Friday, June 29, 2012

Donating to Arizona Humane Society

While in Arizona, I was able to visit the state’s largest non-profit animal rescue group. The Arizona Humane Society is one of the nicest facilities I have ever seen. From a spay/neuter clinic to a training area, they have it all! Parks, stables, education rooms, and a gift shop are just a few of the things the AHS has to offer.

This little guy got adopted while I was there! Yay!

An astounding walkway that goes from the main building to the horse stables. The bricks were engraved with the names of people who have donated. I am excited to have a brick of my own there!

I got to tour the facility where animals from bunnies to goats took refuge. They get hundreds (yes, hundreds) of animals in a day (yes, DAY!). I am still blown away at how they do it all!

Writing the check for a donation!

It was an honor to donate to the largest animal rescue group in the state of Arizona. I know they will continue to do amazing works and end the cycle of inhumanity in Arizona.

Jurnee Carr

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fun in the Sun

Boy, were we pampered in Arizona! My corporate sponsor GAAM, Inc. sent us off to Scottsdale for a week where we got a taste of the desert! We stayed in the Four Seasons Resort where we did everything from a spa day to a Pink Jeep tour!

Feeling like a movie star the way we were treated!

One night we went to an amazing iPic theater where we were served dinner in recliners while watching Men in Black 3!

We also went on a dolly steamboat around Canyon Lake!

One of the coolest things was watching the Arizona Diamondbacks play pro baseball in the owner’s suite! I love watching sports so this was right in my ballpark! And I saw my first grand slam! So cool!

The Pink Jeep Tour was a blast! We got to seem some amazing views!

The very last night we had a party at the owner’s ranch. We got to cruise around in their Auburn!

Arizona was so much fun! Thanks to GAAM, Inc. for treating me like a queen!

Jurnee Carr

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First Book in Cincinnati!

First Book is continuing its mission of providing children brand new books.  Recently, First book has partnered with Cincinnati public schools.  First Book has committed to providing books for the 3,000 children who are enrolled in the summer program!  Each child will receive three brand new books.  This program comes as the result of a new partnership with the American Federation of Teachers. 

Partnerships such as these allow First Book to expand its reach and have a greater impact.  Studies have shown that during the summer, some children lose the skills that they have acquired during the school year.  By providing children with books, they are provided with an added incentive to read.  This ultimately impacts their ability to maintain their literacy skills during the summer months.  If you’re interested in partnering with First Book to receive books for your school or program, go to

Happy Reading!

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Biggest Lesson That I've Learned

Everyone’s pageantry journey is different.  I’ve had my fair share of highs and lows but the one thing that has remained constant is that I’ve had a set of cheerleaders who have encouraged me every step of the way.  I often joke that they are Team Ciji.  We have a team bus.  Either you are on the bus or you are off the bus, but no matter what, the bus keeps going and will reach its destination.  I have seen my fair share of criticism, some deserved and some undeserved, but the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is  best articulated by Joel Osteen in his book Every Day A Friday.  That lesson is to Stay the High Road.

He said it best.  “Don’t be distracted.  God has already lined up the right people to celebrate you, the right people who will cheer you on and help you fulfill your destiny.  If you want to live in victory, you have to be very careful with your time and attention.”  The older I get and the more I encounter peaks and valleys, the more I realize that this statement is true.  I felt compelled to share this with you all because I know what it feels like to compete.  I know what it feels like to give your all and constantly strive to be and give your best, only to be criticized.  No matter what, don’t be disheartened.  As long as you are kind and work hard, you will be blessed.

All the Best,

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Monday, June 25, 2012

Final Four

We have embarked on the final four weeks until the new Mrs. International is crowned!  Be sure to enjoy this next month because for one of you, your life will never be the same.  Remember to stay focused!

Thank you to all of the contestants who continue to invest countless hours to support a cause close to you.  I know you don't expect a 'thank you' for your efforts.  We all know, taking time to help others, in turn, does more for our own well-being.

Janet Bolin

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's a Dry Heat!

Las Vegas was quite the trip! But I really dug deep into the desert when I headed out to Arizona with my corporate sponsor-GAAM, Inc. I went from humidity to dust in less than 4 hours! Hey-it’s a dry heat!

I will be writing a few blogs about my experience there. First I would like to begin with the scenery! When I hear desert, I envision an old western where two men are having a standoff and tumbleweed rolls through. That is not necessarily the case! Arizona had some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen!

Saddle up partner!

A few hours after we landed, it was time for horseback riding! Peggy Sue was such a good horse and very fun to ride!

I also did some hiking in Sedona, AZ. The terrain was much like mine from back home, but still had that beautiful desert vibe about it!

Can you see me??

Arizona had some of the most breath taking views. It may be a dry heat, but the beauty of the mountains out shines the sun!

Jurnee Carr

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Woofstock - Dogs, Love and Happiness

Woofstock Festival was the happening place for dogs in Bristol, Virginia! Hundreds of two-legged and four-legged creatures came out for a good time and to raise money for the Margaret B. Mitchell Spay/Neuter Clinic!

4K 4 Paws was just one event out of many at the festival! My sister-Jaecee Rae, my friend-Courtney Woolwine, and I all volunteered on race day!

We registered people and their furry friends for the race and gave them their numbers.

While the race was going on, Courtney and I were at the half way point of the race and gave runners water as they jogged along. Of course, the dogs had bowls waiting on them too!

After the race it was time for the festival! There were so many cool things to watch: a sheepdog herding presentation, the Smoky Mountain DockDogs had a competition, and a police dog demonstration!

My dog and Jurnee’s Journey mascot, Chi-Chi, made a new extra furry friend!

The day went to the dogs! It was so rewarding to not only be at the festival, but to volunteer to help save our furry friends!

Jurnee Carr

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Busy Weekend at MIS

I had a great time in Michigan last weekend.  We filmed a bundle of segments for Sprint Vision to showcase Officially Licensed NASCAR products for teams and drivers. 

My husband and I also had a chance to enjoy a couple of our favorite restaurants – Frickers and The Real Seafood Company.

Thank you to the volunteers I met working The NASCAR Foundation display at Michigan International Speedway.  It’s always fun to work with you all.  And, a super big thank you to our charity auction recipients, Bill and Kate from Delaware, who had the winning bid for the VIP Experience at MIS. 

Janet Bolin

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Out and About in Chicago!

In less than 2 months, the national competition will be in full swing.  You will be busy making appearances and competing.  No doubt your family and friends will go to Chicago to support you, but what will they do when they arrive and realize that their favorite beauty queen is MIA because she is constantly on the go? Avoid the guilt and help your friends and family out by pointing them to some famous Chicago attractions.  Here are a few.

The Shedd Aquarium is one of Chicago’s largest tourist attractions.  It has over 1500 species and  stunning architecture that is sure to amaze patrons of all ages.

The Magnificent Mile is a shoppers dream!  Your guests don’t have to miss out on the glitz and glam of pageantry~ one trip to the Magnificent Mile and you won’t be the only one with a wardrobe to die for during pageant week!

Gino’s East: Just because you are on a diet, doesn’t mean your guests are!  Gino’s East serves up some  of the best, Chicago style deep dish pizza.  Chicago is known for its cuisine, be sure your guests experience the best that the city has to offer.

Wrigley Field: Known for its ivy covered walls and distinctive marquee, Wrigley Field is sure to be a hit with your guests. 

These are just a few suggestions.  Chicago is a beautiful city with so much to offer. Your friends and family may not be able to tag along on your appearances and events, but that doesn’t mean they should have any less fun. After exploring Chicago, you’ll be surprised at what their “pageant week” photos reveal! 


Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Monday, June 18, 2012

Are You Certified?

Witnessing someone go into cardiac arrest can be a terrifying experience.   The family members of survivors consistently express feeling unprepared and unable to effectively help their loved ones.  These feelings are validated by the facts.  The facts are that 92% of people who experience sudden cardiac arrest don’t make it.  However, having someone on hand who can perform CPR can double or even triple their chances of survival.   Are you certified?

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  CPR is a combination of chest compressions and rescue breathing that, when done properly, can restore oxygen circulation to the brain.  In an emergency situation, the administration of CPR can be life saving.  The restoration of oxygen circulation can not only save a life, but can prevent permanent, irreparable brain damage.  If you are not CPR certified, the American Heart Association has great resources.  You can find a class or simply find more information.


Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

So Long Las Vegas!

Vegas was one of the most interesting trips of my life! I will now wrap up my trip with this last blog about some of the other cool things we did.

Freemont was brighter than the city! This place downtown was full of Vegas souvenirs and characters galore! I loved watching the light show on the roof that covered the street as people zoomed overhead on zip lines!

We visited Ethel M’s chocolate factory. They made my mother some fresh chocolate strawberries!

One of my goals was to see the famous Las Vegas sign! I was so happy to see it and take pictures with other tourists as we all stood around the sign!

Most people only see the front of the famous sign. The back is important too!

M & M’s are one of my favorite candy! But I’ll only eat the almond or peanut kind. Luckily, there was a wall full of different colored peanut M&M’s so I could make my own creation!

Our last night in Vegas, we ate at the Rain Forest Cafe (my 2nd favorite restaurant to Cheesecake Factory)!

I had such an exciting and busy trip in Vegas! I enjoyed working for the Humane Society of the United States at the International Animal Care Expo and having some fun in the city in between!

Jurnee Carr

Friday, June 15, 2012

Visiting the Hoover Dam

While in Vegas, I got to tune in to my inner tourist and visit the Hoover Dam! Not too long before I left for Vegas, 2 of my classes were going into detail about this historical feature and that made it even cooler!

It was incredibly windy. I thought my sash was going to blow away!

Such a scary drop!

This dam really shaped the lives of Americans. It gave jobs to people who were stricken by the Great Depression and provided farmers with water for their land after the Dust Bowl. Las Vegas became famous because of the Hoover Dam as well!

It was truly a fun experience!

Jurnee Carr

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976. Since that time, Habitat affiliates have built, or rehabbed, over 400,000 houses, serving over two million people worldwide.  The NASCAR Foundation Volunteer Network and NASCAR community are uniting in June to help build a home for a family in the Charlotte-area.  The vast majority of volunteers, like myself, are unskilled.  For each build, there is a site supervisor who will give us instructions and help us get started. 

The NASCAR community gathers to help Habitat for Humanity every year.  Our mission is to help children lead happier, healthier lives by providing families with a roof over their head.  Habitat for Humanity welcomes people from all walks of life to join them as they build simple, decent, affordable houses in partnership with God and families in need.  They even have a Youth Program geared towards age groups 5-15, and 16+, so everyone in the family can take part in helping.   To learn more about helping a build in your neighborhood, please visit

Janet Bolin

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The NASCAR Foundation Online Auctions

We are thrilled to be offering you the chance to bid for a VIP Experience at upcoming race event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY and Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL.  These ALL-ACCESS passes grant race fans access to pit road and garage area.  Experience the thrill of standing feet away from a fully charged 800 horsepower stock-car, watch the "over-the-wall" crew perform a 15 second pit stop, and who knows even get an autograph from your favorite NASCAR driver!

Some of our fan-favorite online auction items have been a pace car ride with Vanilla Ice, An American Salute- Mark Martin Autographed Special Edition Mechanix Wear Gloves and other great items.  Your donation helps The NASCAR Foundation and our mission to help children live happier, healthier lives.    To learn more about The NASCAR Foundation and NASCAR Unites, visit

Janet Bolin

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Who Run the World? Girl Scouts!!

This weekend more than a quarter million Girl Scouts descended upon D.C. to celebrate their 100 Year Anniversary! And while they were at it, they took aim at breaking a record by having the largest sing-a-long. They set out to Rock the Mall, and boy did they!  People came from all over the country to attend this once in a lifetime event. Founded in 1912 by  Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low, the Girl Scouts continue to positively impact the lives of millions of girls and Americans each year.

There were Girl Scouts of all ages, formers, and many notable guests.  It was an amazing opportunity to celebrate the rich heritage and contributions that the Girl Scouts have made to our country.  Yes, we all love their cookies.  But, the Girl Scouts are so much more.  They empower young girls, teaching values such as honesty, confidence, compassion, and sisterhood.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  

Congratulations to all the Girl Scouts, past, present and future!

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tech Savvy Tots Change the Way Teachers Approach Literacy

A couple of months ago, I babysat a 4 year old.  She was smart, spunky, full of energy and… tech savvy.    Growing up in a world of smart phones, using an iPhone was second nature.  I was amazed at how easily she navigated my iPad.  Touching and sliding, her tiny fingers flipped through images with ease, much more ease than even the largest board book.  She had never known a world where you couldn’t manipulate a screen by touching it, so imagine her dismay when she touched my laptop screen and it didn’t budge.

She represents the new generation of learning.  Teachers have increasingly implemented tools such as iPads, to teach children how to read.  A recent study showed that the use of such tools helped children under the age of 5 learn to read faster because they were significantly more engaged in the process.  A brightly screened tablet that can be easily manipulated with the touch of a finger, has proven successful at keeping even the most energetic learners focused.  This is just one tool in our tool kits that we can use to make sure every child learns to read.


Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Saturday, June 9, 2012

HSUS International Animal Care Expo

One of my greatest passions is helping others. God placed a specific burden in my heart to help animals. I am so honored and blessed to be a voice for the ones who only have a bark or meow. My trip to Vegas was not a vacation or appearance; it was an answer to a call to help my furry friends.

The Humane Society of the United States holds an annual event called the International Animal Care Expo, which networks animal loving people from all around the world. In 2010, I attended the conference in Nashville, TN as an International Pageants state titleholder. It was such an honor to attend this year’s event in Las Vegas, NV as Miss Teen International and as a volunteer. My mother, father, and I all volunteered at the Stop Puppy Mills booth for the HSUS.

All week we asked expo attendees to sign a support letter to the USDA for their tremendous efforts recently to make an important change to the Animal Welfare Act. Currently in the Act, there is a loophole which allows large-scale online breeders that sell puppies to go unregulated from basic humane standards as long as they do not have a storefront and ship animals sight-unseen. In other words, currently anyone can sell animals over the internet (ie: Craigslist) and not have to comply to humane standards or even be licensed.

Puppy mills are inhumane and must be regulated!

This exclusion has gone overlooked for too many years and has taken a team of many to make this correction in the Act. Online breeders MUST be held to the same regulations and standards as commercial breeders. Please encourage your legislators to vote for this change! You can help by taking action today: The USDA is seeking public comments on the proposed rule. We urgently need as many caring citizens as possible to speak out in support of the rule.

We got over 750 letters! That’s more support and a better future for animals!

While at the expo, I got to network with Wayne Pacelle-President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. It was so cool to meet him!

I also got to catch up with Summer Wyatt-a former pageant queen and the current HSUS West Virginia state director!

It was so good to see Marit Ortega of Tri-County Humane Society in St. Cloud, MN! We met at the 2010 expo and I donated to them while in Minnesota this year!

Drawing door prizes for the HSUS!

The expo was a huge success! I can’t wait to be a part of this conference again in Nashville in 2013!

Jurnee Carr

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Traveling Housewife

This would be me.  I am a traveling housewife.  I am still waiting for the day when I can magically make the dishes, garbage and laundry take care of themselves.  We can all dream, right?

A friend recently explained to me the difference between 5-Hour Energy and NOS energy drink.  Apparently NOS is for the serious athlete and the other is for housewives who want to do laundry faster.  

So magic potion or not, it still means I have to wash, dust and fold…and to be honest, I’d probably rather steer clear of putting chemicals in my body.  On the bright side, wearing my heart rate monitor while doing housework is extremely motivating.  And, throwing in a few lunges on the way to the laundry room, or taking the steps 2-at-a-time works wonders for my backside.

As I embark on the final 5 weeks of my reign, I have so many people to thank for this opportunity.  The friendships and sisterhood I’ll cherish for life.  But, the reality is that I still need that magic wand to take care of all my housewife duties, especially since I don’t forsee a change in career anytime soon. 

Wish you all a magical day!

Janet Bolin
Mrs. International 2011

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Crazy for Criss Angel

One of my favorite magicians was performing in Vegas while I was in town, and I got to see him! I’ve been watching Criss Angel’s television show for as long as I can remember. I was elated and bouncing off the walls to see him live!

We got tickets our first night in Vegas! I couldn’t bare to wait 3 days until I saw the show, but I managed!

As I walked through the entrance, Criss Angel’s motorcycles were lined up down the halls. He had so many!

I got an official Criss Angel cup the night of the show! Thanks for getting it for me, Dad!

Inside the auditorium, the stage was set with all kinds of mystical props. The atmosphere was so intense; everyone was on edge to see the Magician of the Century!

One of Criss’s first acts was getting himself out of a straight jacket in 30 seconds, while hanging upside down! He was right above us, so I got to see his every move! So cool!


In one of Criss Angel’s shows on TV, he walked on these very nails! It was so bizarre to see the screen come to real life when I saw these!

Thank you so much to my dad for getting us tickets to go see Criss. It was an experience I will never forget!

Jurnee Carr