Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Favorite Dresses From the Sherri Hill 2015 Collection

It is no secret that I love Sherri Hill! She just released her new line and she did not upset! Her talent for creating gowns that are classy, fun, and unique is unparalleled! I wanted to share with you my favorite gowns and where you can wear them! Contact The Competitive Image to see if they have your favorites too! My favorite gown store and favorite designer, you really cant go wrong!

Evening Gowns:

Miss Evening Gown- The bead work on this dress is spectacular! I love the shape of this gown, it just feels so elegant.

Teen Evening Gown- This dress is fun and has a really interesting neckline that takes it over the top!

Appearance Attire:

Miss Appearance Dress- Another perfect example of Sherri Hills exquisite beadwork! This is sexy and fierce!

Teen Appearance dress- This is fun and sweet, the pattern on the fabric is teen,floral is in this season!

Headshot Gowns:

HELLO GORGEOUS! I love this dress for someone with lighter colored hair or even a short cut like the photo!

The beadwork on this neckline looks like it is just sitting on her skin! Not to mention I am a sucker for anything PINK!

Other Favorites:

This could make a great fun fashion or appearance gown!

This could be a great appearance gown for Teen or Miss or even a Fun fashion! I love gown that you can get many uses out of!

What are your favorites from the Sherri Hill spring 2015 Collection?

Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Heart Healthy Holiday Eating

The Holidays can be such an exciting time, family, friends and the joy of giving.

There is also A LOT of food that surrounds us and sometimes coming in daily as neighbor’s beings cookies, etc. Here are a few holiday healthy eating tips☺

* Portion control. A great way instead of eye balling is to use the Perfect Plate! http://www.tonedtowin.com/the-perfect-plate.html

* Rule of 3 with desserts. 1, 2 3, it satisfies me. More than 3 bites and you are eating to eat.

* Here is a link to some GREAT heart healthy recipes! http://www.recipe.com/recipes/healthy/heart-healthy/

* Heart Healthy Holiday Foods from the American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Seasonal-Heart-Healthy-Holiday-Foods_UCM_433897_Article.jsp

Live What you Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Monday, November 24, 2014

Purple Light

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PCAN) kicked off Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month by having the third annual Purple Light ceremony! This event took place in not just Little Rock but also forty other locations across the USA. Survivors, current patients, family, and friends gathered at the Arkansas State Capitol for the event. Some of the goals of Purple Light are to honor those currently fighting the disease, inspire others to become involved in the mission of beating Pan Can, and remember those who have lost the battle to pancreatic cancer.


At the beginning of the ceremony everyone was given a purple glow stick. As the name of the person we were honoring, celebrating or remembering was called, we would light the glow stick and hold it in the air. It was really amazing looking around seeing everyone in their purple clothes holding their purple glow sticks while sitting on the steps of the purple Capitol! Purple is my favorite color, which made this event even better!



Pancreatic cancer is currently the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and affects on average 44,000 Americans each year. Of those diagnosed, more than 37,000 will pass away. Because of the small survival rate, there are not many survivors to spread awareness about this cancer. The PCAN is working to raise funds for more research to help increase the number of people that beat this disease.


The only two known causes of pancreatic cancer are smoking and diabetes. The best way to prevent diabetes is by leading a healthy lifestyle. Eating nutritious foods and exercising can prevent SO MUCH. It is so important that we, as a united society, choose to Be Proactive and Get Active!


November is the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. My purple Miss Teen International sash will be worn this month to show my support of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and to help beat “pan can!” 


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

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

You Never Lose, You Learn


It breaks my heart when I see a girl not win a pageant and then announce that she is giving up. I am a firm believer in gods timing and I believe I am a great example of that. I have not won far more pageant than I have won. There are so many reasons on why you may not have walked away with the crown that night, but if it is your dream, you shouldn’t give up so easily. I would have never won Miss International 2014 if I had given up after not winning or even placing the year before! Each and every pageant is an opportunity to learn how to win the next one.

My first fun Fashion was a dress I had found at forever 21. While I loved the dress and wore it multiple times after the pageant, it wasn’t right for fun fashion. I had no idea what kind of dress I needed so I picked a simple black and white polka dot business dress. (I’m pretty sure I even wore it to a job interview later that year) I wasn’t bitter when I didn’t win the pageant, I took notes. It opened my eyes to things that I could improve upon. My first evening gown was a cupcake ball gown that I had originally purchased for prom! It had zero sparkle or rhinestones, but it made me feel very elegant. Before competing in my 2nd pageant, my mother added over 1500 rhinestones to the dress to help it pop onstage!

In 2006, my very first pageant dress!

For my next pageant I learned how important it was to have a platform that was connected to an organization. My family and I had been volunteering for multiple organizations my entire life, but I had no direction or organization when it came to a specific cause or platform. I had spent so much time focusing on my platform that I didn’t practice my “walk” or my “fitness”

I had prepared so much for my onstage question that I had inverted words during my speech because I let my nerves get the best of me!

By the time my next pageant rolled around I knew what I needed to focus on. I worked extremely hard in preparing. It was also my first “Miss” pageant, I had just turned 18. While I was nervous to have moved up an age category I was also very excited because I knew that I had learned so much over the past year that I was truly presenting my best self!

While I had won this pageant, I also learned the importance of good alterations! My dress was too short and I was forced to wear flats onstage. Everybody noticed.

While I won that pageant, I also learned a lot! Each and every pageant, Win or Learn is an opportunity to learn about yourself. It wouldn’t be until 6 years later that I would win my second pageant. I urge every single one of you to look deep within and reflect upon why it is that you compete in pageants, I can almost guarantee that it’s not JUST for the sparkly crown, it’s for the experience, the memories, the journey! If becoming Miss, Miss Teen or Mrs. International is your dream, don’t let any setbacks derail your ultimate goal!

Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Staying Positive


“Uh Oh. Mommy, the road is not working” our youngest Ellie declared to me. As her little 3 year old voice let out one more “Ugggh” , my mind turned to finding solutions.

My original “plan” was to take the bike path and spend some time with our daughter Ellie while the weather was still warm enough. The destination was in my thoughts before we left, and no detour even popped in to my mind. As we sat there for a minute, I noticed another path. It was steeper, bumpy, narrower and would take longer.

As she giggled from her bike seat on our new route, we still made it where we had originally intended to, just not how we intended to….and with more laughs between the two of us than anticipated. That split second of facing a road block could have turned sour if I chose to be upset over it. The power of positivity if you choose to possess it can be life changing.

Recently I was reading a book called “The Carpenter” from bestselling author and one of the masters of positivity Jon Gordon. So often people’s view when someone experiences success, or even continuous success can be that the road was easy or the path was paved for them. Social Media doesn’t necessarily help with it’s filtered view of “success”.


To be perfectly honest, even as Mrs. International 2014 there are plans with Soles4Souls made if I was crowned that have been modified because something’s that seemed 100% sure, can just all of a sudden become a road block. We are just on a different path and maybe it’s harder, but we will succeed none the less. I have experienced many, many, many road blocks, many obstacles, but it is critical to stay positive and know that eventually it will work and you WILL succeed if you Never Give Up. Last year before we broke a world record for most shoes collected to be recycled for Soles4Souls, I had actually been turned down by 3 entities approached with the vision of a major shoe drive. Everything happens for a reason. Lincoln’s Mayor Chris Beutler saw the vision, and was critical in making it possible.


Every day I wake up with the acceptance that hardships will come, it’s just a matter of staying positive. I had the pleasure of speaking to Jon Gordon about purpose and he said that often in the times when he became closer to his purpose, it was then that he actually found himself experiencing the most self-doubt and hardships.

I loved this quote Pageant Planet posted. How many times have you faced this?

People will say you can’t, but the only one who ever determines that is You. Push through, pave your own path and pray for continued strength. The easiest road does not make it the right one.

Press On, stay positive and Never Give Up.


Live What you Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Drug Free Pumpkin Contest

After speaking at Fulbright Elementary School’s Red Ribbon Week Assembly, I had the fun opportunity to judge a pumpkin contest! Each class in the school created a specially designed pumpkin that they thought conveyed a drug free message the best. I was SO impressed with the results! Picking the top pumpkin was not an easy task. Here are a few of my favorites!

Just say no!

Don’t get “wrapped up” with drugs!

This Grumpy Cat themed pumpkin is too funny!

Even pumpkins know how to Call the Hogs!

This one was a little fishy… ☺

The Charlotte’s Web themed pumpkin was so cute!

I loved this spooky pumpkin!

This class “kissed” the competition goodbye!

Children around the world deserve to live in a drug free world!

The school’s mascot is a falcon! I loved this idea!

I cannot wait to hear the results of the contest! I love to see that our elementary schools have such creative and talented students. Thank you Fulbright Elementary for the warm welcome, allowing me to be your guest speaker, and for letting me make the “tricky” decision of best pumpkin! It was a blast! Happy Red Ribbon Week and Halloween!

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

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Self-Confidence


A few months before the Miss International 2014 pageant I took part in a Charity Fashion Show in Hollywood. I was so excited to have been given the opportunity and couldn’t wait to participate in the event. I was instructed to show up at the venue several hours before the show with a clean face and natural hair. As a pageant girl I am used to having my hair and makeup done, so the thought of showing up makeup free to red carpet event did not bother me. I arrived on time and walked past the line out front and told the door man that I was a model in the show and needed to get inside.

This is when the day took a turn. The door man looked me up and down and said “Your ugly, no way you’re a model” I was taken back at first because of how cruel his comment was, but I politely responded “I’m sorry that you feel that way, but I really do need to get inside, It is my call time.” To which he responded “ You don’t look like any model I have ever seen before, you’ll have to find another way in.” I stood there in shock for a few seconds before calling the venue and asking to speak the manager. The manager came outside and let me in, much to the dismay of the doorman.

Now, this isn’t the story of a time where someone said something hurtful to me and it ruined my day or my confidence. This is the story of the time when someone said something extremely hurtful to me and I didn’t care. I walked out onstage that night and rocked that runway! I didn’t let what one doorman thought about me effect my performance.


As a younger girl I will admit I had struggled with self-esteem issues my entire life. I was so so proud of myself for not letting him get the best of me. I owe my self-confidence to pageantry. I don’t believe self-respect or self-worth can be given to someone, it has to be earned. Through Pageantry I have been able to volunteer with numerous organizations, touch the lives of hundreds of children and celebrate all of the things that make me uniquely me! Pageantry made me proud to be Samantha Riddle - not that it gave me anything I didn’t already have, but it helped me to see all that I had to offer and even celebrate my differences.


While it is extremely unfortunate that people in this world will try to tear you down, it's up to you whether or not they succeed. I could have chosen to leave the fashion show, or worse try to argue with the doorman, but instead I chose to ignore him and his comments because they have no effect on my life. I know as woman in today’s world we can feel pressure to look a certain way or change to fit someone else’s standards of beauty but it’s important to know that you are beautiful just the way you are. Makeup or not.



Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

Life Is Why


As the night settled in, the chatter from 500 women turned to silence. As the event chair Laura Kaputska greeted everyone for the Go Red for Women “Rock the Red” presented by CHI Health, our table took a few deep breaths and final sigh after 9 hours of set-up that was a culmination of months of planning.

Liz Zillig on the left and Lisa McClung on the right from the AHA office lead the two major events held in Lincoln, the Women’s Night Out and the Heart Ball. These ladies are amazing and thanks to Liz’s effort, the Go Red Night sold out weeks before the event!

I’ve been involved with the American Heart Association since late 2012 after seeking to learn more about how as a family we can be healthier due to the history of heart disease that runs in my husband’s family. His dad had his first heart attack at the age of 38. His Grandpa has had a half dozen heart surgeries. We realized we needed to start making some life style changes or this could be his path as well. As I reached out to AHA for information, they asked if I was interested in co-chairing the Go Red passion committee. It has been a fun road and this year it was an honor to join the planning committee for the Go Red night as well.

Our day started at 9am putting finish’s touch’s on grab bags, auction items and various areas of set-up. Many amazing ladies put a lot of time and effort in to this event. The auction committee gathered some amazing items and many items were purchased at the “Buy it Now” price before the auction even ended.

One of my favorite areas was the new “Diva Lounge” with furniture donated by Eakes Office Plus for women to take their “Life is Why” group photos.



While dinner was being served, our table dished out some high fives to celebrate a full room. Women may come for a great ladies night out, but leave with a changed heart often in more ways than one. The Better U Participants “graduated” after their 6 week program to learn heart healthy lifestyles and the Heart Survivor story brought tears to the room.

What is YOUR why?


Live What you Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Walk Now for Autism Speaks

I had so much fun attending the Walk Now for Autism Speaks! 1 of every 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, and Autism Speaks is doing great things to spread awareness and raise funds for research for autistic children.

When I first arrived at the event at the Clinton Presidential Center I took part in a HUGE dance party! Craig O’Neill, a graduate from my high school, a former deejay, and news anchor for THV11, was the host. We did the Wobble, Cha Cha Slide, and lots more fun dances. I was excited to be named the “Cupid Shuffle Champion!” It was a blast!

These sweet girls were my dancing buddies at the walk!

It still hasn’t completely sunk in that people actually want my autograph! Seeing a child excited to receive a picture of me with my signature is such a special feeling. I am sure my fellow sister queens agree that there is no better feeling than that of putting a smile on a sweet kiddo’s face!


Once the race began, I had the awesome opportunity to help lead the participants with the First Lady of Arkansas, Mrs. Ginger Beebe! I was able to share my platform and more about the International Pageant system with Mrs. Beebe. Her husband, Governor Mike Beebe, has the highest approval rate of any governor in the nation. He will be finishing his term as Governor in just a few short months. This led to a conversation about the “former life” that those in office as well as those in pageantry have to face. I have no doubts that Mrs. Beebe will continue to serve the great state of Arkansas even when she no longer has the title of First Lady!

It was a pleasure meeting Mrs. Beebe!

Spending time with special people that are passionate about making a difference is one of the greatest joys of being a titleholder. I am so grateful for opportunities to be part of amazing events like this. My heart was so full when I left the walk!



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

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Camp Erin Luminary Ceremony

Camp Erin Los Angeles Partners

On the Last night of every Camp Erin around the world, children are given the opportunity to create a luminary to say goodbye to their loved ones. They can draw photos, write poems, or even write a letter to their lost loved one. There is no right or wrong way to do this.


A flameless candle is then inserted into the luminary and it is floated into the pool, one by one. Each child is given the chance to speak in front of the entire camp before placing their luminary into the water. They are able to say the name of the person they lost, how they lost them, and if there is anything they want them to know.


This is such a moving and emotional ceremony not only for the campers but for everyone involved. My fellow Cabin Buddy handed me tissues before the ceremony began because by the end, everybody is crying. The children can take the luminaries home the next day and have them to keep and remember forever.

Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sneak Peek

I will definitely be the first one to admit I am not a light packer. When traveling to Haiti in 2010 the nickname “Magyver” was assigned to me because I carried a lot of “just in case” items with me, and we actually ended up using most of them.

Becoming a mother of three has not made it any easier always having the essential mom items in tow like band aids, snacks, etc. The month of October was my busiest yet as Mrs. International traveling out of state every weekend to represent Soles4Souls. I wanted to give you a “sneak peak” into my suitcase to share essential items.

Always prepare for the unknown. This came to fruition with the Boy Scout shoe drive as I was a day of add to the program to speak to the crowd of 5,000. My suitcase had cold weather clothes as the temps would drop in to the 30’s most of the weekend as we collected, but I learned from Suzy Bootz to always have a nice pair of black pants because they always look sleek at an event when a dress is not appropriate.

Here are a few more items you will always find in my suitcase:

- Crown and Sash. Ok, this one is pretty obvious, but those two items never leave my side ☺
- Soles4Souls signage and marketing material to handout
- Clay Spann Makeup. My makeup travel bags from Titlewear are awesome! My makeup first perfect and I love having branded items for International Pageants with me
- Teasing comb and brush. Let’s face it, we won’t always have access to electricity and might face a moment our hair needs to be picture ready. You can get creating with these two items, especially if you have extensions (which are with me as well) to get yourself ready. I keep a small can of hairspray in my crown box as well
- In the event there is electricity, my curling iron and flat iron and duckbill pins
- A nice suit coat can dress anything up and I keep one with me at all times
- Healthy Snacks (see previous blog “Healthy Travel” for what kind of snacks
- Idea Book to jot down creative thoughts
- Calendar book. Technology is great, but for me seeing my year laid out on paper works the best
- Outing Dresses and accompanying accessories. This is where my suitcase gets really full, I love options and having extra in case extra event pop up
- Wedges and heels. I prefer heels as often as possible, but a nice pair of wedges might be needed if the terrain will not accommodate heels
- Baby Wipes. I have gotten stuck on layovers without a shower readily available and especially with international travel, baby wipes are huge essential in my suitcase

Happy Travels!
Live What you Love,

Maggi
Your Mrs. International 2014

#GiveShoesGiveLove

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Why Does Fitness Wear Matter?

As a potential contestant in the International Pageant System, you may be wondering why the Fitness Wear phase of competition is included. I want to tell you a little more about why it’s included, why I believe it is important, what the judges are looking for, and why it is my favorite phase of competition!

The judges are NOT necessarily looking for the contestant with the best body. They are looking for someone that knows how to take care of herself. In a society where the obesity rates have increased by 30% in the last thirty years, healthy living needs to be a priority for everyone. The “fitness” of the contestant is only part of what the judge looks for. Other criteria to consider are the overall health, spunk, balance, and confidence. They want a fun, energetic, and HEALTHY Miss Teen, Miss, or Mrs. International!


The reason this phase of competition is 20%-30% of the overall score is because it matters! It is not important to be a certain size, but it is important to see that a titleholder cares for her body. A skinny contestant doesn’t mean as much to a judge as a fit one. A toned and healthy figure can show the judges that this girl knows how to set goals for herself. The judges want to see muscle definition because that shows she put effort into being a better version of herself.


This is also important to the International Pageant system because of our platform. Go Red for Women is all about decreasing cases of heart disease in women, and one of the very best ways to do this is by leading a healthy lifestyle. The judges will be taking into consideration that the ladies they select will spend a year promote the American Heart Association as the next Miss, Miss Teen, or Mrs. International. They will definitely be looking for good role models.

There are several reasons why I love this phase. First of all, it is fun!!! For me, it is most relaxed phase of competition. Second, it is refreshing. If you know you honestly put in the work before the pageant to get your body in the shape you want it, you will go on stage knowing you did all you could do. And last, the fitness phase goes hand-in-hand with my platform! Be Proactive, Get Active ties together the entire concept of this phase- being healthy now to prevent future risks like heart disease. It means so much to me that the International Pageants recognize this as well!


Tying for the highest overall fitness score at the national pageant was such an honor. The hard work I put in over the months leading up to the pageant paid off and receiving this award was a true testimony to the efforts I have put into my platform as well.


So how does this all apply to you as a contestant 9 months away from the International Pageant? Well, everyone should start working now! I highly recommend adding regular physical activity into your daily routine and making slow and impactful changes in your diet. By doing this you will become more confident in your body. I look forward to seeing all of our beautiful contestants rock their fitness wear onstage next summer in Jacksonville!

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

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014