Monday, December 9, 2019

Section 36 Photography Month: Section 36 Pics

We're trying something a little different here at Section 36. This month, we're going to celebrate "Photography"! What does that mean? That means that every Monday during the month I will post something having to do with photography. Sound like fun? I hope so. Today I want to talk about some of my favorite pictures, the ones readers have submitted.

Section 36 Pics

I'm always flattered when readers send in pictures for me to share on the blog and Section 36 social media. Especially the ones that take a little extra effort to take. So, I'm so excited to see the collections of pictures in each of the categories grow and grow.

As you hopefully know, people have been submitting pictures of themselves that fall into four different categories. Don't remember what they are? Here's a rundown.

Pictures With Section 36. These are the easiest, if you happen to be at Fenway...or any park that has a Section 36. Wherever you are, take a picture of yourself with Section 36 behind you. It's fun to see all the different ways people have been able to accomplish this.

Pictures In Section 36. This is that next step more difficult. For these you need to actually get to Section 36 and take your picture there. 

"I'd Rather Be in Section 36" pics. If you're not at a game, this is the easiest. Make a sign that says "I'd Rather be in Section 36". That can be a pencil and paper, written in sand at the beach, with chalk on a driveway, however you can do it. Then, just take your picture holding the sign, or posing with it somehow.

Pics with 36 Gear. These, obviously, require you to have Section 36 gear. But, once you do the possibilities are endless. You can snap off a dozen selfies in one sitting, or take pictures wherever you happen to be when you're with your gear. These are usually a lot of fun.

You actually got to see a couple of these pictures in last week's post about K. Garcia Productions. But, here's a good chance to check out a few more of my favorites. Other than Kelsey, there have been a few other people who have contributed several pictures to several categories. Let's see what some of them had to share!

Submitted by Lily the Ferret
Lily the Ferret has done an amazing job of submitting pictures with her friends and Section 36 gear. I thought with Miss Universe being held this weekend it made sense to lead with this sot of Lily posing with friends Olivia and Malia.

Submitted by Bryanne

Submitted by Bryanne
 Bryanne has done an amazing job of constantly sending in pics. Whether she's holding an "I'd Rather Be in Section 36" sign at the highest point in the Eastern United States, or showing her support during a race she tends to go above and beyond. She's contributed pictures to every category, and then some!

Submitted by Dione

Submitted by Dione
 Dione is another person who has submitted almost every type of picture. Pictures in Section 36, or with Section 36, or Rather being in Section 36...even when in Section 36. It's been fun to see all the pictures come in.

Submitted by Lauren

Submitted by Lauren
 In Section 36, with Section 36, Rather Be in Section 36, with Section 36 gear...Lauren does it all. He pictures are always fantastic, and I always love getting a new submission from her!

Submitted by Serena of the Traveling Baseball Babes

Submitted by Serena of the Traveling Baseball Babes

Serena is another person who has been a regular contributor. Again, any type of picture is likely to come from one of her submissions, and I love them every time.

Submitted by Bernadette

Submitted by Bernadette

Bernadette has been nice enough to think of Section 36 during her travels around the world. Whether it's writing "Rather be in Section 36" on a tropic beach, or wearing her gear in Fiji it's always flattering to know Section 36 is on her mind.

As you can see, pictures play a huge role here at Section 36. It's one of the best ways for you readers to contribute to the Section 36 experience, and it makes it a lot more fun for everyone.

I can't see what comes in next!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Kylie Blakely Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has a new visitor! Kylie Blakely is an advocate for preventing soldier suicide, a talented pianist, and the current Miss Osceola. I was excited that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more.

So let's see what happens when Kylie Blakely visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Osceola crown? 
Previous to Miss Osceola I had never competed in a pageant, let alone seen one from start to finish including Miss America. I remember the month prior to the pageant I was struggling getting hours at my job in Lake Nona and I remember praying and asking the Lord to help me find a way to make ends meet for my tuition that was coming up. I was told about the pageant around 6 days prior at a charity event I was attending and I knew God had put me in the right place at the right time. With less than five days to prepare for my first pageant ever it was a whirlwind, the day of even seems like a blur now. I remember being genuinely shocked I had won and simultaneously bursting into tears with sheer joy. That night I was so exhausted I didn’t get to celebrate properly however the next day the Osceola County Fair helped me celebrate by walking the fairgrounds, meeting the amazing men and women who made our scholarship pageant possible and awarding ribbons to the phenomenal FFA kids! 

What is your favorite memory from this summer’s Miss Florida Competition? 
My favorite memory from Miss Florida has to be orientation, it was a wonderful experience meeting so many empowering women. I remember vividly, sitting by Rachel Barcelona, Amanda Shoopman and the Zavitz sisters and taking it all in. Every woman in the room had a crown and walked with her head high, every woman would leave this competition with a crown and continue doing amazing things in their communities, and every woman in that room was going places. I felt so empowered to sit by future Educators, Scientists, Doctors, Farmers, Reporters, Nurses, Performers, and Engineers. That moment of realization has to be my favorite from the entire Miss Florida 2019 experience. 

Do you have a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your remaining time as Miss Osceola? 
My social impact has been and will remain my biggest goal. It’s not one that ever stops and something we as a nation should all push for. The suicide rates for first responders and veterans are at an all time high and I know there’s ways to combat the unfortunate statistic. Being an advocate for veteran suicide will continue long after I remove the Miss Osceola crown from my head. I hope to continue being an advocate in the 2020 pageant season, using my platform to promote the fact that you’re no less of a hero for seeking help. 

How did you select your social impact initiative? 
My father is a retired LEO and most of my family is either a first responder of some sort, a nurse or a veteran. I knew growing up I wanted to serve in the Army, I was placed on a waiting list and was told the best thing to do was to finish my degree then join as an officer. In the meantime most of my friends I grew up with were enlisted in various branches and deployed. When some of them came back they struggled with the transition from military to civilian life and suffered from PTSD, depression and the physical toll combat had given them. Veteran suicide rates are something that hits close to home for my family, and after losing someone I know to suicide last December at the Lake Nona VA I knew there was more we could be doing as a community. It began as “Suicide awareness and prevention for first responders and veterans.” After Miss America changed the pitch rules I shortened it to “ Prevent Soldier Suicide” and got to work on promoting and helping where I could. I volunteered at the VFW for several dinners, got in touch with the American Legion who placed an ad in the Miss Florida program book, I helped promote Homes for Heroes and my outreach went as far as Texas, Kandahar Afghanistan, Alabama, Norfolk Naval Base, Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, and Kuwait. My only wish is to gain the title of Miss Florida to promote Prevent Soldier Suicide on national television to create more awareness and bring national attention to a very preventable issue. 

As a talented pianist, what are your favorite types of songs to play? 
I absolutely love Hayden, Litzt, and the carnival of the animals. My favorite pieces to play are ones that incorporate crossing my hands. Due to a soccer related head injury I have damage that makes it difficult for me to play and I was told I could never play again at the level I was on. However, with many many many hours on the bench and an AMAZING instructor I was able to regain some of what I lost. Crossing my arms in a piano piece is me saying YES I CAN to those who told me I'd never be able to play again as it incorporates the part of my brain that sustained the damage. 

You have been able to run in the RunDisney Princess half marathon. What do you remember most from that event? 
I remember the elation and relief I felt crossing the finish line! I was blessed to represent Childrens Miracle Network the philanthropy of Miss America while running alongside my mentor and former Miss Osceola Jessica Hargrave. 

This summer you were able to attend “SI Swimsuit on Location”. What was that experience like? 
I’m incredibly thankful for my time participating in the 2019 SI Swimsearch and being VIP at the SI Swimsuit on Location, it was a wonderful event and incredibly empowering. I completely stand behind MJ Day and her choices for the brand, to expand from focusing on the male gaze to what the brand is really about. Sports Illustrated has always taken political stands, featuring Tyra Banks when they
did and doing shoots in Africa during time of conflict to promote awareness. Now in the age of photoshop, negative body image and internalized body dysphoria Sports Illustrated has taken a stand. When you think of the magazine and it’s brand in popular culture most people think “Oh beautiful women in swimsuits” MJ Day has taken the brand to new heights by being inclusive. I had the pleasure of meeting plus sized models, mothers who had become models, models over 40, models with vitiligo and limb differences. MJ Day has given the brand new life by making it more inclusive and body positive, giving women who aren’t supermodels the opportunity to look at SI and say, “This woman is in SI, she’s beautiful and she’s like me! I’m beautiful too!” It’s an incredible environment to be around and I’d love to have the opportunity to do it again! 

If you had an extra ticket to see the Red Sox play the Marlins, who would you bring with you? Why? 
If I had an extra ticket I'd give it to Bella my Sunshine Princess or Maverick my Sunshine Prince from the Miss Florida Sunshine Program. I absolutely love those kids to bits and I’m so excited to be their mentor. 

Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you’d especially like to experience? 
As Miss Osceola I was supposed to throw the opening pitch for the Firefrogs however due to a scheduling conflict I wasn’t able to make it. I would love to have the opportunity to throw the opening pitch perhaps sometime in the near future! 


I hope she gets to make that happen!

As always, I want to thank Kylie for doing this interview, and for sending along the wonderful pictures. They really make the post a lot more fun.

As Kylie continues her time as Miss Osceola, I encourage you to follow her on her official Facebook page. It’s a great way to see what she’s up to during her remaining time with the crown.

Thanks again Kylie!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Section 36 Photography Month: K. Garcia Productions

We're trying something a little different here at Section 36. This month, we're going to celebrate "Photography"! What does that mean? That means that every Monday during the month I will post something having to do with photography. Sound like fun? I hope so. Let's start it off by talking about a photographer who has contributed so very much to the success of Section 36.

Kelsey, of K. Garcia Productions.

Kelsey has been amazing about contributing photographs to help improve posts all across the suite of Section 36 blogs. For this blog, she's taken photographs of visitors that were included in interviews. She's also taken pictures of people wearing Section 36 gear to help show people how amazing it looks. Of course, the pictures on this blog are really a small sample of the amazing work done by  K. Garcia Productions. She's great at taking pageant photos,   weddings and engagementsportraitsfashion shots, and even shots for your business. 

As a way to remind you just how much she has done, I thought it would be fun to see some of the pictures taken by K. Garcia Productions that have really improved Section 36. Starting with one of my favorites.

This picture was taken during a photo shoot K. Garcia Productions had with Bridget Oei. You probably remember Bridget from her visit with Section 36, and the fact that she finished first runner up to Miss America 2019. Bridget has this Section 36 sweatshirt and she and Kelsey surprised me by including the outfit in the shoot. It's just absolute perfection.

As I mentioned, K. Garcia Productions photos have also been featured in interviews here on Section 36. The first one was this shot.

This amazing picture was included with my interview with Alexis Ferreira. Alexis has done a lot of work with K. Garcia Productions, and I'm glad I was able to feature this beauty.

Another example?

This gorgeous photo graced my interview with Allie Curtis. It's a wonderful example of using an on-location photo shoot to get a fantastic head shot. 

That same interview also included this shot...

I mean, pictures don't get much more fun (or better) than that!

Another great example is this one from another interview.

This shot was one of the highlights of my interview post with Jackie O'Keefe. It's part of a whole Patriots themed shoot K. Garcia Productions did with several titleholders, and shows the kind of fun you can have in the studio. Kelsey did a similar Bruins themed shoot as well. I wonder when she will turn to a Red Sox theme?

Finally, here are two photos that I'm almost positive Kelsey didn't take. But, they are wonderful examples of how she has made this blog a better place.

That's right. When Kelsey herself was at Fenway, she remembered to take a picture with Section 36 behind her. That's always appreciated.

On a recent vacation trip to Hawaii, Kelsey wore her very own Section 36 shirt while out sightseeing. Several pictures of her wearing the shirt is this exotic location have (or will have) graced the world of Section 36. They're all very appreciated.

As you can see, K. Garcia Productions has played a big part in making Section 36 a lot more attractive. You'll find that's the case with the other blogs in the suite, as well as all the social media accounts associated with them. For the Pageants blog, she's provided countless photos of visitors that have been posted on their profile pages or elsewhere. She was also nice enough to visit with Section 36 Pageants, in an interview posted on that blog. (In fact, to help emphasize how much she has meant to the Pageants blog, Section 36 Pageants will be celebrating "K. Garcia Productions Week" this week.) I encourage you to check them all out.

And don't forget K. Garcia Productions the next time you need a photographer!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Tamara Allard Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has a new visitor! Tamara Allard is a higher education advocate, a talented gymnast, and the current Miss Sunfair. I was thrilled that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more.

So let's see what happens when Tamara Allard visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Sunfair crown?

In Yakima, there is this famous little drive through called Minor Burger, although the burgers are anything but minor (think so big you can’t fit them in your mouth). Immediately after the pageant I headed there to enjoy a giant batch of onion rings!

What did you learn about yourself at the Miss Sunfair competition that will help you at Miss Washington?
I learned how important it is for me to represent my hometown (Yakima) and be competing in my home state. When you have dual eligibility like me (I’m eligible in Maryland and Washington due to graduate school), it can be difficult to decide where you should compete. Especially, when there is such a huge stigma surrounding “state hopping”. However, I knew when I signed up for Miss Sunfair (a title in the Miss Yakima County Organization) that I belong in Yakima. That is where I grew up and spent most of my life, that’s where my entire family is. My belief was only confirmed at the competition! It felt amazing to be surrounded by familiar faces and I am so grateful that I’m the hometown girl once more. My advice to other girls with dual eligibility is to compete in the place that feels most like home with the people who feel most like family! If you follow your heart, the judges at your local and state competition will be able to see your passion for those organizations and that’s worth everything to Miss America!

Do you have a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Sunfair?
Yes! In the last couple of years, I have educated over 2,300 K-12 students about evidence-based practices that will help them prepare for Higher Education! This year, I want to double that number! So, if you are a teacher and you won’t me to speak in your classroom, please reach out!

How did you select your social impact initiative: “Preparation for Higher Education”?
When I was seven, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that leads to inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and deficits in executive functions. Commonly, these symptoms cause extreme difficulty in the classroom. For me this meant that I was slow to read, slow to learn math, and slow to make friends. Overall, these experiences made my early education a difficult time for me and I dreaded going to school. Who would have guessed that I would graduate, let alone go to college and eventually earn a Ph.D.? It was only because of the teachers and mentors in my life that I was able to overcome these challenges. These experiences inspired me to help other students who are struggling from academic and financial barriers on their way to higher education.

As a talented gymnast, what is your favorite part about performing on stage?
In every routine I have ever performed, I always walk on my hands. It’s never quite the same, sometimes I spin in circles or do a flip out of it, but hand walking is always staple of my talent. What make it my favorite part is that, without fail, the audience goes crazy! I mean full on hooping and hollering! I live for that moment! But here’s a little secret between your readers and me, it’s one of the easiest skills in my current routine. In fact, sometimes I choreograph hand walking in so that I can catch my breath after a tumbling pass.

If you could be a Disney character for a week, which would you choose? Why?
Lilo! Who wouldn’t want a vacation to Hawaii?

What is your personal fitness routine?
As you mentioned, I’m a gymnast, so I stay fit by dancing several times a week! While, I also enjoy lifting weights and doing cardio, there is a lot of value in sport specific/functional fitness. If you can’t motivate yourself to workout in a gym, then join a dance class or take karate. Fitness doesn’t need to be one size fits all.

Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you’d especially like to experience?
Once upon a time, I threw out the first pitch at a Yakima Pippins game. Let me tell you, it was NOT good! Therefore, I feel I must redeem myself! For this reason, it is my dream to throw out the first pitch at a Mariners game, but this time actually make it to the catcher!

You had the chance to attend a game at Camden Yards. What was that experience like?
Amazing! Camden Yards is beautiful, clean, and bursting with
O’s pride. The best part was we sat right over the dugout! Apparently, every time every time the camera took a close up of the batter you could see us in the background. I highly recommend you visit the park if you’re ever in Baltimore.


I definitely plan to make it there as soon as I can!

As always, I want to thank Tamara for doing this interview, and for sending along the wonderful pictures. They really make the post a lot more fun.

As Tamara continues her time as Miss Sunfair, I encourage you to follow her on her official Facebook page. It’s great way to see what she’s up to during her time with the crown.

I also want to wish Tamara luck when she competes for the Miss Washington crown. It would be amazing to have a former Section 36 visitor take home that title!

Thanks again Tamara, and good luck!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

List of 36: Things I’m Thankful For in 2019

As I like to do every Thanksgiving, I wanted to run down a list of things I was thankful for during the last year.

1. A(nother) Ring Ceremony
2. Jackie Bradley Jr in centerfield 
3. Xander Bogaerts putting it all together
4. Michael Chavis in Boston
5. JD Martinez picking up his option
6. People wearing Section 36 gear
7. Rafael Devers showing he’s elite
8. Completing my 1975 Topps Set
9. Pictures in Section 36
10. Christian Vázquez figuring out how to hit
11. The emergence of Eduardo “EdRo” Rodriguez 
12. Twitter followers
13. Pictures with Section 36
14. The Astros losing
15. Opening blasters
16. Instagram followers 
17. The Yankees losing
18. People who’d rather be in Section 36
19. The Yankees losing
20. Brandon Workman
21. Facebook likes
22. Sunny bleachers
23. Chris Sale's extension
24. Topps Holiday cards
25. Interviews with titleholders 
26. Mookie Betts
27. Patriots first pitches
28. Fellow bloggers
29. Souvenir sodas
30. The success of Section 36 Pageants
31. Star Wars Night
32. SGA bobbleheads
33. The emergence of Section 36 Music
34. Win wall flags
35. The promise of 2020
36. Readers like you

What people are reading this week