Wednesday, September 24, 2014

“Look Within Your Selfie” Feature

One of my favorite experiences this year has got to be working with the phenomenal, incredible, amazing Suzy Bootz! Not only is her name absolutely unbelievably adorable, but her ability to inspire and motivate is like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. Suzy was always my light at the end of the tunnel and I am so grateful for every moment that I was able to spend working with her. She helped me learn to bring out the best in me and find all of the extraordinary things about me that I thought were just ordinary. She helped me to value my experiences and see meaning and purpose in my goals. I feel so much more prepared for presenting myself after working with her.

So now that you know all about my ridiculously unhealthy obsession with Suzy, she really made me feel like an absolute super star when she asked me to be featured in her new blog “Look within your selfie!” No really, I felt Beyonce level famous. When she sent me the questions, I thought I would stew over them FOREVER until the cows came home to make sure I had the perfect answers that would represent how well Suzy had trained me to speak, but I was surprised at how quickly and fluently my answers came out. With just a few minutes of proof reading, I left them alone. I let my first response be my only response and I thought that would be how I could demonstrate how well Suzy coaches. I was able to respond quickly with confidence and speak from my heart knowing who I am. So here it is, the blog feature that makes me feel famous!

Meg Pulkrabek RD, LRD

Miss North Dakota International 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Day Off

I am so in love with fall.  Some of you may want to slap me, but I am glad our cool weather came early this year.  Why?  I truly love fall. I love everything about it:  the cool weather, fresh apples and apple crisp, corn and squash, hiking (ok, maybe I am just walking) through a state park, sweaters, jeans, boots, school. 

Ok, there I said it.  I LOVE school.  I have a little secret for you all.  Come close. Shhh! I am not even in school.  I just love it when everyone else is in school and I am home ALONE!  Admitting that out loud feels like I am betraying my kids.  How many times have I headr, “Treasure these moments, they go by so fast?”  Well, let me tell you; I need to be alone to do any treasuring.  I can’t even hear myself think, much less treasure, when everyone is home. 

At the beginning of summer, I am that mom.  The one with all the plans to have her older kids read the Classics and my little ones doing Hooked on Phonics every day.  We are going to grow our own food.  Sit still, and well, maybe even learn to knit as we bond.  I am so good at keeping up my plan until June 3rd.  Then I realize I am not that mom.  I am the mom who says, “Go outside!”  I also say, “Well, if you’re so bored I will give you a chore to do.”  When those word escape my lips, the children magically all end up outside.  I say these phrases and a few key others so often, I should actually just record my voice and put it on repeat in the kitchen.  While I am at it, I need to add one about how, “No, you don’t need a snack, you just ate.”

I don’t actually know what I spend the summer doing.  It always seems like I am crazy busy and getting done nothing all at the same time.  But then one magical morning I wake up and there is a change in the air.  The house actually even sounds different.  I lay with my eyes closed trying to figure out why I don’t hear the sound of children arguing over the Xbox or breaking things in the kitchen as they fight over the last bowl of Lucky Charms.  Suddenly, I remember.  It is the first day of school.  Those children who had to be bribed to stay in bed on summer mornings, in one night have suddenly figured out how to sleep in.  School has started.  Today, I will have to bribe them OUT of bed.

As I gird myself for the challenge of what surely should be an Olympic event, The Bed Cover Tug of War, I remember it will all be worth it.  In shortly over one hour…I will be alone.  This is the year!  The year I have been waiting for.  This year, is fourteen years in the making.  It is the first year all my children will be in school all day.  In my mind though, it isn’t really a long day.  When did children start getting done with school at 2:30?  Really!?  Back in my day I swear we went at least to 3:30.  Poor parents.

Now don’t get me wrong, as I drop them off, I may be thinking, don’t let the car door slam your little behind, and I may be doing the happy dance, but I do love my children.  Actually, sometimes I look at them and think that I truly need them with me to breathe.  But that day is not today.  Today is the day of threatening them not to need to call home sick, because I won’t come and get them.  In fact I am not even going to answer the phone.  Today, is the real Mother’s Day.  Today is my vacation. 

I have planned my schedule for this day over and over in my head.  Seriously!  How can I best use the six hours I have alone.  I am worried I may waste a valuable minute.  You see, I am allowing myself one day, one day off in all the years of parenting and this is it. 

Tomorrow, we will start the day with the same Olympic trails, and I will still bring everyone to school.  But tomorrow, my life goes on too.  I have a job (or two), and a house that needs my attention, and children to love and, and, and... So today is it.
I am off to get my nails done, and take a nap, and, oh, and little shopping that didn’t involve dragging children out from under the clothing rack would be nice.

So today, don’t try to call… I am taking today off.  Tomorrow, I am back on duty.  I’ll be relaxed and refreshed and ready to enjoy fall with my family and you.  Together we are on a grand adventure and I’ll be sure to keep you informed!

Janelle Steinberg, Mrs. North Dakota International 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014

“Congratulations! You’re on your way!”

You know, Dr. Seuss really knew what he was talking about. I am coming up on the 1 year anniversary of my first ever 5k, and a year really does change a lot if you let it. All of these races have a story. I went from a goal of “I just want to finish” to “hey… I wonder how I can start getting a little faster next time.”

I have two races left before my anniversary on September 20th at the Viking Challenge and I think my transformation from swimmer to runner might be finally getting somewhere! I look forward to opportunities to run instead of feeling miserable and suffering through it.

I can think of so many times I talked myself out of things I wanted to do because it seemed like too much work or that it would take too long to get somewhere with it, because a year really is a long time. That’s why I’ve never learned to play a guitar, or started a scrapbook. The first steps are the hardest because no one is there to tell you the best way for you to get through it. Only you know that! And it takes a lot of experimenting and failing to get somewhere. I always hoped I would find something that I was naturally gifted at like the 8 year olds on talent shows on TV that just blow your mind… but it turns out my talents are all still in there, I just have to work hard so they work for me!

So to all of you girls out there who are having pageant-itis and are going back and forth on your decision to compete, get on stage! If you had the dream yesterday, don’t let yourself talk yourself out of that dream tomorrow! You know it takes a lot of work and that it’s a big mountain to climb, but don’t let your head tell your heart you can’t get there.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.” Dr. Seuss

Meg Pulkrabek RD, LRD
Miss North Dakota International 2014

Tips for Using High Heels

One of the first excuses girls always give me for why they don’t feel comfortable competing in pageants is “I don’t even wear high heels!” Trust me, there was a long stretch of time where I looked like a newborn pony in heels too, but like every other area of competition, it just takes a little practice. But even before you get ready to start practicing, here are a few tips for the rookie heel walkers out there that I learned the hard way!

1)   Buy shoes that fit! Not just because they are cute, or the right color… they have to fit. You won’t look cute walking in them if they just don’t fit. Sometimes if shoes are too big you can buy inserts and cushions, but it’s best not to rely on that. Sometimes it takes a little investment to buy shoes that will fit best, but you will be so happy you invested in your own comfort later!

2)   Buy shoes that are made well! For me, this means a shoe with at least a 1 inch platform. I stomp hard and walk on my toes, so I need some material in that area to absorb the impact. Another thing I like to look for is the review on sites like,, and Free shipping and free returns too for a safe test drive!

3)   Break them in! But don’t put yourself through the pain, have the pros do it! Take every new pair of heels you get in to be stretched at a shoe repair location near you. It’s usually only $4-8 and you won’t need to struggle with them yourself. Everyone loves a great seamstress and it’s not uncommon for shoes to need a little alterations here and there too! The shoe repair service can even punch extra holes in the band for sizing and scuff the bottoms up a little bit to make them more worn in.

4)   Customize and prevent! Walk around in your new heels and try to feel out the trouble spots. If there seems to be a spot where they might start to rub, put a cushion there to prevent a blister. Or even just wear a bandaid in that spot. If your sole isn’t conforming just right, get a stick-on insole or a padded cushion. Dr. Scholls has a great Dreamwalk collection and these really great rub-relief strips you can pick up quick on your next trip to Target.

5)   Strengthen your calves and your ankles! Calf raisers, jumping rope, and even just walking will give you the calf endurance you need to practice your walk. has some easy techniques for this too. Ankle strength will improve your balance and awareness in those 4 inchers!

6)   Run in them! No for real… learn to run in your heels. If you can run in them, you can walk in them. That’s how you will know they fit right too and your walking confidence will explode! And when you’re sprinting backstage to get ready, nothing will slow you down!

Meg Pulkrabek RD, LRD
Miss North Dakota International 2014

When did you find your voice?

My platform is Find Your Voice, an organization I created to mentor students to communicate effectively by becoming involved in speech and debate programs. After debating on my high school team, I found my passion to help others be heard. I continue to advocate for those on their journey to find their voice, because the way we communicate ultimately determines the quality of our lives.

The most exciting part about my platform is finding out about everyone else’s moment when they knew they found their voice. When I started to become more comfortable telling my story about how I overcame my fear of speaking, other people have started telling me about their experiences as well! It’s so inspiring to watch how someone else’s eyes light up when they tell a story about a moment when they found confidence. I love listening to people say how they found a way to stand up for themselves with their voice. Everyone seems to be able to talk about these moments in such vivid detail that they are so relatable and heartwarming!

So now I need your help! I know that if these stories inspire me, that they will inspire you too. So we need to share them with each other and lift each other up with our memories and positivity. I want to create a collaborative section on the Find Your Voice website at that features all of the unique ways that all of us have found our own voice! I want to hear all of your stories about when you felt you created the confidence in yourself to overcome your fears! So I need you to answer, “When did you find your voice?” and e-mail me at with your story! You can choose to remain anonymous if you wish, and submissions can be as long or as short as you need to feel like you’ve told your story! I can’t wait to see how connected all of us really are when we can see how we all overcame our fear! Thank you for sharing J

Meg Pulkrabek RD, LRD
Miss North Dakota International 2014