Monday, July 29, 2013

CASA. A Child's Voice.


CASA. A Child’s Voice.

What is CASA? It stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. We speak up in court for children who are removed from homes because of abuse and neglect. Although I have been a volunteer with child-based organizations since I was in college, I have been a CASA in Lake County, Illinois for 5-years. It has been one of the more challenging, yet most rewarding endeavors.

CASA came in to existence in 1977 because of Seattle Judge, David Soukup. (I believe he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.) He worried late in to the night about decisions he was making on behalf of abused and neglected children. There was little time and even less information to help the judge make good decisions which would forever impact a child’s life. So he began enlisting volunteer citizens to act as his eyes and ears for cases coming through his court.

Judge David Soukup.

Today, CASA has nearly 1000 program offices and 77-thousand volunteers across the United States. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, it’s a start. Much more must be done. For every child with a volunteer advocate, another two children must go it alone in the overburdened and underfunded child welfare system. Right now, 700-thousand children find themselves in the foster care and family court systems. These aren’t just a bunch of statistics. These are children. Some have never been told they are loved or special. Others have lived in conditions much like a horror film.

The U.S. has the highest rate of child abuse and neglect of any industrialized nation. Without a CASA, these young survivors are more likely to drop out of school and become teen parents. They may not receive needed services and they will be more likely to struggle with violent relationship and substance abuse issues. They do not deserve this type of forecast.

What is the best way to help CASA? We need to prevent abuse and neglect. Period. Until then, we need more advocates. And we need more money. This year our federal funding was chopped. That funding is desperately needed to train volunteers, start new programs and provide services for children we help.

I encourage you to open your heart to these children. We all need to speak up for their rights and their futures. It’s the least we can for those who deserve so much better than what they have endured.

www.CASAforChildren.org

www.CASALakeCounty.com

Be the change,

Amy Gregorio
Your Mrs. International 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

Art Imitates Life

A common expression is “Art imitates Life”.  It is not the finished product, but the process of making a painting that is like life.  It starts with an inspiration to go in a specific direction.  Then one has to gather the supplies and tools to pursue the goal.  Along the way, certain choices are questioned; perhaps some brush strokes seem wrong and must be corrected. Sometimes whole sections must be repeated.  At times it may seem that the original idea was more than one can achieve, too complicated, too far reaching.  When one reaches that point they may feel like casting the goal aside.  Knowing when to stop is so difficult.  So many questions and feelings of doubt can creep in.    You may ask yourself; will one more step bring it all together? Is this so messed up that there is no point in moving forward?

The need to salvage the work that has been started pushes one forward, but how to proceed continues to be a quandary?  Then it is time to step back an assemble a framework around all the work that has been done.  Getting some distance between the work and yourself can provide a different perspective – provide clarity around the next step.  Feedback from a trusted friend can provide the spark that ignites the solution.  The final piece can come together slowly, then suddenly, there it is, you know that you have it just right and the feeling is like completing a marathon.  You have done it and it all has come together – that initial flutter of an idea flew and then softly landed, a feeling of accomplishment floods your heart!

To quote a lovely young lady who inspired me, “let faith replace Fear and pursue your dreams!”  Remember it is the process that matters, not the finished product.

Art Heals!!

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thank You Class of 2012

 As we begin the oh so anticipated 2013 competition week, I can't help but think of all of the wonderful people that have played such an important role in my life throughout this year.

A chaperone told us that often times, the girl that feels the most lonely at the end of the week is the girl with the crown. However, in my case, this statement was far from true.

The Class of 2012 was full of vivacious, confident, beautiful, and truly genuine young ladies. The friends I made last year have been my biggest support system throughout the year. I distinctly remember being afraid that no one would want to talk to me at the Coronation Ball.

However, ALL of my precious friends were so excited for me! Their reaction spoke volumes about the type of ladies they are. It has been such an honor to represent the Class of 2012. I will forever treasure the friendships we made!

All my love,
"Alabama"

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meet Your New Mrs. International 2013 - Amy Gregorio!

It has still not sunk in I am the new Mrs. International. This wonderful picture from Paula Preston helps!

Well, hello there!

Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Amy Gregorio and beyond honored to be Mrs. International 2013. Considering the extraordinary women who are a part of our 2013 Mrs. International class, it is a great privilege to represent them and the Mrs. International pageant system this year.

How did I get here? It is by way of several states, some unexpected but earned opportunities, and because of a very large village of family and friends.

I was born in Michigan and from there my family moved to Texas, New York, South Carolina, Washington, and back to Michigan just after high school. That’s where I went to Western Michigan University and graduated with a B.A. in Communication Studies and a minor in Political Science.

I was not the classic four-year grad. It took me 6-years to finish because I worked for 5-years as a spokesperson with a major car company. Travelling the country over 100-days a year was perhaps the best preparation for taking on the world of broadcasting.

36-hours spent covering the Timothy McVeigh execution for CBS

Professionally, I spent 12-years working as “AJ Sterling.”  An Emmy nominated TV journalist, I was voted, ”Best Reporter,” by the Associated Press. That particular award will always be a favorite of mine as it was based on a culmination of my work rather than just a minute and a half long story. Over the years, my reports have appeared on CBS, CNN, and Fox while working in the tri-cities of Tennessee, Nashville, Indianapolis and Chicago. I feel like I have seen it all and covered it in abbreviated form, meeting four US Presidents and a multitude of other leaders while reporting on many historical events.

Covering Super Bowls, riots and flying with the Red Barons has been thrilling, but not as exciting as life with my husband, John. He and I are the perfect mix of opposites.  He is an attorney with a firm in Chicago as he was when my sister-in-law, Summer, set us up while I was still in Indy. After a year of long-distance dating, we were engaged and I was soon moving to Chicago and planning a wedding. That was ten years ago. We are about to celebrate 9-years of marriage already!

Our fabulous foursome this past November at our nephew’s wedding in Boca Grande.

We are the extremely proud, over protective parents to 7-year old Johnny and 5-year old Ali. We love them to the moon and back and I still can’t come to grips with the fact they are growing up so quickly.  It’s not fair! Make it stop!

I wish every child had the life Johnny and Ali have.  To be loved and to feel special…to know they are safe and can go somewhere at night when they hear thunder or wake with a nightmare. Sadly, that is NOT the case.  In fact, some children never hear the words, “I love you,” or are told they are valuable.  The nightmares come from what they have seen or endured.

That is why I am a CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocate, in Lake County.  It is not just passion of mine, it is who I AM. After spending years covering the fallout of abuse and neglect, I took a step back from broadcasting and researched ways to use my skills on behalf of abused and neglected children. I am part of CASA’s Speaker’s Bureau and serve as a National CASA Ambassador. It has allowed me to partner with Prevent Child Abuse America and Child Help. Anything we can do to prevent the abuse and neglect is good for, “our,” children and for CASA. I will tell you more about CASA in the upcoming blog posts.  I could go on and on and on about my love of CASA and all those working to help these sweet babies who need someone to protect them and their rights to a life free from fear. So, that is just a little about me;) As you will find this year, I plan to tell the stories of those CASA helps, the class of 2013 and those I meet along the way.  It is such an exciting time that I am learning how to go to sleep while many plans are floating around in my mind.

XOXO,

Amy Gregorio 
Your Mrs. International 2013


Mrs. International 2013 Finals

On Saturday night I witnessed the crowning of a new Mrs. Int’l while honoring the remarkable year of service by Mrs. International 2012, Sarah Bazey. With the husbands decked out in suits and tuxedos it was a truly glamorous event. Talented co-hosts, who also doubled as entertainment, created a glamorous and entertaining evening. I even got to sit up in the box suite!!


My favorite portion of the competition is the presentation of the individual platforms.  The variety of platforms and the personal stories connected with each contestant was both impressive and moving.  With my interest in at-risk and abused children I was pleased to learn that our new Mrs. International supports and advocates for children who need safe homes through CASA. All of the contestants should be very proud of their accomplishments because it takes a tremendous amount of work, dedication, and confidence to get onto that big bright stage. 

Following the crowing was the Coronation after party.  This is a time for all the contestants to let down their hair, enjoy a party atmosphere and finally eat some carbs. I joined in on these festivities thankful that I was not under the pressure of performing this year.

I really enjoyed begin able to meet the contestants personally and hear about their experience during the week of competition.  I was quite surprised by the number of contestants who told me that they had enjoyed reading my blog.  Of course, I had hoped that someone was reading but blogging is a one-sided event with limited feedback.  Being able to hear that my words had touched another women’s heart was an unexpected blessing. A very humble thanks you to all who have followed me throughout the year. I am speechless and in awed by your support and praise for my accomplishments.  

It was very emotional watching Sarah Bazey crown her successor. For those of you who don’t know, Sarah and I met while competing at the Minnesota State pageant. of course, the second she opened her mouth I knew she was someone special who had a profound story to tell. I have always been inspired by her motivation to keep going when it seems like the world is caving in on you. Her confidence, elegant, poise and charm is like no one else I have every met. 

She is so generous; she invited me to New York City with her and literally showed me around the city, Sarah style. We went to Broadway, the New York Burn Center Hospital, ate New York style Pizza, and were accommodated by Harvard. It was a week I will never forget and I am so thankful to have gotten to spend not only my state title with her but to continue our reign together at nationals as well. I love you Sarah and I hope our relationship can continue long into the future. 

All my love, 

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Competition Week: Your Best "You"

As you make last minute preparations for the 2013 Miss Teen International pageants, you are probably packing tons of gorgeous gowns, fabulous make-up, and your favorite hair styling tools. You may have remembered to bring a sewing kit, extra earrings, and other last minute necessities. However, the most valuable thing you can bring to competition is your very best "you"!!

What exactly does that mean? Well, to be your best, you must be at peace with any outcome, have a positive self image, and come to the competition with a selfless goal in mind. Need some explanation?

Well, when I say, "be at peace with any outcome," I mean that you need to mentally prepare yourself for any outcome and know in you heart that a crown WILL NOT CHANGE YOU! No, the crown does not have super powers. It won't make you more talkative or more beautiful. It will, however, open more doors for you to serve people all over the world! You should also be prepared to win!! Ask yourself, "What would be my ultimate goal as Miss Teen International 2013?" If you are blessed with this beautiful Earthly crown, you will be ready to put your fabulous plan into action!

You should also have a positive self image. The Lord made us all beautiful and unique in very different ways! No, we don't all have the same color hair or the same body types, but in the end, none of that really matters! If you let your inner beauty shine, it will radiate outward and glorify God in all that you do!

Finally, come with a selfless goal in mind! If you come to the pageant simply wanting to win the crown, you will miss out on countless opportunities! If you come to the pageant with a servant's heart, you will have the opportunities to touch so many lives, raise awareness about your platform, and possibly gain more volunteers for your organization! What more could you ask for? I also made so many amazing friends last year that I am still in touch with because we weren't focused on the competition but rather on making lasting memories!

All my love,

Caroline

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

After the Crown

Although I am feeling a large range and mix of emotions about giving up my crown, I am excited about my plans after the crown. Sometimes, I think people see titleholders as these perfect “celebrity” like people who live glamorous and stress free lives. For me, that is certainly not the case. But I must admit, this past year, as Miss International was pretty fantastic thanks to the support of my family and sponsors.

I was able to leave my part time job as a Mental Health worker at Catholic Charities caring for 18 mentally ill adults during the grave yard shift from 11pm to 7am every weekend, as well as put school on hold for a semester to focus all my efforts on my travels and appearances. Not every titleholder has the ability and support to do that and it is certainly not required, so I consider myself very blessed. But before the crown I was an average college girl trudging around campus in sweatpants and a messy bun, eating Ramen Noodles and Easy Mac.

Transitioning from this fabulous year back to “normal life” will be challenging I am sure.  In order to save money this year I moved home from school and in with my parents. Which has its advantages, and disadvantages for a 24-year-old young woman looking for independence. I love the free laundry and healthy cooking though!

In August I will start going back to Graduate school, working on my Masters at Alfred Adler a small specialty psychology Institute. I am looking forward to getting back into my art and art therapy and further developing my professional skills. I will also be job hunting as soon as my crown is handed over to a new titleholder. Job-hunting is not the most enjoyable process but I am eager to get back into the routine of having a job, and a paycheck of course. I am hoping to find a job that utilizes the skills I have gained through this year.

Because of my title, I have been asked to start volunteering as co-host of a children’s television show produced and broadcasted throughout the Minnesota Children’s Hospital. We play live games and have the kids call in and chat with us about different topics and next month I will be giving live princess lessons. It is a great way for the kids to feel connected and apart of something every week.  I will be working closely with the Child Life Specialist, which is ultimately the job I want someday!  Hopefully my creative skills and compassionate heart will impress them enough to hire me as their assistant, fingers crossed!

Other than getting back into school and work, I have tried to keep the next phase of my life open and free. This past year has been very structured and organized so having some free time to catch up with friends at the lake or go on a spontaneous road trip will be a welcomed way of living. I will of course continue to mentor through the Free Arts Minnesota program as well as volunteer at local Go red events, American Heart Association events, and advocating for the benefits of art and art education in my state. In the next phase of my life I see myself doing more one on one personal work instead of being in the public eye so much. Instead of speaking to an entire audience about art and creative expression, I want to personally help someone find their voice through art and use it to heal for the rest of their lives. Finishing my education will be the first step towards that new way of sharing my purpose.

“It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters.”
― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

Thanks for following!

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Monday, July 15, 2013

What I’ve Gained from Pageants

My mom, or as some pageant gals like to call her, Mama Wanous, is constantly being asked about my year and how it has affected me. “Was the time, money, and stress worth it?” Without hesitation, she always says, “YES! It was worth every penny, every second, every argument, every sleepless night and caffeine fueled day. I think we can all agree that pageants are great risk, great reward, and that is what makes them great. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Everyday was not easy for us and my needs this year certainly took a toll on my family but what I have gained from this pageant system is priceless.

I have gained skills I never would have gotten from a formal education or even a job. I was personally motivated in a way I had never been before. My drive to succeed gave me control and reason and purpose everyday. My new insight to see myself as a person who could use their past experiences to recreate a new purpose driven life was something you just can’t teach someone, they have to find it on their won. I used to be shy, quiet and reserved. Now, I am confident in myself, my ideas, my thoughts, my conversations, and my ability to carry on a conversation about anything with anyone! I feel a sense of self worth that I never had before. Before the crown I saw myself as an average, maybe even below average kind of girl. It is incredible what you can become when you see your life through God’s vision.

After winning Miss Minnesota International I was bombarded with love from this enormous group of past titleholders and contestants. Right then and there I gained a family I never had. As an only child with a handful of cousin’s spread around the country, sometimes you feel like you are all alone. Now, I truly have sisters all over my state and after Miss International; I have sisters all over the world! I don’t mean I gained supporters just because I won a sparkly hat; I gained these women’s love because we shared a common passion to serve others selflessly.  I also learned small things like how to speak to and communicate with people of any race or background, how to shake a hand confidently, how to take control of a boardroom full of business men, how to ask for what I want, how to smile through quivering cheeks, how to be charming and how to be gracious, how to travel, how to improvise, and how to laugh it off when things didn’t go as planned. The list could continue for pages… the point is parents; I have gained more life skills from this experience than I could have gained anywhere!

I have grown from an awkward young girl looking for direction to a confident, powerful, driven mature woman with future plans. It may seem like a normal way of maturing but I can say with no doubts that I would not be who I am today without this pageant. I am sure I would still be on the same path I as headed before the pageant, one with little direction, thought, reason, or purpose. I was alive but I wasn’t living.  I know it was God and Him alone that brought me to the International system, because He knew nothing else would spark my passion like a system focused on volunteering and serving a personal platform.  I am so indescribably grateful for everyone who has crossed my path this year.

I know God was been directing my steps towards you and every conversation, encounter and smile was His plan. Trust in His plan, you were made by God for God. The best tool and advice I can give to contestants is, trust in him. Give all the stress and worry to him. You have to accept that his plan may not lead you to the crown, but He will lead you to your purpose, and isn’t that kind of the same thing? You don’t need sparkles on your head to do great things; you just need Him on your side.

The most valuable thing I have gained his year is stronger faith and confident faith. Inspired by the openness of Jurnee Carr and her faith I found a new strength in myself through Him. I felt a wave of calmness come over me on stage during finals night because I trusted in his plan for me, with or without the crown, and I was content with His decision. This calm strength has followed me through my year and has only gotten stronger. I know this is where I was meant to be and I am so sad to see it end but I am thrilled to get to know the new contestants and of course, our new queen! Good luck ladies and leading up to the week of competition remember and reflect on how far you have come and everything you have gained from this wonderful, sparkly, adventure.

“God intentionally allows you to go through painful experiences to equip you for ministry to others.”
― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

All my love,

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

New Channel 11 DayTime Tri Cities!

It was a sincere pleasure to meet Amy Lynn, Host of DayTime Tri Cities on News Channel 11. She was the emcee for the Queen of Hearts event, and we quickly discovered that not only are we both Minnesota girls, but figure skaters as well!

Amy mentioned her participation with Queen of Hearts on an earlier show. I was thrilled to see that she not only highlighted the accomplishments of the young ladies who raised money for the American Heart Association, but she also gave the Mrs. International crown some press along with her co-host!

If you would like to see the video, here is the link and you can find her comments around the 3:50 min mark:  http://www.wjhl.com/video?clipId=8775119&autostart=true

With the lovely Amy Lynn!

With sincere appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts Gala is the American Heart Association’s longest running event! The late Mr. and Mrs. Buddy Crump developed the concept in 1964, which began as a community service project within the Tri-Cities area in Tennessee. Today the event has evolved into a prestigious honor and has raised over $2.25 million dollars!

The event commenced with a reception hour, prior to a very nice buffet dinner, a short program was hosted by the beautiful Amy Lynn from News Channel 11 (who happens to be another Minnesota girl!), Whitney Allen-Carr shared some remarks, I was asked to make some comments, along with the daughter of the Crumps. Finally, the “Queen of Hearts” was named and then the music & dancing began. It was a fun evening and the ladies looked fabulous with their handsome escorts!

Queen of Hearts 2013!

Most impressive, these lovely young ladies who competed for the “Queen of Hearts” collectively raised $62,500 for the AHA! Thank you to Whitney, Lauren, and Pam for allowing me to participate in this wonderful tradition.

Hope you enjoy the photos:

Danika and Lauren

The lovely Whitney 

With Pam

With Amy  

Successful fundraising!

Loved his bow tie!

Beautiful young ladies!


Congratulations to all the young ladies who participated and the organizers who continue to carry on the Queen of Hearts!

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Friday, July 12, 2013

Contemplating Competition

As I reflect on my own experience as I prepared for Chicago one year ago, I have to say that I arrived feeling as though I had left no stone un-turned and ready to compete. As an individual who loves to compete and has done so for most of my life in; figure skating, pageantry, and the construction industry, I have a philosophy that you may or may not agree with…regardless, here are my thoughts for you to contemplate:

  1. A true competitor prepares to be their very best, and lives by the mantra, “I can only control ME.” 
  2. Trying to compete against others will only cause frustration. I can promise you that I was not the youngest, the thinnest, the tallest, the prettiest, or any number of labels at the pageant last year…however, I was the best me I could be!
  3. The devil is in the details, and a good competitor shows up knowing they have done the hard work, therefore, they can be in the moment and perform at the highest level with ease.
  4. Be certain you understand what it means to win the title for which you are competing, and if you win, do you have a strategy for your reign. Even though I knew winning was statistically a long shot, I prepared as though I would become Mrs. International and was able to articulate to myself, my husband, and the judges exactly what I hoped to accomplish. On a very personal level, I never spoke about winning out loud because that is how I was raised, but internally you have to be able to believe in the possibility….
  5. Any good competitor knows where the points add up. In this system interview carries the most weight, therefore, be absolutely prepared for fitness and evening gown, but give interview the attention it deserves. For the formal judges interview, the best advice is simply to be you! If you win, you will be sharing conversations about your platform, the pageant system, your family, where you live, etc…everyday with people from all walks of life! These judges will want to know who you are, because you will become the face of the International Pageant System. 
  6. That said, do not under estimate the importance of the value for On-Stage Interview, both the prepared speech and the Q & A. In this case, it is not as much the point value, as the placement in the competition and the effect your performance will have on you as the competitor, the judges decisions, and your connection with the audience. A tip I love to share…I added my 30 second speech to my daily cardio workout for several months. When the treadmill timer hit the top of a minute, I would rehearse my speech and time it, massage it, and the result was a feeling so comfortable on stage, that I honestly felt as though I was talking to my best friend in an intimate setting. Even if you add it to your travel toward Chicago it will make you more confident! As for answering the question, the best advice is to be in the moment, listen, and answer the question with the confidence that you know your platform.
  7. It is critical to pace yourself throughout the week; rest whenever possible, bring items that ground you (I had two framed photos of my wedding day and Tonka, and an Aveda candle), make certain to drink water and consume healthy calories, I needed a wrap during rehearsals because I hate being cold, give your feet a break as much as possible, because you will be asking a lot of them during the pageant itself, and breath! 
  8. Competition is really a journey, not simply an end result. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet incredible women from different cultures and each with unique experiences. Do yourself a favor and get to know each other…I promise you will treasure the memories! 
  9. A classy competitor believes in good sportsmanship – win or lose. One of my most revered moments happened in my own home, by myself, curled up in a chair, when I put in the DVD of last year and watched the final moments of the pageant. When I saw the reaction of the amazing women in the Class of 2012 as my name was called, I burst into tears…of overwhelming joy…and was filled with a deep sense of humility. I had no idea the women behind me in their gorgeous gowns had cheered, high-fived, and hugged in a moment when many could feel less than joyful. Believe me when I say I have lost more pageants than I have won…and I know…how beautiful inside and out these women truly are!
  10. If you have made it to Chicago, you are already blessed and you are already a WINNER! Just remember there are so many women throughout the world who have thought about competing in a pageant, but for a variety of reasons never take the first step. You had the guts to do it, and that is a WIN in life…and if you believe…God has a plan for each and every one of us.

My very best wishes to each of you, and I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes of all time by Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Thursday, July 11, 2013

International Queens in the News!

Mrs. Alabama International 2013, Ashley Bentley


Ashley Bentley of Sterrett crowned Mrs. Alabama International (Alabama.com)

Mrs. Asia International 2013, Karli Bose




Mrs. Australia International 2013, Jordaine Chattaway

(Advertiser Messenger)

Mrs. Colorado International 2013, Tammy Caison

Mrs Colorado International 2013, Tammy Caison, is featured on the Hammond's Candies website.
http://www.hammondscandies.com/

Mrs Colorado International 2013, Tammy Caison, judged the "Conifer Luge Races". (Slide Number 5) (Conifer Chamber of Commerce)
http://www.goconifer.com/

(American Dream Magazine)

Mrs. Georgia International 2013, Trudie Davies-Davis

(Northside Woman)

Atlanta's Quilted Northern Soft & Strong® Champions - Trudy Davies-Davis (Quilted Northern)
http://quiltednorthern.com/champ_atlanta2013.html


Mrs. India International 2013, Amita Motwani

Mrs. India 2013 Amita Piyush Motwani will represent the country in the upcoming Mrs. International contest  (The Hindu)
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/going-global/article4764370.ece


Miss Louisiana International 2013, Ashley Hebert

Alumna to represent state in Miss International pageant (The Daily Reveille)
http://www.lsureveille.com/entertainment/article_205f9278-d962-11e2-b728-0019bb30f31a.html

Mrs. Louisiana International 2013, Laura Valenti

(Laura Valenti featured as keynote speaker for Louisiana Entrepreneur Fest) 

(June 2013 SHE-Selling Column - What Now Magazine)

(HYP President Laura Valenti  on HTV10)

Business owners invited to Louisiana Entrepreneurship Fest (Terrebonne Economic Development Authority)
http://terrebonneeda.com/2013/06/04/business-owners-invited-to-louisiana-entrepreneurship-fest/


Mrs. Mexico International 2013, Gisel Merrifield 

Mrs. Mexico Visits Castro Elementary and Plays the Violin (Mountain View Patch)
http://mountainview.patch.com/groups/schools/p/mrs-mexico-visits-castro-elementary-and-plays-the-violin

Mrs. Nebraska International 2013, Maggi Thorne

State boxing champ crowned Mrs. Nebraska International (Journal Star)
http://journalstar.com/niche/star-city-sports/news/state-boxing-champ-crowned-mrs-nebraska-international/article_8c667f99-0a36-5554-b621-2dd05253d369.html


Mrs. New Zealand International 2013, Bola Harpprecht

Kiwi mother off to world wife pageant (3 News New Zealand)
http://www.3news.co.nz/Kiwi-mother-off-to-world-wife-pageant/tabid/418/articleID/303219/Default.aspx

Mrs. North Dakota International 2013, Jennifer Mauch

(News-Monitor)

Jen Mauch Mrs. North Dakota Interview (DJ Rumble)
http://djrumble82290.podomatic.com/entry/2013-06-14T12_01_41-07_00

Mrs ND Jennifer Mauch Talks with Bill Dablow
http://25834.podomatic.com/entry/2013-06-18T08_09_18-07_00

Mrs. Ohio International 2013, Marie Crum

Pageant winner on a mission: Mrs. Ohio International inspired by son-in-law (The Marietta Times)
http://www.mariettatimes.com/page/content.detail/id/552652/Pageant-winner-on-a-mission.html?nav=5002

Mrs. Oregon International 2013, Christine Wooley

(Architectural Heritage Center Newsletter) 

(The Winged M)

Miss South Africa International -2013 - Shajar Khan

Miss South Dakota International 2013, Mariah Logan


Brandon woman is Miss S.D. International (Brandon Info)
http://www.brandoninfo.com/article/20130619/NEWS/130619005/1001

Miss Teen International South Africa 2013 - Simone Meyer

Miss Teen International SA joins Bully Proof cause (JAG Foundation)
http://jagfoundation.org.za/?p=926

Mrs. Vermont International 2013, Elizabeth Wesson

Williston VT Woman Crowned Mrs. VT International (Fox News44/ABC 22)

http://www.fox44abc22yourvoice.com/story/22569299/williston-vt-woman-crowned-mrs-vt-international


Mrs. Virginia International 2013, Amber Wandtke

(Mrs. Virginia International Amber Wandtke Speaks to Commemorate PTSD Awareness Day)

Mrs. Virginia pictured at the Newman Family Health Mart Pharmacy Grand Opening (The Citizen of Chesapeake) 
http://thecitizenofchesapeake.com/2013/06/02/newman-pharmacy-grand-opening/

Mrs. Virginia was the Special Guest at the 6th Annual Victory for Vets Charity Golf Tournament (Lakeview Golf Club)

Event lets wounded warriors go skydiving (WTVR)
http://wtvr.com/2013/05/19/event-lets-wounded-warriors-go-skydiving/

Mrs. Virginia featured in several slide shows (Advance Health Solutions)
http://www.advancehealthsolutions.com/2013/

Mrs. Virginia at the 2nd Annual HAVA/ACADEMI National Family Day The Tactical Wire)

Mrs. Virginia pictured at the Hampton Redevelopment and Housing Authority Father's Day Program (Hampton Redevelopment & Housing Authority)
http://www.hrha.org/downloads/Forms/Fathers%20Day%202013.pdf

(WTKR Channel 3)


(CBS 6)

(Mrs Virginia featured on the cover of The Platform Magazine)

Mrs. Wisconsin International 2013, Jayne Black

(American Dream Magazine)

Travel Tips for a Queen

After traveling more than 100,000 miles throughout the world as Mrs. International, I have learned a trick or two that I would love to share with the International Class of 2013. Please keep in mind, my husband and I spent several weeks on the Asian Pacific tour and the European tour with many appearances by taking only carry-on luggage. If you are well traveled, you know that the flexibility carry-on offers with tight connections and flight changes is invaluable! Whether you are traveling internationally or domestic, I hope these tips will make your experience just a little bit better!

Departing for European Tour

Travel tips for a Queen:

Crown & Sash – Start with a staging area within your home that you accumulate the items that will travel with you, as leaving your crown or sash behind would be quite unfortunate. Make certain you have a protected carrier to assure the crown and sash are not damaged in any way. I purchased a crown case from Holly Hardwick for travel, which looks like an elegant hat box and then I made two foam inserts covered in chocolate brown velvet with a slit to secure the center rhinestones to assure the crown could not move. I always keep the sash with my crown in the case for two reasons; one, the sash can easily snag items if not wrapped properly and two, they are typically worn together.

Attire & Accessories – Selection of outfits for each appearance, and keeping in mind you are representing your title on all of the in between travel days or adventures, takes planning and coordination. I specifically selected items that were made of travel friendly fabrics and could be mixed and matched to give completely different looks. For materials that do not travel well, I use a hot shower to steam (being careful to keep item from getting wet) and blow dryer to finish off. Layering is also extremely important; as the weather in our Asian Pacific tour went from winter climate in Japan to tropical in Hawaii. Accessories are essential with this type of travel, since a scarf alone can transform an outfit. For example, on a recent trip to Las Vegas, I wore a white skirt and top with a red scarf for a meeting with the local American Heart Association and then removed the scarf in the cab ride to a local hospital to tour a burn center and added a turquoise necklace, bracelet and earring set. If it were not so hot, I would have added a sweater to alter the look further.

Preparation & Packing – Giving yourself as much time as possible to pack in advance is critical. As mentioned above, I use a staging area in a spare bedroom and start making piles of complete outfits as I schedule appearances. Knowing in advance when many, but not all of the outfits will be worn, I actually pack in chronological order. Another helpful item is the use of travel bags, which are very light weight zippered bags with mesh or clear plastic. I pack night clothes, accessories, lingerie, socks, workout items, etc. in these bags and pull them out to throw into drawers in my hotel room, which gives me several advantages; you can ultimately use them to separate clean from worn clothing, these are items used daily, and it frees up space in the suitcase for re-organizing as you travel from city to city. A final tip on packing is use every square inch! I roll items inside each pair of shoes, fill every corner and crevice of every suitcase or bag, stuff each clutch or purse with jewelry or accessories, and I packed my favorite LV tote emptied and flattened into a roller-board to give me options for carrying essentials while attending appearances.

Physical & Psychological – Do not take the toll on your body or mind for granted! Starting with your feet, I live in high heels, but always carry a pair of fabulous flats to match each outfit with me. Give your feet a break whenever possible, and it is truly the only way to move quickly through airports and train stations. In many countries walking is far more prevalent than the United States and cobble stones or stairs are everywhere. Always have a wrap, scarf, or sweater to stay warm, especially if you may be moving from outside to inside or daytime to evening. During travel itself, drink as much water as possible and keep snacks like protein bars, nuts, or dried fruit with you at all times. To look fresh, I keep my “TSA approved liquids bag” within reach so that I can dab my roller Flower Bomb perfume, keep my lips soft with Clay Spann lip gloss, powder as needed, and pop a mint or fresh breath spray in my mouth. Staying healthy is an absolute must! Just as with any job, being able to rise to the occasion for each and every appearance takes energy and good health. Getting as much sleep as possible (which was my biggest challenge), being creative with workouts on the road, eating healthy, and keeping your immune system boosted with vitamins or in my case Airborne chewables are all imperative.

Further, I opted to accept and attend every single appearance request that was made, with the only exception being a conflict of an appearance already booked. Having a clear mission for my reign, making certain I had the support in place to accomplish my mission both at home and at work, and believing this journey was God’s plan for me gave me the foundation and peace of mind to give my all to this magical year.

Again, I hope these words are helpful as you make your way to Chicago. Travel safely and know that I am excited beyond words to meet each of you!

Warmest Regards,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Goodbye, Sarah

I remember very distinctly the feelings of excitement that surged through my body as I sat in my room (at about 3am) after being crowned Miss Teen International 2012. I was absolutely thrilled beyond words to have gained a new title. However, it never really occurred to me that I would gain two absolutely amazing sisters! Unfortunately, in a little over a week, I will watch of them give up her title as Mrs. International 2012.

I have had the pleasure of reigning alongside Sarah Bazey throughout this year. She is an absolute inspiration to every person that she meets, and she always leaves a lasting impression on his or her heart. I have learned many valuable lessons about dedication, hard work, and perseverance from Sarah. I know that I will carry a piece of her with me throughout my life. I am so very thankful for the love, support, and hospitality Sarah has shown to my family and me throughout this past year.

We have shared so many wonderful memories together....and LOTS of laughs! Although it is almost time to say goodbye to “my” Mrs. International 2012, I know that the bond we have created will last a lifetime!


Thank you, Sarah, for being my role model and my sister! I love you very much!

Love and CUPCAKES,

Caroline

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Staying Organized at Nationals

For those of you who know me closely, you know I am not always the most organized person. With the help of Mama Wanous, I always create a spreadsheet for long pageant weeks so I know what to grab between appearances. Below are examples of my 2012 and 2013 wardrobe spreadsheets. Now that I have done this a few times I don’t have to be quite as detailed but last year at nationals I had many columns for shoes, jewelry, and needed items like autograph cards or snacks if I was on the go during a meal time. Doing this just makes transitioning between events easy and quick. Sometimes you may only have 15 minutes to eat lunch, change clothes and be back in the lobby ready for head count. For these moments, you will thank me for this spreadsheet technique.

But the spreadsheet is not the only organizational tool that will help you stay calm. First, bring a garment rack with you to nationals! The closets are tiny and you will safe yourself a big headache by bringing an extra place to hang dresses. I also suggest organizing your wardrobe by day. You can make your spreadsheet more detailed than mine and separate each event by day. For example, I would take one large garment bag and label it “Monday”. Inside I would put the clothes I need for that day. Last year on Monday I needed an arrival outfit, unpacking outfit, going to family dinner dress, and my orientation dress. I put all these items in the bag and zipped it up. Then did the same thing for each day of the week. I had my accessories in a clear jewelry bag with multiple zip pockets that I hung on my garment rack next to my garment bags so I could easy check my spreadsheet and find the coordinating jewelry. I had all my shoes laid out around the perimeter of the room so I didn’t have to dig through a big clumsy bag. Doing these small simple things will save you time and stress in a big way. So, sit down with our official handbook schedule and figure out every single thing you will be doing on each day during competition week and start making a plan. I suggest bringing a handful of extra dresses just in case our agenda changes or you have an unexpected outing.


Other tips:
- Bring a plastic tablecloth to hang in your shower if you plan on spray tanning in your room.
- Bring a natural sleep aid to help quiet your mind after long days. Get as much sleep as possible!
- Bring small snacks you can throw in your bag and eat throughout rehearsals and outings.
- Bring a Tide to-go stick!
- Bring a lint roller.
- Always keep eyelash glue in your purse.
- Drink tons of water!
- Take a natural diuretic three days before finals night to get your skin toned and firm for stage.
- Take lots of pictures. You will want to remember this week forever.
- Smile and have fun!!


CHICAGO 2012


Event
Outfit
Shoes
Jewels/Other
Sat
MRS Finals
Black Peplum (Brie)
Black Pump
Rhinestone Balls and Bracelete
Mon
Arrival
Coral Dress
Nude
Rose Gold

Orientation 8pm
Cream Dress - Bri's
Strappy Nude
4 stone cream
Tues
Breakfast / sash
Blue BEBE Dress
Nude
Blue Cuff/gold metal dangle

Downtown Chicago Zoo
Lace Back Dress
Bling Bootie
Clear Gem Stone Necklace

Boys & Girls Club
Same



Dinner - Group Photo
Black  gown
Stripper
Rhinestones/Spanx

Inspiration Talk-cocktail
Same


Wed
Breakfast / sash
Purple Dress Bri's
Purple
Bri's jewels

Rehearsal
Green Sequin dress
Nude Strap
gold earrings and bracelete cuff

Lunch




Rehearsal
Red Cache Dress
Red Earrings
Red Ruffles

Princess Ball - Crown & Sash
New Pink Princess from Glitz
Junos
Big Rhinestones

Dinner -
Besty Johnson - White flower
Black Pump
Forever 21 Clip on Earrings and cuff

Rehearsal
same


Thurs
Breakfast / sash
Cream & gold foil dress
Gold Earrings
Nude Strappy

Private Interviews
White Peplum w/Seed Beads
Nude Strap
PIN, pearl AB Niila earrings

Lunch



Judges
Rehearsal
Black Corronation
Nudes
Big Black rhinestones

Teen Preliminaries
Red gown
Junos
Dangle ALDO Earrings
Fri
Breakfast / sash
Wht Blouse & Pleated blue skirt
Strappy Nude
Forever 21 cuff and clip on earrings
Judges
Reheasal
Aqua beaded Dress
Junos
Aqua Brie Earrings

Lunch
Water Color
Juno
Dark metal colored stone earrings
Judges
Rehearsal
Gold Sequins
Juno or Nude
Gold Cuff Gold earrings

Miss Prelimaries



Sat
Breakfast / sash



Judges
Reheasal
Cream & Gold Fun Fashion



Lunch
Red Ruffle with Black Pencil


Judges
Rehearsal
Pink Feather Cocktail



Finals




Coronation Ball
???



CHICAGO 2013

Event
Clothes
Car ride
Black Titlewear warm-up set
Mrs, Prelims
Mrs. Finals
White Rhinestone top dress
Purple Fringe Gown
Orientation
Orange Dress
Chicago Day
Purple jumpsuit
Dinner
White Winning Gown
Interview
White ruffle dress
Hospital
Blue belted dress
Autograph/pre-prelims
Red sequin back
Miss Prelims stage
Question: Black Mermaid
Awards: Pink FF Ruffle gown
Teen prelims
Black with big shoulders
Record speech, rehearsals
Beaded bottom white
Pre-finals
Gold Gown
Crowning
Question: Purple Fringe Gowns
Crowning: custom red


Other clothes to bring for out and about/back-ups:

Cocktails:
Feather pink
Blue sequins
Black sequin swirl
Purple sequins

Sundresses:
Bright Flowery
Thailand white
Thailand blue

Shoes:
Strappy nude
Old strappy nude back ups
Black gold heel
Fake Louies
Junos
8” Strippers


When you are done creating your spreadsheet, print it out, clip it to a pants hanger, and hang it on the end of your garment rack for easy access and visibility.
I hope this helps!

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012