Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Special Olympics Track & Field Day

I recently attended the 37th Annual Houston-Henry County Special Olympics track and field
day, which featured students and special citizens from Houston County Schools, Dothan City Schools,
Henry County Schools, and several private schools and adult centers.

The theme of this year’s Special Olympics was “The Power of Our Dreams”. During the
opening ceremonies, the Dothan Rescue Squad ran the Special Olympics torch through Downtown
Dothan onto the Special Olympics playing field. They ran over ten miles! Micheal Frichter, a student
from Henry County Schools was this year’s torch bearer. With a little help, Micheal lit the torch
signaling the beginning of the 2013 Special Olympic games.

The Special Olympians participated in the areas of track and softball throw. Every participant
received a medal and their photo on the Olympic platform. Every child was paired with a buddy from
his or her school who cheered them on throughout the games. Despite the rainy weather, we had a
great turn out and ALL of the Olympians had a great time. Their hard work and practice really paid off!

I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to all of the sponsors for this year’s games,
especially all of the students that graciously donated their time to cheer on their special peers in this
year’s games.

All my love,


Monday, April 29, 2013

Meeting Sherri Hill!

Traveling to Dothan, Alabama, for The Competitive Image Trunk Show was once again a memorable experience! Reflecting back on the night I was crowned Mrs. Minnesota International in March of 2012, my director gave me the announcement for the trunk show and asked me if I might be interested in participating. For me it was an easy answer, “absolutely!” I had made a very personal commitment to enjoy all aspects this journey and to seize every opportunity within my reach.

The idea of working with Joey to find the perfect Meet & Greet Sherri Hill gown, watching Clay and Terri work their magic, meeting Mary, and sitting down with Suzy seemed like a wonderful opportunity. After all, learning is part of the adventure and who knows the International pageant system better than this group of individuals. Some may believe attending the trunk show has some political gain, however, that is not my belief…as a competitor, I simply wanted to be as prepared for the judges in Chicago as possible.

That said, the one opportunity that eluded me due to timing during my first trip was an introduction to the talented Sherri Hill. Fortunately, my second trunk show afforded me the unforgettable introduction to this amazing designer. It was so much fun to see Sherri consider my ideas and put pencil to paper, creating sketches that captured my dream gowns. Together with Joey, Mary, and Sherri we created three different custom designs for which I am dying to wear!

Again, I want to thank everyone at The Competitive Image for making me feel so welcome! Thank you to Mary for sharing your fashion sense and words of wisdom. It is always a wonderful treat to see members of our International family (thank you again ladies) at the trunk show. Suzy, you are as gorgeous as ever. Caroline and Denise, I adore you both! And, last but not least, I want to thank Sherri Hill for her time, talent, and lovely conversation!

With Sherri Hill!

Two fabulous ladies Suzy and Mary

The soon to be a graduate, Miss Caroline!

With love and appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April is National Poetry Month

As a creative person who believes in the healing power of expressing emotion through the arts, I find poetry to be a fascinating outlet.  If you think that poetry is boring or difficult to understand, try to forget about the difficult prose taught in dusty textbooks and look at the poetry of today.  The most common form is found in the lyrics of many popular songs.  One of the best aspects of poetry is the lack of rules.  Although some poems, such as the Haiku, have a particular structure, the poet can choose a free form text to express their thoughts.

As a child I was particularly fond of the silly ramblings of Shel Silverstein.  One of my favorites is:

In Search of Cinderella
From dusk to dawn,
From town to town,

Without a single clue,
I seek the tender, slender foot

To fit this crystal shoe.

From dusk to dawn,
I try it on

Each damsel that I meet.

And I still love her so, but oh,
I've started hating feet.

When working as a mentor with Free Arts, I frequently encouraged my kids to express their feeling in word pictures.  One poem that struck me was written by…

Evans, Age 9
I think about my mom and sister.  Beautiful like a flower.
I think about what I want.  I want to create robots.  I want my own room.  I want to get better at math.
I think about what I need.  I need a family.
I think about what I fear.  I fear heights.  A little bit.
I think about what I wish for.  I wish I had a family.  I wish I was a professional soccer player.  I wish to have a good paying job.
I think about what I hope for.  I hope to find a good family.
I think about what I expect.   I expect to have a good family that loves me.
I think about what I love.  I love my mom and candy.

So find a comfy sofa and sit down with a book of poetry or if you are creative, write one of your own.

Get creative!

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Saturday, April 27, 2013

2013 Special Olympics Rhythmic Gymnastics

When the coach of the Dothan Divas Rhythmic Gymnasts approached me about being the team’s hair and make-up artist for the 2013 Special Olympics games, I could not have been more excited! I even got to help them warm up. The team of twelve girls began practicing for the games when school began.

Although they all come from different schools in different cities and have different disabilities, they all have one goal in mind….to bring home the gold! I was so impressed with their artistic ability and level of discipline. All of the participants did such a wonderful job! It was such a blessing to watch them excel at something they clearly LOVE!

The girls loved their pink, sparkly eye make-up!

Suzie always has such a shining personality!

Kendall and Suzie were anxiously awaiting their performance.

Meredith was one of my mom’s first students when she was an intern in college at Oak Mountain Elementary School. 

With the “Birmingham girls” before they performed.

Caroline Crowley

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tri-Cities TN Go Red Luncheon!

The Tri-Cities of Bristol, Johnson City, and Kingsport are nestled in a beautiful part of our country.  I want to thank Whitney Allen-Carr and Lauren Ladd for inviting me to speak at the Tri-Cities Go Red for Women Luncheon, which was a very nice event focused on an important message.

Whitney and the Red Dress! 

Addressing the supporters of Go Red

As many of you know, Whitney is the mother of Jurnee Carr – Miss Teen International 2011. She is also a professional working in marketing and public relations for a financial firm, as well as, a dedicated volunteer. This year she was the co-chair of the luncheon and it was sincerely wonderful to spend some quality time with this special lady!

Honored Guests

Lauren Ladd is the Regional Director with the American Heart Association, and she now holds another title in my book, which is “Angel!” My travel into the Tennessee went very wrong when my flight out of Atlanta was cancelled. I was flown in the middle of the night into a small town in North Carolina, and was picked up and delivered to my hotel by Lauren and her fabulous husband Tyler. Thank you again so very much!

Lauren & Tyler Ladd

It was my pleasure to sign autograph cards and pose for photos with the guests. Here are just some of the shots we captured with Tiffany Porter – Director, Tennessee International Pageants, her titleholders, and supporters of the Go Red campaign:

Tennessee International Pageant Family supporting Go Red!

With some very special guests!

A special thank you goes out to Sara Diamond for her lovely introduction. And again, my sincere appreciation to everyone who made me feel so welcome in the wonderful Tri-Cities, Tennessee!

With love and appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Free Arts Wins a Grant!

I am thrilled to report that Free Arts Minnesota has been awarded a $10,000 Life Improvement Grant from IKEA.  This $10,000 from IKEA will be used to install organized, secure craft supply storage in the 30 sites supported by Free Arts MN. These cabinets will contribute to volunteer retention and give ownership and a sense of trust to the 4,000+ youth who benefit from their programs. 

With an overhaul of the storage areas at the Free Arts offices, supplies and donations will be easy to track and catalogue, increasing efficiencies in time and reduced spending.  I can personally attest to the work required to organize and inventory everything artsy from glitter glue to tempra paint to balls of yarn.  I spent many afternoons sorting and counting craft supplies to ensure that a project could be successfully completed.

A big thank you to the all of my Facebook friends and the Free Arts volunteers who took time to cast a vote for my favorite local organization!

Krista Wanous

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tennessee International Pageant

Thank you to Tiffany Porter, Director of the Tennessee International Pageants, for inviting me to serve as a judge for a day filled with tons of sparkle! Ms. Tiffany and her mother Robin obviously pour their heart and souls into making each participant, volunteer, titleholder, and supporter feel special.

I also have to send a big THANK YOU out to my personal hostess for the day, the warm and wonderful Jurnee Carr – Miss Teen International 2011! And it was fabulous to see one of my class of 2012 sisters, the “rock’in hot” Traci Pangonas - Mrs. Tennessee International 2012!

I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed spending time with each of these ladies!

Traci Pangonas, Mrs. Tennessee International 2012

Chelsea Chandler, Miss Tennessee International 2012

Crowning Ashley Lambert-Wise, Mrs. Tennessee International 2013

Abby Robinette, Miss Tennessee International 2013

With Kaitlyn, Abby and Ashley

Traci & Ashley

Gotta have fun!

Following a wonderful dinner with Jurnee at Cheddar’s Casual Café!

My sincere appreciation to Tiffany and Jurnee for everything!

With love,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Monday, April 22, 2013

2013 Alabama International Pageants

Last year, I represented the wonderful state of Alabama at the 2012 Miss Teen International Pageant. I was so honored to bring the crown back home with me! Since my journey with the International system began, I have met so many wonderful people and made countless memories that I will treasure forever! I will always be thankful to those that helped me begin my journey as Miss Teen Alabama International 2012. As I prepared to crown the new Miss Teen Alabama International, I was flooded with emotions! It was a little bittersweet to think that it has already been a year since I was crowned, however I was so thrilled to crown the new Alabama International queens and Miss Teen Alabama International 2013, Laura McKenny!

Check out the cover of the 2013 Alabama International Pageants program book. Weren’t they fabulous?

The new Miss Teen Alabama International 2013, Laura McKenny.


Ashlyn Cullifer, Miss Teen Florida International 2013 and Laura McKenny, Miss Teen Alabama International 2013

Caroline Crowley

Friday, April 19, 2013

Judging Mrs., Miss & Miss Teen Arkansas International

Before I participated in the National Pageant, I remember feeling very intimidated by the southern girls.  I knew that pageants were more popular and prevalent in the southern states and that many of those ladies were experienced.  I recently learned that this notation is TRUE!

Several weeks ago I was granted the privilege of judging the Mrs, Miss and Teen Arkansas pageant.  This pageant is directed by Mrs. Burnee Thurow, a true icon in the International pageant family.  She put together a lovely collection of contestants many of whom have returned for multiple years of competition because they enjoyed the experience so much.  There seems to be a great deal of community support for this event and I could tell that Miss Burnee had built an impressive network of appearance and volunteer opportunities for her winners.  

As many people will attest the role of judge is not easy.  Not only is a judge required to do their homework but they also need to avoid “comparing notes”.  We ladies love to discuss our opinions but judges are prohibited from doing so.  

Our first chance to see the contestant was during interviews and I was very impressed. All the ladies were primped and polished to perfection.  Not only did they look like winners, their southern charm and manners made me love each one of them.  Although many of the ladies were amazing, I was especially impressed by the teens who were actively involved in their communities.  Learning the benefits of service at an early age is wonderful and often overlooked by busy teens who are balancing school, extra circulars and just trying to find their way.  Most of them were far more focused than I was at 15.

As the final competition began, I’m sure I felt as much pressure as the contestant, because I have literally been in their shoes and I understand the pressure. The venue was very nice and production quality was very high.  The judges were intensely focused on trying to give each contestant our full attention.  Between segments, the current titleholders gave their farewell speeches.  This break in competition allows the judges a minute to relax, but I found myself completely absorbed as I listened to the emotional journeys of each graceful queen.  Kola Brown’s heartfelt words left me misty and wishing I had put on the waterproof mascara.

As the crowning moment was announced I became so excited, as I was not quite sure who would be the next Mrs, Miss or Teen AR.   As the queen’s court was called I watched as each contestant responded with pose and grace.  Then the newly crowned queens took their places as the 2013 titleholders.  Congratulations to all of you!

In between our judging duties, Miss Burnee’s husband Rick acted as host, chauffer and Judge’s coach.  He provided excellent care and attention as he shuttled us for lunch, dinner and various activities.  He is an absolute charmer and introduced me to several southern dishes; Cajun chicken and dumplings, and Crawfish bisque.  I would happily return to Little Rock for the hospitality and the food!

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Thursday, April 18, 2013

International Queens in the News!

Mrs. Iowa International 2013, LaSheila Yates

Mrs. Iowa International severed as a guest columnist for the Southeast Iowa STEM Newsletter to promoto her platform, engaging underrepresented populations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives. She provides some good tips for cross-cultural engagement STEM.

Mrs. Kansas International 2013, Tina Pulley

Mrs. Kansas International 2013 is Overland Park's Tina Pulley (Kansas City Live)


Mrs. Louisiana International 2013, Laura Valenti

Mrs. Louisiana International 2013's "The SHE-Selling Column" (What Now Magazine)

Mrs. Louisiana International pictured at the Go Red Fashion Show (New Orleans Magazine)

Mrs. Minnesota International 2013, Andrea Bennett Xiong

Woodbury Woman Becomes Mrs. Minnesota International for 2013 (Woodbury Patch)


Mrs. Northwest International 2013, Brandy Wendler 

Pageant winner, an RN, set to discuss celiac disease (Arizona Daily Star)


Mrs. Northwest International 2013, Brandy Wendler was featured in the newsletter for the Southern Arizona Celiac Support group.

Mrs. South Dakota International 2013, Shannon Rook

Mrs. South Dakota International 2013, Shannon Rook featured in this past month's issue of She Magazine on pages 9, 24 & 25!

Get to know a local celeb parent: Shannon Rook, Mrs. South Dakota International (The 'hood Magazine)

Miss New Jersey International 2013, Jenna Drew

Photos: Miss International Hoboken conquers state and Celiac disease -- now heads to international stage (The Jersey Journal/NJ.com)


Miss New York International 2013, Jesse Ladoue

Miss New York International 2013, Jesse Ladoue was featured on the homepage of the Syracuse Crunch website for dropping the ceremonial first puck!

Mrs. Tennessee International 2013, Ashley Wise

Ft. Campbell Spouse Crowned Mrs. TN International (Clarksville Now)