Tuesday, January 17, 2017

“Umm… Emergency!” - Your Kit to the Crown

I am a planner. Type A when it comes to pageants.

I took my journey to the job of Miss International very seriously! You all have heard me say it before… prepare for the job - not just the crowning moment. The fun (and nerve-wrecking) part of pageants is that you never know what can happen. You have just moments backstage to look your best as you change in and out of your various looks. On finals night, you have less than 5 minutes to get back to the stage after each phase of competition. There is no space for “Hmm, how do I fix that?” or “AHHH - IT BROKE!”

As state pageants approach, I wanted to give you all insight as to what my backstage emergency kit looks like. This kit is comprised of items that I could not go pageant week or backstage without. I’ve been in this industry for 15 years and learned about these items the hard way!
  • Band-Aids
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Duct Tape (just trust me)
  • Super Glue
  • Water Bottle
  • Snack Bar
  • Headphones
  • Bible
  • Shout Pens and Wipes
  • Baby Wipes
  • Gloves (to wear when you put on your white wardrobe)
  • Body Deodorant 
  • Phone Charger
  • Ear Plugs
  • Make-Up Bag
  • Curler
  • Straightener
  • Small Magnified Mirror
  • Tweezers
  • Nail Clippers
  • Teasing Brush
  • Hair Tie
  • Bobby Pins
  • Earring Backs
  • Sticky Boobs
  • Lip Gloss (easily accessible) 
  • Small Hand Fan
  • Sharpie
  • Labels(for all your things)
  • Vaseline 
With these items in your Emergency Bag, you are ready for the job of Miss International and whatever situations may occur backstage! Be creative with your bag - it can be as simple as a ziplock baggie or even something nicer!

I encourage you to pack extra items you may think of and share them below. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Sex Trafficking Awareness Month

In honor of sex trafficking awareness month, I would like to use this blog to raise awareness of this devastating epidemic.

We've all been taught that slavery was abolished, and no longer exists in the US. However nothing could be further from the truth. In fact there are 20- 30 million slaves in the world today.

As parents, it's important to protect our children from this rising threat. We need to be aware of these predators. We know how they target their prey, and how we can prevent it.

One of the most common methods predators us- is "interest." Predators can find their prey through a casual meeting, social media (very commonly used), at college campuses, parties, or night clubs.. The predators will charm their victims, become their boyfriend/girlfriend, or intimate "friend".

They begin by offering necessities, showering them with gifts, paying compliments and offering "advice."

You see, these predators will prey off any weakness....They look for someone who is vulnerable or lonely. They take their time talking, showing them attention, and creating a "bond." And after they've earned the victim’s trust, the predator begins to ask for "favors" manipulating the victim into believing they're "helping" earn money by sleeping with strangers. This will continue until they add three or more into the "equation" or until the victim is forced to "serve" several, to dozens of sex buyers in a day.

It's important to know that not all victims are female, 45% of victims are male. It is crucial that you discuss this with your kids and make them well aware.

Inspector Anthony Favale, the head of the New York Police Department’s Vice Unit — Said it happens everyday, and everywhere. “If people think that their son or daughter is "too smart" to fall prey to that, we’ve seen girls with college degrees — girls, boys — that are articulate as can be. And I’m scratching my head saying, ‘How did they fall for this?' Those responsible are master manipulators, brilliant at finding weaknesses that these girls don’t even know exist. "

Regardless of how "smart" your child, teen or young adult might be, they need to be taught about these predators.

How can we prevent this:

1) LOVE is the answer! If we would set a high standard of love in our homes, then when someone comes to offer our kids a "counterfeit love," full of empty promises, and conditional gifts.. They'll be quick to identify it. Teach them about manipulating, real love doesn't manipulate.

2) Communicate with your kids.
Teach them and talk to them about manipulation, and flattery. Have conversations about sexual abuse, what is okay and NOT okay.
Every 2 minutes someone in the US is sexually abused, 29% of them are between ages 12-17. Talk the them about sex trafficking, and the dangers of social media. Our kids need to feel like they can talk to us about anything! So never make them feel judged! Listen and love them, that is the answer.

3) Be involved.
Monitor your kids phones, texts, social media accounts, and know their friends. Know who they talk to, who they're hanging out with....You're their parent, it's okay to be a nosy! It's part of your job.

4) Lastly, pray!
Pray for your children, "cover them" in scripture and trust that God will protect them.

If you suspect someone is a victim of sex trafficking, or maybe you or someone you know is being forced into sex trafficking, please call our 24 hour hotline at 1-888-373-7888. We can and want to help!!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-


Monday, January 16, 2017

The Importance of Donating

Since we just went through the holiday season and started a new year, I wanted to share this message with everyone. It is so important to donate your used items. Whether it is clothes that no longer fit, household decorations, or old toys that are no longer being used, donate. Why keep these things around when they are not being used in your home. It only takes up your space and causes a mess, which can lead to you being stressed.

There are plenty of people who could use these items. One question I often get asked is where you should donate. Most people want to know that there items are being used solely for the purpose of helping those in need, not making a profit. Here is my advice on where to donate!

1. Local Church-

If you know your church accepts donations this is a great option! You know that an important message will be delivered with your items. If you are unsure if your church accepts donations call or stop by the main office and ask. Sometimes they will ask what sizes you are donating because a certain family may be struggling that they know of. Most of the time the church will be able to use your clothing and toys.

2. Local Donation Center-

I know many towns have local donation centers. I enjoy giving to these the most because I know my items will be safe and donated to members of the community. A lot of local women's and community shelters accept donations. Also, consider donating blankets to an animal shelter.

3. Goodwill or Salvation Army-

Both of these places have thousands of locations! If you cannot find a local place these are always an option!

Happy Donating!

"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

Friday, January 13, 2017

Staying True To Your Values

One of the hardest things I faced as a teen was figuring out who I am and staying true to who I was created to be. It’s hard, especially when people around you are doing things that you never really imagined yourself doing. You look at them and wonder if you should follow the crowd or stand up for what you believe in.

I mentor and coach numerous teenage girls who find themselves in the same situation. They aren’t sure if they should fit to the trends and social norm - or feel slightly uncomfortable for standing out. So often I hear, “I wish I could just fit in and be like everyone else.”

As someone who has been there, my heart breaks. When our mind is in this state, we forget that we were created to stand out. One of my favorite movie quotes is from Princess Diaries and it’s, “Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out. What makes you different makes you beautiful.” It’s totally different than trying to fit it; it’s celebrating that you were uniquely created.

Even as a young adult, I see pressures similar to what I faced as a young girl. The only difference is that now I fully grasp where my worth and values come from. There’s no question or consideration. If what is going on or is proposed to me is not within what I consider to be representative of who I am, who God has created me to be, or the rolemodel I’d like for other girls… I don’t do it. I’m not perfect but I do try best. I strive to be the peer rolemodel I needed when I was younger

As I watch styles and moral compasses change, I want all girls in the world to know that it’s ok to be the “modest good girl”. You don’t have to go out to bars every night, break the law, or make questionable decisions to be cool. When the questionable activities, wardrobe, or people come your way… I encourage you to take a moment to sit quietly and consider if it fits within who you are. If you’re not sure, the answer is more than likely no.

People who want to lift you up will celebrate you exactly as you are. They don’t need the “popular” girl… they just want you to stay true to your values and yourself.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Thursday, January 12, 2017

First Kiss

I still remember the feeling I felt when we first kissed.

Marriage isn't always easy, it's probably one of the hardest things in life. But if you are willing to work at it, it's also one of the most rewarding.

Marriage may not be what Hollywood portrays, romance, sex and then "Happily Ever After"...But it's so much more than that.

I remember as a young adult, watching movies like Sleepless In Seattle, Pretty Woman, and The Notebook, thinking "Wow!" I felt like love, finding "True love" would solve everything!

Then I got married, and everything was perfect, a dream come true...AT FIRST. Then once the honeymoon wore off, and children came into the picture..That's when reality set in.

Wow, marriage is HARD!

Suddenly, date nights were a rarity, sleep, SEX, almost everything enjoyable seemed to be put on the back burner. Then when we finally seemed to develop a "routine" and things were getting easier, "We're Pregnant!" (This happened a few too many times, we have 6 kids!)

But what I realized is this, that IS true love! Real love!

Real love is someone holding your hair when you are puking your guts out, with morning sickness, it's someone staring at you when you look absolutely hideous, with huge bags under your eyes from sleep deprivation and saying "You're beautiful!" It's someone wiping your tears when your heart has been broken by death. Its someone standing next to you, pushing till their red in the face, and crying with you as your baby takes their first breaths of life..

Its someone willing to die for you, willingly sacrifice themselves for you. Marriage should be a picture of the sacrifice paid at the cross. Anything different from that, is a lie. That was messy, it was bloody, and it was painful BUT it was beautiful. Because true love IS a sacrifice. And sometimes it means dying to ourselves, our fleshly, selfish, selves and putting our spouse's needs before our own needs.

Marriage is a battle for the one you love. Fighting to make things work, when you get knocked down, you get back up. You never give up, when things are hard, when you're sleep deprived, moody, hormonal and unbearable, they're there by your side- loving you unconditionally.

THAT is a beautiful love story. That is a REAL love story.

We’ve been together for almost 12 years now, married almost immediately after we dated... And I can honestly tell you, it wasn't easy making it this long... But it was worth it!

I have an amazing man that I get to wake up next to every day. I have an amazing family, I love them all so much- that it hurts (in a good way) AND we are happy. How much better can it get?

But this is all due to two people fighting for each other, determined to make things work, determined to make time for one another, and willing to sacrifice for love. We chose love, it IS a decision! And you have to make that decision.

The choice is yours, I choose love, will you?

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-


Family Vacation To Hawaii

It is always important the spend time with your family! Every year my parents take a trip to Hawaii for their anniversary. This year they decided to let me tag along! I am always up for adventures so I was determined to check something off of my bucket list while I was there. Here is a short summary of what I was able to do while in Maui.

I spent a lot of my time relaxing on the beach and trying to get a tan. Later I decided to become a little more adventurous and scuba dive! Scuba diving had been on my bucket list forever but, I was always to scared to try it. My dad finally talked me into going, so we woke up early that next morning for our lesson.

We started in the pool to learn the basic techniques we needed to know. Then we headed for the ocean, when we first began I was really nervous. It takes a while to adjust your breathing. Once I relaxed, I would rate it one of the top experiences of my life. There is something that oddly calmed me down about being in what seemed like a different world. I now added a new item to my bucket list… get my Scuba Diving License. Another different love of mine is surfing. I first surfed in California but I always wanted to surf in Hawaii. The water is warmer and the waves allow you to stay up longer! This means a lot because paddling kills your arms. I don't know how the professionals do it?!

I had a great time in Maui, hopefully I can go back soon. Aloha!

"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

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Unshakeable Confidence

Where is our confidence coming from? 

Is it from the validation from others when we receive a compliment? Is it from the number on the scale? Is it from the affection someone shows us?

There comes a point when all of the above sources run dry and no longer give us the satisfaction and joy they once did. This is because all of the above are temporary. They will fade away. When this happens, we may find ourselves with deep sorrow and feelings of unworthiness. Our confidence and belief in our value then plummets.

What if we, instead, found our confidence from an everlasting truth?

I firmly believe that when we begin to understand that we were perfectly, fearfully, and wonderfully created… we don’t rely on outside sources to help us understand our value! We know that, no matter what the world says, we are beautiful and worthy of love. In fact, we were worth dying for. Our confidence comes from the Lord. Let that sink in.

The unshakeable confidence we dream of comes from fully grasping the Truth. It comes from dedicated time of self-reflection and soul searching. Confidence cannot be found from comparing ourselves to others and it’s not in a magazine. Confidence in our heart and in the understanding that we are worth more than rubies.

I challenge you to set aside time for yourself and truly see where you are finding your confidence and value. It’s totally okay to find supplements to our confidence growth from compliments, accomplishments, and outside live… but our unshakeable confidence has to come from the truth of how we were created and how deeply we are loved. It’s hard to question your value when you realize how much has already been done for you through our Father. Journal about your thoughts, spend intentional quiet time, and take one step closer to the unshakeable confidence you were created to have.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016