Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gardening in Brooklyn Bridge Park with OneBrick and Inga!

We're ninjas...

Despite what it looks like, we're framing the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy's logo on our new organic cotton t-shirts donated by Anvil- seriously!

Framing the Brooklyn Bridge

They weren't even posing for the picture. Seriously... Too cute.

Matt found these sunglasses while weeding and put them on. Inga and I might have tried to stop him if we weren't laughing so hard...

We don't mess around: Inga and I getting into the thick of things while weeding...

You may not be able to read it from there, but one of the volunteers was wearing a shirt that read "Beauty Pageants Are So Overrated"- too funny!

Dr. and Miss Manhattan lending a hand...

Me getting down and dirty with grass and weeds!

Last night, I joined OneBrick and gardened in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The 69 park areas in Brooklyn are serviced by only 13 full time staff, so they depend on volunteers for much of the manual labor. I was thrilled to be joined by Inga (Miss Manhattan) and Matt (Dr. Manhattan).
We spent a few hours weeding the grass and de-vining the trees. It was a lot of fun; not only spending time outdoors, but getting to know the other volunteers as well. The weather cooperated for the most part- it was a little humid, but rain-free, and the view of both bridges was breathtaking!

Though helping to beautify one of my favorite parks in Brooklyn was the highlight of the evening, it didn't hurt that the park mere blocks away from Grimaldi's and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. I met up with Joe afterwards, and we shared a ricotta pizza and banana split- the perfect end to the perfect evening!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baby Buggy with One Brick (and Inga!)

With Anna, another first-time OneBrick volunteer!

Inga and I testing the toys for distribution. Seriously- that was our job. TOO COOL!

Last evening, I spent a few hours with some wonderful women (and one man) in Baby Buggy's warehouse sorting toys and clothing to be donated to needy families throughout the five boroughs. I was joined by Miss Manhattan, Inga, and we had a great time!

Upon initial arrival, I began sorting children's clothing from a heaping pile on a table. Jasmin Rosario, Baby Buggy's Volunteer Program Manager asked us to thoroughly examine each individual article of clothing for any defects, even the small and seemingly unnoticeable, and to immediately separate those items into the "To Repair" bins. I was very impressed by the quality of the donated items. Corporate sponsors such as Target, Children's Place, Babies'R'Us and many more donate brand new, never used clothing, sometimes in perfect condition, other times needing a little TLC. I was also impressed by Jasmin's attitude towards the sorting process. "Quality over quantity," she told us, meaning, do a good job and make sure that nothing is donated that has any defects- even though this inevitably slows down the process.

Once Inga arrived, she and I, along with Anna (another new volunteer) were assigned to the toy department (YES!). Our task? To play with the gently-used toys to make sure they work. Seriously. SO MUCH FUN! After making sure everything was in working order, we cleaned it and moved on to the next toy. The work itself was pretty rewarding, but it was also a great opportunity to meet new people. Our toy-cleaning partner, Anna, was a photographer from Italy.
A highlight of the evening was watching the video HBO put together for Baby Buggy explaining the work they do, and how they impact the community. This organization is truly worthwhile, and I would absolutely recommend learning more at their website, donating if you can, and volunteering an evening to help out in the warehouse! A special thanks to OneBrick for organizing the event!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

UPCOMING EVENT- Guest Ringmaster at Coney Island Boom-A-Ring Circus

Keelie Sheridan To Step Into Center Ring July 29 at 7:00 p.m.

Keelie Sheridan, the reigning Miss Brooklyn

WHAT: Miss Brooklyn to take on Guest Ringmaster duties at The Coney Island BOOM A RING

WHEN: Wednesday, July 29 @7:00p.m.

At the corner of 21st Street and Surf Avenue in Coney Island.

WHY: Because Keelie and The Coney Island BOOM A RING are both celebrating a revitalized Coney Island -- and because Miss Brooklyn and The Greatest Show On Earth make for a beautiful photo op!

For a complete schedule of performances and more information on The Coney Island BOOM A RING, including ticket sales, visit, or call 1-800-745-3000. Group orders are available through "Group Sales Box Office" at 800-223-7565 or

Follow The Coney Island BOOM A RING
on Facebook and on Twitter.

Access a comprehensive set of media materials at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

UPCOMING EVENT- Baby Buggy with Miss Manhattan!

On Monday, July 27th, I'll be joining Inga, Miss Manhattan 2009, at the Baby Buggy in Manhattan to sort and patch gently used baby clothes for low-income families in all five boroughs. I'm always willing to help out the underserved populations in our city, and Inga specifically works to give infants a safe and healthy start to life with her platform, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity for us! Plus, we're all about the inter-borough love; she'll be with me helping out the following evening at the Brooklyn Bridge Park gardening event (see previous blog post).

This event, like the one at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, is organized by One Brick- a national volunteer effort service dedicated to connecting willing volunteers with small but significant opportunities to make change!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sean Casey Animal Rescue Summer Celebration/ Adoption Open House/ Fundraiser!

With Sean Casey, of Sean Casey Animal Rescue

Socializing with some of the human and non-human event participants!

That's a whole lot of iguana.

This past Saturday, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend Sean Casey Animal Rescue's Summer Celebration/ Adoption Open House/ Fundraiser! Set up much like a mini-street fair, the public was welcome to come socialize with the animals, enjoy refreshments and peruse the adoption facility/ pet supply store. I was thrilled to hear that the event was very much a success- lots of animals found good homes that afternoon!

If you're interested in learning more about the Sean Casey Animal Rescue, please visit:

P.S. I learned from Sean Casey's lovely mother that they're always looking for volunteers to drop in and walk/ socialize the animals. I LOVE DOGS, but my apartment/ lifestyle/ allergic boyfriend keep me from owning one here in Brooklyn- look to see me walking some deserving pups in Windsor Terrace in the VERY near future!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

UPCOMING EVENT- Gardening with One Brick at the Brooklyn Bridge Park

On Tuesday, July 28th, from 6-8p, I'll be joining One Brick of NYC to help the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy with gardening maintenance to keep the park beautiful! If you're interested in helping out, visit this event's info page to see if spots are still available!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

UPCOMING EVENT- Sean Casey Animal Rescue Fundraiser/ Adoption Open House

Princess- A 4 year old cocker spaniel mix from SCAR NYC looking for a home

Nick- A 5 year old Neopolitan Mastiff mix from SCAR NYC looking for a home

Ceasar- A 4 year old Chihuahua mix at SCAR NYC looking for a home

The Hamilton Dog House and The Sean Casey Animal Rescue


A Summer Celebration and Adoption Open House!

Saturday, July 18th: 12-5p

Join us for a fun-filled day of pet-friendly activities, food, games, music, prizes and free goodies for our four-legged friends! Come visit our cuddly adoption animals, and maybe even take one home! We will be selling hot dogs, hamburgers and more to help raise funds for the Sean Casey Animal Rescue Adoption Van!

The event is located at 155 E. 3rd St., Brooklyn, NY between Caton Ave. and Ft. Hamilton Parkway. Take the F train to the Ft. Hamilton Pkway stop.

All of Sean Casey Animal Rescue's wonderful adoption pets are looking for loving homes, either at this event or every day at the Adoption Facility: 153 E. 3rd St., Brooklyn, NY from 11a-7p. Visit:

I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to help out at this event, though I don't yet know in what capacity! Please join us, or consider making a donation on the website to allow SCAR NYC to continue the meaningful work they do with NYC's cast-off, neglected and abandoned animals.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Explore Brooklyn- Part 3- Shore Parkway Bike Trail

You'd never be able to tell that the Belt Parkway was 100 feet away...

Though I was certainly in the minority, I wore my helmet with pride!

Windsurfing on Plumb Beach (less than a mile from the Knapp St. entrance to the bike trail)

Sand travels....

One of the entrances to the beautiful, somewhat secluded and delightfully un-crowded Plumb Beach.

The view from the overpass.

This post is dedicated to Joe, who bought me a bicycle for my birthday, after MONTHS of my hint-dropping. I'd heard from other Brooklynites how wonderful it was to have a bike here, and I can now say, from experience, that I agree completely!

I entered the bike path at the Knapp St. entrance in Sheepshead Bay, and headed east. The trail was in decent condition for the most part, and not terribly busy for a holiday weekend. I quickly came upon Plumb Beach- a close cousin to Manhattan and Brighton beaches, but smaller. MUCH smaller- downright cozy, in fact... But very inviting. There's a parking area and picnic tables, along with what seemed to be a small restroom/ changing facility. It looked like a great place to picnic!

I continued down the trail, which runs right along the waterfront, and came to a bridge with a BEAUTIFUL view of the beach and ocean (photo #6). The bridge crossed into Marine Park, where the already lush scenery got even greener! It was surprisingly easy to ignore the Belt Parkway, which parallels the bike trail.

I took a little detour through Marine Park, passed Floyd Bennett Field, and then stopped just short of the first bridge over Jamaica Bay. The ride back seemed a bit quicker, maybe because I had seen the scenery once already... Probably because most of the way back is downhill...

Things I learned on my trip:

-By and large, my fellow borough bike riders DO NOT wear helmets. Yes, they look dorky, but they're a lot cooler than severe head-trauma, so strap one on, Brooklyn!

-I know absolutely nothing about bikes, besides the fact that they're fun to ride. Evidently, mountain bike tires grip the ground, and make your ride brutally slow, no matter what gear you're in.

-There are A LOT of really skilled windsurfers on Plumb Beach- next on my list of fun sports to learn!
-I love bike riding! I want to try out the Ocean Ave Bike Path next, and maybe ride up to Prospect Park for the farmers market!
Happy Summer!
P.S. My front tire is now flat as a pancake and will not hold air when I try to re-inflate it. I'm taking it to Roy's Sheepshead Cycle- I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Canajoharie- Fort Plain Drama Club- "Peter Pan"

Taking notes from the house.

Observing a scene

The Pirates!

Giving notes on the relationship between your character and your physicality.

Immediately after the Miss NY Pageant, I spent a few days at my mom's house in Fort Plain, NY before heading back down to Brooklyn. While there, I was thrilled to be invited to do an impromptu acting workshop with the cast of Peter Pan, currently being produced by the Canajoharie- Fort Plain Drama Club in the beautiful Arkell Performing Arts Center (special thanks to Shawn Barnes, director of Peter Pan). Any opportunity to work with kids and theatre is my idea of a good time, but this visit had special meaning because the C-FP Drama Club is where my life changing involvement in theatre began.

Finding refuge in the theatre while growing up with considerable financial hardships in this economically depressed area inspired me to use theatre as a tool for social change, impacting both the cast and the audience. Acting Out (the no-cost performing arts program I developed) focuses mostly on using theatre as a means to obtain personal growth, development, emotional release and empathy- I've developed it to be process driven (a mainstage production, or product, is secondary). This is not to say that production based programs have no benefits, and I was thrilled to speak with the cast about the fundamentals of good acting!
The kids were awesome. Their natural ability to accept imaginary circumstances and react realistically never ceases to amaze me. There are, of course, common traps that nearly every high school or community theatre production falls into, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to point out, both from the perspective of a professional actor and an audience member, what these issues were, and how to fix them.
Unfortunately, arts are quickly cut from schools and communities when finances are tight, so the idea of being an artist for a living was all but unheard of when I graduated from high school. If nothing else, my visit was worth it solely to see the looks on the faces of these young actors when I introduced myself. "Hi, I'm Keelie. I'm a professional actress who now lives in NYC, and I got my start here."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Bit of Back-Tracking (Sponsor Appreciation and Sendoff Party)

Melanie and I with Cheryl and Keyana Williams- I don't know what we'd do without these ladies! Thank you for everything, including the use of your beautiful club for our party!

Dermond- The Official Pageant Dad of the Miss Brooklyn Org

The lovely Karolina Almanzar! Keeping it pretty as Miss Brooklyn's official Makeup Artist!

Friends- The people I don't get to thank often enough!

The Baron of Brooklyn- My boyfriend, Joe. He gets to deal with the less glamorous aspects of being Miss Brooklyn (it's possible stress makes me REALLY cranky...)

Momma and I napping- too much excitement!

Melanie and I love us some Kim! BEST E.D. EVER!

With Todd Adelman of Block Institute. I cannot begin to describe how much of an asset Todd has been to my reign as Miss Brooklyn thusfar!

Evening Gowns!

Body by Ellen.

Talent Costume! A little blurry, but you get the idea. And all 1800 Swarovski crystals? Individually hand-applied by my mom. I know- I'm a lucky kid.

Because Kim and I operate secret-agent-stealth-style, we wanted to keep my wardrobe under wraps until I arrived at the Miss NY Pageant. This meant not posting ANY photos from my awesome sendoff party, so enjoy them now!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Miss New York 2009!

At the NY State Capitol Building in Albany with the other 20 Miss NY Contestants!

From L to R: Marina Montes, Miss Suffolk County, Me, and Courtney Sheridan, Miss Fulton County in Swimsuit

Not bad for a $175 gown!

Dancing with the other contestants in the Opening Number!

Wow. What a week. I had intended to keep up my blog, but things got crazy the moment we arrived in Albany (Kudos to Claire for somehow managing to blog TWICE while at MNY)! I am therefore obliged to give you one VERY dense and informative post.

The week was great. Many thanks to all the local businesses who made our pageant such a success, and to Art Huntsinger, who served as a liason between the media, the Albany community, and the Miss NY Organization and contestants. Also, many thanks to the Miss NY Organization Board of Volunteers, for taking time out of your personal lives to give myself and the other contestants an experience of a lifetime. Also, a special thank you to Kent, who kept things fun and light, and encouraged us all to constantly improve ourselves, and to keep the pageant process in perspective.

The other 20 local titleholders are amazing. Truly. I don't really know how else to describe them. Our first night in Albany, we got the chance to go around the room and tell everyone what our platform was (good idea, Inga), and it was really inspiring to hear all of the different ways that we, as a group of young women, were changing the world around us. The platform is a very important aspect of the Miss America Organization, and one that's frequently discussed, but the opportunity to communicate face-to-face about the social issues we were dedicated to promoting, changing or improving, and why we cared so much, was a powerful thing.

My shock at being called to the Top 10 was visible, I've heard; and doubly so when I was called into the Top 5. Don't get me wrong- I knew I had the potential to do very well, but as I've told people before, pageants are incredibly subjective, and there were A LOT of perfectly viable choices for the judges. Not making it into finals (as was the case for me last year) is not so much a testament to your weaknesses as it is to the strengths of the girls you're competing with. I'm so honored to have gotten as far as I did, and I wish a very special congratulations to Alyse Zwick, Miss New York 2009. Make us proud!