Modeling at VOW

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I had a great time modeling at another bridal market! This time I was in Atlanta, Georgia. The home state of my sister Amanda. We were able to spend a day together shopping, eating dinner, and going to a community group at her Church. It was great to meet a group of such strong women of faith. God knew just what I needed to prepare myself for the rest of the week.

I was modeling for the company Shail K! The dresses are gorgeous. It is amazing how many people from all over the world you meet at markets. I would like to thank Competiive Image for being an amazing sponsor of the pageant and giving me the opportunity to meet Fernando Wong, a designer from Cuba. Fernando is going to design a dress for me for a special appearance this year. This will be in addition to many other pieces they are providing for me and the other queens through their sponsorship.

Another designer I was able to meet is Stefanie Somers. She is a wonderful sponsor to the International Pageant System as well! Her earrings are amazing and truly make you feel like a princess! I cannot wait to pick out an amazing pair this year. Stay tuned to see what that surprise appearance is! 

I can’t tell you all how amazing of an opportunity this has been already. I can’t wait to continue with the traveling and meeting new people that has only been made possible through the International Pageants.

"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

10 Things You Love About Yourself!

Since September is Pain Awareness Month, the U.S. Pain Foundation has put together a 30 day challenge to spread awareness about chronic pain. While participating in one of the challenges I was surprised what an actual challenge it was. Here was day 20:

"Day 20: Ten things I LOVE about me! With only ten days remaining this month, it’s important to remember about self-care, self-awareness, mindfulness and being kind to ourselves. Today we ask that you be gentle to your mind, body and soul by jotting down 10 things you admire about yourself. Ten words, accomplishments and positive personality traits that describe you. Take a picture of your ten list, or comment below with your ten list! You can also share your ten list photo with our campaign on Instagram: @USPainAwarenessMonth "

In today's society young  girls are faced with constant pressures. While social media can be a great thing, some girls do not realize that social media is filled with all of the highlights of people's lives, not the struggles that they face on a daily basis. Magazines, and advertisements are mainly made up of non realistic images of girls that have been edited. As a young girl it is hard not to compare yourself to others. 

Some people may even find it hard to write 10 things they love about themselves. I encourage everyone to remember that you are "beautifully and wonderfully made", and nothing can change that. Let's come together, and change the way society thinks. 

"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 

Hands Only CPR

As an ambassador for the American Heart Association it is my job to teach multiple things, one being the importance of CPR! Personally, I am CPR and First Aid Certified. I spend a lot of my time working with people, especially children, you never know when something bad may  happen. Would you rather feel helpless in a situation or know how to save the day? My answer to that was clear, I couldn’t stand it if something went bad on my watch. While I encourage others to take a professional class and get certified, today I am going to teach everyone a few simple tips on Hands only CPR!

The American Heart Associations teaches two steps:

 1. Call 911
 2. Push Hard and Fast on the Center of the Chest

Step One- While speaking on the phone with the operator make sure to stay calm and speak slowly. In scary situations we tend to talk fast and possibly skip over important details. It is crucial that you know you are doing everything you can to help. Answer all of the operators questions, giving more specific details on where you are and what is happening with the person you are caring for. Stay on the line but place the phone on speaker and on the ground or flat surface next to you. Then, proceed to step two!

Step Two- Push Hard and Fast on the center of the persons chest. Your hands should be placed one on top of the other. Use mainly the bottom part of your palm to give a harder push. You should try to complete 100-120 pushes a minute. To make that speed easier to know or follow push to the beat of the songs “Stayin Alive” or “The Imperial March” ( Darth Vader’s Theme Song ). Remember! Even Hands Only CPR could double or triple the chance on survival!
At the Miss and Teen International Pageants we were taught hands only CPR! It was great for me to have a refresher course. The pictures below are of me practicing as well as a group photo after we were taught! A big thank you goes to the nurses that helped teach us that day, we really appreciate it! I encourage everyone to do their research. You never know when you could save a life!

"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

Abilities Expo in Boston

It is always great to attend Abilities Expos. Not only does it help me find new therapies and supplies for my mom, but you also meet so many amazing people in the process! This expo was at the Boston Convention Center. The venue was very spacious and allowed easy access for people that use wheelchairs. In this blog, I am going to highlight just a few things I was able to do during this expo

My main job was to help the U.S. Pain Foundation with their booth. As an organization we try to connect pain patients to different resources. Expos like this one are amazing because practically everything is under one roof. From wheelchairs to other more specific non profit organizations, it is all there. 

While I was there I attended a dance class run by Auti Angel from the television show Push Girls. I decided to take the class while seated in a chair. Let me tell you, it made a difference! It was very different but by the end of the class I had learned so much. She teaches a message similar to what I teach in my Dancing Through the Pain Classes. You have a purpose in life and obstacles are always overcomable!

While I was there I did some research into some wheelchairs for my mom is well. Until you talk to someone, you do not understand how much detail will go into a good wheelchair. For most full time users they will custom make the chairs for the individual's body to insure the amount of pressure will be distributed evenly. It was nice to help my mom find a chair that was lightweight and comes in many different colors. What color do you think she should choose?

I am excited to attend another Abilities Expo soon! 

"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 

Finding Your Own Way to Give Back!

Lets be honest, everyone does not have the same passions in life. Of course, I would love everyone to be a part of the specific organizations that I help and promote on a daily basis, but that is not everyones calling. God gave us all different talents and interests for a reason! Maybe you are like me and have a personal connection to someone with an illness, or have personally gone through a situation that made you stronger. Or maybe you haven’t reached those times of trials yet or you are not comfortable talking about them and let me tell you that is perfectly okay! Either way this post is all about finding how YOU can make the greatest impact.

If you have a personal connection and are comfortable speaking about it:

1.Share it! Personal stories and connections can make an impact on someone. Even if you are not at an event, if something is telling you to share you’re story, do it! I cannot tell you how many times I have been talking to a random person about chronic pain and surprise! They or someone they know has been dealing with it for years or are new to the Pain Community and need support. I know it sounds cheesy but trust you’re instinct!

Get involved! The internet is an amazing resource! Join a Facebook group, or a larger organization. There is strength in numbers, find others who are passionate about it, bond together and create change!

If you are not sure how to help:

1.Think! Did you recently see a story on the news that upset you? Or maybe a statistic online that shocked you or was just too high in you’re opinion? Go with something that gives you an emotional response. Most likely there are plenty of others who feel the same way!

Now that you know what you want to help with, research! My guess is that there is a local or national organization that you can be a part of.
Once you are a part of a group, support and promote it. Whether it is posting on Facebook, or volunteering at an event they are hosting. Little things done by multiple people can make great change. The next step would be to see if you can host or create an event of you’re own.

I hope this helps you begin you’re journey of service!

"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

Pain Awareness Month

September is Pain Awareness Month! As an ambassador for the U.S. Pain Foundation I couldn't be more excited! This month is when we encourage others to spread the word about chronic pain. If you experience pain please speak out. The more people that speak out, the more the government and others who do not understand will listen. 

The U.S. Pain Foundation launched a new program called People With Pain Matter. I encourage you to take a look at the website if you are a caregiver, patient, or you are just curious about what we stand for! gives you easy access to share your story and your passion to let others know people with pain matter! 

Stay tuned all throughout this month to learn new information on what is happening in the 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

My Trip to Dallas

My second trip as Miss Teen International was to Dallas, Texas. We were only there for a few short days but we squeezed in as much as possible. It also was the first trip Amanda, Pricilla, and I did together! 

Out first stop was at a local Boys and Girls Club! The kids loved being able to meet "princesses" but that was not the goal of our time there. We each spoke about our individual platforms; Dancing Through the Pain, Choose Love, and the True Beauty Movement! We especially emphasized loving your body and who you are. With everyone being different and having there own opinion it is impossible to fit a "standard of beauty." You truly have to embrace who you are! 

Amanda and I took some time to do some sightseeing and shopping! We visited Carlos Bakery and ate a few too many treats! After we were stuffed we shopped at a few local boutiques, I even found a couple dresses for $10 each! Later that night we went to the top of Reunion Tower to see the city lights and view the city. 

While in Dallas we had a meeting at the American Heart Association Headquarters! It was amazing to speak about how we can be as involved as we can this year. There are many programs that we will be able to be involved in and I couldn't be more excited. The night before the meeting we had dinner with a few of the ladies! Thank you for making us feel so comfortable and loved! 

Taking and tour and visiting the children at the Ronald McDonald House made my day. It was nice learning more about this amazing organization. Meeting some of those kids is a memory I will have forever. I also loved being able to meet the therapy dog and "Chief Cheer Officer" at the house. He does a great job brightening the children's lives everyday. Pricilla and I were able to go back one more time and drop off supplies that were on their Wishlist! If there is a local Ronald McDonald house near you I encourage you to stop by or look at there website to see what ideas they need!  

Pricilla and I were also able to take a tour and visit veterans at the Veterans Hospital in Dallas! It was amazing to meet men and women that have survived so much. I would like to thank all of them for their service. It is amazing just listening to some of their stories. I hope I will be able to visit again soon! 

Overall it was a busy but amazing trip! I cannot wait to see what other adventures I will have soon!

"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


Quilting at the Iowa State Fair

While in Iowa my family and I decided to visit the State Fair. The fair was full of events and things to do! From milking cows to riding roller coasters we had a great time as a family. As we were walking through one of the buildings I started looking at the Blue Ribbon Quilts. I had no idea how to begin to make a quilt! I was impressed by the perfectly straight seams and intricate designs.

     We continued to walk around and we came to a room full of people sewing, pinning, and ironing quilts. The sign said “State Fair Sew In”. As I was reading the posters a women came up and asked if I would be interested in volunteering to sew quilts for a list of local children's charities. My immediate response was “Well, I have no idea how to make a quilt but I know the basics of sewing… What can I help with?” 
I started helping by safety pinning the different layers of the quilts together. After I finished helping a few people with that, they told me to pick out a quilting kit from a huge pile. Of course, I chose the purple and blue floral themed quilt. I began sewing the main strips of fabric together to create the design of the quilt then continued with the different steps until just before they closed for the day. 

Once I start a project, I am determined to finish it. The next day I went back to finish my quilt.  I would like to thank all of the ladies that helped me replace my bobbin or instruct me on what my next step should be! My quilt was the 275th quilt completed! I am glad I was able to make a long lasting gift for a child in need. 

"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 

U.S. Pain Foundation Ambassador Summit

After the pageant in Florida, I had one day at my house to pack before I headed to Maine, Dallas, and Chicago! This post is going to focus on my trip to Maine! I was invited to attend the U.S. Pain Foundation's Ambassador Summit. The summit is all about meeting new people as well as learning how to become a better ambassador. We stayed on the University of New England campus in Biddeford, Maine and it was beautiful! 

I was able to meet so many fellow caregivers and pain warriors. I believe a key part of the conference was showing that there is power in numbers. People do not understand how broad of a topic chronic pain is. It affects every task someone with chronic pain does everyday. If you have not read the spoon theory, I highly recommend that you do. It gives an inside look into how chronic pain affects a person. The U.S. Pain Foundation is launching a People with Pain Matter Campaign. Our goal is to have people share stories. The more you share, the more others know. If we all continue to post, and speak out, our voices will be heard. 

‪Dr. Ed Bilsky and Senator Hill were both key speakers at the event. Dr. Ed Bilsky serves as the Vice President for Research and Scholarship; Professor of Pharmacology, Founding Director of the Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences,  and Co-Director of the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence for the Study of Pain and Sensory Function. He is a key player in the pain community, providing research and information as well as speaking out for pain patients worldwide.  Senator Hill has also spoken and advocated for pain patients through her role in the government. It was an honor to meet both of them and hear them speak so passionately about our cause. 

Many other members of the pain community spoke. Some sharing personal stories like how to be a good caregiver or others giving crash courses on bills that apply to the community, and how to speak to government officials. I learned so much valuable information during the summit that I cannot wait to share and advocate for. Even though we were very busy, we squeezed in a few Dancing Through the Pain moves while overlooking the water. Overall, I am excited for what this next year will bring!

"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