Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Fashion Flair" by Kate Howe

I spent a wonderful afternoon emceeing the Fashion Flair show with the beautiful Mrs. Hennepin County, Larissa Olphiant.  We started the event with a wonderful lunch by the Lookout Bar and Grill – very tasty!  It was nice to talk with people in the community and the models that were going to be in the show. 

Larissa and I took turns introducing the models.  There were 27 models and we introduced their outfits, the model themselves and any interesting facts about them.  For instance, Shelley crochets sleeping mats for the homeless – bless her.  The women looked absolutely beautiful and there were even a couple of men working the runway too.  There was one model that had recently lost 139 pounds and was exciting to participate in the show.  It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of everyone and be stared at – sound familiar?  Lol!  They all did fabulous!

One of my favorite looks was a sleek red and black dress.  It was so timeless and classy.  It was one of those looks you could see a young professional in or even an older grandma and it would look amazing on both individuals.  I also loved how every detail of the outfits was planned out from the glasses to the earrings to the purses.  It was very impressive!


Throughout the show, tips from some of the store employees were presented.  We got to see how you take a “day” look into a “night” look just by changing a sweater or top or even a scarf!  It was very creative and made me think twice about how I can start to utilize some of my items of clothing more productively.  Such fun!!



Mrs. Minnesota International 2015

Kate Howe

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"Burnsville Recognition" By Kate Howe


Having grown up in Burnsville and now living there with my family, I was more than delighted when the city asked if I could be recognized for my achievement of Mrs. Minnesota at their annual breakfast!  The room was full of very prominent people from the community including the mayor, the police chief and local representatives including Dan Hall and Roz Peterson.  It was a real honor to meet them.



At sat a table for “special guests” and was given the opportunity to speak on behalf of the international pageant system, my platform and discuss all of the amazing work we have done at First Book.  I also talked about living in Burnsville as an adult – something I said I would never do!  Lol!  Moving back to Burnsville and being very close to my immediate family has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I know someday we will move out-of-state, but for right now, it is a perfect place for Dominic and Lincoln to grow up. 



We had the privilege of listening to Terry Hitchcock give a motivation speech.  Driven by the experience of raising three children on his own after his wife died of cancer, Hitchcock wanted to accomplish the impossible – run the 2,000 miles between Saint Paul and Atlanta in 75 straight days to help Americans everywhere see how much single-parent families need their compassion and support.  To achieve his goal, he had to run the equivalent of one marathon each day for two and a half months, despite being 57 years old and having a weak heart, bad knees, and shaky ankles. And he did it! Hitchcock crossed his finish line in Atlanta in time for the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics.  Wow!



Mrs. Minnesota International 2015

Kate Howe

Thursday, July 16, 2015

" TV Show Motivation" by Kate Howe


I had the exciting opportunity to appear on the “Fitness King” Ron Henderson’s TV show Motivation.  The show is geared to help motivate people to start taking better care of their health and also to showcase people who have a positive message to share.  It was a great outlet not only to promote my platform, but the entire International Pageant System.

Ron and I practiced a few questions and then we were ready to roll live!  Joe helped a lot with the timing for commercials and was even in the last segment.  We talked about everything from growing up, to my career, to my inspiration to compete in the pageant.  I was able to speak on behalf of my platform and share all of the initiatives “Ignite the Imagination” have launched and discuss my partnership and advisory board activities with First Book.


Being that Ron is the “Fitness King” we talked a lot about living a healthy lifestyle and working out.  I have never been one of those people who could maintain a diet, but I have always maintained a workout schedule, especially after the babies.  After both Dominic and Lincoln were born, I worked out almost every day until I lost the baby weight.  The workout I like the best is Beach Body’s weight training video.  It completely sculpts your entire body.  With my schedule, it is difficult to just leave and go workout, so I workout at home after the boys go to bed in my living room.  Most of the time I find myself doing laundry or replying to emails during it – lol, but just as long as it gets done!                                                          

Ron and I connected so well because he wrote a children’s book on staying active and fighting childhood obesity.  It is a great book and I have actually been able to promote it in the community.  The story is easy to relate too and promotes playing with friends vs. watching TV. 


There is only one truly amazing you!

Mrs. Minnesota International 2015

Kate Howe

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Lakeville South High School Graduation" By Nicole Doyle


Wow, it is totally beyond belief on how quickly 4 wonderful years of high school came to an end!

As both a hockey and lacrosse player I love my teams and will truly miss them. Although who knows, I will probably be back to playing as I plan to join a women’s league for both hockey and lacrosse!


I will also dearly miss all of my clubs I was involved in; art club, student council, chemistry club, and links club. This is a photo Fernanda, Andy and I while on a links club field trip. Links club “links” students to other students who have learning disabilities and are often in separate classrooms. Throughout my 4 years I just loved what a great impact links club had on students both with and without disabilities that is why I enjoyed links club so much!

I had such a blast at my high school dances and football games, I will continue to look back and smile at the memories! Here is a photo of my mom and I before I left for my junior prom.


I am so blessed to have such a loving supportive family, and have so very much to look forward too. I do not know what I would do if I did not have them with and supporting me through all of my crazy adventures!


As a PSEO or Post Secondary Enrolment Options student I took classes throughout my senior year at Normandale College. I was so honored and joyful to be accepted into this program; thanks to it I graduated High School with 32 college level credits, completed my first 2 semesters of college on the deans list, and completed all of my nursing Pre-requisites. I now plan to transfer to the University Of Minnesota as a second year nursing student and obtain my Bachelors of Science in nursing!





Thursday, July 9, 2015

"Experience & Crowning Moment" by Kate Howe

A year and half ago my husband and I were looking for a new house.  At one of the open houses we attended, I started talking to the realtor and somehow in the conversation we started talking about his wife and how he was in a pageant with her.  Immediately I started thinking…really??  There is a “Mrs.” Pageant?  And my husband gets to participate?  I needed to find out more!  I had always had a special place in my heart for “pageant” girls growing up and loved watching them.  When my husband and I were in Italy, I even watched one in Italian.  I didn’t understand one word – but loved it.  My husband and I’s first date was even to a Miss Minnesota Pageant.  He knew from the beginning what he was in for ;). 

I spent the next two months researching like crazy the “Mrs.” Pageants and fell in love with the International Pageant System’s foundation, purpose and most of all the women.  I would read their stories and what they had done with their platforms and it inspired me to take the leap and do my first pageant – ever.  I was beyond ecstatic when I was granted the title as Mrs. Dakota County.  I was so proud of my banner and the opportunity to represent my county.  I remember thinking, if I stay Mrs. Dakota County forever that would be an amazing opportunity in itself.  Little did I know how incredible being Mrs. Minnesota would be! 

You can only imagine how much help I needed with this being my first pageant.  I had done a lot of research, ordered material from the previous years, but needed the help of experts.  I would highly recommend working with a coach on some sort of level, even if you have done pageants before.  They can give you an outside in perspective and give you pointers you maybe didn’t even know existed.  I had the honor of working with Cheri Kennedy and Donnell Rank.  What a blessing!  They helped with me everything from speaking to walking.  They also put me in contact with the amazing Penny and James for hair and makeup and the wonderful Paula Preston for headshot pictures.  Cheri also has “mock” interviews available for her clients.  Those sessions really helped me get organized and prepared to speak about my platform.  It is a great network to have!

I spent the next months preparing for the competition.  I worked really, really hard.  I am a mother of two young boys and have a very demanding corporate finance career.  Time was always at a premium.  I can’t even tell you the countless hours I spent developing my marketing plan for my platform.  I had been very active in my platform for years and was a current Advisory Board member for my non-profit, First Book, but I needed to take it to the next level.  There would be times I would sit down at my computer to start working for example on my smart phone app - exhausted, and I would immediately become motivated and work for hours.  I love my platform and it always gives me a new, fresh energy, unlike anything else. 

I did also spend a lot of time getting my body is shape.  At the time I had a nine month old – a lot of work had to be done J.  I would workout late at night after my kids would go to bed.  One thing I have learned through this opportunity, there is always more time in the day then you think. 

As the pageant approached I grew more and more excited.  I was working my platform, making appearances and having the time of my life.  Meeting Kimberly and the other women in the competition was so inspiring.  Every single one of them was truly unique with a story to tell.  I love that my first pageant was a “Mrs.” pageant because my husband Joe was able to be a part of it.  He has been extremely supportive through this entire process.

During the actual pageant, I just relaxed and was completely myself.  Win or lose it really didn’t matter.  I had done everything I could to prepare and felt incredible confident.  I had a huge cheering section full of family and friends.  It was truly a special experience and the best part was being able to share it with the people I love the most.

When my name was called as Mrs. Minnesota – I was in complete shock!  Joe walked over, gave me the biggest hug and told me how proud he was of me.  I absolutely loved being crowned by my husband, looking at my closest friends and family in the audience.  Unbelieveable!  I still have to pinch myself from time to time J.  After I was crowned, the previous Mrs. Minnesota winners surrounded me with hugs and congratulations – I instantly felt part of a wonderful family.  It was a really unique feeling…like I was part of a very special group of women.  I admire each and every one of them and promise to make them proud!  Lastly, I was able to stand with my “sister” queens and knew it was going to be an amazing year.


Amazing Experience!

Mrs. Minnesota International 2015

Kate Howe

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Special Olympics Minnesota Summer Games" By Nicole Doyle


This past weekend I was invited to attend the Special Olympics Summer Games! I had so much fun dressing up “goofy” with people of all ages. My favorite part of this event was hearing what events everyone competed in and how he or she did in their events.

I also enjoyed being able to help everyone pick out his or her outfit, and of course taking a memorable photo at the end!



I had such a blast and cannot wait to join the Special Olympics once again next year!


Sending smiles your way,


Miss Teen Minnesota International Nicole Doyle




Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Mrs. Appearance Tradition: AccessAbility" by Kate Howe

A fun tradition the “Mrs.” Minnesota appears at is the Walk & Roll-a-Thon put on by AccessAbility.  The mission of AccessAbility is to provide opportunities for self-sufficiency for people with barriers to employment and community inclusion.  As a result of their training and programs, they serve nearly 600 participants annually at individual work sites and in work crews at business sites at their three locations. 

I was able to cheer on the walkers and runners at the start and finish line and talk with some of the dedicated and passionate staff.  I was also able to talk with the sponsors and participants.  One participant in particular was very entertaining.  He told me jokes for about 15 minutes – it was very entertaining and funny!  J

I was formally introduced to the crowd and was given the microphone to talk about my platform.  The crowd was very responsive and supportive.  I received many congratulations and hugs.  It was a very sweet appearance and I left with a big smile on my face.  I sincerely hope the next “Mrs.” can continue this tradition.


Love Traditions!!

Mrs. Minnesota International 2015

Kate Howe


Monday, June 8, 2015

" Pretty in Pink Fashion Show" by Kate Howe


I was a special guest at the recent “Pretty in Pink” Fashion Show supporting breast cancer.  I was treated like royalty with a gold sequin dress made just for me by the very talented MiMi Nguyen, Director of LPF Projects.  I even had a special seat up front! 


The event was centered on raising money and awareness towards breast cancer.  Everyone knows someone, either once or twice removed who has been affected.  Unfortunately, breast cancer runs in my family on my father’s side.  My grandma had a lump removed and my aunt has done an amazing job fighting breast cancer.  Listening to her stories and hearing the details about her surgeries is always heart breaking.  She is so strong and such a fighter.  She is one of the lucky ones though, who was able to catch it in its early stages. 


I was able to get up in front of the audience and share my family’s story and talk about how important it was for all of us to be there supporting the cause and our loved ones.  They also had breast cancer survivor, Anna Jones, tell the audience her story and share advice.  I know that took a lot of courage and she did a fantastic job.


The fashion show itself was unbelievable.  The different designers and their looks were simply amazing.  I felt like we were sitting at fashion week in New York City.  Each look was very unique, accenting bright colors just the right way.  The model’s hair and makeup was also stunning complementing the beautiful outfits.  It was truly a wonderful evening. 



Never Stop Fighting

Mrs. Minnesota International 2015

Kate Howe

Friday, May 22, 2015

" YouthCARE" written by Kate Howe

What a fun evening!  Tou Ger and Andrea Bennett Xiong invited Alexis, Nicole and myself to their 10th Annual Celebration of Urban Youth Dinner.  Tou Ger and Andrea are long-time, passionate volunteers of the organization.  It was very interesting to hear about Camp Sunrise, which brings together urban youth, 13-18 year olds from diverse cultural backgrounds to experience the outdoors, learn about the environment and build respect for themselves and others.  Tou Ger was once an adolescent attending the camp!  It is amazing to see him giving back to an organization that had a huge impact on his life.

The ladies and I are pictured here with former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and his wife, Megan.  R.T. is the Executive Director of Generation Next, a powerful coalition of civic, business and education leaders aiming to close the achievement and opportunity gaps in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Generation Next leaders will use the cradle-to-career framework to help students achieve five key goals, or success benchmarks.  These goals are research-based competencies and key transition points that are necessary for students’ developmental progress.  My platform, Ignite the Imagination aligns with goal #2: 3rd Grade Reading Benchmarks - which means by the end of 3rd grade, each student meets key benchmarks for success in reading and reading comprehension. 

A special part of the evening was being able to talk to Andrea about being a Mrs. Minnesota Queen J.  Andrea was our 2013 Mrs. Minnesota International – definitely a beauty inside and out!  The Mrs. Sisterhood runs deep and strong, with a lot of support.  I am so honored to be a part of this group of women. 


The fun thing about being a “Mrs.” is that you always have a guaranteed date for events like these.  I am so lucky – Joe is definitely my biggest supporter. 


So Blessed!

Mrs. Minnesota International 2015

Kate Howe



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

" No More" by Alexis Adu-Bobi

          When you look at the picture above what do you see? You see a young woman happy and full of smiles. The woman you see on the left was not always happy. I grew up in Bronx New York in the projects. That is where my journey began. I grew up in a home where my father was physically abusive towards my mother, siblings and I. This period in my life was very difficult. I was a young child dealing with adult problems. Due to what I was dealing with at home I was a very quiet and withdrawn child. As the years continued my home life became increasingly worse.  My Mother somehow found the strength to leave and was able to divorce my father and put herself through nursing school. Once she was more financially stable we packed up and moved to Minnesota for a fresh start.


          Minnesota is where I was able to have a normal childhood. I was at a new school, made new friends and I was given the opportunity to try new things particularly. All was well for a while. Once in high school I began to experience some of the side effects of children who had been abused. I was angry all the time and I began to resent my mother for my childhood. I became depressed and I had constant anxiety. Sports became my outlet. I was a two-sport athlete in track and volleyball. I would avoid my issues by staying active all the time. I eventually graduated from high school and moved on to college.


          When I started college I thought things would be better. I was in a new school and new environment. I was still dealing with my depression and anxiety but I found ways to cope. It was there I met my college boyfriend. When we first met things were perfect, but as the relationship progressed he became controlling, jealous, and verbally aggressive.  Eventually he became physically and emotionally abusive. The man I thought I knew was a complete stranger. As time went on the abuse became worse and worse. I then began to realize this was not the life God had planned for me. I finally left my abuser and sought refuge at a women’s shelter. I ended up spending one month at the Alexandra House women’s shelter. I took that time to utilize the resources provided which was a great help in helping to pick up the pieces and find myself again. With the help of Alexandra House I am proud to say I moved to Duluth, MN to start a new life.

          God has given me a new sense of hope. He has pulled me out of the darkness and into the light. When I moved to Duluth I made a promise to myself that I would do everything in my power to educate and raise awareness so that people would not have to endure what I have. I am proud to say I am an advocate for the “No More” campaign, which fights to prevent and end Domestic Violence and sexual assault against women and children. My goal as a survivor is to continue to provide resources for victims and empower our future generations to break the cycle of violence before it begins. I am living proof that there is life after abuse, and it is never too late to rewrite your story.

Alexis Adu-Bobi

Miss Minnesota International 2015