Monday, July 9, 2018

Ms. Wheelchair USA: Pageant Preparation

I cannot believe that a week from today I'll be in Ohio for pageant week! Back in April, this week seemed so far away, but as usual, it came quickly and I still have a few things left to do before I pack up my crown to take on Nationals.

I love that the Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant puts a spotlight on your platform, and I've had a great time making my public appearances so far (read about my time at the CTAA Expo here and the Brentwood Fourth of July parade here). I'm excited to keep spreading the word about increasing inclusion for people with disabilities, because it's something I'm so passionate about, and I really love connecting with others who feel the same way! So I've been practicing and honing my platform speech, and am really looking forward to sharing my message at the pageant.

There's lots of other behind the scenes things going on, too! Little welcome gifts for the other pageant contestants, reading (and re-reading!) the schedule, working on my "About Me" display, and packing! This is going to be quite the busy week.
While the pageant is clearly about more than the clothing, I'm won't lie - I'm really excited about my evening gown, and I wanted to share a sneak peek with you here. I don't think I'll have many occasions in my life to go all out like this (although, fingers crossed there are more - I love dressing up!), so I decided to just go for it. I got some accessory advice from Stacy London on Twitter, and I love how everything came together.

Almost as soon as I found out that I'd made it to Nationals, I started looking for my evening gown. It's hard for me to find things that fit, and I knew I'd need the dress to be altered, so I wanted to make sure I found something in plenty of time. I checked Nordstrom and Bloomingdales first, but as usual, everything I liked was way out of my price range. But then I remembered The RealReal - the online designer consignment store. That's where I found my perfect dress. I love the color and how sparkly it is! I also got it altered to change the back from the zipper it had to a lace-up corset-style back, because that's so much easier for me to change into than a zipper - which was really important to me, because I'll be changing into the dress in the middle of the pageant.

Shoes were the next thing I was worried about, because I wear a size 2 - they're not easy to find! Kids shoes are an option usually, but I wanted something that didn't look too young, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find what I was looking for in the kids section. So I turned to Shoes of Prey - they offer so many sizes, and let you customize the shoes so you can find exactly what you're looking for. So I was able to get the perfect pair of black sequin flats, that don't look young but also fit!

And then, there's the jewelry. Stacy London was kind enough to offer me some advice on Twitter, and I found the perfect vintage cocktail ring on Etsy, and these sparkly, dangly BaubleBar earrings on Shopbop.

I'm so excited to wear everything during the pageant and show you the finished product!

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