What an INCREDIBLE DAY!  It was busy but so much fun!

It was a whirlwind of make-up and hair sessions with the talented artists from MODERN MAKEUP.

 

Toronto Makeup Artist – Modern Makeup

Modern Makeup is a mobile makeup & hair team servicing Toronto, GTA and Durham

Then we each had to dress and prepare for our formal interviews, media interviews and photo shoots.  The interviews were wonderful and the judges truly made me feel comfortable and the media interviews and photo shoots were so much fun!  It was a true “model moment!”

Ready for my INTERVIEW

For lunch today we were treated to a delicious, nutritional lunch from CLEAN MEALS; a company that prides itself on fresh, health conscious and tasty food options.

CLEAN MEALS provides:

 

Locally sourced fresh ingredients in every meal.

  • Every meal balanced and nutritious.
  • Vegan option available.
  • Locally sourced fresh ingredients.
  • Antibiotics and hormone free proteins.
  • Ready to eat in less than 3 minutes.
  • Macro and Calorie calculated.
  • All meal under 500 calories.
  • Peace of mind, when its time to eat.

 

It is so important to eat healthy and CLEAN MEALS certainly promotes a healthy eating menu.

 

HEALTHY Eating = HEALTHY Life

Good nutrition is the key to good mental and physical health. Eating a balanced diet is an important part of good health for everyone. The kind of food and the amount of food you eat affects the way you feel.

Eating a balanced diet is vital for good health and wellbeing. Food provides our bodies with the energy, protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals to live, grow and do the things we like to do. We need a wide variety of different foods to provide the right amounts of nutrients for good health

The 8 Tips to Eating a Balanced and Health Diet (according to the British Nutrition Foundation) are:

  1. Base your meals on starchy foods.
  2. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
  3. Eat more fish.
  4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar.
  5. Try to eat less salt – not more than 6g a day.
  6. Get active and try to be a healthy weight.
  7. Drink plenty of water.
  8. Don’t skip breakfast.

 

A healthy diet should consist of the following:

  1. Fruits and vegetables.
  2. Whole grains.
  3. Beans and legumes.
  4. Nuts and seeds.
  5. Fish (preferably oily fish with lots of omega-3 fatty acids), skinless poultry, and plant-based alternatives.
  6. Low-fat and fat-free dairy products.
  7. Healthier fats and non-tropical oils.

They day continued with interviews and photoshoots and concluded with a gift from LEVEL WEAR!

I LOVE my jacket from LEVEL WEAR!

Each delegate received a sporty jacket.  I LOVE MINE!

It is only DAY ONE but it has already been so memorable and so much fun!

Let’s see what DAY TWO has in store!

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So much preparation but I am finally here!

Finally got through all the packing (that was a challenge) and headed for the Train Station with my bags, gowns and of course SHOES!

Managed to get this chaos organized and packed to go!

Ready for Departure

I arrived and it has been FANTASTIC!

Guess who I got to reconnect with?  The beautiful Miss Teenage Canada 2017, Emma Morrison!  Emma and I became friends at Miss Teen Ontario East and it was wonderful to catch up.  Of course she looks stunning!

Miss Teenage Canada 2017 EMMA MORRISON

Orientation was exciting and we were given wonderful gifts from MAC .  

Our lovely gifts from MAC

 

I am really looking forward to what tomorrow brings!

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Cancer Changes Everything

“It does. It really does,” said Angel Montgomery, before hundreds of high school students in a normally loud gymnasium where, this particular morning, you could hear a pin drop.

Montgomery and her family are finding that out the hard way.

Her daughter, 12-year-old Tyra Liko, a Grade 7 student, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour late last year.

“She is going through something no child, no person, should have to go through.” Angel Montgomery, speaking of her daughter, Tyra Liko, 12.

“Did we know she had cancer? Absolutely not,” said Montgomery.

Her daughter used to be involved in volleyball and gymnastics.

In late October 2016, she was complaining of headaches and dizziness, and was starting to vomit.

“She would try to come to school but could not concentrate,” said Montgomery. She would sometimes have to find a dark room to sit in – and vomit again.

“She was suffering,” said Montgomery, “As a mum, that really upset me.”

On Nov. 27, a date where “I remember everything so clearly,” her daughter got up and threw up again. It was time to visit the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa. After an X-ray, the first radiologist could not find anything – but another glance by a second radiologist caught something. That radiologist “saw something was wrong,” specifically, a black spot at the back of Liko’s brain.

 

“Oh my God, what is that?” Montgomery remembers asking.

“I don’t know,” came the reply.

As they spoke, a neurosurgeon was on the way to the hospital. Not all tumours are cancerous, and brain tumours are rare. But this brain tumour was cancerous.

Later that week, Liko underwent 13½ hours of surgery.

“We all cried a lot those days,” she said. Liko was in hospital for 26 days, from November to December.

Finally, the family got some good news: the neurosurgeon was able to get all of the cancer. However, Liko faces 55 weeks of rehabilitation, taking her through February 2018. She has already under gone the first of nine cycles of chemotherapy. The process has been “very hard on her,” causing her nausea and stomach pain.

“She is going through something no child, no person, should have to go through,” Montgomery said.

The family continues to struggle, beyond worrying about Tyra. Her father is missing a lot of work, Tyra’s sister came home early from college to help, Montgomery herself has reduced her work hours drastically, and other family members are contributing money to keep the family going.

“We miss who she was,” said Montgomery.

It has been a long hard journey for Tyra and her entire family. She has had the incredible support of her family and friends and the entire community, especially her siblings Brock, Payton and Kade and her mom Angel. Tyra fought through 67 weeks of brutal treatment from start to finish, and rang the end of treatment bell in March of this year.

Champion Tyra at her Grade 8 Graduation this past June

She still has a long road ahead, but she is a princess warrior and will face any further medical adversaries with her fantastic smile on her beautiful face!

A true CANCER CHAMPION!

Alexa, Miss Teenage Eastern Ontario 2018

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It’s A CHOICE!

Being a Pageant girl is a choice just like being a soccer player, being a mathlete, being a political advocate or whatever other interest you choose to give your time to!

As a Pageant girl, we are often approached by others who feel pageantry is outdated and sexist but why should we be labeled for doing something that interests us and that we enjoy doing?  I have always found it unfair to be scrutinized by others for doing something that I enjoy and am passionate about.  I am a Pageant Girl and I am proud to be a Pageant Girl!  I am also a Soccer Girl, a passionate Volunteer Girl, a Sports Girl and so much more.  No Pageant Girl is JUST a Pageant Girl!

People who have never been exposed to an authentic and structured pageant (there are some out there that are not legitimate) don’t realize the work, dedication and commitment that it takes and the lessons you learn from your experience.

My first pageant experience was with the Teen Ontario East Pageant organization – A Pageant with a Purpose.  It is one of the only not-for-profit pageant organizations where all proceeds from the pageant production are donated to a childhood cancer charity.  All of the directors, committee members and staff are volunteers.   The pageant takes place over a weekend in April and leaves a lasting impression on everyone who participates.  We have the opportunity to meet young childhood cancer survivors, hear their stories and we are introduced to various charities that support these young heroes.  Many of the Teen Ontario East Alumni continue their charity work with these organizations long after pageant weekend ends.  For those of us who are fortunate enough to represent the pageant as an Ambassador, we have the opportunity to work closely in a variety of capacities with many of these charity organizations.  It is a life-enhancing experience to learn about these amazing kids and to have the opportunity to make a difference (no matter how small) in their lives.

Pageants also teach us valuable life lessons about competition and how to lose and win gracefully and with sportsmanship.  Winning and losing is part of growing up; part of life and I think we need to expose ourselves to competitions of any nature to allow us to learn to win without boasting and lose without negativity .  Pageants give us the opportunity to have this experience while wearing GREAT SHOES!

A sense of humor and having the ability to not take ourselves too seriously is a trait that I have certainly adopted while being involved in pageants.  I think humor is an important part of a person’s dynamic and it helps you to laugh and find the humor in any situation.  This is a great tool when walking across a stage in heels that you would normally leave in the back of your closet!

Public speaking is a tool that everyone will need to succeed in life.  Confidence in yourself when speaking in front of others whether it’s in front of one person or one thousand people is one of the most positive results of pageant participation.  As Pageant Girls, we need to stand up confidently, speak with clarity and passion and encourage others to hear what we have to say.  It is a skill that will follow us through our university experience and into the work force.

Adapting to change and having flexibility to switch our focus is definitely a pageant trait and certainly one that will assist us as we venture off into the world.  Life is not always going to move along without bumps in the road or a change of direction and learning to re-focus and accept change is a life skill that is clearly part of pageant life and one that will make us better leaders in the future.

One of the most common criticisms of pageantry is being judged by others on how we look, how we act and how we talk, but isn’t that what happens every day in the real world?  Are we not judged constantly by others?  We may not get an actual score from them, but are we not judged by our employers, our teachers and our peers?    We definitely are!  Pageant experience gives us the unique opportunity to prepare ourselves to be judged.  We learn skills and acquire a confidence that allows us to deal with being judged and gives us the opportunity to develop the level of confidence to know that we are who we are and that we are confident in ourselves.  This is such an important life skill!

I know how much I have grown since I first walked across the Teen Ontario East stage just 15 months ago.  I am so proud of myself for filling out that application form, putting on my heels and walking across that stage.

Now, I am looking forward to the opportunity to represent my home pageant and my region at the Miss Teenage Canada Pageant.  I shall be putting my best foot forward (in killer shoes) and I will be confidently rocking the runway with laughter in my soul!

In conclusion, pageants like any other interest or passion is a personal choice and others should respect our decision to participate and also respect organizations like the Teen Ontario East Pageant and the Miss Teenage Canada pageant that give us the pageant delegate opportunity.

 

 

 

 

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Do you have the one song that gets stuck in your head; the song that is the first song on your playlist when you are working out, relaxing or heading out on a road trip?  It’s that song that inspires you, motivates you and prompts you to sing at the top of your lungs whether others are watching or not!  For me, that song is Tim McGraw’s Humble and Kind.  It gives a simple message but a message that all of us need to live by!

Living in rural Ontario, this song personifies the way we live and the way we are brought up.  Respect is imperative, kindness is a must and helping others is something we are brought up doing.  It is part of who we are.

For those of my readers who are not familiar with the song or the message behind it, I wanted to share the lyrics with you.  Take a minute and read them through and just think about how easy it is to do and what a difference it could make in your life and in others if we just follow the simple message of the song.  Read and think about the lyrics:

 

Humble And Kind

Tim McGraw

You know there’s a lot that goes by the front door
Don’t forget the keys under the mat
Childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church ’cause your momma says to
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won’t be a waste of time
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door say please say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Don’t expect a free ride from no one
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why
Bitterness keeps you from flying
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
I love you ain’t no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door say please say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

When it’s hot, eat a root beer, a popsicle
Shut off the AC and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin’
Don’t forget turn back around
Help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

Songwriters: Lori Mckenna

Humble And Kind lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Simple words, a simple message but such an impacting way to live our life! 

Now that you have read the lyrics and understand what the song is all about, take a minute and watch the video.  I hope it will resonate with you like it does with me.

Too often we get caught up in the craziness of life and we need to take a minute to appreciate where we come from and remember the important things in life; being thankful, respectful and appreciative of all that we have.

A simple message!  An important message!  A goal for the “future me!”

Always stay Humble and Kind!

 

 

 

Alexa, Miss Teenage Eastern Ontario 2018

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Jumping on the monkey bars in the playground, running around chasing bubbles and butterflies, catching fireflies, splashing in the water park or attending sports camp are normal things for kids to do in the summer.  A kid’s life is all about fun and adventure, or it should be!  Unfortunately, for the approximately 880 children that are diagnosed with cancer in Canada every year, their summers are very different.  They fight the nausea associated with chemotherapy treatments, the anxiety and fatigue associated with radiation and the numerous side effects of their cancer diagnosis and ultimate treatment protocols!

I have become a strong advocate for CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS and I have had my eyes opened over the past two years as to just what these amazing cancer champions go through just to survive!  Participating in the Miss Teenage Canada Pageant has allowed me the opportunity to bring my charity platform to the national level.  I want to educate my readers on the severity of a childhood cancer diagnosis and to share some stories of heroic champions who have had to deal with immeasurable challenges in their short lives.

Did you know that approximately 880 Canadian children will be diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer this year?  I certainly didn’t.  Like any other teenager, I thought I had problems when something didn’t go right at school or when I got excluded from a social event.  I now know that those are NOT problems!  Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is!

No one knows why a child gets cancer.  There are no specific studies to determine risk factors or to outline what child may be susceptible.  It just happens and when it does, it is devastating to the child, their families and their friends.  Life for that child and their loved ones changes forever.  Childhood memories revolve around treatment, hospitals, doctors and nurses.

A diagnosis of cancer, no matter what the type means each child and family are assigned to a team of medical professionals to administer their treatment.  Each treatment is called a protocol and each one varies depending on the type of cancer, the age of the child, the stage of the cancer and the clinical trials associated with the cancer type.

We are fortunate in Canada that treatment for Childhood Cancer is available at 17 pediatric centres across the country, the closest to me being CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario).  Most children are commonly treated with a protocol that includes chemotherapy, radiation and most times at least one major surgery.

Thanks to research and more concise treatment protocols, advances in treatment have resulted in the statistic that over 82% of children will survive at least 5 years after diagnosis.  This is a major increase compared to the previously recorded 71% in 1987.

Treatments are long, painful and can result in significant side effects that will continue to affect the children as they age.  Approximately two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors will experience mild to serious long term effects that may include issues with their heart, growth, kidney, neurocognitive abilities and their ability to have children later in life.

Hearing the stories and meeting childhood cancer champions through my host pageant; the Teen Ontario East Pageant has changed my perspective on life and has opened my eyes to the struggles of others.

Paige; Childhood Brain Cancer Survivor and Our Teen Ontario East inspiration

Over the next few weeks I will be using my blog to raise awareness for childhood cancer in hopes that even one person will decide to donate to a childhood cancer charity.  If my blog results in one more donor or one more volunteer offering to assist a childhood cancer charity event then I have made a difference.  Kids shouldn’t have to suffer through a cancer diagnosis!  Their lives SHOULD be all about playgrounds, laughter and fun!

I proudly wear my GOLD RIBBON Awareness pin in support of all of the young heroes who fight childhood cancer every day!  They are my inspiration!

This beautiful young champion is Tyra!  Please visit my blog again to read Tyra’s when I share her challenging cancer journey.

Champion Tyra at her Grade 8 Graduation this past June

 

 

 

Alexa, Miss Teenage Eastern Ontario

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“It’s impossible,” said Pride

“It’s risky,” said Experience

“It’s pointless,” said Reason

“Give it a try,” whispered The Heart!

 

I listened to my heart and here I am!  My name is Alexa and I am proud to be representing the gorgeous region of Eastern Ontario.

My hometown of Eganville (Photo credit: Off The Grid Productions)

My hometown, Eganville, is set near the heart of the Ottawa Valley on the Bonnechere River and is home to 1,500 residents.  Our area boasts that we have scenic spots for miles, water front to be envied by all, tourist attractions like our famous Bonnechere Caves but we are most proud to be the home of Canadian Olympic 800m sensation; Melissa Bishop!  The area is engulfed in red during the Summer Olympics and Go Melissa Go signs are a prominent fixture on everyone’s lawn.

Eganville’s pride and joy, OLYMPIAN MELISSA BISHOP (Photo credit Team Canada)

I live on a small lake just outside of the town.  Living on the lake definitely has its perks.  My family enjoys boating, swimming, tubing and of course I have been known to catch a fish or two!  It is a wonderful place to call home and certainly provides hours of outdoor entertainment when friends and family are around.

 

 

“Family isn’t an important thing, it’s everything!”

 

Our family may not fit the description of what a “standard” family would be but we work in our own unique way.  I am very fortunate to have an amazing older sister; Mackenzie who is always there to support me in everything I do.

My amazing Mom

 

I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing mom who encourages me to follow my dreams and is there to lend a hand or cheer me on through all of my endeavors.

 

 

 

My dad was re-married last year at the local park in the centre of Eganville and both Kenz and I were proud to be part of his day.

My Dad and sister MacKenzie

 

 

 

We are unique but we work!

 

 

“Learn to Live” is the motto at Opeongo High school where I am now a proud senior!  A proud Opeongo Wildcat, I am also a member of the Opeongo Athletic Association assisting in running sporting events, extracurricular activities and providing leadership to the younger student athletes.  Myself, I participate in a wide variety of sports including volleyball, soccer, track and field, badminton and basketball.  Opeongo is well known for our competitive basketball teams and one of my most memorable high school moments was last season when our basketball team qualified second at EOSSAA.  My favourite days of the school year are when we host our intramural sports day tournaments highlighting ball hockey, ultimate Frisbee and speedball!

Intramural Sports Day

 

I love to try all sports but my passion is soccer!  I started playing soccer when I was eleven years old and have worked very hard to progress my skills.  My parents and coaches encouraged me to attend some development camps and I was invited to train and play with a regional team in West Ottawa.  Today, I am still competing with an older team at the West Ottawa Soccer Club and it has given me the opportunity to meet team mates from a variety of backgrounds and personal stories.  We are all different individuals but with a common goal; to compete at our highest level in a sport that we love!  Soccer is definitely a passion of mine and one day I will never forget is the day that the women’s FIFA World Cup came to Ottawa and I got the chance to watch Alex Morgan, my inspiration take the field!

 

Volunteering and giving back to my community has always been an important part of my life.

For the past seven years my family have been volunteers for the IAMALIVE dog rescue foundation located just outside of Ottawa.  We take in stray dogs, teach them, train them and love them until we can find them a forever home.  It makes your heart happy when you rescue a dog and then help them live the life that they deserve.  The hardest part is then giving them up for adoption which is why we have had three “failed fosters!”  Ultimately we fell in love with the dogs we were fostering and adopted them into our family!

 

With the reigning Miss Teen Ontario East 2018 Emma Jeapes

Over the past couple of years I have expanded my charity and volunteer work thanks to my involvement with the Teen Ontario East Pageant organization; a not for profit pageant group that raises funds and creates awareness for Childhood Cancer.  I have been fortunate to have been a representative with the pageant and have attended a variety of events and met some amazing young cancer champions.  It is a life-changing experience seeing what a child with cancer endures on a daily basis just to survive.  I hope you will keep following my blog as I introduce my charity platform;  PROMOTING CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS.

I am so proud to be representing the Eastern Ontario Region at this year’s Miss Teenage Canada Pageant!  Please follow my blog to learn more about me, my region, my charity platform and to get an insight into my preparations for the national pageant!

 

 

Alexa

 

 

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As I prepare for the final competition of the Miss Teenage Canada Pageant, I wanted to take a final opportunity to post about my Platform; Childhood Cancer Awareness.

I don’t know if we can truly appreciate what these amazing young warriors and their families go through because we haven’t walked the walk.  We can’t fathom what it is like to watch a young child struggle to fight the dreaded disease and know that there is nothing physically that we can do to lessen their pain and suffering.  It is heartbreaking and just unfair.

I know that I am only one person and that I can’t take away the circumstances that surround these amazing kids and their families but I do have the ability to raise awareness on their behalf.  Do you know that only 4% of the funds raised for cancer research are donated to address childhood cancers?  This is just not acceptable.

Even with only 4% of all cancer research funding devoted to childhood cancers, great strides have been made in the battle against childhood cancer. Forty years ago, survival rates were less than 60%. Today, over 82% of children survive.

Imagine what we could do with more research funding.

It is my hope that by bringing the Childhood Cancer Awareness platform to the national level through the Miss Teenage Canada Pageant, my efforts may reach out to ONE more person who will see their challenges and choose to donate to one of the many charities that support childhood cancer champions and their families.  If my blog awareness campaign results in even $1.00 being donated that wouldn’t have been before, then I have made a difference in a small but impacting way.  You can never truly appreciate what heroes like Paige, Jill , Annie, Nathan, Jordan, Connor, Chris, Bryce, Kim, Chloe (the list goes on) go through and I hope you never find out, but we can do our best to help other kids being diagnosed so that their journeys will have a promising future.

Cancer Champions: Jessica, Jill, Paige Nathan, Annie

My life has changed over the past 16 months.  I have learned amazing life lessons from the young cancer champions that I have met and I have a new appreciation for the gift of life.  I have seen them push through their treatments with determination and a smile on their face.  I have played and interacted with them while at charity events and I have been inspired listening to many of them speak about their journeys at public functions.  I think one of the most impacting things I have ever experienced was listening to Paige speak and show her courage bead necklace that catalogues her cancer journey in coloured beads.  To have a visual representation of her journey was one of the most heartbreaking yet inspirational moments I have ever witnessed.  I have had the opportunity to hear  Paige speak on several occasions and her favourite quote gets me every time because I know she truly lives her life according to her quote:     “Cherish your memories, Dream your tomorrows, but always LIVE your todays!

1/2 of Paige’s Courage Bead necklace

I will continue with my Childhood Cancer Awareness campaign for the duration of my reign which concludes in April 2018 but I will continue to be an advocate for childhood cancer awareness as I go forward in life.  I want to do what I can to make a difference!

So, in conclusion, I want to personally THANK all of the incredible childhood cancer champions that I have met and their families for changing my life and for making me really appreciate the gifts we are given; to never take anything for granted; to always make time to volunteer for something you are passionate about because you will receive much more than you give; to never give up when a task seems to difficult and most of all to always be respectful and grateful for the important people in your life because they may not always be there!

I will always remain a passionate GOLD RIBBON advocate!

GO GOLD!

Sophia

 

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Dear Diary:

I can’t believe it is Day 4 already.  It really is true that “TIME FLIES WHEN YOU ARE HAVING FUN!”

Today we were up bright and early and after a lovely breakfast, were off to the Clarington Family Outdoor Adventure Park.  Oh and did I mention that Olivia and I were interviewed on City TV!  It was a great opportunity to promote the Clarington Family Outdoor Adventure Park  that was hosting us for the morning.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  Do not wear a white skirt to a zoo!  Good thing I had a Tide stick in my bag.  One of the goats decided he should jump on me and although I loved the affectionate attention, his feet were not very clean!

Loved getting up close and personal!

 

After the Adventure Park we went to Bluffers Park.  The park and beach is stunning!  It’s located at the base of the Scarborough Bluff and is a gorgeous setting to spend the afternoon.  Located on Lake Ontario it has a scenic beach area and lots of hiking trails.  Eight of us were talked into trying paddle boarding.  What a great experience, although no one warned me that Lake Ontario is very cold!

 

After spending time in the great outdoors, we then headed off to the Yorkdale Mall for some serious retail therapy at NINE WEST!  Nine West not only sponsored our gorgeous shoes for the pageant but also gifted each of us with a $50.00 gift certificate to purchase additional shoes, purses or sunglasses.  Not only did we get the gift certificate but we also got a discount as well!  Did I mention I LOVE SHOES!

I LOVE SHOE SHOPPING at NINE WEST!

After changing we headed off to Memories of Japan for a wonderful meal!  Dinner was an entertaining affair with lots of joke sharing, laughs and incredible food!

All ready for a beautiful dinner at Memories of Japan

I am trying to capture the essence of my Teenage Canada Pageant weekend journey but it is difficult to put into words what an incredible few days this has been.  New experiences, new places and wonderful new friends!

Well Diary, let’s see what tomorrow brings!

Sophia

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