Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Little Things


Having my girls home for Spring break has been such a blessing...

I had forgotten how happy it makes my heart feel to hear the noise, the laughter, and even the arguments of having all 6 kids home.

I missed the girl talks with my two oldest, talking pageantry, fitness, and BOYS! I love cooking together, spending time in the kitchen talking around the table, as a family.

The little things!

We Americans, are so over stimulated, we don't make time to sit back and enjoy life.

I'm guilty of that myself. But having missed my girls so much, it forced me to savor every waking moment. And I realized, "Why don't I do this more often!?" Well, “cause I'm too busy, I don't make time for it”.....Yadda, yadda.

But the truth of the matter, it's worth it! We are only punishing ourselves.

Take the time to enjoy life, to cherish the little things, to slow down. In doing so, you'll not only feel happier, but you're also reducing stress...And you'll be healthier! Remember stress kills, but a grateful heart, brings life!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-
TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What Fitness Wear Is Not


Throughout my year of service, I have had numerous people question the Fitness Wear Competition of Miss International. Parents, contestants, outsiders… they all want to understand what this phase is really about.

As many of you all know, I battled a life-threatening eating disorder for three years. When I considered competing for Miss International, I put a lot of thought into what competing would look like. I wanted to make sure I was solid enough in my own recovery journey to safely speak out about my experience and prepare for Internationals in a healthy way. Leading up to the competition, I had many sessions with a licensed therapist to make sure that I was staying mentally strong while preparing for fitness. My health had to stay a priority, and I refused to take steps back in my recovery journey. When I walked on stage, I desired to show people that recovery is possible and share what God had done in my life.

Today, I want to clarify what Fitness Wear is not… because anyone can be Miss International - there is no mold.

1. It’s Not About Being The Thinnest

So many people think that only a certain size is healthy - that’s not true. Each person has a weight that is healthy for them. It’s not called “Thin Wear”… it’s called “Fitness Wear”. Whether you’re a beautiful size 0 or a stunning size 18… what matters is your health. Our organization works with the American Heart Association, and our crowned representatives showcase their heart healthy lifestyle through this competition.

2. It’s Not About Being The Strongest

I like to think I am the Incredible Hulk… but when I try to carry all my groceries in from the store at once… I realize I’m not. It’s a sad moment, but something I am working to overcome (hehehe). Many think that in order to win, you’ve got to live in the gym and look like a body-builder. This is also a myth. It’s more about being toned and healthy.

3. It’s Not About Just Smiling

Smiling is important, don’t get me wrong. I highly support smiling in Fitness Wear. But if you smile and then also look scare to death… that’s when the issue arises. I always tell contestants, you score well in fitness wear because of what you look like from the shoulders up. If your smile is genuine and confident, then everyone will be drawn to your charisma. They’ll see how proud of your body you are!

I hope this helps clarify Fitness Wear and I can’t wait to see everyone in Charleston, WV in August!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

A Pageant Binder?


Some of you have heard of a “pageant binder” or “pageant bible.” I have gotten a few questions recently on what in the world that is and what you should put in it. A pageant binder is where you keep an extra copy of all of your important information regarding you and the pageant. Here is an example of what all your pageant binder should/could include.
  1. Extra Headshot Copy
  2. Extra Platform Page 
  3. Extra Resume
  4. Extra Contract
  5. Your Handbook (or copies of it) 
  6. Copy of your Driver's License 
  7. Copy of your Birth Certificate 
  8. Copy of Rules and Regulations
  9. Copy of Ad Page 
  10. List of Typical Interview Questions
  11. Important Information or Notes on Current Events 
  12. Hotel Confirmation Information 
  13. Flight Itinerary/ Driving Plan
  14. Photo and Description of Wardrobe 
  15. Autograph Cards ( if you have them)
  16. List of Community Service 
  17. Copy of Paula Preston Order Form 
  18. Copy of Video Order Form
  19. Your Social Media Information 
  20. National Pageant and Current Queens Social Media Information 
  21. Copy of Coronation Ball Ticket Information 
  22. Copy of Fitness Order Form 
  23. Copy of Opening Number Order Form 
  24. Copy of Dunn and Dunn Hair and Makeup Information 
  25. Any Other Pageant Sponsor Information 
  26. Good Luck Notes from Family and Friends 
  27. Your Contact Information/ Emergency Contact Information (in case it is lost) 
  28. Any Other Tips or Information You May Need
I know it seems like a lot but trust me, having all of this information in one spot will help you greatly, especially during pageant week. Though it is fun, pageant week is also long and stressful! If you have extra copies and everything ready it will save you time and energy. Plus having notes of encouragement from family and friends really helps.

If you take the time to prepare before the pageant the better outcome and better experience you will have! So come prepared ladies! If you have any other question on what should be in your pageant binder, feel free to reach out to me.

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

-Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Monday, April 24, 2017

Until There Are No More Abandonments


Millions of babies are being abandoned on a global level and together, I believe we CAN stop abandonments.

THAT is my number one focus. To spread awareness internationally, to educate internationally, and to internationally prevent the abandonments of babies.

So what am I doing towards that? Well, many might not know this, but I am actually in charge of all International affairs.

That means every email, phone call, ANYTHING to do with baby boxes internationally goes through me.

That alone is a job in itself. I'm constantly working on box packages, emailing information back and forth...It's never ending.

After our recent meeting in Indiana with the board members, we decided we needed to have different options for different climate- countries.

So for the last four days I've been working on that, as well as packages to send out with all the specs and information.

Our main box (these are the ones being currently used in the US) have been tested in the US, and are designed to Safe Haven Baby Boxes specific qualifications.

These boxes are made up of 1/2" Polypro Copolymer. Black Matte sheet plastics. Its dimensions are 30 x 24 and it weighs a total of 70lbs.

They’re designed to be installed on to the exterior wall of either a fire station, police station, hospitals, or churches. The baby is placed in the box from the outside of the building, where the box is installed. The box also opens from inside the building, where the baby is then, rescued by EMS emergency personnel.

The boxes are equipped with a heating and cooling features, and are very well ventilated.

There are three different ways the boxes alarm emergency personnel.

When the door is opened, an ADT trips an alarm and alerts emergency personnel within 30 seconds. (Once the door has been opened, the door is made to close on its own, and it is then locked. This is a safety feature, to ensure the safety of the newborns)

There are also sensors inside the box, as a second safety precaution, this will also alarm emergency personnel if an infant is placed inside the safe box.

Lastly there is a button, that also alerts 911. The reason for this feature, is more psychological. It provides closure for the mother, and a sense of knowing that she is doing the right thing.

The child is then picked up by EMS within 3-5 minutes.

As you can see, we've thought of everything. And I can assure you, just as much thought, effort, and love, is going into these next three options. These will be available overseas and in other countries.

I may not be delivering the boxes just yet, trust me we’re almost there! But fortunately, I have a lifetime to work on this and I intend to use it.

Until there are no more abandonments!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla Pruitt

The Best Date You'll Ever Have


I genuinely love going on dates with my handsome man. I really enjoyed the idea of getting dressed up, putting on my best, and having a special date where we can just continue getting to know each other and how to serve each other better. He’s taken me to some really phenomenal places and I’m so thankful for the work he’s put in to plan all our special dates.

However… with all that being said…

I think the best date we can ever have is with ourself. The world is constantly on the go and moving around us… we don’t have control of it. When we get caught up in the rat race, it’s easy to become overwhelmed… stressed… and unlike ourselves. I’ve learned, overtime, the importance of taking myself on dates. I often call them “Jesus Dates” because it’s my time to go somewhere and just spend time with the my heart’s ultimate love.

Recently, I was in London and experienced one of my most developmental Jesus dates I’ve ever had. As some of you all know, I’ve battled anxiety for many years. It usually stays at bay but when I am going to a new country I’ve never been to and have to be by myself for a few hours… it sparks back up. I was so nervous about spending the day exploring London all by myself but when I reframed it to a “Jesus Date” or “Amanda Date”… everything shifted. I ended up walking 16 (yes sixteen, 1-6, 10+6) miles that day. I had my little list of places I wanted to visit, popped in the latest songs from the Passion Band, and walked my little self all across the city. I honestly loved every moment of it. Dates with yourself, where you get to know who you are (strengths, weaknesses, everything) on a deeper level are truly special and the best dates you can possible have. They enable you to love others better.

It was a huge day for me. Not only did I overcome the lies from the enemy and keep my anxiety at bay, but I had an entire day to spend with Jesus and my thoughts. There I was… walking in front of Buckingham Palace just bee-bopping along and praying in my head. I received a lot of clarity and comfort knowing that even though I was thousands of miles away from my sweet little Atlanta home… and all by myself… I was being held by my Creator.

“Amanda Dates” or “Jesus Dates” can happen in any city, but it just so happens that God needed me out of my element to really deeply listen to what He was wanting do to in my heart and through my life. As Miss International, I travel 2-3 weeks out of every month… but I intentionally schedule dates with myself and Jesus during because otherwise they will slip through the cracks. If I want something to happen… it has to get scheduled on my calendar. I’m not a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of person… and being Miss International has made me even more of a fan of keeping a precise calendar.

I challenge you to date yourself. Go to a movie alone, take yourself to get a french-press coffee, and free your mind to truly listen. You have an entire lifetime with you and the more you know yourself… the better you can love and serve others through your true beauty and life.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Now What Happens If I Look Sick...


In contrast to one of my last posts, what do you do when you hear this…

“Why is she so small?”

“Why does she wear those crazy outfits?”

“What is that thing?”

Visible chronic illness is just as difficult to deal with as Invisible Illness. I have had countless young friends that have been made fun of and been outcasts just because of their feeding tube or small size. My main statement behind this blog goes back to one thing that I am sure you were told countless times when you were young… “don't judge a book by its cover.” Many of us have heard this a million times, but honestly how many of us actually do it.

Take a step back… someone may be a small size because of their medication. Those crazy outfits the pain community wears, they are to bring awareness about different diseases and struggles we go through. Lastly that “thing” you are pointing at and staring at saves people's lives and/or helps their quality of life. Most of the time it is a big step for people to go shopping or go out to dinner. Please do not judge them. I have seen it too many times myself.

Most people are very open about their illnesses. They have no problem answering questions and letting you know a little more about their daily life. I promise they would rather give answers than deal with stares and whispers. 

I encourage all of you to like the U.S. Pain Foundation Facebook Page as well as mine to stay updated on ways you can help and understand the chronic pain community.

“Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds”

- Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

3 Things Every Pageant Girl Needs


I’ve been in pageants for 15 wonderful years! This journey has taken me on adventures I never fathomed. I look back on the countries I’ve visited, people I’ve been humbled to meet, and children I’ve been blessed to serve… sometimes I think, “Wait, this is my life? How?” Being Miss International is the best job I could imagine and I love what I get to do. With all these experiences, I’ve learned a few best practices that really play into my everyday success and efficiency.

There are quite a few items that always travel with me and go to each city I visit. I depend on them to help me be the best Miss International I can be. I’ve taken my long list of “must haves” and narrowed it down. Today I want to share with you all 3 items that every pageant girl needs!

1. An Organized Calendar

My calendar keeps me sane. Without it, I’d be running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I use Apple Calendars. Each facet of my life (Personal, Work, Miss International) has a different color. I also share my calendar with my handsome man so that he knows where I am for safety reasons. My day is planned down to the minute and I really love it that way. This calendar allows me to really prepare for what’s ahead and efficiently use my time. I don’t know how people keep all their commitments in their head. For me, there are too many moving pieces and nothing can get dropped.

2. Hair, Skin, and Nail Vitamins

As Miss International, my hair and make-up is done 6 days out of the week. That’s a lot of heat and damage to my hair. It’s also a lot of product on my face. I keep my nails done with OPI’s Gel “Put It In Neutral.” Needless to say, I put my body through a lot. The vitamins help my body recover from everything I put it through. I truly see the difference when I use vitamins versus when I don’t. Find the supplement that’s right for you! I already have to take a few other medications/vitamins in the morning - so I prefer a chewable vitamin for this aspect of my nutrition!

3. A Comfortable Pair of Nude Heels

Nude heels go with everything. Literally, you cannot go wrong with them. When in doubt, nude heel it out! I am not the tallest person in the world, so I really love that nude heels make my legs look longer and leaner. I would encourage you to find one ride-or-die pair and take them with you whenever you travel for events. When you’re comfortable and really love them - you’ll be excited to wear heels! I am a huge fan of Tippy Tops and Jessica Simpson Shoes. Both go with me everywhere!

You’re a rockstar, beautiful! Use these three items to make your year count and look fabulous along the way!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Moving Mountains


I recently traveled to New York and met with the National Safe Haven Alliance... All in hopes to get a proclamation from our President declaring April National Baby Safe Haven Awareness Month.

This seemed like an impossible feat, but I kept reminding myself, “with God all things are possible.”

In order for you to understand, I need to give you a little back-story. For eight years, President Bush, announced April Baby Safe Haven Awareness Month. However, that ended when the next President took office.

So when we approached this, we were hopeful, but we knew it would be “an act of God,” and He can move mountains.

We were preparing to fight for it, we reached out to all 50 state's governors for their support. And I'm proud to say, we were able to get proclamations from EVERY STATE!! And I was able to personally get a proclamation from my Governor Matt Mead.

We were prepared to present all 50 states proclamations before the Senate and the President, thinking that we would have to state our case and fight for it.

Well…...God fought for it. We literally had to do nothing. We head out there, and come to find out, the proclamation from the President was signed and ready, and waiting for us!!

What!!??

“How? Huh? Are you talking about us?? National Safe Haven Alliance??”

God had made a way. We didn't have to do anything, I didn't have to worry, or fret...He had this!

Was I a little disappointed?

NOT AT ALL! I was so relieved. But so very grateful.

We had a fundraiser/celebration planned for that evening, and it was the greatest. We had over 300 people, that I had the privilege to speak to and present the proclamations to. It turned out being one of the greatest appearances, because we were all celebrating a great victory.


Remember, whatever endeavor, no matter the situation, God has this! And with Him, all things are possible!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Friday, April 14, 2017

My Trip To Charleston


Hello everyone, Priscilla, Amanda and I were able to visit Charleston, West Virginia these past couple of days. I am so excited for all of the ladies competing and their families to see this amazing town. We felt so welcomed from the moment we landed.

We kept busy the whole trip so I wanted to give you an inside look on all of the trip's events. The morning started off early with 3 radio interviews. These were to promote tourism day at the capitol building as well as the pageant coming to Charleston this summer! Next we headed to the Capitol to meet representatives and senators from all over West Virginia! March 20th, 2017 was declared International Pageants Day in West Virginia. How exciting is that?!

After accepting the proclamation we were able to participate in a few TV interviews with local news stations. Later we were able to begin the photo shoots that will be used for promotional purposes for the pageant and for Charleston. We started by shooting pictures outside of the beautiful Capitol building! Next we had a small break to get ready for the West Virginia Hospitality Association Legislative Reception at the State Culture Museum. Here we were able to meet and speak to more government officials and leaders from different counties in West Virginia. They did an amazing job with this reception there was delicious food from all over the state. Also the Culture Center is one of the most amazing buildings. It is truly beautiful so Mrs. Contestants get ready for a treat!

The next day brought some more amazing photo shoots. We started with an early breakfast with the amazing Mary and Cristen. Then we headed over to Tidewater Grille in the Charleston Mall for a mini photoshoot there. Next was a stop at Ivors Boutique! For the ladies who are competing please make some time to come to this shop! It is amazing and just had so many great clothing pieces in it. They sponsored an outfit for each of us to wear for the next part of the photoshoot, so a big thank you goes to Ivor’s. My outfit was a pair of fabulous black pants, a white crop top, and gold sequin shall. A special thank you to Cristen for letting me rock her sunglasses for a few of the pictures! We headed over to Capitol Market for the next photo shoot location. If you ladies are looking for something sweet while in Charleston Holls Chocolates is the place to go!

Miss and Teen Contestants! Have you watched the live stream video on Facebook that shows you the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences yet? If not you need to! It is a beautiful theatre, I am so excited to see ya’ll rocking the stage in August! We took more photos at the Clay Center then went on to the airport. This was such an exciting shoot. We were able to take photos next to a private jet, which is right up my alley. Next was dinner then the Ronald McDonald House where we were able to meet a special little princess. She was so sweet, and even crowned me.

Contestants, get ready for the time of your life. I cannot believe the pageant is so close. Charleston here we come!

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

-Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

3 Tips For International Paperwork


Ladies, it is game time! I am so excited that we are only a few short months away from 2017 Internationals. However, before we all arrive in Charleston, there are a number of important tasks that have to be completed. From planning out your wardrobe to securing transportation…there are a lot of details. Doing your paperwork is one of the most intense, intimidating, and tedious pieces of preparing for Internationals. Trust me, I did mine all by myself… I get it.

Grab a cup of coffee and use these tips to help you create the best paperwork that represents who you are and why you are the best choice for the job!

Be On Time

Judges get a contestant’s paperwork roughly 3 weeks in advance. If your paperwork is late, it will be sent separately and judges will be aware that you missed the deadline. The best way to avoid late paperwork is to set your personal deadline two weeks before the International deadline. Put in the extra work, don’t procrastinate, and show the judges that you’re ready for the job! When you become Miss International, you’ll have deadlines too. There are no excuses.

Be Grammatically Correct

Let me preface this by sharing that my mom is a teacher. Ever since I was a little girl, she instilled in me the importance of being grammatically correct. Even at 24 years old… I don’t always get it right, and she still corrects me! In this case, I wanted her to pick my paperwork apart and her intense eyes were joyfully welcomed. Although judges may not pick up on your grammar being perfect… they will notice if it’s wrong. Be remembered for a good reason!

Be Unique

You know how they say, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression”… it’s true. Your paperwork will create your first impression. I vividly remember one of my judges saying, “Your paperwork is one of the best I’ve ever seen.” I kindly chimed in with, “Thank you! I did it all myself.” The judge was shocked! Whether you hire our fabulous sponsor, Susan Botek, or do the paperwork yourself… just ensure that it represents who you truly are. With my platform being related to body image and eating disorders, I stayed true to my heart and in the section asking for weight… I put “healthy.” It was true, I haven't stepped on a scale since leaving recovery and I am so thankful that I’ve broken free from its chains. I knew it was a risk to put that on my paperwork, but I had to be uniquely Amanda. Win or lose, I wanted to be true to who God called me to be.

Alright, one more sip of coffee… now GO! Press on and make your paperwork standout for all the right reasonsI know you all are going to be phenomenal and I can’t wait to watch each one of you shine onstage!

P.S. Mom, I apologize for any grammatical errors in this blog! Love you!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hope for Africa


In the 2015 crime report, Kenya's inspector general of police reported a 55% increase of infanticide cases. (Meaning, an infant being abandoned and dying as a result, or being killed before their first year of age.)

Africa's statistics are astounding, almost unbelievable. I get emails from Ghana, Kenya, Johannesburg, Eastern Cape, where babies are being found on a daily basis.

They keep logs of newborn babies found in the Nairobi dump, the largest landfill in Kenya where 1-3 newborns are dumped a month. Some are discovered alive and put up for adoption, but many aren't so fortunate.

I could tell you story after story, the fact is babies are dying, and there isn't enough being done to stop it. We can, and must do more to protect these innocent lives from being abandoned.

We've spent the last year improving and perfecting our boxes, talking to countries, looking at statistics, locations, and preparing to launch our International boxes. We see the need everyday when we open up emails, and hear story after story of babies being abandoned, and left for dead.

Well I'm glad to say that the time has come and Safe Haven Baby Boxes is listening!! We are ready to start launching our international boxes, beginning with Africa!


Monica Kelsey, the founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes and I, we'll be personally traveling to several areas around South Africa to bring this country hope. Our travels will include delivering donated boxes, oversee the installation, train on the boxes, and to promote the use of a safe surrender, and ultimately stop abandonment in Africa. However, we need your help. In order for us to be able to help stop abandonment in Africa we are in desperate need of donations and funds. Safe Haven Baby Boxes’ mission is very simple, where there are abandoned babies, Safe Haven Baby Boxes will be working. We have an opportunity to save so many lives, the child's and their mothers. Will you partner with us?

We are a 501(c)3, and we work solely on donations from individuals such as yourself who believe that every child deserves to be loved and wanted. Safe Haven Baby Boxes is run solely by volunteers that believe in this mission so 100% of your gift is used to save the lives of babies and their mothers from a lifetime of guilt.

Will you partner with us? Will you help us save the lives of these newborns in Africa? You can give to our upcoming Africa mission by clicking on:

https://secure.qgiv.com/for/shbba/mobile/

Any gift is appreciated, and is tax deductible.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you,
TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Friday, April 7, 2017

Feeling Unloveable


As a little, I was constantly the one being bullied about my weight… hair… face… everything was fair game. Time went on and the words continued to cut into my heart and grew into attacks on my character. People who didn’t even know me would criticize who I was, my volunteerism, and my involvement in pageantry. I vividly remember sitting at home on a Friday night with my parents and wondering if I would ever have friends in my home town. These thoughts and actions by others took to my sensitive heart and I felt unloveable. I allowed other’s words to take reign over what God said about me. My mind continued to spiral down and my question of being worthy of love was one of the root issues of my eating disorder.

As Miss International and even just as Amanda, I still receive criticism. It doesn’t go away just because I have a crown on my head. When I’m not careful and intentional… it becomes a storm in my mind and I can quickly begin having the same questions. I think the second someone steps into the spotlight, the enemy works even harder because he knows the glory you are about to bring God.

Negative thoughts come rushing in - loud and intense… if I am not rooted in the Word, I can crumble quickly. As an overcomer of anxiety and depression, I can sense it beginning to attack my heart. Someone will say something negative about my character or the way I look and in an instant I have a decision. I can let the enemy win and feel unloveable… or I can listen to the words of Truth from God. It’s not easy, but it is critical that I make the choice that is best for my heart.

Something God has taught me so much, but today I want to highlight something He’s been teaching me big time since I left recovery.

Not everyone is going to love you… or even like you. That’s okay.

I have felt it heavy on my heart to share that truth. It’s not a “pretty” truth… but it is reality. We are all different with different opinions, tastes, and thoughts. Not everyone has to like us, but we are called to extend love and respect. Just because someone criticizes you doesn’t mean that you are unloved or unworthy - it just means maybe they don’t see things the same way as your or maybe their eyes can’t see your beauty. One of my favorite quotes - mentioned in Princess Diaries - is “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”


We may not be loved or liked by the world every single moment of every single day, but there is a Father in Heaven that calls us loved - beautiful - justified - redeemed - accepted - chosen - heir - able - Holy. Yes, it may sting when someone says something negative about us, but we just always remember that we are treasured jewels. We are loved.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Hope for the Hopeless


When you think of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, many of you think of the boxes and that's probably it.

However, Safe Haven Baby Boxes isn't JUST boxes, we are sooo much more!

We provide hope for the hopeless.

Safe Haven has a 24 hour hotline with some of the most qualified women, ready to help anyone on the other line. We have women counselors that have been doing this for over 40 years! Ready to help at anytime sometimes several times a day, their phone lines are constantly ringing.

In our first year alone we help 949 women through our hotline alone!

Most of the moms that call in are scared, maybe they're angry. And I can assure you, many of them are not thinking rationally... They don't know who to go to.

That's why this hotline is so important, it gives them the help they need, with complete anonymity.

These mothers are more likely to listen to someone who doesn't know them, who doesn't judge them, and who will take the time to help them.

That's what our counselors do: they listen, they counsel, they love, they don't judge.. And they’re saving lives EVERYDAY.

Many people get mad at the idea of us helping the mothers, but we what we need to understand is this. We don't know what situation these mothers are in... They could be young, alone, homeless, an addict. They could have been raped, molested, they could be a sex-slave...We as a society, need to have the utmost compassion for these mothers in crisis.

However, that's not all Safe Haven does, they work relentlessly to change laws, to pass baby bills. They're constantly working to fix the laws in states where Safe Haven laws are failing us.

They also provide pamphlets all over the US, educating in dozens of states about Safe Haven Laws, and therefore, saving the lives of babies…(Although they might never even hear about those.)

They educate, they raise awareness, they prevent, they work to change our laws….They travel all over the world doing this, and none of them are paid! That's right, it's 100% volunteer run. So that means that 100% of all the donations that go to this 501c3 go to good use!

People think it's just about the baby boxes, but it's so much more!

I really do love that they're worried about the mothers, and that their mission isn't just to save the babies….But to save the mothers from jail time as well!

That is why they created the baby boxes as a last resort option.

NO NAME, NO BLAME, NO SHAME!! That's what we offer. Hope for the mother, and a good life with a loving family, for the baby.

We are here for you!

1-866-99baby1

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla Pruitt

Friendship Over Competition


Miss International Week was one of most beautiful, exhilarating, and nerve wrecking experiences of my life. Throughout the week, I was greeted by a beautiful young lady who would not only be my comrade in this journey… but a forever best friend. Taylor Woodruff, Miss North Dakota International 2016, was truly a gift from God. She cheered me on, prayed with me, and had me smiling each and every day. The week is amazing but it is even better when you have a true best friend by your side. I would do anything for her and I know she feels the same. When it came time for the final pageant, I told her that if it wasn’t my time for the job of Miss International then it was my genuine prayer that it would be hers.

I think if we both went in with the mindset of “competing” against others… we would have missed out on a phenomenal sisterhood.

Our friendship will go long beyond our time in International Pageants. We still talk on an almost daily basis and even shared Christmas together through FaceTime. She’s worth the rain and the sleet and the snow that I will experience at the Miss North Dakota International pageant when I visit as Miss International 2016. She is truly one of the most beautiful people I know.

My hope is that every contestant is able to find their own Taylor - a friend who they love and loves them in return. A friend who genuinely wants the best for you and you feel the exact same.

When you truly think about it, the only person you’re competing against is yourself. There is no comparative scoring and you’re going for your personal highest score in each phase of competition. It doesn’t matter how everyone else performs - it matters how you perform.

As Miss International 2017 week quickly approaches, I challenge you to find your Taylor and make friends with the other state representatives. Keep your eyes focused on being your personal best competitor and building the friendships that will genuinely last a lifetime. I am confident that each competitor can walk away with forever friends and I pray that you all are able to create beautiful memories!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mommy Opportunities


"Mommy why is the beast so mean?" My 5 year old daughter asks me while watching Disney's original Beauty And The Beast. I answer her gently, "Well, he needs love, his “love tank” is empty! Watch what happens when Belle shows him love..."

"He turns nice?" Adonai asks. "Yes, he does. You see, just like the beast, when kids or grown ups are mean...It's probably cause they need love." Adonai jumps in, "Just like the beast!" "Exactly!" I exclaimed.

Everyday we are presented with opportunities just like this, to either feed our kid's minds or to brush them off. As parents it's easy to lose sight of our number one job- Teaching our kids!

That's not their teacher’s job, it's OUR job. We're their first teachers. Teachers and schools should be secondary to us parents. When they ask questions, (although it can get annoying at times) take the time to listen, and answer them with love. I can assure you, the teacher doesn't love them as much as we do, plus she has at least a dozen other kids to answer to.

We should be the one to feed their minds.

Life isn't promised, it's here and gone in a flash. Enjoy these opportunities to develop your kids minds, to build a strong bond where your child feels he CAN talk to you. It's a true blessing, please don't take it for granted.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-
TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

The "Pageant Girl" Label


I want to start our time together with a funny story. In November, I traveled to Africa to host True Beauty Movement workshops and cultivate positive body image in women across the world. It will always be one of my most treasured memories from the year.

The flight back home made me laugh and thank God for International Pageants. On the flight from Africa to Paris (my first layover on the journey home)… I sat next to a gentleman who was very intrigued by the crown and banner that I had in tow. He asked multiple questions about it and what I was doing in Africa. One of my favorite comments was, “It’s so interesting that you’re Miss International and a pageant girl. You’re very smart and well spoken - I wouldn’t expect that from a pageant girl.”

Pause. Umm… what?

Clearly… people have a picture in their mind of what a “pageant queen” looks like and presents herself like. Part of me laughed… another part of me was offended… and the last part was excited to articulate how not all pageants are like “Honey Boo Boo.” After picking my jaw up off the floor, I chuckled and said, “Thank you. Our program is platform based… so this year really isn’t about me… it’s about the power of a crown to change the world.” This time it was his turn to pick his jaw up. We continued to speak about the work I had done and why I was so passionate about True Beauty Movement and International Pageants. I shared my testimony, what God had done in my life, and the unique opportunity I had to change the way our young women defined beauty. I was not sure how that conversation was going to turn out, but I am thankful that God gave me the words to help another see the power of the Miss International crown and community service.

I may not fit the “stereotype pageant girl”… whatever that is… but I am Amanda Moreno and really thankful that God entrusted me with this responsibility. When you look historically at Miss International… we’re all different. There’s no cookie cutter Miss International. As you prepare for the competition, remember to stay true to you and create the image of Miss International 2017 within yourself. We each have unique testimonies, platforms, passions, and talents… the new Miss International will follow suit and be her own person. The constricting label our society has put around pageants doesn’t apply at Miss International. We’re a platform based program focused on making a difference… one young woman at a time.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

National Safe Haven Awareness Month


This month is National Safe Haven Awareness Month, in honor of it, I would like to emphasize on the importance of Safe Haven Laws. This is important because remain unaware of such laws.

Last week alone, we had three babies die from abandonment in the US! To make things worse, this could have easily been avoided by utilizing Safe Haven laws.

"I've done multiple events, and no one's even heard of Safe Haven Laws. If you ask the question, 'Have you ever heard of a young girl throwing a baby in the garbage?' You get, 'Oh yeah, I've heard of that. It's so sad,' but most haven't heard of the law!"

Every state has some form of Safe Haven Law. By utilizing them, a mother that feels unfit for parenting can hand her baby over to any staff at any fire station, police station, hospital, or church. (It's important to know that these laws do differ from state to state. So visit Nationalsafehavenalliance.org for more info.)

This law not only saves the newborn, but it also saves the mother from having to face child-abandonment charges.

By sharing this, you are helping us spread the word and you could possibly save the life of a newborn. This day in age, social media can be instrumental in educating. Please join us in the fight against abandonments.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

The Best Travel Apps


The Miss International job has afforded me numerous opportunities to travel the world that I never fathomed. I’ve always loved seeing the world - but it’s like the crown has magical powers and transforms you into a true Wanderlust! I’ve seen parts of this world that were beautiful, saddening, and empowering. I’ve stood before the nicest areas and the brokenness of slums. As Miss International, you see it all and your heart has to be prepared for everything.

Somewhere in the middle of a small street in Paris, I realized that without the apps on my phone I would be two things…. 1)lost and 2)hungry! The apps have enabled me to see the truest parts of cities and avoid tourist areas. I seriously think the Maps App has saved marriages everywhere - it’s such an amazing piece of technology. Good or bad - I’ve become dependent on my phone when traveling. Today, I want to share with you all some of my favorite travel apps to help you have the most wonderful vacations, appearances, and more!

*Apple Maps or Google Maps

No explanation needed. These save my life. Every. Single. Time.

*Uber

I prefer using Uber over Taxis. Personally, I find it to be a better experience and Uber holds each car to certain standards. During my time in Europe, I used it each day and met amazing people. The drivers also have insight to the city. Travel Tip: If you have an American Express, link it to your account. You will earn free rides, discounts, and vouchers.

*Google Translate

This one is especially important if you are overseas. I was recently in the Louvre Museum and came to realize that knowing Spanish and English didn’t help at all. Google Translate helped me better understand the art and artifacts that I looked at.

*Trip Advisor

This app offers a plethora of assistance to its users. You can look at attractions, restaurants, museums and so much more. I love that I can see what people honestly think without any input from the individual businesses - it’s raw and real. The photo feature is also super appreciated. I like that I can look at customer photos of meals, inside appearance, and other features. It helps me see if I really want to go somewhere or if I can use my time elsewhere.

*Delta, American Airlines, Virgin, etc.

I highly suggest using the app your airline has created. It allows you to have the most up to date information and have your boarding pass right on your phone instead of a little piece of paper (that I somehow end up loosing every time).

*Open Table and The Fork
Visiting small restaurants and coffee shops in each town I visit is a passion of mine. I often travel with the rule “No Chain Food” because I want authentic cuisine. Open Table and The Fork allow me to get real reviews (similar to Trip Advisor), look at the menu, and make a reservation. I would say 75% of all the restaurants I experienced in Europe were found off this app.

I can’t wait to see where your travels take you! Buckle up, Miss International 2017, this will be the most amazing ride.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Monday, April 3, 2017

Your Story


This year has been incredible, so many “firsts” for me: I won my first International title, this was my first time co-hosting a TV show, we’ve moved ( not a first, but a big change), we left our youth group, we struck oil (seriously, a first for our personal finances) among so many more things that have happened. But it wasn’t always this easy, things were really hard for a long time.

I was sitting next to this young girl on the airplane, on my way back from Orlando last week. She was so intrigued with my life that she asked a dozen questions. One conversation led to another, and to another, and before we landed, (3 hours later) she knew every trial, storm, valley, dessert, and every heart ache I had been through. (Apparently, I’m an open book..If you just ask me.)

By the time we landed, she was teary eyed, encouraged, motivated and ready to conquer the world.

To the “outside world” it seems like my life is perfect. And that may be the case (some days) but I can assure you, I’ve been through more than most, at my age. I dont have the “perfect marriage,” my kids can be just as rambunctious as any, and we go through trials almost daily.

But the difference is, I talk about it.

When we talk about the things we’ve gone through, our struggles, our heart breaks, our sucessess, our failures and our victories, we help one another. It helps us to know that someone has gone through the same struggles, it encourages us. I’ll never understand why someone would go through a struggle on their own. That doesn't make any sense to me! It not only helps you, but it helps others. Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Top 5 Reasons to Attend the Trunk Show


Trunk Show is right around the corner and I could not be more excited! Attending this event last year as Miss Georgia International was one of the best decisions I made. It prepared me to be Miss International - not just win. I learned so much important information and had so much fun!

Now it’s your time to shine at Trunk Show! Check out my top 5 reasons you can’t miss this event!

1. Meet The Family

This organization truly is a family. We all love one another and support each others’ dreams! When I attended Trunk Show last year, I was able to meet all the sponsors and team members that would be by my side during Miss International week. We began forming genuine relationships that would be built when God unveiled His plan for my time in the program. The relationships I formed with Mary, Suzy, Clay, Terri, and Joey helped me feel that much more confident going into Internationals. I felt at home from the moment I walked into Orientation because I already knew some of the key players that make the organization as beautiful as it is.

2. Get Expert Advice

Trunk Show brings all our sponsors into one location - a rare occurrence! This event allows you to meet with each one and learn how to capture the crown. Each one is an expert in their field and on Miss International! The entire team was key in my skill development. Our sponsors are honest and do their best to prepare each client to reach their personal best!

3. Try On Fitness Wear

The Fitness Wear competition is required for all contestants. When you attend the Trunk Show, you’ll have the opportunity to pick out exactly which size fits you best and take a photo for planning purposes. The team will provide you with the secrets to help the required outfit look perfect!

4. Learn About The Program

Miss International is different than any other pageant. We pride ourself on being a platform based pageant that showcases the accomplishments of today’s women… it’s about who you are! I always considered it a true beauty pageant because they focus on how you’re changing the world - not just how good you look in a photo. The Trunk Show enables you to ask questions in person and hear more about how the pageant has changed so many people’s trajectory and life!

5. Contestant Dinner

I am so excited about the privilege to share a meal with all of the contestants attending the International Trunk Show! This idea was birthed out of my desire to meet the contestants vying for my job and build relationships with them. I pray for you all and the future Miss International all the time. Our dinner will be held in Dothan, AL near The Competitive Image and all contestants are invited to attend. To RSVP, please email your name and title to missintl2016@gmail.com!

I can’t wait to meet you all in April!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How to Write a Testimony


Recently I have fallen in love with being involved in the government. Whether in the local, state, or national level you all can have an impact! I encourage all of you to become involved and speak on what you are passionate about. After I testified on behalf of American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network on the SB 1106/ Tobacco 21 I have been asked about my experience as a whole and how someone should go about writing a testimony.

The experience went great, however be prepared to walk into a very serious and professional atmosphere. Make sure to dress nicely, I choose a black business suit and red top. I wanted to show that even though I was just 18, I showed a valuable perspective. If you are talking about highly controversial issue be prepared to only have a short amount of time to speak due to both sides having a large amount of speakers. You will be asked to keep your testimony anywhere from 3-5 minutes in these cases. 

A very important part of testifying in my opinion is sharing your personal connection or experience. I also believe you should speak from the heart. This means I recommend creating an outline highlighting the key parts of your testimony rather than writing a full. Here is a sample outline of my testimony I did in front of the Senate:

SB 1106- Tobacco 21 Testimony Information
Senate State Affairs - March 3rd, 2017


Garin Harris- Miss Teen International 2016

Giving the Youth Perspective
  • Inconsistency of age for alcohol vs tobacco - alcohol age moved up to prevent alcohol related accidents 
  • Personal Experience of Exposure During High School 
  • E-cigarette use in teens (3x more likely to progress to tobacco)
Plan of Action-

Introduce Self - Name, Age, Where I Live , Title

Involvement in Advocating for Health Issues Especially Youth-
  • Run my own program for chronic pain patients called Dancing Through the Pain 
  • I am an National Ambassador and spokesperson for U.S. Pain Foundation as well as the American Heart Association 
Importance of Public Policy in Youth Health-
  • Ultimately it is up to you to make the healthy choice the easy choice. 
  • AHA is an organization based completely on science. It has been proven that if you are not addicted to tobacco products before the age of 21 the most likely you will not be. 
  • There is an inconsistency between the alcohol age limit vs the tobacco age limit alcohol being 21 and tobacco of course 18
  • The alcohol age was pushed up to minimize the cause of alcohol related car accidents and deaths. Over the years this has succeeded 
  • Tobacco is a cause of countless deaths, though typically the effects of tobacco are seen later in life we are seeing the age group affected grow 
  • Now young adults as early as age 19/20 are experiencing heart problems some even as severe as a heart attack
  • Heart Disease is the #1 killer of women 
School Experience-
  • I was young for my grade during my high-school years however by the time Jr/Sr year rolled around most of my classmates were 18 years old 
  • I could not begin to tell you the amount of times I was offered a variety of tobacco products 
  • I can also not begin to tell you how many teens used e-cigarettes and would consistently tell me that they were better for them because they were not actual cigarettes 
  • Teens who use e-cigarettes are 3x more likely to progress into tobacco usage/addiction 
  • AHA, ACS CAN, and ALA have all been focusing on the issue of tobacco in your youth 
  • Officers are finding kids as young as 10 with tobacco/ vape related products on them
  • Also 18-19 year old special education students are also being targeted and taken advantage of by younger students persuading them to buy tobacco products for them
  • As a future Social Worker that will cause major issues for all parties involved in that situation 
  • With 25% of high schoolers using vape products this calls for major concerns of them turning to tobacco in the future
I hope this helps all of you to use your voice to speak on what you believe in.

“Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds”

- Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Stop and Ask

With our new Television partnerships.

Up until last week, I thought “One day I'll live in China, then South Korea, as well as Africa!” And I was serious, I've been saying for years, and I truly meant it. For the last few years I've had dreams, visions and many confirmations saying that I would be doing great things in those areas of the world.

Due to the fact that Sean and I had built orphanages in the past...I thought it meant that at some point, I would be building an orphanages in those countries. Then, I thought perhaps it was about me bringing baby boxes to those countries…

Well, last week it all made sense. As I was walking through this enormous room, filled with booth after booth of Christian TV stations, radio, film and movie producers, publishers, you name it! And I stopped and asked directions, I asked the Lord “where should I go?”

Then I saw this Asian station, and was immediately drawn to it. I spoke with them and BOOM! We were gonna be on their station! In South Korea!

Then I was walking around again and I was drawn to this African station, I went and spoke to them…And BOOM. We are gonna be playing all over the continent of Africa, and parts of Europe!

This happened over and over. When I realized how I was being led, the pattern, I was amazed. Everywhere that I had felt led to, I'm now gonna be on TV in those countries! And for free, our show doesn't pay for any of its air time, and that's unheard of! But God always provides it for us. Cause you see, God will meet you at your level of faith, and that was ours.

Now that doesn't mean that I won't be doing other things in those countries. But what's amazing is, what happened to me... My desire to move out to those countries juust left!

In all seriousness, it was like, when I finally understood what it all meant, I was blown-away... And then, I didn't WANT to move out there, the desire just left!

I don't think I ever truly wanted to, I think I was just obedient enough to do it if God wanted me to.

And God honored that obedience, and He intervened. Think about it, I was about to move to Belize, and He intervened! How amazing is that!?

So now I ask you, have you asked for directions lately?

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Monday, March 27, 2017

Get Your Morning Going!


As Miss International, you wake up at obscure hours to catch flights - drive to an appearance - or even do a morning interview. It is beyond exciting to have all these phenomenal adventures and you’re just grateful that God trusted you with the crown. That being said, there are no excuses on how early it is. If Miss International is expected to be somewhere… she is expected to be there early and look the part. That means early mornings and coffee. Lots of coffee.

While I am preparing for appearances, I like to get my mind in the right state. It doesn’t matter how tired I am or how many moving parts there are. You have to remember that whoever you meet is encountering Miss International for the first time. As crowned titleholders we have the beautiful responsibility to encourage and inspire hope - we can’t do that if we’re asleep or focused on anything other than the current moment as Miss International.

Music and sermons help me prepare for the day! It’s really hard not to smile when a pastor is reminding you of God’s goodness or you’re hearing JT tell you how he “can’t stop this feeling!” Below are some of my favorite Pastors/Churches that offer their content for free online and 5 songs that are sure to get your morning going!

Online Sermons

Louie Giglio, Passion City Church

Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church

Beth Moore

Joyce Meyer

Top 5 Morning Songs

“Good Morning” Mandisa

“Can’t Stop This Feeling!” Justin Timberlake

“How Far I’ll Go” Moana Movie

“Hand Clap” Fitz & The Tantrums

“Waka Waka” Shakira

I can’t wait to see how you feed your soul with these songs and sermons! They are going start your day with excitement and joy - allowing you to pour out your true beauty to others!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

I May Not Always Look Sick


“You are just being lazy”

“You could try harder”

“You must just be tired”

...“You don’t look sick”

These phrases are what chronic pain patients hear on a daily basis. We know that any illness is hard to deal with, but how about one that people cannot see. In some cases you lose weight, or suffer hair loss but with most chronic pain patients their outer image stays exactly the same.

Sometimes symptoms come and go. Allowing for good normal days and terrible bad ones. So, since most days they see are good they think “hmmm she was just tired today” or “He just wanted to miss school.”

Having an illness is tough, having a chronic illness that you will have to cope with for the rest of your life is even tougher.

It all goes back to, as an outsider looking in everything may look normal but everyone you meet is going through something. Please be kind, and try to understand. Ask questions if you have them, the chronic pain community doesn't mind! We appreciate you open-minded and wanting to learn about things us or our family members go through. Remember, everyone will experience pain at some point in their lives. It’s all about knowing how to deal with it when it comes so learn to... Dance Through the Pain!

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

-Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pageant Wisdom


Most people have a "pageant girl" stereotype in their minds. And I get it, movies haven't exactly painted a pretty picture. Some of it is true.. I've had my share of "crazies" and "caddy Pattys" in the pageant world. But for the most part, the women are absolutely phenomenal! I've made some fabulous life-long friendships because of pageantry. Accomplished, supportive, kind and loving. However, we women, are emotional beings.. There are bound to be “hiccups” anytime you get a bunch of women together in the same competition. Some of them might even be ugly to you, so how do you handle that?

The first thing you need to know is- You're on a mission.

And anytime you enter a "mission field" you need to be prepared for attacks. I wish that wasn't the case, but then there wouldn't be a need for this blog.

When you're on the front lines doing good and making a difference, people are gonna get jealous. And not just in the "pageant world" but everywhere.

You're walking around with a target on your back. Wear it with pride because you earned it, that target is your "purple heart" medallion you for all your bravery and persistence.
Never underestimate a queen with a cause!

So when haters-hate, take it as a compliment!

Secondly, it's not about who is skinnier, or prettier, but who has the most HEART! Don't be afraid to be you, do you! Regardless of what anyone thinks...Be confident and portray it. Confidence is a million times prettier than "skinny" or "pretty." You can be both of those, but if you lack confidence, you're done!

Next, love! Love is always the answer. We've all heard the saying, (and now, the song) "kill em with kindness!" That may not be the right attitude, but nonetheless, it gets the point across. Choose love and kindness, be the bigger person, and God will reward you for it. For whatsoever you reap, you will sow!

Lastly- If you aren't the one to take the crown home.. Don't be THAT girl. Life WILL go on, and you're still a queen in your state, country or region. Be happy for the new queen, smile, and keep your composure, there is nothing uglier than a “sore loser.”

Use your current title to the fullest, and be grateful for the things you DO have, stop focusing on what you don't.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-
TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

3 Crown Worthy Hairstyles

It is never too early to start thinking about the hairstyle you want to rock at Miss International 2017. Leading up to my competition, I had an entire notebook describing my looks for each day - hair, make-up, outfit… everything! Start planning out what you want to look like for your crowning moment! Do you want edgy, classic, simple, or refined?

Let’s take a look at some of my favorite hairstyles for the upcoming pageant season that are sure to be crown worthy!

1. The Classic Pageant Look


This look is timeless and truly my favorite. I feel like it looks good on everyone. When the curls are loose it looks as if you just woke up that fabulous! Many crowns have been won with this hair-style and I doubt it will go out of style anytime soon! I selected this style for evening gown because I thought it flattered the neckline - my hair length - and face shape! Make sure that you have layers framing your face if you are trying to achieve this look. Without layers, your hair will be too heavy, unable to hold the curl, and will not frame your face in the best way. This look is always a guaranteed hit!

2. The Voluminous and Regal Up-Do


Ivanka Trump nailed it with this regal look! I love how it showcased her beautiful collarbone and gown. This look is perfect for gowns that have a high neck or intricate detail at the top. It takes someone bold and confident to pull off a look like this but it is so beautiful if you feel comfortable in it! I feel like this iconic look will show up many times, but with good reason! It’s stunning.

3. Half-Up Half-Down


In my mind, Kate Middleton can do no wrong when it comes to fashion and beauty selections. She just nails it every single time! This look has been in the pageant industry for eons. It is great if you’re selecting a gown that is ultra elegant and princess like! I enjoy how it’s a bit more formal than just all down, but not as refined as the up-do. It’s somewhere down the middle. I wore this look for many years and it always flatters my round face.

I cannot wait to see what amazing looks hit the stage at Miss International 2017!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Monday, March 13, 2017

Because of YOU!


Becoming Mrs International, has been such a blessing. I know my reign isn't over but I just wanted to use this opportunity to express my gratitude.

Recently we had the first National Infant Abandonment Awareness Day, and it was a huge hit! I know that this title played an intricate role in the success of that day. And for that, (and for many more reasons, and opportunities) I feel so thankful. Im so grateful for my husband, my family, Safe Haven Baby Boxes, The Hope Box and YOU-my faithful readers! I'm so blessed by you, thank you for reading my blogs, following my crazy “challenges” and most importantly, praying for me!

We might never know how many people or how far this challenge reached. But I know that the heart photos that I saw over social media, really touched my heart, and actually made me tear up.


It may have seemed silly to some- posting a heart selfie...But in doing so, you were sharing about Safe Haven laws...And who knows, your photo might have been the one that reached that desperate mother and saved a baby!

I know for a fact that because of you, and your willingness, many people have learned about Safe Haven Laws- A law that most have never even heard about.

Even though the “challenge” went well, we still have a lot of work to do. Please continue to share, post, and spread the word until there are no more abandonments!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Pageant Planet Awards


Recently Pageant Planet released a few articles with awards for those in the pageant community! I have always said that the International Pageant system has the best sponsors, and this year they have done an amazing job being recognized for all of their accomplishments. Not only were our sponsors recognized but so were a few contestants. Here is a list so far of who has been recognized by pageant planet!


Clay Spann: Clay was not listed for 1 but 2 awards so far from Pageant Planet. He was in the Top 10 Make-Up Artist list and the Top 10 Headshot photographer list. Both of them were well deserved! I have had the privilege of working with Clay and he is not only amazing but a friend as well!

Here is what Pageant Planet says:
“Clay Spann is really a powerhouse of talent. Not only can he do your makeup for a photoshoot or pageant, but he also sells his own line of cosmetic products and makeup – and did I mention he can also take your headshot photos? Clay Spann’s headquarters is a one-stop-shop for your glamorous look for your upcoming pageant. Clay is located in Dothan, Alabama."
“Talk about a one-stop shop! Clay Spann is not only an extremely talented photographer but also an impeccable makeup artist. Embedded in each of his sessions is a makeup session with him to ensure you look and feel your best during the time spent with him. Clay has worked with the national title holders for the International Systems tem and numerous state and local titleholders for both Miss America Organization and Miss USA pageants. Clay is located in Dothan, Alabama and has a very glamorous approach to both makeup and photography. A bonus about working with Clay? If you love the products he uses on you during your makeup session, you can buy the products from him as he also has his own cosmetics line.”

Joey Rutherford: Joey is the owner of Competitive Image and also a close friend. The Competitive Image is an excellent pageant store. I purchased my evening gown and other pieces I wore at nationals from them! I will be attending the Trunk Show in April and highly recommend going. I attended last year and it helped me greatly! Congratulations to my friend Joey, I cannot wait to see you soon. 

Here is what Pageant Planet Says:
“Located in Dothan, Alabama is The Competitive Image. “Magnificent Apparel and Finery” is this boutique’s slogan. It has provided attire for hundreds of titleholders dating back to 2001. It’s no wonder The Competitive Image is among the top in the nation, as they also hold events during the year. In April, Sherri Hill will be at their Trunk Show.”

Thomas Dunn: Amanda, Priscilla, and I all just had a trip to Roanoke to see Thomas and Drew Dunn, Owners of the salon. They provided us all with fabulous hair extensions. They are so amazing, ladies please remember to book your appointments for nationals. They are the only hair and makeup sponsors allowed backstage to help with hair and makeup!

Here is what Pageant Planet Says:
“This full-service salon located in Roanoke, Virginia offers hair, makeup and even photography services. Although I have never been there myself, I was a fan as soon as I read that the salon uses Oribe products. I am a full-on fan of Oribe products for hair.”

Priscilla Pruitt: Congratulations to my sister titleholder Priscilla for making the Top 10 Mrs. Evening Gown list! Clearly it was well deserved, you look stunning in your evening gown!

Here is what Pageant Planet Says:
“This mermaid gown is beautiful, especially with the super long train and jeweled accents along the neckline and shoulders. The pure white color is stunning. It is so simple with some beautiful accents to make it stand out, and Priscilla looks beautiful in this gown! The dark hair looks amazing with the white gown. The crown and sash definitely look great with it, too."

Me: I cannot believe I was awarded with this honor! I was so excited when I heard the news that I was number 2 on Pageant Planet's Top 10 Teen Gown List . A big thank you goes to Joey from Competitive Image. Thank you for helping me pick my dream gown. You were such a crucial part of my pageant journey and I cannot thank you enough!

Here is what Pageant Planet says:
“This is an example of an insanely beautiful mermaid style gown. Garin looks jaw-droppingly stunning in this white mermaid style evening gown. The style of this design looks amazing along with its fabric and designs. She definitely chose her perfect gown for Miss Teen International 2016!”
I also want to congratulate a few of our contestants for also being recognized. Jessica Johnson made the Top 10 Teen Evening Gown list with me and Nicole Zwiercan and Jessica Jackson made the Top 10 Mrs. Evening Gown list!

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." -Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Nothing Happens By Chance


There is no such thing as chance. How crazy is that? Where you are - who you meet - what you see… it’s all for a reason. It may not make sense now. It may not make sense a year from now. There will come a day when you see the pieces fit together and see your pain turn into purpose… and your test turn into a testimony… your small encounter turn into someone’s comeback. There will come a time when you realize why you met that person and had them in your life for whatever extent of time.

It’s a beautiful opportunity we have to pour into each person we encounter and love them well. Your words and actions could change the trajectory of their day. It’s a powerful and beautiful responsibility. However, without looking closely… we could miss the entire opportunity. We could completely miss our ability to change the world or a person’s life. Our words and actions could be careless and then we didn’t fulfill our purpose because we were so focused on our life that we couldn’t take time to lift up others.

Do you realize that the barista who made your Starbucks had a purpose in your life and you had a purpose in theirs?

Do you realize that the person who is sitting next to you at church could use an encouraging word and warm smile?

Do you realize that, although it seems random, the person who got grouped with you for a project may need you to show them your faith?

Each person - each moment - each encounter…. there is an ordained purpose. We can step into it or miss out on the big opportunity to be part of what Jesus is doing. Instead of just rushing by and seeing bodies… I encourage you to see people. Look into their heart and consider how you can bless them! You have no idea what your words, warm embrace or smile can do for them. Compliment their attire, ask about their life, invest in them!

You’ve been placed in this moment… this day… this location… this encounter… for a purpose. Step into this moment and the bigger story! Your true beauty has the ability to change the world.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Friday, March 10, 2017

How To Enter A Pageant On A Budget!


I run into so many women that have a desire for entering a pageant, but fear the cost. So here is how I competed on a budget:

When you're entering a pageant, it's important to prioritize, save where you can, and spend only where you HAVE to...You must have a plan! I have a large family, and on top of that we were spending $1200.00/month feeding the kids in our community... So it was imperative that we budget and really prioritize.

First of all, you need to find sponsors! This wasn't easy for me coming from a very small town, population 3,500. So if I could do it, then so can you!

If you can find one or two "good" sponsors it helps tremendously!

Mrs. International was the first time I used a pageant coach, and it made all the difference in the world. I really wanted to use Suzy Bootz, but I couldn't exactly afford her, sooooo.. I found a sponsor! Thank you again Sweet Country Suites, in Newcastle, WY!! I know I couldn't have won without Suzy, so thank you both, Suzy and Sweet Country Suites.

Secondly, YOU are more talented than you think, I had to learn this the hard way. I save by doing my own hair, I don't color, I cut it myself (I don't recommend this unless you know what you're doing) I do my own nails, and toes. And I do my own make up during pageant week although, I used Dunn and Dunn for the competition days...And in doing this, I've saved a ton of money!

I invested in gel nail kit, light, and polishes and it's paid for itself time and time again.

I make my own face cream, by buying collagen powder, vitamin E oil, castor oil, vitamin C powder (on Amazon), and using fresh lemon juice...I make the best face cream at a fraction of the cost, and the ingredients last for about a year. Plus it's anti-aging, removes skin's-spots and really rejuvenates my skin! I'm 35 years old, I don't do botox, or any other "help" this (homemade face cream) is all I use.

For my pageant week clothing- I used Tasha Furman, who could literally turn any of my crazy (fashion) ideas into a reality. And she is affordable, a win, win!

Now after winning, I've been so blessed with our sponsors at the Competitive Image where I was blessed with all these gorgeous dresses and appearance outfits...They have the most beautiful selections!!

I also use Renttherunway.com and I pay about $130.00 monthly subscription, which allows me to rent unlimited outfits a month. I get three outfits at a time, it includes all shipping, and dry cleaning fees. This has been my "saving grace" because being Mrs. International and a TV co-host, I can't exactly wear the same outfits again and again. $130 sounds like a lot of money, but in my case, it saves me money!

When looking for my pageant evening gown, I used The Competitive Image.. Joey was amazing! I told him my budget, I was very strict...And he worked so hard to help fulfill all my wishes, while on a budget.

You don't have to spend a fortune! You CAN win a pageant without having to "break" the bank. Plus my dress won Best In Evening Gown at Mrs International AND it was recently named top 5 in Pageant Planet's Best Evening Gowns for Mrs Pageants!

For my headshots, (I was really on a budget here) I asked a photographer friend of mine, I showed him examples of what I wanted... I did my own hair and makeup, and the photos turned out great. They're not "Clay Spann" but they were good.

I must say, if you CAN go to Clay, he is worth every penny! This is a perfect example of prioritizing. The reason I didn't see this as one of my “priorities”...Was ONLY due to the fact that I have 17 years experience as a makeup artist, so I knew between me, and my photographer friend, we could do a decent job.

But I strongly recommend you invest in some great headshots. And Clay Spann is THE BEST!!

You want to have great photos on your platform page, and really take the time to get that done right. Suzy was such a great help with that. I also used Susan Botek to help with the designer and layout of the page. She was so helpful!

Lastly, ad pages...I think it's important to have something in the program book, but I don't see it necessary to spend a fortune. I just had a small, half page, black and white ad...That did the job!

Pageantry should be fun, enjoyable and empowering, it should never be a burden.

If you have any questions or would like some information on any of the people I mentioned please visit our website at MrsInternational.com. There you will find a list of all our sponsors and their contact info.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Importance of Inspiration


This blog post may be cheesy but I am a firm believer that it is so important to constantly be working to better yourself. In order to do that however, you need inspiration. I recently re-designed my room and filled it with inspirational quotes and cute messages. This is just one easy way to get inspired! Here are a few of the quotes that are in my room!

“She has sparkle all her own”

I have loved this quote for years, it is a good reminder that it is okay ad even important to be different and stand out in a crowd. Everyone has their own calling, follow yours not anyone else’s!

I WILL BE… Alert, Agreeable, Ambitious, Alluring, Active, Brave, Bright, Bold, Capable, Cheerful, Calm, Charming, Confident, Cooperative, Courageous, Caring, Cultured, Decisive, Discreet, Delightful, Determined, Dynamic, Diligent, Eager, Efficient, Enchanting, Energetic, Enthusiastic, Excellent, Fabulous, Faithful, Fair, Fearless, Fine, Friendly, Generous, Gentle, Glorious, Good, Happy, Helpful, Impartial, Industrious, Intelligent, Jolly, Kind, Loving, Lucky, Likable, Mature, Nice, Peaceful, Placid, Pleasant, Proud, Plucky, Quiet, Receptive, Resolute, Reflective, Responsible, Romantic, Sensitive, Sincere, Successful, Talented, Thoughtful, Trustworthy, Tender, Truthful, Upright, Vivacious, Warm, Willing, Wise, Witty, Wonderful… WOW

This to me is a really important and very useful for interview! One question a contestant should always prepare for is “ What are three words you would use to describe yourself?” This is a list of adjectives you may want to use to describe yourself. I think everyone should learn to be a dynamic person. As a titleholder it is extremely important to also be adaptable and positive!

Another way to find inspiration is by following different positive quote accounts on Twitter or Instagram. Social media can focus on the negative from time to time so, it’s important to fill your feed with positivity Remember you have the choice of who you follow, you have the power to make your feed positive or negative.

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

-Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Monday, March 6, 2017

Forgiveness


Forgiveness is one of the the hardest things to give away but also one of the things our heart needs the most. It is impossible to be beautiful in character toward someone if we are harboring hurt, resentment, or anger. No matter how much we try and fake that we’re okay… at some point… it will show. Our heart is compromised because of feelings. Unfortunately, we can’t always trust our feelings alone. We have to trust the Holy Spirit to lead us and walk in obedience to the forgiveness He calls us to extend. It’s not easy but when it happens… it is beyond worth it.

I’ve learned that there comes a time when it doesn’t matter who was “right” or “wrong”… all that matters is that God has called us to forgive and love. We can do that - even when it’s hard because God did it for us. It’s not worth fighting about things to be “right”. People’s emotions and feelings are their own. If someone feels a certain way, no amount of fighting or arguing back will take that feeling away. We must respect how we’ve made them feel and apologize for making them feel that way. Is it worth questioning it or telling them how they feel? No way!

We have to accept that something we’ve done has caused this and apologize. 
However… usually the feelings go two ways. We have to forgive them too. If we do not… the hurt, resentment and anger will be a plague to our true beauty. 

The enemy of our heart will tell us that we’ve been wronged too and need to be upset. Jesus will tell us that we all fall short and can extend forgiveness and love because God gave it to us. I’ve seen that when these negative feelings from the enemy take hold of my heart… I’m not the most beautiful Amanda I can be. No amount of make-up can cover a bitter or angry heart. It takes God to fix a heart like that and a level of peace and forgiveness can be reached when we walk in obedience.

Forgiveness must be extended both ways for a relationship to be cultivated. If it doesn’t though… that’s okay! You can forgive someone in your heart… and it may never be reciprocated. God gave His only son, because He loves us deeply, knowing that we may never choose Him back.

Choose to forgive and choose to be beautiful.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016