Thursday, January 31, 2013

Go Red for Women Luncheon

The annual Go Red for Women Luncheon held at the Marriott in downtown Minneapolis was a wonderful event, and the International Pageant Family was well represented by local, state, and two international titleholders! Both Krista and I were assigned to the Diva Couch, which is a fun spot for attendees to put on some red bling and let their "diva" show!

Being a DIVA, with Danielle and Krista!

DIVA Gal Pals Amy & Lisa!

Michael even joined me on the Diva Couch!

As volunteers, recognizing and honoring our affiliation with the American Heart Association, I always try to greet the staff members who keep us engaged and here are some wonderful photos with just some of those very special people.

Barb Ducharme with AHA.

AHA friends; Meghan Perry, Kim Friend, Kevin Harker and me.

Dr. Mary Boylan, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at St. Luke's and Susan Cahoon where kind enough to pose with me just before lunch.

Thank you to all the titleholders who showed up for the event, and many thanks to the AHA for allowing us to participate with such a powerful and important cause!

Miss & Mrs International 2012 support Go Red for Women!

Sarah Bazey

As ambassadors for the American Heart Association, both Mrs. International, Sara Bazey and I, attended the Go Red Luncheon in Minneapolis.  This event inspires and educates women on the importance of living a heart healthy lifestyle and raises money for cardio vascular research.

Several women gave testimonies of surviving heart attacks or living with heart disease and just how life changing it can be. Their stories were moving and certainly had an effect on the audience.  One of the most compelling topics being the fact that heart disease can strike at any age, so you must be vigilant and not assume that you are invincible simply because you are under 40.

Held in the lovely Minneapolis Marriott the crowd was filled with local celebrities and business leaders.  Many of these women joined me on the Diva Couch.   In case you are wondering, the Diva Coach is a photo opportunity where women can choose from fun, glamorous accessories such as glitter sunglasses, tiaras or feather boas and have a fun photo taken.  This many seem silly, but after talking about such a serious subject as your heart, it is fun to just be a girl.

This event also provides women an opportunity to share their story on camera.  From these short videos, the American Heart Association will select the stores of real women for their upcoming campaign.  As a person with first-hand knowledge of the devastating effect of heart disease, I took my turn in front of the camera as well.  I spoke about my cardio ablation procedure and the open heart surgery experience by my grandmother.

To hear the stories other women go to….

Follow your mom’s advice, eat right and exercise!

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meet & Greet

As the reigning Miss Minnesota International I had the pleasure of meeting the new contestants for the Miss Minnesota pageant at the annual Meet & Greet Party.  This event which is hosted by our Director Allison Stavrakis, includes the contestants from the Teen, Miss and Mrs. categories, local coaches, pageant sponsors and the reigning title holders.

Although it was a very chilly night in Minnesota, the contestants arrived up in cocktail dresses and other fancy outfits. Below zero temperatures does not keep a pageant girl from looking fabulous.  After some light refreshments and introductions the party took off.  I was thrilled to meet the new girls and they had a chance to ask questions about various aspects of the main event.  As ladies tend do, we mingled and traded contact information as well as a pageant advice.

For me, the most interesting aspect of this event is learning about the various platforms and why the individual was drawn to it.  Most individuals seem to develop a passion due to a personal connection.  I met individuals who have dealt with medical issues, bullying or a disability, but were able to move past that and now desire to inspire or teach others.  There were some amazing stories and some very interesting women.  I can’t wait to get to know them better.

I really enjoy this event, because it doesn’t take much conversation before you view your competition as your friend.  I noticed an air of genuine friendliness and concern during my pageant last March. I believe that is due to having the opportunity to meet the other contestants before being thrust into competition.  I’m not sure if other states provide this type of event but it really helps to eliminate some of the pre-pageant jitters and helps to build those bonds connections that we all desire.

Krista Wanous

It may have been below zero degrees outside...but in true Minnesotan fashion, approximately 50 guests including; Teen, Miss, and Mrs Minnesota International 2013 contestants and supporters bundled up and turned out for a casual Meet & Greet event held at the Linwood Senior Center. 

It was a nice opportunity for Miss Teen Minnesota International 2012, Gabby Taylor, Krista and myself to visit with the ladies.

Several of the state sponsors and coaches joined us for the event, and even with the freezing temps outside, we shared a warm and wonderful time inside.

Introductions were shared.

Krista, Sarah, Gabby and Brad. 

The participants along with Krista, me and Gabby.

Sarah Bazey

Monday, January 28, 2013

AHA Gala

What a glamorous black tie gala the American Heart Association of the Twin Cities threw to support their mission of heart health!

It was so much fun to greet the guests in the main lobby of this beautiful hotel as they arrived in their gowns and sparkles! And, of course the men were sporting fabulous tuxedos and appropriate black suits in stunning cuts.

Please enjoy the photos!

Krista, Gabby, and me

Andrea, me, Gabby, Krista, and Latisha

Adorable guests of the hotel who couldn’t stop starring at my crown!

Another little girl who loves bling!

Two very special AHA guests!

With love and appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Tamika Hall Radio Show

It was so much fun being interviewed by the energetic and bright Tamika Hall!

If you have 20 minutes to sit down, relax, and grab a cup of tea…here is the link to the broadcast which aired back in December (the interview is the second segment from approximately 20:00 to 40:00 during the show):

Hope you enjoy!

Warmest Wishes,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Banner Presentation

It is always a treat to meet someone who has decided to take the big step forward and embark on a journey that starts with a City/County title within the International Pageant System. Recently, I met not only the new Mrs. Scott County International 2013, Amy Lyon, but also her husband Chad Lyon who joined her for her banner presentation in the Scott County Government Center.

Amy and I were asked to address the Scott County board members and the relatively full board room. The Chairman introduced me first, and I was happy to share the meaning of the International title, along with a brief message about both our alliance with “Go Red for Women” and my personal platform as it relates to burns. I then introduced Amy, who shared a touching message about her platform and some details about her life.

Me addressing the group

Once the banner was presented, we enjoyed two touching retirement acknowledgements and then posed for a few photographs with the Scott County Dignitaries. Thank you to Amy for inviting me to participate in her banner presentation and those who allowed us the time to share our message.

Scott County Board, Chad, Amy and me

Warm Regards,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Friday, January 25, 2013

7 Habits of the Highly Effective Queen

In my very first blog, I told you all of my love for a good read! My Nana fostered my love of books. I give her a lot of credit for my success academically because I believe that books power the mind. When I could have been watching television, I found joy in getting lost in the world of Nancy Drew. Most books are written to teach the reader a lesson or skill. Millions of books exist on all types of topics. So naturally, when I won the title of Miss Teen International 2012, I turned to books to learn more on being an effective leader.

As a queen, I also serve as a leader. When I won the title of Miss Teen International 2012, I instantly became a role model. I could have chosen to ignore my role as a leader, but instead, I choose to embrace it. One of my favorite books on being an effective leader is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, by author Sean Covey. Below, are of the seven habits he encourages in his book and my perspective on how they apply to life.


The first step in being an effective leader is to lead by example. This means taking responsibility for your actions NOW. Fortunately, I was blessed with parents that force me to take responsibility for my actions. They never ran to the principle to defend me when I got in trouble. I encourage you to hold yourself responsible for you actions. If you make good choices in the beginning, you will not have to deal with negative consequences later.


Think before you act. Take the extra time to ask yourself how your actions will affect you and others. People often have the mentality that they will begin the road to success when they are older and say, “I’ll start being a better person after college.” You control your future. Every single day you make choices that decide whether you will have a successful future. Be a good person TODAY.


My very first question in my panel interview at Miss Teen International 2012 was, “How do you do it all?” I prioritize my life. Sit down and think about the things that are truly important to you. Unfortunately, there just are not enough hours in the day to do everything well. Focus on fully completing the tasks that truly matter to you first, then doing the “extras” later.


I come from a family of athletes. So naturally, nearly everything in my house becomes a competition. That same scenario tends to happen in all aspects of life. As a family, we have to remind ourselves that life is not about being the winner. Rather than focusing on coming out on top, focus on doing what is helpful to everyone around you, not just yourself.

I will be the first to admit that I am a great talker, but I am not a great listener. However, I have learned that an effective leader is an effective communicator. The best form of communication is active listening. You will be surprised what you learn when you really take the time to listen to others. I challenge you to open your ears and your mind in all situations.


Synergy is all about team work. Working together is often far more efficient than working alone. This, again, requires listening to the opinions of others. As Miss Teen International, I have had the opportunity to work with various organizations. I have found that when we “put our heads together” two good ideas can transform into one fabulous fundraiser or event!


As humans, we are all imperfect people. We never reach a point of perfection. This means that every day is an opportunity to learn and grow. Whether you are growing spiritually, emotionally, or physically, every learning experience in an opportunity to become a better “you”!

While it is true that, as teens, we still have a lot to experience and a lot to learn. However, you are never too young to be a great leader! I hope that you will find this material as helpful as I have, and hopefully, you will apply to your life so that you can be a highly effective QUEEN!

All my love,


Thursday, January 24, 2013

AHA Connection in Hawaii

What a wonderful way to wrap up our last hours of a once in a lifetime tour through the Asian Pacific, by connecting with the American Heart Association in Honolulu, Hawaii. Dana, Joe and I met with Lori Suan, Executive Director of the Pacific/Mountain Affiliate of the AHA in what became a productive exchange of information.

We were joined by Dana's son and one of the Mrs. Hawaii International 2013 participants who is affiliated with the AHA, Paige Shimamoto and her son. This meeting was also an opportunity to meet many of the staff members, who were most welcoming and willing to pose for a photo.

AHA Staff 

Paige, Lori, Dana with Blade, and me

Thank you to everyone who made this connection possible. It is my wish that the International Pageant Family and the AHA in Hawaii enjoy many years of working together to spread the message of "Go Red for Women!" Mahalo!

With sincere appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Photo Shoot Tips

So far, along with Miss International 2012, Krista Wanous, and Mrs. International 2012, Sarah Bazey, we have covered several aspects of the Miss International pageant. Hopefully, we are able to use our experiences to help you better understand competition week and feel more prepared when you arrive!

One aspect we have not covered is photography! As a titleholder, you are required to submit head shots for various pages both online and in the program book.

If you are selected as one the 2013 International queens, you will be granted the wonderful opportunity to shoot with renowned photographer, Clay Spann! Although the concept seems simple, a great photo requires preparation. Below are some helpful tips to make the most of your future photo shoots.

  • Choose a top or dress with an interesting neckline. An interesting neckline is aesthetically pleasing; it also helps focus the viewers on the most important aspect of a head shot…your face!
  • Bring fun jewelry! A great way to express your personality is through accessories. I have participated in pageantry since I was a toddler. Looking back on my photos, some of my favorite included a fun headband or flashy neck piece. 
  • Prepare your skin, teeth, and hair several weeks before your photo shoot. Whether your hair needs a trim, you need a facial, or maybe you like to whiten your teeth, make sure you do not wait until the last minute. Sometimes, my skin reacts oddly to products I have used my whole life. Preparing in time helps ease your stress and allows you to enjoy your experience!
  • Be comfortable with yourself! I often wonder if I look awkward during a photo shoot. However, I always remind myself that a great photo often involves going outside of my “comfort zone”. A unique photo requires a unique approach.

I was able to catch a glimpse of Miss Teen West Coast International’s photo shoot with Clay Spann recently.


Caroline Crowley

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Aloha" from Honolulu, Hawaii

There is nothing like soaking in the glorious sunshine, a clear blue sky, and sound of the waves crashing on the beach...especially if you are from the state of Minnesota and it is the middle of January! Our first afternoon on the island of Oahu, in Honolulu, Hawaii, was spent walking along the beach, sharing a smoothie from our favorite smoothie stand, and trying to become acclimated to yet another time zone.

View from our room overlooking Waikiki Beach

After a good night sleep at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, we were ready to connect with Dana Rickard, Director Mrs. Hawaii International Pageant. Dana was our host during our time in Hawaii, and it was a pleasure to have a chance to get to know her and to meet her youngest son Blade.

Our morning started with reading time at the Tutu and Me preschool. It was so much fun to walk around the circle and greet each child and then to sit down and share a story with them. It never ceases to amaze me how mesmerizing a tiara can be to a little one! Both Sheri Taflinger, Mrs.Hawaii International 2012, and I had a wonderful visit with the children, many of their parents, and the staff at Tutu and Me. Thank you for allowing us to spend some time with all of you.

Tutu and Me preschool

It was only a short drive to The Queen's Medical Center, where we started our tour in the Women's Health Center. What a thoughtful and impressive facility for women inclusive of; clinical services, body, mind and spirit focus, specialty care, and maternity needs with a stated mission of Pulama i ka'ohana meaning "we cherish the family." In fact, this center offers spa type services of massage and facials, as well as, nutrition, pilates, and other classes. We were guided through this informative tour by Jennifer Mulholland and Terese Bush-Tautoa and we sincerely appreciated their time.

Jennifer, Jason, Terese, me, Sheri and Dana. 

Dana, Grace, Sheri, me, Joe and Jennifer.

Throughout our tour of the hospital we were introduced to doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. It is during these interactions that I often have an opportunity to share with them the value of the International Pageant. I love to inform people that our system is based on platform, or rather women around the world giving back to their communities through a commitment to charity. Furthermore, many of the charities with which our ladies are affiliated happen to be related to healthcare. This information sharing often leads to some very interesting conversations, and nearly always results in a positive reaction.

The next stop on our tour included a visit with a group of young people who happen to be facing some serious challenges, which have placed them in the hospital for psychiatric care. Fortunately, in Sheri's profession as a police officer, she was quite familiar with this facility and the work they do. As for me, I earned a B.A. in Psychology during my undergraduate studies, therefore, this was not completely foreign territory for me either. We both addressed the group and then had a very nice exchange, with some really interesting Q & A. Of course no photos where allowed, but we did capture a shot with the staff. We hope the young patients and the staff all know how much we appreciated our time with them.

Mahalo to the staff

It is with sincere gratitude to Grace Schonhardt, a Mrs. Hawaii International 2013 contestant, that we connected with the Tutu and Me preschool and all of our stops throughout the hospital inclusive of our last stop where she works in the Diabetes Center. For many of us Diabetes touches our lives or loved ones, and in the Hawaiian population it affects a higher percentage than other populations. It is good to know that a healthcare facility like The Queen's Medical Center exists for the residents of Hawaii.

Dana returned us to our hotel with enough time to prepare for our next event; the Hale Koa Luau with the 2013 Mrs. Hawaii International participants. Once the ladies arrived, we took some time to become acquainted. They each shared their individual platforms with us, and I shared my story with them. Joe and I answered questions and I hope the ladies found our time together enjoyable and helpful. It was a sincere pleasure to meet each of you.

What a wonderful group of ladies!

The Luau was a special way to celebrate Hawaiian culture and to taste a variety of local flavors. You may not be surprised to learn we all ended up on stage learning the hula, which I have not quite mastered. And the Luau host graciously acknowledged our attendance by asking us to stand. Following a variety of Polynesian of dances, music, and flaming batons, couples were asked to dance as we were serenaded by the Hawaiian Wedding Song, and then a tribute to our nation's heros closed the show. It was a lovely way to spend the last night of our Asian Pacific tour.

Hang Loose! 


Couples Dance. 

One of the fabulous Luau dancers!

Always a treat to capture a smile. 

A beautiful Mrs. Hawaii 2012!

Mahalo to everyone!

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Meeting with Allison Stavarkis my Minnesota State Director!

I  recently had the pleasure of meeting with my State Director, Allison Stavrakis and former Mrs. Oakdale 1997. As a reigning, Miss MN International, I happen to believe that we have a fabulous program and I was excited to learn about this year’s production. We discussed preparations and pre-pageant activities and I am sure that it was be a fun and rewarding experience for all involve.

I can’t help but feel a certain amount of nervous energy that is associated with a big event. It seems such a short time ago that I was preparing to compete. The actual performance is held on my alma matter, St. Cloud State University in a lovely auditorium. To keep all the contestants comfortable, they utilize the classrooms that connect to the auditorium as changing room. There will be plenty of room to hang your garments, but make sure to label everything as during quick changes, things can get chaotic.

Here are a few tips:

  • If you need some professional advice, you can’t beat the book Creating Queens authored by Suzy Boots, which is available on this website under Shop On-line.
  • The Green Mill restaurant connected to the hotel offers great lunch and dinner options, but they are not open for breakfast. There is a Perkins within a block, so that may be a good option.
  • Be sure to pre-order a poster-sized picture from photographer Paula Preston. I guarantee that Paula will capture some excellent shots that you will treasure for a lifetime. There will be some tables set up in the hotel lobby and pageant personnel to help you order.

One of my greatest pleasures was meeting the former contestants and queens that continue to volunteer and support the pageant. I was so surprised to learn that these women become lifelong friends and pageant sisters. The community of support is truly amazing.

I look forward to meeting all of the new and returning contestants.


Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Monday, January 21, 2013

Heart Health

I know that many of my readers are very healthy young women who may pay attention to their “fitness” purely from the basis of looking good in their clothes. Your experience with heart disease may be an association with an older relative or family friend. In essence, you may think that heart disease is an “old person’ issue. That is far from the truth! Heart disease manifest itself in many forms including genetic problems and those brought on by poor diet and lack of exercise.

I can tell you first-hand about the importance of a healthy heart. While still in junior high, I began having odd feelings in my chest, like my heart was racing even though I was sitting still. Sometimes I felt that it was hard to breathe. These attacks happened randomly with no apparent trigger. I would frequently have to stop what I was doing and sit down for fear of fainting. Initially, the doctor thought I was having panic attacks. To gain a better understanding of what was happening inside of me, the doctors suggested that I wear a portable heart monitor. I looked a bit odd walking around school with wires connected to my chest and a plastic box hooked to my waistband.

Eventually, I was diagnosed with super ventricular tachycardia, which is a type of uncontrolled, rapid heartbeat which is a defect in that way the body tells the heart to beat. The cardiologist had a plan to correct the problem using a minimally invasive procedure, but the fact that they had to stop my heart to make the repair was quite frightening. The concept that I couldn’t take my health for granted became a reality.

Whether your heart is perfect or imperfect like mine, it is vital to living an active life. Think about what you do to take care of the heart - that takes care of YOU!

As ambassadors for the American Heart Association, I urge you to visit, to learn how to be heart healthy.

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spectacular Sydney Australia!

As our plane was on final approach, I looked out at the beautiful lights of the Sydney skyline and commented to Joe that we were going to love it here...and we did! In fact, we both agree that in many ways it felt much like home.

Our accommodations were in the heart of an area known as The Rocks. The proximity to the Sydney Harbour, Opera House, Harbour Bay Bridge, and many charming shops and restaurants was absolutely fantastic. Even more wonderful, was the roof top pool with views to die for, and the perfect location for the upcoming "High Tea" with the Mrs. and Miss Australia International ladies.

The first adventure for us, and a must for Joe, was securing our tickets for the bridge climb. Along with the ticket purchase we were given access to the observation tower, which displays historic artifacts, photos, and a video about the bridge. We both found the information about this bridge, which took nearly eight years to build, fascinating. My favorite detail is the nickname given to the structure as "The Iron Lung." Construction commenced prior to the collapse of the American stock market and the beginning of the Great Depression. Even though the cost to build was high, during a time of 32% unemployment in Australia, the construction forged on and the bridge kept men working at a critical time in history. We took photos from the observation tower as these are the only photos allowed on the bridge, because no cameras may be taken on the climb itself...and we shipped the photos taken during our climb by our guide home, so I will have to deliver proof of our climb after returning to the states. 

Sydney Opera House from the observation tower on the Harbour Bridge.

The locals also call the bridge the "Coat Hanger." 

Mr. & Mrs. International down under! 

View from our hotel rooftop. 

Enjoying the Cove. 

An Aborigine entertaining on the wharf.

Before our twilight climb, we walked along the wharf to one of the most famous icons of Australia, the Sydney Opera House. What a wonderful treat we were given by the very well spoken director of the Australia International Pageants, Sylvie Boutros and our very own glowing Mrs. Australia International 2012, Veronica Cristovas, as we thoroughly enjoyed the guided tour of this stunning architectural structure.

After our tour, we had just enough time to stop at a local pub for dinner before our three and a half hour climb to the very top of the Sydney Harbour Bay Bridge! If you ever get to Sydney, please do consider the climb, as it is truly spectacular! After a gearing up and completing a training program, we were finally ready to start our ascent up the bridge. The twilight climb brings you up in the daylight, and the decent is in darkness with the light of the city and a headlamp to guide you. What a blast! 

Dinner in a local pub in the Orient Hotel. 

Thrilled to see Veronica again! 

High Tea with the Mrs. & Miss Australia International contestants. 

What an opportunity and an honor to carry the crown and the message of the International system to Australia. 

Beautiful day and beautiful ladies! 

Our second day in Australia was equally as wonderful, and I have to say I was so very excited to see Veronica and Sylvie, to meet the contestants, and to experience my first "high tea!" It turned out to be a gorgeous day on the rooftop, filled with some wonderful conversations, and hopefully the message I shared with the ladies will help them have the best journey possible within this International pageant system. To the Australia International contestants, it was an honor to spend time with each of you and thank you for making the trek to our gathering. Also, warmest wishes and much appreciation to Sylvie and Veronica! Enjoy the photos:

After the lovely tea with yummy scones, my pageant world and burn world connected, as Sylvie and Veronica joined Joe and me for dinner, along with the founder of the Phoenix Society Alan Breslau and his wife Delwyn, who flew in from New Zealand. We enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Italian Village along the wharf, and shared in a nice exchange of devotion to charitable causes and generally enjoyed our time together. 

Delwyn, Alan, Joe, me, Veronica and Sylvie.

Our third day included another merging of worlds, between burn survivors and my fabulous HBS classmate Chris Bridges-Taylor and her wonderful husband Scott. But first, we shared lunch with Alan, Delwyn, and Cheryl Sobczyk who is a burn survivor from Australia and traveled more than an hour to Melbourne and then flew into Sydney to join us. 

Later we added the unforgettable Debra, a survivor from Sydney to our group, and we all shared in a truly memorable conversation. In mid-afternoon, Chris and Scott were able to join in on the exchange, which was really a celebration of connecting people. I can not possible thank all of you enough for sharing your time with us. 

Alan, Delwyn, Joe, Cheryl and me. 

Alan, Cheryl, me, Debra, Delwyn, and in back Scott and Chris.

In our final hours in Australia, we had a chance to visit with Chris and Scott, which was topped off with a fabulous dinner at Cafe Sydney located in the Customs House just across from the Sydney Cove. Joe and I both appreciate the gracious hospitality from Chris and Scott...thank you so very much!

Chris, me, Scott and Joe.

With love and appreciation to all,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012