Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Little Things

Having my girls home for Spring break has been such a blessing...

I had forgotten how happy it makes my heart feel to hear the noise, the laughter, and even the arguments of having all 6 kids home.

I missed the girl talks with my two oldest, talking pageantry, fitness, and BOYS! I love cooking together, spending time in the kitchen talking around the table, as a family.

The little things!

We Americans, are so over stimulated, we don't make time to sit back and enjoy life.

I'm guilty of that myself. But having missed my girls so much, it forced me to savor every waking moment. And I realized, "Why don't I do this more often!?" Well, “cause I'm too busy, I don't make time for it”.....Yadda, yadda.

But the truth of the matter, it's worth it! We are only punishing ourselves.

Take the time to enjoy life, to cherish the little things, to slow down. In doing so, you'll not only feel happier, but you're also reducing stress...And you'll be healthier! Remember stress kills, but a grateful heart, brings life!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What Fitness Wear Is Not

Throughout my year of service, I have had numerous people question the Fitness Wear Competition of Miss International. Parents, contestants, outsiders… they all want to understand what this phase is really about.

As many of you all know, I battled a life-threatening eating disorder for three years. When I considered competing for Miss International, I put a lot of thought into what competing would look like. I wanted to make sure I was solid enough in my own recovery journey to safely speak out about my experience and prepare for Internationals in a healthy way. Leading up to the competition, I had many sessions with a licensed therapist to make sure that I was staying mentally strong while preparing for fitness. My health had to stay a priority, and I refused to take steps back in my recovery journey. When I walked on stage, I desired to show people that recovery is possible and share what God had done in my life.

Today, I want to clarify what Fitness Wear is not… because anyone can be Miss International - there is no mold.

1. It’s Not About Being The Thinnest

So many people think that only a certain size is healthy - that’s not true. Each person has a weight that is healthy for them. It’s not called “Thin Wear”… it’s called “Fitness Wear”. Whether you’re a beautiful size 0 or a stunning size 18… what matters is your health. Our organization works with the American Heart Association, and our crowned representatives showcase their heart healthy lifestyle through this competition.

2. It’s Not About Being The Strongest

I like to think I am the Incredible Hulk… but when I try to carry all my groceries in from the store at once… I realize I’m not. It’s a sad moment, but something I am working to overcome (hehehe). Many think that in order to win, you’ve got to live in the gym and look like a body-builder. This is also a myth. It’s more about being toned and healthy.

3. It’s Not About Just Smiling

Smiling is important, don’t get me wrong. I highly support smiling in Fitness Wear. But if you smile and then also look scare to death… that’s when the issue arises. I always tell contestants, you score well in fitness wear because of what you look like from the shoulders up. If your smile is genuine and confident, then everyone will be drawn to your charisma. They’ll see how proud of your body you are!

I hope this helps clarify Fitness Wear and I can’t wait to see everyone in Charleston, WV in August!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

A Pageant Binder?

Some of you have heard of a “pageant binder” or “pageant bible.” I have gotten a few questions recently on what in the world that is and what you should put in it. A pageant binder is where you keep an extra copy of all of your important information regarding you and the pageant. Here is an example of what all your pageant binder should/could include.
  1. Extra Headshot Copy
  2. Extra Platform Page 
  3. Extra Resume
  4. Extra Contract
  5. Your Handbook (or copies of it) 
  6. Copy of your Driver's License 
  7. Copy of your Birth Certificate 
  8. Copy of Rules and Regulations
  9. Copy of Ad Page 
  10. List of Typical Interview Questions
  11. Important Information or Notes on Current Events 
  12. Hotel Confirmation Information 
  13. Flight Itinerary/ Driving Plan
  14. Photo and Description of Wardrobe 
  15. Autograph Cards ( if you have them)
  16. List of Community Service 
  17. Copy of Paula Preston Order Form 
  18. Copy of Video Order Form
  19. Your Social Media Information 
  20. National Pageant and Current Queens Social Media Information 
  21. Copy of Coronation Ball Ticket Information 
  22. Copy of Fitness Order Form 
  23. Copy of Opening Number Order Form 
  24. Copy of Dunn and Dunn Hair and Makeup Information 
  25. Any Other Pageant Sponsor Information 
  26. Good Luck Notes from Family and Friends 
  27. Your Contact Information/ Emergency Contact Information (in case it is lost) 
  28. Any Other Tips or Information You May Need
I know it seems like a lot but trust me, having all of this information in one spot will help you greatly, especially during pageant week. Though it is fun, pageant week is also long and stressful! If you have extra copies and everything ready it will save you time and energy. Plus having notes of encouragement from family and friends really helps.

If you take the time to prepare before the pageant the better outcome and better experience you will have! So come prepared ladies! If you have any other question on what should be in your pageant binder, feel free to reach out to me.

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

-Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Monday, April 24, 2017

Until There Are No More Abandonments

Millions of babies are being abandoned on a global level and together, I believe we CAN stop abandonments.

THAT is my number one focus. To spread awareness internationally, to educate internationally, and to internationally prevent the abandonments of babies.

So what am I doing towards that? Well, many might not know this, but I am actually in charge of all International affairs.

That means every email, phone call, ANYTHING to do with baby boxes internationally goes through me.

That alone is a job in itself. I'm constantly working on box packages, emailing information back and forth...It's never ending.

After our recent meeting in Indiana with the board members, we decided we needed to have different options for different climate- countries.

So for the last four days I've been working on that, as well as packages to send out with all the specs and information.

Our main box (these are the ones being currently used in the US) have been tested in the US, and are designed to Safe Haven Baby Boxes specific qualifications.

These boxes are made up of 1/2" Polypro Copolymer. Black Matte sheet plastics. Its dimensions are 30 x 24 and it weighs a total of 70lbs.

They’re designed to be installed on to the exterior wall of either a fire station, police station, hospitals, or churches. The baby is placed in the box from the outside of the building, where the box is installed. The box also opens from inside the building, where the baby is then, rescued by EMS emergency personnel.

The boxes are equipped with a heating and cooling features, and are very well ventilated.

There are three different ways the boxes alarm emergency personnel.

When the door is opened, an ADT trips an alarm and alerts emergency personnel within 30 seconds. (Once the door has been opened, the door is made to close on its own, and it is then locked. This is a safety feature, to ensure the safety of the newborns)

There are also sensors inside the box, as a second safety precaution, this will also alarm emergency personnel if an infant is placed inside the safe box.

Lastly there is a button, that also alerts 911. The reason for this feature, is more psychological. It provides closure for the mother, and a sense of knowing that she is doing the right thing.

The child is then picked up by EMS within 3-5 minutes.

As you can see, we've thought of everything. And I can assure you, just as much thought, effort, and love, is going into these next three options. These will be available overseas and in other countries.

I may not be delivering the boxes just yet, trust me we’re almost there! But fortunately, I have a lifetime to work on this and I intend to use it.

Until there are no more abandonments!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-


Priscilla Pruitt

The Best Date You'll Ever Have

I genuinely love going on dates with my handsome man. I really enjoyed the idea of getting dressed up, putting on my best, and having a special date where we can just continue getting to know each other and how to serve each other better. He’s taken me to some really phenomenal places and I’m so thankful for the work he’s put in to plan all our special dates.

However… with all that being said…

I think the best date we can ever have is with ourself. The world is constantly on the go and moving around us… we don’t have control of it. When we get caught up in the rat race, it’s easy to become overwhelmed… stressed… and unlike ourselves. I’ve learned, overtime, the importance of taking myself on dates. I often call them “Jesus Dates” because it’s my time to go somewhere and just spend time with the my heart’s ultimate love.

Recently, I was in London and experienced one of my most developmental Jesus dates I’ve ever had. As some of you all know, I’ve battled anxiety for many years. It usually stays at bay but when I am going to a new country I’ve never been to and have to be by myself for a few hours… it sparks back up. I was so nervous about spending the day exploring London all by myself but when I reframed it to a “Jesus Date” or “Amanda Date”… everything shifted. I ended up walking 16 (yes sixteen, 1-6, 10+6) miles that day. I had my little list of places I wanted to visit, popped in the latest songs from the Passion Band, and walked my little self all across the city. I honestly loved every moment of it. Dates with yourself, where you get to know who you are (strengths, weaknesses, everything) on a deeper level are truly special and the best dates you can possible have. They enable you to love others better.

It was a huge day for me. Not only did I overcome the lies from the enemy and keep my anxiety at bay, but I had an entire day to spend with Jesus and my thoughts. There I was… walking in front of Buckingham Palace just bee-bopping along and praying in my head. I received a lot of clarity and comfort knowing that even though I was thousands of miles away from my sweet little Atlanta home… and all by myself… I was being held by my Creator.

“Amanda Dates” or “Jesus Dates” can happen in any city, but it just so happens that God needed me out of my element to really deeply listen to what He was wanting do to in my heart and through my life. As Miss International, I travel 2-3 weeks out of every month… but I intentionally schedule dates with myself and Jesus during because otherwise they will slip through the cracks. If I want something to happen… it has to get scheduled on my calendar. I’m not a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of person… and being Miss International has made me even more of a fan of keeping a precise calendar.

I challenge you to date yourself. Go to a movie alone, take yourself to get a french-press coffee, and free your mind to truly listen. You have an entire lifetime with you and the more you know yourself… the better you can love and serve others through your true beauty and life.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Now What Happens If I Look Sick...

In contrast to one of my last posts, what do you do when you hear this…

“Why is she so small?”

“Why does she wear those crazy outfits?”

“What is that thing?”

Visible chronic illness is just as difficult to deal with as Invisible Illness. I have had countless young friends that have been made fun of and been outcasts just because of their feeding tube or small size. My main statement behind this blog goes back to one thing that I am sure you were told countless times when you were young… “don't judge a book by its cover.” Many of us have heard this a million times, but honestly how many of us actually do it.

Take a step back… someone may be a small size because of their medication. Those crazy outfits the pain community wears, they are to bring awareness about different diseases and struggles we go through. Lastly that “thing” you are pointing at and staring at saves people's lives and/or helps their quality of life. Most of the time it is a big step for people to go shopping or go out to dinner. Please do not judge them. I have seen it too many times myself.

Most people are very open about their illnesses. They have no problem answering questions and letting you know a little more about their daily life. I promise they would rather give answers than deal with stares and whispers. 

I encourage all of you to like the U.S. Pain Foundation Facebook Page as well as mine to stay updated on ways you can help and understand the chronic pain community.

“Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds”

- Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

3 Things Every Pageant Girl Needs

I’ve been in pageants for 15 wonderful years! This journey has taken me on adventures I never fathomed. I look back on the countries I’ve visited, people I’ve been humbled to meet, and children I’ve been blessed to serve… sometimes I think, “Wait, this is my life? How?” Being Miss International is the best job I could imagine and I love what I get to do. With all these experiences, I’ve learned a few best practices that really play into my everyday success and efficiency.

There are quite a few items that always travel with me and go to each city I visit. I depend on them to help me be the best Miss International I can be. I’ve taken my long list of “must haves” and narrowed it down. Today I want to share with you all 3 items that every pageant girl needs!

1. An Organized Calendar

My calendar keeps me sane. Without it, I’d be running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I use Apple Calendars. Each facet of my life (Personal, Work, Miss International) has a different color. I also share my calendar with my handsome man so that he knows where I am for safety reasons. My day is planned down to the minute and I really love it that way. This calendar allows me to really prepare for what’s ahead and efficiently use my time. I don’t know how people keep all their commitments in their head. For me, there are too many moving pieces and nothing can get dropped.

2. Hair, Skin, and Nail Vitamins

As Miss International, my hair and make-up is done 6 days out of the week. That’s a lot of heat and damage to my hair. It’s also a lot of product on my face. I keep my nails done with OPI’s Gel “Put It In Neutral.” Needless to say, I put my body through a lot. The vitamins help my body recover from everything I put it through. I truly see the difference when I use vitamins versus when I don’t. Find the supplement that’s right for you! I already have to take a few other medications/vitamins in the morning - so I prefer a chewable vitamin for this aspect of my nutrition!

3. A Comfortable Pair of Nude Heels

Nude heels go with everything. Literally, you cannot go wrong with them. When in doubt, nude heel it out! I am not the tallest person in the world, so I really love that nude heels make my legs look longer and leaner. I would encourage you to find one ride-or-die pair and take them with you whenever you travel for events. When you’re comfortable and really love them - you’ll be excited to wear heels! I am a huge fan of Tippy Tops and Jessica Simpson Shoes. Both go with me everywhere!

You’re a rockstar, beautiful! Use these three items to make your year count and look fabulous along the way!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016