Saturday, December 19, 2009

Message to our Troops

Today I attended a video taping at Staten Island's CTV station along with my favorite twins Kara and Jordan Kowalski. We were shooting a Holiday message to send to our troops who are fighting in Iraq and Afhganistan. SICTV had a variety of speakers and entertainters who thanked the military for sacrificing their lives. I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the men and women who are risking their lives in the face of war and violence. I am so proud of your leadership and courage. We are all praying for your save return.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas at Historic Richmond Town

Today I wrapped up my busy weekend at Historic Richmond Town. Kara and I were invited to attend the Christmas in Historic Richmond Town event, where they also had a ceremonial Christmas tree lighting. This was an all day event sponsored by the Women's Auxiliary of the Staten Island Historical Society.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus

Signing autographs

With some colonial teens

Historic Richmond Town has been a landmark on Staten Island for fifty-two years. It is one of the top places to visit on Staten Island, especially if it is your first time in the borough. Its main purpose is to create opportunities for the public to explore the diversity of the American experience, especially that of Staten Island and its neighboring communities, from the colonial period to the present. Known as New York City's historic village and museum complex, it is comprised of more than twenty-five homes and public buildings. These buildings recreate the history of more than 300 years of continuous residence on Staten Island.

Before the tree lighting

With Ed Wiseman and David Picerno

In front of the "Traditional Tree"

Kara and I had a meet and greet session for about two hours in the Courthouse. The committee had set up a table for us to sign autographs for the patrons. We also visited some of the exhibits Historic Richmond Town had to offer. At 5 o'clock, the Courthouse bell rang to let people know it was time to light the tree. We congregated outside the Courthouse where we were greeted by carolers. Everyone followed David Picerno (Vice President of Historic Richmond Town) in a procession to the "Traditional Tree". We were welcomed by Ed Wiseman (Executive Director of Historic Richmond Town) as he introduced Kara and myself to the patrons. We even got to assist Mr. Wiseman in the lighting of the "Traditional Tree". The tree lite up in beautiful white lights as everyone cheered and applauded. It was a nice way to end a very long weekend.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Twas the Knife Before Christmas

So many of you know I am a dancer who loves performing in theatre productions. Actually I have been involved with the theatre for most of my life. It is a dream of mine to one day perform on Broadway. In the meantime, I have been busy building my resume by performing in regional, off-Broadway, and local theatre productions. A few months ago, I was asked to join a local Murder Mystery Theatre Company called Kill-Her Entertainment. It is directed by the amazing Nikki Lauren, who I first worked with two summers ago. We were part of the Actor's Harbor Theatre Company at Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Our first show together was Pippin under the direction of the late Chris Catt (a true visionary-one of the greatest directors and mentors I have ever worked with). I was asked to become the company's official choreographer. I was honored to have been given such a prestigious job with the established company. My first show with the company was Saturday Knife Fever, a show we will be reviving in Sayreville, New Jersey in I am not gonna to tell you any details about the are just gonna have to wait until I post it =)

With "Mrs. Claus" Nikki Lauren

Team Santa:Freddie, Ginger Bread, Candy Cane, and Herbert

However, I will tell you about my second show with Kill-Her Entertainment titled Twas the Knife Before Christmas. Here is the plot summary: The show takes place at the local chapter meeting of Adults for Santa at the Hillside Terrace Knights of Columbus (which is the actual venue of the show). This meetng has been called because Santa feels that everyone has stopped believing in him. So he sends his elves Candy Cane, Ginger Bread, Freddie, and Herbert to get the Christmas Spirit back on Earth. Ebeneezer Stoogio, a business man who only cares about his Blackberry, is hired to run the meeting. The meeting is constantly interrupted by characters such as Mrs. Claus, Louie the Limo Driver, and Melvin (Elfis' twin brother). Then, the meeting turns for the worst when Elfis the elf is murdered! Before the audience can guest who murdered Elfis, there is a Christmas Cabaret including a Dancing with the Stars dance section and singers performing some favorite Christmas classics. Once the audience has all the clues they begin questioning the suspects during Act Two. The murderer is finally revealed in Act was Herbert the Elf! The show ends with Herbert going to jail and the rest of the North Pole Gang living happily ever after, knowing that people indeed have the Christmas spirit.

With Nate my dance partner

Performing with Elfis (before the murder)

I played Ginger Bread the dancing elf in the show. My dance partner, Nate (who played Freddie), and I performed a swing routine to Jingle Bell Rock that I choreographed. Since it was a spoof on Dancing with the Stars, we were announced as "Freddie and Ginger...Bread!" (Get it Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers). It was a big hit at the show! Kill-Her Entertainment is unique from other Murder Mystery Companies because we incorporate musical routines in the production. Nikki Lauren, besides directing, writes all the scripts for the company. The whole cast had a blast working on this show. I guess you can say we brought the Christmas spirit to Staten Island =) .

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Tree Lighting at Borough Hall

Finally the Holiday Season is upon us! Christmas is truly my favorite holiday for so many reasons. Besides the awesome present, it is a time to be thankful for all the blessings God has given us. My first Holiday appearance was with Kara Jae Kowalski, the reigning Miss New York's Outstanding Teen. We were invited to the Annual Lighting of the Borough Hall Christmas Tree. This event was sponsored by Capital One Banking.

With Borough President James P. Molinaro
Kara and I with the Borough Hall Christmas Tree

It was such a great turn out with families all around Borough Hall. There was entertainment by soloist Jonathan Cawley, an amazing singer who actually went to high school with me! We were part of the performing arts institute in high school and had performed in many shows together. It was wonderful to see him again. There were some local school choral groups who also performed at the event including P.S. 65, Curtis High School, and Micheal J. Petrides School (featuring Miss New York's Outstanding Teen 2008 Alexandra Mazzucchelli). Kara and I were announced on stage as we helped Jonathan sing some Christmas carols with the kids.

With Alexandra Mazzucchelli

With Jonathan Cawley

The evening ended with a special appearance by Santa Claus who helped Borough President Molinaro light the Christmas tree. It was a great way to start the Holiday season.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Forget-Me-Not Gala

Tonight I attended the Alzheimer's Foundation of Staten Island's 28th Annual Forget-Me-Not Gala. It was held at The Renaissance Banquet Hall on Staten Island. It was a wonderful event that honored many volunteers who support and work with the Alzheimer's Foundation. The Alzheimer's Foundation of Staten Island is a privately funded voluntary health organization dedicated to the research for the prevention, cure and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. The organization also provides support and assistance to afflicted patients and their families. Congratulations to all the honorees especially Ron Victorio (President of the Staten Island Rotary and sponsor for the Miss Richmond County Scholarship Program).

With Gladys Schweiger, Executive Director of the Alzheimer's

With Ron Victorio

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Great American Smokeout

Today I made my first appearance as Miss Richmond County! What a great way to start my year with a new title by promoting my platform. According to the American Cancer Society, November is Stop Smoking month. As many of you know, my platform T.E.A.C.H. (Tobacco Education Awareness for Children's Health) focuses on preventing children from starting to smoke. I was able to incorporate my platform with the American Cancer Society's annual event, The Great American Smokeout.

The Great American Smokeout takes place every year on the third Thursday of November. It is a day that challenges people to stop using tobacco and helps make them aware of the many tools they can use to quit. Research shows that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have some means of support, such as:
  • nicotine replacement products
  • counseling
  • stop-smoking groups
  • telephone smoking cessation hotlines
  • prescription medicine to lessen cravings
  • guide books
  • encouragement and support from friends and family members

With Elliot Spiro

I spent my day at Silver Lake Specialized Care Center on Staten Island. I distributed my T.E.A.C.H. brochures to staff, residents, and family members. I had the opportunity to speak to Elliot Spiro, Respiratory Director at Silver Lake Specialized Care Center. We talked about how smoking can affect patients who are on ventilators (a ventilator is a device used for maintaining artificial respiration). He said that "many smokers end up on ventilators because their lungs are so damaged that they can no longer breathe on their own." Elliot Spiro demonstrated how anyone can experience how a Vent patient breathes: First, take a deep breath, maximizing all the air pressure in your lungs. Then, take small breaths on top of that air pressure without exhaling all your air. When I tried to breathe this way, I remember struggling to get air into my body. These patients also cannot breathe out and have a sigh of relief. It is unfortunate to see people suffering this way because of a habit they could not quit. This is why I am so passionate about my platform. If I can give children the confidence to say "No" to smoking, then I can help prevent them from ending up like some of these patients who are now on a ventilator, unable to experience the simple action of breathing.

If you or someone you know is a smoker and wants to quit, you can contact the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit their website at