Monday, April 23, 2012

Life of a Grad Student

I received a request to write a blog about life as a grad student from a friend and classmate; and I thought that was a great idea!

I've always enjoyed learning and being in a classroom, so in my undergraduate career I knew that getting my graduate degree was something I wanted to pursue one day. After I graduated, I had to make the decision to either find a job or pursue my graduate career full time. I've always known that I've wanted to move and work in the city, but I also knew that the timing was not right. With the passing of my father I wasn't quite ready to spread my wings and venture off to the city, so that told me it was the perfect opportunity to purse my Master's.

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln happened to have a great program that focused on advertising. I studied hard for the GRE the summer before my final semester of undergrad and applied. I was ecstatic when I was accepted! I started in January 2011.

I knew I wanted to get done in a year and a half, while most full time students finish full in 2 years, so I took on a heavy load of classes and summer classes. Although I was happy to be close to home and around my family and friends, I was also anxious for my big move to they city and to pursue my dreams in the world of advertising.

Miss Nebraska USA helped me balance this heavy work load with my graduate assistantship. Thanks to my trusty planner I've been able to maintain a competitive GPA and still stay active outside of school. I have to admit, without my planner, color coated pens, highlighters and post it notes, there is no way I would have been able to balance my schedule! You'll see a glimpse of my planner in the photo above (anyone who knows me well, knows this thing is my life!). 

One of the biggest things I learned from my year as Miss Nebraska USA was the importance of life balance. This means maintaining good relationships with friends and family, staying healthy through fitness and nutrition, giving back and doing well in your job and/or classes. It's simple things that have helped me maintain this balance. For example, this may sound silly, but I'll write myself notes to "Call Renee," on a certain day. Or a goal for a week: "Give back or help someone out this week." Putting yourself on a work out plan and preparing meals before a week starts up are helpful tips in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Another huge tip, that was really hard for me, is asking for help from others. I'm sure you have friends and family that are willing to help with little things here and there. Don't be afraid to take them up on their offers! For me, writing things down is always a huge help. I can't get over the satisfaction of checking things of my many "lists."

Any other questions, just ask!

Keep smiling :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New York State of Mind

Last January I decided to take full advantage of my last Christmas break. After six years of college, I thought it would be a good idea to do something adventurous on my last 3 week vacation. 

I took off to New York City to visit a good friend and family. It may have been chilly, but New York City is a great place to visit around the holidays. It may have been chilly, but the decorations are extravagant and beautiful. We did a lot of sight seeing, but also some low key "local" things. Check out my photos for a glimpse of my trip! 

Phantom of the Opera
So inspired by Egyptian jewelry at the Met
Magnolias Bakery
 With my great grandma who's 100 years old! (And still lives by herself!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Beauty Must Haves

I thought it would be fun to do a post about my must have beauty products!

I don't wear eye shadow daily, but when I'm getting dressed up, MAC is my go to! The colors are so vibrant and last all day or night. Next up is Nars lip gloss; this stuff is awesome! At Miss USA, Farouk Systems was a sponsor, and I got this Chi Ionic flat iron. This thing changed my life! If you have naturally curly hair like I do, this is a great investment. I've been wearing Lancome High Definicils since high school. I've tried other mascaras, and always go back to this product. My everyday foundation is Smashbox halo hydrating perfecting powder. I wear the medium shade. It's a mineral make up, which is great for your skin. It's also super lightweight, but gives enough coverage for a natural look. And lastly, another long time product I've used, Loreal Natures Therapy Mega Moisture deep conditioner. This stuff is farily inexpensive and does the trick if you have dry, rebellious hair.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chicago Bound

June 1st I am making a big move. Over much contemplation, I’ve decided to move to Chicago to start my career in advertising! I couldn’t be more excited for a new challenge, or should I say challenges. Below are some photos of a trip my boyfriend and I took over fall break when I went on several interviews.

As of now I'm having mixed emotions. Of course I’m going to miss my family and friends, but in the same breath I’m excited to have the opportunity to work in a fast paced industry that I love. I love Chicago, everything about the culture excites me. There are endless friends to be made, restaurants to try and new things to discover about my life and myself.

At the end of this month I’ll be traveling there to find a place to call home. I’m excited to live in a neighborhood that will be close to downtown and close to the beach. I hear summer in Chicago is fun, so I look forward to new adventures this year!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Miss Nebraska USA 2012

Current and former Miss Nebraska USAs

Back in October, Miss USA 2012 took place. This was my first time watching the Miss Nebraska USA pageant from the crowd (since last year I when I gave up the title). It was fun to watch some of my friends compete for the title. I made friends with many of the girls through my two years competing. 
My little teen is all grown up!
Former Miss Nebraska USAs with the current Miss Nebraska USA.
With the Kimberly Spa crew!

In the end, Amy Spilker won the crown! This was her fourth year competing and she did a great job. Be sure to watch her compete in June at Miss USA!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Madd About Mad Men

With Mad Men back on AMC, I can’t help but get drawn in every Sunday evening. Not only am I an enthusiast when it comes to history and advertising, but I can’t get enough of the 60’s and 70’s fashion. Betty Draper of course takes the cake as a fashion icon. I think this is a fun look to incorporate you’re your very own wardrobe. Classic vintage dresses that place all the emphasis on the waist is a new look to wear this season. Try beautiful chiffons, bright colors and bold patterns. Top it off with a clutch and red lipstick if you want to take this trend all the way, but ditch the cigs. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Photo shoot for a cause

In September last year I had the honor to participate in a swimsuit photo shoot, alone with other former and current Vanbros titleholders. Proceeds from the VANBROS Swimsuit Calendar will go to the Donald Ross Elliott III Foundation. Please check out some snapshots from the shoot and read on to find out more about little Ross.

Geneice Wilcher, Miss NE USA 2007
The fabulous photographer, Will Patterson!
Can you guess which month I was?
Having fun at the shoot.
With the swimsuit sponsor, Allyce King Swim.
Wrote from Ross’ grandma, Karen Elliott:

On December 25, 2010, Donald "Ross" Elliott III was a seemingly happy, HEALTHY 2 1/2 year old. He opened Christmas gifts, ate candy, terrorized the cousins, and had a terrific, NORMAL day, at least we thought. When we put him to bed that night, he began to cry and say that his leg hurt. He continued to toss and turn for the next several hours without sleeping, so Chris & Aixa made the decision to take him to the emergency room. At that time, they thought his bowels were bound, so doctors sent him home with stool softeners. For the next 8 hours or so, he continued to toss and turn and complain of hurting. When he started to run a high-grade fever, he was again taken back to the hospital. At roughly 1:00 a.m. on December 27th, my daughter-in-law called to relay the devastating news that the doctors were going to admit our precious Ross and would be testing him for Leukemia.

There are no words to explain what it's like to see your "best little friend" laying in a hospital bed and crying out in pain whenever someone tried to move him, or to see your son & daughter-in-law with tears running down their cheeks and quickly brushing them away so that they could be strong for Ross. Even so, he would turn to us, probably 100 times a day, and say, "I love you". It's almost like he knew we needed his words of encouragement. It was quickly determined that Ross had a fairly rare type of cancer known as AML-M7 and that in order to survive, he would need a bone
marrow transplant.

Over the next 8 months, Children's Mercy Hospital became Ross' home-away-from-home. He called it his apartment. There were some pretty scary times at first, but then the chemo began to kick in and he would run the halls wielding a sword & taking on anyone in sight, or giggle as he shot nerf bullets at the doctors & nurses. He never met a stranger and he quickly made a name for himself on 4 Henson.
A bone marrow donor was found and, in late May, Ross underwent a bone marrow transplant. We were told that he would be in the hospital for roughly 6 to 8 weeks, but being the little warrior that he was, he made it home in 4 weeks. His time at home was short lived though. Complications set in and he returned to

Children's Mercy where he earned his angel wings on September 1, 2011.
We still miss our amazing little guy each and every day but thank God that he was loaned to us for 3 1/2 short years. He was such a loving and caring child who, up to the last minute, continued to tell us "I love you from here to the moon & back, and that's a lot". He is no longer in pain and is spreading sunshine all over Heaven. We also realize how blessed we are to have such wonderful friends to lean on. We had people all over the world praying for Ross and our family. Because of him, a not-for-profit group was formed called Our Crowning Glory and they brought a wagon full of gifts to him each month in order to bring a smile to his face. This group is made up of present & former Vanbros titleholders, contestants & friends and will continue to help other children who are fighting their own battle. The Donald Ross Elliott the 3rd foundation has also been established in Ross' honor and proceeds will go to help put young people who have won their fight with cancer through college. We are so pleased that VANBROS will be adopting this new foundation, as it’s first official charity. 
We love you from here to Heaven & back, precious Ross, and that's a lot!
Chris, Aixa, Chris Jr., Gimmies, Andrea, Luke,
Keith, Brandy, Payton & Riley

Please click here if you'd like to order a calendar.