My reign as Miss Nevada Popular Posts

Two Years of Blogging, a Pageant, and an Unexpected Accolade

There I was… sprawled on the hotel room floor with my legs propped up against the air conditioning unit. I was waiting for my tan to dry.

Glamorous life I lead, I tell you.

I yawned and looked at the clock. I felt like I was missing something about this day but I couldn’t place it. I’d already spent the day on Capitol Hill with my fellow sister queens marching in a Fourth of July Parade. What else was I supposed to remember?

Brad Lovell Photography

Photo by Brad Lovell

Heels sat neatly stacked in the corner, curling irons and powder brushes covered the desk. My sash hung from the closet door, waiting for me to grab it the next time I left the room.

This was an adventure of a different color for sure. Certainly a far cry from the dirty feet, unshaved legs, and sunburnt days in Fiji.

Hilary & Beqa Children

I drummed my neatly manicured nails against the carpet.

Had it really been a year since I’d left for the Southern Hemisphere? Was I a different person now than I was then? Had I grown for the better? Was I any less of an adventurer because I’d indulged in something super girly and entered a pageant?

Nationals Finals Night

Photo by Laura Clark

I thought back to my day exploring The Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. Normally when I travel places people push me out of the way to get a better vantage point for their photo. This time I was being asked to be in the photos. I didn’t mind it; it was fun. But it was definitely a different kind of rush than I was used to.

I’d wondered what Honest Abe thought of permanently being set on display for the world to photograph. Did he mind it?

Hilary at Lincoln Memorial

Suddenly it dawned on me what I’d been missing… Why this day seemed more important than others. It was as plain as the tanner on my legs.

I had now been a blogger for two years.

Oh yes. That.

This didn’t bring excitement so much as fear. Panic, really.

I was already TWO YEARS into this? That’s a serious relationship. Like a we-better-start-considering-marriage-or-break-it-off kind of relationship.

I’d been a hardcore traveler when I started my blog. Now I was doing things like disco-ninjaing and getting small roles in Russian movies and competing in crazy contests. Was that acceptable?

Hilary with Extra

The thing about blogging is that while it’s AWESOME that you get to do everything YOUR way, it’s also hard to tell if it’s the right way. Would it lead me down the road I wanted to go? Was I writing the right things? Was my content engaging? Were my readers excited or upset that I was changing along with the times?

Logically, it followed that the more time I spent in this alternative lifestyle, the more I would have it figured out. But clearly competing in a national beauty pageant hadn’t been a part of the plan.

In fact, it seemed as if more time went on, I had fewer answers and even less of a ‘life plan’.

Hilary Unsure

How many more years were people going to let me gallavant around before they started asking questions? Like when discussing how long someone should live at home with their parents, how long could Hilary get away with not having a real job or a steady income? Where was that line between ‘cool’ and ‘crazy’? Did anyone really know?

Suddenly I was very nervous.

So like anyone looking for a distraction from their life problems, I got on Facebook.

I started working my way through my feed– hoping for some cat photo or meme to mock– when I noticed a bunch of ‘congratulations’ messages.

I didn’t understand. Until I found a post regarding The Las Vegas Weekly‘s 2013 Awards.

LV Weekly Awards

I scrolled through the post, looking for a reason why I’d been tagged. I found it. Then I gasped.

“No way,” I said to no-one.

I re-read the post. Then came a scream.

The scream turned into a laugh. There was a lot of jumping and squealing. I ran laps around the room, calling friends on my phone as fast as possible.

Naturally, no-one answered. So I sat on the edge of my bed, winded from my victory gallop, reeling.

Best Blogger

A prestigious arts and entertainment magazine in Las Vegas had chosen ME as their number one blogger in Las Vegas? Meaning a collective group of writers and critics had gotten together and voted to recognize my work?

It was there in writing. Right below Penn Jillette’s Reader’s Choice Award. I was listed just inches below one of the top comedians in the city.

And suddenly it seemed silly for me to be so concerned over my future.

While I may not have it all figured out, this year alone I’d been an assistant to Miss Piggy, ridden clydesdales through the Mandalay Bay parking lot, and even been named a beauty queen.

Hilary-Miss-Piggy-edit

And while it was crazy, my life– in whatever wacky state it’s in– may just be exactly what people love hearing about. And maybe, just maybe, I should take a giant chill pill and enjoy the ride.

After all, this Fourth of July I walked in a parade on Capitol Hill. This time last year I was getting treated for the burns I’d received from a malfunctioning firework. If you’d asked me then what I’d be doing this year, I would’ve bet I’d be hiding out in a country where fireworks didn’t exist.

I certainly wouldn’t have believed I’d be competing for a national title in Washington, D.C. in a swimsuit.

Miss US Swim

And suddenly, I couldn’t wait to find out where I’ll be next year.

Thank you, Las Vegas Weekly, for this prestigious honor. I am so humbled and grateful. And thank you to all of my readers for putting up with my spastic qualities and joining me on my incredibly exciting (but very bipolar) life journey. This wouldn’t be possible without you. =)

So, now that THAT’S happened… What should we do next week? =)

Sitting on suitcase web

24 Comments

  • Reply

    Andrea

    July 13, 2013

    I’m still amazed at how you fit so much in! Congratulations on 2 years, on your award, your crown (what girlie isn’t jealous of that!) and your future… :)

    • Reply

      Hilary

      July 13, 2013

      Thank you, Andrea! It seems that fitting it all in has come with a significant decrease in sleep. Must up that caffeine intake ;)

      And here’s to the future! What are you excited about in the upcoming months?

  • Reply

    Lynn Schriner

    July 13, 2013

    Reading this reminds me of what being young is about (if you are so fortunate) It’s about adventure and taking risks and chances and failing and winning (You RAWK) and as I told you once when we spoke on the phone, me in my garden weeding and you preparing to wing yourself over to Australia that most of us have sailed past young into well, maybe bewildered and content to stay where we have landed but we LOVE to LIVE through such an adventurer as you are! I admire and respect you and of course love you madly from afar! Congratulations on all that you are!!!

    • Reply

      Hilary

      July 15, 2013

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, Lynn! I still think fondly back to those chats we have and miss them. I think of you often and am so grateful for your support and encouragement.

      Is there a risk you wish you would’ve taken or an adventure you wish you would have gone on that you haven’t yet? Would love any recommendations or insight.

  • Reply

    Erica

    July 13, 2013

    Whatever your guts says, obviously ;)

    ps- going to Europe this fall. you should come. What? You’re busy being gorgeous and attending events for charities? Fiiine I’ll settle for you visiting Seattle.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      July 15, 2013

      Uhhhh- I would LOVE to join you in Europe! Where are you going? When do you leave? E-mail me some deets (yes, I just said deets) and let’s see what I can make happen! But if not, I would LOVE to visit you in Seattle. It just so happens to be one of my favorite places and one of my favorite people lives there so why shouldn’t I come visit her? ;)

  • Reply

    Rodney's Saga

    July 13, 2013

    Delivery matters as much or more than content. Bill Bryson can make a haircut interesting. Clearly you are on the write track,

    • Reply

      Hilary

      July 15, 2013

      Haha! It’s true. Thank you for the reminder. =)

  • Reply

    Indian Ad Divas

    July 14, 2013

    Simply proud of you! :)

    • Reply

      Hilary

      July 15, 2013

      Thank you so much. =) So thankful to have your support!

  • Reply

    Gene

    July 15, 2013

    Every adventure is different, and while some are not expected they all are the stepping stones to what you want your life to be or become. Your adventures are so diversified because you see how the world is linked through the people and our various cultures. You go around the world just to meet new and interesting people. You are an anthropologist of modern times. Enjoy the exploration and discovery.

    (And don’t worry about living at home. Your parents will let you know when it’s time to move out. ;) )

    • Reply

      Hilary

      July 19, 2013

      Oooh… anthropologist of modern times. I like that!

      Thank you for supporting and validating, Gene. =)

      And I’m sure they will! Haha ;)

  • Reply

    Hailey

    July 21, 2013

    Congratulations Hilary! Enjoy the ride and all the fun and exciting things you get to experience, because we love reading about it!

  • Reply

    Jade

    July 23, 2013

    Wow. Beauty in the unexpected! Beauty being the operative word!
    I think as graduates we put so much pressure on ourselves to one day slot into that typical niche of having a good, high-earning job and success and it is hard to come to terms with the fact that maybe that isn’t what is going to make us happy… There is always time for a new plan, a new direction, so I definitely believe in going with the flow when life is offering you something interesting!

    • Reply

      Hilary

      July 24, 2013

      Thanks so much for posting this, Jade! It’s certainly true. My friends are ALWAYS ragging on me for being so hard on myself. I mean, I’m twenty-four, but that’s ALMOST twenty-five. Quarter life crisis much? Yes, indeed, haha!

      Life may not go according to plan, but at least it’s always interesting! What’s been an unexpected and interesting venture you’ve been presented with recently?

  • Reply

    Diego

    April 6, 2015

    Hi Hilary. You are so pretty. I really like you. You are the best .

    • Reply

      Hilary

      April 7, 2015

      Thank you, Diego! I really appreciate your kind words!

      Wishing you happy adventures!

      • Reply

        Diegomejorada

        April 9, 2015

        Thank you Hilary, you are great, i like you as my favorite park ranger, when someone comes up to me and says diego you heard of this lady Hilary Billings? And I’ll be like yes she is my favorite lady lol but yeah. I would like to stay in touch with you if there is a way, but yeah, i mean we should try and chat between you and me in private messaging you know but yeah. I hope you have a nice week Hilary, Love u.

  • Reply

    Diego

    April 6, 2015

    Also you are were the best park ranger ever. And I think you are a very nice young lady, I have heard of you before, I have seen a couple of videos of you presenting to be the next park ranger. Right on. I would like to be your friend. I am your fan, you are great . I like you Hilary. My next door neighbor is a 75 year old woman has short hair and is grey color, and she used to have blonde hair like you do, and she is your fan too and she likes you also. You are the best Hilary.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      April 7, 2015

      Thank you, Diego! That means a lot! I appreciate you sharing with you neighbor. :)

      Best of luck with your endeavors! Hope you’ll keep reading!

  • Reply

    Diego

    April 9, 2015

    So sorry about that last message, I was feeling so sleepy the other night and actually like typing while I was falling asleep lol, but yeah I didn’t mean to give out everything about my neighbor but I really would like to do that, about the neighbor of old timer and all that, that’s not true and sorry about that for me giving it out, lol, but yeah it was my mistake lol. But other than that it’s all cool, so you’re from Las Vegas, I have family there. But Hilary I got to say that you are wonderful.

  • Reply

    Diego

    April 9, 2015

    Oh by the way everything in your history that you have qualified and won, and even a park ranger congratulations Hilary.

  • Reply

    Diego

    April 9, 2015

    And when I checked the message before I left you, I woke up the next day and said WHAT? No biggies at all, it’s fine, I am a funny guy. Lol

  • Reply

    Diego

    April 9, 2015

    But yeah Hilary get back to me when you can, and I’d be so happy to chat with you. I love you.

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About Me

About Me

Hey fellow adventurers, my name is Hilary! After being rejected from grad school, I took off on a solo journey around the world. Now I constantly challenge myself to take on new experiences. This blog documents my journeys from Europe to Fiji, swimming with sharks and living with tribes, to becoming an accidental beauty queen and working for one of the top national media outlets. If you like what you're reading, please subscribe! Here's to the next great adventure!

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