2014 Overview Part II: The Closure

This has been an incredible year, to stay the least. I can honestly say that this has been one of the best years for me. It’s brought many joys as well as hurts. But through it all, it’s produced great growth. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.

Coming into this year, I had great expectations. I knew last year was all about transition and growth. I took a leap of faith and finally began doing what I loved. I wasn’t as consistent as I’d like to be, but it was a start. I knew something great would be produced, however, I’m amazed and forever grateful for this journey. It’s been an incredible ride. To have my gift recognized by people, has blown me away. I’ve barely reached the surface, but for me, this means a lot. To sit back and think of the quiet girl I used to be, never wanting to be seen or heard; it’s overwhelming to see where I am now. To have built my personal audience. To the many messages I’ve received of how I’ve encouraged someone through my writing. To have been featured on different websites, web radio interview, and become a blogger and journalist for two websites. To the connections that I’ve made for collaborations in this coming year. It’s just mind blowing. 2014, has literally changed me forever.

I can’t say it’s been all joys though. I’ve been hurt many of times. I’ve had my back against the wall more than I can count. There’s been many times this year, even in these past few days, that I’ve just wanted to go into a little bubble and say forget the world. But I realized that I can’t do that. There’s so much I need to do, so much I need to share in order to impact the lives of others. What I’ve been called to do. But it’s not easy at all. Especially when you’ve been hurt by people. In the past I’ve experienced this hurt and I didn’t expect to revisit it in this year. I’m such an emotional person, so I feel like I’m effected by things on a whole different level. I always said, it’ll be understandable for me to not trust anyone with the hurt I’ve experienced, but that’s just not who I am. I can’t fault everyone for the mistakes of others. So I go all in when it comes to friendships and building with someone. And in more cases than one, I feel like I’m in it more than the other person. There’s been times I’ve felt like I’ve been taken advantage of, wasn’t given the respect I deserved, and just wasn’t taken seriously. All reminders of my past. I’ve been put into situations I never thought I’d be in. And I stayed, as I did in the past. Wanting to make changes, but not receiving much support from those I called friends. Thankfully, I finally realized I needed to isolate myself from certain people. I needed to withdraw for a little while. Although I had grown, I still struggled with insecurities. I’m not saying all of the people I experienced this with were horrible people, I just didn’t see myself for who I really was in some cases. I’ve been in situations this year, where I felt like I just wasn’t good enough. And that’s one of the worst feelings, especially when you’ve began to grow and start to believe in yourself. But, I was able to come back. In removing myself from certain situations, I took from it what I could. I used it as a learning lesson. I grew enough strength to say, I can no longer stay where my growth is stifled. I had to consider not only me, but the lives of those I have help.

Every single situation I experienced taught me something. And I’m grateful for the good and the bad. I’ve learned how to love me for me. I’ve accepted me for who I am. I’m less concerned with what people think of me. And I know I’m worth more than I’ve accepted before. Aside of being hurt, I’ve experienced great struggle. But I’ve learned to master the art of reflection. When you sit back and think of all you have and how far you’ve come, you can’t help but be grateful. Your focus begins to shift and what should make you sad, turns into what makes you happy.

This year was about building. Building my relationship with God, building my strength and confidence, building relationships with people, and building my empire. I’ve got a ways to go, but this foundation is now strong enough to withstand what I’m going to face. I have a better outlook on things, which will help in the success of all areas of my life. I’m going into this new year better because of what I experienced. It all pushed me to grow. It pushed me to be strong. It pushed me to prayer and thanksgiving. I’ve embraced it all and accept all that’s about to come on this new journey in 2015.

So I encourage you today, reflect on this year. All the good and unpleasant things as well. Embrace it, and see how it’s made you who you are. It’s taught you something, and you’ll be stronger because of it!

~XO Miss Jones image

Don’t Play The Waiting Game, You May Be Too Late

Often times we may find ourselves putting things off for a later date, because we think we’ll get another chance to do it. We assume we just have the time. Or we are waiting for the right time. This can relate to getting things done or even when it comes to expressing ourselves. Either way, the result still remains the same.

Last night after I got in and prepared to get some planning and scheduling done, I was asked if I had an article to submit. This was a normal question being that I normally have a Sunday deadline. I expressed that I didn’t and was then told I should go to sleep since it was late and I was most likely tired. However, I proceeded.

Sitting at the computer with my new planner, reflection journal, prayer journal, blog journal, and blessing jar, I was asked again. ‘You said you didn’t have anything due tonight, right?” I responded. Then was asked if it was due tomorrow. Again, my answer is no. So she says, so you’re just up to be up? Just go to sleep. I explain that I have things to do. And I was told to do it later because I’m off all week. I then thought to myself, why should I put it off assuming that I’ll have the time to do it? Also, why put off what I’m capable of doing today.

This led me to think about another experience of mine. In this case I waited to express myself.

I waited a very long time to openly acknowledge the way I felt about a person, but I don’t think I ever thought about what would actually happen if and when I did. Although I was very nervous to, I finally got up enough courage to do so. And the end result was that I waited too late because that person went elsewhere. I totally missed an opportunity and will forever question with all of these what ifs. Not only do I feel like I missed out on a great opportunity, I feel like our friendship has possibly changed forever. 

Now this is just an example, but there may be things we desire; career wise, with our families, mending friendships, etc. If we wait because of fear or because we think we’ll always have the time or another chance to, it may be too late. Sometimes you have to just take that leap of faith and put yourselves out there or just do what needs to be done today. There’s never a right time to do something or express yourself. So don’t wait, get out there and get it done!

Overview of 2014 Part I: Challenge Accepted

As I sit and reminisce on this past year, I realize it was all about challenging myself. This year taught me to challenge myself and go beyond what I’m used to. It taught me that in order to make things happen and see what I’m really made of, I had to step outside of my comfort zone.

Aside of features for different websites, I became a blogger and journalist for others. I also began to cover events as well. Which wasn’t originally what was expected of Lovely Miss Jones. Although I was nervous about some of the tasks I had taken on, I knew it was something I had to do in order to grow.

When I began to write for Everything Girl’s Love (Yandy Smith’s online publication), I chose to write for the mind and spirituality portion of the health and wellness section because I intended to stick with inspirational pieces. However, I found myself in a place where I had to really write about Health and wellness, aside of the ordinary inspirational pieces. I remember the first time I submitted my topic for the week and it wasn’t approved. Topic after topic was sent back to me. At first, I began to feel like everything I submitted wasn’t good enough, although it was just that those topics were already being covered. Then I felt like maybe I just wasn’t creative enough. It may not have felt good at that moment, but I realize it was a great thing. It pushed me to challenge myself and do a piece I wasn’t used to. It showed me that I’m capable of doing other things. It showed me that I can be versatile in my writing. It produced growth. Since then, I’ve been more open to focusing on the physical health and wellness of a person rather than the mental.

After submitting a success article I did for another website as my writing sample for High Heels and Briefcases (Ladies Who Hustle Network), I was chosen to be the Business Success Journalist. Now, I’m not currently a business owner. (I will be very soon. Look out for it. Speak those things…) With this position, I’m obligated to pretty much write articles giving business owners advice. I pushed myself and accepted the position; and after my first article, I received a great review from a business owner who said that it was just what they needed. This taught me that when I challenge myself, I can produce something great that will benefit others. It’s not only for my growth, but for the growth of others.

When deciding to start my own blog/website, it was generally to encourage others through my simple, yet relatable experiences. What went on in my life as well as things I’ve seen or noticed. I decided that because of my love for music and fashion, I’d add those pieces. However, I didn’t fully think it all through. I started small. I never thought I’d be good at writing reviews and such. But I challenged myself and did it anyway. I began getting invites to be on press lists for several events to do coverage. I’ve done book reviews, interviews, company reviews. And although, I was hesitant in the very beginning, I realized it was something I was very capable of doing. I’ve connected with great people through this. I’ve also become a resource for others with the platform that I have. I’m building and on the other hand, so are other people.

It’s imperative that we learn to challenge ourselves. You’ll never truly know what you’re made of if you stay within the box that you’ve created for yourself. You’re only limiting yourself. Once you learn to tear down the box, you’ll see that you’re far greater than you gave yourself credit for. So I encourage you to kick that box down and allow yourself to be great!

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Reminders That Prompt Movement

Often times during our journey towards greater success, we are sent reminders. A reminder is something that we may have already known, but something that we need to hear at a certain moment in our lives. And they should always cause us to move.

This past Thursday I had the opportunity of attending A Conversation with Karen Civil. An event presented by Her Agenda and Alley NYC. This event produced a few of the greatest reminders. Relevant things I needed to hear at this particular phase in my life.

Since the moment I’ve heard of Karen Civil, I became a follower of hers. After reading an article in Vibe Magazine that shared a bit of her story, I saw how I could relate and respected her grind and her process. She started out as a blogger, as myself, and now has built an empire.

During the conversation led by Rhonesha Byng, founder of Her Agenda, Karen shared her journey from start to finish. Rhonesha, who is a phenomenal journalist and entrepreneur, asked questions that provoked great conversation and inspiration for those who were packed into that Alley NYC venue.

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Some of the most inspiring things she shared are as follows. Take a look as I add my own spin on it.

•She used social media to her advantage. Often times social media can be seen in a not so positive light. Many people feel that with the world of social media, it has taken away from real life situations. On the contrary, social media is a great way to build and reach a level of success.

•Come up with creative ways to get who you want to notice you. She used an example of how she lied in order to get in contact with someone. Her creativity worked for her. Lying isn’t for everyone, but you have to be creative enough to draw attention from the ones you need to notice you.

•She realized she had to have boldness in the industry that she’s in. It’s now or never. Regardless of how nervous something may initially be, she always gets this burst of courage. You can’t miss the opportunity or the moment for greatness.

•Work with as many people as possible. Networking is key in any field of business.

•Don’t let the opinions of others get in your way. Karen expressed how she talks with conviction and how many people took it as her being unpleasant. She just saw what she wanted and was confident enough to go out and get it.

•Find what works for you. What someone else did may not be ideal for you. Don’t get caught up on what others are doing, find the best route for you and work with it.

•Focus on you and try not to obsess over other people and what they have. Be content with who you are and where you are. One mans success doesn’t mean another mans failure.

•Creating value in your work. Care about everything that you do. You must be passionate and make sure you nurture it. Don’t just deliver, over deliver. Give more, beyond what others are expecting.

Along with some of these points, she talked about things that keep her motivated. She brought up her blessing jar as well as how she writes down three things she’s grateful for every night. I realized that it is so important to continue to remind yourself of your blessings and accomplishments during your journey towards success. It get weary at times, but when you begin to reflect on all that you’ve been given along the way, it helps you to be more patient.

After this event, I went back to my routines that I had left behind. I became refocused and had a new mindset. I chose to remain positive by reminding myself of how far I’ve come. Through that I will be able to remain patient knowing that greater things are ahead. So I encourage you to continue on your journey. Write down all that you’re grateful for and all of your accomplishments, and see just how encouraged you will be to keep moving. So finally as Karen Civil says, live on purpose!

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Operation Warm Feet

Are you looking for a way to help our Youth this holiday season? Operation Warm Feet is a holiday mission geared towards helping to warm homeless youth and young adults in our community with style!

Most homeless youth are sometimes left without the basic necessities of life! As we know it is imperative to keep your feet clean and dry. Access to shoes and socks are often limited for youth and young adults living in homeless shelters or on the streets of our communities. Therefore, as socks are such a basic need we need your help this season to help complete the mission of Operation Warm Feet!

GOAL: THIS YEAR OPERATION WARM FEET WOULD LIKE TO GIVE OUT 1,000 PAIRS OF SOCKS TO HOMELESS SHELTERS AND INDIVIDUALS LIVING ON THE STREETS IN NEED!

A Feet Fact: Did you know?
The feet are one of the most vital body parts. The core of your body drops in temperature to compensate for the drop in the limbs. Warm feet means you are well on your way to heating the rest of your body.

Can You Help?—Will You Help?—You can help!
This mission is simple, should you choose to accept. Just collect as many thick, well insulated, stylish, colorful NEW socks as you can, and call us for a pick up or drop location, however all new socks will be accepted.

Are you having a holiday party?
Charge two pair of socks for admission to help the homeless in our community.

To get started just download the flyer: Operation Warm Feet and share it with your co-workers, classmates, colleagues, friends, family or whoever you’d like to participate. The sock collection will be held from December 12 – 20, 2014. If you are interested in hosting a drop off location, would like to arrange a pick up, drop off donations or request more information, send us an email (operationwarmfeet@gmail.com) or call (516) 647-2760. If you would like to send socks from out of town, please ship your socks to: PO BOX 745, Freeport, NY 11520 (Attn: Operation Warm Feet). Thank you!

Warming the lives of others,

Dexter Hedgepeth
Founder & President
Operation Warm Feet

Stay tuned for more!!

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Binary Baskets & Arrangements

Twin sisters, Deidra and Yolanda McCullough, came together in 2013 to create unique baskets for all occasions and ages. They came up with the name Binary because it means two (which represents twins). After years of making baskets for family and friends on their special occasions; they decided to make an online business and create baskets for other people for their special occasions.

Binary Baskets & Arrangements is celebrating their 1yr anniversary with special Holiday Baskets:
Sweet Tooth Basket, Binary’s Fruit & Cheese Basket, and Breakfast Basket.

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Each basket Is only $40 each.

First 5 Orders placed will receive 10% off.

To place an order email, binarybaskets@yahoo.com.

Also follow on Facebook and Instagram at binarybaskets.

Attitude of Generosity

With just days left to the end of the year, what will you do to make it great? What will you do to make an impact on the lives of others? These are a few of the questions I began to ask myself a few months ago, as we draw near to a close of another year. So as I began planning blog posts, I thought about doing a holiday post. As I continued thinking, I realized they’d both go hand in hand. The best thing to do this holiday season is to impact the lives of others.

The holiday season is the time where we realize just how grateful we are for the things that we’ve been given. This is the time where you try your best to spend as much time with your family as possible. You reminisce on the year, and count your blessings. But how many of us think of the lives of those around us? Far and near. There are many people who are struggling and are in need. We may not have it ourselves, but now is the time to consider others. It’s time to have an attitude of generosity.

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This is something I’ve been thinking about for quite sometime now. This is something I need to step up and be more conscious of.

As I walked through the mall a few weeks ago, I was stopped by a woman who was looking for people to sponsor children in other countries. Not fully understanding what she was trying to convey, I told her I had to make a stop and I’d come back after. About twenty minutes later, I returned and began to talk with this woman. After she told me more about this program and we had a great conversation, I decided to sponsor a child. A twelve year old girl, named Khady from Senegal. In sponsoring this child, I not only help her, but I’m able to help her family as well. I immediately jumped on the opportunity because I felt a pull to do so. I’d just dropped a good amount of money on replacing my glasses minutes before. Although I most definitely don’t have it all, I thought to myself, if I was able to do that, why can’t I help provide for someone in need. This is just an example of how I decided to have an attitude of generosity. I however, don’t plan to limit myself to just this act. There are many ways to give of yourself. And I’ve found that I myself have been encountered with many opportunities to do so.

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Here are a few things that can be done in order to help those around us.
•Donate coats and clothes to your local Salvation Army or shelter. There are many homeless people right in our neighborhoods that need clothes and need to stay warm.
•Volunteer at your local soup kitchens or donate and prepare food for families in need. Help those in your neighborhood.

If you don’t have the money, volunteer your time. Be a resource to someone else. Tutor, mentor, stand up for what’s right. Let’s help create change in a world that seems so gray. With all that’s been going on in the news, it’s clear that the lives of our people aren’t valued. How can we make an impact and create some type of change in America. I tend to shy away from these types of issues, but enough is enough. Our Justice system is clearly broken. I don’t have the answers, aside of prayer. But we can come together and think of positive ways to change or make a dent in the current state of this country. And that’s giving of yourself. Becoming agents of change is a form of generosity. Let’s reflect on what’s going on in society and see how we can make a lifelong impact.

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Feature: Vintage Wealth Apparel

Vintage Wealth was created in September of 2013. The idea originally came from the lead designer (Fa$tLyfe), disappointment with one of his favorite clothing lines to wear. Once they started to mass produce merchandise, he took it upon himself to start up his own line to bring back the exclusive feel that he prefers. That was the birth of Vintage Wealth.

The goal with Vintage Wealth is to have a high-end, yet affordable brand that appeals to all ages and races. Typically with a black owner, clothing lines get pushed into the urban market, but not Vintage Wealth.

Vintage Wealth wants to be mentioned with names like Chanel and Ralph Lauren. What makes the clothing so different is that its hand painted and there are only three of each size made; so once a item is sold out its no longer available. Which gives the consumer a better feel because they paid for exclusivity and quality.

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The picture above is with creator and designer of Vintage Wealth (Fa$tLyfe) displaying one of his custom, hand painted shirts worn by myself, Miss Jones. The shirt says, ‘Good Things Come.” Which goes with what Lovely Miss Jones stands for.

When asked, Fa$t gave the meaning behind those words. “To me it’s a message about having faith. So many people usually put “Good things come to people who hustle”, etc. I want people to know if you have faith “Good Things Come” that’s it. No hustle, etc. The way is through GOD & having the faith of the mustard seed. Media spends so much time breaking people down, its time to bring people up and assure them that “Good Things Come”.

Along with this shirt, vintage wealth has many other T-shirts, tanks, sweatshirts, beanies, and snapbacks. High end fashion, at affordable prices. Below are a few of the many designs.

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To see more and purchase your perfect fit, visit vintagewealthapparel.com. Also visit the Instagram page, @vintagewealth. Let’s show support to this small business as it reaches new levels in the fashion world.