Vow to Empower: Interview with Author Shanikqa Canty

Shanikqa Canty is the author of a book entitled, Their Vow. She has now committed her life to empower others. Shanikqa intends to empower others through her writing and public speaking. It is always a pleasure to meet people who are motivated and determined to reach others through their gifts. And this is no different. Shanikqa has been a supporter of Lovely Miss Jones for quite some time, and shares similar goals of empowering others through writing and through experience. Below you’ll get to know a little more about this blossoming author, along with what you can expect in the near future. 

Miss Jones: Tell us a little about yourself?

Shanikqa Canty: My name is Shanikqa N.Canty, I am 24 years old and I currently reside in Brooklyn, New York (In the Crown Heights Section). I am a Best Selling Author, Writer and a Promoter Of Empowerment. I have a passion for empowering and connecting authentically with those I come in contact with. 

MJ: Was becoming an author something that you’ve always desired to be, or was it something that just happened?

SC: Becoming an author was something that honestly just happened (LOL). Like seriously, I didn’t even expect this to happen. And not just an Author, a Best Selling Author. God is just amazing! 

MJ: How long have you been writing?

SC: I used to write when I was younger, in the 3rd and 4th grade, and I stopped; but in the Fall of 2014 the creativity of writing came back to me.

MJ: What experiences led to where you currently are today?

SC: Letting my past struggles empower me to create a life that I desire. I truly believe that each and everyone of us holds the power to create what we want. I let my testimony become my empowerment.

MJ: What were some of your biggest struggles during this journey?

SC: Some of my biggest struggles during this journey was keeping myself motivated and not letting fear and rule overtake me. But I’m grateful that I am on this journey of being more grounded in my Faith, that helps me overcome.

MJ: What were some of your biggest highlights or positive movements during this journey?

SC: My biggest highlights would have to be, connecting with some awesome and amazing Kingdom minded Men and Women. Just being able to fellowship and have a real support system. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. 

MJ: Who are some of your biggest influences, and why?

SC: Some of my biggest influences are: of course my mother because she supports me no matter what I pursue in life and just loves me as I am. My Spiritual Father Apostle Steven Newton, My Spiritual Mother Pastor Christian Newton, My Kingdom Sisters and Brothers, also Dr Myles Munroe & Steven Furtick (through their videos and books). Each and everyone of these individuals inspire me to be a GREATER woman that GOD has called me to be. 

MJ: What was the process while writing this book? 

SC: Writing “Their Vow” was fun and a little scary because I thought “Who wants to read a fiction book promoting celibacy”? But the feedback has been awesome.

MJ: How were you able to overcome those things that came up against you?

SC: Just remaining focused and keeping my eye on the prize. 

MJ: What/who kept you motivated? 

SC: Myself, and allowing the Holy Spirit to just move right through me. 

MJ: How long have you been working on this project?

SC: Honestly I finished the book in 2 days, by typing it on my iPhone while at work. The words just flew right through me. 

MJ: Tell us a little about your book?

SC: It’s the story of two individuals who decide that it’s better to keep Their Vow and not let the temptations of the world rule them anymore. 

MJ: What else are you currently working on?

SC: At the moment just focusing on getting myself out there more, and my line of Tele-classes I’m about to launch. 

MJ: What are a few of your biggest accomplishments?

SC: Just being able to share my gifts with the world. 

MJ: What can we look forward to in the future?

SC: Live in person “Empowerment Sessions”, more books, videos and an empowerment product line. 

MJ: What encouraging words would you like to leave with us?

SC: Your Testimony Is Your Empowerment, Because You’re Empowered By Your Struggles. 

Wise words from a wise woman. Not only is Shanikqa a bestselling author (her book can be purchased on Amazon.com), but she is also launching ‘A Movement Of Empowerment’ that will be held every second and fourth Wednesday via conference call. Check out the flyer below. Also, stay up to date by following all of Shanikqa Canty’s social media networks: Facebook.com/BeEmpoweredWithShanikqac and Instagram/Periscope @iamshanikqac. 
 

 
   
   

Special Announcement! Lovely Miss Jones Scholarship Brunch in NYC!

This past August, lovelymissjones.com has reached its one year anniversary, and it’s our hope to help young people with their college tuition. But we need your help in assisting us in presenting a scholarship award to youth who are just entering college, or currently attending college this spring. We strongly believe in education and pushing young people towards their goals. College can be very expensive. There are many semesters where people aren’t sure if they would able to return to school. We would like to alleviate this problem for a student who may be struggling with a tuition bill, or doesn’t know how they will be able to pay for their books. 

The Lovely Miss Jones Scholarship Benefit Brunch will be held on December 19th! Join us for an afternoon of delicious brunch, desserts, speakers, and entertainment; along with networking and getting to meet new people. The proceeds from the ticket sales will go directly to the scholarship fund. In which we will be able to give to someone as they take their journey through school. 

Please help us as we intend to help young people pursue their dreams! This next generation needs all the help they can get to succeed and be our future leaders!
Early bird tickets are on sale now! Only $10 until Sunday! Purchase your tickets here

More information coming soon!

Get Your Finances In Order: Interview With The Budgetnista

“Women get together and we discuss men, children, and our lives over a glass of wine. But how often do we talk openly about finances? We say, ‘The Lord will make a way,’ and that’s true. But I’d like to empower myself.” Whether you’re in your twenties, thirties, forties or fifties and beyond, it’s not too late to get started. This quote is from an article in the February’s issue of ESSENCE Magazine. 
So often we get together with our friends and loved ones to talk about life and all of our issues. But how often do we discuss financial struggle, along with the importance of saving or budgeting? It wasn’t until my last year of college, when I was about to graduate, I realized the importance of saving and how I should’ve done that during my journey. 
After finding out about the Live Richer Challenge (a free, online financial challenge created by The Budgetnista to help women achieve 7-specific financial goals in 36 days. Currently over 15,000+ women in all 50 States and 52 countries, have signed-up and participated in the LRC.) and hearing her on the panel at a financial education event; I had the pleasure of interviewing financial educator, Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche. The Budgetnista has been featured in The New York Times, US News and World Report, the TODAY show, PBS, Fox Business, MSNBC, CBS MoneyWatch, TIME, ESSENCE Magazine, and FORBES. She regularly blogs about personal finance for The Huffington Post. She has also been has been a featured speaker at American Express, Princeton University, Wyndham Worldwide, Columbia University, Circle of Sisters, MegaFest, The United Way, Prudential Financial Inc. and many more.
Below you will find a few highlights from the interview where you’ll get to know a little more about Tiffany, as well as get some useful tips on how to get your finances in order. 
Miss Jones: How did you decide to start this journey? (Entrepreneurship)

The Budgetnista: Life decided for me. I was a school teacher for ten years. The school I was working for lost funding and everyone lost their jobs. I was relieved because I knew it was time to move on, but I was scared as well. You can do all of the right things and still be without a job.  

Miss Jones: For those who may not know, tell us a little about your business.

The Budgetnista: I have a financial education firm, which helps people with basic finances. My audience is predominantly women. I work with sets/groups of people and companies. Because I was an educator, I am able to teach in these settings. I’ve worked with companies like Prudential, United Way, and more. 

Miss Jones: What life experiences growing up contributed to the career path you have now?

The Budgetnista: I grew up in a household with my father, who was a financial banker. My father always talked to my sister and I about finances. When I got my first job, I had to talk with him about my paycheck. So I was able to master that at home. The rest was natural progression. I taught preschool, which played a part. The younger the age, the better to teach. College age students have knowledge, while preschoolers have no knowledge at all. You have to teach them everything, and that’s the best place to start. If you can teach preschool effectively, you can teach anyone. 

Miss Jones: did you ever think you’d write a book?

The Budgetnista: Yes, I always though I would but I never knew what it would be about. When I was teaching, the parents would come in around nap time and I would help them with their finances. As I was helping them, I would write it down. And eventually u wrote a book about it.

Miss Jones: Did you ever think the LiveRicher Challenge would be as big as it is now? 

The Budgetnista: Yes and no. I thought it was a great idea, and would be great to do. The I thought to myself, ‘it’s too much, no one’s going to do this.’ It was the same with my book. It humbled me. What the challenge is doing now, is something I dreamed of. 

Miss Jones: What are some of the goals you’ve had?

The Budgetnista: I ultimately wanted to have a business and fully support myself. I wanted to make a certain amount of money a month. I wanted by book to be a number one seller. I also wanted to be featured in certain publications. And I was able to accomplish all of these. There are still some goals I have yet to reach. I would like to speak at ESSENCE Festival, as well as be a branch certified one day. 

Miss Jones: How were you able to accomplish these goals?

The Budgetnista: Putting one foot in front of the other, without overthinking. I’ve learned to do what you know, and the rest will come after. When you do what you know, the more you learn. Two, always keep positive people around you. I call those people in my life, the dream catchers. Keep people around you who have their own business. You’ll be able to learn from them. Also, keep honest people around you, that’ll let you know when you’re doing too much. Remember why you started, and don’t be afraid to look for assistance when you need it. Learn when to ask for help. It can cost you time, money, and happiness when you try to do everything yourself. 

Miss Jones: Many people growing up, as myself, were never really taught to save, and are now struggling with the transition and mind shift. What are some tips to get back on track?

The Budgetnista: 1. Discipline. Decide how much from your check to save. It’ll get you to practice. Ask your job to take out $10 out of $100, and send it to another account through direct deposit. 2. Start with saving goals that are fun. For example, specifically saving for a vacation, a car, or an apartment. You can either go to a concert, or live home with your parents forever. Find what motivates you, even when you want to spend. 3. Open up an online savings account, which allows you to magnify your money online. Banks such as Capitol one 360 and Ally banks offer great online accounts. And it is only a savings account. Separate accounts for specific goals. Whether it be a travel or a car account. These online accounts take 2-5 business days (unlike a regular bank) to transfer money. So it forces you to save. 

Miss Jones: What are some of the most important steps to becoming financially stable?

The Budgetnista: First, imagine you’re in a ditch. Just stop digging. Stop using your cards. Stop eating out. Find the issue, and take a step back. Bring things back in order one at a time. Be sure to create a budget, it’ll help you see where your money is going. Try the Live richer challenge. Miss Jones: How can one save and still enjoy your life? Looking well, vacationing, but still have funds saved?

The Budgetnista: Budget. Including travel, clothes, etc. Look at what you want. Take out bills first, and put 10% into your retirement account. With the first check of the month. From 90% figure out how much the things you need are, how much will you save, and how much will you do for fun stuff. Retirement should always be first, then emergency savings, bills, then fun. When there’s no money left, you’ve made poor choices. If you want fun, lower your bills. 

Miss Jones: How do you build your credit score?

The Budgetnista: Your credit score is broken up into five different components 1. Inquiry. Which is when someone else looks at your social security number, if you were applying for a credit card etc. You should save it for a car or student loans instead of applying for multiple credit cards you don’t need. Even if you don’t qualify for the card, points are still taken off of your credit score. And that’s 10% of your credit score.  

2. 10% of your credit score is debt. 

3. Length of credit history. And that’s 15%. Keep your oldest credit card open. If you’re in college or fresh out of college, let your parents put you on as an authorized user. Where they are the primary user and also pay on time. 

4. Utilization. Which is how much are you using. This is the thing that brings most of it down. Using too much of what you’re given. Keep your spending under 30%.

5. Payment history. Which 35%. Keep your payments down. Always pay what they ask when they ask. Charge a card with something small regularly and pay it off in full every month. 

Miss Jones: What are some of the best budget plans that you’d give others? Is the Mint App a good budgeting tool?

The Budgetnista: From what I’ve heard about Mint, its pretty good. However, my book The One Week Budget, I give a great way to budget. Set it up and automate it. Separate checking account for bills. Second account not attached, so that all of your bills are taken from one specific account. One should typically have at least three separate bank accounts. A savings account, an emergency account, an online savings account, and/or a regular checking account. 

Miss Jones: Is there any advice you’d like to leave with us?

The Budgetnista: It’s not as hard as you think, it’s just about practice. With time it gets easier and easier. But only if you get started. 

Tiffany, The Budgetnista, was a pleasure to talk to. She is going around the world sharing financial tools that can ultimately change someone’s life. She offers financial education to companies, small groups, churches, and universities. You can visit her website to invite her and find out her pricing, thebudgetnista.com. Also purchase her books The One Week Challenge and Live Richer Challenge. Lastly, follow her on Instagram and Twitter @thebudgetnista and continue to find out ways to get your finances in order!

Sunday Evening Serenade

Sunday, September 21st, I had the pleasure of attending Sunday Evening Serenade’s one year anniversary! This event is created and hosted by Olivia Gilmore. Sunday Evening Serenade is an acoustic showcase that’s put on once every month. The purpose of this event is not only to give artists a platform to perform; it is also for all artists, vendors, and those in the entertainment and fashion industry to promote themselves and network.

SES was held at Ripley Grier Studios in the midtown area of NYC. The room was nice, quaint, and intimate with a beautiful white grand piano. Just right for an evening serenade. The featured artists of the night were, Ashton Martin, Mayo Bass, and Olivia Gilmore. Because of traffic, Natalie Imani was unable to attend.

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(Mayo Bass, Olivia Gilmore, Ashton Martin)

The evening began with great tunes playing in the background, while the audience was given an opportunity to mingle and network with one another as well as the vendors, who I must say produced great work.

Cherise Broadbelt of Reese B Designs blew me away with her collection. As her material says, it’s “Not Your Average.” Cherise has a line of bow ties (available for both women and men), clutches, and jewelry. Every bow tie and clutch is handmade by Cherise herself, with beautiful fabrics and leather. Her pieces are well put together ending with a great product. Not only are her pieces amazing, her personality is very warm and welcoming. View Reese B Designs below and visit the Instagram, @reesebdesigns, to view more and order pieces from her collection.

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(Cherise Broadbelt, Reese B Designs)

Another vendor was Tremaine Angevine, CEO of OFCC. OFCC is an urban clothing line with great designs. Every shirt, sweatshirt, hat is personally designed by Tremaine. OFCC has done many trade shows and continues to push their brand. Take a look at apart of their collection below. Also check out their website for more, http://www.ofccest1982.com.

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(Tremaine Angevine, CEO of OFCC)

Other vendors included, food by Ms. Anita G. From the raves on social media, her food was delicious. Be sure to check her out on Instagram @chefmamagarciajr.

After the brief mingling, it was time for the main show. Every artist who took the stage, was absolutely amazing.

Starting out with Ashton Martin accompanied by JT on piano. From the melodies that flowed from Ashton’s mouth Sunday evening, you could tell that he’s been doing this for some time now. He’s actually been singing since the age of 10 and composing his own songs by the age of 12. Since then, he’s been perfecting his craft and doing a great job at it. Ashton started his set with one of my personal favorites, So High by John Legend. John Legend is an amazing artist and not many can fill his shoes. However, Martin’s raspy voice fit the song perfectly. Every note in the right place. He then went to a self written song entitled, Your Body. Which is a song he wrote after a breakup and all he could think of was her embrace. His connection with the audience was amazing. You could hear every emotion while he sang as he have the perfect eye contact. He finished his set with very popular song, Superstar by Luther Vandross. Overall, great singer, songwriter, and performer. Be sure to check Ashton out on twitter and Instagram @ashtnmrtn. Also, purchase his new single “Lights Out” on iTunes.

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(Photo taken by @faceonbroadway)

Up next was the bubbly Miya Mayo Bass accompanied by Eddie C on piano. When Mayo entered the room you automatically saw her lively personality. Mayo was X Factor 2013 finalist and worked with countless recording artists. Varying from Brandy, Shirley Murdock, Mary Mary, Fantasia, Vashawn Mitchell, and more. Mayo started out with ‘Boy Band Trivia’ from her upcoming project Nostalgia. This song is a cumulation of some of the greatest boy band hits; such as Don’t Leave (Stay) by Blackstreet, It’s Over Now by 112, On Bended Knees by Boys II Men, Gone by Nsync, and 5 Steps by Dru Hill. One of the most creative songs I’ve heard. To put these amazing tracks together was amazing to hear added with her amazing vocals. She then ended with her latest single, ‘The Cure.’ This is by far one of the most powerful songs. This song was created for anyone who suffers from cancer, diabetes, and anyone who needs healing. Mayo prayed and asked God for the lyrics, and The Cure was birthed. Sunday evening she belted out these lyrics and you felt every word. To hear the song, visit http://youtu.be/OBxokN9c32M and view the official video, available for purchase on iTunes. Mayo is also currently doing a church tour where she is open to visiting churches and singing ‘The Cure.’ Stay up to date with Mayo Bass by visiting her website, http://www.miyamayobass.com.

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(Photo taken by @faceonbroadway)

Last but certainly not least, the host and creator of Sunday Evening Serenade, Miss Olivia Gilmore. After hearing about the effects of bullying, she was prompted to start out with Unpretty by TLC. Encouraging everyone to look within and find their beauty and not allow the words of others to get them to a negative place in life. After her first song, Olivia let the audience in. She explained how private of a person she was, which is understandable in this business, but grasped the crowd with her transparency that night. She talked about how SES started as well as the difficulties she’s encountered throughout this year. Although there were many obstacles that came up against her, she never gave up. She expressed her goal as an artist and how she wanted to become famous when starting out, but she never only considered herself. She created this showcase for the benefit of all artists. Olivia not only wanted to build her brand as an artist, she also wanted to help her fellow artist get ahead in the game. Which is commendable. To have had to face troubles along the way, she could’ve stopped; but she continued to maintain. Olivia also has a great personality. She kept the crowd laughing the entire night.
It was an absolute pleasure meeting Olivia and attending such a wonderful event. Special thanks for the invitation. To stay up to date with Olivia and Sunday Evening Serenade follow her Instagram @msoliviagilmore. You can also check out her music on soundcloud. You won’t be disappointed, she gave her all with every song she sang Sunday night.

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(Photo taken by @faceonbroadway)

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-Miss Jones

Pain into Passion: Dee’s Explosion

Denice Martin- Thompson, known as Deepassionate1, pours out her heart and soul in her latest book, Dee’s Explosion. You can feel every feeling and emotion in each of her poems displayed.

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Dee’s Explosion is comprised of various poems exemplifying a myriad of trials and peaks that Denice has encountered throughout her life. Through her writing, she turned her pain into passion.

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My readers know just how big I am on sharing ones story. And Denice does just that. She’s encouraging people through her experiences in life. And I’m sure it’s in hopes to encourage and inspire others who have gone through or are going through some of the things she’s included in this book.

This book is very powerful. Denice does a great job sharing her story without even writing an autobiography. These poems are captivating and anyone who reads this book will feel the same way.

Here’s a glimpse of what you will get when you read her latest project, also one of my favorite pieces:

“Watch me
As I turn my pain into passion
Inking up my pen and watching it flow
Creating a language I call my own
Watch me
As my poetry dominates me
Empowering me to speak
Unlocking the magic that hides within
Watch me
Transcend these prison walls of my mind
Stopping only to catch my breath
Watch me
Give birth to my future
Watch me
Turn my writing block into stepping stones
Watch me live
Watch me breathe
Watch me move into my destiny”

This piece shows one of the peaks in her life. A point that she realized she could take all that she’s gone through to speak out and unlock some of her gifts to help others.

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I strongly suggest that you check out this book. Visit deespassionateworld.com to purchase it. As well as her other books. Also find Denice on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter under the name Deepasionate1. You will not be disappointed!