Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Take the challenge to put the “civil” back in civilian " by Morgan Bredde

It’s no secret that this past week has brought out a lot of negativity on social media and even in our in-person interactions. After over a year of campaigning, and trash-talking, scandal-unveiling and commercials, Americans are left to a screeching halt as soon as the president-elect is announced. Unfortunately, this year seemed to be the most heated election in recent history. Without getting political, this blog is to shed some light on how one can compassionately interact with someone who has opposing views.

As a titleholder, you are constantly being watched and judged. While this is part of the “job-description”, it can be overwhelming at times to know that you must always make sure that you state your opinion and beliefs in a respectful manner. If only everyone held titles, right? While I choose not to blast who I’m voting for or why, or my stance on certain issues—I am always one to welcome discussion and opinions (as long as they are respectful) because I believe it makes a person well-rounded and empathetic. I will always call my friends and family to hold themselves to a higher standard and remind them that while practicing our civic duties, one should aim to be civil. It’s always interesting that when you take the time to listen, you might realize that you learn something. Whether it’s good information, or information that disturbs you—taking that time to allow another person to express their beliefs is a crucial piece in the pie of humanity.

While listening to someone who has drastically different experiences than you can be enough to make you crawl out of your skin, it can only do you as a person more good than harm. Even if it means making you stronger in your convictions. This past Monday, I was at mock interviews with my coach (keeping your interview skills sharp is a must—even after winning the crown!) and in listening to the views of those around me, I felt obligated to share my experiences. See, it is possible to live in the same country as another person, yet experience completely different realities. As an African-American woman married to a Norwegian immigrant with interracial children, my reality has forced me to think outside of my “box” and consider what others around me know to be true for them. I can’t say I haven’t been disappointed with posts on Facebook from former friends who deny the reality I have lived and experienced, but I have chosen to use these moments as learning opportunities. These moments could have been arguments drenched in hostility, but I choose to share, teach, listen and learn. People who had views that I don’t share all of a sudden made more sense to me that they could hold them, though drastically different than my own. I saw understanding and compassion light up in their eyes as I was able to share my truths as well. Isn’t that how it should be? Shouldn’t we all be able to listen with the intent to learn, rather than just to respond?

In my faith, we are taught to love our neighbors as ourselves—not just the neighbors that agree with us. While there are some things that I truly don’t agree with nor understand, when understanding the heart of the person it’s coming from, I have found respect for them and that I can love them all the same, as long as their heart is in the right place.


This week, I challenge you to listen. I also challenge you to speak up, speak your truth, and speak for those whose voices are often squashed into silence. If we are going to work to unite our country, that doesn’t start in the White House, it must start in our homes and in our own hearts.


Take the challenge to put the “civil” back in civilian and you’ll be surprised what you might find.



Making the minutes count,



Thursday, November 17, 2016

"The most like changing event" by Kelly Brown

Let me take a moment to talk to you about the most life-changing, eventful week of my life. Nationals took place in the beautiful city of Jacksonville, FL in late July. Here was the opportunity to experience many things take place all at once. Early mornings and late nights. 6 hour durations of walking in heels. Rooms fumigated with hairspray and girls all over chatting and laughing. This week was one that truly impacted me in various ways. Friendships and lessons were what filled this week.

Upon my arrival it is easy to predict how I felt: incredibly excited for all the amazing things to take place, but immensely nervous. I was to compete against such other impeccable women. The Omni hotel in Jacksonville, FL would be my home for the next week. The place where I would meet other women ambitious for making a change.

Two days in and I already felt as though I had met some of my best friends. It truly seemed as if I had known them my whole life. The girls here helped make that week an unforgettable one. I wanted to take time to congratulate each of them, for each of us has a story worth telling. I admire each and every one of the women who I met and it was so fun to hear what they were each passionate about.
This week gave me the opportunity to learn a better outlook on beauty. I not only got to see everyone’s fabulous wardrobes, but I was granted with the chance to receive a little insight into their hearts, where they came from, and why they were there. A week was not enough time to get to know these ladies and how each and every one of them shines in her own way. I learned that beauty is unique, for it cannot be defined in one single way. We each have identities that display who we are and how we are different. That is beauty.

This unforgettable week I will cherish forever. Congratulations to the new Miss Teen International, Garin Harris, for accomplishing her dreams. You wear the shoes we all hoped we would have, but we know that you will fill them so very well. Thank you to the International system for this incredible journey.

Miss Teen Minnesota
Kelly Brown


"Maple Grove Community Fashion Show" By Kelly Brown

Late this summer, on August 16th until the 18th Sabrina and I had a spectacular time emceeing at the Maple Grove Community and Recreation Center. This event was held  for their annual Back to School fashion show as well as their senior fashion show!

It started on the 16th when my sister queen, Sabrina, and I showed up to rehearse our lines that would be live at the show the next day. Here we took turns enthusiastically introducing each and every one of the models. This practice was very beneficial to us as it would bring down the likelihood of us butchering names at the show. We had the opportunity to speak to young kids and seniors about how to present yourself on stage and have good stage presence. We met so many people with all different comfort zones. Nonetheless, each had a smile while walking down that stage. Sabrina and I had fun showing them a little bit of what we got! The models definitely loosened up after some talks.

The next day Sabrina and I got all dolled up to emcee and see all the other individuals dressed up themselves! Each model was unique in her own style that they were able to pick from whatever store they like at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove. We had so much fun seeing each character shine through not only through their stage presence, but through their outfit of choice. Sabrina and I, being the fashion junkies that we are, obsessed over all the cute outfits!

The second half of the show was the next day and was for the seniors. This show was just as great as the Back to School show the day before. Here we also got to see all the seniors feel young again as they strutted their stuff down the catwalk. Although we had rehearsed many of the names, it was always amusing when we got caught up on one. Everyone was so awesome to work with, nonetheless.  
Miss Teen Minnesota 2016
Kelly Brown

Thursday, November 3, 2016

"Lessons I’ve learned from being a Mrs. Mom" by Morgan Bredde


I have to be honest with everyone: being a Mrs. Mom is hard work! Making sure that your kids are not only breathing, happy, fed, and clothed in addition to being a wife is enough to make anyone take a few moments locked away in the bathroom as soon as your husband gets home. Trust me, I’ve been there. Daily. But in my almost 2 years of being a mother and wife, I have learned so many things that I felt needed to be shared.



1)      Marriage is hard. Not like “ACT hard”, but like “ACT with a calculator with dead batteries” hard. There are days where everything seems to go wrong. The remote being lost can cause the biggest problems. Someone forgot to take the meat out of the freezer. You can’t agree on a radio station. And heaven forbid there was a red shirt in the white load of laundry…You get my point. But in its exhausting, turbulent, ever-worked-on glory, it is always worth it. Just be prepared to roll your sleeves up and get to work.


2)      Kids are messy little monsters. I say this with pride: my kids are little monsters. They are smart, and witty, and too tall for their own good with a curiosity like George. It’s not their fault that that is the perfect recipe for disaster. If there was a phase of competition where judges were to look at your house and points were deducted for beds that weren’t made, overflowing laundry bins, and plants that were obviously no longer alive from lack of consistent watering…well, I certainly wouldn’t be Mrs. Minnesota right now. But in the stickiness that my unsuspecting hands have encountered, I thank God for healthy kids with fast feet and elastic arms that reach far too high. It is such a joy to be their mom and watch them and their worlds grow.


3)      You might not be good at cooking, don’t pretend you are. I’ll leave it at that.


4)      Sometimes, you might be a bad friend. Too many times since having Beau, I find I am way too tired to entertain the idea of a GNO, or even a skype date with a dear college friend. Half the time I’m awaiting responses to texts I never actually sent. Or worse, when you’re on Facebook that evening waiting to drift off to sleep, you see that dreaded “Thanks for the birthday wishes!” status reminding you that you’ve once again forgotten a very important birthday. It happens and its horrible. But I’ve learned that the realization that you’re a sucky friend can sometimes mean more than swiping on lipstick and dragging your dark-circled eyes out of the house to catch up with your friends. Strive to be the best friend you can be, but also realize that you might need to reschedule to a better night.



5)      Lastly, you’re not Wonder Woman, and that has to be ok. When I’m at an appearance, or one of my many meetings, sometimes I will catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or in a reflective surface. I’ll lock eyes with a woman who’s got bulletproof concealer surrounding eyes lit up with determination and passion. She’s got her life together and it looks like she always has. Then I’ll laugh to myself because I’ll remember that just before she walked in the door, a kind stranger told her about the corn pop on her butt from her oldest child, or that her shoes don’t match or better yet, that in all your panic thinking you were late, you forgot that you set your alarm an hour ahead so you’d be on time no matter what. Whatever it is, there’s always reminders that we simply can’t do it all. I’ve watched our incredible new International titleholders carry out their duties with grace, ease, and style. And some days I can’t help but feel like they’re superwomen (and they are!) but that doesn’t negate the “every day” moms’ power, nor my own. I’ve accepted that some people are flawless and then some people (like myself) are miracle workers with a blast of dry shampoo when they didn’t have time to fix their hair and a five0hour energy to make it through a gym-work-appearance day even after a night of non-stop teething cries. So if you’re not flawless, who cares!? You’re making it and your crown is on straight. Cheers to that.


Remember these little lessons when your days get tough, fellow Mrs. Moms. You’re not alone!

Making the minutes count,