Some more exciting news! This is something I've wanted to share for a while...

I’m excited about a new adventure God has placed in my life! My good friend, Stephanie Sharp, & I have organized a camp for young girls. Our focus is for underprivileged girls with absent or abusive fathers. We’ve raised over 60% of our funding goal for this year already! We hope to apply for 501(c)3 status & welcome ongoing donations. If you are interested in volunteering at our camp or know anyone who may be interested in coming, please contact me. Check out our website for more info!

Camp Sharp for Girls:
We took the plunge! Our little family is growing with the newest addition...Carmen! She is all ours, a black labrador retriever mix we adopted from the local humane society! Our cousin works for Capital Area Humane Society and has been keeping an eye out on dogs for us since just after Christmas. You never really know what you're going to get when you rescue a pup, but I think God hit it right on the money in this case.

We found out about the pup on Monday but didn't get the opportunity to meet her until Thursday, she had surgery earlier this week, too. When we finally made the trip to get acquainted we found out she already had an adoption hold on her. To play it safe, we placed a hold on her as well...so we were second in line. We prayed on her all week, whether or not she would be the dog for us and we knew if it was meant to be, then it would be.

When the phone rang on Friday I thought the news would be that she had been adopted. I didn't want to have any great expectations BUT it was great news! The family that was in the #1 spot for her hold ended up adopting a different dog! After sleeping on it & thinking about her nonstop we decided to do it! She is ours! I still can't believe it!

Her name is Carmen...yes, for Carmen Ohio, the song for Ohio State University. We wanted to name her something Ohio State related or something that had ties with me & Steve. Our other choices were: Rose (for the Rose Bowl), Hayes (for Woody Hayes), Jessie (for Jessie Owens), G.G./Gigi (for Gordon Gee) and Mattie (for Dave Matthews Band). Obviously the last one isn't based after OSU. :)

Carmen just seemed to work as we were driving home with her the other night. We've already made a couple of trips to Petsmart to make sure our little girl has everything she needs. She truly is a great little puppy, a LOT of work but great! I don't want to jinx it but she didn't whine or cry at all last night! Thank you Jesus! Ha!

So if we didn't already have enough on our plates & consuming our time...we got a daughter! Ha ha, I'm making myself giggle. The next 2 to 4 weeks will probably be really busy as we house train her, but she's already making progress. What an awesome Valentine's Day gift to receive from one another, right?!

Introducing Carmen! Carmen's Photos
Check this out: Zack Arias (Click "04 Feb")

What a week it HAS been! Monday = Spanish project and composition. Tuesday = mid-term intern report. Wednesday = first research methods exam. Thursday = shoot with local photographers and Zack Arias (He's a big deal in the photographer world, I guess!). Smile. Friday = CareerFest 2010 representative for Fisher + snow! I'm not quite back to normal from the trip to Miss America in Vegas yet either. But it's all okay because I'm sitting at home with my hubby wrapped up in the cozy chocolate brown cashmere blankey my grandma got us for our wedding last year watching "9" and eating brownie bites. Ahh.

IF I get a chance and IF I feel like it...I might share more of my thoughts on the Miss America pageant. Wink. Have a blessed weekend!
Back to life, back to reality! Talk about "Ventures in Vegas!" I am so exhausted but that means I had a good time! Another whirlwind weekend but a great one! I haven't been back in Ohio quite 24 hours yet and I'm a little torn, wishing I were still in Las Vegas but very thankful to be home, too.

I landed in Vegas just before noon and headed to The Palazzo to meet my roommates for the weekend: my Miss Kentucky, Kaitlynne Postel, and Kearney Canter-Kok (whose mother is the VP for the Miss Kentucky program)! They flew in the night before and were able to meet up at visitation with their state contestant, Miss KY 2009, Mallory Ervin; who went on to be named 4th runner-up this past weekend!

K & K (that's what I'll call the girls in this blog) were starving, having not eaten all day and I, nothing since before my flight left Chicago. We took our starving selves down to Grand Lux at the Venetian and was it ever tasty! After my first official meal on my third trip back to Vegas, we headed to Planet Hollywood! Kait, Kear and I were greeted at the Heart Bar by Summer Wyatt (Miss WV '07), Christina Thompson (Miss WI '07) and our own Miss America '08 & Miss Michigan '07, Kirsten Haglund!

We were expecting more ladies but Katie Bailey's (Miss AR '07) flight was delayed and Alyssa George (Miss KS '07) ended up becoming ill. We just missed Amanda Joseph (Miss LA '07 - soon to be Mrs.!), as she stopped but had a prior engagement to get to. It was absolutely wonderful to sit and talk to these fabulous women and catch up on them and hear about what's going on in their lives. They are all doing so well and are as driven as ever...very inspiring!
After the Heart Bar it was off to do some shopping at the PH Miracle Mile Shops and grab a bite at Cabo Wabo! Marcia, Kait's aunt who happens to be a former Miss Kentucky from 1978, joined us! She was a blast!

Next on the agenda was dinner and dancing at TAO, one of the best nightclub's located in the Venetian. We were eachother's dates but were also accompanied by some of Kait's friends! Lincoln Brown, son of former Miss America Phyllis George and his friend, Amir Hemmat! At the end of the day, I had been awake for 23 hours! I am glad I was able to keep going, I didn't want to be the party-pooper!

After a few hours of sleep I headed back to Planet Hollywood to pick up my badge for visitation and my ticket to the show! I took some time in the afternoon to get ready for Miss America 2010 LIVE! Spectators had to be in their seats around 4:30 to prepare for the live telecast which was at 5pm in Vegas but 8pm back here! It went by SO fast!

Unfortunately, I was not sitting with the O.H.I.O. group but I told the lady sitting next to me in advance that I would be yelling out "I.O." after our Miss Ohio gave us the "O.H.!" She was ok with that. And I could see Kait & Kear from where I was sitting. Once Erica didn't get into the Top 15, I looked over at them and Kear had her arms up in the "O" and Kait had hers up in the "H!" So sweet!

I was sitting directly behind the New Mexico group, hoping maybe I could pop my head in between someone and be seen on T.V. Ha! I watched my DVR of Miss America last night and had no such luck of getting on T.V. again. Silly! Erica should be so proud of her accomplishment of competing at Miss America! She was on everyone's radar all week and has made Ohio extremely proud! I know she's going to need to relax and recuperate this week but I'm looking forward to seeing her back in action around the state for the rest of her reign!After the telecast and the crowning of Miss America 2010, Caressa Cameron, we made our way to the ballroom for visitation. Erica had such an enormous group of supporters with her last week! I was able to catch up with a lot of folks from back here in Ohio, but also stopped to say "hi" to some Kentucky, Michigan and New York folks! The Ohio crew made a semi-circle at the back of the room and started cheering "O.H.-I.O.!" as Erica headed for us to accept loads of hugs! Even though some were bummed, shocked, or what have you...Erica IS our Miss Ohio and because of that she is like our own Miss America! "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6) This was a Bible scripture I shared with her this week and deep down she understands that "it", whatever "it" may be, will only happen if it is in God's plan. I'm so happy for Erica to have experienced this moment in her life. She will only get stronger from here!

After catching up with everyone, congratulating Erica and giving her my love, we were off to the Miss America 2010 Judges and former Miss America's after party! I so wanted to meet Vivica Fox but she scooted out before we could catch her. Kaitlynne got a photo with Shawn Johnson and we all got a pic and were able to meet Rush Limbaugh! He was very hard at hearing, ha, but a nice man from what I could tell. Please no one give me a hard time, I don't know enough about him and his opinions...I just thought it was neat to have a photo with him. Plus, Kearney really likes him and wanted a pic!After the party we journeyed to the City Center, some call it Sinner City (Ha!), and hit a new spot...Haze! My Miss CA, Melissa Chaty, tagged along with us! It was crowded but a LOT of fun! Timbaland even showed up and performed! Oh my gosh, it was amazing. Some of you may not peg me for a Timbaland fan but, I am! Last year when I did choreography for Miss Maple City, the contestants walked to one of his songs in swimsuit!

We finally made it back to The Palazzo with very little time for K & K before they needed to head to the airport...their flight left at six in the morning! Oh, I felt really bad! My flight back home was wonderful because I was with some of my Ohioans! The Bishop Family: Jim, Bryce & Paige, Kay Hall, Linda & Jessica Eggan, & Sue Swinehart!

I am extremely grateful that I was able to travel back to Las Vegas for Miss America again this year. Thanks not only goes to the Big Guy but to my husband, too! I think next year he's coming with me, no matter what. I'll put him in my suitcase if I have to! Please enjoy more pictures at this link: Photos!

P.S. I hope to give a "review" with a synopsis and my thoughts on the competition soon! Stay tuned.