Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Seeing RED!

February is Heart month! So you know what that means….you’ll be seeing RED!  Throughout the month, the American Heart Association will be in overdrive.    On February 3, you can show your support by wearing red. You can also participate in your local Go Red Luncheon.  
But it doesn’t end there.  The AHA’s Go Red For Women campaign will be hosting numerous events and launching initiatives throughout the entire month in an effort to fight heart disease by increasing awareness.  Various celebrities, public figures and politicians will be lending a hand to promote the Go Red for Women Campaign.    And not to be outdone, International titleholders are sure to be on the scene, telling our stories, encouraging people to live heart healthy lifestyles and learning new ways to better our own heart health.  If you haven’t gotten involved, I encourage you to visit the AHA’s website!

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Monday, January 30, 2012

Reading Therapy Dogs

In an effort to help children who are struggling with literacy, many schools and libraries are enlisting the help of some irresistibly cute, furry friends.  Reading Therapy Dogs are being used to provide encouragement and support to children who are struggling with reading.  It’s an innovative concept that brings together children with the unconditional love and loyalty shown by dogs.  So how does it work?  Children read to specially trained dogs.  The dog acts as an unbiased listener who displays his support and encouragement by being a captive audience member.  And of course, a dog displays no criticism or judgment.  This is especially important because it helps to ease the anxiety level of a child who is fearful of reading aloud.
As a result, children gain confidence in their ability to read aloud.   Confidence, which is a key component in literacy success, leads to an overall escalation in the child’s reading ability.  Children who participate in programs show a remarkable increase in literacy skills and resulting in  higher test scores.  Reading therapy dogs are used throughout the country.  If you know of a child who could benefit from a reading therapy dog or if you would like to have your dog trained as a therapy dog, check out a few of the resources listed below!
Ciji Dodds

Miss International 2011

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Not Quite My Cup of Tea!

Cheerio! No, not the cereal! Cheerio is another way to say goodbye in England. And I will be saying “Cheerio!” to the states when I travel to none other than-England! That’s right! I am taking my first international trip to England! I love traveling and can’t wait to tour this beautiful country!

This past Friday I went to get my passport. As soon as I got out of my car, the door came back and jarred me right in the middle of the forehead! There was a huge dent in it! By the time I sat down to take my official passport photo, which is good for 10 years, the dent became a knot the size of a quarter! How embarrassing! No makeup could cover that!

Can you see the bump? Because it’s definitely noticeable in the official photo! 

There is still a bruise and my forehead is still a little sore, but nonetheless, England will be a “smashing” good time! 

Jurnee Carr

Saturday, January 28, 2012

NASCAR Unites 2012

At NASCAR Acceleration 2012 presented by Sprint event in Charlotte, attendees were able to snag the 2012 edition NASCAR Unites arm band.   This annual program, offers fans and supporters around the world the ability to declare their dedication to helping those in need.  These arm bands are available online and at-track throughout the race season.

NASCAR Unites is an industry initiative led by The NASCAR Foundation that creates an opportunity for NASCAR fans, drivers, teams, tracks, sponsors and more to unite to improve the lives of children across the nation. NASCAR Unites engages the sport in a collaborative effort to support children’s causes through volunteering, fundraising, sharing inspirational stories and unifying to make a difference.  Are you interested in volunteering at a race track?  Email us today at unites@nascarfoundation.com.

Janet Bolin

Friday, January 27, 2012

Holocaust Memorial Day

This past July when I had a little bit of down time during the 2011 Miss Teen International pageant in Chicago, I toured the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. I could have spent an entire day there, learning about this devasting event in history and remembering the victims of this tragedy.

January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day and International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. I encourage you to take a moment and pause for these silent victims today. 
Hitler’s “Final Solution” was to kill all German Jews, as well as Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the mentally and physically disabled, and anyone who resisted Nazi power, in order to restore Germany after the harsh reparations placed on them after World War I.

11 million people suffered but the sympathizing hearts are countless.

Jurnee Carr

Thursday, January 26, 2012


If you are a multi-tasker, like myself, you don’t ever find yourself at a loss for ways to help. As many know, the Super Bowl and 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will start in just a month. This is also the time of year for NASCAR Sprint Media Tour Week where journalists from around the world visit Charlotte, North Carolina for all the big announcements prior to the start of the race season. But, while the world is mesmerized by planning their Super Bowl gatherings, and watch parties for the Daytona 500, please remember February is also National Heart Month.  

As Mrs. International, being a volunteer and advocate for the American Heart Association has been a wonderful opportunity. I am honored to have been selected as the emcee for the Go Red for Women event in NYC for National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 3rd. Countless hours have been invested behind the scenes to make sure this event is a success along with other local market activation.  

I am very appreciative of the support from NASCAR. In the month of February, the NASCAR logo on the NASCAR Plaza building in Uptown Charlotte will be illuminated bright red in support of National Heart Month. Visitors to the NASCAR Plaza and NASCAR Hall of Fame, which is connected to the NASCAR Plaza, will also be able to view the Survivor Gallery in the lobby, cut-out red dress posters and messaging throughout the building and in the elevators.  

I encourage you to contact your local AHA office, or visit their website. There are many ways you can raise awareness for National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 3rd and National Heart Month this February.  

Janet Bolin 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Resurrection 2012

Over 5,000 teens from all over East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia gathered in Gatlinburg, TN this past weekend for one incredible experience: Resurrection 2012! Resurrection is a Christian youth conference held annually since 1985 to remind teens that they are not alone in their walk with Christ.

Even though the weather was rainy, the clouds didn’t stop us from having an incredible worship experience! Reggie Dabbs was our speaker. He is a foster care child and grew up dealing with suicide. His message to us was that no matter where we come from or what your past is, God has a new path set out for you. Not only was he absolutely hilarious, but he related with well with us. One of my favorite Christian bands performed as well-Leeland! Saturday night they took over the stage and led us in worship. It was such a great experience to sing to our God with such an awesome band.

My friend, Courtney Woolwine, came along with me! I am so thankful that she was able to be there to experience the conference with me!

Over 5,000 people squished together to worship 1 God!

During our free time, the girls in my youth group and I played games and snacked at our cabin. We played a game where one person would be blindfolded and had to apply makeup to her partner’s face! That was definitely a knee slapper!

Resurrection was a moving experience I am very thankful for. The new friendships that were made and fellowships that were shared is definitely something I will never forget. "And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, 'We've never seen anything like this before!'" -Mark 2:12

Jurnee Carr

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Be an Angel-Buy a Bracelet- Save a Life!

Did you know that on average, 3,000 children die everyday from Malaria?  Malaria is an easily treatable and preventable disease.  It is a mosquito borne infectious disease that is transmitted through a single mosquito bite.  With the exception of very rare cases, Malaria has been eliminated in the United States.  However, it still poses a serious risk to people living in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and certain regions of South America.   
Malaika For Life is dedicated to eradicating Malaria.  Malaika means angel in Swahili, and   through the sale of bracelets, Malaika For Life acts as an angel for thousands of children who are at risk for contacting Malaria.   So how does it work?  The bracelets sold by Malaika For Life are made by women in the Tamiha Women’s Program, which is an organization dedicated to empowering impoverished women in Tanzania.

 $5 from the sale of each bracelet goes towards the purchase and distribution of malaria medication.  $5 may seem like a nominal amount of money.  But, lifesaving malaria medication costs $10, which is a small fortune to those living in the most affected regions.   The remaining    goes towards expenses and wages for the women.  Not only is Malaika For Life leading the fight against malaria, but it is also supporting economic development.     If you have a moment, take a moment to check out this amazing organization. http://malaikaforlife.org/
Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Workouts!

I get bored with the same old workout routine.  I love running, however… there are times when I’m on the treadmill and I can’t help but think “Who the heck am I running from?!?!”   So here are 5 new activities that will add some spice to your workout routine.  As with anything, please consult your physician before taking part in any and all exercises. 

Barre Classes:  When you think of a ballerina’s body, you think of a strong, muscular, yet feminine physique.  I’ve always taken ballet classes for that very reason.  I’ve found them to be a great way to stay toned and in shape.  I’ve recently discovered and fallen in love with barre classes. Barre classes provide me with the best that ballet has to offer.  Using ballet barre exercises, barre classes help you sculpt a dancer’s body.  Some even fuse barre exercises with pilates.  It is an intense and fun way to build strength and muscle. 

Zumba:  The name is enough to get you excited!  Zumba is a high energy latin- dance  inspired exercise program.  One class and you will be hooked!  A lot of people are intimidated by the dance moves, but there is no need to let your inhibitions get the best of you.  Based on my experience, you’re too busy having fun and sweating to worry about messing up!

Indoor Rock Climbing:  I envy those who are brave enough to go outside and climb a magnificent rock.  While I’m sure that it is exhilarating, I am risk averse, and therefore indoor rock climbing is the thing for me.  It’s one of those things that looks easy, but once you’re on the wall, it’s a different story!  It works out muscles that you didn’t even know that you had!

Fitness Boot Camp:  I love a good boot camp!  Fitness boot camps are a form of group exercise that are usually led by a single instructor. Typically, you are taken through a series of exercise circuits.   Boot camps come in many forms, however, I prefer short term boot camps (2 to 4 weeks) as a way of adding intensity or jump starting my workout routine.  In your face instructors and exhausting exercises keep you motivated and on your toes!

Spinning:  Spinning is a great work out!  But I will warn you, as far as workouts go, it is an acquired taste :)  It’s one of those things that I do when I need  swift kick in the rear!  The first spin class that I took, I almost quit half way through!  My pride was the only thing that made me stay.  Either way, if you decide to take a spin class be prepared, go at your own pace and enjoy the ride!

Ciji Dodds

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Take a Stand

Why are there so many issues that we face today? Our government has taken the initiative to intercede on many problems and try to fix them. But why are 50,000 people forced into slavery in the U.S.? Why are 3 million American children abused every year? Why are 6 million animals euthanized every year?  Because it is our duty to be a voice for the silent. It is up to us to create change for those suffering from the statistics.

Gandi addressing a crowd

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Mahatma Gandhi. These immortal words will always be treasured, because Gandhi truly lived his life as a selfless act to others. He saw that he himself could change things if he set his heart and mind to it.  His words have also impacted me to fight for what I believe in. It makes me almost sick to think that an animal is injected with a lethal weapon and killed every 6 seconds just because no one will take care of it. I wish there was a magic trick or a word I could say to completely end that madness. Realistically, that can’t happen. But there’s the beauty of it! We were made to stand up for what we believe in. We were made to reach out and help others.

Speaking about my platform, Jurnee’s Journey: Helping All God’s Creations at the 2011 Taking Action for Animals Conference sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States in Washington, D.C.

With the touch of a button or the click of a mouse, we can now have food prepared for us, items shipped to us, and music amusing us. It is so easy to become spoiled from these things. We get caught in our own little world and pay no attention to what’s happening in the world around us. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” –Mahatma Gandhi. Another great quote with an everlasting message. Developing countries have little to no access to technology, let alone food, shelter, and water. These people are crying out for help, and we need to wake up and listen to their calling. 

One of the best ways I have used to get my message out is through pageantry. Wearing the crown is like speaking into an open microphone. The world is your audience and you are in control of how you influence others.

On the floor of the Tennessee House of Representatives after the Speaker of the House announced my Joint Resolution No. 1268. I had the opportunity to address all of the Representatives and thank them. I was touched and honored to receive a standing ovation on my way out.

Everyone has a purpose. So I encourage you to take heart and find something you are passionate about changing. Get the word out through family, friends, and anyone who will listen. Because if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. 

Please join me in my battle against animal cruelty, which includes everything from animal testing to not spay/neutering your pet. Lobby for animals rights in your state:

Jurnee Carr

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Teacher's Aid

The best way to celebrate Friday 13th is driving to work to receive a frantic phone call from your mother who has just taken a hard fall, on ice and she “thinks” her wrist is broken.  Fast forward four days later, and she is back to teaching.  She’s a high school art teacher.  She loves her career and embraces all the creativity of every single student who walks into her classroom - for her that was motivation enough to make sure she was there for the start of the new semester.

A quick flight (thank you US Air for upgrading me to first class) and I was back in Ohio, helping her adjust to life with limitations.  Her surgeon gave her permission to go back to teaching, but she’s not able to drive for a couple weeks.  The outpouring of support and help from former students, the teaching staff and co-workers has been overwhelming and heartwarming.  When I return to Charlotte, I know she’ll be in great hands. 

Upon returning to Charlotte, I will be hitting the ground running with the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, NASCAR Acceleration presented by Sprint, the Monster Jam at Time Warner Cable Arena and then celebrating my birthday.    Thank you to all who have sent well wishes.  We are very blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.
Janet Bolin

Friday, January 20, 2012

Shopping at Macy’s

As we round the corner heading into National Heart Month and National Wear Red Day, I stopped by Macy’s to do a little shopping.  Macy's is a proud national sponsor of Go Red For Women.  Since 2004, Macy's customers and employees have contributed more than $24 million to the Go Red For Women movement.

You can shop for Go Red items that help benefit the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement, including the Wear Red Dress created for I•N•C International Concepts by Project Runway season 6 winner, Irina Shabayeva.  This and other items are available online and at select Macy's stores during the month of February.  http://www.macys.com/campaign/gored/shopgored.jsp

To learn more about Go Red For Women, or to make a donation today, please click here.  Thank you in advance for your generous support.

Janet Bolin

Thursday, January 19, 2012

BET Honors Celebrity Gifting Suite

This past weekend I was invited to attend the BET Honors Celebrity Gifting Suite.   As a VIP attendee I was given swag bag full of products and goodies!  It was an incredible experience.  Check out a few of the pictures below.

Arrival and posing for pictures in front of the step and repeat.

After I arrived I was immediately given a swag bag, filled to the brim with all sorts of free products.  

A fun evening would not be complete without silly photo booth pictures! I chose the crown as prop…

Here I am chatting with a representative from the LollipopChef.com.  The Lollipop Chef specializes in cake pops!  If you haven’t had one before, they are spectactular!!

Customizable shoes were on display and they were amazing!! I fell in love with a pink pair!

More sweets, courtesy of tammicakes!

Wearing my Malaika For Life bracelet.  Malaika For Life is an international non-profit that is leading the fight against Malaria.  Proceeds from the sale of each bracelet goes to eradicating Malaria. 

I got to meet the co-host of 106th and Park, Rocsi. She was very sweet!
Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

This past Thursday, I spent the evening reading Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport to a group of 3 to 5 year olds.  I started off  by asking, “Who’s birthday is this month.”  I got a ton of hands.  “Mine is January 8th,”  “Mine is January 26th,” and then finally one little girl said “Martin’s birthday is this month.”  I didn’t expect that from a four year old, but I was pleasantly surprised and responded, “Yes, and do you know what he did?”  She took a moment to collect her thoughts and said, “He taught people to love and take care of each other.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

In a single sentence, a four year old summed up the importance of MLK Day. Yes, it is a day off, but it is also a time for reflecting on how great our country is.  It is a time to celebrate the sacrifices of millions of Americans and to take pride in the fact that our country is a more perfect union as a result of what has and continues to be sacrificed by each of us on a daily basis.   Before I got to the end of the book, one little boy raised his hand and told me that he did not like how it was going to end.  Before I could respond, the same little girl chimed in, “It doesn’t end bad, my mommy says his dream is still alive.”

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snow Day

After waiting weeks and months for snow, it finally came! And my little brother, Daxx, and little sister, Jaecee Rae, and I did our part by playing in it!

Jaecee Rae wanted to make snow angels everywhere! One of her favorite things is to eat snow cream! I had her gather up some snow and I then added the “special ingredients” to make snow cream! She ate it all!

My personal snow angel, complete with crown!

Daxx loved tormenting my little sister and me by throwing snow balls at us!

We also made snow slushies, a delicious treat! Hopefully this won’t be the last snow, because we are ready to head back out in a blizzard again!

Jurnee Carr

Monday, January 16, 2012

Band Together to Fight Heart Disease

Need to upgrade your fitness routine at home or while traveling?  Band together to fight heart disease in women with our Go Red Resistance Band. Perfect for resistance or pilates exercises, this band fits perfectly into any gym bag, purse, car, or drawer! Keep it at home, take it to the gym, or stash it in your suit case for a great workout when you travel. Made of red latex, this band is 4' long with medium resistance and has four exercises imprinted on the front, as well as a link to more on our web site.

Some of my favorite exercises for all ages can be found online at Womens Health Magazine.  Click here to watch a few.  http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/bands-workout

NOTE - As with started any new exercise program, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor.
To donate to the Go Red For Women Campaign, please click here http://www.goredforwomen.org/WearRedDay/donate/advocatedonationform.html?kwoAdvocateId=3YGPPJ3

Janet Bolin

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Crowning Miss Teen Virginia International 2012

Last weekend I crowned the new 2012 Miss Teen Virginia International – Tiana Dockery!

The ceremony was very intimate with Tiana’s close family and friends, along with Miss Teen Virginia International director – Tiffany Porter, her mother – Robin Porter, my little sister Jaecee Rae – Little Miss Virginia International, my mother, and me! Food City of Kingsport was so kind to let us have our crowning ceremony at their Crowning Center. The name of the location was perfect for what we were there to do!

Food City supplied the delicious food, like this beautifully made cake! Jaecee Rae took her share of brownies for dinner! After our dinner, Tiffany Porter spoke about the International Pageant system and what our purpose is. Then it was my turn to speak. I gave Tiana some advice about her upcoming year and what a fun experience nationals will be in Chicago!

After I spoke, it was crowning time! Tiana was in tears as I placed the crown on her head! She gave a speech after her crowning, thanking Mary and Mel Richardson, Clay Spann, Joey Rutherford, and Tiffany and Robin Porter for all their hard work and dedication to the International Pageant System.

Mixed up crowning!

Signing autographs for these adorable children!

(L-R) Robin Porter, Mary Hamilton, Tiana Dockery – Miss Teen Virginia International 2012, Jaecee Rae Carr – Little Miss Virginia International, myself, Tiffany Porter – director of the Miss Teen Virginia International pageant

I am so excited to have crowned the new Miss Teen Virginia International! Please follow follow her on her journey to the crown! Platform: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Tianas-TriumphJust-Beat-It/243021232410333 Miss Teen Virginia International pageant: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Miss-Teen-Virginia-International-Pageant/194149987284897
Jurnee Carr

Saturday, January 14, 2012

AHA Recommendation for Physical Activity

AHA Recommendation for Physical Activity

For overall health benefits to the heart, lungs and circulation, perform any moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity using the following guidelines:
•Get the equivalent of at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity (2 hours and 30 minutes) each week.
•You can incorporate your weekly physical activity with 30 minutes a day on at least five days a week.
•Physical activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.

•Include flexibility and stretching exercises.
•Include muscle strengthening activity at least two days each week.
Finding a great workout routine for you can be a challenge, so I welcome you to email me with questions, at MrsInternational2011@yahoo.com.
Janet Bolin

Friday, January 13, 2012

Yoga could boost heart health!

The history of yoga stretches back as far as ancient India, when people practiced it to increase their tranquility and spiritual insight. Today, many Americans enjoy it to help them relax and increase their flexibility — and may even improve their heart health.  However, yoga does not count towards physical activity requirements of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week. 

Traditional yoga is done by slowly stretching the body into a variety of poses while focusing on breathing and meditation. “Yoga is designed to bring about increased physical, mental and emotional well-being,” said M. Mala Cunningham, Ph.D., counseling psychologist and founder of Cardiac Yoga. “Hand in hand with leading a heart-healthy lifestyle, it really is possible for a yoga-based model to help prevent or reverse heart disease. It may not completely reverse it, but you will definitely see benefits.” 

Yoga can be used to improve heart health as a preventive measure or after facing a cardiac event, said Cunningham, who has taught yoga for 40 years and is also president of Positive Health Solutions.

Why  yoga?

Thinking prevention? As part of an overall healthy lifestyle, Cunningham said yoga can help lower blood pressure, increase lung capacity, improve respiratory function and heart rate, and boost circulation and muscle tone. It can also improve your overall well-being while offering strength-building benefits.  

Yoga also has proven benefits for those who have faced cardiac arrest, heart attack or other heart event, according to Cunningham. “The acute emotional stress of such an event certainly has a significant and adverse effect on the heart,” she said. “That’s where yoga can be a tremendous benefit to manage the stress.” For example, Cunningham said that half of bypass surgery patients go through depression, facing emotions ranging from anxiety to grieving. “All these things come into play when you’ve got a potentially chronic disease to manage for the rest of your life.” 

The calming benefits of yoga may help with that — and you may see benefits right away. After your first yoga class, your blood pressure will likely be lower, you’ll be relaxed and you’ll feel better, Cunningham said.

Long-term, sustained yoga may play a role in improving overall health, according to Cunningham.

“The more energy you put into it, the more you’re going to get out of it,” she said. “After 12 weeks, you may see a dramatic increase in exercise functionality, and blood pressure and cholesterol levels may decrease.”

If you have heart disease, diabetes or are obese, check with your doctor before starting a yoga program. “I highly recommend going to a qualified and trained cardiac medical yoga instructor,” Cunningham said.  To find an instructor in your area, check with your local cardiac rehab center or visit www.cardiacyoga.com.

Janet Bolin

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Leave your Bookprint!

Bookprint (n): The List of books that leave an indelible impact on our lives shaping who we are and who we become.

Scholastic, the largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, has just launched its One Million Bookprints for One Million Books campaign to donate One Million books to children in need!  If you are like me, then you have never heard of a Bookprint.  Well, a Bookprint is personal to you, it consists of the 5 books that have had the greatest effect on your life.  By logging onto Scholastic’s website, www.youarewhatyouread.com, you can join the thousands of celebrities such as Goldie Hawn and Whoopi Goldberg, journalists, kids of all ages and even former President Clinton and former President George H.W. Bush, who have shared their Bookprints!
Scholastic has committed to donate a book to Reach Out and Read for each Bookprint that is created, up to one million books!  As of today,  23,334 books have been donated!  Be sure to check out my Bookprint!
So now, I’m asking for all of your help!  If all current and past International Titleholders create a Bookprint, International Pageants could have a tremendous impact!!  Hundreds  and even thousands of books could be donated as a result of our efforts!  Please take a little bit of your time to go to www.youarewhatyouread.com and make your Bookprint today!  Once you do, post on my Facebook page or on the International Pageant’s Group page.  Can’t wait to see your Bookprints!!

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Have you met the Hip Hop Doc?

Rani G. Whitfield, M.D. is the Hip Hop Doc!  His mission is simple: to educate youth and raise awareness of health related issues such as cardiovascular disease and obesity through the use of music.  The Hip Hop Doc recently wrote an article for the American Heart Association entitled, “Making Heart Health a Habit,” in which he gave tips on how to break old unhealthy habits and how to create new positive habits.  After reading his article, I have pinpointed some habits that I need to kick to the curb!  Did you know that it takes 60 to 90 days to create a new habit?  That is a scary fact!  But, the Hip Hop Doc has great tips to help you break your bad habits and replace them with new ones. 
(1)  Break a big goal into smaller short-term goals.  Habits are difficult to break, so it is important not to expect too much from yourself, too soon.  Instead, break your large goal into smaller more manageable goals.  For example, if your large goal is to exercise five days a week, start off by committing to one day a week, then increase to two days a week and so on, until you reach your goal.  That way, you don’t get frustrated with yourself and burn yourself out by trying too much too soon.    
(2) Tell someone you trust.  There is no better workout partner than Mr. or Mrs. Accountability!   No matter what your goal is, it is important to tell someone you trust so that they can help you by holding you accountable.  It’s easy to blow yourself off but, it’s a lot harder to disappoint someone that you care about.
 (3) Allow a “cheat” once in a while.  I know it sounds like blasphemy!  But, yes, the Hip Hop Doc recommends a “cheat” Once in a while.  Not everyday folks! 
(4) Break the TV habit in favor of exercise.  TV can be a welcome diversion but when it comes to your health, TV can be the ultimate foe. A lot of people have the best of intentions when it comes to exercising but, once in front of the TV, the X Factor is too hard to resist!  You tell yourself that you will only watch 15 minutes and then you will go exercise. Before you know it, 15 minutes has turned into 1 hour and your window of free time has vanished.   Break the TV habit by using your favorite shows as a reward or by using tools such as Tivo.  If there is something that I absolutely can’t miss, I move all of my furniture, lay out a mat, jump rope and weights, and I do interval training while I watch my show.  It sounds nuts, but you can easily crank out 200 crunches during a commercial break!
There is no better time than the present! Get started today!

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Year Ago

During my drive home from my first day back in the office, my mind was running through all the activities I had going on a year ago. My husband and I had committed to help promote The NASCAR Foundation by competing in the Mrs. North Carolina International Pageant, and so I had stepped up my workout program and filled every free minute preparing for the crown. I remember organizing how I’d juggle working for NASCAR and taking on being Mrs. NCI and hopefully Mrs. International, but then remind myself – one step at a time.

It had been 15 years since I competed in a pageant, so hindsight was 20/20. Interview was not my strong suit, so I wanted to make that my first hurdle to conquer. During my 45-minute drive to-and-from work each day, I’d listen to my “Interview Me” CD’s. And, since my commute usually took place either very early morning or late night, I didn’t have to worry about others watching me talk aloud to answer questions during daylight hours. I also would review my personal binder, which
I had started keeping with me at all times. In this binder, I had jotted down my thoughts on current events and other topics that meant something to me.

Aside from my husband being my constant cheerleader, and reminding me “there are no points for second place” (race analogies are fairly constant in our home), I had let my mind become a sponge to absorb all the advice from many pageant resources and those with some truly inspiring experience. My friend and Mrs. International 1998, Lisa Moser, had taken me under her wing to help inspire me. She truly embodies everything about the International Pageant System, is a gorgeous mother to four beautiful children and a fabulous husband, and lives her platform – the same one she won the title promoting as Mrs. Ohio International 1998 and continued with as Mrs. International 1998.

Since many contestants use the platform of pageantry to raise awareness for a cause close to them, I too felt I was SO close to my platform of being a champion for children for The NASCAR Foundation
that I wouldn’t think of questions a judge may ask. So, I reached out to my friends in the media, shared with them my platform, and then asked them to “throw it at me” and ask every question that came to their mind. It was also truly amazing the outpouring of advice and help from them, along with former contestants and state titleholders whom I had competed against “back-in-the-day” and who have become lifelong friends.

I also had my awesome mother. Never underestimate the advice of your Mom, regardless of your age. She constantly reminded me that her advice is always available and free. I’d always talked about all of
my volunteer efforts with The NASCAR Foundation, and she jokes that she feels like she too has met all the people I’d helped. Being four states away, I had the chance to talk through my intro with her to
share both in the interview room and on-stage so we could work on tone, inflection and delivery. She also kept reminding me that there is a difference between believing in what you say and how you emote your delivery.

During the holidays I chatted with an old friend. (So old he actually watched my mother being crowned in her first pageant.) We talked about preparation and what I felt helped me win. When I competed 15 years ago, I was overwhelmed with advice, critiques and opinions from a barrage of resources. This time, I simply soaked in all of that and mentally filed it until I needed it.

If you are reading this and either one of those who have already won their State, or are preparing to compete in a State pageant, I hope my journey down memory lane may help. Believe in yourself, put forth the effort and keep your focus. You just might be the person I’ll be crowning in July!

Janet Bolin

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tiara Magazine

In the latest issue of Tiara Magazine, I was honored with a very special award! I was selected as one of the Top 6 Most Admirable Women in the pageant industry!

“These women have brains, heart, and a mission to make this world a better place.”

The subtitle under my name states:
“Jurnee Carr is the newly reigned Miss Teen International 2011. In 2007 she established Jurnee’s Journey, which provides support to non-profit No-Kill Animal rescue groups. The organization believes all animals deserve a loving, forever home. She is also a Christian mentor and friend to many. Visit her website at www.jurneesjourney.org.”

I am truly honored and blessed to be given this award! Many thanks to Tiara Magazine and their editor-in-chief, Sherrie Gearheart.  Check out www.tiaramag.net for all the latest pageant updates!

Jurnee Carr

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Year

2012 is finally here! It seems as though 2011 was just a quick glance in the rearview mirror! Although it seemed to speed by, many memories were made and goals were accomplished in 2011. As a celebration for the new year, my family threw a celebration! 
Acting crazy as I deal out cards!

The very last day of 2011 was such a blast! My grandmother, mother, and I made all kinds of delicious food! We snacked all day on their homemade dips! We played Password and a card game called Rotten until the ball dropped at midnight!
My little brother and sister even had friends stay over!

My little brother, Daxx, and his friend were glued to their Nintendo’s, while my little sister, Jaecee Rae, and her friend were playing dress-up and putting makeup on each other.

My friends Michael Harr, Tiffany Porter, and Charity Dinsmore joined us as well! There really was no better way to bring in the new year than with the people I love!

Jurnee Carr

Happy New Year!

After a whirlwind of planning meetings with the American Heart Association for National Heart Month coming up in February, Christmas with the family and a much needed vacation from the office, Chip and I opted to bring in the new year, in Atlanta, at the Zak Brown Band concert at Philips Arena. This is the second year for the band to perform on NYE, in their backyard, and it was another truly outstanding performance. We even were part of their live performance around the world on CNN with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin!

(Left to Right) Bob Osborne and Kristyna, Kelly and Andy
Sanders, Janet and Chip Bolin, Wally and Regan Brown

NYE 2011 at Philips Arena for the Zak Brown Band

It was a fabulous evening to connect with old friends and learn more about the latest project for the Zak Brown Band.  In addition to a new album in the works, they are building Camp Southern Ground.  Their mission is to build a camp to allow children to overcome academic, social and emotional difficulties so they may reach their full potential by providing them with the opportunity and tools necessary to become prominent leaders in our society and to achieve excellence in all facets of their lives.

Camp Southern Ground is the passion project of GRAMMY-Award winning musician Zac Brown.  Zac donated this 500-acre piece of property, set in the farmlands of Georgia forty minutes south of Atlanta, to begin Camp Southern Ground—what will soon become a state-of-the-art
facility that practices cutting-edge programs to assist and rehabilitate children with neurobehavioral and learning difficulties (including ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Tourette's Syndrome, Asperger's Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders as well as serve children with diverse backgrounds and socio-economic levels).  Zac is the father of four and, while none of his own children are afflicted by any of these disorders, he has long recognized the necessity for every child to have access to the best resources in order to be able to grow and succeed. Camp Southern Ground will be a place for children to come to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and, of course, to have fun. But first and foremost, it will be a place for them to grow into better health through an advanced program involving superior nutrition, physical exercise, and the latest practices in therapy—all administered by a knowledgeable and attentive staff.

One dollar ($1.00) from every ticket sold for a Zac Brown Band concert in 2011 will benefit Camp Southern Ground.  Their goal is to open doors to campers by Spring of 2014.  To learn more about how you can become involved, visit their website at www.campsouthernground.org.

Janet Bolin