Thursday, May 28, 2009

Meet and Eat with Miss Brooklyn 2009 and Wafels & Dinges!

Yummy-looking! ... And the waffles look good too! (Yes, for those of you who were wondering, that's my boyfriend, Joe).

On Saturday, June 13th, I'll be appearing as Miss Brooklyn at the Wafels & Dinges truck, parked in Park Slope on 7th Ave at Carroll St. from 10a-1p for a "Meet and Eat with Miss Brooklyn 2009 and Wafels & Dinges". I'll be signing autographs and posing for photos, in addition to helping out in the truck. Come buy a freshly made traditional liege or brussels style waffle with your choice of sweet or savory toppings (waffles start at $5). A portion of the day's proceeds will go to the Miss Brooklyn Scholarship Organization.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Explore Brooklyn- Part 2- Prospect Park!

Camperdown Elm- a 12 foot high, 137 year old tree that looks like a giant bonsai plant! Look for it near the Boathouse.

Long Meadow. Inhale deeply. Sigh. Relax.

Taken on one of my visits to BBG a few years back!

Out of focus, but too much fun not to post!

Taking in the sights at Prospect Park!

Better late than never! For the second installment of my "Explore Brooklyn" series, I'd like to tell you about a recent visit to Brooklyn's beautiful Prospect Park. On a sunny afternoon a few weeks ago, I packed a picnic, grabbed some friends and headed to our borough's illustrious 585 acre "urban oasis".

What a tremendous recreational and educational resource this park is to our borough! Not only does it contain Brooklyn's only forest, it's also home to the Prospect Park Zoo, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and Kensington Stables (yes, as in horses... in Brooklyn! I've ridden with them a few times, and had nothing but wonderful experiences! And they're very reasonably priced!). GreenMarkets bring fresh, local produce and farmgoods to the borough on Saturdays (Grand Army Plaza) and Wednesdays (Bartel-Pritchard Circle). While you're there, be sure to stop by Lefferts Historic House, a 200 year old Dutch remnant from the pre-Colonial farming village that used to be Flatbush! Prospect Park is also home to some of the best nature trails in the area. Seriously- you can't hear traffic or see buildings (take that, Central Park!).

If you don't feel like schlepping your food from home, there's a tremendous selection of cuisine steps away from the park in all directions (nearby neighborhoods include Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Windsor Terrace and Flatbush). There's also a cafe at the Boathouse, a snack bar near the Carousel and the Parade Ground, and near Wollman Rink during ice-skating season.

There's truly something for everyone at Prospect Park year round. So what are you waiting for? Grab your running sneakers/ riding pants/ tennis racquet/ soccer ball/ picnic basket and head over. It's immediately accessible by the B/Q to Prospect Park/ Parkside, 2/3 to Grand Army Plaza, S to Prospect Park, B41, B71, B69, B75 and B68.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And the sponsors keep coming...

Preparations for the Miss New York State Competition are in full swing, and I'm thrilled to announce the two latest additions to the "State Preparation Dream Team" (as Kim has affectionately dubbed our sponsors).

Bend and Bloom Yoga of Park Slope offers a fantastic flow series, in addition to pre and post-natal yoga and yoga for kids! On Tuesday, I attended their open level community class, taught by studio owner Amy, and never once felt out of place, despite my relative beginner status! The class was wonderfully relaxing, but boy, did I feel it the next day (in a good way)! I can't wait to go back! Their beautiful studio is located on Sackett St. between 4th and 5th Avenues. Check out their website here!

This morning, I attended my first class at Bikram Bay Ridge. I had attended one psuedo-Bikram class before, so I had some idea as to what I was getting myself into... For those of you unfamiliar with Bikram, let me break it down- 105 degrees room, 50% humidity, 26 postures, 90 minutes. I'm fairly certain that I have NEVER, in my entire life, sweat that much in an hour and a half! Graham was an amazing teacher, and I look forward to my next session! Bikram Bay Ridge is located on 5th Ave between 85th and 86th Streets. Check out their website here!

Both of these fantastic studios are providing their services to me free of charge as I prepare for Miss New York, and I'm extremely grateful for their generosity!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Miss Brooklyn Scholarship Program/ Talented Youth Development, Inc. Talent Show!

The Miss Brooklyn Scholarship Program along with Talented Youth Development, Inc. is sponsoring a Youth Talent Show on Saturday, June 6th. We are searching for singers, dancers, instrumentalists, and groups ages 18 and under to come show New York City your stuff!

Please pass this information on to any talented young people you know! Those interested should send an email stating interest to participate to or call Kimberly Thomas (Executive Director of the Miss Brooklyn Program) at (313) 492-0946. Entry deadline is May 22nd. Entry fee is $25 for all acts. The entry will be refunded if contestant sells a minimum of 10 tickets @ $10 each. A maximum of 20 acts will be allowed to participate so don't delay!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Explore Brooklyn- Part 1- Coney Island!

In addition to blogging about my regular appearances and platform work, I'll be dedicating some posts to all of the fun and awesome things you can do in the best borough (because seriously... we are...). Our Borough President, Marty Markowitz, has an amazing Brooklyn Tourism Website, which highlights the fact that you don't need to leave Kings County to find awesome food, entertainment, recreation, arts and adventure. Think of this as my own little tribute to his initiative. With that said, allow me to present: Coney Island and Brighton Beach!

William's Candy! TOO MANY OPTIONS! (We decided on cotton candy and chocolate covered strawberries- not shown here)

Keyspan Park- Home of the Brooklyn Cyclones!

On the pier


The NY Aquarium is one of my favorite places to visit!

I can't help myself! Freezing cold, but totally worth it!

Summer's just around the corner, so on my day off, I decided to beat the crowds and hit one of my absolute favorite warm weather spots in Brooklyn- Brighton Beach and Coney Island! I live in Manhattan Beach- a short walk down the shore from Coney Island, so Joe and I grabbed the camera and headed out for our first visit of the season. We headed over to Brighton Beach Ave, where we usually spend a few blocks checking out all the fun little fruit and veggie shops, mixed in with salons, jewelry stores, bakeries... you name it! Once we hit Ocean Ave- we usually head to the boardwalk, to begin the beach experience!
Once on the beach, we were greeted by the usual horde of brazen, people-friendly seagulls (everyone who's been to Coney Island/ Brighton Beach has a seagull story... keep that in mind when you visit). We headed down the boardwalk for a stretch; a prime place for people watching (seriously... I've seen some incredibly strange things happening on this boardwalk). After a bit, we hit the sand and made our way to the shoreline to wade in the 45 degrees water. I truly cannot help myself- I'm a huge water person, and just have to go in, no matter what the weather!
Once we hit the NY Aquarium, we headed back up to the boardwalk, where we passed all of the food stands and bars, along with the all the rides, including the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone! (I've ridden it twice, and that's quite enough- thank you!). We continued down to the pier (see above), made a quick stop at Keyspan Park (GO CYCLONES!), and made our way down to the Eldorado Arcade (not the one on 12th St- the one on Surf Ave). Now THIS is what Coney Island's all about! Dimly lit, well-worn, slightly sticky old school fun! After schooling Joe at Skeeball, our Air Hockey game was a draw (because Joe crawled on the table, which registered interference and ended our game!).
By this time, we had worked up an appetite, so we headed to Nathans for lunch! Don't judge- YES, I know I'll be in a bikini on stage in less than 2 months; YES, I know that there is very little on the Nathan's menu that comes anywhere close to being nutritionally sound; and YES- it was delicious! (Everything in moderation, right?) Of course NO trip to Coney Island would be complete without a stop at William's Candy. They have every sweet treat imaginable (seriously- if it's 50+% sugar, they probably carry it), and they make the most amazing fudge and caramel/ candy apples! Joe and I made our selections, and happily headed to the train (the thought walking back was a bit daunting to Joe). Stillwell Ave is the last stop on the D, F, N and Q (hint, hint). All in all, another fantastic day at Coney Island!

Check out the Coney Island Fun Guide to learn about all of the wonderful things going on this summer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Miss Brooklyn Bowling Party!

Miss Brooklyn 2009 Bowling Party

Join us as we raise funds for the Miss Brooklyn Scholarship Organization, have lots of bowling related fun (terrible bowlers welcome), and celebrate my birthday!

Sunday, May 31st, 2009


Melodie Lanes Bowling Alley

461 37th St. between 4th & 5th Ave

Brooklyn, NY 11232

$20 Donation- 2 hours of bowling, shoe rentals, autographed photo of Miss Brooklyn & Miss Brooklyn's Outstanding Teen 2009, birthday cake and the chance to win entrance to the "Invitation Only Miss Brooklyn Wardrobe Showing and Sendoff Party"

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Americorps Pre-Mother's Day Celebration and Darling Divas Fasion Show!

Inga and I with one of the most flirtatious little dudes I've ever met. Don't let the photo fool you... he was totally into us!

At the Americorps Pre-Mother's Day Celebration!

Christina Joseph (Miss Barbados Heritage 2009), Melanie Gowrie (Miss Brooklyn's Outstanding Teen 2009) and myself at the Darling Divas Fashion Show!

What a week! Block Institute on Wednesday, Americorps on Friday, and Darling Divas on Saturday! I've already told you about my Earth Day Experiences at Block Institute, so I'll pick up with my appearance Friday with Inga (Miss Manhattan) at Americorp's Pre-Mother's Day Celebration at Project Reach Youth!

The day got off to a rough start when the usually reliable gave me atrociously inaccurate directions. After 20 minutes of texting Inga and calling my mom for help, we determined where I was, where I needed to go, and how I was going to get there!

I arrived at Project Reach Youth and was immediately greeted by Inga and the rest of the friendly Americorps staff, along with a bevy of adorable children and their fantastic moms! I salute Americorps for organizing such a fantastic celebration of some of Brooklyn's hardworking moms! Among the stations I observed were free massages, manicures and waxing, a lotion making table, and makeovers! After posing with the kids and their moms for some photos, Inga and I joined a classroom rehearsing a song and dance. They were having so much fun that we couldn't help ourselves, and then next thing we knew, we were both dancing and singing along (despite the fact that we didn't know the words to the song)!

We then enjoyed a delicious pot-luck lunch, where we got the opportunity to chat with the participants and their kids. Inga's platform is "Healthy Mothers: Healthy Babies"- and she got the opportunity to speak with one uninsured mother about her options for healthcare should she decide to have another baby- talk about a relevant, meaningful platform! I got the opportunity to discuss my platform as well, and I'm very excited about the new opportunities I was introduced to at this appearance! I'd love to work with Project Reach Youth in the future to provide performing arts opportunities to Brooklyn's youth.

Saturday evening, I rushed from work in Chelsea to Club Nocturnal on Flatbush Ave. to judge the Darling Diva's Fashion Show! I arrived just in time to watch Melanie (Miss Brooklyn's OT) perform her monologue, and then I took over judging where she left off! It was a reunion of sorts, seeing Amaris Acosta (Miss Caribbean United States 2008 and host of the Miss Brooklyn 2009 Pageant) and Christina Joseph (Miss Barbados Heritage 2009 and Choreographer of the Miss Brooklyn 2009 Pageant). I settled into judging, and enjoyed watching the girls perform talent routines and strut their stuff down the runway! Congratulations to all the winners! Check out the Darling Divas website!

All in all, a great weekend. Check back for photos from my experiences with Americorps and Project Reach Youth, coming soon!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Hey Brooklyn! Times are tough, and money may be tight, but that doesn't mean you can't show your momma plenty of love! Check out the list below for some fun, free/ cheap things to do with the Queen of Your Genes tomorrow right here in Brooklyn! (Events gathered from the Brooklyn Paper and the Sheepshead Bites Blog!)

Fort Greene-$0- Make free Mother's Day paper flowers at the Ft. Greene Visitor's Center!

Park Slope-$0- Nurture's Day Festival (Potluck Dinner + Canned Food Drive) at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

Dyker Heights- $10- Mother's Day Concert at Regina Hall

Coney Island/ Brighton Beach/ Manhattan Beach/ Sheepshead Bay (HOLLA)- $3- "Brighton Beach and Beyond" Walking tour of the shore!

Sadly, I won't get to spend this Mother's Day with my mom, so in her honor (in addition to her fabulous Mother's Day Gift), I've compiled this list of reasons why my mom rocks. Please note that this list is 100% factual. I couldn't make this stuff up...

My mom is awesome because:

-when I was born, instead of the usual mushy-poo maternal gushing that happens immediately post-partum, she said to the doctor, "She's an ugly mutt, isn't she?".

-she paraded my infant-self around in a onesie that read "Nipple Freak".

-for one of my younger birthdays (6th? 7th?), she made a GIANT slip & slide out of garbage bags that seemed like it was a mile long!

-she often went without so that my sisters and I didn't have to.

-she forced me to start Irish Step Dancing, and stick with it.

-she didn't make me wear clothes at home until I was 12! I still remember the day she told me I was too old to run around naked...sigh...

-she wasn't the least bit concerned that I was OBSESSED with the X-Files as an 11 year old.

-she ensured that my sisters and I knew that no matter where we came from or what we had, we were just as good as anyone else.

-she helped me become a leader.

-she let me quit piano lessons!

-she didn't give me anything- I worked for and earned all the good things in my life. She taught me to appreciate everything and feel entitled to nothing I haven't worked for.

-she humored my severe career indecision in high school ("Of course you can be a chef, fire-fighter, marine biologist AND forensic pathologist").

-she taught me the true meaning of independence.

-she let me move to NYC as an 18 year old to study acting (every parent's worst nightmare).

-she allowed me to become my own person, and make my own mistakes.

-she taught me to respect myself and others.

-she loves even when I'm REALLY BAD! ("I don't like you, but I always love you").

Happy Mother's Day!


Do YOU have a library card?

C'mon, Brooklynites. There's no need to schlep all the way into Manhattan to get your read- research-or-recreation on! The Brooklyn Public Library system (separate from the New York Public Library) offers: "thousands of public programs, millions of books and use of more than 850 free Internet-accessible computers" at their 60 locations! And they are, literally, EVERYWHERE, from Greenpoint down to Brighton Beach, and Fort Hamilton over to New Lots! And best of all, you can now apply online for your free membership!

So what are you waiting for? Apply online here, visit the Brooklyn Public Library's website, and find a branch near you!

The Emerging Importance of the Right-Brain

I must begin this post by giving kudos to Inga, Miss Manhattan, for turning me on to this interview between Oprah and Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind (2006. Riverhead Books: New York) about the burgeoning evidence suggesting that development of our right brains (the 1/2 of the brain responsible for the creative stuff) will be especially important in the future. Until very recently, there's been a large emphasis on the left-brain (responsible for logic and the like), and it's associated careers- accounting, computer programming... It's becoming apparent, however, that, "in the same way that machines have replaced our bodies in certain kinds of jobs, software is replacing our left brains by doing sequential, logical work," (Pink). Pink argues that, to be successful professionally, our posterity MUST begin to develop their right-brain, and the creative skills that machines cannot replicate and outsource.

This information is of monumental importance to arts advocates, like myself, who struggle to promote education in the arts as an integral, vital, relevant and scientifically backed necessity for the young people in our country. I picked up A Whole New Mind this morning- I can't wait to read it!

Read the full interview

Are you right-brained or left-brained? For a fun test, try the
Art Institute of Vancouver's Right Brain vs. Left Brain Creativity Test. ( I can't speak for the scientific validity of this test, but it's fun, and gives some pretty in depth analysis).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Photos from Earth Day!

With Todd Adelman, infront of the classroom projects display for Earth Day!

With a classroom group outside near the composting station!

Yes, those are worms in my hand.


Planting marigolds infront of the school.

In the garden with a class, watching an amazingly large worm squirm through the grass.

Turning the soil, getting ready to plant!

Sorting compost worms from the compost, bare-handed!

As promised, here are photos from Earth Day at Block Institute. Special thanks to the wonderful Todd Adelman, who took these photos!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A busy week ahead...

1)My wooden flowers from Earth Day at Block Institute.
2) Walking lunges with Kettlebell, infront of my house (What you don't see is the cheering section of adolescent boys across the street).
3)MORE walking lunges (And you can see my cute Kettlebell camisole- it's PINK!)
4)Ellen and I, pressing it out (Notice my tongue sticking out- SUPER FOCUS IN ACTION!)
5) Are we done yet?
6)I like the exercises that involve laying down...

Happy Earth Day! This morning, I went over to the Block Institute on Bay 44th to have some green fun with the students! This is by far one of my favorite places to visit as Miss Brooklyn (they had me as their guest for Read Across America day a few months back); the staff is friendly, the kids are adorable and enthusiastic, and it's less than a 10 minute ride from my apartment!

First stop: the lobby, where a plant sale was held! I spotted tomato and basil plants, to name a few (and now I'm in the mood for pizza!). I helped set up a display to sell some beautiful wooden roses- and ended up buying myself a dozen, which are now brightening the window sill in my kitchen (see above)!

Next, we headed outside to the composting station, where I helped the kids separate composting worms from compost that was ready to go to the garden! Much to the delight of the students (and horror of the teachers), I dug right in, bare handed, to play with the worms and dirt! We then headed to the garden, where we picked rocks, tilled some soil, and weeded (again, barehanded- I'm such a lady...). After sorting plastics and cans for recycling, I helped one class plant marigolds in a large planter infront of the school, and then headed back inside to check out the "green" projects each classroom had on display. As always, it was a pleasure visiting Block Institute, and I hope to return soon! (Photos to follow- I had some technical issues w/ my camera, but Block Institute's wonderfull Todd will email me pictures from his camera soon!)

I had a few hours to relax (it's my day off, after all!) before Ellen, the official fitness sponsor of Miss Brooklyn 2009, came for my routine butt-kicking... and she brought presents!!!! (Two adorable kettlebell tank tops- one of which is featured in the above photos, and wrist guards- because I'm a little wimpy!) When she decided I had been abused enough, we called it a night, and scheduled our next appointment for Sunday!

On Friday, I'll be appearing with Miss Manhattan 2009, Inga Schlingmann, at Americorp's Pre-Mother's Day celebration, held at Project Reach Youth in Brooklyn. We'll be posing for/ signing photos, and there will be all sorts of fun Mom-appreciation-esque stuff (pampering makeovers, chair massages, stress relief stations, recipe exchanges...).

Saturday PM I'll be appearing at the Darling Diva's Fashion Show at Brooklyn College!

Photos from earlier today and this weekend to follow!