Monday, January 19, 2015

Preparing for the Minnesota International State Pageant Written by: Kimberly Stommes

Dear City and County Titleholders:


WOW! Pageant weekend is quickly approaching, can you believe it? I cannot believe how fast these pat 10 months have gone, nor can I believe that I am already writing a blog about pageant preparations! Seems like just yesterday that it was January 2014 when I spoke on the phone with pageant coach extraordinaire, Cheri Kennedy. She convinced me that this pageant system was the perfect one for me. I contacted the state director, Allison, the next day and signed up for the state pageant. I would like to say the rest is history, but the hardest part about competing in a pageant is the preparation!


1.      I am a HUGE advocate for purchasing last year’s state pageant video and watch it over and over again. Learn how the stage is laid out, where you stop and pose on stage and where exactly the judges sit. When I watched the video I would put on that competition’s outfit and practice while the emcees were calling each contestants name.

2.      Pack early! I usually start packing a week in advance so that I am confident that I do not forget anything at home. Some small things to remember to pack include: band-aids; blister-blocker; min-sewing kit; Tide stain-remover pen; lint-remover; safety pins; double-stick tape; lotion; snacks; water bottle; heating pads; aspirin; panty-liners to use during fitness wear to prevent the shorts from riding; mini-mirror to bring with in the dressing room because there is limited access to the mirrors; and high-heel shoe pads. 

3.      Walk in your shoes, a lot. This will help your feet as to not blister and breaks your shoes in. It also helps you to look more comfortable while walking on stage in your shoes.

4.      Practice smiling while you talk. This may sounds funny, but I did this in the mirror every chance that I got. You want to look pleasant while speaking in interview and on stage.

5.      One tip that I received from Krista Wanous, Miss Minnesota International 2012 and Miss International 2012, is to package the accessories that you are wearing with each outfit in little baggies on the hanger of that particular outfit in which you are wearing the accessories with. It sure saved me a lot of time and kept me organized in the dressing room!

6.      If you are planning on spray tanning, I highly suggest you try the spray before pageant weekend. I tried one for the pre-pageant party and looked orange. I am so thankful I tried it that weekend instead of pageant weekend!

7.      Find someone to do your hair and makeup. This can be an added expense to a pageant of course, but I competed in pageants as a teen and I did not hire someone to do my hair and makeup. My mom and family friend, Mindy (Rick) Jones would help, but it was different when I competed for the Mrs. MN International title and had hired help. I used Penny Wells for makeup and James Peterson for hair and I am so thankful because it sure took a LOT of stress off of me. I was able to relax completely while they worked their magic because I knew I was in good hands.

8.      Start using lotion many weeks in advance. This will allow your skin to look healthy and have that “glow” on stage.

9.      I believe the judges are looking for someone that not only knows their platform well, but lives it. Make sure you know everything about your platform and know what you have done for your platform so you can effectively tell that to the judges.

10.  Try a teeth-whitener. I have always been told I have a white smile, but I will use crest white-strips before a pageant just to “shine” better.

11.  One tip for pageant night: Do not wear nylons/tights. I was told this and I ignored it because I felt that they made me look better and my legs looks nicer on stage. However, after I got off of the stage after introduction and went to change into my fitness wear, the nylons left markings all over my stomach. Thank God there were wonderful women in the dressing room all helping to rub my stomach to get rid of the lines. Good times J

12.   The most important tip that I can give you is to relax, be confident and be you! The judges are qualified and smart. They can see through to the young ladies and women that are truly being themselves and that will make wonderful state representatives.



If you have any questions while preparing for the state pageant, please feel free to reach out to me on facebook or via email at


Good luck!


Yours truly,


Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

My Diagnosis: Everything Has Meaning By: Kimberly Stommes


I have always been a believer that everything happens for a reason. Each time that I see something come full-circle I am so astonished and reminded of how beautiful life truly is. Sometimes things happen in our lives that make us wonder “why me” but I have come to realize that in time God will show me his plan.


I often laugh when I try to tell God “my plan.” I believe God has a reason for everything that happens. Something that I have not yet shared with people publicly is that I have recently been told that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrom, PCOS. This is one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders in women. This has been linked to several medical risks including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease.


The strangest thing about this diagnosis to me is that is it directly related to insulin-resistance and diabetes. Diabetes prevention and management has been a large part of my life since I was 18 and I joined my local Lions Club, which is an international foundation. God not only blessed me when I was crowned Mrs. Minnesota International 2014, but he gave me a mission. I thought I was spending these past 10 months raising awareness for diabetes, but I was doing more than that. He was teaching me my lessons too. To find out that I have PCOS and am becoming insulin resistant was a shock to me, but luckily I know what needs to be done to prevent the onset of type-2 diabetes.


Insulin resistance is a physiological condition where the natural hormone, insulin, becomes less effective at lowering blood sugars. The resulting increase in blood glucose may raise levels outside the normal range and cause adverse health effects.

I don’t fit the “normal risk factors” such as being of the elderly population; being of the minority population; or being obese. I have really tried hard to exercise many times each week and have worked to reduce my carb and sugar intake, which helped me loose more than 50 pounds since the birth of my daughter. Speaking of my daughter, studies have found that if a mother has PCOS, there is a 50% chance that her daughter will have PCOS. My PCOS and insulin-resistance is what has led my husband and I to secondary infertility. All around, it is a tough pill to swallow for me.


Sometimes we don’t understand the “why.” I am so thankful that I was chosen. Chosen to raise awareness for diabetes. Chosen to spend the past 10 months making a difference in the lives of others as your Mrs. Minnesota International. Chosen by Him to learn; and someday I will truly see the beauty in my “why.”


Be blessed. Be chosen. Learn your “why.”



Yours truly,


Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014


Monday, January 12, 2015

Miss Teen International Competition by Rachel Flynn

               As my year is coming to an end I have been taking time to think about the highlights of my reign. One of my favorite parts of my reign was going to Jacksonville, Florida for nationals to compete for Miss Teen International. I had the honor of traveling with my sister queen, Gabby and sharing much special time with her. We shared many laughs, encouraged each other, and we became very good friends. My favorite part of nationals was meeting all the wonderful girls I was competing with.

              One of the days, my friends and I had the opportunity to make blankets for the American Heart Association. We also made suckers and went on a historical tour of Jacksonville. My favorite part of the weekend was when we had a tour of the Jaguar’s Stadium. Where we were given a tour of the field, training room, and we even got to meet some of the players. I even had the chance to meet the head coach, Gus Bradley who asked to meet Minnesota. I was excited to have placed top 15 at nationals. I feel so blessed to have made so many memories and friends that I hope to see again someday.


Fashion Hero by Rachel Flynn

        This past September, I was selected to take part as a finalist in the November filming of the Fashion Hero. The filming took place at the Grand Sirenis Hotel and Resorts in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Upon being chosen as a finalist, I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. The mission of the Fashion Hero is to change the unhealthy and unrealistic standards of the fashion and beauty industry, by bringing people who do not fit the traditional norms and give them a chance to be selected by international brands to model in one of their advertising campaigns. Anyone could participate no matter their shape, size, or ethnicity.

         When I got to Mexico, I was given the brand I would represent. My brand was Libka Safr, who was a lady that made fancy hats in the Czech Republic. The other girls in my brand and I had dinner with Libka two nights and we had a photo shoot challenge. I met many amazing friends that became like family. It was pretty cool to meet people from all over the world. I met people from Ireland, Scotland, England, and all over the United States. When we weren’t filming we were having fun at the pool or beach playing games and tanning. The whole experience was very rewarding and I am glad I was a part of it. I will keep you all posted for when and where it will air on TV. Thank you to the Fashion Hero for the experience and for such a great time I will never forget!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"Dec 6th, Hoilday Meet & Greet " by Rachel Flynn

            Dec. 6th Kimberly, Gabby, and I had a Holiday meet and greet. The meet and greet took place at the Apple Valley Community Center. I was so excited for the meet and greet to meet the ladies who were signed up to compete and who were considering competing in March. Also to answer any questions they may have. I was also pretty excited to see the beautiful Mrs. MN and Miss MN again.

             I loved talking to the teens about my year and sharing some helpful tips and advice with them for when they compete in March. I enjoyed talking with them about everyday teen things such as school, their likes, dislikes, and activities they enjoy. Kim, Gabby, Lainey and I had the opportunity to speak on our journey this year as International queens and answer any questions the ladies might have had. We also had the chance to share our most embarrassing moments and most memorable moments of the year. As you can imagine there were some pretty great laughs.

               It was so fun to see formal International queens and talk to them. I loved seeing Megan Muehlberg (Miss Teen Minnesota International 2013) and her mom, Denise. I look forward to seeing the ladies again soon and hopefully doing some appearances with them. We are going to have so much fun together in March!

"Food Drive" by Rachel Flynn

             The dance school I go to is called Premiere Dance. This November, Premiere Dance held a food drive for all the dancers to bring in cans of food and other nonperishables. Dawn Schulberg -- the owner of Premiere Dance-- then gave all the food to me to donate to Second Harvest. I was amazed by all the food the dancers and their families brought in. To be exact, Premiere donated 361 pounds of food!

            At the same time that all this was going on. Kare 11 was having their annual Kare 11 Food Fight to support Second Harvest. Last year this event raised over 860,000 pounds of food. I thought this was a great opportunity to get in on the action and become a part of one of the Kare 11 teams.

        That Thursday, some of the dancers, Dawn, and I helped pile all the bags and boxes of food into the back of my dad’s truck. My family and I then drove to Second Harvest’s warehouse in Golden Valley. We unloaded the food and donated the food to team Belinda. The best part of it was that team Bel ended up winning Kare 11’s Food Fight with 496,749 pounds! The event as a whole generated more than 1.1 million meals for those who are hungry in our community. It felt great to be a part of the Food Fight with Premiere Dance. A big thank you to Dawn and Premiere Dance for your huge donation.

Monday, January 5, 2015

"MN International Pageant Meet and Greet" Written by: Kimberly Stommes

I had so much fun at the Minnesota International pageant’s Meet and Greet! I had the opportunity to meet some of this year’s pageant contestants and answer their questions about the International pageant system. I briefly spoke about my platform, my year thus far as Mrs. Minnesota, and answered pageant-related questions. (I did not call on the man in the back of the room waiving his arms up and down (my husband)…haha)



 Photographed with some of this year’s Mrs. Minnesota International contestants.

There were many women there interested in vying for the Pre-Teen/Teen/Miss/Mrs Minnesota titles this coming March. There were also sponsors at this event, as well as former contestants that came to say hello to everyone, and past Minnesota queens!


Ten years of Mrs! Mrs. Minnesota International 2004, Nancy Persons Paradeise, and Mrs. Minnesota International 2014, Kimberly Stommes.

I was also very excited to spend the day with all three of my sister queens! This was a perfect time to have a mini-selfie-photo-shoot!



I have been so blessed to not only have captured the heart of the judges last March, but to have had the opportunity to spend this past year with some incredible young women. My three sister queens and I have really developed great friendships that I am sure will last us the rest of our lives!


 Being an International queen also comes with games and sister-sillyness


Yours truly,

Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

"Banner Presentations" By Kimberly Stommes

Did you know that as a city or county queen you can request the Minnesota titleholder to present your banner to you? That is only one of the wonderful things about this system- it offers this opportunity to you upon receiving your regional title!


 Presenting the banner and title to a newly appointed county queen!

Take full advantage of this opportunity to meet the reigning Minnesota queen, take photos with her, and have a one-on-one conversation to ask those burning state pageant questions you have! Who better to ask then the person that captured the state title!

We are still accepting applications for city and county titles! This year’s pageant will take place in St. Cloud, on March 14th! Visit our website for additional information:

Looking forward to presenting that city or county banner to you soon!


Yours truly,

Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

Friday, December 26, 2014

"Walk to End Hunger" By Rachel Flynn

               Every year on Thanksgiving morning, the Mall of America hosts the Walk to End Hunger. This year marked the seven year anniversary. Since starting in 2008, the Walk to End Hunger has raised over 1,200,000 to help support hunger relief organizations. This is working to eliminate hunger in the Twin Cities metro area. The money raised goes to over fifteen agency partners, including Second Harvest.


               This year was the third year I have volunteered to set up the walk the day before and then participate in the walk on Thanksgiving morning. This year, I volunteered for the earliest shift to set up. This included, going into the Mall of America’s loading dock and bringing up stairs all the things needed for the walk. Thanks to the other volunteers it didn’t take long, and I must confess it was a pretty good workout. We then folded thousands of t-shirts and helped put up signs. Our group was pretty productive.

               Thanksgiving morning, my friend Chloe and I got up bright and early and headed over to the Mall of America for the walk. The walk starts with the kick-off program that always includes news anchors and local celebrities. On the first-floor route there is music, balloon animals, Santa, and a kid’s craft table. Also on the second-floor route there is the Bodies by Burgoon for extra workout routines you can do with your family and friends at your own pace. Chloe and I were pretty proud we walked a 10K. It felt so good to get in a good workout and give back before giving thanks.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Meals for Minds Internship by Rachel Flynn

         I was extremely thrilled when I received a phone call from Second Harvest Heartland (the 5th largest food bank in the US) asking me to take an internship with them for their Meals for Minds program. I have been volunteering for the Meals for Minds program for the past three years. Both my mom and I have become super close with the lady in charge named Sarah. So naturally, I was really excited and I could hardly wait to start.

       I had to attend a orientation to learn more about Meals for Minds. I attended along with the other interns. It was kinda funny that I was the only highschooler there. Everyone else was either a junior or senior in college. I was beyond excited when I received my official name badge.
     For those of you who don't know about the program, the Meals for Minds program is a program started be Second Harvest to hand out food to students in the local twin cities area. There are 10 schools in the twin cities that are involved with the Meals for Minds program. Volunteers go to the schools and set up a portable food shelf where they hand out over 40 pounds of groceries to each student that comes through the line. Through this program I've had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful volunteers from all over Minnesota. Volunteers are sent from different corporations such as Target, US Bank, and small businesses around St. Paul and Minneapolis. My favorite part of  Meals for Minds is seeing the students and their faces when they receive their food. My internship has been going wonderfully so far and I am looking forward to seeing the opportunities that come from it.