I’m gonna pop some tags…

Cassie Fall (48 of 66)

@karynnashphotography

I’ve always been a lover of thrift shopping! When asked to describe my personal style I always say “classic with a twist.” I love classic silhouettes in modern colors and prints! I also collect vintage hats and have a special place in my heart for all things ‘Old Hollywood.” Recently I was doing some thrift shopping for a photo shoot (oh yeah i’m working as a stylist in SLC now! Full blog post on that later!) and I was on the hunt for some kids cowboy shirts. While walking down the Halloween costume aisle this stunning yellow 1950s gown caught my eye. To be honest I actually stopped my cart, stared longingly, started walking away, came back, checked the size and price, walked away again wondering why this work of art was in the Halloween costume section and then, afraid someone else might pick it up, I put it in my cart for safe keeping just until I made up my mind. Since it was only $6 I decided to bite the bullet and buy it! I had no idea if it would fit, vintage sizing being what it is (this dress is a size 10, I generally wear a 0/2), but I just couldn’t bare to put it back on the rack!

Part of my new life in SLC includes living with a friend from high school and her family (husband and two adorable little boys whom I love!). She also happens to be an amazing photographer!! So when we went out to the park behind our house on a beautiful fall evening I decided to break out my $6 vintage find and I fell even more in love! I wore multiple new designer pieces for the shoot but my favorite photos are those in that yellow dress!

I’m still debating on putting my fashion design degree to use by hemming it to mid calf to make it more wearable but it’s such a classic I don’t know if i can bring myself to do it! What do you think? As much as I hate Halloween I actually decided to pay homage to  June Cleaver with the boys little dirt devil for our final shots!

Cassie Fall (65 of 66)

Happy Halloween!!

Cassie

Dress – Vintage from Savers

Shoes – Sam Edelman via TJ Maxx

Photos by Karyn Nash Photography

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@karynnashphotography

I’m a planner by nature, so when I won the title of Miss Idaho USA I thought I knew exactly how my year would go. My plan as Miss Idaho USA was to inspire youth in rural communities like my own to believe that any dream is attainable with hard work and determination. This goal led me to speak to children from pre schools to high schools across the state. It was through one of these experiences that I had the most pivotal and unexpected moments of my reign, and it happened at a table in a junior high cafeteria.

I had just finished serving on a women’s leadership panel at a junior high school. The panel members and I gave advice and answered students questions about life, goals, and what we would tell our younger selves looking back. There was a luncheon afterwards and I enjoyed eating and talking with many students as well as signing autographs. I was thoroughly enjoying all the positive feedback from the girls but as the line dwindled one young woman came up to my table and sat down abruptly, arms crossed, with a very serious look on her face. “As someone who competes in pageants,” she asked, “don’t you think you promote an unrealistic standard of beauty?” As a sixth grader this young woman definitely had some strong opinions on the subject but I was not offended. We talked in length about why women choose to compete in pageants, why so many of them seem to have similar body types, and I dispelled her belief that pageants girls run around in full faces of make up wearing pink and rhinestones every single day.

“As someone who competes in pageants, don’t you think you promote an unrealistic standard of beauty?”

I explained to her that women who compete in pageants are hardworking, goal oriented women who put 100% into everything they do including their health. “Healthy” looks different on everyone and pageants of the 21st century embrace women of all sizes. I told her that judging pageants based on the two hour telecast do not tell the full story. I think I speak for the majority of my class of 2017 sisters when I say we definitely do not have our hair and make up HD TV ready wearing heavily beaded gowns on a day to day basis. I explained to her that I am not a supermodel, but rather an average woman working a full-time job, going to the gym after a long days work and traveling on the weekends representing my state and community because being a role model is my greatest passion in life. After a rather long talk she said “Thank you. You’ve given me a lot to think about.” I haven’t seen her since but I must say the interaction has had a lasting impact on my year as Miss Idaho USA.

In the moments when I find myself hung up on getting the right selfie or making sure my Instagram feed looks flawless I remember our discussion. A real role model, not a super model. She’s inspired me to post no make-up photos, be open about my love of all things sweet and/or deep friend, and share even the less desirable moments of my year like being stuck at home recovering from strep throat following Miss USA. I knew before I passed my title I wanted to do a photo shoot without any make up. Being confidently beautiful is not about feeling confident in yourself at your goal weight, with a spray tan, and professionally done hair and makeup wearing a glamourous gown on television. Being confidently beautiful is being confident in your skin, exactly as God designed you. My face is not symmetrical, I have a squinty eye I inherited from my dad, I have a freckle on the center tip of my nose, and my top lip curls when I laugh or smile but that’s just how God made me.

I’ve had many memorable moments this year but I thank that little girl for her lasting impression on my year and on my life. To all the girls competing for the crown this year remember that this opportunity is not about you, but about those whose lives you impact. If you wish to spread the message to young women that they are beautiful just the way they are you must first believe and embrace that message in your own life. I hope the legacy I leave as I pass my crown is one of a genuine, authentic, real life role model and not just a girl who posted some pretty pictures. What will your legacy be?

 

 

A Real Legacy

New York Fashion Week 2017

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Favorite look from NYFW! IN LOVE with this Nicole Miller dress! Paired with  Chinese Laundry fringe heels in feather grey and faux fur coat by Banana Republic.

This past February I was able to cross a MAJOR goal off my bucket list, ATTEND NEW YORK FASHION WEEK! The hustle and bustle of NYC is always invigorating but this was a whole new level!

What many people don’t know is how big a role God played in making this dream possible! Obviously, it all started with my learning about the Miss USA system and the two years of preparation it took to win Miss Idaho USA. Having a degree in fashion and dreams of becoming the next Stacy London/Jeannie Mai/Giuliana Rancic are part of what drove me to compete! I knew that the journey of a Miss USA titleholder came with exposure to many individuals in the fashion and entertainment industry, which could help launch my career. This opportunity was proof of that!

Getting access to invite 102 ladies (50 states plus DC, Miss & Teen) to any event takes time meaning we usually get these invites about two weeks in advance! That means buying last minute plane tickets, hotel rooms, and praying there’s nothing on the calendar at the office! I definitely didn’t have the $500+ it would cost for a last minute round trip flight from Idaho to NYC but I’m blessed with an amazing family member that flies every week for his job and he offered to buy my flight with his miles (MIRACLE #1)! Hotel rooms in downtown NYC are expensive as are taxis so I wanted to stay somewhere relatively inexpensive that was close to the shows we would be going to as well as the Miss USA headquarters we would be visiting! I found a good deal on a Holiday Inn in Midtown and was able to find two other Miss USA girls to split the room with me! Hallelujah! Finally, working full time and being a titleholder is A LOT! My work has been a huge blessing always allowing me to embrace the opportunities as long as I flexed my hours and my clients were taken care of! Unfortunately, the two days I needed off for Fashion Week happened to fall on the one week my boss was scheduled to be out of town for a conference! The general rule is one of us has to be in the office to handle any event details or questions that come up. I knew the chances of getting the time off were slim but since they all know my obsession with fashion week (I usually do a recap in our staff meetings even though most of them couldn’t care less and it has nothing to do with the work we do!) they allowed me to take the time off and said they’d hold down the fort while we were out! (Miracle #2!)

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Mini dress by Italian designer Christian Pellizzari, heels by Aldo, coat Banana Republic

Day 1

When my plane touched down I had two hours to get to my hotel, change clothes and get to the Angel Orensanz Center for the Mac Duggal show. A converted synagogue in the East Village, this venue was an incredible backdrop for Mac Duggal’s designs!! Miss USA contestants were given the opportunity to model in the show however, I was one dress size too small and one inch too short! *sigh* Alas it was a great way to kick off an amazing weekend! Following the show my teen, her mom and I hailed an Uber to take us to dinner but our Uber driver managed to hit a parked car pulling up to the curb… so that was a no go! While our driver got into a yelling match with the owner of the vehicle, we slipped into a nearby diner to rest our aching feet and fill our stomachs!

 

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Day 2

Remember how I mentioned those last minute invites? Well at the end of day one we found out we had invites to more shows the following day! Since I hadn’t been able to pack for such an incredible surprise, day two started out at NYC’s Rent The Runway’s Flagship shop looking for more outfit options! Seriously becoming a Rent The Runway Unlimited member was one of my best decisions as a titleholder and one I recommend to all future titleholders!! It was a Project Runway dream getting to watch Christopher Palu (Season 10, All Stars 3) and Mondo Guerra (Season 8) show their collections at fashion week! Christopher Palu’s might have been my favorite because we got to sit FRONT ROW!! Dream come true X2!! Finally, a recap of day 2 would not be complete without the Victoria’s Secret debacle! I am a VS Fashion Show FANATIC so when I was told there was a display at one of the VS stores in Manhattan I knew I had to go!! My teen and her mom were happy to indulge my dream so off we went! We had been told it was at “the VS near Rockefeller Center” … long story short there are five Victoria’s Secrets in Midtown Manhattan… the display in question was at store number 5! It took our entire four hours of free time but it was worth the trip to me to see the incredible artistry and craftsmanship of each design and each set of wings! Photos just do not do them justice!

 

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Day 3

My one regret from a previous trip to New York City was that I never walked through Central Park so with a few hours to spare on the morning of day 3 I convinced my friends to do breakfast at The Boathouse. You know THE boathouse? The one from 27 Dresses, When Harry Met Sally, Enchanted, THAT boathouse?! I just underestimated the walking distance from the edge of the park to said boathouse especially on a chilly February morning…oops! Good thing we found a nice man with a bike buggy who peddled us there allowing us to enjoy the sights under a warm comfortable blanket! After that adventure it was time to take our right of passage as titleholders and go to the Miss Universe office!! For my non pageant fans this is the office where Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA work out of during their reign, kind of a big deal when that is your dream job!! We were given a tour, took some fabulous gif’s with the media team, and of course took our photos next to the MUO logo! After lunch with my sisters, it was time to load up the cab and get ready for an evening with Miss Sherri Hill! The Sherri Hill show was held in Gotham Hall, a STUNNING venue just south of Bryant Park! One of my favorite memories was taking a taxi past Bryant Park after a big show had gotten out and watching the swarms of paparazzi capturing the looks of those leaving the venue. It was like watching my Women’s Wear Daily in real life! The show was full of beautiful gowns and a few familiar models (Miss USA and Miss Universe always model in this show) and I was able to meet both after the show! Photos were taken of all the titleholders who made it into the city for this event and then it was time for a late bite to eat and packing for the early flight home!

 

It was a whirlwind trip but one I will never forget! If you’re looking for a fashion recap on the shows I attended I was lucky enough to get my very first fashion article published following this trip (Dream Come True #2) and you can read that here:

https://thepageantplanet.com/miss-idaho-usa-2017s-top-7-nyfw-2017-looks-for-your-next-pageant/

I hope it won’t be my last fashion week in the big apple but if it is I’m just blessed to have crossed another dream off my bucket list!! Keep your dreams and your prayers big friends!

Getting to Know Me

For those of you new to my life, I’m Cassie, a twenty something woman of faith and lover of fashion, beauty, travel, fitness, pageants, rom-coms and basically all things girly! Videos set to music are my kryptonite. I love the idea of being healthy but I refuse to quit my chocolate addiction!! Christmas is my favorite season, conveniently followed by my second favorite season… award season!! Walking a red carpet is on my bucket list. I am a firm believer that every day is a fashion show and you can never be overdressed! (Trust me you just have to ignore the stares when you wear a fascinator and high heels to the grocery store in Idaho!) I’m still learning to accept God’s timing over my own, I’m a bit of an OCD life planner (a gift and a curse) but I’m working every day to trust in His will!! I’ve been threatening to start a blog for years now and I think my Facebook followers will be happy that all my deep thoughts and passionate rants will now have some place to go instead of blowing up their news feed.

As a television and movie junkie I figured introducing you to my Hollywood besties would be the best way to get to know exactly who I am!

#1. Mindy Lahiri (Kaling)

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Her borderline obsessive love of Hollywood celebrities, fashion, and romantic comedies make her my TV bestie for sure!!

#2 Schmidt

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No character on TV has more amazing one liners!! I will never be able to read the word “chutney” without his voice in my head. We share the same fear of freestyle dancing, “teach me the steps and I’d be happy to join in!!” Also he occasionally wears Syracuse gear and we are the #1 Syracuse fans in the Pacific Northwest!! I wish the list ended there but we’re basically the same person…

3. Jess

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Those that know me well know that while I try to appear cool I’m actually a total nerd and sometimes I like to sing random things and talk in accents, a trait I inherited from my wonderful mother. Plus she has the fabulous vintage 1950’s housewife style that I adore.

4. Lorelei Gilmore

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The quick, ridiculous quips and referencing tv/movie/book characters as if they are real life people. The constant eating of Chinese takeout, donuts, and pizza while maintaining her perfect frame. Yes, just yes! I also just finished her book “Talking As Fast As I Can” and she’s basically the exact same as her character which made me love her even more!!

5. Chip & Joanna Gaines

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If you’ve seen the show they need no explanation! Amazing couple, strong faith, so goofy, so lovey dovey, everything my dream family will be!

6. Priyanka Chopra

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Mostly my woman crush but seriously Priyanka Chopra (former pageant queen) is my eternal role model for looking stunningly gorgeous even when she’s studying at the FBI and not even trying… I know I know it’s television and she has an entire hair/makeup/wardrobe team working on her and no one ACTUALLY looks like that without trying but let me have my dream okay??

7. Serena Vanderwoodsen

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As any fashion girl I had to include at least ONE Gossip Girl character!! While she’s terrible in the romance department she is stunningly beautiful and I could just live in her closet!! I would have been totally happy living her Ivy League lifestyle.

8. HIMYM

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I have my sister to blame for this one! She got my  boyfriend and I hooked on this! He’s a fashionable outgoing Canadian architect so basically Barney/Robin/Ted and I’m the hopeless romantic that loves kids and would rather stay in every night with my other half so Ted/Lily/Marshall. We are currently accepting applications for bestie couple friends that will live nearby forever, preferably above our favorite hang out spot, and one rogue but funny single friend that we can use as entertainment.

9. The Robertson Clan

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I mean I live in Idaho, my family and extended family all hunt and fish. We’re Jesus lovin’ country folk! I absolutely adore this family, their values, and their ridiculous adventures! Even though I’m about 6 years older than Sadie… she’s seriously my role model. Read her books or watch her blogs, then you’ll understand!! Fun fact: My sister lived in Monroe, Louisiana where the Robertsons’ reside for almost two years! Si even came in to the hospital where she worked and she didn’t recognize him!! I will never let her live that down!! My brother in law got to be in an episode of Duck Dynasty and met Sadie like twice so one day we’ll be bff’s!!

10. Adrienne Bailon-Houghton, Jeannie Mai, Tamera Mowry-Housley

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While I followed each of these ladies individually, getting to watch them all together on the talk show The Real is the best!! Adrienne is the sexy Latina from NYC, so beautiful so sassy! Jeannie is such a risk taker with her fashion and a total ball of energy! She was a judge at Miss USA and I was most sad about not making top 10 because it meant less face time with my idol! Tamera – Never have I ever seen someone on television who is so similar to myself!! The mom of the group, the one the friends make fun of because she never understands the risqué jokes, likes to think she can ‘turn up’ but has zero street cred haha I love her to pieces!! Above all, all three of these ladies are strong women of faith, family focused, career women and while their backgrounds and personalities are so different they always respect each others unique perspectives!

Entertaining Angels

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget how every interaction we have directly affects those around us. I taught fitness classes all through college and when I was looking to get back in shape, training for the Miss Idaho USA pageant, I recertified and got back into teaching! I enjoy it but it also forces me to stay healthy because when you’re the one teaching… skipping class is not an option!! Sometimes after a long day at the office, particularly if I’ve had to deal with grumpy people that day, I’m not necessarily feeling like leading a peppy dance party but the show most go on!! What makes all of it worthwhile is when I catch the smile on someone’s face while dancing to a routine I created that says they are feeling happy and confident in their body or when I hear that my class is helping students get the body they’ve been working so hard for!

Teaching fitness classes at a university, the clientele changes during the academic year and the summer months and whatever the reason, I’ve found international students seem to really enjoy my class during the summer months! Last year it was a woman from Bangladesh who moved here with her husband in a modern day Romeo & Juliet love story because their parents did not support their union! They were kind enough to invite me into their home for a traditional Bangladeshi breakfast, which is a memory I cherish! I promised to teach her how to make “American cake” from scratch… I need to make good on that promise before they move away next month! This year I have three students from Asia all with various English proficiency levels who come without fail to every class!

When I got strep throat earlier this month and had to find a last minute substitute I thought nothing of it! Quite honestly, it was kind of nice to have a Thursday night free to binge watch some Netflix! However when I went to the grocery store to pick something up the next day I ran into one of my summer international students. She asked in her broken English about my sickness (they asked the sub where I was) and how I was feeling now. I explained my throat and how I was slowly getting better but was on medication for a few more days. She wished me well and we parted ways. At my next Zumba class, this same student came to me and said she had a gift for me. She had gone to our local natural grocery store and picked up cough syrup for my throat and said I should be feeling better in 3-5 days!! This small act meant so much to me! Here was someone I see twice a week for an hour and she went out of her way to buy me medicine so I could get back to feeling better! Even when my best friends are sick I’ve never thought to go buy them NyQuil and deliver it to their home!

She continues attending my classes telling me she feels her tummy getting tighter and she finds joy in the dances we do. Moral of this story is be deliberate in your interactions, you may never know the impact your presence is making in the lives of “strangers.”

 

God Bless!

Alright friends I am having a serious dark florals moment right now!! I found this dress on RentTheRunway (more on this later) and fell in love! It’s so Olivia Culpo! Feminine, fashion forward, and just screams party! Well every time I had a Miss Idaho USA event or actual party to attend the dress was never available so when I saw it come available in my size I snatched it up! Once I had it in my possession I just had to create a reason to wear it…”Hey boyfriend let’s have a date night on Friday!!” (: He loves going out, i’m a homebody so when I offer a night out on the town I know he’s down! It was a beautiful day in late May so we went to dinner at my favorite venue in Moscow, the courtyard at Martin’s Steakhouse. If you’ve never been there’s actually two different dining options, a bar, and an ice cream shop that all share the courtyard. As the sun goes down you’ll notice the twinkle lights strung above the tables… seriously Instagram worthy place! And people think Idaho isn’t chic (insert eye rolling emoji). I was a little overdressed for Mac N Cheese with BBQ Pork (to die for!!) but that’s the story of my life so it didn’t bother me one bit! The cold shoulder look was perfect for early summer nights when it’s hot at the beginning of the meal and by the end the sun is setting. If I had been going out to a party or a more formal affair I would have paired the dress with my ankle lace up black Aldo’s but to dress it down for a small town night out I opted for my super comfy and surprisingly cute Clark’s sandals. Seriously, I’ve never owned Clark’s before in my LIFE! Clark’s are a comfort brand I thought were only made for orthopedic patients and people like my mother who live for comfort over style… love you mommy! When I found these with their on-trend chunky two inch heel I decided I could overlook my feelings on the brand and give them a go! I have a feeling they’ll be a summer staple!

After dinner we walked a few blocks to my other favorite spot in Moscow, The Kenworthy Performing Arts Center, to catch a $5 movie. I’m a Tinseltown Old Hollywood lover so the fact that this movie theater was originally on the vaudeville circuit back in 1928 and began showing silent films in 1929 makes it completely magical to me! It went through a renovation in 2000 but it still maintains the classic old theater charm that I love so much! Anyway we saw Going In Style starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin and it was pretty darn funny! Definitely the type of movie you can watch with any crowd and enjoy a few laughs!

 

Dress: Black Floral Adeline Dress by Alexis

renttherunway.com

Sandals: Clarks

Earrings: Claire’s

Date Night!