Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Poem

If you are a Christian, the words in this poem by Joanna Fuchs titled “Easter Joy” are full of hope and faith. From my family to yours…Happy Easter!

Easter Joy

Jesus came to earth,
To show us how to live,
How to put others first,
How to love and how to give.

Then He set about His work,
That God sent Him to do;
He took our punishment on Himself;
He made us clean and new.

He could have saved Himself,
Calling angels from above,
But He chose to pay our price for sin;
He paid it out of love.

Our Lord died on Good Friday,
But the cross did not destroy
His resurrection on Easter morn
That fills our hearts with joy.

Now we know our earthly death,
Like His, is just a rest.
We'll be forever with Him
In heaven, where life is best.

So we live our lives for Jesus,
Think of Him in all we do.
Thank you Savior; Thank you Lord.
Help us love like you!

By Joanna Fuchs


Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Harvard Article

My sincere appreciation is given to the staff at Harvard Business School (HBS) for all of their encouragement and well wishes since becoming Mrs. International 2012. I am also thrilled to be able to share with you a copy of the article “Crowning Achievement” published in the HBS Alumni Bulletin.

How exciting it is to blend a message of the Mrs. International Pageant with arguably one of the most reputable educational institutions in the world! And, to be able share the message of the Phoenix Society at the same time! I hope you will enjoy the read.

Warm Regards,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Arkansas Children's Hospital

During a recent trip to Little Rock, Arkansas, I was delighted to spend several hours at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital at Camp Wannaplay.  This hospital is dedicated to the needs of children who need top notch medical care.  Even though the doctors and nurses take their jobs seriously, they haven’t forgotten about the children’s need for fun and distraction.  Camp Wannaplay is directed by a dedicated Recreation Specialist who ensures that the children on her floor have a fun variety of activities rangeing from crafts to the ever-popular video games.

During my visit the specialist prepare an activity called no-snow globes.  This clever leader re-purposed baby food jars by gluing a fun plastic action figure to the inside of the lid and then filled the jar with water and glitter.  Once the lid was screwed back on the jar acted just like a snow globe.    You can see that I had to make one too!

Always focused on queenly activities, I brought a supply of puffy paper crowns and princess stickers just in case a little girl needed a smile.  I made one crown that featured flowers and Princess Peach in honor of one little girl’s favorite character from Mario Cart, another fun feature of the play area. 

If I had a child with a medical issue I would feel comfortable putting them in the capable hands of the staff at AR Children’s Hospital.  The bright colors, cheerful staff and the creative therapies work together to make it a comfortable place for healing. 


Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cinderella's Closet

Not only have I had a busy year as Miss Teen International 2012, but I have also had a busy year as a senior in high school! This year has been filled with wonderful memories and exciting experiences. One event that I am especially looking forward to is our Senior Prom! We have all had so much fun making plans for the theme and decoration. Of course, my absolute favorite part was picking out my dress. I had such a blast trying on dresses at The Competitive Image with Joey Retherford, the official wardrobe sponsor of the Miss Teen International pageant. 

As I tried on all of the beautiful gowns, it occurred to me that not every girl will be able to experience the joy of shopping for a prom dress and feeling special on her big night. Fortunately, there are many organizations whose mission is to make it possible for every girl to feel like a princess on her prom night.

One such organization is Cinderella’s Closet. Cinderella’s Closet provides prom and formal dresses to girls who cannot afford to purchase a dress. They accept gently worn formal dresses, both short and long. Cinderella’s Closet visits cities for one weekend at a time during “prom season”. Although Cinderella’s Closet is based out of the Kentucky area, they serve girls nationwide. 

Several girls from my school were able to choose a prom dress from Cinderella’s Closet. My mom always reminds me of this thought, “To whom much are given, much is expected.” So many times, pageant, prom, and homecoming dresses end up in the back of our closets collecting dust. Next time you decide to clean out, please donate some of your wardrobe to help girls feel their absolute best on their special night! If you choose to donate to Cinderella’s Closet, you can mail your dresses to:

Cinderella’s Closet
Immanuel United Methodist Church
2551 Dixie Highway
Lakeside Park, KY 41017

Caroline Crowley

Monday, March 25, 2013

Duck Dynasty Comes to Dothan

It is often said that, “Southern is a frame of mind.” Living in the South is a lifestyle that just cannot be compared to others. I have noticed throughout my travels that even though sometimes I feel so busy and maybe even a little overwhelmed, here in the South, we are accustomed to a much slower pace of life. Fortunately, our slower way of life has a way of teaching us what truly matters: faith, family, and……DUCKS! I know what you have to be thinking….ducks?! Well, if you did not know, another southern tradition comes in the form of hunting. Although it is a controversial subject that I most definitely do not have the answer to, one southern family became millionaires because of their love of hunting water fowl.

Meet the Robertson family! Phil Robertson founded the Duck Commander brand after he discovered his knack for making duck calls. Along with his sons, family members, and friends, Phil’s duck calls are now the basis of a multi-million dollar company. Since founding the company, A&E began following the family in a series known as “Duck Dynasty”, which received the highest ratings of any show ever aired on the network. Duck Dynasty, which happens to be my favorite show, is a series that not only showcases the family’s duck hunting skills, but also teaches viewers about the things that truly matter…faith and family!

The Dothan Rescue Mission presented “A Night Out With the Duckmen” as their annual fundraiser. Phil, Willie, Jase, and “Uncle Si” Robertson came to the Dothan Civic Center! You can only imagine how excited I was. The show sold out in twenty minutes during the ticket sales in early October. My brother and I were so thrilled to find our tickets in our stockings at Christmas, and we had been looking forward to the show ever since. The “Duckmen” were definitely a hit!

They presented an inspirational message about the importance of staying true to oneself and most importantly, giving all the praise to the Lord, no matter what level of success one achieves. After the show, the audience was invited to ask the cast questions about the show. When an audience member asked what Miss Kay’s favorite thing to cook was, Miss Kay surprised us all when she walked out from behind the curtains! Tonight was definitely a night I will never forget. I am so blessed to have had this experience.

Caroline Crowley

Saturday, March 23, 2013

FOX 9 News Skating

I was asked by the St. Paul Figure Skating Club (the club for which I represented for many years) to show up for a taping of FOX 9 News with Todd Walker at the Wells Fargo Rink located next to Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul, MN. This ice rink is simply adorable, as it is nestled between the tall buildings and faces the sparkling Rice Park, the historic St. Paul Hotel and elegant Ordway Theater.

”Elf” was playing at the Ordway

The snow was falling in big thick flakes from the sky, and it covered the ice surface faster than the resurfacing machine and shovels could keep up, which made skating itself a little sticky. Regardless, we were able to share our messages with the viewing audience and I want to thank Todd for including the St. Paul Figure Skating Club, its skaters, and me as Mrs. International in the piece.

Long time skating friend and her daughter

Snow falling!

Todd preps me for the interview 

Melissa from the St. Paul FSC

My interview, which highlighted the International Pageant affiliation with the “Go Red” message and skating as a heart healthy activity, was featured on FOX 9 and here are a few photos from this wonderful exposure.

Warm Wishes,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Friday, March 22, 2013

Minnesota International Pageant

Oh the effort that goes into a state pageant! On Friday and Saturday, March 15th and 16th, it was time to crown a new Mrs., Miss, and Teen Minnesota International 2013. For me, the weekend was really about focusing on the ladies competing and making certain they had the best experience possible. And my “Rock Star” husband Joseph maybe did too good of a job assuring the husbands enjoyed themselves.

Admittedly, this would have been a far more emotional event if I were not able to continue my reign as Mrs. International 2012, with so many more appearances to attend and countries to see! Regardless, I am now a “former” in the state of Minnesota, and I had the privilege of being the first to welcome the beautiful Andrea Bennett Xiong to the sisterhood of Mrs. Minnesota International titleholders as I assisted her fabulous husband Tou with placing the crown on her head!

I want to wish each of the ladies who challenged themselves to compete in the pageant this year my sincere congratulations, as you each did an outstanding job of representing yourselves, your families, your communities, and most importantly the causes for which you so eloquently spoke. I told you I was proud of each of you. I meant it then…and I mean it now…regardless of there being only one titleholder.

It is also so very fun to be able to welcome the new Miss Teen Minnesota International – Megan Muehlberg and Miss Minnesota International – Charity Bess to our pageant family. I hope for each of you a year filled with moments that you will cherish forever both individually and together as the 2013 queens.

Please enjoy a variety of photos from a most amazing Minnesota International Pageant:

Registration on Friday afternoon!

Mr. and Mrs. joined us for a bite to eat and time together!

2012 Minnesota Queens…MMXII forever!

Ladies in their on-stage interview outfits!

Husbands looking so very handsome!

Meet & Greet time prior to the show!

Mrs. Minnesota 2013 with Mrs. Minnesota formers

My very best wishes to all of you,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sherri Hill Trunk Show at The Competitive Image

I am sure that you all have noticed the advertisement for the Sherri Hill trunk show at The Competitive Image. For those of you that are considering attending, it is definitely something that I encourage for several reasons. Your competition wardrobe is very important! Although the judges are most concerned about your heart and your passion, it is also important that you present yourself as the “complete package”.

The Miss Teen International pageant is not only a very prestigious competition, but it is a highly competitive event. This is the time when you need to look and perform to your very highest potential, which of course includes a fabulous wardrobe! The Competitive Image is truly a one stop pageant boutique.

Sherri Hill is my absolute favorite designer. She has an innate ability to capture every client’s personality and showcase all of her best features. Although it is definitely not necessary, having a custom gown ensures that your gown captures who you are because it is made just for you! Not only does Sherri Hill design evening gowns, she also designs fun fashion outfits and fabulous cocktail dresses!

While you are at the Competitive Image, Joey Retherford, the official wardrobe sponsor, and Mrs. Mary Richardson are on hand to assist you with choosing your entire wardrobe…from interview to stage! The Competitive Image carries a variety of interview suits and dresses, sun dresses, cocktail dresses, and evening gowns. It is definitely helpful to make sure that everything you wear is appropriate for this caliber competition. My mom and I felt much more at ease knowing that the wardrobe we chose would be appropriate for each day.

Also, photographer Clay Spann’s studio is adjoined to The Competitive Image. The trunk show is the perfect opportunity to have your competition photos taken and purchase your competition make-up. Trust me…once you try Clay Spann’s line of makeup, FACE, you will be hooked forever!

Again, it is absolutely NOT mandatory that you purchase your wardrobe from The Competitive Image. However, I can tell you first hand that the staff at The Competitive Image will make you feel as beautiful as you look. I have been fortunate enough to have been a client of theirs for many years. I completely trust their opinion, and I know that when I am wearing clothing that Joey chose, I look competition ready!

Caroline Crowley

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Words of Wisdom to the 2013 Minnesota International Contestants

It is hard to imagine, but I used to be a very shy girl with little motivation or interest in anything other than my BFF and the latest Hollywood gossip. Until one day when my mother said, "Hey, let's go watch a pageant in Chicago!"  With nothing significant stopping me I said, "Sure! Sounds like a fun girls weekend!" After watching the 2011 National pageant and our two incredible National queens Ciji and Jurnee be granted a once in a lifetime opportunity to be role models, leaders, and inspiration for young women like myself. A flame was ignited inside of me.

Reflecting back, I remember my mother and I joking on our drive back to MN from nationals saying, "That could be you someday! Should we try?"  And ever since that conversation, I haven't stopped working! This pageant system is special…It's different.

Miss Int'l is encouraged to represent more than just a pretty face, but a driving force with a cause behind it. I am so proud, blessed and humbled to be your Miss Minnesota, Miss International 2012 and a representative of our titleholders around the nation and globe. I had no idea I had this in me until I got involved in this pageant system. I stand before as a truly confident, accomplished, and driven young woman. I am no longer the timid shy little girl cowering behind her mother’s leg when the sales clerk asked my name.

I can't say thank you enough to this system for bringing out the best in me. Not in a cookie cutter mold of what a pageant queen should be, but in my own special way, just as I am. I am blessed beyond words. I know God has given me times of struggle and sorrow because He always had a plan. For the past few years I have prayed and prayed, "God. What is it that you want me to do? Why am I here? What is my purpose?"

I think that prayer was finally answered when I received the International Pageant post card in the mail. It was, at the time, an insignificant event that has grown into the greatest moments and accomplishments of my life.  I know have a new family of pageant sisters and the fabulous support system I have always felt had been missing.

This year I traveled over 15,000 Miles, Made over 50 appearances and worked with 35 different organizations. To the 2013 contestants, make this a year to remember! Make friends, be humble, allow yourself to make mistakes and laugh about it! This is a place to showcase who you are. There is no such thing as perfect so don't even try. Being the most polished and proper version of yourself accompanied by a handful of clumsy moments is who a real queen is.

Dedicate yourself to your platform, whatever it may be! My platform Healing Lives Through Creative Expression is everything I am, my past, my present and my future. It is the story of how I came to be, who I am, and what motivates me to continue my education, volunteering and awareness efforts everyday. When you step onto the stage remember, this is your moment, this is the beginning of your story. Whether or not you leave with a crown, this is your opportunity to create a story worth telling and let the world see your passion. I have learned through art that the life you are living right now, is your blank canvas. You make the rules, you write the narrative, you are in control of your story.

Make it a colorful one!

Krista Wanous 
Miss International 2012

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Miss Minnesota International 2012 Farewell Speech

How humbling it is to stand here tonight reminiscing on where my journey began over a year ago. Representing my state and platform has brought clarity and direction to my life. Competing in the Intl pageant has helped me discover and create the person I was meant to be.  Mentoring abused, neglected, and homeless youth across the state and soon globe only furthers the belief I know to be true, Art Heals. Healing Lives Through Creative Expression is what I will continue to do for the rest of my life.

Cheri Kennedy, my fairy godmother. You waved your magic wand and guided a shy insecure girl towards her destiny. You changed me into someone who was more myself than I had ever known. Tonight I stand here as a woman of strength integrity passion with a story I am proud to tell. I will never forget looking out into the audience as I was being crowned Miss Intl and seeing Cheri Kennedy, the poised and polished woman we all know, leaping up and down, screaming, That’s My Krista!!! Although I never quite believed you, you never doubted I could go all the way. Thank you for believing in me. I love you Cher-Bear.

Mock interview judges. You saw something in me I never new I had. Potential. You polished me into more than a cookie cutter mold of what a beauty queen should be, you made me perfectly me, with out the umms, wells, yeas, and ya knows of course! A great amount of my confidence stems from our evenings together. Thank you for giving your time to all of us girls, every week!

Sarah Moses, I know I caused you many headaches second-guessing everything you chose for me. Oh how I wish I could take back all those doubts. Winning the best evening gown award at nationals was the cherry on top of an incredible journey. Thank you for always being honest and making this short girl feel like she just stepped off the red carpet.

Thank you Paula Preston for lots of laughs and killer headshots!

Penny Wells and Yames Peterson, you two are the silliest, naughtiest and most wonderful duo. Perfect crown hair and make up every time and always lots of laughs to wash the nerves away Love love love you both!

Gabby and Sara, there are no words to describe the memories we have made. Mmxii sisters forever.

Mary, Mel, Allison, Richard, Leisha, and staff, thank you for creating a pageant where a 5 foot nothin’ girl like me has a fighting chance, a girl who has a story and a determination to ignite change, and inspire women across the world.

Melanie, my best friend, chaperone, assistant, therapist, and truest sister I will ever have. Our friendship is ours, no one will understand our hearts. No matter where this crazy life takes us, you will always be my best friend. Being able to count on see your face in the audience bring me so much comfort and support, and you continue supporting me across the world as we bring the Healing Arts to Thailand in April.

Donovan, You make everything. Since you found me, my sun shines brighter and my smiles smile wider. You are my perfect one. I promise, in 5 months you will never again have to share me with pageant duties, unless of course you make me a Mrs. hehe.

Dad, You were 50% of my success this year. If it were not for your extensive nutrition and weight training knowledge, I would never of stood a chance. The wardrobe I competed in looked beautiful because of what you built. Our time in the gym together brought us closer than we have ever been.  You taught me about more than fitness, you taught me about God. My faith in Him washed a waved of calmness over me during competition knowing that it was ultimately His choice, not mine.  Resting on this knowledge was the best secret weapon I had this year, along with my super toned guns :) Thank you for allowing me to share our struggles and turn them into a positive future. Your little Dynamo loves you

Mom, are you looking now? We did it. We went all the way. The other 50% of my success is yours. I am who I am because you love me unconditionally. You took on every role that was thrown at you this year. The umbilical cord will never be cut. Now, since you have never actually seen me get crowned because you always bury your head in your hands with shock and excitement, get a good look. We really did it.

To my successor and their family, get ready for the most exciting, hectic, stressful, adventurous, proud, memorable, scary, wonderful year of your life. This is your moment to leave your mark in the world. Strive to reach as far and wide and limitless as possible. Don't aim for success, just do what you love and believe in it.

To my former Minnesota titleholders, I have never understood or appreciated the connection between people until I was warmly welcomed into the Minnesota International Pageant family. Before that, I thought the only people who would stand beside you and support you were your family. I have found a family in the Minnesota International women that is so magnificent, loving and far reaching than I would have ever imagined. I am so grateful to my formers for their never-ending support, encouragement, ideas and insight. You have been inspiring me long before you even knew who I was.

I came into the 2012 year as Miss Saint Cloud and I have the honor as leaving you not only as Miss Minnesota International 2012, but also Miss International 2012 . I will continue to make you proud throughout the rest of my reign and provide assistance as our future sisters continue to make our very special family grow. I love you all so dearly.

Forever and Always,

Krista Wanous

Miss Minnesota International 2012
Miss International 2012

Monday, March 18, 2013

Preparing for Nationals: Mind and Body Workouts

As you know, the Miss Teen International pageant consists of four onstage competitions; one being the Health and Fitness portion of competition. Contestants are judged on their level of physical fitness. For those of you that are like me, that is a scary concept! However, I have compiled a list of helpful tips to help you prepare for what was for me, the most stressful phase of competition! Remember: you are being judged on your level of HEALTH and fitness.

Therefore, the skinniest girl is not necessarily the winner. You are being judged on how well you take care of your body through healthy eating and exercise. The judges know that not every girl is born with a cookie cutter body. The International system focuses on how well you take care of the amazing body you were given!

#1- CARDIO. As you know, the International pageant has an alliance with Go Red for Women. Our mission is to educate women about the dangers, symptoms, and steps to prevent heart disease. A good cardio exercise routine is an excellent way to not only stay in shape, but to ensure that you are living a heart healthy life. Jogging is the absolute best way to burn fat. Also, our opening number and fitness routines require a great deal of energy. Start moving now, so you will be prepared for competition!

#2- HYDRATE! Your body is composed of a great majority of water. Therefore, every system in your body requires a large amount of water to work properly. Water helps your skin look clearer, your lips look healthier, and most importantly helps flush out fats in your food.

#3- One word…ABS. We all want them, but unfortunately, as women, our bodies naturally have a higher percentage of body fat. This makes it extremely difficult to have defined abs, because our body fat is generally carried around our mid-section. However, my wonderful trainer, Steve Cunningham (aka “Hammer”) includes AMAZING abdominal workouts in our training sessions. The one thing they all have in common is a twisting motion. This defines your oblique muscles, which gives your stomach a more toned look. Search “Synergy Health and Fitness” on Facebook and check out our Hammertime workouts!

#4- Eating Habits. My trainer always tells me that you can’t “out exercise” unhealthy eating habits. I encourage you to begin NOW. A last minute “starvation diet” is not going to change the way you look, it will only make you feel weak and vulnerable during competition. Start by making a meal plan. No one meal plan is perfect for everyone, because we are all different. However, my nutritionist emphasizes the importance of several small meals rather than fewer larger meals. This increases your metabolism and allows you to make healthier choices without feeling hungry all the time. Please DO NOT come to competition with a plan to starve yourself the week of the pageant. We stay EXTREMELY busy and you will need lots of energy.

#5- Be comfortable in your own skin! You are unique and beautiful just the way you are. The key to being healthy is to help your body perform to its highest potential. This means knowing in your heart that you are beautiful. Competition week is very stressful, and you will be surrounded by some of the most beautiful women alive. You have to know that despite your imperfections, you are beautiful and made for a purpose…to change the world for the better!

Stay happy and stay healthy!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

European Tour Announcement

In the spirit of inclusion, this blog is a reprint of the press release announcing an international tour of Europe. If you are reading this blog, believe in the values and mission of the International title, have an interest in the goals stated in the release, or simply want to have an excuse to see the world and meet some phenomenal people, please know that you are invited!

Join Sarah on this journey of connecting people around the world

(Minneapolis, MN) – March 11– Mrs. International 2012, Sarah Bazey, announces the release of her itinerary for an international tour of Europe. The May 2013 tour will highlight Bazey’s three stated goals of; honoring the Mrs. International title, sharing a message of living a heart-healthy life, and connecting the burn survivor community worldwide.

The tour is scheduled to kick off in London, England on May 7 and will include visits to Paris, France; Frankfurt, Germany; Geneva, Switzerland; Rome, Italy; and Istanbul, Turkey, before returning to Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 24, 2013. 

Bazey’s Harvard Business School classmates are especially recognized for their assistance with hosting and development for the tour, while the American Heart Association, World Heart Federation, and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors have also offered valuable support and encouragement.

For specific European tour itinerary details and event information and information about how to participate in either tour, please visit

Tour Goals:
Upon being crowned, Bazey stated, “As Mrs. International 2012, it is my privilege to represent the title and all that it embodies; elegance, integrity, commitment to family, accomplishments of married women and a devotion to charitable causes. It is often said that a crown can open doors, but it is my hope that this very special crown will open borders.”

Beyond the crown, the true mission of the International Pageant System is to make a difference in the world, which is exemplified by its national alliance with the American Heart Association and its “Go Red for Women” campaign. Bazey will share the message of living a heart-healthy life throughout the United States and with World Heart Federation members abroad.

Bazey, who was severely burned in a helicopter crash in 1994, will also promote her platform of burn awareness and education on behalf of the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. “It is my mission to connect the burn survivor community throughout the world – including the family and friends of burn survivors and the medical community – to help others as they journey through the pain and fear associated with these injuries,” she states. 

Sarah Bazey:
A Harvard Business School graduate and an accomplished business professional, Bazey is the owner and president of Minneapolis-based Simplex Construction Supplies, Inc. She proudly serves as vice president of the National Board of Trustees for the Phoenix Society, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering burn survivors through support programs, education and advocacy.

Since 1995, Bazey also has served as a volunteer to help burn patients at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota.  In 2001, the Phoenix Society launched its Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery (SOAR) program and Bazey has continued to volunteer at the hospital through the SOAR program.  Additionally, she has been a keynote speaker for the Phoenix Society’s World Burn Congress. The 2012 conference featured co-Board of Trustees member, J. R. Martinez, a burn survivor and veteran of the Iraqi War and winner of ABC Television’s 2011 season of Dancing with the Stars.

Mrs. International Pageant System:
The Mrs. International Pageant is the only platform-based system and is owned and operated by International Pageants, Inc., which also operates the Miss International and Miss Teen International competitions.  Mrs. International showcases married women from ages 21 through 56 and includes their husbands as an integral part of the event.  For more information visit

Warmest Regards,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Friday, March 15, 2013

Go Krista!

Our very own Miss International 2012 - Krista Wanous, hosted a lovely event at Chiang Mai Thai in Uptown to share her plans of traveling to Thailand with a mission to help children heal and express themselves through art. I am certain Krista will be sharing with you her own blog post about the event; however, I wanted to share my own excitement with you about the inspiration I find in her actions!

First of all, the venue for her event was perfect. The space was charming and the food gave us all a taste of her future adventure. Second, I loved the fact that Krista produced some of her own art pieces to auction, as well as, some fabulous gift cards, gift baskets, and creative items. Third, we were shown a video presentation that educated all of us about her mission and the work that she will be doing in a country that I am confident will welcome her with open arms!

Miss and Mrs. International 2012

Art displayed by Krista

Guests enjoyed wonderful Thai food

With Sarah (Wall) Beckman, Miss International 2005

Krista, I am so proud to share this year with you. Travel safely and know that this is God’s plan for you!

All my love,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cultural Canvas

Announcing, Miss International goes International!

I am so excited to share with you all that I will be traveling to Chiang Mai Thailand April 20th – May 12th. It is a going to be an adventure of a lifetime! 

I have partnered with Cultural Canvas Thailand to live and stay with their children for three weeks. Every day I will lead healing art workshops for children who are living in poverty, homelessness, or who have suffered abuse and neglect. Even though Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles,” any of the Chiang Mai children are forced to spend long hours on the streets begging for food and money. Cultural Canvas rescues children and gives them a safe place to call home. I will be joining up with a group of volunteers from all around the world to introduce these children to art and creative outlets. 

I am particularly excited about the cultural art exchange project I will be bringing from the Free Arts Minnesota children to the Cultural Canvas Thailand children. My goal is to promote global understanding and respect for one another through a visual language because even though they many be very different culturally and geographically; they may find they are very similar artistically. 

In order to raise the funds necessary to transport myself, and the art supplies needed for three weeks of art leadership classes to Chiang Mai, I held a fundraiser March 10th.  My guests met me in the Buddha Lounge  for a VIP Dinner, followed by a silent auction and cocktails, at Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant in Minneapolis. I auctioned off a few of my personal artwork pieces and 24 amazing auction items in all, including an 8-day vacation at one of 12 destinations, as well as announcing raffle winners every 30 minutes! 

This was definitely one of the greatest nights of my reign. I am so blessed to be able to share a meal with the people I love and those who have supported me without hesitation. I am blessed, blessed, blessed, to be surrounded by people like you. I have never had such a respect and appreciation for the connection between people who are not immediate family. I never thought I would have that kind of love, but I have found it here in the International system. 

The evening was a big success! We raised over $2,000!! Thank you so much to everyone who came out. The attendance reached maximum capacity and outreached my expectations. 

Thank you for your generosity and continued support. 

All my love,

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Need a Fairy Godmother?

Every girl wants to feel like Cinderella on her Prom day, but unfortunately the costs can be prohibitive.  In our community, Operation Glass Slipper (OGS) helps provide prom dresses, shoes and accessories for those in need.  This organization provides a wonderful way to re-purpose those gently used cocktails and gowns.

The Annual Princess Event was held this week, March 9 & 10th at the Southdale Mall.  Girls who had been recommended for the program by a teacher, counselor or clergy member were invited to attend.  Each girl is escorted by a Fairy Godmother and allowed to choose a dress, shoes and accessories, even a purse. You can’t carry a backpack to the prom!

Most of the merchandise is donated from the local community and some generous corporate sponsors.   Speaking of donations, one of the creative ways that OGS funds their events in from collecting the pennies tossed into the fountains at the Mall of American.  Last year they retrieved $1000.  But they couldn’t do their good work without individual contribution of used prom wear.  To hear about this year’s event click here:

When my reign is over, I look forward to regaining some closet space by making a donation to Operation Glass Slipper.  I will also be volunteering as a Fairy Godmother.

Look for a similar organization in your community – “giving back” can be as easy as saying Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, take my prom dress and my shoes!

Krista Wanous

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

10 Things You Didn't Know About Miss Teen International 2012

I absolutely love that you all can follow my journey as Miss Teen International 2012 through my blogs! Even though you all have been closely following my life for the past seven months, there are still a few “fun facts” you probably don’t know about. With that in mind, I decided to write “Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Miss Teen International 2012”.

#1- I have FIVE brothers and sisters! Grayson is 12. He is all boy! He loves to hunt, fish, and play basketball and baseball. Payne is also 12. He was adopted from Russia when he was a baby. He is famous for his AMAZING Lego creations. Wesleigh Jane is 11. She is our softball star! She has recently become involved in pageantry and loves it! Emily is 9. She is definitely the athlete of the family. She enjoys running in 5k races, playing tennis and soccer, and competitive gymnastics. Addie Kate is the baby of the family. She is almost 5 months old. She currently loves to babble and eat sweet potatoes!

#2- I have played the piano since I was 6. My Nana taught me the basics, and I began lessons after my mom realized how well I memorized songs.

#3- I am a cupcake addict! Whenever I am visiting a new city, I go straight to the nearest cupcake bakeries.

#4- I have had the same best friend since I was 3. Next year, Hayden and I will continue our friendship as roommates at Troy University…watch out world!

#5- I am TERRIBLE at sports. I played softball in sixth grade and did not swing the bat even once.

#6- Disney World is one of my favorite places on Earth. We take a family vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida almost every summer.

#7- I ranked number 3 in my senior class with a 111.23 GPA, and I made a 31 on my ACT. Who says “pageant girls” can’t be smart too?!

#8- I cannot ride a bike! I am rather uncoordinated, and I was never very good at balancing on a bicycle. Sometimes my friends like to try to “teach me”, but I know they just want a good laugh!

#9- I am the youngest person in my grade. I began kindergarten a year earlier than the rest of my peers. I always thought it was cool until all of my friends were turning 16 and my mom still had to drive me everywhere!

#10- Duck Dynasty is my favorite show. Every Wednesday night, my family gathers in our game room to watch the new episode. We love how funny the Robertsons are! I actually get to meet the cast in two weeks, so stay tuned for pictures!

Caroline Crowley

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mama Tina's Food Ministry

One of the first things visitors notice about my hometown of Dothan, Alabama, is the Southern hospitality that abounds. Since I have had the opportunity to travel around the country this year, I have definitely noticed that we live at a much slower pace, which I have grown to appreciate more and more. In our community, people feel a strong responsibility to take care of others. One example of this is Mama Tina’s food ministry.

Mama Tina’s is a soup kitchen founded by a lady that is known in her neighborhood as Mama Tina. Growing up in the same impoverished neighborhood, she knew that families in our area were in need of hot, nutritious meals. She began to cook for people in need in the neighborhood. However, she quickly realized that the need for food was far greater than she could supply alone. As word spread, our community came together and created a plan to ensure that Mama Tina never ran out of food to serve. Different organizations supply food on a monthly basis, whether it is one day or one week per month. When that particular organization is in charge of supplying food, they send five volunteers to help serve the food and minister to those in need. My church, Covenant United Methodist Church, provides food during the last week of every month, which is when my mom and I serve food.

Last Friday, as I served food and watched Mama Tina at work, I began to think. If one elderly lady can feed over four-hundred people a day, imagine the difference we are all capable of making! Although Mama Tina initially did not have the resources to help as many people as she wanted, she never stopped believing that together, we can achieve anything!

I strongly believe that about the International pageant system. We are more than pageant contestants. We are a family of women who share the belief that is our responsibility to make the world a better place. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for stepping up and taking that responsibility. Together, we can and WILL make a difference!

I love you all!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Optimist Club Presentation

When I accepted the invitation to address the Northwest Suburban Optimist Club at the Golden Valley Country Club, I knew instantly that I would dedicate my message to a true optimist, my late father Leonard Wojtowicz. And, that is exactly what I did.

My presentation opened with a brief history of my father’s experience as a child of immigrant parents, raised in the Great Depression, a member of the “Silent Generation” as a WWII and Korean War veteran, small business owner, devoted husband, and father of six. When I was a little girl, I recall my father whistling as he cleaned the pool, the pride on his face as he mowed the lawn, and the loving way in which he only cared that we were okay if we slid into a ditch with his car. Because of the struggles he endured in his lifetime, he found richness in everyday chores and had a firm grasp on his priorities of; Faith, Family, and Country. His glass was always half full and he saw the possibilities in any situation.

I am my father’s daughter. It is because of my foundation that I was so very excited to meet with this group of individuals who come together with a common philosophy and set of goals. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with the members of this club and hope that the words I shared with them offered the favorable outcome an optimist expects!

Northwest Suburban Optimist Club

After a very nice introduction!

With sincere appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Friday, March 8, 2013

Minnesota Pre-Pageant Party

I had the pleasure of co-hosting the Minnesota Pre-pageant party with my sister queens, Sarah Bazey and Gabby Taylor.  This semi-formal event encourages all contestants to mingle and share their platforms, their last minute questions and of course, take tons of photos.  This event also includes many pageant volunteers and former International title holders so many of the first-time contestants have an opportunity to discuss any concerns about wardrobe or the pageant schedule.

To get the party started we played a bit of International pageant trivia with the new contestants and handed out prizes.  I was a bit surprised that some of the contestants had almost no knowledge of their pageant’s history, while others had clearly studied the system and its titleholders.  For those of you reading this blog, you probably have taken the time to research this system.  Someone who wants the title should know what charities the International system supports and why the Int’l system is unique.

Here’s a trivia question for you:  Who was the very first Miss International?  Hint she was from Minnesota, like me!  Check out the website for the answer.

This annual event included a silent auction of donated gift baskets to raise money for the “queen’s fund” which will assist the next Mrs., Miss and Teen Minnesota with expenses during her reign.  I enjoyed checking out the creativity of the baskets.  Some baskets were princess themed and filled with items that held images of crowns and rhinestones.  Other baskets contained gourmet coffees, wines and cheeses.  I recall make quite a few bids on a romance basket that included fondue for two, a plush blanket and scented candles, but failed to place the winning bid – drat!

Since this will be one of our final appearances before the March  16th pageant, Allison Stavrakis, Minnesota State Director assembled a farewell presentation for each of the out-going queens.  It was wonderfully done and included a video clip of our crowning moments followed by a photo compilation of appearance photos.  Watching a year of my reign compressed into a few moments of video made me realize just how quickly this time has passed.  I have to admit that it was difficult to hold back the emotions that well up as I remembered how many amazing people I have met and how many interesting opportunities that I have experienced as a result of winning this title.  Oh my, the tears are starting to well up again….

Good luck to all the Minnesota contestants, remember courage is not the absence of fear it is the action taken despite the fear.  Be brave, be authentic!

Thank you, Allison, Gabby and Sarah for a memorable year as Miss Minnesota International 2012.  Thank you to all the other amazing volunteers and pageant support professionals whose work provides an opportunity for young women to have a voice in their communities.

Love always,

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pictures from the 2012 Nationals

Arrival with Gabby! It felt so good to stretch our legs after the 8 hour car ride.

Meeting Mary Richardson and Ciji Dodds for the first time at orientation.  I was literally shaking form the excitement. 

Tour bus day trip of downtown Chicago! 

I got a little sick on the bus but Gabby and the chaperones took great care of me! 

Later that evening we congregated to hear the phenomenal and emotional motivational speech given by Eddie! Followed by a group shot of all the 2012 contestants. Can you find me in this sea of beauties? 

Wednesday was filled with fun! We got to dress up and play princesses with little girls at the local library.  I swear my little princess was having a lot of fun, even though in this picture she looks miserable.

The next morning we were up bright and early for interviews! My favorite part!

After rehearsals all week we were ready to hit the stage at Prelims! Opening number followed by introductions. I couldn’t stop smiling! I was having so much fun! 

YAY! I made top 10!

Fitness routine! Thank you dad for getting my butt into the gym everyday. It was worth it! 

I designed and my mom made my fun fashion. We had no idea if it would hold up to my competition because it was home made but I ended up winning the Best in Fun Fashion award! Wow! Go mama! I am so proud of my personal “Patti” Hill. 

On stage interview was a breeze. Practice makes perfect!

I felt like the most glamorous girl on the planet in my evening gown. It was so simple, different and sophisticated. It was everything that represented an International queen. 

Looking back on these pictures, it still seems unreal. I am so proud humbled and blessed to be your Miss International 2012. I cannot thank all the people who helped me get here enough. My dreams, my wishes and my prayers were answered. 

God is good!!!

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012