Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Buddies!

They aren’t kidding when they say, “It’s more than just baseball!” Being a buddy at the Miracle League for the past two years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Nothing makes me happier than interacting with these incredible little athletes! The coaches and staff tell you how much of an impact you will have on the baseball players when you register, but honestly they are the ones that have had such a strong impact on me. The positive energy, collaboration, and excitement at the ballpark is contagious!!!

Bella was so excited to try on my crown!

I had a blast being Eli’s buddy!

Jakayla was so much fun to play with!

The coolest part of this organization to me is that these children are overcoming obstacles to achieve their goals! Many people think that only the “typical athlete” can really be active. However, every game day these kids come out and prove that judgment wrong! It isn’t about being a certain height, having a particular build, or even your skill level at a sport that makes you an athlete. It’s about the desire to want to play and his or her persistence that counts! The children at the Miracle League don’t let their disabilities hold them back but instead work even harder to overcome the odds. It is truly inspiring!

They were in awe of my crown! It was so cute!


If you believe in something, believe in it all the way!

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Mrs. California International Pageant 2015

I was honored to attend the Mrs. California International 2015 pageant as Miss International 2014! This was such an amazing experience for me because it felt as if my journey had come full circle. I had competed in Eddie Peterson’s state International pageant back in October of 2006. It was my second pageant ever! So, It was wonderful to be able to see him and the new Miss and Miss Teen California International directors because they were at the beginning of my Miss International journey all those years ago!


What a fierce competition this years pageant was! Beautiful married women from all over the state of California came together to celebrate marriage, family and service! I was so impressed by all of their unique and diverse platforms! Each and every single woman made a lasting impact on me.


I was so happy to be able to spend some time with the official hair and makeup sponsors of the International Pageants- Thomas Dunn Studios! Thomas was a judge at the pageant and helped pick the new Mrs. California International 2015! Suzy Boots- author of “Creating Queens- Secrets in Pageantry” was also a judge! It was such an honor to be able to see both her and Thomas!


Congratulations to Melissa Vanni your new Mrs. California International 2015!


Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

College Football Game Day Experience

“HUSKER……POWER…….HUSKER…..POWER”

video

As the crowd roared the mighty chant of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, it was an amazing feeling to be on the field, but not for what you might be thinking where this moment of being spotlighted as Mrs. International 2014 is about to happen.

Waiting to be introduced to the crowd at the Nebraska Football Game on Tom Osborne Field

My husband Fred played football at Nebraska and it was his first time on the field during a game since he last ran out through the tunnel walk as a Husker. Fred is a very humble man and can be shy, but when he is in a football environment he has this amazingly intense side that comes alive. I looked around at the 90,000 plus cheering fans and felt a great deal of excitement, but was also making sure to take moments to capture the look of joy on Fred’s face. I always try to find my “why” moments at appearances and the purpose for why that opportunity existed, and seeing him so happy was one of those moments that day.


Being honored on the field at Nebraska at Nebraska was a truly special moment that few will have in their lifetime. The qualifications for being recognized are very strict and must meet one of the following guidelines:
  • Current student-athlete who is a national champion or a team that secured a Conference or National championship
  • Former student-athlete who is now a professional athlete, actor or other major media personality, World Champion or Olympian
  • Major donor to the University or outside individual who is a professional athlete, actor, major media personality, world champion or olympian
It is a pretty short list and being honored in my current hometown at one of the top stadiums in college football that has a NCAA records sellout streak since 1962 and on game day actually becomes the 3rd largest “city” in Nebraska! Being surrounded by some of THE best fans in college football is definitely another dream come true and if you are ever in Nebraska on a game day, you need to go, I guarantee you will become a Husker fan. I love being a Husker, we love all things Husker, and I love the state of Nebraska….that is a lot of love! But the reason I love it so much is everyone always loves right back.

My official Clay Spann autograph cards had arrived JUST in time and was able to use them for the first time at the Husker game signing for hundreds of fans around the stadium. It was amazing to see the little girl’s faces as they looked at the cards and would literally jump with excitement after I signed it. Another “why” moment of the day

Thank you Nebraska Huskers for allowing me to celebrate the International Pageant system, Soles4Souls and have my Husker family by my side. There truly is No Place Like Nebraska!

Live what you Love and Go Big Red!!!

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crowns & Touchdowns

I am so excited to share Fuel Up to Play 60’s campaign for the fall- For the Love of Play! It is proven that active students are better students. Getting 60 minutes of play a day is fun, easy, and is a great way to stay fit. Some of my friends from the FUPT60 Ambassador Summit as well as some of our favorite NFL players share their love of play in the video below!


I will be sharing my #LoveOfPlay soon to my social media accounts (Instagram: @missteenintl2014 and Twitter: @missteenintl14), so stay tuned! Show me how you play by hashtagging #LoveOfPlay and tagging me in your photos! I will be sharing my favorite post to my social media sites!!


I had a great time discussing this campaign as well as catching up with Student Ambassadors from all over the nation on our conference call this week. We have some AWESOME things coming up that I cannot wait to share about in the upcoming months!


My personal initiative for the year as Miss Teen International with this organization is called Crowns and Touchdowns! I was recently featured on FUPT60’s blog, The Huddle, to write about the voice I have been given through my title, how I use this responsibility to be a positive leader, and how I promote healthy living in my school.

Here is my blog post on The Huddle!

Whether you are interested in pageantry, football or other activities, being active and fueling your body is so important. I am looking forward to sharing that message with students all over the world this year!

If you believe in something, believe in it all the way!

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sightseeing in Philadelphia!

After attending The Moyer Foundations Champion’s for Children Luncheon I stayed an extra day to tour Philadelphia. This was my second time is Pennsylvania ( I went to Hershey, Pennsylvania as a child) but, my first time in Pennsylvania!

What was first of my list of this to see? Independence Hall! It is known primarily as the location where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. The United States Declaration of Independence was approved there on July 4, 1776, and the Declaration was read aloud to the public in the area now known as Independence Square.

Independence Square

In front of Independence Hall!

Right across the street I found the Liberty Bell! The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence. It acquired its distinctive large crack sometime in the early 19th century—a widespread story claims it cracked while ringing after the death of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835.

In front of the Liberty Bell!

After viewing such monumental places in American History, I knew what was next…. Yep, you guessed it, a Philly Cheese Steak! Most of you may not know that I am a vegetarian, but on VERY RARE occasions I will try other foods. This was one of them. How could you come to Philadelphia and NOT try a Philly Cheese steak?

The cheese steak in all of its glory.

I can’t wait to share with you where I will venture to next! Safe travels!

Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Soles4Souls Partnerships

I am very excited to announce a global partnership I initiated and have assisted with has recently come to fruition! Soles4Souls is the official shoe charity of the sanctioned Obstacle Racing World Championships! This brings Soles4Souls global visibility; fundraising opportunity as people sign up, and we will be hosting a collection site there!


Much of the work I am honored to do with Soles4Souls is very visible, but there are some sides of representing as their spokesperson you do not see on a daily basis. One of the areas we are able to advance their mission to wear out poverty together almost daily is through helping initiate and cultivate partnerships.

Through the “3 V’s” I focus on, one of them is Vastidity. That represents my extensive global network, and paired with the network of Soles4Souls we have been able to have a positive impact on the world.

The efforts with Soles4Souls I take very seriously and treat like a full time job, as anyone should when working with your platform. Through all of the areas we collaborate, weekly it totals 30 to 40 hours not counting appearances. People always ask me if I work for Soles4Souls because they know the time commitment it takes and my reply is “Yes and No”. No, because I do not accept any payment from them, this is my passion and every day I just get to live what I love, which is helping others, bringing hope and loving people around the world. Yes, because what an amazing opportunity every day to give others a chance at life….that is something any amount of money could never replace.

I would like to introduce you to one of the team members from Soles4Souls I have the privilege of working with. Meet Tiffany Johnson. Country Music singer, global travel and just a plain amazing beautiful person whom I’m fortunate enough to call friend. (PS…she made a country cd for Soles4Souls and portion of the profits goes to them! http://soles4souls.org/tiffany-johnson-debut-cd)

Tiffany Johnson and I in Honduras to distribute shoes earlier this year

How does the impact translate?


Many people know Soles4Souls as a global charity…and they are. But do you know about their impact in the US as well?



We distributed Skechers Bob’s to these girls in Honduras. They were overjoyed! 

Funnest part of all of this? The part that comes after giving shoes…..giving love!


Live What you Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Nutrition Chat

September 1-7 was National Nutrition Week. To kickoff this week and celebrate the beginning of the school year, USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) held a Twitter chat to discuss ways the nation can implement healthier options in schools. The Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassadors, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Choose My Plate, the American Public Health Association, and many other pages to joined USDA to share ideas. Here are a couple of my responses to chat questions:



Each day during the week I posted some tips on my Facebook Page to encourage children to eat more nutritious foods, facts about why eating healthy is so important, and ways schools can play a role in implementing this. Here is a brief recap of my posts:
  1. Healthy role models play a vital part in children’s development of healthy habits.
  2. Why school lunches can be an overall better choice for students.
  3. How big of a problem is food waste and how can we fix this problem.
  4. You are what you eat!
  5. The effects nutritious foods and eating breakfast have on the brain and student performance.
  6. Why does nutrition matter and why should we be proactive?
To read more about these topics, visit my Facebook page- Miss Teen International 2014 Blair Wortsmith. Please “like” it while you are there! I hope by raising awareness we can make nutrition an important thing for not only one week of the year but a priority for all 52 weeks!

If you believe in something, believe in it all the way!

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Champions for Children Luncheon: Philadelphia

On Sept 10th 2014 I was able to attend The Moyer Foundations Champions for Children Luncheon: Philadelphia. The Moyer Foundation has two Luncheons a year, one on the West Coast in Seattle and the other on the East Coast in Pennsylvania. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Seattle Luncheon as Miss West Coast International earlier this year.



The luncheon serves as an outlet to honor outstanding community members, spread awareness and raise funds for The Camp Erin Program. The Jamie Moyer Legends Award was presented to Chase Utley, second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies, and his wife, Jennifer Utley, Co-Founders of The Utley Foundation. The Community All-Star Award was presented to Daniel J. Hilferty, President & CEO, Independence Blue Cross.

Cake graciously made by Tasty kakes!

Listening intently!

We even heard from a Camp Erin Alumni who lost both his mother and sister. He spoke on the importance of having The Camp Erin Program. He said he was a shy boy who never talked to anyone about his feelings until he came to camp. Working his cabin buddies and grief specialists finally gave him the opportunity to open up and share everything he had been holding back. He was such a brave young man and I commend him for being strong enough to speak in front of such a large and prestigious crowd.

With Karen Moyer


Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Difference Makers

Well friends, this is going to be a long one:) This has literally taken me weeks to write because of how important each of these people are to me. They were my difference makers and now I am also blessed to call each of them friends. Over the years and important lesson I learned was to also to always to teachable. Are you ready? So excited for all of you, ENJOY this journey and make every second count!


I truly look at the Mrs. International 2014 journey as not just one or two years of preparation, but a 20 year journey culminating to July 26th, 2014. All of life’s circumstances and experience pulled together and made possible by having the right team. I also realized the same principles from building arenas and stadiums could be applied.

Here are the business principles that lead to internationally recognized construction projects put on my heart to apply to the Mrs. International 2014 journey.

Designing large athletic venues is quite the endeavor and typically takes a few years, even up to a decade of planning to make a project successful. We always say “Measure twice, cut once”…in other words, do the work it takes to prepare so you can execute successfully.

When we design facilities, here are action items to start the process:
  • Evaluating the possibilities
  • We consider what will be our goals and objectives
  • Determine who the stakeholders are
  • What is the ultimate outcome to achieve
How this applied to competing for Mrs. International 2014:

Evaluating: Initially when hearing about the International Pageant system in March of 2013, I went in to research mode. What was I looking for? I wanted to know if it was legitimate and if it had a purpose behind it. Check and Check. I scoured the internet looking at the entire history if the pageant and saw the positive impact previous titleholders were able to have. 28 years of celebrating women is a testament to the integrity of International Pageants. I realized what was possible to change lives.

My objective is to love people and my goal was to do so with Soles4Souls as Mrs. International 2014.

My stakeholders are Soles4Souls.
Ultimate outcome to achieve was to create opportunities to love others and wear out poverty by becoming Mrs. International 2014.


First person on my list to call: Suzy Bootz. I had to become a more effective communicator about my platform. My most terrifying moment when first competing: Making Top 15 when the judges asked me the on stage question “Your platform is Never Give Up….”, heard that tagline before from me before right? So what was the problem? It wasn’t my platform!!! I was mortified, and was able to “pull off” an answer. Note to self, you should represent your platform living it day in and day out, the judges have no question what it is. Next step after that….you need to be able to communicate effectively and remember “Your Why”. Now I have soaked in every page of Suzy’s book, but there is no substitute for working with her one on one. I adore Suzy and when you work with her…you will too and become a better person in life from it.

Next person(s) to call? The dynamic duo Clay Spann and Joey Rutherford from Competitive Image. Branding yourself is important and I needed to have a world class headshot and wardrobe that represented not only me, but the level that the International Pageants represents. We are a global system, and I needed to stand out and not worry about having “The right outfit” so I could stay focused on working with my platform. Let’s be honest here….I’m a girl who grew up with older brothers and have been surrounded by boys my whole life. It would be an understatement to say I needed hair and makeup training from Clay! Thanks to him, I could make work with my platform through the year always knowing how to be ready to greet the public and media.

It is never too early to plan ahead and I contacted Thomas Dunn Studios before 2013 was even over to book my makeup and tans. Being at the venue relieves so much pressure from hauling stuff back and forth! I had worked with them my first time competing all week and for a girl who grew up with brothers, I know my skill set is not best served in hair and makeup. I wanted to be 100% ready every day and have peace in knowing I would walk out the door looking and feeling my best! Plus, their team is HILARIOUS and when your nerves are going, you will need a room full of laughter ☺

Susan Botek nailed how to translate my platform page. That is your first impression to the judges about your platform, and even though I had a background in graphic, Susan has the background experience in communicating platforms I needed. It is important to know your strengths and weaknesses and even what might be your strength…well, might just not be in other scenarios.

Last, but certainly not least is the ultimate difference makers….Chelsea Altman and AT Dunn from Toned to Win. With such a strong athletic background why did I work with them? Because I was competing for Mrs. International, not running the 400 hurdles in a national championship. Two totally different types of shape. My family and I are super big on healthy living and AT helped totally re-shape my thinking, especially being able to use the Perfect Plate for eating like clock work. The week of the pageant when I did not have any miracle diet the last few days or had to run circles to get the “last few pounds” off. I was ready. Chelsea put on the final finish’s touch’s with hours of walking practice and accessorizing me to a T. I love them to bits!!

Best part was, I got to fine tune my skills at the trunk show, DONT MISS OUT on going! Save the date now ☺



Good luck on your journey. How will you imagine it?


Live what you Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back to School Bash

I had the opportunity to be the opening speaker for Disney Channel’s Next Big Thing star, Coco Jones! The SBS Cancer Foundation hosted this Back to School Bash in Little Rock. I got to sign autographs, watch my friends from my dance studio perform, and touch on ways to create safe, bully-free environments this school year!



My hometown sure is beautiful!

Bullying is a topic near and dear to my heart. I have experienced first hand how much of a problem this is in today’s society. Sadly, I am not the only one. Over 3.2 million students a year experience the pain, isolation, and lack of confidence that comes with being verbally or physically put down.

At the concert I shared three ways that students can help promote anti-bullying:

Speak up. Whether you see someone else being bullied or it is happening to you, it is vital to tell a trusted adult about the situation.

Reach out. Sometimes the thing a victim of bullying needs the most is a good friend. Offer a listening ear and a smile. I promise, it can make a HUGE impact!

Encourage diversity. Don’t be afraid of someone that is different than you! By promoting a school culture of acceptance, tolerance, and respect, several cases of bullying will be eliminated.



It is so important to use your words to encourage others, remember that social media is for sharing not putting others down, and most importantly to treat others the way you want to be treated!!!

If you believe in something, believe in it all the way!

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Camp Erin: Los Angeles Part One - Forever Flags

Over the weekend of August 22-24th I was a camp counselor for Camp Erin: Los Angeles, which takes place in Malibu, California. I was assigned to a cabin of 9 little girls who all had someone close to them die. The children attend Camp free of charge and are given free grief counseling during the weekend!

Unfortunately I am not able to share photos with you of the campers, but it is more important that their privacy and confidentiality stay intact. I can however share photos of the camp and fill you in on what goes on there, I am going to split this up into several blogs for you though, because putting it all into one would be way to long!

The sign outside of the turnoff for camp!

On Friday the children arrive at Camp and meet all of their other campers. For many of these children, it is the first time they are meeting another child who has lost a parent. They arrive a little afraid and shy but are eager to meet each other and grab a snack!

The first activity the children do is create a “Forever Flag”. This Flag is cloth material and gets hung in the Dining room for the rest of Camp. The children are encouraged to draw photos of what their lost loved one used to like doing. One of my campers drew Chips and Salsa because her father loved Mexican Food. Another child wrote a letter to her mom with a drawing of them holding hands. At the end of Camp on Sunday- the children take these home with them, to “fly forever”

All of the children bond together over their drawings!

Stay tuned to hear more about what happens at Camp Erin!

Ignite you spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Barefoot 4 Them!

Save the Date! 

On 10.10.14 Soles4Souls is having their annual major awareness effort Barefoot4Them.


This a global social media effort to raise awareness for the nearly 300 million children without shoes. Normally we use the saying “Walk a mile in their shoes”, but on October 10th, we can walk a mile (or many miles) like millions of people around the world without the basic life necessity of shoes. Our family is making the commitment, ready to join us?

To join the effort, visit the link below and post your pictures to social media with the tags #B4T and @Soles4Souls.

http://soles4souls.org/barefoot4them

Live What you Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Friday, September 12, 2014

Princess Power!

For the past two years I have been a part of an awesome club put on by Seventeen Magazine called the 17 Social Club! This club is for teens that are social media savvy and use their social networking site regularly. Members receive free products to test and share on social media, get information on special offers and discounts, and have VIP access to special events in their area. I have hosted premiere parties for ABC Family, tested dozens of incredible cosmetics, and gotten some awesome gift cards and offers from my favorite stores! They have truly spoiled me rotten!

The most recent product that I have received is the Princess Power Vera Wang perfume! The vibrant and bold scent is perfect for any appearance as Miss Teen International! The Vera Wang Fragrances Facebook Page has a Pop Art Portrait maker that I had a blast using. If you try it out and post your photo with the hashtag #VWPrincessPowerContest to Instagram, you will be eligible to win the grand prize of a shopping spree, free fragrance, and more. Thank you Seventeen Magazine and Vera Wang for sharing this fabulous product with me!



If you believe in something, believe in it all the way!

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014