Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Hi everyone!

We just had Orientation last weekend and I was able to get the contestants to join me in my shenanigans! You'll see what I mean with this video.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Miss California 2012 in China!

(from the American Pistachio Blog)

您好我家安全在中国的奇妙之旅这是这么多的乐趣促进海外开心果!  That translates in English to, “Hello!  I am home safe from the fantastic trip in China!  It was so much fun to promote Pistachios overseas!”  It is a huge honor to be an APG Ambassador and I am so grateful for the memories made this year.  APG has already sent me to France and China, but in a couple weeks, I am going to New York for a tradeshow and then Barcelona next month to visit and thank our customers in Europe.  These trips have opened my eyes to how many people are eating American Pistachios around the world!  This was my first time to China and therefore, my first 13-hour flight!  My flight was long but I was all equipped with the plane’s on-demand entertainment, so I was taken care of.

Watch my China video here: 
(Sorry about some of the audio issues.  My iMovie was not working properly while uploading my video…)

Our trip to China lasted for 10 days and it went by way too fast!  I got to travel along with Judy Hirigoyen and five other pistachio growers.  I had a blast promoting with Judy, Danielle Kusmak, Jim Zion, Jeff Gibbons, and Rudy Hernandez!  We were an awesome team!  During our trip we visited Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu.  As we traveled around, we saw bus stops, billboards, and posters with the American Pistachio logo everywhere!  SMH International in Shanghai did an amazing job at advertising our product and made our events a success!  Thank you, SMH! 

Now that you have hopefully seen my video blog above, you have seen how we were constantly promoting American Pistachios no matter where we were.  I want this written portion to enforce what you watched.  As I write, you will see some timestamps where you can go back to the exact part of the video that I am talking about.  Enjoy!

In Shanghai, we stayed in the beautiful Shangri-la Hotel, which is right on the coast by the Oriental Pearl Tower.  During our time in Shanghai, we visited malls and shopping centers where we did promotional events.  Sample bags of pistachios were passed out and our APG team was called up on stage to interact with the audience and talk about the nutritional benefits of pistachios!  Lots of excitement!  We also did interviews with food magazines and Restaurateur Magazine.  We all were able to talk about the industry and nutritional facts about pistachios.  The convenient thing about China is that its citizens are very conscious about their personal health and being that we were in China promoting a healthy snack made it more worthwhile.  Our last event in Shanghai was a nutrition seminar where we were able to educate them all about how healthy American Pistachios are.

We got to Guangzhou a couple hours later and there, we did more promotions!  Our workload never disappeared!  Guangzhou was very different than Shanghai.  First of all, the climate was very humid and warm.  There was a lot more greenery and it didn’t feel so much like the city.  It felt like Hawaii! I love that climate, so I loved being in Guangzhou.  We stayed in the luxurious Sheraton Hotel and it was so nice.  We visited a couple malls to do more events and more presentations about American Pistachios.  The second day we were there just happened to be my 23rd birthday!  I was so excited to turn 23 in China, but I had no idea that Judy, the growers, and SMH had things planned to help me celebrate!  My day couldn’t have started any better because Judy and the team gave me a beautiful Swarovski bracelet!  Wow, what a thoughtful surprise!  Our first task of the day was to attend another nutrition seminar, which was a lot of fun.  Later in the day, my job was to do an interview with China’s Lifestyle Channel.  During my interview, the growers visited the wet market where they got to experience an everyday farmer’s market in China.  They sure got to see a lot of interesting foods and had an amazing adventure!  While watching my video blog, you can find my experience with the Lifestyle Channel @4:42-6:25.  They had me taste some scrumptious Pistachio treats like cheesecake, crème brulee, cupcakes, and others!  Little did I know that they had a plate of pistachio cupcakes waiting for me as a birthday surprise!  They treated me like royalty.  Later that night, we had a dinner reception (@7:00 in the vlog) with our Chinese customers.  It was so nice to see the people that package our pistachios in China!  Judy and the growers were able to show a video about how we process American Pistachios and then we were able to do a Q&A session with the audience.  Just when I thought the night was over, I heard the audience singing the birthday song!  They brought to me a beautiful cheesecake with a lit up candle.  What a lovely surprise!  I had the best birthday ever!! Thank you, China!

Here’s a small video from Guangzhou:

Our final stop was Chengdu (watch it all @9:50 in the vlog) and we were there for less than 24 hours.  When we first got there, we had a little time to do some sight-seeing!  We got to visit the old part of Chengdu, which is over 200 years old.  We ate lunch at an old teahouse and it was delicious.  While we were waiting for our food we noticed that instead of getting bread and butter like we do here, we got a bowl of pistachios!  Even better, we noticed that they were American pistachios!  It was so cool to see how they incorporated our tradition of pistachios into their ancient tradition of drinking tea!  The thing about the food in Chengdu is that they put an extremely spicy pepper called “Hua Jiao” and funny enough, it sounds like “watch-out!”  This pepper is definitely something to watch out for!  The Hua Jiao pepper is native to Chengdu and it is in every dish!  I typical dish in Chengdu is a bowl of tofu that has been soaked in this numbing pepper oil.  After the first bite with your chopsticks, your mouth is on fire, but after a while you can’t feel it because your mouth literally goes numb!  After the Hua Jaio Tofu, came Hua Jiao Noodles!  The fire in my mouth lasted during the whole meal!  I got addicted to the adrenaline rush and the aftermath was a burned esophagus, but it was SO worth it! 

After our exploring in Old Chengdu, we participated in a huge mall appearance where we passed out bags of American Pistachios and took a LOT of photos with the customers there!  Later, we got to visit the Ole Gourmet grocery store and they had a beautiful display of our American Pistachios ready to be bought.  Sadly, our last event in China was about to start.  It was our last press conference and I couldn’t believe how fast time flew by!  We finished the press conference with lots of questions with the press and then lots of pictures with the American Pistachio mascots.

My time in China ended way too quickly.  Looking back at the amazing things we got to do makes me so happy.  Again, it has been a huge honor to represent the American Pistachio Growers.  If you are a grower and are reading this, I thank you for all the hard work you put forth in producing a delicious food!  Not only do Americans love our pistachios, but I have been able to see how people all over the world love our pistachios too!  Among some of the Chinese phrases I learned, I learned how to say Pistachio!  Here it is phonetically: Kāixīn guǒ, which is pronounced “Cay-Shin-Guo”.  I had to practice this a lot so I could show the Chinese citizens that I know a little more than “Hello!”  They definitely got a kick out of my Chinese speaking skills! J  I thank you APG for bringing me to China to help you promote American Pistachios.  It was a privilege to be on your team there.  Stay tuned for more adventures as I travel to New York and Barcelona.  Talk to you soon!

For my China Photos click here: 

For more China videos, scroll my Tout page here:

Leah Cecil
Miss California 2012

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mes voyages françaises...

Bonjour tout le monde!

(Written while in France) I have been in France for the past two days and it has been so magical!  Sure, it has been COLD and definitely COLD, but that just means I get to wear cute pea coats and hats!  I am here in Lyon, which is the second largest city in France.  It is also famous for it's vast array of french cuisine, so there is lots of amazing food here, even better than what you find in Paris!  Lyon is a four-hour drive south from Paris, so we're too far away from seeing the Eiffel Tower.  However, I have already done some amazing sight-seeing!  Other than the brasseries with delicious food, shopping is big, and there is amazing architecture to see as well!

Yesterday, Judy, George, and I walked the streets of Lyon and discovered the Saint Jean Cathedral, and the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere, which looks like a Disney castle at the top of the hill- GORGEOUS!  The Saint Jean Cathedral is beautiful as well and the inside is covered in colorful stained glass!  The basilique at the top of the hill was built in 1870, which is a lot younger than I thought it would be considering the fact that Lyon goes all the way back to the Roman Era.  The marble carvings and never-ending staircases that lead to who-knows-where were so intriguing.  They kept the whole cathedral inside so quite you could hear a pin drop!  After exploring the basilique, we walked back to the metro station to go back down the hill.  On our way out, we ran into a local accordion player, which made my day even more! While in France, you HAVE to listen to an accordion player playing on the streets!  We have eaten at both restaurants at the Sofitel, which have never let me down! Phenomenal food!  Last night, we found a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant and it was so adorable!  It was authentic as you can get when it comes to French cuisine and decor.  Inside looked like a home, where each table setting was different and there were random decorations scattered on each table.  The ceiling was very low and the walls were covered in random paintings that had no relation to each other.  Camille, a Parisian American Pistachio representative, described the restaurant as "shabby-chic".

My video blog is here:

After all the sightseeing, it was time to get to work....

We had a booth set up at the SIRHA Food Summit.  SIRHA happens every two years and it's the biggest food show in the world!  The APG booth was beautiful and professional.  We had pistachios galore!  The boxes of snack packs stacked to no end and we passed out every last one! APG also printed out thousands of autograph cards for me to sign and I signed over 2,000 of them!  The show lasted for five days and we were there every day educating everyone about American Pistachios and their health/beauty benefits.  The best part about it was meeting people from all over the world!  I met people from Norway, Canada, India, Taiwan, China, Georgia, Great Britain, France (of course), etc.  Everyone that came by our booth were so interested in the fact that America now grows Pistachios!  We met with pastry chefs, bakers, restaurant owners, and chocolatiers from all over the world!  They were all very excited about APG!

We had some delicious samples of our product out and people went "NUTS!"  We had some Pistachio Brioche out and it was delicious!  The main hit at our booth were the Pistachio Macarons!  My mouth is watering while I write about this.  The macarons were made by Chef Sebastian, a top baker in Lyon.  He used APG's Pistachio Paste and it is to die for! SO GOOOD!  Those macarons were a HUGE hit at our booth.  I think I had 15 of them. Deeelish!  Judy Hirigoyen, George Smith, Camille Malavoy, and I were a good team!

In addition to the trade show, there were a couple of cooking competitions going on: the Coupe de Monde and the Bocouse  d'Or.  These competitions were phenomenal.  If you watch Iron Chef on Food Network, you would have been blown away!  There were about 24 countries competing for the grand prize.  The Coupe de Monde consisted of 4 competitions: chocolate, ice sculpting, confection, and sugar.  There was a table of 20 judges and each of them were from a different country.  They each wore their white uniforms and tall white chef hats.  The scene was like out of Ratatouille!  APG was a sponsor for Team USA and we were there to cheer them on!  They even used American Pistachios in every dish they made.  APG was very excited about that!  The only sad thing about the competitions was that we could not try any of their dishes, but they sure looked delicious!

After five 10-hour days of standing, smiling, taking pictures, and handing out pistachios we were exhausted, but it was all worth it! The experience was unforgettable!  This was my first time travelling anywhere international, so making Lyon my first stop was phenomenal.  I feel so honored to represent American Pistachio Growers and the product they work so hard to produce.  I am so lucky to be able to go to France and be APG's Ambassador!

My travels have certainly not ended! My next stops are China and New York!  Stay tuned for more of my Pistachio adventures!  I am going to up to Fresno next week for some media training.  I'm almost ready for China!

'Til next time,
Leah Cecil
Miss California 2012

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pistachio Conference

(From American Pistachios Blog)

Hello Pistachio-Lovers!

After I came home from Lyon, France I had a few days of rest, but then it was time for the Annual Pistachio Conference!  I was so honored to attend the conference and meet all of the farmers and customers!  The conference was held at the Hyatt in Downtown San Diego.  I met a lot of APG’s customers in France, but I met even more growers and processors at the conference!

There were key speakers along with annual reports about APG.  The portion I was a part of was Judy Hirigoyen’s marketing presentation.  Here, she talked about where APG is being promoted all over the world and how successful our little nut is!  She also presented the APG Ambassadors and it is so cool to be amongst the other ambassadors!  They had the USA Women’s Waterpolo Team there to show off their awesome gold medals from this past Olympics!  They are perfect ambassadors because they are able to promote the athletic and health value of pistachios.  One of the teammates told a story about when she and the rest of the team were visiting some of our military overseas, and afterwards one soldier contacted her to tell her how much they miss home.  However, to make him feel at home, he asked for only one thing: that little green nut.  It’s nice to know that our military overseas want American Pistachios too!  Another ambassador featured is our newest and his name is Jeremy Jones.  This guy is an extreme boarder, but he’s not your everyday snowboarder.  Jeremy snowboards and cuts through deep fresh snow from the tops of the world’s tallest mountains!  Judy showed a video of him in action and there was a scene of him cutting down those sheer drops, but the camera showed him as a speck compared to the size of the mountain.  He is phenomenal!  The cool thing about Jeremy is that he has always eaten Pistachios because he knows they are full of nutrients and protein, which keeps him going as an athlete.  He seems like a perfect fit, doesn’t he?  I was honored to be introduced as an APG Ambassador as well!  Judy introduced me and then I performed on my harp.  The audience was very excited to see Miss California, but they were especially excited to see the harp too!

After the marketing presentation, we ambassadors went out into the lobby for a photo shoot with the guests and it was wonderful to meet and greet with the farmers again!  After the break, we were all headed to the USS Midway for dinner.  Yes, we all got to dine on the USS Midway!  The appetizers were delicious and the people were so much fun to be with.  Before dinner, we were directed up to the flight deck to watch a firework show just for APG! That was pretty awesome!  The dinner was scrumptious and the best part was the dessert.  Each dessert had something “pistachio” in it, so it was very appropriate for the occasion.

The APG conference was a success and I was so glad to be there!  I am now ready to go to China!  I went to the media training last week in Fresno, so I feel even more prepared for the adventures in China.  I really look forward to promoting American Pistachios in Asia with the rest of the team.  I know it’s going to be lots of hard work, but I’m up for the challenge!  I’ll write to you all when I get back!  For now, scroll through my collage below! 

Leah Cecil
Miss California 2012

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lights, Camera...Vaccine!

I know this is my first post in a few months, but here I am!  Because of the reality of blogs slowly dying out and because of the time I have available, I have resorted to using time-saving FacebookInstagramToutYouTube, and Twitter  to log my daily activities of which I hope you are all following!  Also, they’re a lot more fun!  I am now home safe and sound from Vegas and I have had a little bit of time to reflect on my experiences at Miss America (MA). 

First of all, I want to take this time to shine my spotlight on others.  There are so many people who have sacrificed their time, finances, and efforts to help me soar higher than I’ve ever gone and the many valuable experiences I’ve had so far as Miss California and representing our Golden State at MA-- I owe so much gratitude to all of you. Before I left for Vegas, I was overwhelmed with love and support whether it was through phone calls, texts, emails, tokens, etc.  But I especially felt so much more love and support WHILE I was in Vegas. I have not been able to catch up on all your sweet texts, calls, and posts, but I will do my best.  Just know that I got it and felt it and I will cherish your words and support forever!  

Since competing in MAO eight years ago, I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a lot to learn about myself!  In the beginning, I had so little speaking skills, no people skills, and not enough performing experience.  It blows my mind that I am here now writing this as Miss California 2012 and I just returned from a privileged, once-in-a-lifetime experience of competing for the crown at Miss America!  In addition to my family, the best of friends, and my Faith, I am proud to say the Miss America Organization has made me into the woman I am today.

The first thought I had after being crowned Miss California was, “OMGosh! I’m Miss California!” And the second thought was, “OMGosh! I get to go to Miss America!”  After the initial whirlwind of my California victory, I immediately started preparing for Miss America.  I dedicated 200+ hours to my health and fitness (I think Core Arts made me look pretty good!), I had multiple mock interviews and one-on-one drill and practice with Bob, my Executive Director, which gave me the confidence to conduct what I thought was my best interview. I played my heart out on stage (too bad the mic was put in the wrong place and I was too distracted to notice, but I’m nitpicking), and I wore the Evening Gown of my dreams (by Gregory Ellenburg) in addition to wearing a wardrobe exquisitely chosen and loaned to me by CA’s best stylist, Nikki, and sponsor Mia Bella. 

Performing on the Miss America stage was a dream come true and I know I was living it for other girls who share that dream.  The week quickly gathered many incredible experiences like Laura (FL) and I doing multiple radio shows starting at 5 a.m, fun outings, TV interviews, VIP status, and meeting and forming lifelong friendships with dynamic, funny, and inspiring young women. I felt proud all week to acknowledge that I had improved and grown so much since my crowning in Fresno. I was confident I would make the cut at MA. After all, I had the best from the best team and I felt so proud I was ending my journey to MA with so many things in my favor – especially carrying the history of Miss California’s success.

Needless to say, it was shocking and absolutely heartbreaking when I didn’t hear California called for the Top 15.  It was not how I wanted my journey to MA to end.  In fact, I had horrible nightmares up to that point of that very thing happening, but I got to wake up in my bed and truthfully, it was not even a consideration.  I had envisioned making Top 15 and anything else after that would be gravy.  I don’t think that expectation was unreasonable considering my history and CA’s history of success.

After the Top 15 were read and rushed off the stage, the rest of the girls and I sat off to the side to what we girls dubbed “The Loser Lounge”.  So many thoughts and emotions were running through my head in those first few seconds:  I was SO sad my family, friends, and pageant family were sitting in the audience not able to watch their hard efforts be showcased, including Gregory Ellenburg whose spectacular dresses I wanted to show off to the world.  I was thinking about all my friends and family at home that had planned viewing parties and didn't get to see me compete.  I was thinking about all the youth that I have spoken to, including the smiles on many little girls I have met telling me they were excited to watch me on TV.  I was embarrassed that seven successful celebrity judges didn't like me.  I was thinking about my sponsors and was worried about what they thought of me.  I was thinking about Bob and what he was thinking of me and the disappointment he must have felt.  I knew this humiliating moment was feeding the blood-thirst of CA’s critics. My nightmare came true. I was the first Miss CA in 10 years to not make the cut and I wanted to crawl into the cracks of those ugly sofas and die.    

I wanted to slither to the back section of the "loser's lounge" and cry with some of the other girls who were losing their composure.  Instead, I decided to sit in the front and, although dazed, soak up the rest of this once-in-a-lifetime experience even though it didn't go "my" way. I still knew I was Miss California and that fact alone made me grab the seat in front with those other amazing girls and enjoy the show with a well-earned donut!  Eating that donut on National TV was definitely a major highlight of my week!

After the show, I contemplated whether or not I should even show up to Visitation because I was ashamed and afraid to face Bob and the people who have invested so much in me, but I knew that if I didn’t, I would regret it. What happened after, I will never forget for the rest of my life.  It is still so tender for me to recall that I have tears as I write and share this with you:  at Visitation, I walked across the stage to receive my "State Representative" award from Marc Angeli.  Then, who was standing there to escort me off the platform?  Bob.  He took my hand and immediately pulled me into his arms and said to me, "You're still my girl and we're in this together."  I couldn't respond because of the overflow of tears, then he grabbed my hand and we walked over to the California table to greet everyone else.  I was overwhelmed with love and support from everyone there. My awesome parents swept me up first and we shared more tears of joy and sadness.  I was greeted by my grama Rosie, Chelle, Patti Wunderlich, Mindy Schreiber, Glenn and Kathi Baldwin, Marie Theurich, Ernie Koneck, Tom Moletteire, Stacy Margolin, Jennifer Gallo, my Miss CA sisters Stephanie, Rebekah, and Patricia, my awesome friends-for-life-contestant sisters, and so many others!  We stayed at the visitation table for a good hour or so laughing, hugging, and crying and we were the last ones out of the ballroom.  As the ballroom tables were being folded up and rolled out, I left with Bob's hand in mine and behind me a collage of powerful, unforgettable, poignant memories of Miss America. Even though it was broken, my heart was full of gratitude and love.
The next morning, more friends and family came to my Aunt’s condo to share breakfast and more good times.  What I didn’t know was what had gone viral since the 20/20 documentary, shown an hour before the pageant...

"That's a vaccine, correct?"

I knew they were using the sound byte of that mock interview in previews for the show but didn’t worry too much about it because I knew there was more to it.  After all, when ABC first solicited California in August to be featured in their documentary they assured us they wanted to spend time with several girls to feature the qualities of the MAO and the hard work the girls do behind the scenes for their platforms.  They wanted to see what we do to prepare and maintain the title of Miss State.

To Bob’s credit, he was hesitant and protective at first knowing how sometimes editing could have the effects of exactly the opposite desire. But we were assured that this exposure would help MAO and the charities the girls speak for.  ABC filmed me for 3 straight days in September. They did this with several other contestants as well.  Bob and I took them EVERYWHERE. We took them to our sponsors Mia Bella Couture, Pink Door Salon, Mike Douglass, Core Arts Pilates, Volkswagen of Garden Grove, and to my harp lessons. We took them to the beach to surf, workout, met the family for 3 hours, bacon cheeseburgers, Children’s Hospital of OC, and many other places.  

One of the events was a mock interview. The interview was the very last thing on the filming itinerary and by that time of the evening, I was beat. Earlier that day, they came to my harp lesson, and then I played harp for the kids at CHOC, then gave a speech at the Rotary Club of Orange.  Even with the late hour without dinner and barely any lunch, I was up for the mock interview.  I was doing well with numerous tough questions. I was even willing to go 5 minutes past the limit, and then the Euthanasia question came up.  It was the perfect storm.  In that moment I froze and my mind went blank. I said, "I'm not very educated on that subject" as a way to stall and come up with an answer (a technique MCO and Dale Carnegie has trained in us contestants), but nothing could come out except the dumb remark.  Even if they had asked me what my favorite color was or anything about maps, at that end-of-line moment I wouldn’t have known what to say. "It's a vaccine, correct?" The moment it came out of my mouth I was humiliated and embarrassed, especially when the panel-member gave me his definition. <Cut Scene>

That is what you and the rest of America saw, but what wasn't shown was what happened the second after the answer was clarified. I smacked my forehead giggling through my already prepared opinion about euthanasia. The panel and I had a good laugh and the interview was over, much in the same manner they featured Utah and Wyoming’s mock interviews.  That part was not shown on TV and it’s very unfortunate that ABC edited it this way. We did so many wonderful things during those long 3 days and had many fun and laughable moments, all the while the crew telling us how impressed they were with our program, but none of that was shown. Instead, ABC thought it was more entertaining to catch a moment and not give it any dignity.  Lara Spencer came to me the week before Christmas for more interviews.  She asked me about the blunder in the mock and I recalled the scene with her but they only saved how I was embarrassed and felt dumb.

Another interesting note, ABC was there in Vegas to follow up right after my Miss America interview last week.  They asked me about the infamous Euthanasia question I had quickly become famous for, so I held my head high and had fun with it. None of that was shown either!  It almost seemed that they were not interested in laughing WITH me, only AT me.  I’m so glad I have a wonderful team of love around me to understand this crazy thing. Even my friend, Bill Handel on KFIAM640 and his producers, made a sweet effort on his shows prior to Miss America and after to stick up for me and talked about how careless editing can injure a person’s character and intentions and they gave me some amazing creds.

Ya know, here I was worried after all this heartbreak about what my legacy would be as Miss California 2012.  I guess if all else fails, perhaps I could use the headline from a recent internet article about me: “Miss California invents a new vaccine!” Not too shabby!

In closing, I have to say that I feel SO BLESSED to be Miss California.  MA didn’t turn out how I wanted nor expected, but I have the best six months of my life coming up.  There is so much more to do and I have made a new list of goals to achieve.
I am SOOO happy for Mallory Hagan, our new Miss America! She is one cool chick! She is spunky, fun, outspoken, and REAL.  The judges for sure got that right!  I loved getting to know Mallory all week and I know she will be a memorable and relatable Miss America. YOU GO GIRL!  I'm so proud of her. Let’s make sure to give her a great California welcome at IHOP for CMN’s pancake day coming up this Spring!
To the Miss California Class of 2013, these next 6 months are about YOU and we are going to have a blast in Fresno and on a new Duke of Edinburg adventure I’m planning!  I hope ALL of you enroll after you win your local title! My goal is to make you ALL feel like rockstars and to make this the best experience of your life- win OR lose!  

I have a 9-day trip to France coming up next week, a trip to China, and a probable trip to Rome and Austria coming up as well.  So much excitement!  I have a Miss CA 2013 Class to make plans with and much more social media to post.  I feel desperate my year is half over!

My next stop before France is a weekend at the Miss Merced/Miss Yosemite Valley/Miss Sierra Nevada Pageant.  I will not be able to bring my harp, so I will be singing instead!  If I don't see you there, I hope to see you soon!  

I finish my blog post with a grateful and humble heart.  My cup runneth over with amazing people in my life and experiences of my past and yet to come!  

With love, 
Leah Cecil
Miss California 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Good Night and Big Balls...

You know you're watching WIPEOUT when you hear that phrase! You know you're actually on the set of WIPEOUT when those balls are in your face! I speak from experience! As most of you heard, I was a contestant on the show and it was one of the most excruciatingly fun days of my life!

All I can say is that my day on the set was the most fun, excruciating, painful, cold, and fantastic day of my life! The horn blew and the next thing I know,  I'm falling into the pit of cold and muddy water. Wait, the word "cold" is a huge understatement! That water is literally liquid ice and swimming in that for the first time is an experience I will never forget! Wipeout officially announced on their Facebook that the water is 40 degrees! I guessed 45 degrees, but I sure wasn't far off!  Now I fully understand why so many contestants on other episodes look so winded and exhausted; it's the cold and evil water pit of despair, I tell ya!

I cannot even fully describe to you what it's like to take on the WIPEOUT obstacles.  Everyone should do this!! It is so much fun and FULL OF SURPRISES! Anyway, my "character" on the show was Miss Southern California Regional! I was going to go on the show as just the tough beauty queen, but conveniently enough, I won a new title so the show let me go on with my new crown! :)
That day of filming, they told us that there were 75,000 people that applied for the show, so being picked as a contestant alone was a honor!

Here is my 30 seconds of fame!

Friday, August 3, 2012

American Pistachio Growers!

This is from the American Pistachio Blog I turn in every month! Enjoy...

Hello California! I am so honored to be your new ambassador! I was just crowned Miss California 2012 on June 30th and so I am “freshly hatched” as they say. It has only been a month and I have already experienced so much! In case you don’t know about me, I am a native Californian and I am proud to say so! I was born in Long Beach and grew up in Garden Grove. I just graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Music. I have been playing the harp for eight years and this is the talent that I perform in Miss America pageants. 

At age 14, I was very awkward and had no experience performing or even speaking in front of crowds. Along with my family and friends, the Miss America Organization has made me into the woman I am today. I have learned skills that will benefit my life in so many ways. I know that some of these skills will help me promote the yummy pistachio that millions of Americans love! I am so excited to represent the American Pistachio Growers!

I just spent five days with the American Pistachio Growers and I had a blast! On the first day I arrived in Fresno, I was well informed about pistachios and it was a lot more than I knew before! I had no idea about the high amount of vitamins and minerals found in pistachios! All I knew was that they are delicious, but after learning about how healthy they are, I love pistachios even more! On my second day in Fresno, I attended the Annual APG Luncheon and this is where I got to meet all the Pistachio farmers and their families. It was a pleasure meeting them all in my pistachio-green gown! Then I did the photo shoot with Keith Seaman on Saturday and the photos will be found on the APG website and on billboards in China! It was a pleasure working with you, Keith!  Sunday was my day off, so I took a small trip to Yosemite! I have not seen the valley since I was a little girl, so it was so overwhelming to see those majestic rocks including Half Dome, of course! Someday, I am going to climb that! Finally, I finished off my exciting pistachio trip by being featured on the “Great Day Fresno” morning news show! I had to show up to Cal State Fresno’s Pistachio Orchard at 4am and the show went from 5am to 10am. “Great Day” wanted to feature pistachios because starting in August to October is harvest time. We did eight different interviews that lasted about three minutes each, and they were filmed live in between Kim and Kope’s news stories. There are two videos found on the website:

I got to cook one of my favorite pistachio recipes! Am I ready for Food Network Star? Alton Brown, I'm your girl!

Learn about my relationship with the American Pistachio Growers! CLICK HERE

I cannot express enough my enthusiasm for pistachios! They are not only delicious and easy to carry around; they are so healthy for you! One serving of pistachios (49 kernels) is full of antioxidants, more protein than a serving of halibut, more fiber than broccoli, and even more potassium than a banana! I’m sold! For more delicious and healthy facts about pistachios, explore the American Pistachio website! I’m addicted to the “Recipes” page. I look forward to more adventures with the American Pistachio Growers! KEEP CALM AND EAT PISTACHIOS!

 For now, watch some of the video blogs I made while I was in Fresno!