Friday, August 31, 2012

September is Prostate Cancer & Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!

September is one of my most favorite months of the year!  I am excited to celebrate Prostate and Childhood Cancer movement, where we advocates emphasize the need for continued funding for research and education, while encouraging people to take a pro-active approach to their health.  It's a busy month for my advocacy work (I wouldn't have it any other way!)-so check back often!  
Please keep those battling Prostate and Childhood Cancer in your thoughts, conversations and prayers.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ms. World International 2012 Pageant

I had the most incredible experience in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico!  From the beginning, the Ms. World International organization has impressed me, which remained true throughout pageant week.  From the time we checked in, to when I boarded the plane to return home, I was filled with such pride and gratitude to be a part of something truly special and unique!  
We are the inaugural class of the Ms. World International Sisterhood!

I am so grateful to have represented the Midwest in the MWI pageant event, and am proud to have placed 2nd runner-up!  I met kind, purpose-driven, compassionate, beautiful and fun women from around the world, which provided me a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget!  I have truly made lasting friendships (with many of whom, plans to visit one another have already begun!), as we are a sisterhood of fabulous women over 35, making a difference within our families and communities! 

Sincere thanks and appreciation to Stephanie Hunt-President, MWI, Syndee Keitt-Secretary/Event Coordinator, MWI, and Naomi Horne-Vice President, MWI.  It was through their beautiful vision, and tireless efforts, we were treated like true royalty, and had the experience of a lifetime! 

My "BFF" Natalie Hagemo accompanied me to San Juan.  She made quite a name for herself as the official "Assistant To The Titleholder" (a role she takes very seriously)!  I was calm, organized, and always on time to all of the week's events-much to her credit!  Natalie quickly made friendships herself, as she has such a wonderful personality people seem to just gravitate to.  Many contestants quickly told me how fortunate I am to have such a friend (and accomplished photographer)!  
Natalie was there every step of the way during my MWI journey, and I am an incredibly Blessed woman to have the most wonderful, loyal and inspiring friend in the world! 

Below are pictures from pageant week-enjoy!

Arrival in San Juan!  Anthony & Pam of A & P Productions-official pageant photographers



Having arrived a day early, Natalie and I were able to tour a bit of the beautiful city of Old San Juan, also visiting the Puerto Rico Tourism Bureau.

We also got matching hats-the sun was so intense in Puerto Rico!




My first of many visits to the Godiva Chocolate shop located in the hotel-the employees knew me by name by day 3!

At contestant check-in, meeting the AMAZING Heidi Scheer, Ms. World International 2011

With Heidi and Ms. Great Britain-Juanita


With MWI President, Stephanie Hunt at the beautiful Red Carpet Event.  What an inspiring and beautiful woman!
Pictured with our pageant host, and pageant judge prior to the Red Carpet Event

Me and the lovely ladies at Red Carpet Event


Meeting Ms. Minnesota-Ashlea McLeod at contestant breakfast.  I had been waiting to meet her for months-she is a wonderful woman!

Ms. South Africa-Jeannette




Jennifer, Ms. New York



Pictured with (My new friend-LOVE HER!) Evelyn McLeod-Ms. New Jersey, Jennifer Ferris-Ms. New York, I love the way she says "coffee"!  I tricked her into and pestered her all week to say the word!  Along with Ms. Great Britain-Juanita Brown Ingram (MWI 2012), at contestant breakfast

Ms. South Africa-Jeannette & Ms. Nigeria-Cheika

More beautiful friends, Evelyn-Ms. Puerto Rico and Ingrid-Ms. Venezuela.  We had such fun and by the end of the week, I barely needed a translator to communicate in Spanish! Our phrase of the the pageant week was "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go"-VAMOS!  Love these ladies!

Ms. Georgia-Della
One of my favorite people of the week-MWI Secretary and Event Planner Syndee Keitt!  She poured her heart and soul into pageant week, as well as led some FIERCE rehearsals!  She's one in a million!




While I was attending my first of many rehearsals in my MWI track suit, (provided by MWI-Thank You), Natalie found time to organize my shoes!

This stunning beauty is Mayte Ciarsolo, Ms. Mexico World International 2013!  It was such a pleasure meeting her and I wish her all the best as she prepares for next year's Ms. World International Pageant!



My favorite restaurant in the El San Juan Resort & Casino, was Yamato (Japanese Hibachi), and visited my favorite Godiva lady AGAIN!


                                         La Fortuleza




We were guests of the Governor's mansion-La Fortuleza, home of Governor Luis Fortuno and his family.
What a beautiful structure full of so much history!  This, (outside of the pageant, of course) was my favorite event of pageant week!
La Fortaleza (founded in the early 16th century and considerably remodeled in later centuries) reflects developments in military architecture during its service over the centuries as a fortress, an arsenal, a prison, and residence of the Governor-General and today the Governor of Puerto Rico.






Below, is the beautiful Jessie Alfaro Guiterrez (my lovely Puerto Rican BFF!).  She is the International Ambassador for Ms. World International Organization, and was a perfect hostess, introducing us to her beautiful country and customs.  She is a model and is pictured demonstrating a fun and fierce pose!  
Look for her in 2013, as she will represent Puerto Rico in the Miss Untied States Pageant!  Buenos Suerte mi amiga!




Ready for my interview with the judges-this was also my birthday! 

Swim wear competition.  Ms. World International has an emphasis on  fashion, and we were encouraged to "accessorize"!  I loved rockin' my hat and sarong!

Finals night among friends!  Picured with Ingrid-Ms. Venezuela, Laurye-Ms. Connecticut and  Ewa-Ms. Eastern States


Post-pageant celebration with my "Bestie"!  We had much to celebrate; my placement, birthday and a great friendship!  Thank you Natalie Hagemo!



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Friend Is A Warrior!

My beloved mentor and friend-Donnell Rank, is suffering so much in her Stage 4 Breast Cancer battle. Hospitalized, she has exhibited strength beyond measure.  I'm in awe of her! 

It was her wish that I post our photo. as she encourages all women to learn family history, have annual mammograms, and hold on tight to those who love you.

I Love You Donnell-My Ms. World International journey is in honor of you!
Facing Cancer Together