazing women, all of whom exemplify what the Miss America Organization has to offer: service, style, scholarship, and success. If we could add another point to the crown, I have no doubt that it would be sisterhood. Each of us has a story, and we each have a passion. Every woman who carries a title has a dream and we are willing to work towards it- together.

10420777_814473555256170_3956833175279335967_nWhat is most incredible is the fact that I have met women who bring my two sisterhoods together- my Delta Gamma sisters in the Miss California family! I am so lucky to be a part of two sisterhoods that promote service, determination, scholarship, and leadership. My sisters are motivating me to live with passion and work tirelessly towards excellence. Years ago, I never could have imagined the unbelievable impact sisters have made on my life. I wish I could go back and tell that little girl how one day she would be blessed with more than 200 sisters.

Or maybe not, because I learned a valuable lesson: sometimes life works out in unexpected and incredible ways.

Thanks for reading!

Jane Kennedy

Miss Ventura County 2015

Show Some Love on Valentine’s Day

Bree (at right) with her mom and sister

Bree (at right) with her mom and sister

Before I get into the real reason for this blog, I just wanted to introduce myself and say thanks for stopping by our page! My name is Bree Morse and in January I was fortunate enough to be crowned Miss Orange Coast 2015. I’m excited for the year that lies ahead of me and to have the opportunity to share my experiences with you (you can follow me on Instagram at @missorangecoast)!

Valentine’s Day is soon approaching, and whether or not you have that “special someone,” there is probably a part of you screaming “Great. What do I do now?” Most likely, there’s also part of you hoping that an admirer will send you a special delivery of a 5lb box of See’s Candy. At least I’m guilty of both of these thoughts. In all actuality, Valentine’s Day was not always associated with secret admirers, flying babies with a bow and arrow, and excessive amounts of confectionery hearts. Originally a religious holiday, it wasn’t until the 1300’s that the holiday became associated with romance. In the 1840’s, along came mass produced Valentine’s Day cards that would soon establish February 14th as a prominent consumer holiday. I can’t imagine that they had the One Direction valentines at that time, but the tradition of letting someone know that you care about them has carried on ever since.

Don't forget your favorite Valentine-themed clothes!

Don’t forget your favorite Valentine-themed clothes!

For as long as I can remember, Valentine’s Day has been one of my favorite holidays of the year. Every February 14th my sister and I would wake up even earlier just to have our mom French braid a heart into the back of our heads as we wrote out valentines to our classmates (One year I had Lisa Frank cards with matching pencils. At that point I thought for sure my life was made). After leaving the house with the perfect hair-do, it was off to school to pass out your notes of admiration then to see what you received in return. There was nothing better than the feeling of untying the yarn holding closed your craft-time mailbox to see kindness and compassion of your peers spill out onto your desk (the candy and pencils weren’t bad, either).

To this day, I cannot overstate the importance of making the holiday special for those you care about. My mom doesn’t French braid my hair in the mornings, but on that day I still find every single heart-adorned accessory and clothing item that I own to show my love for Valentine’s Day. So this year, regardless if you’ll be going to a fancy dinner with your Valentine or if your special someone is your cat (let’s face it, my cat Stanley is quite a catch), challenge yourself to go out of your way to let someone know that you care about them. It’s a kind gesture as simple as telling someone they look nice, that they made you smile the other day, or even giving them that prized Lisa Frank pencil. Although the 5 lb box of candy will definitely not be turned down, it’s the essence of Valentine’s Day that makes it so special – to love, and be loved. Who could pass that opportunity up?!

All my best,
Bree Morse
Miss Orange Coast