Honorary Model for Shop. Sell. Strut! Season 2

On June 9, 2018, I was given the thrill of being the Honorary Model for Shop. Sell. Strut! Season 2, held at Pure Event Space in South Amboy, NJ. Shop. Sell. Strut! is the fundraising event created by founders Alyssa Lego and Amanda Witkowski to raise money and awareness for autism-related causes. This year’s event raised money for the Morgan, Marie, Michael Foundation, and their iCan iPad Learning Experience Gift Program.

Shop. Sell. Strut! features fashion shows as part of an afternoon of fun, vendors, a silent auction, and entertainment. I had the pleasure of walking in three of the runway shows, as well as participating in the opening number and closing presentation. I was also thrilled and surprised to receive my very own pageant crown by Alyssa and Amanda as a thank you for all of my work on behalf of Shop. Sell. Strut! Perhaps my most important role for the evening was a speech that I gave talking about the important mission that drew everyone together. You can read the text of the speech on this post I published on LinkedIn.

Before I show off the great photos from this amazing afternoon, I want to take a moment to thank Alyssa and Amanda, as well as Dawn Lego, Maria Witkowski, the members of the event committee, and the volunteers, for giving me this wonderful honor and coming together to raise money for this important cause.

My opening look, that I wore when welcoming guests to the venue, was from Bebe. Bebe loved the look so much that they made me one of their #bebebabe Women of the Week for June 15, 2018 on Instagram.

The lovely Amanda Witkowski and I are comparing fascinators before the show begins. Amanda is a world-class figure skater, who is going to be a pediatrician, in addition to her modeling and fashion merchandising. A truly multi-faceted and talented young woman.

There aren’t enough words to describe my feelings for the brilliant and beautiful Alyssa Lego. She has founded several charities, a fashion line, and a fundraising organization. Plus, she is an inspirational speaker, pageant queen, tap dancer, as well as a writer. She’s also getting ready to debut her own radio show. She inspires the heck out of me and it’s always so much fun when we get together.

Me and Dawn Lego, who did so much behind the scenes to make things happen. Thank you so much, Dawn, for letting me part of this experience.

My next look for the evening was this custom couture gown from one of my favorite designers, John Leon. This stunning pink outfit was designed specifically for Shop. Sell. Strut! and I loved the chance to represent a good friend and fabulous designer on stage.

My view from the stage a few moments before the opening number kicked off.

Front and center giving my speech about the mission of Shop. Sell. Strut!

One of my runway looks, from Mona’s Boutique & Tailoring. I loved working with Mona and her boutique is a perfect stop for weddings, proms and other formal attire.

I especially enjoyed strutting the runway in this outfit from Brand A. It’s called the Myra, and it’s named after me! Brand A is the fashion line created by Alyssa and Amanda and this runway show was the line’s debut.

The fashion was international! This was my first time wearing a traditional Indian saree. This beautiful and elegant outfit is golden, with the Shop. Sell. Strut! colors of fuchsia and mango. The jewelry was amazing and I felt so beautiful and special wearing it. This was one of the highlights of the show.

My own pageant crown! I was so surprised and happy to receive this special gift from wonderful people.

My final look is a second stunning custom couture gown from John Leon. The pageant crown is the perfect accessory, don’t you think?

With designer and blogger Ava Holly Lewis-Korth.

Me and media personality Shefik, who was the co-host of the afternoon.

When I wore my Brand A look on the runway, it included an amazing piece of jewelry from Kellene Kulas.

Kicking Off Shop. Sell. Strut! Season 2 at Breaking Grounds Coffee and Cafe

This past weekend, I attended the first committee meeting for Shop. Sell. Strut! Season 2, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 9. It was a wonderful afternoon, and the event is on its way to being a tremendous success.

Shop. Sell. Strut! is the fundraising arm for the Morgan Marie Michael Foundation (Tax ID: 82-1496694), a 501(c)3 supporting individuals on the autism spectrum with programming, appliances, and resources for enhanced living and development. The event in June is their primary annual fundraiser, featuring a fashion forward runway show. One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit the Morgan Marie Michael Foundation.

I’ve been honored to be asked to serve as the Honorary Model for Season 2, as well as an honorary member of the event committee. Seeing what is being put together, and all the energy and effort everyone is dedicating to the cause, has been so inspirational.

The meeting was held at Breaking Grounds Coffee & Cafe in Mt. Holly, NJ. It is the perfect space, and truly symbolic, due to its mission to provide inclusion, diversity and opportunity for adults with developmental disabilities. They took such amazing care of us, and the space is so comfortable. The entire town is quaint and beautiful, so be sure to stop in if you’re in the area. If you happen to have children or family members with autism, it’s the perfect spot for them to enjoy. Oh, and the bagels and pastries are delicious! www.breakgroundscoffee.com

Over the next few months, I’m going to share a lot about Shop. Sell. Strut! and these amazing women putting the event together. Part of Saturday’s meeting was a photo shoot, to give our team promotional shots to use. What a fun opportunity to get everyone together, dressed up and modeling for the camera. All of these photos were taken by Naomi Rivera at Looking Glass Photography. Thank you, Naomi!

If you’d like to support Shop. Sell. Strut!, tickets for the June 9th event are now on sale at one.bidpal.net/shopsellstrut/ticketing. We’re working on a great selection of items for the silent auction, and there will be other opportunities to donate and support. You can even support the Morgan Marie Foundation on Amazon Smile. Get in touch if you’d like to be involved or if you have questions.

We started off by going on Facebook Live to give away this autism-inspired bracelet to one of our Facebook followers. This was done in celebration of our 500th Facebook follower. Congratulations Marco Panting for being the winner!

Here are Shop. Sell. Strut! and Morgan Marie Michael Foundation co-founders Amanda Witkowski and Alyssa Lego.

Our Event Committee Members Brooke Niemiec, Cameren Berry, and Laura Singer. It was great meeting all of you, and going on this journey together!

Think I was having fun?

# I Strut For Autism, Do You?

Committee member Brooke Niemiec.

Committee member Laura Singer.

Co-founder Alyssa Lego.

Co-founder Amanda Witkowski.

Committee member Cameren Berry.

I had to show off my pink custom couture dress from the amazing designer John Leon (www.johnjnlleon.com). Thank you so much, John, for your amazing creation, and for staying up until one in the morning to have it ready for me, at the last minute! We’re hoping to include this one-of-a-kind piece on the runway in June. I’m going to do a whole blog on it soon. I love it!

Most importantly, we’re a family coming together to support an important cause that affects millions of families. We want to raise awareness of the needs that exist, as well as money to support the cause and make positive things happen. Everyone who is involved is committed to positive change, and we all hope our contributions will make a huge difference.

L’il Girls Strut For Autism at the Shop. Sell. Strut! Tea Party October 22

Do you have a little princess at home? Would she like to have tea with Cinderella, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Anna, Elsa, Ariel, and Moana? Would she like to become more confident, and learn how to handle herself on the runway, or while doing an interview? She can do all of this in a friendly, fun atmosphere while raising money for an important cause at the Shop. Sell. Strut! Tea Party this Sunday, October 22, in Manasquan, NJ.

You may recall last April I attended the Shop. Sell. Strut! Fashion Marketplace and Runway Show Benefiting Autism New Jersey. That was a memorable event where a wonderful crowd at the Lake Terrace in Lakewood shopped, watched several fashion shows, participated in silent auctions, and had an overall good time, all to benefit Autism New Jersey.

Shop. Sell. Strut! was founded by two amazing young women, Alyssa Lego and Amanda Witkowski. They are very socially-conscious people who have been using their time and talents to raise awareness and money. Their event in April was a tremendous success. I had so much fun being involved!

After their success with Shop. Sell. Strut! Season One, Alyssa and Amanda have turned their attention to a new cause, The Morgan Marie Michael Foundation.

“Our mission is to create awareness and encourage respect for children with special needs,” Alyssa told me. “We have developed programs such as the iCan iPad Gifting program and PURPOSE – Life after 21. Our Shop. Sell. Strut! event series serve as fundraisers to support the foundation and its clients.”

“A simple iPad can make the difference for an individual on the autism spectrum,” adds Amanda.

Sunday, October 22

Their next event, which will take place at the beautiful Atlantic Club in Manasquan, NJ, will be the Shop. Sell. Strut! Tea Party, on Sunday, October 22. Little girls ages 4-12 who attend will take part in a high tea with seven Disney-inspired princesses. They can get all dressed up in formal attire, and they’ll be involved with photo shoots, a personal animation video, as well as runway and interview coaching, plus a dance party. Guests will also be included in the Shop. Sell. Strut! 2018 calendar.

Tickets to this fun event are available now, and each ticket for your little one includes admission for a parent or guest. Tickets for additional guests are also available.

I’m so honored to have been invited to be a social media ambassador for the afternoon, so I’ll be there! Who doesn’t want to meet princesses? I hope the Morgan Marie Michael Foundation will raise a lot of money. I’ll be following their programs and continue to support!

Get more information at the Facebook event here.

L'il Girls Strut For Autism at the Shop. Sell. Strut! Tea Party October 22

L'il Girls Strut For Autism at the Shop. Sell. Strut! Tea Party October 22