Category Archives: pageant

Miss Belize Universe Pageant

We found out we were going to Belize and they told us that the day after we arrived was a national holiday. I took to Google to find out what the holiday was and found that after almost ten years, they were once again holding a Miss Belize Universe Pageant!

IMG_0112

Of course, I wanted to go. David talked to the people there and they secured tickets for us. I think this was a good idea because at the pageant they mentioned they had sold out quickly.

It was fun to attend a pageant in another country. The entertainment was awesome. There were no artists I’d ever seen but everyone else in the building seemed to be very familiar with them and their works. 

IMG_0148

It was the standard Miss Universe preliminary pageant including an opening number, 

IMG_0134 - Copy (2)

Swimsuit competition.

IMG_6900

Evening gown competition. 

EG

And onstage questions.

In addition, each girl had to create a national costume based on the theme Made in Belize. This was my favorite part of the pageant as the costumes were amazing! I thought it was cool that, not only did the contestant win the prize, the prize was also awarded to the costume designer. 

costume

It was really, really hot in the PAC  (they are going to be getting an air conditioner upgrade soon, I understand) but other than that, I really enjoyed seeing Rebecca Rath of Dandriga crowned Miss Belize Universe 2016.

miss_belize_universe_2016

I picked her as the winner  from the opening number. She just lit up the stage. I look forward to watching her at Miss Universe!

 

McDazzle Fun Ball

q

One of the lovely women I met at the Mrs. International Pageant was Aquillia “Q” Vang, Mrs. Nevada. I learned that her platform is Ronald McDonald House Charities, a cause she is very personally connected with. 

Q has been to many different Ronald McDonald Houses to fix a meal or help out in any way. She told me she was coming to Tulsa to help out at the McDazzle Fun Ball and asked if I’d like to help out. What a great idea!

dazzle

One of the things you learn while competing at Mrs. International is that each contestant has a cause they are connected to. But to actually come along with a sister queen to share in that was an opportunity I was honored to be a part of. 

I connect with Lindsay at the local Ronald McDonald House and she showed me around and gave me the low down on how the process works for people who stay with them. Although I live very close to the house and drive by it almost every day, I never really understood exactly how it worked. Very impressive!

It was so fun to help out at the ball. We started out at the door, greeting people as they arrived. Once inside, Q visited with the guests and directed them to the check in table. 

visiting

After we greeted all the attendees, we joined the party in the ballroom and watched the live auction. It was a great night and a lot of money was raised for the Tulsa Ronald McDonald House.

IMG_9731

But the best part of the whole night for me was the honor of being there with Q as she supported her platform of Ronald McDonald House Charities. Thank you, Q! It was an awesome night. 🙂

Half Clown

Back in ‘April, I did an appearance with Fire Marshall Tom in the Safety Zone at the Adkar Shrine Circus. As well as being fire marshall, Tom also serves as Huffy the Clown, an educational clown. So it wasn’t strange that all the clowns at the circus stopped by to talk to Tom while we were there.

safety

The more I interacted with these fabulous folks, the more I thought, “these are my people” and “I need to be a clown”. At that time, we were tentatively supposed to move overseas so I told Tom that I would let him know once I knew for sure. 

At the Mrs. International Pageant a few months later, we each had to introduce ourselves at Orientation. Each table of contestants received a different question and we then had 30 seconds to answer it. The question for our table was “What is one item on your bucket list?” 

Well, I don’t have a bucket list but I do have a Goals list and at any one time there are over 100 items on it. I was the fourth person in line. While I waited I was trying to think what one thing on that list would be at all interesting to my sister contestants and pageant staff. Then it came to me:

Glammie the Clown!

I was happy with my idea and waited for my turn. I told them how my granddaughter already calls me Glammie so I want to take it a step further to become a clown of the same name. I told them that my big, wide clown shoes would be my favorite shoes ever. (I didn’t know how true this would be prior to wearing 5″ heels for 11 hours a day!) Glammie the Clown was very well received and over the course of the following week, many of the other girls told me how awesome they thought it was.

Now, I’ve been back from the pageant for a month or so and I realize that I need to get moving on this clown thing. I finally connected with the Gentle Jesters group last Tuesday and was able to go to their monthly meeting that night. They gave me all kinds of great tips and told me how it works. They had an event yesterday and told me I could come as a clown or come to observe. sickle_cell

Since I have no  clown items, I said I’d come to observe. I made my way to The Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease Back to School Bash where I essentially served as a clown intern or clown in training. I learned how to make balloons into dogs and swords. Then I was thrown into face painting. 

halfclown

I’d watch Lucy paint several faces and I just wasn’t sure I could do it. So I asked the first little boy, what he wanted me to paint on his face. He said, “A lion.” OMG how do you paint a lion? So I kind of winged it and when I was finished, I handed him the mirror and he got the biggest smile on his face. It was so awesome! I’m glad that Lucy made me paint faces because I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it and it turns out, I was wrong. 🙂

lucy

I’m so excited to be a full clown. Glammie the Clown will be making her debut on September 10 and the Claremore Community Center. Stay tuned!

 

Social Media in the Real World

urbangrind

I’ve written before about my reason for being on social media. It’s to be able to have coffee with a friend anywhere in the world. I’ve had coffee with one of my snapchat friends, nessamakes, who happens to live just a mile away from me. But we were heading to Jacksonville, FL for the Mrs.International Pageant and I was excited to see that one of my other snap friends, Dapromoqueen, lives there. I made arrangements to get together with her.

dapromoqueen

We met at a cute coffee shop called Urban Grind Coffee Shop. It was an easy walk from the Omni Hotel where we were staying and was on Laura Street. Now, I don’t like when someone calls me Laura (even though it’s my given name) but I had to have a photo with the cool Laura Street sign.

Laura Street

When Dapromoqueen aka Tory, arrived, we had to snap about our meeting, of course. We had a fun time visting. She’s so nice and genuine and I love that we felt like friends right away.

                                   IMG_5818IMG_5817 

When we got ready to head back to the hotel we took a photo together. I’m really tall AND I had tall wedge shoes on. Tory was prepared for work and had flats on so I was WAY taller than she was. It was pretty funny!

IMG_5815

THIS, my friends, is what social media is about in the real world. At least for me. I know I have a friend to share coffee with anywhere I go. I’m so glad I got to meet Tory. I hope I’ll get to meet you when I am in your town!

CTE is NOT a Laughing Matter

When I saw the logo for The Opening, I was stunned. Speechless is a state you find me almost never. But…

What can you possibly say about a group using a death skull inside of a football helmet as their logo? The Opening describes themselves as “four days of dynamic competition for the nation’s most elite high school football prospects”. 

With all we currently know about CTE and what causes it, using a logo like this is a mockery of the truth of what can happen to youth football players whether they are elite players or the average kid who starts playing a collision sport at the age of eight or younger. Risk everything? Really?

Horrifying.

Sponsors of these events are Nike and Riddell. Speechless again. These are groups who know  what is going on with concussion in football. Why would they choose such an image? 

So I’m writing a blog post today when I really can’t even adequately express how I feel about the fact that large companies, who should know better, would chose such an image to portray their product. 

We need to protect our children’s brains, not risk everything! Everything is a life or death issue. CTE IS life or death and it’s real and it shouldn’t be mocked or belittled. People are losing their sons and daughters due to collisions sports being played with no regard to the fact that a concussion is a brain injury and should be treated accordingly. 

Be aware! For more information about concussion and CTE, visit StopCTE.org. Also, if you are a parent or parent group interested in stopping repetitive brain trauma in youth sports, please join the Save Your Brain Campaign

 

 

 

Being Social on Social Media

smdream

Yesterday, as I was riding my bike, I was thinking about just how awesome social media has been in my life. I love nothing better than to engage with new friends all over the world. And, really, isn’t engaging with people the very definition of social?

I used to love twitter so much. I still do but the truth is, it’s just not as much fun as it once was. The people I was friends with in the beginning have moved off of twitter and over to facebook. Fortunately, I connected with them there so I haven’t really lost anyone that I cared about but I’m sad that I don’t have the extensive conversations I used to have on twitter. I still work it really hard but that’s just it: it’s harder now than it used to be to have a conversation on twitter. At my gym in California, I was talking to one of the guys and he said, “Oh, twitter is just a broadcasting platform”. Umm, no it’s not. Is that what people think now? Is that why it’s changed so much?

twitter_followers

I have twitter followers from around the world. 53 different countries! I love that but talk to me, please!

Over the past year or so I’ve fallen madly and passionately in love with snapchat. By it’s very design, it’s an engagement platform and I’m rather blown away by all of the incredible people I’ve connected with there.

snapcodecrown

 As the reigning Mrs. Southwest International, I have my community service platform to promote and I’ve done it well on snapchat. I’ve had conversations with people all over the world and I’m set to make appearances as Mrs. International in five foreign countries should I win the international crown. 

I’m absolutely amazed to have connected with people who realize that keeping kids safe from concussions is a message that needs to be spread far and wide and I, personally, will not rest until I’ve told everyone. Just this morning, I connected with another of my followers who is, himself, a former hockey player and a TBI (traumatic brain injury) survivor. I learned that his mom has been helping TBI survivors for 26 years through a foundation she started. That’s good stuff she is doing. 

The reason I connected with him is because, in his snap story today, he asked what the meaning for Snapchat ROI is to you. To me, currently, it’s the connections I’ve been making for my platform. But it will no doubt change over time as my life changes. 

This is the sort of thing you miss if you aren’t social on social media, though. You will never make the incredible connections that could change your life. I love people and I love social media. I will keep engaging my little heart out on all platforms because, truly, social media is a dream vehicle that can take you anywhere you want to go! 

 

Keeping Athletes Safe in Sports

announce - NOWINSKI

I was excited to learn last week that Chris Nowinski was coming to Oklahoma to speak about the concussion crisis. Chris is the founder of  the Concussion Legacy Foundation and, while I’ve interacted with him on twitter, I hadn’t ever met him in real life. I was also interested to learn what he had to share.

Nowinski-press conference - OKATCFirst there was a press conference. Our current pending concussion legislation in Oklahoma was discussed. Chris said it was a good bill. That it took the best of already exciting bills and added some other, innovative ideas. It is expected to be signed by Governor Fallin this week.

concussion-crisis

Then it was time for his presentation Solving the Concussion Crisis: Keeping Athletes Safe in Sports. Chris talked about how concussions are an invisible injury that one can play through. They don’t cause pain, like a broken limb, and the symptoms are difficult to diagnose. Nearly one in four concussions are caused by head to ground impact. 

Many times, the athletes don’t want to report their symptoms because they don’t want to appear weak or let their team down. In a survey, when concussions were called a “ding” more athletes reported having experienced one. 

concussion_reporting

About the problem, Nowinski said not a whole lot can be done about the problem if we keep hitting people in the head so much. 

Chris_Nowinski

From his presentation, it was easy to see that education and more understand are key to at least moving in the right direction in the concussion crisis. It was an honor to meet Chris Nowinski.

 

Safe Kids Day

It was SO much fun to participate in Safe Kids Day with Safe Kids Tulsa

kasp_tulsa_1

I was in Tent 5.

tent5

Because of my focus on keeping kids safe from concussion in youth sports, I got to man the Youth Sports Safety game.

kasp_tulsa_2

Before we started tossing bean bags, though, I talked to all the kids about proper safety equipment, hydration, and warming up before playing.

sk day 2016 pics 014

The kids were fun, smart, and interactive. They all were excited to tell me about the sports that they play. Of course they all loved the bean bag tossing. 

sk day 2016 pics 008

I love it when I’m part of making a learning experience fun! 😀

 

My Story, My Why

On Sunday, the Oklahoma City Listen To Your Mother Show finally came to fruition. After submitting my story, auditioning, being accepted, rehearsing with my fellow cast members, the day had finally arrived. banner The show took place at the Will Rogers Theater

View More: http://sheradeehurstphotography.pass.us/ltym2016

The amazing 2016 cast met once again for the show.

View More: http://sheradeehurstphotography.pass.us/ltym2016

We watched as the theater filled up.

View More: http://sheradeehurstphotography.pass.us/ltym2016

Finally, it was time to take the stage. 

View More: http://sheradeehurstphotography.pass.us/ltym2016

I listened to the stories of my fellow cast members. Stories that did things to my heart that made me love this group of people like no other.  

table

 And then it was my turn. My story was called A Question of Guilt. It was my story about how I felt after reading the book Concussion and how it relates to the fact that my son had at least five concussions while playing football from ages 8 until 20. The story that has given me the mission to tell every single person I can that it’s not “just” a concussion and that helmets do not prevent concussions. Every. Single. Person. Everywhere. Anywhere.

View More: http://sheradeehurstphotography.pass.us/ltym2016

After the show was over, I went down to meet a friend of mine from twitter. We’ve been tweeting for years (I can’t even remember how long!) and I was so excited to finally meet her in real life. 

nita

And then the most amazing thing happened! People that I didn’t know started coming up to me and thanking me for sharing my story. One young mother, with tears in her eyes, told me that she had been worried about letting her little boy play football and that my story was confirmation for her. This, my friends, was the cherry on top of an already awesome experience!

View More: http://sheradeehurstphotography.pass.us/ltym2016

I love that I got a chance to be a part of the 2016 Oklahoma City cast. I love that I got to share my story. And maybe, just maybe, my story will save another mom the guilt that I felt when I realized that a helmet did not protect my son’s precious brain. That is my goal. One mom at a time. Until I’ve told everyone.

View More: http://sheradeehurstphotography.pass.us/ltym2016

Many thanks to the producers Mari Farthing, Carolyn Bechtold, and Jennifer Smith for choosing me as a member of the cast. Thanks to my castmates for being completely incredible people (whom I love) and having the courage to share your stories. Thanks to Lyndzee Story for helping me with my hair and makeup. Thanks to Sheradee Hurst for the fabulous photos. And, finally, thanks to my incredible husband for always being by my side to love and support me. 

If you have a story to tell, I can’t encourage you enough to seek out your local Listen To Your Mother Show and apply! It will change your life. 🙂