Miss Maine USA Drops Out

Emily Johnson, a now former Miss Maine USA, recently announced she would not be going on to Las Vegas to compete for the title of Miss USA.

The pageant, which is owned by Donald Trump, is normally held in Las Vegas in April. However, due to conflicts the pageant itself was moved to June.

This made it difficult for several state titleholders, including Maine’s Emily Johnson. She has ultimately decided that her conflicting matter is more important than competing for the title of Miss USA and will be resigning as Miss Maine USA.

Although the beauty queen does get to keep her glistening crown, she is being forced to hand over her title, all appearances and prizes.

Ashley Marble, first runner-up in the state pageant, now has the golden ticket to Las Vegas and is the newly crowned Miss Maine USA. She will compete on the stage in the Miss USA phases of competition, as former Miss Main, Emily Johnson attends her sisters wedding.

I was a bit shocked to see this headline on my newsfeed today. As a former pageant state titleholder, it is something I lived and breathed for throughout my childhood and teenage years.

However, much like Emily Johnson, I do not think I could ever lose sight of what the more important things in life are. Family definitely falls in the “most” important category for me and no title would be worth missing my own sister’s wedding.

I am sure there are some people out there that feel differently. However, I feel that it is a shame Johnson is receiving criticism for withdrawing herself from the national pageant because of family conflictions.

These girls have a great deal of influence on young girls in society today and I feel as if Emily Johnson has set one of the best examples yet, by emphasizing the importance of family.

How do you feel about Miss Maine USA’s decision to withdraw herself from the national pageant in Las Vegas?

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Guest Blogger: Erin McDonough

This post features a blog by my fellow classmate, Erin McDonough. It is a very moving and insightful blog regarding the Tom’s Shoes Organzation. I enjoyed reading this post so much and want to share it with others to pass along the work this amazing organziation is doing to provide children in need with shoes.

Taking a Step Into a Better Tomorrow , written by Erin McDonough

In today’s society, shoes have become more of a fashion statement than a necessary article of clothing. Shoe fetishes are costing girls across the country hundreds to even thousands of dollars a year. However, what many people don’t know is that there are millions of children in Africa and underdeveloped countries that have never owned a pair of shoes their entire life.  Blake Mycoskie, the founder and chief shoe giver of TOMS Shoes, decided that it was time for something to be done about this. Blake is a true inspiration of selflessness, compassion, and success.

Blake became an entrepreneur right out of college and states that he “lost himself in his pursuit of entrepreneurship.” In 2006, he realized that he was in desperate need of a vacation, leading him to his first trip to Argentina. While there, Blake was introduced to a group of children and learned that they did not own, and had never owned a pair of shoes to protect their feet. He then discovered that there were hundreds more in that country alone who were also without shoes.

Shoes are often times taken for granted. What people don’t realize is that there are multiple dangers and set backs that come with constantly being barefoot. One of the major dangers to being barefoot is podoconiosis– a disease contracted through exposed cuts and scratches that can lead to amputations and even death. Another issue is that most school do not allow children to attend if they are barefoot meaning that the inability to afford shoes is not only physically dangerous, but ruins almost any chance for a better future. This new knowledge gave Blake the idea for a project; he would design a simple pair of shoes and for every pair that was sold, he would give another pair to a child in need. This led to the his slogan: One for One.

The idea of this project soon spread across the country and orders began to pour in. People everywhere became intrigued with this “Shoes for tomorrow project.”  The company has distributed over 400,000 pairs of shoes in the past 4 years to children in need. Not only has Blake changed the lives of children world wide, he has become an icon of goodness, selflessness, and compassion in the business world as well. Well-known companies like Ralph Lauren, and Element Skateboards have now joined the One for One movement.

Blake has set the stage for a better tomorrow world wide, in the business world, and for people’s personal lives as well. Blake saw a problem and decided to step up and move towards change. He left his comfortable life in order to chase an idea. He has attracted people worldwide to the idea of giving while receiving.

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Guest Blogger: Megan Getter

This post features guest blogger and fellow classmate of mine, Megan Getter. She is a student at Florida Southern College majoring in public relations and interperosnal communications. I found her post regarding Chevron’s ingenious brand marketing strategies to be extremely insightful and informative. You can check out Megan’s original blog post here.

 PR powers the future

April 5, 2011
Written by Megan Getter

After the incident with BP (See Gulf Oil Spill), Chevron decided to reposition itself from an Oil company to an Energy company. One of the ways Chevron tried to reposition itself was by creating a game.

Giving it up for GAS

Image Credit: “Giving it up for GAS” By bitzcelt

The game is Energyville. Basically, a player starts in 2010 and tries to use different sources of energy to power their city. Chevron’s game is similar to SimCity. The options range from fossil fuels like oil and coal, to renewable energies like solar and wind. There’s even hydrogen and nuclear options. After the city is fully powered, some events occur, andt he city needs more energy to stay powered till 2030.

The game takes no more than 5 minutes to play. After you finish, you see how your score compared to others in your demographics and get access to an energy forum.

Chevron is ingenious because their game is effective. They used a single player two level game to get people to think differently about their company.

What other creative ways are brands successfully using to reposition themselves?

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Facebook Results in the Death of a Baby

With the continuous growth of social media, most have found themselves using Facebook on a regular basis. However, it is obvious that there are certain times that we must refrain from using social media in order to take care of other more important business.

One woman from Denver, Colorado recently learned her lesson, by both the death of her baby and receiving a 10 year jail sentence. She allowed her 13 month-old baby to drown in the bathtub, as she sat on Facebook updating her status, playing games,  and sharing video links.

Although the judge ruled that he did not feel as if she intentionally meant to kill her child, he added he still felt as if her actions were of criminal status.

“You left this little boy in a bathtub so you could entertain yourself on the computer by playing games,” said the Colorado district judge. “You left that 13-month-old human being, incredibly for those reasons.”

I am in total agreement with the judge, that the mother should have never left the child unattended in the bathtub and especially not for the reason of getting on Facebook.

Although I feel social media has overall bettered our connections within society, I do also believe that sometimes it can weaken the aspects of our daily lives that should be more precious to us. A child’s life should have never been sacrificed for the want of getting on a social media site for a few minutes.

I was astonished when I saw this story’s headline on Yahoo! and wanted to share it with others to show that it is imperative we do not allow social media to take control of our lives. In many ways it is a great tool to be actively involved with social media site, however we cannot let it go too far. We must find a balance between the time we spend on the web and the more important things in life!

Just a piece of advice for the day! 🙂

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Videos Go Viral

Although they may be short and simple, viral videos have become extremely popular within society today. Videos are now reaching millions of viewers within only a 24 hour time period, resulting in them going “viral.”

I can personally say I enjoy looking up these popular videos on Youtube and watching them during my free time. I will also pass along videos that I found particularly funny to friends for them to view and share with others, as well.

This continues in the growth of viewership that these viral videos receive. Also, people often post videos on their Facebook statuses or walls to share with others. This is where I often initially find out about certain viral videos and join the trend of watching them.

I find the videos that take place in natural setting and that are real life occurrences are the most funny ones. This ultimately makes the video that much more memorable and funny.

Below, I will share with you two of my favorite viral videos.

The first is “Charlotte takes a tumble.” This video is of  a large woman singing on top of a wooden coffee table. You can hear the wood creaking and suddenly, as the title gives away, Charlotte takes a tumble straight to the ground.

Although I am sure the fall did hurt very much, it is almost impossible for viewers to not laugh at this instance. Knowing it is real and not staged makes it, makes it that much more funny. Check it out and see if you find her fall to be as funny as I did my first time viewing it.

Another classic one in my opinion, is a clown who dances to Beyonce’s Single Ladies. As she proceeds to head bang her head in a dance move, she literally does just that, straight into the side of the television.

I think this video is particular funny because again, it is a real life occurrence and setting. The people in the video are real and it is obvious it was not staged. Watch Single Ladies Gone Wrong below and see if you think this viral video is worth the 8,104,020 views it has already received!

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Runaway Country Music Festival

Many of country music’s greatest stars will be performing along Florida’s Space Coast April 15th and 16th. Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Justin Moore, and several others will perform in Wickham Park in Melbourne.

With a soldout concert expected, I was fortunate enough to get tickets for the weekend festivities!

As a huge country music fan, I cannot wait to see all of the great performers together on the same weekend. Who doesn’t love a good country music concert outside in the perfect Florida sunshine?

There will be two stages set up within the 400 acres of Wickham Park. Spectators can listen to either of the performers on each stage at that given time and there will also be large dance floors located in front of both. I guarantee you can find me there!

Also, located between the two stages will be a tiki and blues bar. Are you already convinced this is where you need to be this weekend? Well that still is not it. There will be a shopping corral where many vendors from all over will be set up to fulfill your splurging needs.

For those who end up spending too much time at the tiki or blues bar, there are options for them as well. The festival offers onsite camping and RVing. This is the route my family and I have chosen to take. We will be “moving in” early Friday morning to claim our RV spot and will stay for the weekend at the venue.

With everything onsite from food, drinks, and even shopping there is no reason to leave for the weekend. I am really looking forward to a fun-filled time with my family as we see some of the hottest stars in country music perform in Florida. As the Runaway Country website says, I “reckon it’s a party not to be missed.” 

Check out the video of Miranda Lambert – “Only Prettier” below. I can’t wait to hear it in person!

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COAL: The Truth Told

I am very proud to say I was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, a region which produces nearly two-thirds of the nation’s coal. Coal mining is just simply a way of life within the mountains.

Like most, my family originally made a living from mining coal. My grandfather began working in the mines at the young age of 13. Considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs in America, he risked his life for many years working in the mines.

Miners work in strenous conditions underground throughout their entire shift. There are several risks that one faces when choosing to be a coal miner. Mine explosions often occur because of the high amount of underground gases. This leads to miners being left underground trapped in the coal mines and has taken the lives of many.

Another very dangerous aspect of mining is the longterm effects it has on the body. With ceilings only 4 feet tall, most miners face serious back problems due to the positions they work in. Most miners also develop black lung disease if they have worked in the mines for a long period of time.

My uncle, Dr. Joesph Smiddy is considered to be one of the top physicians in the country on black lung disease. Sadly, he considers my grandfather to be one of the worst cases of black lung disease he has ever seen. The disease is formed by miner’s inhaling coal dust and it literally clings to lungs, turning them black.

X-Rays of my grandfather's lungs - Considered to be one of the worst cases of black lung disease.

 Because of the dangers involved with coal mining, this job is taken very seriously where I am from. I can even recall as a child, we would celebrate “coal appreciation days” at school. Most people throughout our nation do not fully understand the dangers that these men face in the mines on a daily basis. However, Spike TV has recently launched a new television series COAL, which depicts the real lives of miners in West Virginia.  

Tom Roberts and Mike Crowder, owners of Cobalt Coal Mine, have agreed to let Spike film their 40 workers as they enter one of the most dangerous workplaces on the planet.

The series is now on its third episode and I have been tuning in each week. As a native of this area, I must say that it really does do an excellent job in portraying the workplace of the mines and all the hardships these men endure.

Be sure to watch Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. eastern time on Spike and see the dangers these miners face each time they go underground. It is sure to change your perspective and increase your appreciation for the coal industry!

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