Take A Moment: Feel Your Best, Be Your Best

Lovely Miss Jones, LLC, GLLOW, LLC, and Still Becoming Inc. presents:
Take A Moment

Feel Your Best, Be Your Best

Often times as women we run endlessly. We have many obligations, and we wear many hats. We give in so many different areas. But how often do we stop for a moment to take care of ourselves?
Friday, May 26th we set out to have an evening of educating, networking, and exploring ways to keep ourselves in a healthy space; which in turn will help us to be our best selves. It’s difficult to be effective when we aren’t wholly healthy.
We’ll have a panelist of women in the heath field, covering areas such as: medical health, psychotherapy, mental health, sexual health, and holistic health. We will engage in a panel discussion and Q&A.
Come out and enjoy a night of connecting, performances and amazing discussion! All for the purpose of healthy living and effective giving! 

Panelists:


Dr. Kelita Alston -Jones is currently a Regional Medical Director and Clinical Consultant in Oncology for the largest company in the nation, for which she is the youngest and only African American female to hold the position. 
Founder and CEO of Healing Hands Medical Group, which provides workshops and medical referrals to aide the community in increasing awareness of common diseases and providing access to affordable care. She also owns her own health and wellness business called Get Healthy with Kelita, that provides all natural supplements and alternative ways to keep your physical body in optimal health. Kelita is a motivational speaker and a dynamic preacher of the Gospel. 
She believes in the empowerment of women and is the founder of Daughters of the King Ministries. She currently holds monthly empowerment sessions, mentorship classes and one o one sessions that help women to “take of their masks” and reveal the truth of who they are, while healing the deep wounds that may hold them back. Kelita is the co-host of the Ladies First Radio Show on WBJL Gospel.  

Chanel McCord is the founder and CEO of Oasis Wellness Group. Chanel received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Seton Hall University and a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Liberty University where she graduated with distinction. Chanel is licensed as an Associate Counselor (LAC) in the state of New Jersey and is in the application phase of obtaining her Professional Counselor clinical licensure. She holds several certifications including CPR/First Aid, Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI), Psychological First Aid (PFA) and Posttraumatic Stress Management (PTSM). Having settled several years of counseling experience under her belt, Chanel seeks to restore and assist in the healing process of adults, adolescents, children and families through counseling, psychoeducation, mentoring and wellness initiatives targeting the physical, mental, social and spiritual paradigms of one’s life. Education, empowerment, encouragement, enrichment and hope are aims that Chanel seeks to share with others.


Jasmine Marie Utterback is a passionate and engaging public health professional whose work is focused on building community partnerships to deliver sexual health education and training. She has worked with incarcerated women, college students, youth experiencing homelessness, and adults with developmental disabilities. Her topics of interest include building healthy relationships and safer sex communication. Jasmine’s motto for life is, “Together we are better.” Together we can develop the skills needed to protect our sexual health. 


Shelley Chapman, EdM is a nutrition educator, weight loss motivator and wellness workshop facilitator. Before stepping into those roles she received her Masters in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University and her Bachelors of Arts from Spelman College. She also spent ten years overweight as a Compulsive Overeater and starved, binged and mistreated her body for years. In her commitment to heal, she learned about healthy eating, how food production affects the body, and the dietary lifestyles that reverse disease and turn on the healing switches in the body. She also addressed her emotional traumas that played a role in her eating disorder.

As a result, she went from a size 12 to a size 2 in one year. She now creates health curricula and travels throughout the country teaching workshops on how to shift from emotional and stress eating to mindful eating and how to integrate healthy behaviors into busy, modern lifestyles. She has worked with a variety of companies and institutions including Food Network, National Institute of Mental Health, Teach for America, New York University and Emory University. She is the author of the Amazon Best Seller Tantric Tastes and she also produces health focused web series and cooking videos for her YouTube channel, ShelleyWellness. You can find her online at BodyFoodFreedom.com and on all social media @ShelleyWellness. 

Crystal Fulwood is an Emotional Health Advocate and a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor, teaching the general public about mental health awareness. Crystal is also the founder of f.l.a.w.e.d., which is an organization that connects, equips and supports women on their journey to wellbeing. 

You don’t want to miss this event! May 26th! An evening of education, discussion, and ways to keep ourselves healthy as a whole. Register today! Takeamoment526.eventbrite.com!

 

LMJ Second Annual Scholarship Benefit Recap

On Tuesday, December 27, 2016, we successfully hosted our second annual scholarship benefit! LMJ is a strong believer of sharing ones experience in order to connect and help further the growth of someone else. And this is how the scholarship benefit was created. Going through the process of college, I know firsthand what it’s like to not be able to pay tuition. College is very expensive. Period. Knowing what it felt like, it was my intent to create opportunities to help others in areas that I could’ve used assistance. I wanted to be able to be a blessing financially to a few college students, to help alleviate the financial strain they may experience.

December 19, 2015 was our first. Seeing its effect, it was only right that we continue and make it an annual affair. It’s not easy putting any type of event together, but knowing that this was bigger than us, pushed me to do it anyway. The purpose of the event was to celebrate these college students for their accomplishments. The first step being, making the decision to further their education in order to pursue their dreams. It was intended to be a night of sharing, educating, honoring, educating, and connecting with others. And I must say, it was a success.


The event was hosted by author, poet, and content creator Church Johnson. Which is a product of networking and making connections. Intentional connections.

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There were two speakers; Asha Boston, Director of The Dinner Table Documentary (a documentary geared towards changing the perception of black women in media. Also offering high school and college workshops centered around self esteem) and Schoquilla Coleman, Founder and CEO of Golden Life Resource Center (an organization that encourages and promotes educational growth, financial stability and positive mentor ship in youth). Both of these ladies have succeeded after going through the college process. They are an inspiration to many, and needed to share their experiences. In order to let the candidates know that they too can make it, and also to show others how they can contribute to the lives of our young people.


There were two incredible performances by amazing artists, ART Music and Lynette Rhett-McNeil. Both blessed us with their amazing gifts.

We honored Ska-Keya Flenory, who tirelessly dedicates her time and service to NYC Public Schools, along with Sheneya Wilson, who recently graduated with her masters degree in accounting and is on her way towards obtaining her phd at the age of 22. Their hard work is inspiration to others.

Raffle prize sponsors; award winning author, Nigeria Lockley, Michelle Dwight Designs, and Elle and Johns body products.

Other sponsors include; Jennifer Johnson, CEO of Campus Essentials (donating care packages to our winners. Innovative Music Inc (silver sponsor). And BCAN2SOC (Brooklyn Community Acition Network To Save Our Community) our double platinum sponsor!

Excellent food provided by SWB Catering.
Lastly, we acknowledge our 2016 LMJ Scholarship recipients! First place, Sherqwanna Laws. Second place, Niesha Georgeon. Third place, Candace Rose. Fourth place, Naomi Georgeon. We are extremely proud of these young ladies. And because of your help, we are collectively able to make an impact in their lives. They all have their own stories, their own struggles; but we were able to make a positive impact. We thank you all for your support.

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To view photos from LMJ’s Second Annual Scholarship Benefit (captured by PhotosByCeeJay) click here.

Believe In Your Gift

If you don’t believe in what you’ve been given, who will? The question that’s been floating around in my mind for quite some time now. Too often we have gifts and ideas that we just sit on. We sit on them, waiting for the right time to execute. Or we wait because we don’t feel like we’re not in the right position. Then there are those times where we doubt our gifts, and feel as if it’s not good enough. But is there ever a perfect time to pursue our dreams using what we’ve been given?

These past couple of weeks have pushed my thinking a little further. I’ve been put in situations where I literally had to question if I believed in myself and in my gift enough. The place I’m currently in is not the place I’m supposed to be in, and that has a lot to do with the way I use what I’ve been given. About two weeks ago, I was in conversation via email with someone about an opportunity that I wanted to be involved in for quite some time. The person I was conversing with, went really hard about whether I’m qualified for the opportunity. To be honest, my first thought was to just back down. I then had to tell myself to get it together. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m nowhere near the place that I started. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, and I refuse to allow someone to think that I’m not good enough. After I checked Krystle, I finally replied to the email, not knowing or even worrying about the response I’d get. I then received an email letting me know that the opportunity was mine. 

The only reason I was able to get this opportunity is because I believed in my gift and my ability. I reminded myself of who I am, and what I have. And I stood firm in that, with confidence. Too often we doubt ourselves and possibly allow opportunities to showcase what we have to slip right out of our hands. 

This is one of the post important steps to fulfilling our purpose, believing in ourselves enough to show up. There’s room despite how you feel people perceive you, or despite the negative thoughts that often try to crowd your mind. It’s important that in those moments, you combat it immediately. Positive affirmation, confirming who you are will begin to shift your thinking. 

I wrote a post this week on Instagram that read, “you secure your seat at the table when you show up.” All we have to do is show up. Regardless of the questions, whether others think we have the qualifications or not, and despite the doubt. Allow your belief in your gift to overpower that, and just show up. And this is exactly how your passion will be fulfilled. You’ll go far beyond the place you thought you’d go. You’ll reach far more people you could’ve imagined. All because you dared to believe and show up.

Again, believe in your gift enough to show up! Blessings, 
-xo Miss Jones

August, New Beginnings: Haiti Missions Trip Part I

Entry: August 2, 2016
We are officially in a new month. Aside from it being the best month out of the year, my birthday month (the 4th) 😊, it’s also the eighth month of the year. Eighth symbolizes new beginnings. And this month is just that. Yesterday, August 1st, I traveled for the first outside of the United States. Not for pleasure, but a missions trip. I am currently writing from Haiti. (Still seems so unreal that I’m actually here.). It was my intentions to write a post nightly, however, I didn’t get a chance to do so last night. Therefore, I’ve decided to do a recap for every two days. So this is part one…

Upon our arrival to Haiti yesterday afternoon, you could instantly see the difference when we traveled to our set place to stay. We landed in Port Au Prince, but stayed in Croix-Des-Bouquet. We had a van take us to our destination, we were met at the airport by a few men. One was a pastor and another works hard alongside him. He speaks English and is able to translate. 

On our way to camp, we drove on dusty bumpy roads. No traffic lights. On the busier streets, there were police officers directing traffic. It’s almost as if there are no rules when in comes to driving. You do what you can to get to your destination. Even if it means driving on the other side of the road, or even on the sidewalk. There were buses that Ebony (who has traveled here in missions before) compared to the dollar vans in NY. They are called the tap tap. As the busses passed, you could see how packed they were through the windows. The people were literally piled inside, just to get to where they needed to go. There were trucks that had the back open, filled with men. There were also motorcycles stopping and picking up people and were paid to ride them to their destination. This seems to be their form of transportation if they’re not in close proximity to their desired location or if they don’t have a vehicle. Unfortunately by looking out of the window, you could see that we were in a country that has struggles when it comes to poverty. As I sat and watched, and listened to stories by Pastor Pullings, (who is the missions department president of the first ecclesiastical jurisdiction of ENY, of the Church of God in Christ), I was able to get a glimpse of what they had to face in this area. 

On our drive to the compound, I thought about what I wanted to give, and what I wanted to gain. I knew that we were there for a specific purpose, and I wanted to be sure that I fulfilled that purpose. It’s a new experience for me, so I want to ensure that I give and get all that I can. How will I approach the people, what exactly will I do, will I be able to relate, etc. ? I just wanted this experience to be all that it could be. 
When we got to the compound, we settled in a little. Picked our room and put our stuff down. Our living conditions were petty good. We shared rooms, 2 to a room, but it was still good. Two bathrooms, kitchen, running hot water, and wifi access.  
 We then went to meet the girls in the orphanage. Not knowing who some of us were, the way they greeted us was so beautiful. All of the girls one by one came up to each of us with a kiss on the cheek. Although they were in grossed in their television show, they were so polite and spoke to each of us. While we were there the very first night, we took a look at what they were being served for dinner. We weren’t aware of what it was, but it was a big pot a woman had on the ground and she looked to be cleaning a piece of meat of some sort. It didn’t look appetizing to us, but this is what they’re used to eating. After seeing the girls, we went shopping. Not at the markets in town, but at a market that’s considered safe near the embassy. This shows the different areas and parts of Haiti. There’s such a difference, a separation. 
  

Later that evening, after shopping, cooking, and eating; we set up all of the items we brought for the girls in the orphanage and the clinic as well. We all brought at least one suitcase full of essentials, and when we laid it all out we were so happy to have been able to have so much to give. 

  

  

Day 2: 8/2/16 Journal entry..
Woke up with a feeling of excitement to see the looks on the girls faces when they receive what was brought for them. However, a little more reserved than I’d like to be so far. I’ve been thinking of ways to be effective over here. How can I/we leave a lasting impact. Giving is one thing, but connecting is another. We have to be able to show them how much we care, in such a short amount of time. 
I want to give my time and service more than anything. I also want to learn as much as I can. And do it all over again. To be the most effective, you have to be a giver. Not only material things. In this case, it’s needed. But also in time. Making that connection is key. Forgetting about yourself. 
God uses us right where we are. Only when we allow ourselves to be used…
Before going to the orphanage and giving the girls the items, we took a trip to the clinic. There were supplies for them as well. Mostly over the counter medicine. According to the stories, the over the counter medicine from America heals the ailments that most of the patients have. Because it’s medication they aren’t used to using. Going to the clinic, you could see a few areas where they needed. It was a nice set up. They needed more medication in their pharmacy and a little more precautionary items. (Cleaning supplies, gloves, etc.). Just looking around and seeing the facility was a blessing. I was happy to see and hear that they’re able to serve the community with the facility and supplies that they do have. What concerned some of us most, was the medicine that they had to offer in the pharmacy area of the clinic. It didn’t look like much. But it may be because they don’t use as much traditional medication in Haiti as we here in America use. They did however, have a dentist area. And area with beds where patients get checked, etc. 

   
   

We then went over to the orphanage to set up the items and look around the orphanage. We used their dinning area to set up every item on the tab,e for display for the girls. We wanted them to be able to see and choose what it was that they wanted. After setting up, we took a look around the grounds of the orphanage, for the first time. We were able to see their rooms, etc. There are seventeen girls living in the orphanage at this time. There are four girls to each room. Two bunk beds. The rooms are s little small, but they fit the two bunk beds, along with dressers for the girls. There were about two in each room. But as we passed, we noticed that some of their beds were falling apart. They needed new mattresses. One of the needs that the caretaker expressed, was that they needed was sheets. Again, the facility was nice. And we’re so proud of the work that has been done so far, but there’s still more work that needs to be done. The the interaction began..

Nightly journal entry:

After visiting the orphanage today, I’m in awe of the way we were able to connect with the girls. Although they didn’t speak English, the connection was almost instant. They immediately gravitated towards us, the minute we initiated it. All it took was one small gesture. As we sat and waited, I had to initiate interaction with them. That was the reason we were there. So I sat and asked about the coloring sheet they were coloring, and it took off from there. We talked the best we could to each other, but the connection was so strong despite the language barrier. We laughed, we sang, and dance. Took pictures. And took more pictures. These girls absolutely loved taking pictures. I asked them to read, but it was an English book, so they wanted me to read it. As I read, they repeated every English word after me. We fooled around with snapchat. And they absolutely loved the filters. At that point, there were about three girls who clung to me. Their names were Daphnaika, Melissa, and Lisa. There were a few others that came and joined a little while after. After reading, some of the girls sang and danced. One song was, I love you I love you my love. They danced as they sang that song. Then they started to do the whip nae nae. Which was absolutely cute. We colored together. We sang When Jesus Says Yes. And we just genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. 

 After our lunch break, we came back to distribute all of the material for the girls. They’d already been peeking in while we set up, so we knew they were excited about it. As each girl came in and received the bags and they pointed to certain things they wanted, you could see the appreciation in their eyes and in their faces. Many of them smiled as they looked and received. There was one, Melissa, who had the biggest smile on her face. She danced around as she looked at all of her new clothes and just continued smiling. There was another, one who didn’t interact with me as often as others, came to me and taped me. I turned around, and she pointed to her shoes and gave me a big smile. Another girl looked through her bag, looked in my direction and gave me two thumbs up. That was their thank you. They were so excited to get new things. And you could tell they were grateful for it. It was an amazing feeling. Not only for them to receive things they needed, but also to interact with other people. To be able to socialize with others outside of those they see on a daily basis. Amazed by this new experience. The start of a new beginning. There’s more. 

The Ultimate Women’s Empowerment Event – The Other Festival 

Now is most definitely the time of year for festivals. The festivals that you would usually hear of only consist of musical artists and bands. However, there’s a festival this weekend (Saturday, June 11th) in TriBeCa NYC that is like no other! Hence the name, The Other Festival. 

The Other Festival is all about “connecting, building, and supporting  entrepreneurial spirits in the face of an ever changing world.We are the best, the strongest, the boldest of our generation. We are a squad of renegade businesswomen in the form of artists, musicians, chefs, photographers, entrepreneurs, activists, inventors, storytellers, designers, and we are here to make things happen.” – The Other Festival 

This event is brought to you by Women Inspiration and Enterprise (WIE), which is a social enterprise that works to provide emerging women leaders with the tools to succeed in their careers. WIE is founded by Dee Paku-Spalding, who is a social entrepreneur born in the UK and raised in London. A former Hollywood studio exec, Paku has now begun a career in brand marketing and promotions. 

The Other Festival showcases the makers and creators of this generation, the women who are redefining how to do business, setting their own rules, putting new systems in place, pushing their own agendas. Inventors, storytellers, founders, artists who can’t be boxed in.

This festival will showcase a group of elite women; their background and their career work. Through this, many females will have the opportunity to glean from their journey. It’s about embracing the other, but also embracing you. Embracing who you are, what you offer, and your journey towards success. There will be workshops, discussions, along with a concert. A full day of sharing and gleaning. 
Speakers include: 

  • Naomi Campbell (Model)
  • Rosario Dawson (Actress, Activist, Entreprenuer)
  • Reshma Saujani (Founder, Girls Who Code)
  • Lindsey Stirling (Musician, Vlogger)
  • Melissa Ben Ishay (Founder, Baked by Melissa)
  • Beverly Bond (Founder, Black Girls Rock) 

And many more!

Musical Guests Include:

  • Justine Skye 
  • Brooke Candy 
  • Vashtie Kala
  • Grace Weber

And more!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to sulk in all that you can from these very powerful women in business. Women who have owned who they are and will be able to share and showcase their journey, their sound, and their careers. This is a festival you want to be sure to attend! 

LovelyMissJones is all about sharing ones experience to benefit the lives of someone else, so you know we will be on the scene! And we want to see you there! Purchase your tickets today by visiting theotherfestival.eventbrite.com. 
  

  

The Insight in The Fallback

Over the past weeks or so, I’ve experienced a great fall back. Between everything I’d been going through family wise and personally, it caused me to take a break. Part of the break I needed and another part I feel I allowed myself to take more time than needed. As I began to bounce back in certain areas, I realized the insecurities that were attached to my fallback. Insecurities that I’m sure others have experienced. So I knew it was necessary for me to share my experience with you all. 

Being in a position where you’re required to be in the forefront and complete tasks that others will immediately recognize can sometimes cause nervousness or a little shyness about the work you’re going to produce. However, there can be times that insecurity comes in. Whether on the job or in any type of leadership position, we may take a backseat because we feel as if everyone is coming to the frontline and overshadowing what we’ve set out to do. Whether this is true or not, one may still begin to feel this way. Particularly those who struggle with accepting their place in the frontline. Sometimes it makes you feel as if you’re less than, or you’ll make an excuse using the statement, “I’m not really needed. I can step back.” However, I had to learn that it’s not always meant for you to step back. If God placed you somewhere, please believe it was strategic. God always does things strategically. He placed you where you are for a reason. He’s given you what He’s given you for that specific place. We must always be ready. We have to learn not to shy away because of what’s in front of us. They’ll be no fight, no struggle if we do what God has called us to do. If we stay in tune with the instructions He’s given us, things will be well. 

We can’t allow anyone or any situation to make us feel insecure or less than who you truly are. Know and be proud of what you bring to the table. No matter what others may have to offer, know that you have something valuable to offer. 

These are the exact words I heard from God as I sat in my Sunday morning service last week. He literally just dropped it in my spirit and I began to write. This particular part blessed me the most. This is what He said to me, word for word. “Use the gift that I’ve given you. Use the gift that you desired me to give you. Believe in what I’ve given you. Believe in the power behind the gift. Allow your fear to dissipate, so that I can get the glory. So that my people can get what I have for them. There’s breakthrough and blessings that will come through what I have placed inside of you. Stop making excuses and standing still, when it was I that have begun that good work inside of you.”

 

It was ironic that my daily message from Saved In The City read, “God wants to use you right where you are. No more excuses. It’s time to step up and be who He’s called you to be. John 15:16” 
Often times we make up excuses because of the insecurities that rise up within us. But it’s time to rise up and lush the insecurities and the fear to the side. Knowing that God is the one that has placed these gifts inside of you and will lead and guide you every step of the way. 
Allow this season to be a season of work and continuos preparation. A period of isolation (to an extent) as well as work. Isolation to the point that you’re able to prepare yourself without the opinions of others, and without what others may bring on you. Get to a place where you hear from the source and execute accordingly. 

As I go through my journey and I’m continually learning, it’s my duty and obligation to pass it along with others. And as my journey continues to unfold, sharing my experiences will never stop. My hope is that someone will be blessed by these words, and receive that extra boost that’s needed to continue to work regardless of what comes up against them. 

-xo Miss Jones

2015 Recap: Growth, Promise, Freedom

As we approach an end of a year, and the beginning of a new year, I contemplated what my end of the year post would be. I had many thoughts, different ideas I wrote in my notes, but I couldn’t formulate an actual article. As I sat to work on another post, I sat and waited for my thoughts to hit the screen, but I began to have writer’s block. Nothing, besides a title had been written. This afternoon, as I began to complete the post I was originally supposed to publish tonight, I was led to open a new document and get started on this one. As I began to write the title, those three words spilled onto the page; growth, promise, and freedom. I hadn’t received a particular theme or place I wanted to come from with this post. Last year, I broke it down into two different posts, and it came to me early. This year was different. And as I now begin to think, I like that it happened this way. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. Many times we wait in anticipation for a sign or for something to come our way, but when we just make a choice to just do, things begin to happen. This not only depicts the way things happened this year in a sense, it’s also confirmation for this year to come. 

So because these words so happen to have come to me, I believe this is where my thoughts for the year will come from. This year has been a year of complete growth. As the previous years have been as well. I’ve experienced some things this year, I never would have imagined. I’ve felt my weakest this year. I almost felt like I experienced some of my lowest points. Many of my insecurities came rushing back. I’ve had many feelings of inadequacy. But I’ve also been able to show myself my strength. I refused to be held down. I made a decision, after one of my biggest setbacks, that I would seek out counseling from a therapist. I haven’t found one as of yet, but often times, we (especially the black community) feel as if seeking help in that manner is a form of weakness. I did at one point, but these situations I’ve experienced this year taught me that it’s a sign of strength. I strongly believe that it’s commendable when a person realizes that they need help in a particular area. We can’t always do things on our own, and it’s okay to admit that. It’s unfortunate that I’ve placed myself in situations that I probably shouldn’t have. But I’ve been able to bounce back. Even in my struggles and insecurities, my weaknesses and low moments; I knew that God had a plan for me. And that plan was bigger than me. It went beyond just my name or brand being whispered. It meant more than a blessing for myself, more than personal growth. It’s for the benefit of others. I can’t stop knowing the countless people I’m meant to reach. I can’t stop knowing there’s a young girl that needs me to share my story. To share my journey. Now that’s growth. When you realize your purpose is bigger than you. When you realize your purpose goes beyond being recognized. When you realize your purpose will serve others. When you forget about you and just do it, that’s when you continue to grow. 

This year has also been a year of promise. Again regarding 2015, as well as the year to come. As this year began, I knew there was more than just my writing that needed to displayed. I knew my voice had to be heard in some way, aside of through my writing. I was contacted to help someone out with an up and coming talk show. Now, everyone know based of my previous posts how shy I was. However, I took this as an opportunity. Not only am I being of service to someone else, it’s giving me a jumpstart on what I know I will eventually have to do. This was a promise fulfilled. There have been a few other opportunities this year that I believe will be manifested in 2016. My biggest goal reached, and promise fulfilled this year was actually having the scholarship benefit event. It was my goal to be able to help someone who has gone through the very same thing I’ve gone through. College finances were one. Therefore, the idea to give away a scholarship was one. I knew I had to do it. But since this summer, things just wouldn’t come together. Without seeing how it would, I decided to just do it. And it came together. We were able to pull it off. 

The word freedom is very significant to me. I was caged in so many ways. I was stuck behind my own fear. I was stuck behind my own insecurities. I was stuck behind the opinions of others. This year, more than any, I was able to break free from most of these things. It’s most definitely a growing and learning process, but I’m experiencing true freedom. Freedom that causes me to just do, regardless of what’s in place. 

Overall, despite the low moments, it’s been a great year. A year of growth, promise, and freedom. Regardless of the things we experience, it’s important that we shed light on the positive sides. Step outside of your comfort zone, and allow yourself to grow beyond the things that you can see. Walk in your purpose and promise. And free yourself from your own negative thoughts and opinions of others. Then you can flourish and be who you were called to be; that blessing you were meant to be to others. Wishing you all a happy and successful new year!

ESSENCE and Prudential Presents: Money + Power   A Rich Conversation

Friday, November 6th, I had the opportunity of attending this wonderful event presented by Essence and Prudential. As the flyer says, all of the guests joined together for “a rich conversation”. And that’s exactly what the night entailed. There was a panel of very successful business women who came together to discuss their experiences in their separate fields, as well as help encourage and motivate other business owners trying to reach their status of success, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs. 

On this panel of amazing women were: ESSENCE Feature Editor Lauren Williams (as the moderator), President and CEO of Britto Agency Marvet Britto, TV Personality and Lifestyle Expert Tai Beachamp, “The Budgetnista” Tiffany Aliche (who we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing), and Interior Designer Dani Arps. All these women are powerhouses in their own right.  

  

Before the intriguing conversation began, there was thirty minutes set aside for cocktails. I assume it was a time for drinks, possibly food, and networking. Because I was late for the event due to work, I missed it. However, by the time I got there, there were a few minutes before the conversation began. I checked in quickly and headed right into the designated room at the Apella, Event Space at the Alexandria Center. Which is an absolutely gorgeous venue. There were posted set up nicely in the area before the conversations space. The latest issue of ESSENCE with Taraji P. Henson on the cover so gracefully stood on a stand. As well as selfie props that had great sayings on them. I initially grabbed the prop that said, “I do what I love. I love what I do.” However, by the time the event ended, I left with three more. Which said, “I am a strategist”, “I am an innovator”, and “I am a trailblazer”. 
  
The conversation started out with introductions. Then we went full speed into the conversation that helped many women that night. Below you’ll find a few questions and answers from the evening from each woman on the panel. 

Lauren Williams asked, how are you able to manage to maintain and build your brand. Marvet Britto answered, and explained that she focuses on being the best her. Marvet, who’s a very successful Public Relations Architect and Brand Strategist, has never had to solicit any one of her clients. She stressed that when it comes to branding, all that you desire comes by the work you do. Branding is really about the work that’s put in. Many people have made it about popularity, but it’s really all about the work. We have to learn how to be masterful professionals. She said that it’s important to make sure you nurture the trunk of the tree first, before worrying about the branch (brand) extensions. It’s about the work, and mastering what you have to offer. 

The discussion the led to a point where many people have been. The point of transition. Tai Beachamp, who has been able to incorporate her background in beauty and fashion with her love and passion for philanthropy, shared some of her experience by discussing some of the steps before leaving her job. She began to feel unfulfilled and burnt out. Although doing something she was great at, her purpose and hearts work was to empower. Tai expressed that we have to be able to distinguish between our passion and our purpose. She also let us know, that on the other hand, the answer doesn’t have to be today. Meaning things won’t be where you want them to be overnight. You won’t be where you want to be overnight. Sometimes you have to stay in the position that you’re in for a little longer than you’d like. She also said, you learn one thing from a position and take it and apply it to your purpose. 

Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, who is a financial educator who has helped thousands of women take a journey to get their finances in order through her Live Richer Challenge, shared a similar story later in the conversation. She shared her story and where she started. Learning about finances growing up, but deciding to become a teacher. She was able to take her teaching skills and become the financial educator that she is today, because she took what she could from where she was. Often times we may become frustrated after sometime on the jobs we have, but we have to come to the place where we learn that we are there for a reason. There’s something that we can learn and take with us when it’s time for us to start our own business. It’s a matter of what will you learn from the position that you’re in. You’re strategically put in places to learn these particular lessons. Embrace where you are. Then after you’ve learned from the positions you were in and have been able to step out and start your own business, go around and explore to see what else you can learn. Never get too comfortable. 

Tiffany later went on to defining what having a business really is. She explained that many people have created something that looks like a business; a nice website, pretty business cards. However, there’s no product. She says, a business is when you have a product and people are willing to pay for it. And sometimes we don’t get this right away when we’re working towards a goal. So Tiffany lets us know that some things wot directly give you money in the beginning, but it will overtime. You have to make the proper investments first.  

Marvet also added to the startup of a business. When you have a desire to become an entrepreneur you think about a void that you want to fill. You have to have something that’s different, that people are willing to pay for. 

The question was then asked, as business women, what is the one things that keeps you up at night. Each lady had the opportunity to answer. 

Dani Arps, who is an interior designer and has had great success in only a year and half, said something that many of us (business owner or aspiring entrepreneurs) may concern ourselves with; meeting the needs of her clients. Making sure that she’s doing the work according to their standards. 

Tiffany’s concern is not letting one part of her life pass her by while pursuing her career. She doesn’t want to chase her dreams career wise and love an unfulfilled personal life. Therefore, she’s in the process of balancing her life. It’s important to have a balance. 

Tai thinks about the people she has to feed. From her clients, down to the people she employs. Her company isn’t all about her, but the people that she services. 

Marvets’ main concern is shattering glass ceiling. I truly believe that this was a pivotal point during the discussion. She’s concerned about women of color being taken out of the boxes that society so often places us in. 
She the. Went on to how we need to work hard to make sure we are given a seat at the table. And in order to do so, we have to make sure we are consistent and deliberate in all that we do. Our capabilities and talents outweigh our color, and we have to be sure to put forth the effort in showing that. We must also look at the ones who have come before us, and we’re able to succeed. As well as think strategically, understand where your place is, and finding ways to stretch our culture. 

The conversation shifted into mentorship. Tai raised a few good points when it comes to mentorship and connection. We don’t always like to admit when we need help. Sometimes we can’t do everything on our own. And that perfectly ok. When finding connections, it’s good to seek out people who we can partner up with. And fulfill our goal and vision together. Also when it comes to mentorship, we shouldn’t just try to see what we can get from others, it’s reciprocal. You should also be able to give something in return. 

As you can see, this event was intriguing, and very thought provoking. And there was so much more. After the conversation, there was an after party where drinks and food were served. But the most important part, was that these women stuck around and talked individually with the guest. We were able to share our experiences, our future plans, and receive advice. These women spoke a few good words into my life. And I, and I’m sure many other females as well, am grateful for the opportunity. 

A special thanks to ESSENCE and Prudential for putting on such a great event, having an amazing panel of successful business women, giving other women the opportunity to connect and share with others, and the gifts as well. 

  
  
(Miss Jones and Tai Beachamp)
  
(Miss Jones and Marvet Britto)

From DC to NYC: Riding Her Way To The Top    Interview with Lea Anderson

One weekday afternoon riding the A train to work, I watched a young lady and a gentleman with a speaker walk pass me. But I had no idea what was about to come next. As I sat and heard the microphone come on, I kept my music in my headphones playing, as I anticipated just getting to my destination. However, after listening to the first few minutes, I was compelled to take one ear out. I soon turned my music off all together. The vocals were smooth and the song had such a nice vibe. While this trumpet player so gracefully played in the background. My words were, “this is dope.”

After receiving her information, come to find out the young lady who was able to put on such a great performance on that moving A train was Lea (pronounced Lee’) Anderson. I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing Lea. We were able to talk about her experiences and what led her to the place she is today.
We met and found a great spot on the rooftop of Novatel in Times Square. There was a nice breeze, great view, and good vibes. As the vocals of Lauryn Hill and BeyoncĂ© played in the background, we were able to have great conversation. 

  
Below you’ll read highlights from the interview, intriguing conversation with great laughs. 
Miss Jones: For those who may not know you, let’s start with you telling us a little bit about yourself. 
Lea Anderson: I was born in DC, grew up in South Carolina, and now I’m in New York. I’ve been here for four years. What initially brought me here first, was musical theatre. I did musical theatre for five years across the country, and now I’m in New York pursuing a career as a recording artist. And it’s been good. 
Miss Jones: Are you currently in school?
Lea Anderson: Not anymore. I graduated from the College of Charleston. 
MJ: How long have you been singing?
LA: As long as I can remember. (Laughs)
MJ: Did you grow up in church singing, or was this just something that you’ve always done?
LA: I grew up in church, but I didn’t start singing in church. I started singing with the records that my dad would play in his man cave. 
MJ: What role did your family play in your career?
LA: Well, my dad really introduced me to music. And my mom really helped me flourish it. Once she found out I could sing, she tried to look up any other opportunities that I could have. She started taking me to auditions, she started getting me to sing in front of her friends, so I wasn’t so nervous. And then I started going to music camp when I was 9. That’s when I learned how to sing musical theatre and opera, and reading music. 
MJ: What was the music camp like, what did you learn?
LA: We would learn music; music theory, music history, voice, musical theatre, dance, everything. 
MJ: Do you still dance today or are you more focused on your singing?
LA: I do dance, and it helps create more opportunities for singing. And I still do theatre as well. 
MJ: Have you done any musical theatre shows in NY yet?
LA: Not as of yet in NY. I still do it regionally, I’ll leave and come back to NY. And most recently, I’ve done Smokey Joe’s Cafe. 
MJ: At what point did you realize you wanted to make this your career? What was the deciding factor?
LA: I think it found me. Every other job I tried to pursue, didn’t work out. I don’t want to say I’m constantly getting fired, but it’s true. And no matter how much time I try to put in one thing, it doesn’t work out. But music is always there and it always works out. It’s like my best friend. 
MJ: What are some of your biggest accomplishments so far?
LA: Finishing my EP with a Grammy nominated producer, D MoĂ«t, who’s best known for Hate Me Now (Nas featuring Puff Daddy). Becoming a member of Actors Equity Association. Which is a phenomenal unit that helps actors, singer, dancers across the country get our rights and what’s well earned of us. Lastly, being in a city where I am able to be around people that have made it, and are living the life that I want to live. Also being able to get advice from them and work with them. 
MJ: Being that you still act and are pursuing musical theatre as well, are there any shows that you are interested in doing?
LA: I want to do a Rock Musical so bad! So I’m constantly looking for auditions for the opportunity to be in that, because I missed the whole American idiot boat. And there’s definitely a lot of other producers that I want to work with. I just want to continue to grow as an artist and continue giving my sound to people. 
MJ: What are some of the most challenging moments you’ve had to face when trying to reach your goals?
LA: Everything seems like a challenge but after you wait it out, it’s kind of like ‘whoo, that was it?’ I feel like when it’s meant to be, when you’re meant to do something, it’s not a challenge. It’s more of, ‘how can I get through this or how can I accomplish this?’ So it’s more like a journey. There’s no problems, just patience. 
MJ: I like that. It’s a great way to look at life. My next question was going to be, how did you overcome them but….(laughs) 
LA: (laughs) with yoga. Yoga and church. Jesus, whoo. 

  

MJ: Are you a Christian?
LA: Yes. 
MJ: How has your relationship with God helped you coming out here four years ago alone, and pursuing your dreams?
LA: It helps me filter out my thoughts and how to trust my thoughts. Being a Christian, I know God’s words and that’s easier for me to filter out BS, all the negativity, and all the things that would just keep running in circles. I just listen to Him, and I ask Him to order my steps. And the path has been easier because I have a relationship with God. 
MJ: What do you ultimately wish to accomplish with your music? Is there a message you wish to convey, is it the sound or the feel? What do you wish to accomplish?
LA: It’s my story. I feel like ultimately, that’s what artists are meant to do. Whether you’re a musician, whether you’re a painter, even a fashion designer. We’re chosen to be the voice of God, the voice of society, the voice of the youth. We were chosen to paint what’s going on in the world. And that’s my main goal, to just paint what’s going on around me and deliver it to people. So they can relate and become unified. And unites us all. 
MJ: Do you have a team?
LA: No, but I do have a group of people who love me and push me in the right direction. I call them my tribe. So they’re not per say working for me, but they’re working with me.  
MJ: Who are your biggest inspirations?
LA: My dad. And although I’m nothing like him, I would say Ray Charles. I feel like if you could overcome racism, being blind, poverty, drugs; and still be successful, that’s pretty commendable. 
MJ: Why is you dad one of your biggest inspirations? 
LA: He’s the strongest person I know. He’s had two major stokes, and he’s still alive and still positive. He stills tells me everyday, it’s great to be alive. And just knowing that I’m working towards this for him and he’s the first one to put that musical note in my heart, just thinking about him and wanting him to be proud of me really inspires me. 
MJ: How long have you been singing on the train? I hear people sing on the train everyday, but there was something about you. And I said to myself, this girl has a crazy voice. Honestly, it was amazing. So what inspired you to just decide to sing on the trains?
LA: I came to a wall, I didn’t know how to get my music to anybody. Every time I applied to submit music to radio stations, they would say “30 spins for $400”. I said really? So how do I get music to people that don’t know me. So I met Kafele (trumpet player), and he said we should play the trains. And I said, that’s how I’m going to get music to the people that don’t know me. And we started six weeks ago. 
MJ: Only 6 weeks? You seem so confident and comfortable, as if you’ve been doing it forever. But that’s what a real performer does. 
LA: (Laughs) Thank you!
MJ: What advice would you give a young person, or anyone, who’s trying to put themselves in a position that you’re currently in and where you hope to be?
LA: It’s hard, and be yourself. No matter what, be yourself. Being a musician is not a get rich quick plan. You really have to put everything into it, and you really have to be yourself. And that’s the only way that you’ll be the artist that you’re supposed to be. Like I said before, it’s your responsibility to deliver the message from God, from society, the pain that people are going through. Just look at Marvin Gaye. That’s your responsibility, and being someone else, a cookie cutter, a carbon copy, is not what it is. It’s not being a musician. 
MJ: What can we look forward to from Lea Anderson?
LA: My music video is coming out for Detatched, November 11th. I completed my EP. I don’t have a specific date for when it’ll drop, but I’m going to release it like a blogger. I’ll release a different song every period. I’ll probably release Real Love in the top of the spring. Around April or March. I also have t-shirts with the lyrics of Not That Type of Guy, available for purchase on my website. 
MJ: Is there any inspiration you’d like to leave with us?
LA: Just be yourself and follow your heart. And know that you deserve everything that you’re going towards. The world is huge and you have to be comfortable with doing things that are bigger than you. 
  

It was a pleasure talking to this lovely young lady, who not only has a great voice, but is intelligent as well. Lea has performed all around NYC. Places such as, Ella, Sylvana’s, The Highline Ballroom, SOBs, The Bitter End. 
Not only is she a performing artist, but she’s also a painter. Lea sells her artwork and presents her portfolio upon request. Be sure to stay up to date with Lea by visiting her website, iamleaanderson.com, and following her on social media. Twitter: @iamleaanderson, Instagram: @iamleaanderson, facebook.com/iamleaanderson, youtube.com/musicbylyriclea, soundcloud.com/iamleaanderson. You can also download and purchase her two singles out now, Not That Type of Guy and Detached, on iTunes and Spotify. You won’t be disappointed. 

Queen

Even with all of our imperfection, we’re still queens. 
Still striving to be the best that we can be. 

Even through our hurts and our pain, we’re still just as beautiful without any shame. 

We go through life still with a little doubt. But we must persevere and fight. Revealing what we’re really all about. 

There’s so much more to us, you see. 

But it’s only revealed when we make it seen. 

We have to dig deep. Deep from the root. 

Releasing all the junk that clouds our vision. Yeah, it’s time to give that all the boot. 

No longer can we take what they say and make it our reality. 

No longer can we take our negative thoughts and pass it off as real. No, it’s no longer our reality. 

We’ve been given a gift. A gift for the world. 

It’s time to step into our call. 

Our call to lead. To inspire. And give to those in need. 

It’s time to be the queens we were meant to be. 

So arise, my queen. Gods got you now. 
#ThereIsAQueenInYou #DigDeep #Ladies #ImNotAPoet #FeltLikeWriting #MyThoughts #LovelyMissJones