WPR #2: Highlights

I may have underestimated the height of my tiara. It has officially been hot glued. But that’s just because I’ve been able to go to so many different events. And that’s why this Weekly Princess Recap (WPR) is so belated.

Here are a few highlights from the last couple of weeks!

  • Above all else, my biggest accomplishment as a princess has been convincing a 4 year old girl at Ronald McDonald House to not only try broccoli but also to love it as much as I do.

 

USO visit

  • Had one of my outreaches at the Camp Atterbury USO Center. Love their mission and their volunteers. Had a great time celebrating National Jelly Bean Day with the troops there.

 

  • While working at one of the study trips out at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), a teacher visiting with her class stopped and asked if I was an education major. She “saw a lot of teacher” in me and was ready to offer me a teaching job on the spot. Had me thinking for just a few hours that I’d missed my calling haha

 

  • One of the classes visiting the track was from the school where my cousin Megan teaches. The kids were so excited to hear their kindergarten teacher was my cousin. Rocked their world even more when I revealed Megan was a past 500 Festival Princess.

 

  • Went with Flashes of Hope to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital to visit and take photos with kids. Flashes of Hope is a nonprofit that raises money to find a cure for cancer and also offers free photo shoots for families who have a child with cancer. They aim to make the kids the focus, not the cancer.

received_1813880258714117There was a girl who’d been photographed several years ago and was excited to get a comparison shot and another who’d just learned that morning she was finally getting to go home. And then there were the kids who could only take a few minutes of photos because they were so exhausted. But they all had so much strength in their smiles. It really was remarkable.

 

  • The 33 princesses always work a Gatorade station at IMS for the runners in the Indy Mini Marathon. I had a total blast cheering on all of the runners. Past Indy Car driver, Sarah Fisher was handing out cups of Gatorade right next to me. Not that it was a contest, but I’m pretty sure she handed out twice as many as me just because she’s super cool, haha

There are so many more events and special moments, from the 500 Festival’s Kickoff to May to helping serve tea at the Vernon Sassafras Tea Festival.

Here’s to the rest of the month of May!

~ L.H.

Weekly Princess Recap (WPR)

I’ve really been keeping my experiences as a 500 Festival Princess to myself these last couple of months.

That was never my intention.

Being one of the 33 young women serving as an ambassador for the 500 Festival is absolutely amazing and encompasses so much. I want everyone to share in the events and moments I’m getting to experience.

So I present my first Weekly Princess Recap!

Aka, a little peek at last week.

Puppy Pillows with a Princess – Each of the 33 princesses must plan at least four outreaches before the end of May. These are one of my favorite parts of the program. They give me the chance to bring the 500 Festival festivities back to my own community and the organizations I love.

My Puppy Pillows with a Princess event last week allowed me to share the 500 Festival with Jennings County 4-H’ers. Together we learned a little about racing traditions and made 100 checkered flag puppy pillows to give to children at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.

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Carolina’s Outreach – We’re also supposed to try to make it to other princess’s outreaches. Princess Carolina’s outreach this week in Indianapolis with Big Brothers Big Sisters was absolutely awesome. We went to a game night where we lead making checkered flag bracelets, played games and helped with a bicycle drawing. It was so great to see their mission in action and bring a little of the 500 Festival to them for the evening.

500 Festival Education Program Study Trips to IMS – 

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I spent Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway helping show elementary students from across the state around the grounds and to the different learning stations. These study trips are offered through the 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program, presented by Indiana University Health. Being out at the track was exciting enough, but the kids doubled the thrill with their zeal.

(Selfish side note – I got my first official princess golf cart ride at the IMS that Friday.)

The next few months are going to be a whirlwind! Please feel free to check in here, ask me questions and by all means, join me at the many events revolving around the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500!

Till next time,

~ L.H.

A Glimpse Backstage

I had to write an observation piece for a class recently. Thought it’d be fun to show what backstage can look like just an hour before the curtain goes up at the Jackson County Community Theater. The chaos and camaraderie did not disappoint.

6:26 – I’ve taken a seat in the corner backstage. Dozens of tweens and teenagers are gathered. They are the cast of the murder mystery, “And Then There Was One” which opens in an hour.

6:29 – A stout boy, Peppy, tells a woman with shoulder length, silver hair he has forgotten his shirt for the show. She exits the back of the building with a set of keys in hand.

6:30 – The Costume Lady returns with three white button down shirts on hangers. She’s not surprised or angry at all. This must happen often.

6:31 – A fellow in all black announces. “You have 15 minutes to finish makeup.”  I think he’s the stage manager.

6:34 – A ping pong ball flies through the air, over the heads of half a dozen kids, hitting one of the makeup mirrors. I’ve no idea where it came from.

6:37 – “Has everyone shut off their phones? Have you checked your props?” says the Costume Lady. I check to make sure the sound is off on my phone.

6:38 – A kid, who looks a bit like Hardy, from the 1920’s duo Laurel and Hardy asks, “Morgan, is the list out on the desk?” – It is.

6:38 – Peppy clumsily spins a toy pistol around his fingers as he stands next to the props table. He seems full of mischief. I have no doubt he’s plotting his next move.

6:39 – A girl with short, blonde hair stands in front of the makeup table. “Guys I need a consensus. Would a maid wear her hair up or down?” – I would say up. But the kids in the cast assure her it should definitely be down.

6:40 – Another ping pong ball rolls across the floor.

6:41 – Peppy takes a seat at the makeup table, his back to the mirrors. He holds a basket full of ping pong balls in one hand and a large McDonald’s drink in the other. I should have guessed he was the source of the ping pong balls.

6:44 – The Director calls from the stage, “Actors to the stage!”

6:45 – Backstage is deserted. I can’t see the stage, but I can hear them warming up – the sound of two dozen feet running in place.

6:50 – “Clare, give us a line,” the Director calls. “Where on earth would you get a harpoon!” she responds. All repeat with great emphasis. Several more kids are asked to give a line, but the harpoon line was my favorite.

6:53 – Kids flood off stage to grab their costumes. They’re somewhat frantic, or maybe excited. I can’t tell the difference. The Director has given them 22 minutes before they need to be in costume and in the green room.

6:55 – Hardy approaches the Costume Lady. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “Why?” she responds. “Cause you have to do this every night.” She is buttoning up his vest.

6:56 – The main lights are shut off backstage. The makeup table lights are left on.

6:58 – Costume Lady fixes the tie on a quiet young man in a tan-colored suit.

6:58 – One last girl finishes her makeup. She’s dressed in a plaid coat trimmed with mink.

7:00 – The Director cuts the makeup lights. Only the dim, blue stage lights remain.

7:00 – The Costume Lady, who is pinning an apron on the Maid, grumbles at the loss of light.

7:15 – The Director tells the last few backstage to get to the green room. He closes door behind him. It’s so quiet when the kids aren’t backstage. I can hear the audience cracking open cans of pop in the front row.

7:20 – The green room door opens. Two emerge – the boy in the tan suit and another with a detective Hercule mustache.

7:25 – The rest of the cast emerge from the green room. Half of them whisper excitedly. The other half shush the ones whispering. Their excitement is contagious, making me eager to see the show.

7:30 – The Director walks on stage. “Good evening! Welcome to the 1920’s!”

7:33 – The cast members wait in the wings, pace the length of the costume rack or sit quietly at the now dark makeup table, waiting for the Director to finish his lengthy intro.

7:35 – Peppy approaches the Costume Lady. “Look!” he whispers with great amusement, holding up his right foot. “The heel fell off of my shoe!” Her eyes go wide.

7:35 – The stage lights go up and I hear the sound of the curtain opening.

Why are NASA themed parties not a thing?

It’s official: NASA themed parties need to be more common.

NASA was the theme this year of my family’s annual Independence Day celebration, and we had way too much fun with it.

We had a space/astronaut training obstacle course, a solar system hanging from our shade tree and I’m even told one of my aunts was wearing a space cat shirt! (Pretty  devastated I missed it.)

Below is photographic evidence that space themed parties should be a bigger deal. [Note: We always seem to forget to take enough photos at these parties; but then it is a water gun, water balloon, jump in the pool kind of party – so I guess that keeps most of the cameras inside]

4th 2017 Invite

“Houston, we have a problem” – due to scheduling conflicts on the 4th of July we had to push the party back. Turns out it’s never too late to celebrate America’s independence.

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I always have high expectations when it comes to making the desserts – and I almost always fail to actually make the super cool dessert I saw on Pinterest. But THIS year, with the help of my mother, it finally happened:  Saturn cupcakes and moon landing brownies.

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My favorite part of our obstacle course was the “Find the Big Dipper” obstacle. We took an old trampoline mat, put it up like a tent and taped stars of all different colors on the underside. The kids had to find the big dipper, which was made of all yellow stars.

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The last obstacle was putting an American flag on the moon – the kids had to carry the flag through every obstacle, including an asteroid field.

So if you want to throw a NASA themed party, hit me up!

P.S. Now taking theme suggestions for 2018.

– L.H.

West Coast Adventure: Orchards and Forests

Sequoia National Forest, CA

Striking lines through goals on my “living list”– [I don’t have a bucket list, because the last thing on any bucket list is dying. I’d rather concentrate on living to the absolute fullest and have a never ending living list, because I’m always adding to it.]

Last month my family ventured to California. We’ve visited countless places out west; Glacier National Park in Montana, the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, even John Wayne’s birthplace. But we’d never made it all the way to the west coast – Never crossed the state line into California – Never reached the Pacific Ocean.

After driving through the Mojave Desert, we made our way through miles of beautiful orange, lemon and olive orchards. We stopped at a few of the fruit stands that dot the highway, buying fresh oranges with insides the color of a harvest moon and a feast of other fruits. I’d have brought an orange orchard home with me if it was at all possible.

Oranges Orchard

Rather than trek all the way to the North West corner of California to see the massive redwoods trees, we opted for the equally enormous sequoias. While the sequoias are not quite as tall as the redwoods [the redwoods can reach 370 ft. while the sequoias top out at 300 ft.], they are twice as wide: up to 30 ft. in diameter.

The forest was absolutely magnificent. We had to drive up a winding mountain, around dozens of pin curves, through a dense fog. One moment we could hardly see the regular sized trees through the fog and the next the fog had lifted and the trees were giants.

The pictures I’d admired nearly all my life did no justice to the moment we broke through the fog and saw the domineering trees. My brother and I had been slightly skeptical the giant trees really existed: I think it was one of those “see it to believe it” moments for us. I’ve truly never felt so small.

[Typical Hoosier move: we packed for “California Weather” – or should I say what we thought was California weather. Once we were up in the mountains, where the sequoias are, the high was 45 degrees, which the park rangers said was completely normal. We were quite the anomaly: us in our shorts, while the rest of the tourist hiked in full winter gear.]

After seeing the sequoias we set off to see the Pacific Ocean – mainly so I could say I’d been from sea to shining sea.

Keep a look out for more entries about my west coast adventure!

~ L.H.

Ladies, Put Your Signs Down

[Brief update – I’ve been working full time as a communications intern for the Indiana House Republicans. I work under their communications director and her deputy, directly catering to the needs of the leadership legislators.]

For the last two months I’ve been working alongside some really great women at the Indiana Statehouse – Female legislators, women who are advising our highest state officials, and women who are going to law school in the evenings while working a full time job. This group of women – women excelling at their careers – are more inspiring to me than anyone protesting or sharing a Facebook post.

My point is, make it happen. You can wave your signs and have your protests; that’s great, do that. But I think sometimes we forget to take the next step. Stop shouting across the aisle. Educate yourself, excel in you field, and have a constructive conversation across the aisle instead.

I’ve had some great discussions with both male and female lawmakers and they all say the same thing. 1) We need more women in office and 2) Women wait to be asked to run for office.

That last point is very true. Most of the women I’ve met who are in office were asked and encouraged to consider running for office.

I don’t care what your career is. I think that’s one of my favorite things about working at the Statehouse; the assortment of careers. There are engineers, firemen, doctors, pharmacists and a variety of other livelihoods. It’s real people, with real careers, working on very real issues.

So ladies, here’s your invite – Run for office; whether it be next year or twenty years from now. Stay informed and excel in your career; that’s where I see a true difference being made.

~ L.H.

Photo: Rep. Richardson, my brilliant mother, myself, and Rep. Lehman – My mom (aka my hero) came to visit me at work last week and got to meet two of the wonderful representatives I work for.

The last three books I started in 2016

I ended 2016 and started 2017 with some really sublime reads. I am usually working my way through three books at a time; sometimes more.  It’s a bad habit I don’t plan on breaking anytime soon.

It’s a bit of a miracle I had three, half read, outrageously good books stacked next to my bed as I rolled into the new year – The Great Divorce, The Fr. Brown Mysteries, and Belgravia.

I’m not going to give you a summary of each because I could never do the author’s works justice. So I’m going to tell you one reason why I liked each. And if these reasons aren’t enough to make you consider reading these books, I hope someday you read them anyways.

  • The Great Divorce: By C.S. Lewis

I didn’t think such a short book could be so beautiful. It answered questions I thought I knew the answers to, or maybe it just showed me the answers in a different light.

~And perhaps ye had better not call this country Heaven. Not Deep Heaven, ye understand.” (Here he smiled at me). “Ye can call it the Valley of the Shadow of Life. And yet to those who stay here it will have been Heaven from the first. And ye can call those sad streets in the town yonder the Valley of the Shadow of Death: but to those who remain there they will have been Hell even from the beginning.” ~

  • Fr. Brown Mysteries – G.K. Chesterton

Don’t get caught up in the Fr. Brown half of the title and think it’s a religious book. This book is full of intricate mysteries, rivaling the likes of Sherlock Holmes – maybe better (dare I say).

  • Belgravia: By Julian Fellows  

It’s official (if it wasn’t already) – Julian Fellows is too talented. I didn’t think he could come close to writing something else as good as Downton Abbey; shame on me for doubting his genius. He did and it’s just as good. You know when you can guess the ending of the book and it kind of ruins your appetite to read anymore? Well let’s just say I never knew which way the plot to Belgravia was going. And I love that in a book.

Here’s to hoping the next three stacked next to my bed are just as good!

~ L.H.

 

Crash Camaraderie – Slope Hope

It’s gotten a little chilly in the last week; just enough to send me gleefully scrambling to the basement to retrieve my snow skis. I may have jumped the gun a bit; especially for a mediocre skier.

I get it, I get it; Most people hate the cold and loathe the snow. But every time I go skiing I witness a rare camaraderie between complete strangers that isn’t always easy to find in the world.

Hear me out.

It happens to everyone. You’re lying in the middle of the slope like you’ve been hit by a truck; your poles are way up the hill, one ski is way over in left field, and the other is still miraculously attached to your boot. Your sunglasses and hat are missing in action and you’re praying your phone was in a zipped pocket.

You can’t figure out how to get your one ski off without one of your poles, but you can’t go up and get your poles without taking off the ski. And even if you were willing to ski without poles, you can’t ski on one ski – Essentially you’re trapped.

And then in a matter of seconds people see you and slow down. Maybe, depending on where you landed, a few people will act as human safety cones to make sure you don’t get run over. Then someone slides up and asks if you’re okay. The second you say you are they take off back down the hill. (Most of the time it’s your dignity that’s broke.) Before you can get your bearing, some complete stranger is taking the time to pick up your poles and drop them off to you. And another stranger is over in left field grabbing your lone ski. (Props to that person; carrying a ski while skiing is a bit of a trick.)

I’ve done my fair share of fetching poles and skis for people. I’ve comforted sobbing toddlers who took a tumble. And I’ve been the “garage sale”: slope slang for the person who took a spill and their gear is scattered up and down the slope.

This is why I’m so eager to get my skis out and one of the reasons why I miss ski season; not the crashes, but the unwritten code on the slopes – You help the guy that’s down.  Because we’ve all been there.

 

 

Opt Outside

I was recently told two things by a fellow student.

  1. Thanksgiving is entirely a consumer based holiday with no other purpose.
  2. People do not get together with their families anymore on Thanksgiving.

I disagreed – Strongly. But there was no reasoning with her. And I couldn’t help but feel bad that this was her impression of Thanksgiving. She was completely hopeless that there was any value in the holiday.

In response to her first point I say, join the hundreds of people opting outside.

REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) is a company that sells outdoor gear. Last year, on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, they closed all 149 of their stores and didn’t process any online orders. Instead of shopping, they asked people to opt outside – to go hiking, biking, skiing – your choice.

Last year over 1.4 million people participated in opt outside. This year REI is encouraging people to do the same thing. It’s not uncommon for my family to hike on holidays and to see that companies like REI are promoting holiday hiking is beyond awesome.

To her second point – I’ve worked the last three Thanksgivings with a fantastic group of people at a local restaurant. We serve over 700 individuals on Thanksgiving Day – Dozens and dozens of families. I celebrate Thanksgiving on a different day with my family and as I sit here, I can’t think of a single friend that doesn’t in some way spend Thanksgiving with family.

Maybe I’m wrong. But if you don’t have a Thanksgiving dinner to go to, join my family. And if our consumer driven society bothers you that much, I encourage you to join the hundreds opting outside this holiday season.

~L.H.

 

That Toddlin’ Town

Chicago was kind of on my skip list; the city didn’t really call to me. But Lou, our summer roommate from Paris, France (believe me that’s a side story of happenstance), wanted to visit Chicago before she went back home. And here I was, having lived three hours from Chicago my entire life, and yet I’d never been there.

I had two conditions 1) I in no way whatsoever did I want to drive in Chicago. 2) I would be allowed to shamelessly sing Frank Sinatra’s song “Chicago” during our visit. (I resorted to humming it quietly.)

And so we went! One Parisian and two Indiana girls.

Chicago is Chicago. Millions of people have been there. But I want take note of a few things.

1. The Museum of Science and Industry has a mouse in their IMAX Theater.

2. Old St. Patrick’s Church – I don’t care if you’re a Catholic or an Atheist. Take a minute to step off the tourist attraction map trap and into Old St. Patrick’s. It’s the epitome of Celtic art.We only went to Sunday mass there because of my obsession with Ireland; but we really struck it lucky at St. Patrick’s.

The church is one of the oldest buildings in the city, having narrowly escaped the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. The windows, the ceiling, the statues, and every inch of the church represent the finest Celtic art in America. And it was all done by a Chicago artist named Thomas O’Shaughnessy. (I can’t get over how Irish his name is; the only thing that would make it better is if his first name were Sean.)

The parishioners at St. Patrick’s were so welcoming. I mean to the extent they had us take up the offering gifts in the middle of mass and announced we were visiting from Indy and Paris. After mass a half a dozen people came up to us to see if they had guessed correctly which one of us was from France. Each of them shared a little something about the history and architecture of the church they call home. (They do give tours of the church, so if you’re not going for mass that may be worth looking into.)

3. Thanks to Lou, I learned that in France it is the norm to have sweets for breakfast. We didn’t stay at a French hotel, but they opted for a breakfast spread of sweets. Sweets for breakfast are against my code. I stifled my longing for biscuits and gravy on the trip but I’d like to advocate mandatory complementary biscuits and gravy at all hotels.

Aside from that, I don’t understand the bean in Millennial Park; it’s the epicenter of vanity as far I’m concerned. I discovered I love calling on the hotel phone for the valet to bring up our car. And elevators can go a lot faster than I thought they could.

~L.H.

 

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