November 2, 2010
July 14, 2010
May 11, 2010
How Did This Sweet Idea Come About?
As Miss New York Leigh-Taylor was a Top 5 finalist at Miss America. But, for her, that wasn’t the magical part. You see, as she stood on stage with the spotlight flooding her vision she felt life in that moment was simply a blur. But then she realized she saw something spectacular. The realization of a dream. A goal met. And almost instantly she reverted back to her childhood-self. She felt like the same little girl that would sit 2 feet away from the television every September to watch the women competing in Miss America and hoping that maybe one day she would have the opportunity to grace the stage just as they had.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So what? Well, here’s what: It all started out as a dreaded final at Parsons School of Design. With the aforementioned story as her inspiration she was told she could do whatever she liked. At first she thought it to be simple; a children’s line. But as her mind continued to churn she realized just what New York needed. A store that embraces the playful whimsy of the chic New York woman. Seemingly paradoxical verbage to some. A dream come true for others. But she wasn’t done yet … she wanted to include some of the sweet Southern charm her mama had passed down and so it was … a boutique with cocktails and desserts a-plenty. Ultimately, she has create the perfect place for women to come enjoy themselves while playing dress-up. Does it get any better than that? We think not. But come see for yourself …
As a child Leigh-Taylor was emphatically encouraged to embrace her quirky playfulness and sweet disposition. Tales of her running over to her neighbor’s backyard jumping on stumps and putting on shows still ease their way into reminiscent conversations around the collaborative dinner table. The world was her stage. Some things never change.
As you can imagine by simply looking at her childish smirk, her hand was ALWAYS in the cookie jar. Literally and figuratively. Of course, growing up in the South with a true Southern belle for a mother there was never a lack of treats. (Which, by the way, her daddy’s belly cannot deny.) So, most would say from a young age she has understood what we call, the sweet things in life.
Leigh-Taylor has carried this sense of fantastical whimsy throughout her 24 years; never denying a kiddie cocktail, maintaining a steady love affair with any and all treats, and rarely capable of saying no to a fabulous accessory.
April 27, 2010
So, one of my teachers asked me to evaluate where I am right now. And here's what I jotted down:
Lost, Or Rather Discovered, In Translation
At the beginning of my time at Parsons I knew I would be introduced to a myriad of niches within the Fashion Marketing industry and came to the conclusion that I had to enter with an open mind as to what I would pursue upon matriculation. Yet, at the end of the Fall semester I knew a couple of things: math wasn’t fun in middle school, math still isn’t fun, and public relations fascinates me.
I’ve always loved writing. But while studying theater in undergrad at the University of Virginia I felt more freedom and less limits within the expected structure of language in my papers. Then once I graduated I began writing more freely on my blog, and general short stories.
Throughout this past semester I have realized that, while I love imagery, what inspires me even more-so than images is the art of language. As seen throughout my portfolio I have included relevant articles alongside my essays. I am attracted to images supported by reason, whether it is explained or merely detailed in my own cranium. By unknowingly creating a harmonious marriage between imagery and language I have gracefully stumbled upon a challenging pursuit.
I’ve discovered my ability to translate a language that is not taught, but rather learned through personal passion. And I know this is not a destination to be reached, but a journey to enjoy.
April 14, 2010
But believe me, it's hard.
My mom's bff (and twin) Linda would ask me my perspective on people and their personalities, even as a child, because I had an oddly (almost weird) accurate perception of character. But here's my downfall (and Lisa will tell you this over and over and over again) I believe the best in people. Unfortunately, this often puts me in the compromising position.
L to R: Little Lisa, Moi, Tiffany (Linda's daughter, obvi!), and Miss Linda. Please notice not only the fact that we look exactly like our mothers, but our outfits. All leopard. All black. And, PS, we're wearing the crowns because it was a post-Miss America celebration dinner. Love it! Love them.
Either way, I've got a couple of danglers that won't be posted. But I also have two that will. They ain't bad or nuthin'. Kind of fun, really!
NEXTTTT. So, I've been working on a big social media project in one of my classes for, well, the entire semester. And something I've emphasized throughout the entirety of the presentation is the idea of making a direct and personal connection with the specified consumer/target market (you're thinking, "well duh, idiot." ... I'M NOT DONE YET!) and I want to start emulating the same ideal on my blog! I've had so many people, from so many parts of my life, tell me that they enjoy reading my blog. I love that! So, in an effort to try and make it slightly more interactive I'll post some opinion based questions in an effort to increase interaction! Neat? You betcha! Winky face. (<-- channeling Sarah Palin and her CONTAGIOUS personality. And by contagious I mean as contagious as a 24 hour virus that makes you hang by the pot the whole dang day.)
So, here's the deal, yo. Today Paul passed a big test at slash for work so we went to lunch to celebrate. (P, I'm fairly confident no one at DB reads my blog, if so, sorry! Tell them I made you go.) We started talking about a bespoke men's clothing line my friend started here in the city. They were featured on Daily Candy the other day for their rockin' deal on amazing custom-made suits for men to wear at their wedding. So Paul started talking about how convenient Men's Wearhouse was for he and all of the groomsmen to get their tuxes for his cousin's wedding. Inexpensive, too.
And then he said this: "I mean, it's just for one weekend. It's really not a big deal."
Insert my gaping mouth right here. Just a weekend? No big deal? Go ask a girl planning her wedding if she agrees with that. Chicks dream about this stuff for years. So, this is the question ... what do y'all think? Am I off base thinking that statement was a wee-tad off base?
Either way, I wouldn't tell this lady that:
Or this one for that matter:
I mean, I'm sure he belched or picked his nose afterwards in hopes that I would avert my attention from the train wreck of words that had just escaped his mouth. Which leads me to one more funny ...
When we were home for Easter I was chatting with my mom and dad in the kitchen while Paul showered getting ready for a night on the town and all of the sudden my dad ripped out a filthy long belch. So I looked at my mom and said, "oh my gosh! how have you put up with this/him for so long?" She just shook her head and giggled and then about 5 minutes later, as if on cue, Paul walked into the room while ripping a filthy long belch. My dad looked at me and in his perfect Leigh-Taylor high-pitch girl voice and said, "oh my gosh! how have you put up with this/him for so long?" And, hit the cymbals, please.
But, let's be honest, I'm so amused by that stuff. How could you not be? And, as Paul pointed out he's a catch. And as I'll point out, I know, I know! I. Love. Him.
Alright, off to do some work. Hump day is ova' and onto Thursday we go y'all. It's almost the weekend! (But finals are quickly approaching. Sad face, sad face.)
March 23, 2010
So sadly that means the bill is not yet a law ... but, the upside is the following, the bill is pending with the education committee where it has been since January 7, 2009.
The following link will take you to the bill and all of its information: http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&bn=A00302&Summary=Y&Actions=Y&Votes=Y&Memo=Y
But this isn't terrible news. It just means you need to write your legislators and encourage them to pass this.
March 19, 2010
The bill that I filed last year as Miss New York sponsored by Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell ... was PASSED!!! It. Is. A. LAW. (Well, on July 1st it is!)
Here's what the official bill states (if read aloud by me, it would have an exclamation at the end of each sentence):
"Section one of the bill adds a new section 815 to the Education Law. The new section establishes a school based service learning based, in large part, on the Maryland program set forth in COMAR (Code of Maryland Regulations) 13A.03.02.06, requiring students to participate in community service learning programs in order to graduate from high school.
Starting with the 9th grade class in the 2010-2011 school year, students are to complete one of two community service options in order to graduate from high school. The first option, set forth in new Education Law 815(1)(a) and 3(a) , is a 40 hour requirement that complies with guidelines to be issued by the NYS Education Department. The second option, set forth in new Education Law, 815(1)(b) and 3(b), is a locally designed program that has been approved by the NYS Commissioner of Education or the Commissioner's designee. The new requirements will first apply to students who graduate from high school in the spring of 2014."
People often asked me whats I wanted my legacy as Miss New York to be. This is it. A generation of compassionate New Yorkers introduced to service even if it doesn't happen or begin in the home. This will be an impetus to thousands of lives changed. And I'm so happy for my state.
I don't cry often as you know, but my eyes are filled with happy tears.
Have a wonderful Friday, y'all! And, have a glass of wine for me tonight!
PS: Please excuse the absurd amount of exclamation points. I'm on Cloud 9.
March 3, 2010
She's baaaaack. The insanely OCD Leigh-Taylor. The one who not so discreetly stuffs herself into a booth at Orchard88 with WWD's, notebooks, computer, mechanical pencils, extra lead, and various eraser choices. Cramming my not so large brain full of information. Somehow we're creepin' up on midterms and I'm not, defiantly not, okay with that.
BUT, I wanted to share a couple of things. Mostly because Miss America, Caressa Cameron, commented on a previous post (two posts ago to be exact) and it seems she's using this sucker to help wind down her days. And, since she can't share in the wine that I so enjoy (until she comes to NYC and I cook her a home-cooked meal and slip her a brew) I thought I would leave this little surprise for her. Much better than the kind the mice leave. Eh, Katie Martin? But, that is neither here nor there.
Anyways, one of the reasons I can't go to sleep is ... tomorrow is Thursday! At 4pm I will begin my sweaty, 90 minute class, in hopes that Josh Lucas is there to join me in sweating. I saw him again this past Saturday. I woke up and went to the 10am, and as I walked out of the room, right there before my eyes was the man-candy himself. He'd been watching our class through the glass. Better? He asked me how I was. As a bead of sweat fell off my forehead onto his leg I simultaneously stuffed my nasty floor and hand towels into the washing machine. It was romantic. If by romantic I mean he probably cringed and though, "geez, my extremely beautiful girlfriend Rachel McAdams is waiting for me at home. dressed in clothing from the late '40's just like the Notebook and I CANNOT WAIT for the 'after-the-canoe-ride' part of today." (Kind of weird. I don't know how or why I thought of that. But I did. And I don't feel like deleting it.)
Secondly, I'm totally jazzed for the gays in DC that can get married. Way to get it done District! On that political note, Paterson - please step down. You are becoming one disaster after another. And while we have to continue to focus on the shortcomings of your administration and the choices that have been collectively (and personally) made, the state is suffering. None of this ridiculosity is fostering a dialogue, or a progressive community, and for that I am disappointed and somewhat ashamed.
MOOO-ving on. I think my last thing will be this:
Ok, so he has a mullet. But he has AH-MAZING tone. And the girl that sand the Scientist by Coldplay tonight was also phenom. Katelyn Epperley (sp?). I will post that one tomorrow when it makes its way to youtube.
NIGHT, Y'ALL. Kind of ... I'll probably be reading ... or something.
February 26, 2010
It's been an incredibly long week for me and if nothing else I value the ideals of friendship and of life. Please come out and enjoy ... And most importantly, help shine the light of hope for those still suffering in Haiti. Let's change a small piece of the world ....
February 19, 2010
Yesterday I did work during the day at Orchard88 as well as coupled with a few rounds of CSI. Here's the thing though, CSI runs a loop. And, most of the time, I've seen every single episode. Which some would say would help me focus more on work. But it actually makes me focus more on the details so when I grow up to be a forensic scientist like them, I'll be detail-oriented and savvy enough to solve all crimes within 24-36 hours. Best when fresh, right?
ANYWAYS, I don't often go to Bikram at 4, I'd rather have it as a book-end on my day. But for some reason yesterday I got antsy and felt the need to go a wee bit earlier. Because of the last minute decision I was running a little later than usual and couldn't take a back row spot. Thus, I swiftly surveyed my options and found a spot in the middle row, in front (and in between so not completely blocking) a handsome man and a pretty gal. As class began I came to learn that Josh had brought his friend Amelia for her first Bikram class. The teacher instructed her to watch the person "Leigh" in front of her. *Sidenote: I go by Leigh in class. Weird, maybe. But Leigh-Taylor is a total mouthful for the teacher when spouting out corrections or very infrequently "way to go"s.
Ok, so Amelia did a really good job for her first class. She only had to sit out a few poses and I don't think she left the room. As I was sitting on the bench in the hallway putting my shoes back on thinking of my swift departure, she joined me. As I told her what a great job she'd done, her friend Josh joined us. He opened his mouth and he could no longer mask his identity. It was HIM:
Don't recognize? Think: Sweet Home Alabama. Reese Witherspoon's love interest with a smooth as honey Southern accent from Little Rock, AR. Got it?
SO, then I left, slightly flustered, and got on the phone with my dad to ask him a question as I silently contemplated whether to get wine for Claire's then while sweaty or after I showered. I always get the same wine, Bacchus, for $11.99 at september wine & spirits. And what did I find on the ground as I debated the purchase? Two $5 bills and 2 $1s. Truth.
Bought the wine. Done-zo.
And the rest my friends, is history.
January 28, 2010
I don't think this story has been told on my blog, so I will take the chance to let you know. Last year Kate Marie (Miss DC) worked some recon and decided I needed to meet her boyfriend's brother because she thought we would totally hit it off. She was thinking boyfriend at the time I was thinking friend.
So, on this mission of hers, she strategized a plan where she would bring her crew over to my Halloween party. Ironically I went to high school and college with some of Steve (her boyfriend's) friends. I met Paul whom I made fun of for having a store (slash worse ... online!) purchased costume when he came over ... and then later in the night I tried on my roller blades for him and showed him my skills (non-existent) in my pint sized Manhattan apartment.
We communicated and went on our first date a few weeks later. Most know that the couple of months leading up to Miss America are at the very least insane. Paul works in investment banking ... and his days are always as busy as mine were those couple of months. But in between all of that we found time to hang out. He would literally come over from 1-3am and we would chat, I would giggle, go to sleep and go to 645am Bikram yoga.
I'll never forget the morning of my Miss America send-off party, 5 days before I left for Miss America, when he asked me if there was anything he could do to help. After some thought I said no ... all I had was a lot of laundry. Otherwise that day I was going to 4 hours of mock interviews, tanning, going to the gym, getting a haircut in my apartment by my dear friend Jay, and then Jay and Paul were going to head to the party with me. So he insisted on taking my laundry in my overstuffed pink Vera Bradley duffel home with him. He returned that night with my duffel and stacks of clean laundry.
I was done for.
So the morning I left for Miss America he came over, stuffed a card in my carry-on advising me I couldn't open in until Vegas, walked to Starbucks got me a huge latte, and carried my 3 overweight suitcases down my 4 flights of stairs.
I mean, I really can't make this stuff up people.
He came out to Vegas on Friday morning (after nearly missing his flight because he had unknowingly turned off his phone due to the influx of texts from family and friends about my ss win ... including a photo from his Aunt Karen of me giving him a HUGE thumbs-up) and met my family for the first time at our gala that evening.
His mom, Mrs. Sig, met my parents inadvertently in the lobby of Planet Hollywood before either of us had met the respective family. Embarrassingly enough I'm sure it's not hard to miss MY FACE ON A SWEATSHIRT. (Or my dad's cowboy boots for that matter .... worn with his tuxedo on final night hoping they would be photographed with me as Miss America.)
We danced, he met all of my dear girlfriends, and then all of the contestants were escorted by security and hostesses back to our rooms. Miss CA, Jackie, was my roommate last year. She was also known as my twin. Her boyfriend Robbie was also in attendance and had come that night to the gala. So when we were washing our faces at our sinks ... looking at each other through our parallel mirrors she asked me if Paul was my boyfriend. I reminded her, since we had already discussed this, that Paul and I hardly had any time to talk about that. With a sly little grin on her face she then informed me Paul had told Robbie that he was my boyfriend that night.
All I could think about that night was 1) the amazing over-stuffed cookie box from Mrs Fields that Jacqueline Cook, a former Miss VA had sent me ... that had been torn into by moi ... and I wanted more AND 2) !!!!!!!!!.
I went to bed that night so excited that Paul was my boyfriend. It sounds so silly. But think about it. I was a 23 year old girl head over heels for him. It put everything into perspective. Yes, winning that prelim was awesome, and ultimately being in the 5 was awesome I was legitimately excited about what awaited me at home if I didn't win. In 5 years, or even next year, and actually now, winning ss and placing in the 5 is miniscule in comparison to what I want to achieve and the time I want to spend with all of the people that I love. And that would include Paul and the whole Sigfusson/Bere clan.
PS: Paul is going to be extremely embarrassed I wrote this. I'm in trouble.
Last night I talked to Ellen Carrington, Miss TN 2008, and really just simply one of my favorites of all time. We talked about how wretched filming the Miss America reality show was but if we hadn't done been involved with it we wouldn't have been nearly as close as we all were last year. Which leads me to my point ...
Last year at Miss America I competed in Swimsuit and Evening Gown on this night, Thursday, the final night of preliminary competition. I had worked incredibly hard to get fit ("Miss America fit"). Not skinny, but fit. When I got to Miss America I felt like I could take down a chick if I needed to.
Either way, that night, I walked backstage after "Baby Wiping" all of the body glue off of myself in order to avoid gown stick-age and it was SILENT. I mean, if you had been backstage before that it was hopping. Girls flipping their hair. Lip gloss flying. But glue spraying. Lats minute advice being given. But everyone was staring at the tv monitor. Ashley Wheeler, Miss Vermont, was singing God Bless America a cappella and no one could avert their eyes. Not even the stage hands (I mean, they're entertained by the likes of CHER! AND GAGA!). It was unbelievable.
So, after competition Art McMaster and Sam Haskell (the men's force behind Miss America, president and CEO's) came up on stage and spoke for, erm, a long time. Case and point: Cullen Jones, the Olympic medalist swimmer, was one of our judges. After the first five minutes of them speaking he packed his laptop up. Put it under his table. Went into his bag and dragged out a huge back of chips and just started vegging. We were all jealous of him. No heels, no sweating, and eating chips.
Naturally I just started chatting with Miss NC, Amanda, and all of a sudden I heard "YORK" called out for Swimsuit. After a supremely quick process of elimination I realized I was the only one there that had a state name ending in York and proceeded to flail my arms. All of that imagining Katie Stam (who ultimately became Miss America, but who had done so well ont he reality show) racing me to the finish line in spinning had paid off. I mean, it's all about envisioning it, right?
Caption: "I hope you just said my name. Otherwise this could get really embarrassing, really fast."
I found my family and got a wee-tad excited!
This is when I saw the Miss New York Board!
That night when I got to visitation my brother said that on stage I was visibly more excited about her win than mine. And when I thought about it, it was true. That's why I was so happy that night. Of course I was excited about my win. But my happiness came from walking down the Miss America runway, preliminary awards in hand, with one of my best friends.
Now that's a once in a lifetime experience.
PS: BIG congratulations to Alyse, Miss NY, and preliminary ss winner at Miss A last night!
January 25, 2010
So, I started the blog to keep folks up to date with my whereabouts during my year as Miss New York. Then it just kept going. And a few of y'all kept reading so how about some Miss America awesome-ness?
It's Miss America week in Vegas right now, and it's back to school week for LT. So, I've decided against making the trek to Vegas. Nuts maybe, but to each their own. I shall miss all of the pageantry that ensues but I think I may be taking the bus or train down to DC (pending mass amounts of work due) to see Ashley Wheeler (Miss VT 2k9) and her fiance Michael. We're going to watch the whole sha-bang AND do a blind taste testing of champagnes for their upcoming wedding.
SEE! I'm not completely missing out. Actually, I will get a huge fill from that. She's one of the dearest people I know. Hysterical. Ridiculous. Utterly compassionate. THAT'S what Miss America does for you. You meet f4lyf. Friends for life. (I made that up for you, C-BUFF).
Anyhow, Miss New York is heading to her interview in just an hour. So I sent her an email and I'm sending her massive amounts of good vibes. And you should, too. Interview, I think, is the most important phase of competition. It takes a lot of prep, a lot of studying, a lot of mental goodness. Don't believe me? Check me out before my interview ... not my outfit. My right hand.
Alright ... back to school! Marketing and Retailing classes tonight. OH LALA. Maybe I'll be dressing some of the gals for Miss America in a couple of years. I mean, I'd be down.