Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Back to School

As I pulled in to a visitor lot at El Capitan High School, and scanned the crowd of students, a few deep breaths later I was getting out of my car and heading to….class. It was almost like one of those dreams where you are back in High School and forgot to study for a test. 1999 was the last time I attended a class at El Capitan High School, but this time it was not in the role of a student. 

As my crown sparkled in the early morning sun walking to the main office, students offered many warm greetings. I headed down to room 704, Mrs. Martinez’s science class. My one time AVID teacher (Advancement Via Individual Determination), she is now the school’s Athletic Director, full time science teacher, and everything else extraordinaire.

This was one of many classes we were able to speak with during the day about our platforms, life, International Pageants and never giving up.

The two weeks leading up to El Capitan Held a Shoe Drive for Soles4Souls lead by Sandra Martinez. They made it a competition and ended up collecting over 1,200 pairs!!! That is amazing and will have such an impact on many lives! We were able to do a shoe game over lunch with the students and they even piled up some of the shoes they collected. After lunch we delivered prizes to the winning classes and finished the day speaking to a few more classrooms.


Mrs. Martinez was such a driving force in putting the shoe collection over the 1,000 pair mark. She continues to inspire me!

Live What you Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Monday, October 27, 2014

HOBY Volunteer Awards

In April 2013, I was selected to attend the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Seminar. Little did I know that this leadership conference, designed for high school sophomores, would forever changed my perception of what it takes to be a strong, effective leader and what it really means to have a heart for service. At the end of the phenomenal weekend the staff challenged all of the ambassadors to complete 100 hours of community service over the course of the next year. They said it was a way to “pay it forward” and one of the main requirements that must be met to be eligible to return to HOBY as a junior counselor the following year. At the time I wasn’t quite sure I would be able to meet this challenging goal, but I knew I was most definitely ready to try!!!

I am proud to say that thanks to the inspiration and support I received from my HOBY experience I successfully completed 200 plus hours of community service over the course of the year and return to the seminar as a junior counselor last spring. Being part of 150 other HOBY ambassadors’ journey was an OUTSTANDING experience! (My fellow HOBY alumni will understand the “outstanding” reference!)

In honor of this accomplishment I recently received a letter from President Barack Obama letting me know that I was being recognized as a recipient of The President’s Volunteer Service Award for my commitment to service. I was shocked and honored! It isn’t every day that you check your mail and find a letter from the White House. In addition to this amazing honor I was also humbled to receive a HOBY Leadership for Service Award from Mr. Hugh O’Brien himself. I can officially say I am hooked on service and will always be a fan and supporter of this inspirational program!!!

It is such an honor to be recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service!

Excited to have received this OUTSTANDING award!

Signed by Mr. President himself!

The slogan of HOBY is “Empower. Lead. Excel.” I wear my bracelet with this motto as a daily reminder to do all I can to make a difference and have a strong impact on those around me!


Thank you to everyone involved with HOBY for changing the lives of so many students. I have applied the valuable skills I learned at the seminar to school, pageantry, developing and carryout out my platform, and almost every area of my life. It set me on lifelong quest to seek out opportunities to serve others. High School Sophomores, if you have the opportunity I highly recommend you get more information and apply to participate in your state’s seminar! It is truly one of the most amazing experiences! I look forward to many more years of volunteering and involvement with Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership!

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

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Creating Appearances

I often get asked how to contact organizations to either make an appearance or to create a relationship with. My answer is simple: CALL THEM, EMAIL THEM, or GO VISIT THEIR OFFICE! As a titleholder you are responsible for creating your own appearances especially if you are at large. Thanks to last year's Miss International, Jesse Ladoue, we are now aware of Volunteer Match, a fantastic organization that will connect you with events and non profits who are looking for volunteers in your area!

Do not be afraid to host your own fundraisers or events to promote your platform as well! As a city titleholder I held a "heartbeat" event that not only raised money for the American Heart Association but gave me an opportunity to share my families story of heart disease and ways to prevent it with the attendees!

Selling raffle tickets at the fundraiser I created as a local titleholder!

It's important to remember that even if there isn't anything going on for your platform, that you can volunteer with other organizations! Don't be afraid to branch out and make connections!

Being interviewed by the Dallas news about my platform even though I was at an event for a completely different organization! Never turn down opportunities because you never know where they can lead!

Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Progress Report

Greetings friends and International Pageant Sisters!

Goal setting is great, but it is also important to keep track of progress. Here is a brief video of how I keep track of the goals Soles4Souls and I have to help their mission of Wearing Out Poverty. Enjoy and it is wonderful following all of your journeys as well!


Live What you Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Get Fit Arkansas!

I am so excited to announce that I was recently added as a Fitness Council Member for Get Fit Arkansas! I will have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with five other council members that work in the field of nutrition and health to promote fitness all across the Natural State.

You can read more about our Fitness Council members on our website!

Arkansas, the third most obese state in the nation, desperately needs the assistance of the GFA initiative. One of the main goals is to help Arkansans fight obesity through fitness training, developing individual responsibility to exercise, and by consuming a nutritious diet! This organization has the same core values as my personal platform “Be Proactive, Get Active!” which is why I am so excited to work with them this year.


The slogan of the organization, “We Can Do It Together!” is so inspirational. The road to a healthier lifestyle is extremely difficult to travel alone. Get Fit Arkansas offers guidance, encouragement, and skills that help people lead a healthier life.


I had the pleasure of meeting with two of my fellow council members, Mark and Jennifer, this week to talk about our ideas for the upcoming year. I can already tell this is going to be a great partnership. You can check us out at GetFitArkansas.com, on Twitter @GetFitArkansas, and on Facebook at FitnessArkansas. I cannot wait to share more about this amazing program throughout the year!!! Thanks Get Fit Arkansas for this opportunity!

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

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Favorite Low Fat Cheesecake

If you're like me, then you have a HUGE sweet tooth! Which can be very harmful to staying in shape especially while preparing to compete this year! I wanted to share with you a recipe that satisfies your sweet tooth but won't ruin your diet! I love Cheesecake, so this recipe is for a vanilla cheesecake thats very delicious!


Ingredients

Crust:
3/4 cup Fat Free graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup splenda
2 tablespoons Spray butter
2 teaspoons water
Cooking spray

Filling:
3 (8-ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup splenda
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) carton fat-free sour cream
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare crust, combine first 3 ingredients, tossing with a fork. Add 2 teaspoons water; toss with a fork until moist and crumbly. Gently press mixture into bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

To prepare filling, beat cheeses with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Combine 1 cup splenda, flour, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Add to cheese mixture; beat well. Add sour cream; beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds into cheese mixture, reserving bean halves.

Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan; bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched.

It's that simple and its delicious! I hope you enjoy!

Ignite your spark!

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pearls of Knowledge


“My mom is an alcoholic and I work multiple jobs to support my two younger siblings in addition to paying rent. I never thought college would be an option for me….”

As we listened to one of the Josie Pearl Scholarships recipients talk about her life journey and all of the difficulties she deals with one a daily basis, our hearts were touched. I understand how important a college scholarship because thanks to receiving one from the University of Nebraska, I was the first person in the history of our family to receive a complete a degree. Supporting this event was important on many levels, but at the forefront education is critical to future generations.

It was such an honor to deliver the young woman college essentials as she moves forward in her education. What a strong inspiring lady whom I know much is in store for.

The second recipient shares with the attendees her story and how the scholarship from Josie Pearl has impacted her life.

Miss International Samantha Riddle, Miss Teen International Blair Wortsmith and I were able to attend the Josie Pearl Scholarship event together in San Diego. The program was created by Staci Ortiz-Davis in honor of her grandmother, Josie Pearl who did not have the opportunity to get a college education.

Staci Ortiz-Davis and I after our first time meeting in person after connecting over the last year through social media.

Miss International Samantha Riddle and Miss Teen International Blair Wortsmith and entering the event greeted by photographers.

In it’s first year Josie Pearl awarded $3,000 to a San Diego student who is now studying business at Johnson & Wales University in Florida. Last year they awarded 5 students in San Diego totaling $6,500 and they are attending schools such as Pepperdine, San Jose State, Chico State and Mira Costa College. Recently they just awarded a $1,500 scholarship to Josie’s hometown of Paris, Texas. This year alone they raised close to $14,000, and the scholarships continue to grow.

We had an absolute blast at the event! Welcomed by the red carpet, many generous food vendors throughout San Diego donated food to sample and items for the auction. There was a great band Steal Dawn that played throughout the night and it was held at the Sunroad Resort Marina, Pearls by the Bay 2014 was very well thought out. A word of thanks to Staci for inviting us to attend and also allowing us to speak to the crowd about our platforms!! I am sure many of you saw the pictures of Samantha, Blair and I making a splash at the event which ended up raising $750 towards scholarships, but it was after hearing the stories from the two ladies about how the funding changed their lives, we took the plunge.

The man in this picture was the generous donor of $750.



To find out more about Josie Pearl Scholarship program, visit https://www.facebook.com/josiepearlscholarship

Or

http://josiepearlscholarship.org

A HUGE thank you for Competitive Image for my wardrobe for the evening, you always help me look my best!!!

Live What you Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Saturday, October 18, 2014

San Diego School Celebrities

While in San Diego, Mrs. International Maggi Thorne and I had the opportunity to visit with students in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) classes at El Capitan High School and Valhalla High School. This incredible program focuses on preparing students for both college and careers. It was an honor to be asked to make an appearance to talk to the students. I shared with them about the benefits of healthy living, the Fuel Up to Play 60 Program, a little about my personal story, and tips for college and standardized testing.

Sharing Fuel Up to Play 60 with an AVID class!

The best part of the school visits was listening to Maggi share about her personal history, stories about her time as a college athlete, and details about her involvement with Souls4Souls. Maggi is a dynamic speaker and an extremely inspirational role model. I know the students were so inspired by her story! It was an extra special way to bond with my sister queen.

Maggi talking about her involvement with Soles4Souls!

We met some AWESOME students in San Diego!

Never in my pageant career have I felt so loved and adored by an audience. The teens at both high schools were SO excited to see us! You would have thought we were a couple of superstars. I did not expect this reaction at all. It was encouraging and exciting knowing that students were eager to meet us and anxious to hear what we had to say. It is so humbling knowing that I have been given the opportunity to make a positive impact in the life of my peers across the country. I think they were almost as intrigued by my Southern accent as they were with what I was saying. I personally do not think my accent is that noticeable but they were very entertained by my use of the word “y’all.” They were an amazing audience to say the least! In true teenage form we finished off the visit with lots of “selfies.” I had a blast signing autographs and getting to personally meet the students.

Thank you Maggi for including me in your weekend in San Diego, for being an incredible role model, and for letting me share this amazing experience with you!


It was super exciting signing autographs for students!


Selfies are my favorite!


This student even put my autograph in his binder!

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

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

SeaWorld San Diego

On Friday October 3rd my sister queens and I were special guests at SeaWorld San Diego! Not only was I excited to go to SeaWorld but I couldn’t wait to see Blair and Maggie as I had not seen them since our Clay Spann Photo shoots! We were given time to enjoy the park on our own before out behind the scenes tour and photos!


The very first thing we did was ride the roller coaster “Manta”! I love roller coasters and assumed since we were at SeaWorld it would be tame, but I was wrong! The coaster was extremely fast and had a lot of twists and turns! In true Pageant girl style we did take a “Selfie” before the ride started!

We then went and pet String Rays! Blair and Maggie were champs! I, on the other hand was a little afraid! They felt like a mixture of rubber and slime!


One of the coolest things we saw was a wall made of ICE in the penguin exhibit. Maggie tried to hold her hand against the wall long enough to make an imprint! We then entered onto a people mover and viewed the different penguin, Beluga Whale and Walrus Exhibits!


Next on our agenda was a quick trip to see Shamu! Its so amazing how well trained Shamu is! And let me tell you- Shamu is the KING of the park, from Rice Krispy treats to Ice Cream- they all resemble him!

My favorite part of the afternoon was our behind the scenes tour! I am still waiting for the “official” photos from SeaWorld, so for now I will just share a sneak peak of Maggie petting one of the Dolphins!

We were introduced to a Pilot whale whom we also got to feed and dance with- yes you heard me right, the Whale danced with us! Next were the Dolphins. Not only were we able to pet the dolphins but we were able to take our shoes off and sit on the wet platform with them!


Lastly we met a Sea Lion! He was pretty cool and reminded me of a dog. He needed to “sniff” you to make sure you were alright with him before you could take a photo with him! During one of the photos his trainer signaled for him to roar. I jumped 10 feet in the air it was so loud! I had no idea they were capable of that! It makes sense that they are called sea “lions”

Thank you so much to SeaWorld San Diego for the incredible opportunity and to my amazing sister queen Maggie Thorne, Mrs. International 2014 for inviting me!

Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Healthy Travels

Travel is a big part of what we do as International Pageant titleholders raising awareness for our platforms, but it can be a complete diet killer if you do not have a plan in place and the right tools to stay on track. Since part of my platform with Soles4Souls is running to bring visibility for them, it is extremely critical to maintain my meal plans put in place by AT Dunn from Toned To Win. The better I perform racing, the more funds that are raised and better visibility for Soles4Souls. With a heavy travel schedule, how do I do it?

Below is a picture of my travel “essentials” when driving, and it is similar when flying as well. After spending 65 hours on a road trip to San Diego recently, it can be easy to get a snack craving and the road signs look reallllllllly tempting with well-known food franchises at the end of the exit’s. Here are my three key essentials when traveling to stay on track to a healthy life style!

1: Bring your Perfect Plate! Traveling is tiresome and who wants to calculate calories…who ever wants to calculate calories actually☺?! The Perfect Plate makes it so easy to keep on track with your meal plan and stay consistent. http://www.tonedtowin.com/the-perfect-plate.html

2: Pack your own snacks from a grocery store. This not only saves you extra calories from convenience foods, but saves money. As you travel you will learn what travels well and what does not, but bring bags of spinach with me on planes, pack carrots and apples (unfortunately on planes I have learned the hard way bananas do not travel well!) I do not like relying on other people for anything, and this one has saved me when being stuck on a tarmac for hours, layovers and long bus rides to shoe distributions instead of counting on always having food as a readily available resource to purchase on my travels.

3: Hydrate. AT Dunn always says “Water, lots and lots and lots of water”, so I bring lots…..and lots….and lots of water. Sometimes out hunger signals might just be thirst. Traveling can wear down your body and it is important to always be hydrated. Water is the best energy drink you can ever have….did you know that? I do not drink coffee, soda, alcohol and only a limited amount of juice. Milk and water are my main sources to hydrate and it keeps my energy levels high, and my body ready to receive the necessary calories to keep me fueled.


Stay Healthy and Safe Travels!!

Live What You Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

100 Mile Club

1 Down. 99 To Go.

Fuel Up to Play 60 has an awesome resource called the “Playbook” that encourages students to initiate Healthy Eating and Physical Activity “Plays” at their schools. (Did you get it? FUPT60 is a program of the NFL and football has plays.) The first “play” I completed this school year was a physical activity challenge that promoted membership in the 100 Mile Club! I had the opportunity to collaborate with the Fulbright Elementary after school care program to kick start this exciting club that was inspired by the 1992 Olympics. The main objective is to challenge students to set a goal of walking, jogging, or running 100 miles over the course of a school year.


My sister and I had a question and answer session with the interested students to help them understand a little more about the club, how it started, how it can benefit them and what role they will play as a member. Over 100 students ranging in age from 5 to 12 years old eagerly joined and walked the first of the 100 miles with us. We truly had a blast together! I pledged to visit the club members every two weeks to encourage participation, check their progress and walk another mile with them.





This was actually my second official mile to complete for the club. All of the FUTP60 Ambassadors completed our first mile together when we were at an expo on the field of the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas this past summer at the National Summit. Note the cool logo on the shirt, “1 Down. 99 To Go.”

With the other ambassador from Arkansas at the Summit in our 100 Mile Club and FUTP60 Gear!

Thank you to Fuel Up to Play 60, Let’s Move, the GenYouth Foundation, Childhood Obesity 180, and the 100 Mile Club for working together to establish and initiate this amazing program to promote a fun way for students to get moving!


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

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Raising Money for Pageant Related Costs

It’s that time of year again: Pageant time! When preparing to enter your city, state or country pageant it’s important to keep in mind that you can have sponsors to help with the costs that come with competing! A sponsor will most likely purchase an add page or donate good or services to you to help your out of pocket costs!

Consider asking a nail salon, tanning salon, hair salon, or gym to sponsor you with free services before nationals. Those are items and services you will most likely be paying for anyway, so wouldn’t it be nice to have it sponsored? Most of the time they will sponsor you if you simply give them an autograph photo or refer business to them!

To get sponsors to purchase an add, you should design a flyer and personally deliver it to local business's. Explain to them that with their support you could win the state or country title and how their ad could be seen by people all over your state or country! They can put coupons in their ad, or even a photo of you at their business! ALWAYS ask people you know first! Business's that you frequent the most are the ones most likely to place an ad with you!

Friends and Family can buy ads as well! They can wish you luck and include photos of them with you! You can also host a Beauty Queen Car Wash! Sell tickets in advance and recruit a few of your friends to help you! A lot of gas stations or schools will donate their location to you for free!

Another great way is a Princess Tea! You can sell tickets in advance to little girls or even big ones, in your area to have a Princess Tea with YOU! It’s a lot of fun for the little girls; you can even do an arts and crafts project with them! Or have a drawing for a private tea or lunch with you and sell raffle tickets to raise money!

Then there’s always Bake Sales! This probably won’t yield the type of profits you need to defray your total costs, but it couldn’t hurt! You can also have shirts made with your title and photo on them to sell to your supporters! Lastly, you can host a Dinner! A lot of restaurants will donate a portion of the night’s proceeds to you! ALL you have to do is ASK! But it’s important to promote your dinner with flyers, and make sure to invite all of your friends!

Spotlight on some of my favorite sponsors- Clay Spann and Joey Rutherford of Competitive Image!

My AWESOME hair and makeup sponsors- Thomas and Drew Dunn of Thomas Dunn Studios!

Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle 
Miss International 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Honoring Adam


The morning was beautiful and as I observed the crowd, all ages were chattering. The mood was lively and smiles for miles. This year almost 2,000 runners attended the 4th annual Run to Overcome hosted by Bryan LGH and honoring Adam Zetterman.


One person commits suicide every 40 seconds -- more than all the yearly victims of wars and natural disaster (http://news.yahoo.com/one-person-commits-suicide-every-40-seconds-101727279.html)

This summer after being crowned Mrs. International 2014 as the news articles came out and I had the opportunity to share about losing my brother and best friend to suicide, a woman named Cindy Zetterman sent me a beautiful message and invited me to attend and speak at the event she helped create in honor of her son Adam, whom she lost 4 years ago to depression. We have been messaging each other back and forth in support of one another and before we event met in person, I could feel her warmth and energy through the emails.

When the day of the event same I saw a cheerful woman with arms open walking across the field and I knew it was her. As our arms wrapped around each other for a greeting, it was like seeing a long lost friend. We understand each other and we understand turning pain in to a passion to help others.


Since the Bryan LGH Run to Overcome started 4 years ago, they have been able to raise thousands of dollars for education on mental illness and depression. The race has been very well attended and is growing each year as people not only honor Adam, but loved ones they know who are impacted by depression and illness or people fighting the battle themselves.

With staggering statistics of people making the devastating decision to take their lives, events like this are critical to communities for awareness, education and so people know they are not alone in their fight. To find out more about the race, visit their facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/RunToOvercome


I am extremely honored Cindy and Bryan LGH allowed me to be a part of this event. It is personal to my heart and I hope we had a positive impact on many that day with many, many futures ahead of those who attended.


Serving as the keynote speaker to nearly 2,000 runners and handing out awards, the 2014 Run to Overcome was a success thanks to Ashley Schroeder and Cindy Zetterman along with many other volunteers

Meeting some of the participants

Handing out awards post-race 

One of my favorite parts of the day was greeting each child who did the kids race at the finish line congratulating them on a great effort

Live What You Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove
#B4T