happy monday [ i & i ]

"I just want to be myself and I want you to love me for who I am." -Hair, Lady GaGa

find an audience & share your unique story
I am so happy being Happy Brittany. It has been such a unique opportunity to have the chance to share my story as Miss New Mexico USA & a pre-k teacher along with my perspective on life, with such a diverse audience. It is through this opportunity that I've gained incredible amounts of self-knowledge and understanding & this simple little blog has changed my life. It's not the "blog" itself that has just changed my life but rather the incredible individuals who follow, read, share and reach out. The people who stop by Happy Brittany from time to time all have something very powerful in common, the desire to learn. I am truly touched by the incredible love & support that I have received from this blog. Who would have thought that a blog, originated for my classroom experiences, would have evolved into something so instrumental to my life, and humbly, the lives of others?

So my idea for you is to find your opportunity, your journal, your stage, or your voice that will allow you to share your experiences & perspectives with your audience and use those tools to educate and inspire. Even if you think no one is listening there will always be at least one person who always tunes in no matter what... you. That's right. You are your biggest fan and when you share your story you are the one who will often enjoy it most and continue to learn the most from it. On top of that your experiences, challenges, and ideas are also important to others, so share them as often as you can. We are all learners in this big world.

My story has already begun & will never end. I am happy be be able to share it with others in the most honest and genuine form. Additionally I am EAGER to announce the following news....

At the end of the week I will be in Las Vegas competing for the title of Miss USA 2011 [!!!!] The telecast night will be June 19th (I know you already have your DVR set, correct?!). From this weekend on I will be at the competition and I am so pumped to be committed to blogging about my time at Miss USA every night. The days will be long & the nights even longer, but I am as ready as ever & I am so inspired by your support that I want to continue to include you all in my journey. 

So keep votin' & keep checking back 'cause it's about to get real.

Miss USA 2011... it's time.

...and in true Happy Brittany fashion, a blooper as well....

packing up and heading off,


happy monday [ i & i ]


take your vitamins!!!
Vitamins are so essential for so many reasons. I try to take my vitamins three times a day and each serves a critical role in my overall health and well being. I attribute my clear skin, consistent energy, and good health to these magical little pills (I swear by them). It can be really hard to 1.) get yourself in the habit of taking vitamins and 2.) know what vitamins to take & what is right for you. I can tell you that #1 gets easier in time and #2 will take some work on your end and it will never be final, you will always identify new needs for your body, and that's also your responsibility to determine. It may take some time to ascertain what you need. Here are some simple ways to get started.....

1.) Start by talking to people. I only stared taking vitamin B-12 after a conversation with my sweet friend Ginny about our new lives as vegetarians and I am so glad she introduced this to me because I may not have ever known.

2.) Do research! Health magazines and blogs have lots of great info about vitamins and routines. I once read in a magazine that it's better to split your multivitamin in half and take one half in the morning and one half at night. I have done this ever since reading that. (Oh, and while we are on the subject of multivitamins you must make sure you eat before you take them... I learned this the hard way when I decided to take my multivitamin before wolfing down a plate of banana pancakes... errr...)
Whole Living has these two great posts about vitamins: 
And here is The Best Vitamins for Women from Women's Health

3.) Of course.... talk to your doctor or a health professional to figure out what is best for you and certainly make a habit of doing this before you start taking something that you are unsure of.

It is so important to make sure that you are taking care of your body in all of the right ways. I travel a ton and do many appearance where it's essential that I look and feel my best! Also, when you are around 38 4-year-olds all day you get exposed to some pretty nasty stuff. It's a daily event to have a kid sneezing right in my face. Soo... what do I take to combat these germs and make sure I'm in tip-top shape & health??

am (after breakfast):
1/2 Women's One a Day Multivitamin
1 Flax Seed Oil
1 Cold Pressed Alaskan Salmon Oil
1 Herbalife Floralfiber

1 B-12
1 Folic Acid
1 Vitamin D
1 Floarlfiber
1 Trader Joe's Garlic Pill
1 Vitamin-C

pm (after dinner):
1/2 Women's One a Day Multivitamin
1 Flax Seed Oil
1 Cold Pressed Alaskan Salmon Oil
1 Herbalife Floralfiber
1 Zyrtec 

tambourines and skinny jeans,


Book & Song & Body

"Be brave and be patient. Have faith in yourself; trust in the significance of your life and the purpose of your passion. You are strong enough to sit in the space between spaces and allow divine inspiration to shed some light. When you put positive energy and productive effort into the world it will come back to you. Occasionally in ways you might not immediately understand and on a time frame you didn’t expect. Look. Listen. Learn. Stay open. Your destiny is awaiting you."
Jillian Michaels (Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life)

Book: Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life by Jillian Michaels because let's face it, we all deserve an exceptional life. I downloaded the audio version of this book for my excursion to Las Cruces/El Paso last weekend and while only a handful of the the concepts were "revolutionary" to me I appreciated the reminders of a lot of the concepts I already knew. I also appreciated the audio version because Jillian actually narrates it and I love the way she delivers with such conviction and honesty. Her appropriate tone and passion is very powerful and the curse words from time to time make me blush. Her pathways & beliefs are very much aligned to mine. I really enjoyed this book and think a lot of people can benefit in countless ways from her wisdom and motivation.

Song: Be Alright by Black Market Research. My goodness... first and foremost the talent of the vocalist is undeniable. Additionally the lyrics are beautifully crafted and attached to a deliciously pleasing tune. The entire EP is on iTunes for only $4.95, I highly recommend purchasing the entire album. Good stuff right here.

Body: Rsession Tools Nalu Waver Iron. Although it appears to be a torture device it's actually my secret beauty weapon. This iron can create a wide variety of curls & looks. You can "figure 8" your hair through the two rods or wrap hair around each rod individually. I know it looks complicated but it's super easy. It takes me about 7 minutes to do my hair with this baby. GASP! I know, it's a tad expensive. I actually bought it for myself as my reward for completing my first year of teaching last year. I bet if you nixed your morning Starbucks run for 2 months you'd surely have enough to purchase it. It's magical. Swear.

mud pies & long goodbyes,

Oh, and I [heart] your votes & endless support, please, please, please keep it all comin'!!  


happy monday [ i & i ]


love list

Write a list of 10 things you LOVE about yourself. Try to do this daily if you can, or make a "Top 10" list that you can look back on when you are bummed out, exhausted, or even when you are pumped & excited. It never hurts to remind yourself why you are awesome & worthy of greatness & a fabulous life....because you are.

My list for today:
1.) I love my creativity and visualization skills.
2.) I love my brown eyes.
3.) I love my innate desire to help others, inspire, & lead change.
4.) I love the way I appreciate simplicity and playfulness.
5.) I love my intelligence & ability to interest others.
6.) I love my never-ending crave for learning.
7.) I love my olive-toned skin.
8.) I love my whimsical and unique handwriting.
9.) I love my ability to laugh at myself.
10.) I love my taste in music.

I got this idea from a Jillian Michaels book that I will share with you in my next "Book & Song & Body!"

stickers & madness,
PS: Seriously ya'll are the best and the support is truly incredible. I am so blessed to have the genuine support of so many strangers. Please keep it up, it's helping more than I can even begin to articulate. And feel free to spend a minute or two voting for me to be the next Miss USA (here, right here, you can vote here 10 times per day!)!!! I would be honored & humbled to represent all of you and this gem of a country and spread some glitter & love around the world. Oooooo. Oh, and what a treat it would be if you could email the link to a friend or two, "like" it on the Miss USA website or Tweet about it sometime. ;)


slight setback

Rena Gruau

The Universe works in a mysterious & unpredictable fashion.

Yesterday I set off on a 5.5-hour excursion to El Paso, TX to finally see & try on my dress for Miss USA! I have been dreaming about this dress for months now. Having nothing more than a sketch, fabric swatch, and hand-crafted paper doll of myself in the dress (I'm a visualization freak about this stuff), I have been counting down the seconds until I was holding the fabric in my hands and pulling the zipper up my back. I dreamed about how I would prance around the dressing room in a visual daze of me proudly showcasing this work of art at Miss USA...

Upon my arrival to Ella Blu I was giddy with anticipation. The boutique owner, Sophia, set me up in the fitting room and then a few minutes later stepped in with the garment bag. Gasp! The dress was even more stunning than I would have imagined. I immediately began shedding layers of clothes, stuck each leg into the dress and with the help of Sophia began to pull it up over the rest of my body.


Big problems. I was going to need a new dress. I leave for Las Vegas in less than 2 weeks. It took 6 weeks for the dress to come in. Did you do the math? 

I took about 5 minutes to host a mini panic attack. Sophia articulated that she had a lot of faith in our abilities to fix the problem and that she was confident it could be resolved. Knowing that there was no way to contact the designer before Monday I accepted the reality. 

On the 40-minute drive back to Las Cruces from El Paso (empty handed with no dress) I began to reflect. I started to think about the situation and the dress. What is a dress? It's fabric. Just fabric. When did fabric play a significant role in a woman's ability to be Miss USA? When has a judged selected a woman to be Miss USA because of fabric? The answers are: never. Never. Never does "fabric" play any sort of role in Miss USA. Miss USA is not about fabric, Miss USA is about a woman who can inspire, lead, educate, connect and serve others. Miss USA does nothing with "fabric." Yes, of course she needs to wear fabric on a daily basis, but it doesn't act for her, it doesn't think for her, and it certainly doesn't speak for her. 

I then reminded myself of the philosophy I share with women whenever they seek pageant preparation guidance from me. I always say, "don’t stress about the dress." It's so true. It's not about the dress. I will show up with a dress, there is no way that I couldn't. There is nothing I can do to change what happened; I can only change what will happen and how I handle it.

I then began to think about what positive things this might bring about. Perhaps this is good luck. A challenge of my abilities. A new story to share with others. An opportunity to learn. A reason to look back and laugh. Perhaps that dress wasn't "the one" for me. Maybe this was a reminder from the Universe to bring me back to the ground level and keep my focus on what truly matters in this journey. Whatever the reasons may be, I know this was not an act of error but an act of fate. 

I wanted to share this on my blog because as most women may have let this shift their focus and add a new level of stress to their preparations it does not have to be that way and should not be that way. As women we can tend to get wrapped up in the things that society has convinced us "matter." What matters goes beyond society's definition, what matters is who a person is inside. Who in history has ever been remembered for their clothing (besides the nude emperor from the fairytale, in which case he was remembered for the absence of clothing.... and also, this is a fairytale so it actually doesn't count)? Every experience & situation happens for a reason and is an opportunity for us as individuals to learn, grow, think creatively, and gain broader & deepened perspectives.

Don't worry about me; I can assure you I will not be on that stage in the nude. Please continue to show your support. The emails, comments, and positive energy are certainly motivating and inspiring me to keep going. Oh, and the votes (VOTE HERE!!!) certainly help as well.

I'll end with my favorite quote which is incredibly fitting for this situation: 
Ain't that the truth? We all are.

sprinkles & twinkles,


Happy Brittany as Miss USA?

I think by now most of you who stop by Happy Brittany from time-to-time have gained a pretty accurate perspective of who I am. I have been so honored with the opportunity to share my mission, personality, and lifestyle with such a diverse and fabulous audience on this blog. My hope is to continue to expand my audience and reach out to as many people as I possibly can. I love, more than anything, to simply make someone else happy. My life is so tiny, so small, and yet such a huge blessing. This life is my one-and-only, I will never get another. I have to use this life, my only life, for something bigger than it really is. This life is not for me to keep to myself, it's for me to share and spread. There is a purpose to this, and everyday I discover small fragments of the grand canvas that I will one day reflect back on with a happy heart.

If you don't already know I am a pre-kindergarten teacher (no, I don't just work at a pre-school, I have an actual teaching job at a public school) with a marketing degree. For the past two years, thanks to Teach For America, I have been a part of a movement... a movement centered around change in the places that need it most. I strive relentlessly on a daily basis to close the achievement gap because I genuinely believe that one person can make a difference and that this issue will not go away. Every child in this country deserves an incredible education. Every child deserves to know their value and worth and hear how incredible they are daily (believe it or not this is not the case for many children). Every child needs to be challenged and inspired to advocate for an incredible life, the same way I was. Every child is capable of a life full of love, joy, happiness and opportunity. This is what motivates me in everything that I do... my desire to teach and lead, my desire to write & illustrate children's books, my desire to educate all people I encounter on important & relevant issues, my desire to blog, my desire to be myself, and my desire to hold the title of Miss USA.

If you also don't already know I am very quirky. I sing songs while I drive, paint anything I want, eat too many sweets, worship glitter, endeavor to gain knowledge, adore people & cats, dance whenever I feel like it, and talk way too much. I have flaws that I embrace and strengths that I refine....okay, enough... I know you already know plenty about me and if you don't it's all written here & exposed in this telling blog.

If you are inspired by my mission then you are just the person I am looking for. For the first time in history online voters can have a say in who will be the next Miss USA (goosebumps!!). It's very (very!!) easy to do and takes a small smidgen of your time. All you have to do is click the link below and proudly proclaim your confidence in me as the next Miss USA with your cursor. You can do it 10 times a day per email address (30 times if you use your personal, professional, and grandma's email addresses *wink*wink*).
I need your help. I need you to help me spread the word & just like closing the achievement gap it takes a movement. Will you join my movement?

Fabulous. I'll stop talking (told you I talk too much) and let you vote & spread the good news now:

Oh, and here are some ways you can help spread the word & show your support and love for lil' ole me:
1.) Feel free to set your homepage and vote 10 times every morning while you chow down on a bowl of Captain Crunch.
2.) Email the link or this blog to those fabulous gem friends & families of yours!
3.) Write the link on your forehead with a bright turquoise Sharpie pen.
4.) Kidnap your neighbors poodle and hold it for a 10 vote ransom.
5.) Social network like non-other (and tag me in your post so I can showcase my gratitude for you!)
6.) Text, remind, harass (kindly) and bug as many peeps as you can, every little vote counts.
7.) Would you be so kind as to post the link on your blog?? ;)
8.) Send me any other clever ideas that I can share!

The voting will continue until June 19th (the TELECAST!) & each person has the minimum potential of voting 380 times. Wow. 

float my boat & simply VOTE!


happy monday [ i & i ]

Which reminds me of something Johnny Depp said that I never forgot: 
"I was always fascinated by people who are considered completely normal, because I find them the weirdest of all."
I think this means it's ok if you like to prefer to drink your chocolate milk like soup and slurp it with a spoon (me!), it's ok if you were formerly known as "bucked-tooth beaver" for having an undeniable overbite and two front teeth that crossed over (me!), it's ok if you enjoy the smell of gasoline, but not in a concerning way (me!), and it's ok if you replay a song before it's over endless amounts of time until you actually become sick of the song and then skip it every time it comes up on your iPod (me!). Embrace it and showcase it. I love surprising people. Tell me, what makes you "you?"

be a morning goddess
 Mornings are critical to your magical day.

First check this out....I found this amazing resource full of ideas: How To Be A Morning Goddess. I highly recommend you download it (when it's free & marvelous how can you not?). It's full of wonderful examples & insights from amazing women.

Next, begin to craft your own magical agenda! Mine is ever-evolving but I certainly do have some rituals:

5:17am- 1st alarm goes off. I actually cannot set my alarm for a perfect time, I prefer to set it at a random time. How odd, I know.
5:17am-5:35am- Lay in bed. Ponder. Express gratitude. Visualize desires. Pretend it's my birthday. Write in gratitude journal, ect...
5:35am- Hop out of bed, slip on my sneakers (which is sweeter when I remember to untie them the night before), download the latest edition of The Daily on my iPad & shuffle off to the gym in a slight daze. 
5:45am-6:15am- Spend 25 minutes doing some form of cardio exercise while reading my daily affirmations from 28 Days to a More Magnetic Life and The Daily (e-newspaper) cover-to-cover.
6:15-6:35am- Come home & chow down! 1/2 cup of oatmeal with cinnamon, 3 egg whites, a shot of milk & two glasses of loudly sipped green tea along with my morning supply of vitamins while playing the Today Show on my iPad.
6:35-6:50am- Gather and prepare lunch & check social networks (which usually produces a large smile on my face).
6:50-7:15am- Get ready for work, listen to NPR, & read The Secret Daily Devotion of the day.
7:15am- Zooooom, off to work (while listening to a Wayne Dyer audio program or Taylor Swift) to spend my day with the most incredibly pre-kindergarteners on the planet.

Ah, so many positive thoughts consuming my morning how could my day not be incredible?

Tell me about your mornings Sunshine

peach trees & honey bees,


oh yooo hoooo....

Hey, you there!!

"You are a unique & magnificent human being. Of all the billions of people on the planet, there is not another You, and your very existence is vital to the functioning of our Universe. All that you see, and all that there is, could not exist without you!"
-Secret Daily Teachings, Rhonda Byrne (Thank you Miss KC!)

I just could not keep this to myself.

gumballs, gazebos & giggles,


Ms. Toll is Tall

I have endless stacks of homework to attend, laundry to stick in the dryer (perhaps I'll have a clean pair of socks for one of my gym routines?!), packing to do for Miss USA, thank you cards to pour my gratitude into & the list goes on and on.... But yet, I just had to pause for a second and blog. It's becoming rather addictive.

Ok, so lemme make it quick. I just wanted to illustrate what happens when a pre-k teacher, who stands at 5'10 barefoot, wears high heels to the elementary school she works at...

First let me tell you why I don't usually wear high heels to work:
1.)  I actually like my heels & I don't like boogers... usually whatever I wear to work ends up with some sort of mystery goo attached to it by the end of the day & I just couldn't bare the sight of something like that one of of my gems. Ew.
2.) Why don't you try chasing a group of rowdy 4-year-olds around during recess through the graveled playground and get back to me about how that works out for you.
3.) I am 5'10 & my students are 3'3, add heels and I become Godzilla to them crashing through their block cities on a mission to gobble up their helpless counting bears. Not the best way to make a kid like school.
4.) Do you know how many times a day a teacher steps on her 4-year-olds hands? Add a spiky pair of heels to the mix and you have one big problem on YOUR hands Ms. Toll.
5.) Contrary to most people's understanding of New Mexico, Gallup is rather chilly. It's not the hardest decision of my life to choose Uggs over stilettos when the thermometer reads "2."

Now here are 5 reasons why I will be wearing high heels to school every day until the last day of the school year:
1.) I'm prepping my feet for my adventures in Las Vegas (and beyond **fingers crossed**) as I anticipate 15 hour days in my peep-toe pals.
2.) I'm gaining confidence and grace.... nothing is more graceful than a woman who can weave in and out of her tiny students sitting "criss-cross applesauce" on the carpet without harming a single little paw.
3.) I'm taking the beating of blisters now rather than later.
4.) Duh! Every woman knows she has to break in her new shoes, and with 10 new pairs alone for my adventures in Vegas I have quite an agenda.
5.) They make me feel great, correct my posture, and I just love wearing them. End.of.story.

So, day one of this new experiment was today, and it was awesomely fantastic! All of the students at the school commented on my newly acquired "height." One 5th grader asked me "Ms. Toll, why do ladies wear those shoes??" I also think I gained some respect from several staff members as they stopped me in the hallway with comments like "How are you still standing?" & "Your feet must be killing you!" I also confirmed that I do have decent taste in shoes as I was complimented for them all day long as well (thanks for the love Ms. Zander!). Overall, it was a success on so many levels.... and nope, my feel were not killing me, they were just fine & I'm certain these blisters will heal before my departure to Las Vegas.

Oo the 4-year-olds would surely get a kick out of these (get it??! "kick"... shoes?? Bwahaha!!)...

Just remember, life's too short to wear boring nail polish!


happy monday [ i & i ]


I'm going to share with you a brilliant little secret that I have recently been enlightened by... You have willpower.
(say that to yourself, write it on a sticky note)
willpower: control deliberately exerted to do something or to restrain one's own impulses : a stupendous effort of will.

100 Ways to Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever is one of the most constructive books on my Kindle right now. I read a few pages every day or so. I have to say, this book has certainly been instrumental in building my mindset and positive motivation for Miss USA. One of the most recent lessons that has stimulated my motivation was about willpower. I loved it so much I wanted to share some of the ideas. (PS- If you clicked the link and saw the price of the book for the Kindle your eyes were not tricking you, it's true!)

This lesson talks about will power and strength through resisting temptation. The author reflects on Emerson, who believes that when we say "no" to a temptation the power of that dead temptation passes into us & strengthens our will. The lesson goes further and brings up William James and his recommendation that we do at least two things every day that we don't want to do. By doing these things simply because we do not want to we sustain our own willpower and thus maintain awareness of our own will. 

Here is where I get to play with a double negative. "I don't want to not eat that brownie" ah, but since that is something I don't want to not do then I'm going to not do it in order to gain willpower. Confused? Just trust me. How about "I don't want to get out of bed right now and go to they gym, it's 5:30am and I'm warm & cozy and still a tad sleepy."  Or perhaps when you find yourself in a situation where someone has been unkind to you. You may not want to blow off the negative comments but if you do, you not only gain will power but also piece of mind & less negative energy in your life.

Do it. Gain power. Give yourself a high-five. Feel awesome.

 Cheers to a marvelous & powerful week-