Most of us are familiar with the Miss America pageant, which has been crowning winners from all over the country since 1921. There is another pageant you may not be as familiar with, but is no less important in its concept. The Miss Plus America pageant is dedicated to celebrating the inner beauty of women, along with their commitment to the communities in which they live, and the 2011 Miss Plus America Elite winner lives here in Austin.
Spruce Dickerson competed with women from all over the United States last month to capture the Miss Plus America Elite crown, which is the highest honor in the Miss Plus America pageant system.
I first met Spruce several months ago, when we were paired as co-emcees for the Statewide Independent Living Council Convention. Her positive, energetic personality and passion for advocating for the voice of plus-sized women is both refreshing and unmistakable.
"All women are worthy, and all women have a voice," she told me as we talked in my office recently. "It doesn't matter what our size is. All women are beautiful." Her mantra: "love who you are, where you are."
All contestants are required to choose a platform, and Spruce chose volunteerism, because, as she put it, "I already do that. It's not a hat that I put on and take off. My life is volunteerism."
Spruce is excited about her opportunity to represent the Miss Plus America Elite crown, which is not affiliated with the Miss America contest. She will have numerous opportunities throughout the year to promote her volunteerism platform, and her theme, "give... so that others can live." In December, she will travel to Nigeria to speak and emcee at the Miss Plus Nigeria pageant. While there, she will visit orphanages and schools, where she'll be passing out school supplies. She is also currently working on a campaign called Flip Flop To Nigeria, to collect flip flops to hand out to people during her visit.
For more information about Spruce, or to line her up for a guest appearance, email Melissa Stamper at:
You may also visit Spruce's website at:
William and Kate are about to hire a housekeeper-dresser for their new London home. To find out more on that, and other goings-on with the Royal Couple, click the article below:
Which prince had the most charming uniform at the Royal Wedding? Prince William sporting his Colonel of the Irish Guard uniform, or his best man, brother Prince Harry, in his Captain of the Household Cavalry uniform?
Find out more about the princes' military garb at:
and let me know your thoughts.
Reality TV shows are quite the rage these days. Even our City of Austin is getting into the game, and it's all for a good cause.
The city has launched a program called Dare to Go Zero. Four local families have accepted a five-week challenge to reduce the amount of trash they generate, and will document their progress on camera. Each family is competing for a chance to win a sustainable home improvement package worth over $2000!
Dare to Go Zero airs Friday nights, 7 Pm, on Austin's local Government Access Channel 6, as well as on YouTube.
For more information about the Dare to Go Zero project, visit
It's been said there's an app for everything, and I'm beginning to believe it.
I downloaded an app recently called the LookTel Money Reader. It takes a picture of a dollar bill using the phone's camera, recognizes the bill's denomination utilizing Optical Character Recognition (OCR) , and says it aloud.
Being visually impaired, this has vastly improved my ability to count and sort money independently. The app cost $1.99, and it's been money well spent.
For now, LookTel only recognizes U.S. currency, and it doesn't detect counterfeit bills, but they are working on updates to make that happen.
Check out my video of a review an demonstration of the LookTel Money Reader, and visit
for more information.
If you're a fan of Taylor Swift, you'll be excited to know the lovely singer/songwriter is coming back to Austin--again!
Swift, who was here last year, is bringing her Speak Now World Tour 2011 to the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday, October 26. Tickets willgo on sale Friday, April 29, 10 Am, at the usual Texas Box Office outlets. You can also charge by phone at (512) 477-6060, or online at:
Prices are: $25, $59.50, and $69.50.
Check out this cool video of an appearance she made on "Late Night With David Letterman" late last year, playing a song from her current album "Speak Now".
I've started a new feature on my afternoon show that allows you to decide what song i should play at 5 Pm!
Each afternoon at 3:30, I will tell you what key word to text in to the number 32961. You'll be presented with a list of songs to vote for, andthe one with the most votes will be played at 5 Pm.
That's it; nothing to it, and you get to choose the music! I'll be waiting for your vote.