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Happy Holidays 2017-18
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Happy Holidays to all!

Holiday Season 2017-18
Warm wishes to everyone!

The thing that I have loved most about this Holiday season, so far... are the many heartfelt wishes I have received from you on social media. Whether we met through Pageantry (MUO or MAO, etc.); or Skating, Performing Arts, School or just around the neighborhood, etc.
My faith that social media can still be used for kindness has been somewhat restored. I realize we are going through different times and facing unpleasant and uncomfortable issues that must be addressed but I have seen that you can still embrace the good in the world, while working to make the world better. We are all works in progress as is our society, but thank you to those who’ve shown that there are ways to deal with negativityu in positive ways.
As I looked back on my personal year, I realize I stayed out of the operating room ( Thank God ����) and I was able to attend all three major MUO events (Miss USA, Miss Teen-USA and Miss Universe). Mom and I were also at Miss California USA/Teen-USA 2017 ( though technically it was held December 2016)! It was an honor to follow India Williams to her Top 10 placement at Miss USA (at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas) and Jaanu Patel to 3rd Runner Up at Miss Teen-USA in Phoenix, Arizona ! And to make many new friends at these events such as Kara McCullough, Miss USA 2017, a back-to-back win for the District Of Columbia! Congratulations Director Carla Crawford! I also met our new Miss Teen-USA from Missouri Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff and her wonderful parents the morning after her crowning. And Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere of France as well.
We were also thrilled to spend a bit of our Thanksgiving weekend with Kara and some friends old and new at the Miss Universe competition as Iris passed the Mikimoto crown to Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa, and cheered Kara as she proudly and confidently made her way through the field of 93 women (the largest number of participants in Miss Universe history) to a place among the final 10!
Other highlights of the year were performances at the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts, incredible a stage musical adaptation of the film The Bodyguard Staring the wonderful Deborah Cox, whom we previously enjoyed in Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical.
More recently, there was Laura Osnes’ Broadway Princess Party! For those who aren’t familiar with Laura, she received Tony-award nominations for lead roles in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella as well as Bonnie & Clyde, the musical. By Frank Wildhorn.
Among her special guests were my dear friend Susan Egan, Tony nominated herself, for her role as Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast ; and fabulous Broadway newcomer Courtney Reed who recently made her Broadway debut as Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin.
They also included amazing young talent from Orange County High School of the Arts, of which Susan Egan is alumni.
All in all, it was a good year but I hope we all have better things ahead, especially those figure skaters and other heading to the Winter Olympic Games in February.
I miss my Skating friends and wish foe a time like the 1990s, that skating can regain some popularity in North America, so we can have more events to see each other....
Our Best Wishes for a great 2018 are with all of you our dear, dear friends!
Love always,
The Bakers,
John,
Joann
And
Shandi

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