Hey everybody!

I apologize for not updating lately, I’ve been having internet connection issues. Wireless high-speed internet is still a “new thing” in my neck of the woods. I kid not -this time last year I was still running on dial up…and I don’t plan on going back to it again!

So what have I been up to since my last post?

Concerts 

Muse at the Air Canada Center last year

So since I am a big lover of music, I am also a frequent concert-goer. I’ve seen many live performances by some of my favorite artists such as Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Meatloaf, Muse and even Spice Girls (to name a few!). I make it a goal to see as many concerts as I can every year. I even try to attend classical performances as often as possible. I’ve seen many performances by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and even a few youth orchestra concerts. One of my favorite classical concerts was when I saw the very talented classical pianist, Gabriela Montero in January at the Glenn Gould Studio. I suggest checking these Youtube links of her improvising Latin and classical music.

Italian singer, Toto Cutugno

I also enjoy seeing concerts which reflect my Croatian and Italian ethnicity. Two years ago, I saw a popular folk band from Croatia preform traditional dances and music at the Roy Thompson Hall. Last weekend, I also saw the very popular Italian singer, Toto Cutugno, preform at Casino Rama. I was probably the youngest person in the entire audience! Even though he’s incredibly before my time, you may have come across his worldwide hit song “L’Italiano” at one point. This concert was brought to Canada as a tribute to Italian Hertiage Month in Ontario. As part of this celebration, I will also be attending La Scala Chamber Orchestra from Milan at the Sony Centre for Preforming Arts next week. These kinds of concerts make me proud of my heritage and appreciate the different music from around the world.

One of my all time favorite concerts has to be when I saw one of my all time favorite bands, Supertramp, in Toronto this past Sunday. It was my first concert at the Molson Amphitheater and (in my opinion) one of the best concert venues I’ve experienced. It was nice to be in a semi-closed outdoor venue right next to Lake Ontario. I didn’t realize I had fourth row center seats until I got to the concert…best surprise ever! The seats were amazing because being so close to the stage made me feel more apart of the show than just a spectator. It was easy too forget that there were literally thousands of people sitting behind me the entire time!

Up close with Supertramp at the Molson Ampitheater this past Sunday

Since I’ve listened to Supertramp my entire life and because they’ve inspired me the most as a writer and musician, the concert was very personal to me. It was amazing to watch the saxophonist, John Helliwell, play live right before my eyes. He’s the reason I took up saxophone in the first place. It was also amazing to finally hear the voice and piano style of Rick Davies live too. I didn’t think it was possible to have more appreciation for Supertramp, but I do now after seeing them in concert. The only thing this show lacked was my favorite member, Rodger Hodgson. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, please take a peek at my favorite song he wrote. He’s the one who inspired me to play 12-string guitar. I did, however, get a chance to see him solo on New Years at Niagara Falls two years ago. Despite the fact he was playing solo, it was one of the most touching concerts I’ve ever seen. Broken up or together, Supertramp has greatly influenced me musically throughout my whole life.

So as you can see, I absolutely love concerts!

Aurora Street Festival

Aurora Street Festival

Last weekend, I went to the Annual Aurora Street Festival. I’ve lived in the area for nearly fifteen years and never once attended the festival. I was excited to go because this year was my very first time and it was a beautiful day outside! This festival closes one section of Yonge Street in Aurora and includes food, live entertainment and over 500 vendors -I personally enjoyed the free samples and coupons though. One of my sponsors, Nature’s Emporium, had their own booth too! Whenever my friends went during previous years, they always bought something unique and cool. I decided to make it a priority to keep an eye out for something like that. Since I don’t have much jewelry I purchased (in my opinion) two super cute necklaces; of of an owl and one of a peacock! We also bought a portrait of Elvis for my little Matthew since he’s had an obsession with him recently.

Wedding Gowns, Pageant Gowns

I don’t think I’ve mentioned before that my oldest sister, Marina, is getting married this September. As the oldest of this generation in my family, she’s the first one to get married so it’s very exciting for everybody. It’s the first time that I get to be a bridesmaid too!  There’s been a lot of planning and the date is approaching quickly! The most important part of the whole wedding for the bride is (of course) the wedding dress. I love dresses and dress shopping so this is my favorite part as well.  On Monday, my sister had her first fitting for her gorgeous wedding gown. She’s setting the bar high as the first sister getting married -I don’t know how I’ll ever top her dress when it’s my turn to find one! I’m resisting the urge to post a photo of her dress, but I don’t want her hubby-to-be seeing this blog post and giving them bad luck!

On Monday, I went to Shahani Couture for another pageant dress fitting. I thought after three fittings I’d finally be able to take my pageant gown home from the store, but the seamstress  insisted on altering it a bit more. My evening gown is also probably the most exciting part of the whole pageant for me! I’m totally in love with my gown and I couldn’t possibly imagine a better one for the pageant. I’m so excited to wear it at nationals -which is coming up so soon!

And so…

I’ll be honest with you, as July 9th is approaching quickly, I’m starting to feel a little tiny stress coming on here. I still have much to do to prepare for nationals and the clock is ticking! However, I know despite any stress, it’s all going to be worth it in the end. The opportunity to be in Miss Teen Canada is a huge honor and I’m enjoying every minute of it. I love the anticipation because I know the week of touring with the other 75 girls is going to awesome.

Stay posted because I’ll be taking you on a little tour of King Township Next week!

Until next time!

xox

 

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Hey!

Wow, the last weekend was crazy! I had a lot of fun, but it took me a few days to recover this week! So, here’s what I have been up to:

 

Photoshoot

My little Miss Teen Canada Photoshoot

Thursday I did a little photoshoot for some new pictures. My very talented friend, Carley Simandl, did my makeup at Nature’s Emporium, then I scooted over next door to the Artists Salon and Spa and got my hair done by the talented Jessica. After this I came home and my very good friend, Stef, played photographer for me and took some really great shots! I had a lot of fun, especially because many very great people were involved in making my simple shoot awesome.

Fetes di Piazza

Friday, I went to the Famee Friulan in Woodbrige to attend the Fetes di Piazza with my family. It was an event held by IC Savings which involved a lot of great food, live entertainment, auctions and raffles. I especially enjoyed the #2 Elvis impersonator in Canada who performed all of his great hits -with all of his signature moves of course. There was also an amazing magician who preformed some mind-boggling tricks. Michael Burgess also gave a phenomenal performance. All in all, it was a very entertaining evening and I look forward to going again next year.

Schomberg Fair

Saturday morning, I took part in the Schomberg Fair parade and opening ceremonies. I was thankful that the weather actually held out for this day. I rode in a red Thunderbird convertible with the Schomberg assistant fire chief, Bruce, chauffeuring me. There was a decent turn up of spectators which included a lot of smiling faces! I loved having many little girls and boys yelling “Hi, Princess!” I felt very welcomed and honored to ride in the parade and I truly

Schomberg Fair Parade!

enjoyed the experience. I’m not going to lie though – my hand starting to hurt from all the waving.

After the parade, I got to the fair grounds -which were crazy muddy. I got to the stage and met the 2011 Schomberg Fair Ambassador, Bethany Atkinson. I got to share the stage with her, the mayor of King Township and many others. I introduced myself to the audience, listened to other introductions and then the Schomberg Fair bell was rung which officially opened the fair. I made my way around the fair speaking with many young girls and answering questions about my experience in Miss Teen Canada-World. I really enjoyed the warm reception I received by my community while at the fair. However, I could not stay long because I had volunteering to attend to in the afternoon!

2010 Schomberg Fair Ambassador and Miss Teen King Township-World!

The Beer Store’s 2011 Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Bottle Drive

LLS Bottle Drive with Monica and Cassandra

In the afternoon, I walked to Schomberg Beer Store to meet with my sister, Monica, and volunteer with the bottle drive. We asked costumers if they wanted to donate their empties to the Leukemia and Lymphcoma Society of Canada. We also asked for small donations, sold hotdogs, pop and freezies, and held a silent auction. I was very touched by some generous donations made by costumers who pulled up in their cars literally filled with bottles to donate to our cause. I enjoyed the people I volunteered with, I appreciated the costumers who donated so graciously and I believe we raised a good amount of money for a great cause. Last year, $1,065,412.24 was raised by Beer Stores across Ontario by this bottle drive. I’m really eager to know how much we raised this year! I look forward to doing it again next year!

Childhood Cancer Canada’s Kick, Cut, Care Event

On Sunday afternoon, I volunteered with my sister, Marisa, at Adventure Valley Day Camp in Thornhill for Childhood Cancer Canada’s big fundraiser. There was a BBQ, face-painting, cupcake decorating, balloon making, raffles,soccer clinics and hair cutting. My sister and I occupied a station selling books called Wings of Hope. This book is a collection of poems and artwork by children around Canada for childhood cancer. All the the proceeds of the

book sales go towards Childhood Cancer Canada too. There were over 300 people who attended the event. and some of which who were cancer survivors and patients. There were even many people who shaved their heads and donated their hair for cancer. It was a successful fundraiser which collectively raised close to $28,000! I look forward to hopefully attending it again next year!

Wings of Hope at Kick, Cut, Care

And so..

Last weekend was very busy as you can see. I had a lovely week too with mom returning from her three week trip to Croatia, my first model call for the Contessa Hair Awards and a lot of sunshine!

So what’s happening next week? I hate making plans because I never stick to them…so guess we’ll just have to let the week unfold by itself and see what comes of it!

xoxo

 

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Hey everybody!

I hope your Victoria’s Day weekend was great! I was a little worried that the pending rainclouds and rapture would ruin mine, but the weather held out and Harold Camping ended up being just a little bit inaccurate. So with that said, I hope this weekend coming is sunny because I’ll be spending most of it outside. This Saturday, I am excited to say I will be participating in the 161st Schomberg Spring Fair opening ceremonies and parade. Also, I will be supporting my platform by attending the Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation’s Kick, Cut, Care event this Sunday. I am proud to take part in this event and to support this great foundation.

My Platform

I’ve been asked (and will probably continued to be asked) why I chose the Childhood Cancer Foundation of Canada as my platform for the MTC-W pageant. Well, there’s many reasons why I choose to support this cause. First of all, it’s a cause that involves supporting children who are battling cancer. Secondly, it’s a cause that also supports the families who have a child fighting this disease. Thirdly, it’s a cause that funds research for the cure, treatments and therapies for the #1 killer of people under the age of 20. And lastly, I’m supporting this cause out of gratitude and appreciation for my little brother successfully completing his treatment from t-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia.

Matthew: My Little Hero

My little hero

My little brother, Matthew, is also my little hero in many ways. At just the age of four, he underwent more through his treatment than I could ever comprehend in my entire life. He was a little fighter and remained brave through out the entire thing. He was diagnosed in April of 2007 when I was fourteen. The idea of this disease affecting a younger member of my family (or any member at that), was beyond me. It’s difficult for a fourteen year old to really understand or express how they feel during this kind of situation when it’s a situation that may never have crossed their mind before. It’s one of those things where you think it can never possibly happen to you or even anybody close to you. To this day, I still can’t believe it happened to my little brother. Although it was a hard time for my family and I, I don’t remember crying or being angry when I heard he was diagnosed with leukemia, but I remember thinking what probably every sibling thinks upon hearing this kind of news, “why did this happen to my brother?”

I knew from the beginning though, that my brother was strong enough to get through this and that his chance of survival was strong. He was surrounded by a lot of love and support from friends and family. What was most difficult was not seeing Matthew or my mother for long periods of time while he underwent chemotherapy. I give great amounts of credit to my mom for staying so strong while remaining by my brother’s side through his whole fight. I could not even begin to imagine living in Sick Kids Hospital for as long as my brother and mother did. I visited the hospital a few times and even babysat my brother during his long stays -and let me say…it certainly changed my point of view on many things.

Sick Kids Hospital

Sick Kids Hospital

For one, I think being in Sick Kids Hospital really inspired me to become a nurse -pediatric nurse more specifically. I really love children and want to be there when they need somebody to care for them. However, if I could suggest any reality check for anybody, just take the elevator up to the oncology unit on the 8th floor of Sick Kids Hospital. It was really a lot for me to take in all at once. This is why I give a lot of credit to the nurses at Sick Kids Hospital. I don’t even really know how to describe the feelings I had when I walked through the hallways on that floor and saw all the young people going through what they were going through. The moment I step on that floor, I feel an overwhelming amount of heaviness. I think it’s because I understand it’s a floor that holds a great amount of seriousness, suffering and grief. However, I never disregard the great amount of hope that’s present as well. It’s that hope that keeps those young people and their families fighting and strong. And it’s that hope that has made 78% of the 1500 children diagnosed yearly with cancer survive five years or more.

It’s foundations like Childhood Cancer Canada that bring this kind of hope. And I’m not just speaking about a hope for a cure, but a hope for a good life for these children. What hurts me the most is that a lot of childhoods are taken away from these kids because of their cancer. For example, the great amount of school missed because of  treatment would be a major part of it. My little brother missed most of his primary years at school because of his treatment. I met a few people who had even missed most of their high school years because of cancer. I met a boy who had given up his passion in hockey because it was too dangerous for his health during his treatment. I believe it’s important to preserve that aspect of a child’s life if they’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Just because they have cancer, doesn’t mean they can’t go on normally. Cancer can’t take away the best and most innocent years of a child’s life. This is another reason why I support Childhood Cancer Canada. I believe in maintaining a good quality of life for these children affected with cancer and even after they’ve finished their treatments.

And so…

Matthew, (thankfully) was too young to remember every part of his battle through cancer. We did not want to put emphasis on him that he was “sick”and we tried to let him go on as if he was perfectly healthy. I understood his outlook on his situation when he asked me innocently at dinner once, “Christina, when you were little, did you go to the hospital to get your finger-poke too?” (A “finger-poke” is hospital lingo for when they draw blood from your finger for testing.) To this, I had to answer yes because if I hadn’t, he would’ve felt as if he were different among the other eight family members. He’s eight years old now, finished his treatment and doing amazing, but I still don’t think he fully understands what he went through during those three years of chemotherapy. I wish for every cancer patient not to feel different among everybody else or remember what they’re treatment put them through.

My brother’s experience inspired me to support Childhood Cancer Canada as much as I can. Upon deciding that this would be my platform, I contacted the foundation and even went down to their headquarters in Toronto to meet with the lovely team behind it all (Shout out to Gillian and Melody!).  I hope I can make a big difference for this foundation and this cause in general. I’m starting by simply volunteering at one of their events this Sunday and I hope I can do even more from there.

Matthew supporting me at Miss Teen Ontario

Anyways, longest post yet! If you managed to reached to this point of this post, thank you for reading my story on my platform. Stay posted because I have so much going on this week. I just found out that tomorrow I will be doing a little photoshoot, so keep posted for some new pictures too!

xoxo

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Sunday was my 19th birthday! It was rainy and cold, but that couldn’t possibly get me down. It was my last birthday as a teenager and I decided to enjoy it as much as possible. So what did I do to enjoy it?

Art Gallery of Ontario

Well, I spent it in Toronto of course! There was rain, there was walking and there were new canvas Keds that got wet, but there was a lot of fun and excitement. The first half of my day was spent at the Art Gallery of Ontario! I love walking around a gallery, looking at beautiful artwork and realizing I have no artistic ability when it comes to this kind of stuff -this is why I stuck to music. However, I still appreciate and enjoy artwork just as much as the next artsy person. It was  great place to be on a Sunday afternoon because it was quiet and not very crowded which was the perfect way to really enjoy everything -unlike, last year when I went during the March break…

At the AGO for my 19th birthday.

I saw many paintings by the Group of Seven and other Canadian artists depicting beautiful Canadian landscapes and picturesque nature scenes. I realized I’ve actually developed a great appreciation for Canadian art. After passing through the Thomson Collection of Canadian Art, I went through the Galleria Italia. This section is basically a long hallway made of simple wooden carvings having the likeness of trees. This hallways connects into the Henry Moore Sculpture Center of very…shall I say…interesting sculptures. I made my way up the amusing wooden spiral staircase and after this exhausting and dizzy climb, I found myself in the Vivian & David Campbell Center for Contemporary Art…and quickly back down to the European Art Collection.

There were some pieces that I just couldn’t take my eyes off of. It wasn’t so much because they were beautiful works of art, but because they left a different impression on me. There were some  that made me laugh, some that made me sad, some that reminded of past experiences and some that left me thinking after I walked away -and to me that’s what real art is.

O Noir

Dining in the dark chez O Noir

After the AGO I was treated to a surprise dinner…in the dark. O Noir is a restaurant in Toronto well known for it’s concept where you dine in complete and absolute darkness. I am not even joking -it was 100% pitch black. Firstly, I entered the underground restaurant and ordered from the menu in a dimly lit area. I chose my appetizer and main course from the menu, but I requested a surprise dessert for fun. Might as well, right? Once I ordered, I was guided into the dark dining room by a blind waiter. The restaurant believes that the blind are the best people capable of doing this kind of serving. This is also meant to raises awareness about blind disability.

Once I was seated, I realized how completely dark the room was.  It was odd trying to familiarize myself with my surroundings without sight. From what I could make out without seeing, it was a narrow room, I was seated next to a wall on my right with (from hearing the conversation around me) one large party of women to my left, at least another four tables in front of me and also what seemed to be a large number of tables behind me -but then again…I could be wrong.

Eating was even more strange. The food was great, but I was literally blindly stabbing my plate with my fork in an attempt to find my food. When it came to the point where my fork was failing to find anything…I had to feel my plate with my fingers…which made me realize one napkin was not enough for this meal. I was afraid that the lights would go on any moment and everybody would see the terrible etiquette I was using to eat. Conversation was also a challenge too. I realized how much I rely on facial expressions and body language to communicate. Though, my biggest challenge throughout this experience was to not get any food on me, spill anything or drop anything on the ground…that’s hard enough for clumsy me just in the light!

My highly anticipated surprise dessert was a rich chocolate mousse. It was delicious, but I was hoping the guessing would be harder.  I realized that chocolate moosse actually has a very strong smell to it. It’s funny how easily we can neglect the other senses and how much we rely on visuals. I guess what they say is true that “we eat with our eyes”. When I was guided out of the dark room, I was dizzy and tired from sitting in the dark for over two hours. It almost felt like I woke up from a dream. Overall, the whole blind dining experience was beyond interesting, entertaining and completely new to me. If you’re looking for something different to do in the city, I suggest going to O Noir.

And Afterwards…

Nineteen candles plus one for good luck!

Finally, no birthday is complete without a big chocolate cake made by your grandmother and having your entire family sing to you. As for gifts I got a pretty pot of flowers and great tickets to a Toronto FC game in August. It sucks growing up because you don’t get showered in Barbies anymore…

So that pretty much sums up May 15th, 2011. Next year I’ll be  entering into my twenties which is a weird thought to me. All in all, it was a great day and a great way to kick off my last year as a teenager. Thanks for checking out my blog and please come back for more updates!

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Hey everybody!

My name is Christina Da Re and I am representing King Township, Ontario in the 2011 Miss Teen Canada-World pageant. I received the title Miss Teen King Township-World after the provincial pageant last November in Toronto.

Miss Teen Ontario-World 2010

Out of 50 beautiful contestants,I was selected to be in the top 20 and advance to the next competition. I am very excited and honored to participate in this year’s national pageant which will be held in Toronto, from July 9th-17th!

Having a title has allowed me to become more involved with my little community and I hope one day possibly beyond. This title has also given me a voice to support my platform and the MTC-W official charity, Free the Children. Choosing a platform has been challenging because I believe in supporting so many different causes. I tried to focus on a platform which has touched me the most in my life. Four years ago, my youngest brother, Matthew, was diagnosed with t-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia at the age of four. Since I am so grateful that Matthew successfully finished his treatment last year and is doing great, I decided to give back and support the Childhood Cancer Foundation of Canada. I will definitely talk more about my platform in future posts.

My Family

My big family (From top left to bottom right) Michael, Monica, Marisa, Dad, Matthew, Me, Mom, Marina, Johnny

So a little more about me : I am a 19 year old girl (as of yesterday!) from a small little hamlet that nobody has heard of called Kettleby. I am the third oldest in my big family of four sisters, three brothers. A family of my size makes for a completely hectic household with very little privacy, dinners of inconceivable amounts of food, perpetually created noise and shared rooms with (so embarrassing) bunk beds -but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. Living in a big family has taught me lots of responsibility, patience, understanding, how to be a good role model and (most importantly) survival of the fittest.

My Hobbies

Me and my favorite 12 string guitar

What I enjoy doing the most is music. I play guitar, bass, piano, saxophone and I sing. However, I write music more than anything else.  I also enjoy preforming, jamming with other musicians and attending concerts. Music is much more than a past time to me and has been one of the biggest and most positive influences in my life. Other things I enjoy doing are reading, volunteering, baking, cleaning, video games, being outside, yoga, photography and running. I try to make time for everything and make everyday as productive as possible.

My School

As for my education, I graduated high school last June as an Ontario Scholar and with an award for the highest academic average of a graduate residing in King Township. However, I did not attend a post secondary education this year -instead I took a year off from school to work at Nature’s Emporium Wholistic Market, carefully choose a career I want to pursue, orient my goals and mature before diving back into the books. After much consideration,  I recently chose to accept my offer to Ryerson University for the Collaborative Nursing Degree Program with George Brown College in Toronto. I’m happy to say that I’m very excited to start school in September!

And so…

That’s a little bit about me. Thank you for checking my blog! I’ll keep you all posted on what I’m up to so please keep coming back for more updates!

A shout out to Shasha Bread Co for sponsoring the Miss Teen Canada event and providing us with healthy snacks to consume. Extra thanks also goes to the Internet marketing firm PageOne for helping with all the personal blogs for the Miss Teen Canada Pageant.

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