Monday, October 17, 2011

Louisiana Cotton Festival & Le Tournoi

On Friday, October 14th, the lovely Amanda LaBorde, Woman Natchitoches Meat Pie Queen, ChaCha Isabella, and I had a lively jaunt to South Louisiana. We were actually early (total shock, I know) so I decided to go crawling through a cemetery in Opelousas to take pictures (stay tuned, more info on that project to come in November). We attended the homecoming pep rally and football game for Opelousas Catholic High School, and got to see the fabulous Caroline Cosgrove-Richard (Miss City of Pineville's Outstanding Teen) perform. The evening ended with an amazing dinner at The Steamboat Restaurant in Washington, La - Catfish Dianne, Yum!

Saturday arrived, and we enjoyed a semi-lazy morning, complete with a trip to the nail salon to see Big Daddy and solving a small hairdo crisis. The afternoon arrived, so off to Ville Platte to the Louisiana Cotton Festival Pageant we went. The rich tradition of the Cotton Festival and its royalty were so apparent, and I had an absolutely lovely time. It was also great getting to visit with my Teen sister queen, Ralynn O'Brien! After taking pictures, we took a short drive to Lafayette and met Lady Ray*la*ne Heather Hickey Fox at Prejean's for dinner - again, shall I say Yum!

After a few wrong turns on Sunday, we finally found Le Tournoi. For those of you unfamiliar with this tradition, knights on horses try to spear rings representing the seven evils of cotton (boll weevil, boll worm, rayon, nylon, silk, draught, and flood - who said that pageants are not educational). It's a wonderfully unique event, and a great excuse to tailgate!

A special thank you to Ms. Kelli Buller, the Cosgrove-Richard family, and Amanda LaBorde for making this such a festive weekend. Can't wait to see where we end up next!

With the new Louisiana Cotton Festival Queen

 My beautiful Teen Sister Queen, Ralynn O'Brien and our director, Amanda Thille

 With Amanda LaBorde, Heather Fox, and a giant alligator at Prejean's in Lafayette

 Tailgating with the Queens at Le Tournoi

With Amanda LaBorde, Woman Natchitoches Meat Pie Queen

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pretty in Pink Pageant - Pineville, Louisiana

3 days, 2 states, 3 cities, 3 appearances! A wonderful weekend comes to a close with the opportunity to judge the Pretty in Pink pageant in Pineville, Louisiana on Sunday, October 9, 2011. This pageant is a fundraiser for breast cancer  directed by Rhonda Hickey and Heather Hickey-Fox. The drive to central Louisiana and back was so enjoyable because it gave me the chance to catch up with Miss Spirit of Pineville, Christiana Hayward, and we were so excited to serve on the judges panel with our sweet friend, Ruth Fruge, Miss Northwestern Lady of the Bracelet. The Pretty in Pink organization has donated over $15,000 to breast cancer since it's inception, and I so enjoyed being a part of today's event. Congratulations to all the Pretty in Pink winners crowned today, but I must say, they are so lucky to have  the amazing Star White as one of their new cancer-fighting queens!

 With Ms. Pretty in Pink (and Ms. Louisiana Relay for Life III), Star White
(I'm used to seeing that purple velvet banner and Relay
crown on Star's head, so this pic seems unusual to me)

With Ruth Fruge - Miss Northwestern Lady of the Bracelet and
Christiana Hayward - Miss Spirit of Pineville

With Heather Hickey-Fox - Lady Ray*La*Ne IX and Pretty in Pink Director

Saturday, October 8, 2011

ACS Strides Against Breast Cancer - Jackson, MS

My motto for the year is becoming, "Have crown, will travel." So when the American Cancer Society in Jackson, Mississippi called and asked if I could join them that weekend for their Strides Against Breast Cancer, I said absolutely! Then they told me that I should be at the State Capital that Saturday at 5:00am. Uhhhh, okaaaay...

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, I showed up at the Mississippi State Capital at 5:00am bright eyed and bushy-tailed (Okay, so that's a lie. I showed up with my eyelids propped open with toothpicks and stumbled on the sidewalk, but I did accomplish mascara, lipstick, and a semi-straight crown). I spent 3 hours registering people for the event, and at 8am, walked the 5k with over 3,000 participants. And when it was all said and done, I finally woke up when I heard the dollar figure raised - over $80,000!

I finish with just one question - does anyone know how ACS in Jackson found out my name and phone number? Things that make you go hmmmm...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Glenwood's Think Pink Tea

The Glenwood Breast Health Center in West Monroe presented it's 2nd Annual Think Pink Tea on Friday, October 7th at the Glenwood Medical Mall. I was excited to be asked to hostess the American Cancer Society's booth, and talk with women about the Look Good, Feel Better program and Relay for Life. The Think Pink Tea is a celebration of the healing power of laughter, and it was such a privilege to surrounded by so many amazing women.

 With the ACS of Monroe Staff

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fit for the Cure at Dillard's

October is breast cancer awareness month, but the "Pink Out" in Monroe started early this year! On Wednesday, September 28, Dillard's at Pecanland Mall in Monroe held their "Fit for the Cure." The lingerie department manager, Kacey Nelson Holifield, and her staff did a phenomenal job, and I was so honored to be a part of the event. Customers and employees competed in a "Bling Your Bra" competition, there were lovely refreshments including pink lemonade, cookies, and cake, and for every customer that had a complimentary custom bra fitting that day, Dillard's donated $2 to breast cancer research, as well as donating a portion of their sales for the day. Kacey was kind enough to allow me to share some educational materials from the American Cancer Society with her customers, as well as the opportunity to meet several breast cancer survivors and their family members.

If you're in Monroe, be sure to stop by Dillard's during October to see the adorable decorated bras, and make a bid on their silent auction. And don't forget to say hello to the Dillard's lingerie team - you'll find their caring and professionalism is second to none.

With Kacey Holifield at Dillard's Fit for the Cure

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Louisiana Pecan Festival Pageant

In the early morning hours on Saturday, September 17, 2011 I drove to Colfax, Louisiana, to judge the Louisiana Pecan Festival Pageant. I wasn't sure exactly where Colfax was, but Evie Lou, my trusty GPS, got me to the Civic Center right on time.  It was so much fun getting to spend the day with my director, Amanda Thille, and seeing the excitement on the faces of the newly crowned queens and kings. This was my first time to judge a Festival pageant, and I very much enjoyed getting to know each of the Miss contestants during interview and was impressed with their poise under pressure on stage. The hospitality of the Pecan Festival Board was top notch, and I know they will have an amazing festival!

With my director, Amanda Thille

The Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival

This fabulous weekend started out on Friday, September 16, 2011 at noon when I had the opportunity to introduce Mrs. Louisiana Plus America (most of you know her as my mom, Kathy Lied) and the Woman Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival Queen, Amanda LaBorde, to Laughter Yoga. This is a wonderful, uplifting experience in which you use deliberate laughter to induce endorphins and basically put yourself in a positive mood. It was at Laughter Yoga that we adopted our official "cheer" for the weekend - "Very good, very good, yea!"

With smiles on our faces, laughter in our hearts, and enough clothes, makeup, and crowns loaded in the car for the weekend, we headed to Natchitoches. We could hear the music from the festival as we arrived in the historic district, and we couldn't help but laugh as Amanda grabbed that big crown and put it on in her truck and started waving at people on the streets. A Meat Pie Festival queen had arrived, and she was so excited! Mrs. Natchitoches Meat Pie, Lori Adams, joined us at our inn, and after a "quick freshening up"  (insert sarcasm here), we were festival bound. The music was great, the food smelled fantastic, but the laughter and friendship will be the long term memory. It was amazing to have people ask about the purple ribbon in my crown, and having the opportunity say, "I represent the American Cancer Society." We ended the night with dinner at The Landing, and some of the best boiled shrimp I've ever eaten. I shall skip the part where our room had no air conditioning, and we had to sleep with the doors open, but needless to say, I just knew I would be waking up with a a Cane River critter in the bed.

This was my first festival weekend as a member of the Rhinestone Sisterhood, and I can't wait for the next!

Louisiana Plus America Alumnae
Lori Adams, Kathy Lied, Amanda LaBorde & Tonya Lied Kidd

With Mom at the Festival