Miss Tampa Bay USA Adventures: Miss Florida USA 2015 Seminar Weekend


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And so the countdown begins. I never feel the pressure of pageantry until after state-level Orientation, aka Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend. It’s the first time all the delegates gather together, and it’s not until you mingle with other amazingly ambitious women that the fire is lit beneath your feet.
 
 Tel-Air Interests, the media production company which produces Miss Florida USA, is located in Hollywood, FL. My call time for Pre-Taping festivities was 6:30AM on Friday morning, so I embarked on a solo road trip Thursday evening through what seemed to be a hurricane following my exact driven path. Despite the monsoon, the journey was well worth it, and I joined a handful of lovely ladies at the gorgeous Westin Diplomat Golf & Tennis Club to model Elan International fashion at the crack of down. What else is there to do at 6:30 in the morning but take a pageant girl selfie?
 
 
Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
 

I was in the first group to model (yes, I look really good at 6:45 in the morning), and I got to wear this gorgeous Elan International summer lace maxi dress. 

Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
 
 
Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
 

Our Pre-Taping segment was up and running on YouTube within a few days of Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend. Check us out, y’all! Oh, and don’t mind my overly animated inflection; it was early, and coffee makes me do and say weird things.

After quite a bit of shooting and a whole lot of keeping ourselves entertained, I basically fell in love with my sister queen, Bri, who I met while hosting the Miss Tampa USA Pageant. She’s as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, and all things aside, our friendship has made the stress and anxiety of competition worth it! Plus, we got to know some other awesome leading Florida ladies, like Ashley aka Miss Melbourne USA. The combination of their company and my Lilly Pulitzer Richelle Strapless Sweetheart Dress made this early morning completely tolerable.

Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
 
 
 
Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
 

NBD, just Team Tampa taking over Hollywood. Don’t mind my crazy hair, please, kthx.

Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
 

As is usually the case, everything was right with the world once I had my Starbucks. I’m just sorry for anyone who had to converse with me prior to ingesting caffeine.

Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka

 

Approximately 45 hours later, our shoots were done, and it was time for lunch! One of our awesome pageant sponsors happens to be Pollo Tropical, so we carpooled on over for some solid Caribbean goodness. Bri and I were completely attentive and are not at all addicted to social media.

Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
 
Dress: Lilly Pulitzer // Shoes: Apt. 9 // Ring: Lauren Conrad // Nails: Sally Hansen-Details Here
 

 

Oh, and how could any alleged promotional event be real without a YouTube video? This was actually a ton of fun to make, especially since delicious Caribbean food was involved. Please note my face in the frame at the end of the video. I always manage to somehow accidentally photo/videobomb select key scenes. It’s a gift.
 

 

A few hours, three Starbucks drinks, and a whole package of gummy bears later, it was time for our delegate dinner at Mama Mia’s Italian Ristorante! Aside from the fact that I got rained on… twice… it was such a great opportunity to meet a few more of the girls! Bri and I accidentally coordinated (double your pleasure, double your fun), and we enjoyed some completely delectable non-pageant friendly food, like canolis, pasta, and some ridiculous garlic knots.
 
 
 
Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
 
Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka

Dress: Lulu’s // Necklace: Forever 21 // Clutch: Vineyard Vines (No Longer Available), Similar Here

After dinner I basically collapsed in my hotel room and woke up to my 5:30 alarm for On-Stage Question taping on Saturday morning. I think it’s super cool that basically other contestants will be taped and pre-recorded asking the Top 16 their OSQs on finals night. Nobody knows anybody else’s question, and it adds an element of fun and comfort to the whole nerve-racking process of attempting to speak intelligently on stage in front of hundreds of people, including the pageant piranhas known as my unforgiving brothers.

Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
 
 
 
We all made our formal introductions on Seminar Day, but for whatever reason, mine didn’t get recorded properly, otherwise I’d post the video. Boo.
 
 
Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
 
Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka
 
Miss Florida USA Seminar Weekend, Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Stephanie Ziajka

Dress: Lulu’s // Shoes: Apt. 9

Annnd now I’m officially in freak out/catch-up mode, as the competition is just about ten days away! My laundry To-Do list is approaching three pages, so this may be my biggest time challenge yet. Wish me luck!

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