Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"ALS Ice Bucket Challenge"Written by: Kimberly Stommes and Gabby Taylor

Both of us have been challenged by many friends and family to complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We knew the perfect place to complete this task would be none other than the Wisconsin Dells!

ALS is often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the spinal cord and the brain. The ability to control muscle movement is lost and can lead to penalization or death.

The purpose of the Ice Bucket Challenge is to raise awareness for this disease. suggests that when doing the challenge, be sure to use the following hashtags: #icebucketchallenge, #alsicebucketchallenge, and #strikeoutals. They also provide social media graphics to download to use in helping to spread awareness about ALS. They also ask that you be thoughtful about water usage, especially if you are in an area of the country or world affected by drought. They suggest repurposing the water for later use or help by donating, becoming an advocate, or joining a local Walk to Defeat ALS. Donations can be made at


As of August 25, 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge has generated donations in excess of $79.7 million!      

Please watch our Ice Bucket Challenge by visiting the link below- and ENJOY the bloopers!



Until next time, yours truly,

Kimberly and Gabby

Mrs. MN and Miss MN International 2014


"Annual Maple Grove Back to School fashion Show" By Rachel Flynn

                      Gabby Taylor and I had the privilege of being asked by Tanya Hilger to MC the 9th Annual Maple Grove Back to School Fashion Show.  Tuesday Aug 18, is when all the fun began.  We got to meet all the junior high and high school students that would walk the runway the next day.  The students went to school all over the twin cities, but many  lived in the Maple Grove area.  We had the opportunity to share some of our advice and personal experience with the students.  After our mentoring/coaching session the students got to hit the runway for the first time at rehearsal.  They all did a fantastic job. 



                     The next day was the final show.  When we arrived we took pictures with everyone and snacked on some yummy treats.  Everyone’s outfits were absolutely adorable.  Many of them I would have worn myself.  Most of the outfits were sponsored  by stores of the students choice.  The stores included Francesca's, JC Penny's, and many others from the Shops at Arbor Lakes.


                     Right before the show, Gabby and I talked to the students and helped calm some last minute runway nerves.  We had a blast hosting the fashion show and everyone did a wonderful job that participated.  Gabby and I even got to walk the runway at the end of the show.  A big thank you to Tanya Hilger for inviting us.  It was such an amazing opportunity

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"Kolacky Days" by Lainey Oliphant

Hi, I'm Lainey Oliphant, Miss Preteen Minnesota International! I was SO excited to be invited and sit in the "Sparkel Section" as a Special Guest Attendee at the Kolacky Days pageant this past July 25th!

My mom, Larissa Roberts Oliphant, was invited as a Guest Judge, being that she was the Second Runner-Up in this year's Mrs. Minnesota International pageant!
I also got to meet the current Mrs. Minnesota America 2014 winner, Alia Arellano that was a Guest Judge also! I got to sit back stage as the judges tallied up their scores, and I knew the winner before anyone else did! I had a ton of fun talking to the other guest royalty attendees! I congratulate winner Katrina Reeder, who stole the show with an AWESOME violin performance (in red sparkly cowboy boots)!

 I had a great time and got to spend the night in a hotel, with a water park! It was a GREAT experience!

Lainey Oliphant

Monday, August 18, 2014

"MN Lions Diabetes Foundation"Written by: Kimberly Stommes

The Minnesota Lions Diabetes Foundation is founded by the Lions Clubs of Minnesota and their dedicated members who are committed to improving the lives of people with diabetes. This foundation goes above and beyond to achieve its three main goals of partnering and collaborating to do diabetes research, diabetes education, and sponsor preventative health activities.


I was given the opportunity to be a guest at their trustee meeting. It was really a great opportunity to learn more about their foundation and witness first-hand thousands of dollars in donations being used to further their mission. I was blessed with the opportunity to explain a little about who I am as Kimberly Stommes, what I do as Mrs. Minnesota, and as a diabetes advocate.

                                     Members/Trustees of the MN Lions Diabetes Foundation


This foundation is filled with so many people who define humanitarianism! They are so giving of their time to help find a cure for diabetes. They also have an award that they give out titled, The Dream Catcher, and I have been one of the lucky recipients of this award. The award is given in recognition of my work for diabetes advancement and is an honor to receive. The Dream Catcher is explained as follows:


As the legend goes, the Dream Catcher was used by the Woodland Indians and was hung in the lodge (near the bed). Its use was to catch dreams, good or bad. The bad dreams would get caught in the webbing and would be held there till first morning light, then burn off. Now, the good dreams were caught, and knowing their way o the hold in the center, would filter down into the feathers and be held there, only to return another night, to be dreamed.


 My Dream Catcher Award from the MN Lions Diabetes Foundation of Lions Clubs International


While attending their trustee meeting I was given several of the Dream Catcher pins (pictured below) to hand out during my reign. What an honor!


 Dream Catcher pins to hand out to those working to make a difference for diabetes prevention and management



I was also privileged enough to be one of the first to learn of their new slogan:



Catch the Dream: Life Without Diabetes.


Very powerful!

SAVE THE DATE! Discussed at the meeting was the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Expo, which is set for October 11, 2014 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I was invited to help the Minnesota Lions Diabetes Foundation at their diabetes-educational booth, so please mark your calendar and I will see you there!


Please consider helping us fight diabetes by donating to the MN Lions Diabetes Foundation:


Yours truly,


Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

"Touring Central Minnesota via Convertible"Written by: Kimberly Stommes

I felt like an absolute princess when I recently participated in 5 parades, which I titled, “Touring Central Minnesota via Convertible!” haha! I also had some very special guests join me on this “tour!”
Special guests included my daughter, Ava, and my husband, Jeremy. Jeremy enjoyed driving the Ford Mustang GT convertible that was donated for our use by Miller Auto Plaza, located in St. Cloud, MN.
 My daughter and I right after picking up the Mustang GT donated by Miller Auto Plaza. We were begging to keep it!
Another special guest that joined me was Rachel Flynn, Miss Teen Minnesota International  2014. She joined me on two of the parades and I want to take a moment and commend her for not only making the long drive to join me at these events, but most importantly, for being such a kind friend and role model to my daughter. My daughter gets so excited to travel with me to appearances and always asks if Rachel or Gabby (Miss Minnesota International 2014) are going to be there, and that is a special feeling that any parent can understand!
Rachel Flynn (Miss Teen MN International 2014), my daughter, Ava, and myself pictured before the Foley parade!
Rachel Flynn (Miss Teen MN International 2013), my daughter, Ava, and myself pictured at my hometown parade, St. Cloud!
One of my favorite parades was the St. Joseph 4th of July parade! Everyone was so friendly and it was a great day for a parade. I absolutely loved that there were thousands of people at the parade and many of them would smile and waive at us, and clap and cheer when our car came through the parade. They sure know how to make a girl feel…royal! Special thank you to the Pantowners for offering to drive us  in their convertible for the parade!
 My daughter and I before the St. Joseph 4th of July parade!

Photographed before the St. Joseph 4th of July parade with the newly crowned Sauk Rapids Ambassadors
I had such a wonderful time in each of the 5 parades that I participated in! I really enjoyed the wonderful people of each community that gave me a warm welcome. I enjoyed meeting other queens and was even featured in several area newspapers. The only down side of this tour was that I had to return the convertible back to Miller Auto Plaza…

My daughter and I before the Sauk Rapids parade
 Photo featured in the St. Cloud Times Newspaper
Yours truly,
Kimberly Stommes
Mrs. Minnesota International 2014


Thursday, August 14, 2014

"It Came" Written by: Kimberly Stommes

IT CAME! The day I have been waiting for since…March! My Minnesota International Pageant DVD came in the mail! I have been running to my mailbox everyday since my crowning moment just waiting for it to come.


As some of you may know, I competed in pageants when I was younger. I lost more than I won, and I truly believe that I learned more about myself and the person I wanted to be in the years that I did not win the title. Just because you do not win the title, does not mean that you cannot still be a winner. With that said, the BIGGEST thing that helped me improve each year was watching my state DVD. It was important to me to watch myself and see what I did really well on stage and what I needed to improve on. It is also funny to watch the DVD and realize that you have a nervous tendency that you never noticed you had before.


If you are considering competing in the International pageant system and you have never competed before, I think purchasing a DVD can be the biggest help in your preparations for pageant weekend. This was my first year competing and I purchased last year’s DVD so I could be familiar with how the stage was laid out, what order the pageant finale goes in, how to pose on stage, what types of on-stage interview dresses the women wear, etc. I am headed to the International pageant in Jacksonville, Florida next week, and I purchased last years national DVD to help me prepare for the International competition in Florida. Trust me when I tell you that it will be the best money spent because it really can help you feel much more prepared going into pageant weekend. And again, if you have competed in the past, purchase the DVD to learn what you can do to be even better when you step on that stage again next year!


SAVE THE DATE: March 14, 2015. Hoping to see you on the stage competing for the Miss Preteen MN, Miss Teen MN, Miss MN, or Mrs. MN title!


To order your own DVD of this year’s pageant, or DVD’s from previous years, please visit:



Yours truly,


Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

" Visiting Dodge Center" written for Lainey Oliphant

Dodge Center, population 2676 (2012) welcomed Lainey Oliphant, Miss Preteen Minnesota International 2014, with open arms on 06/14/2014 to be their guest speaker, speaking on the pageant system and it's many merits.

She spoke about her passion for animal rescue and giving money, time and toys to rescued animals! She has personally rescued two animals thus far, Jersey (a Tabby kitten) and Sadie (a Havanese puppy). 

she bought time for the pageant judges to deliberate for the pageant and talked about all her accomplishments thus far! She had a great time and the gal she pegged to win, won! She has an eye for success! On the way home she had a storm system "chase" her! Lainey is an avid storm chaser and hopes to be an on-camera Meteorologist someday. This was an added bonus to her day!

Larissa Roberts Oliphant ( Mom)

Judging the MN National American Miss Pageant

By: Kimberly Stommes

As Mrs. Minnesota International, I am having a blessed year! I already have been able to make a difference in the lives of others while educating and advocating for those with diabetes. I absolutely love the International system and truly believe it is one of the best systems out there for women of all ages.


Some of you may know that 9 years ago I was also a National American Miss titleholder. I competed in the very first National American Miss Minnesota Jr. Teen pageant in 2003 when I took 3rd runner-up. The following year I was first runner-up in the teen division and went to nationals where I placed in the top 10. In 2005 I was one of the fortunate girls to have been added to the NAMily as the 2005 National American Miss Minnesota Teen.


Since 2005 I have been traveling throughout the nation judging National American Miss state pageants. I love being able to help other deserving, young role models achieve their dreams. Recently I was invited to judge the Minnesota pageant and it was once again, such a great time! 5 new deserving state queens were crowned!


Judges photographed with the new National American Miss Minnesota Jr. Teen, Elizabeth Saby.



Judges photographed with the new National American Miss Minnesota Jr. Pre-Teen, Chloe Russo.


After you win your next International pageant, and cannot compete in the same division again, look into a NAM pageant!


Keep your eyes out as I just might be traveling to other states soon to help select other great girls to be added to the NAMily!


Yours truly,


Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International


"American Red Cross Blood Drive " by Kimberly Stommes

Did you know that donating one pint of blood can save up to 3 lives?

 American Red Cross is setting up for the blood drive


I volunteered my time with the American Red Cross Blood Drive hosted in Hastings, MN. I had a wonderful time thanking people for donating and speaking with them about a range of things from diabetes, to blood donation, to the American Heart Association, to getting free ice cream from Culvers for their donation!


Then it was my turn. I have never given blood before and I was getting a little nervous! I was quickly reassured by the kind staff that it really is not as bad as many people think it is. They were right; it ended up being a great experience and it gives you this “feel good feeling” knowing you are saving the lives of others.


You should consider donating if you never have before. After the brief questionnaire about your health, you are ready to donate. The process goes pretty quickly for most people and really does not hurt at all. The little prick is the worst part. I did get a little nauseous towards the end of my donation, but the staff was so kind and caring. They immediately had my lay down and had a fan on my while I finished my donation. The nausea immediately passed.


First time donating blood!


After the donation I was fed some really great foods (I apologize in advance to my personal trainer, Adam Spiker)…including homemade chicken noodle soup and sandwiches, cookies, and juice!


Please consider donating and you can find a donation location near you at the following website:


American Red Cross has tips for successful donation:


·         Maintain a healthy iron level in your diet by eating iron rich foods, such as red meat, fish, spinach, and iron-fortified cereals.

·         Drink an extra 16 oz. of water or nonalcoholic fluids before donation.

·         Eat a healthy meal before donation.

·         Should be free of aspirin for two days prior to donation.

·         Remember to bring you donor card or driver’s license.


 One word of advice: Do not wear white when donating blood! Do not follow my example ;)


 Yours truly,


Kimberly Stommes

Mrs. Minnesota International 2014


Thursday, July 17, 2014

By Gabby Taylor

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Warrior Dash 5k in Afton, MN. My corporate sponsor Anytime Fitness was a major contributor to this particular run. I was proud to throw on my tennis shoes and sash to attend!


            The Warrior Dash is the world’s largest obstacle race series, help on the most rugged terrain in more than 50 locations across the globe. Participants earn their warrior helmet and medal by tackling a fierce 3-4 mile run course and 12 extreme obstacles. All runners have the choice to become a St. Jude Warrior. Pledges raised go towards St. Jude Research Hospital to help children fight their battle with pediatric cancer. To date, globally, the Warrior Dash has raised $9,834,988!
            I enjoyed walking around and mingling with volunteers and race participants alike. There were numerous booths set up, and it was equally as fun as it was informative to visit each and every one. The atmosphere at this event was electric, as people of all backgrounds gathered together for a common cause. I hope to participate in the actual run next year so I can become a Warrior!

            At the Anytime Fitness booth it was my job to encourage the crowd to participate in our activities. We had a variety of prizes that we were handing out, but the most popular item seemed to be our raffle. For our raffle we had two FitBit Flex’s up for grabs! In order to qualify each attendee had to do 50 burpees. For those of you who are unfamiliar with a burpee, it is where you do a push up then jump back into standing position. Throughout the day, thousands of burpees were performed. I have always said the greatest wealth in life will always be health. I am so thankful to be affiliated with such a wonderful corporation that promotes and encourages the overall health and well-being of individuals worldwide.

            I’ve learned that you really never know who you will run into or meet at appearances. It was a great time seeing both familiar faces as well as fresh new ones! As Miss Minnesota International 2014 I genuinely value the people I have met, and look forward to the people I have yet to meet down the road.


Until next time,

Gabby Taylor

Miss Minnesota International 2014