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Spotlight Series: Kandace Miggins

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Kandace Miggins

Photographers have the gift to see beauty in the smallest details. Kandace Miggins, is one of those photographers. Her photos are not only clean-cut, but they capture pure bliss. With her signature afro, and camera in tote, Kandace is ready to take on the world.

Kandace Miggins was raised in south suburban country Club Hills Illinois. At 25 years old, she is a photographer with her own business, educator, graduate student and a college graduate. Talk about busy!

“I’ve always been engaged in the arts from a young age. I was always drawing, taking pictures, designing houses on the Sims (Yes that counts!), playing instruments, making slide shows, making videos, flyers, etc. I used to sell CDs, lemonade and bracelets in front of my mama’s house. I studied music education and jazz studies at Northern Illinois University. I graduated with a bachelor’s in Jazz Studies. I’m currently in a teacher residency program that partners with Chicago Public Schools. So I’m in the education field in addition to being a full-time grad student at National Louis University. I love traveling and watching Game of Thrones. I’m extremely passionate about history, culture, health, social justice and spirituality. “

Her love for media and photography started at a young age. Kandace would use her aunts’ camera to snap pictures while on family vacations. Her love for photography does not end there, she would make videos, and music playlists on CDs, draw, and play instruments. “I’ve always been a person that’s well-versed in media-technology and the arts… I love reliving happy moments through images, sound and video. It gives me so much nostalgia.”

As a student at NIU, Kandace was very active. She began making flyers, and putting her media skills to use for different campus organizations. Eventually, with a little encouragement to start her own business, she did just that. “While I was promoting for campus events and etc., I started promoting myself as a graphic designer for logos/flyers, and as a photographer/videographer as well. That’s was how I started! It took me a while to really be comfortable with the vulnerability that comes along with being an entrepreneur but I did, and I’m so glad I made the decision to do so. “

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“I have always cherished picture books and photo albums…I like knowing that I’m helping people capture moments in ways that they would not have been able to on their own.” Miggins photographs families, children, pets, you name it!

As the saying goes, if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. Only few are blessed enough to do what they love and make profit from it. “It never feels like “work” to me, it always feels like getting paid for something I have fun doing, and who doesn’t want to feel like that!?” She also loves being in charge of her own schedule, a definite perk that comes with being a business owner. She has been able to service clients, while challenging herself and perfecting her craft.

Kandace is making great strides in her career to make sure what she is doing now is sustainable for her future. For that, we celebrate her! She is constantly challenging herself and moving forward in her career! She is the prime example of taking what you love, and using it to bring joy to not only yorself but others as well. You can find out more about her, or even book her by following her on facebook.com/kmigfsmedia or instagram.com/k_miggs!

 

 

 

 

 

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Spotlight Series: Morgan Weaver

For this installment of the Spotlight Series, we will meet new high school football coach Morgan Weaver. Morgan has loved football since the early age of 5. Football has allowed him numerous opportunities and opened many doors throughout his life, and now he is giving back.

Weaver was raised in south suburban Country Club Hills Ill. A graduate of Hillcrest High School, he then went on to attend Winona State University. He played football for WSU on scholarship. He graduated with a degree is Excercise Science: Cardiopulmonary Rehab. After graduating he signed a contract to play indoor football with the Cedar Rapids Titans. And now, he has accepted the position as Head Football Coach at Hillcrest High School.

Weaver has a strong support system and many great influencers. They include his older brother Tremaine Weaver, cousin Kyran Weaver, uncle Alvin Weaver, Marquice Cole and college coaches David Bruan and Brett Holinka. All of these men have been vital to him in helping him become a better player and coach.

At just 25 years old, Weaver has accomplished so much. He has been fortunate enough to take something he loves and make it his career. He is now invested in making a difference in the students’ lives. “I spend a lot of time with my guys and it’s rewarding when you start to see positive change…My ultimate goal is to turn Hillcrest into a factory…meaning I want Hillcrest football to be known for getting guys into college and helping them earn scholarships. I love winning games but there’s not a better feeling than seeing our players sign letter of intents to go get their education and play some football along the way, for free or cheaper than normal tuition.”

Some people take a lifetime to figure out what they want to do with their lives, but not Weaver. “I got into my love for football at a very young age. At age 5, I knew playing football was something I wanted to do for as long as God would allow me to. As I got older, I started to understand how life and football go hand and hand…I always knew I would be coaching at some point in my life, it just happened earlier then I expected. Following my player career I wanted to come back and pass on what I’ve learned at the collegiate and professional level (IFL). Marquice Cole came back to Hillcrest in 2015, right around the time I was finishing up, and he had an opening and gave me as shot, I haven’t looked back since.”

Weaver is excited and looking forward to making this school year memorable. “I am looking forward to seeing the guys develop on and off the field…becoming respectable young men and making their high school career a memorable experience.” He is dedicated to his students lifelong success and not just the fleeting success of winning games. He has become a positive role model for the students, an example of what they can strive to be with hard work. He is proof that you should never give up on your dreams.

Weaver and the Hawks football team are gearing up to kick off their season on 8/26/17 at 3pm. They will be playing at and against Morgan Park High School Mustangs. You can catch Weaver on the field in action at any Hillcrest Hawks football game. Here’s to a great season and school year!

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Morgan Weaver

Spotlight Series: D’Laun Montgomery

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D’Laun Montgomery has always had an eye for fashion. He grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago.  He is the co-owner of fashion boutique Lost and Found.

“I developed a passion for entrepreneurship because of the freedom it would give me… we are our own bosses.” There is a great deal of respect that comes with being a business owner, and a young business owner at that. Montgomery and his partners are definitely earning that respect.

Montgomery met one of his business partners in 2012, they were college roommates. He took interest in his style. “Marc was always at least 2 years ahead of fashion trends, and I admired his fashion sense.” Montgomery went from just admiring, to searching and really diving into the fashion scene.

The boutique has been in operation since November 15, 2015. He has no plans of stopping his train to success. He feels that fashion allows people to express their individualism, and rightly so. He has his future on his mind as he has been strategically moving forward with his business partners. Ultimately, he wants his store to become the standard for all retail. Working for other people did not give him the same satisfction as working for himself, and towards his own goals.

Montgomery has more than present satisfaction in mind, he is aiming toward generational wealth. “I want to start building generational wealth…I don’t have any kids now but I’m putting in 18-19 hours into my business regularly now so I can spend time with my kids later on in life.”

Montgomery’s major influences include Ralph Lauren, Greg Selkoe, Curtis Jackson, and Dame Dash. At just 24 years old he has accomplished so much and is looking to conquer so much more!

You can support him and keep up with all of his exciting upcoming endeavors and information by following him at…

Facebook:
D’Laun Montgomery

Instagram:
@Poppadopolis_

Twitter:
@Poppadopolis_

 

 

Spotlight Series: Ebony Ellis

Getting my nails and or feet done is one of my personal favorite ways to engage in self-care. It is a time to relax and unwind and feel pampered away from the real world. Many women have standing nail appointments, and many will only let certain nail technicians handle their nail maintenance. I happen to be one of those people. For this installment of my Spotlight Series, I would like to introduce you all to my one and only favorite nail technician, Ms.Ebony Ellis.

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Ms.Ebony Ellis

 Ebony is a Chicago native and grew up in Country Club Hills Il. She was fortunate enough to realize early on that nails were her passion. As a child, Ebony’s step-mother attended a nail class, Ebony attended with her. During the class Ebony was allowed to participate in the class as well. At that moment she realized she found not only something that she liked, but something she was good at. Fast forward to today, Ebony has been doing nails now for a total of 22 years.

Although, through those 22 years she has worked other jobs, she explains, “I never got the same satisfaction, and I would eventually quit.” It is a blessing when people are able to find their passions in life, and Ebony has definitely found hers. She makes it her mission to have her clients feel relaxed. She also takes pride in her craft through her professionalism, by being prompt and prepared for her clients. Her work is neat, and precise.

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My Coffin Nails!

Ebony is not only a nail technician but a mother. “My daughter is my biggest motivator, i push myself because I want to shoe her (daughter) that anything can be done with hard work, I know she’s watching so I have to make sure I make it.”

Ultimately, Ebony would like to own her own suite, to not only service clients but begin to teach classes for upcoming nail technicians. She has been in the business for quite a while, but that does not mean she is done learning and growing. A major key to success is to always keep moving forward and doing more to expand yourself, and she is doing just that. She explained, “I get satisfaction knowing people love what I create and especially when a client looks at her nails and says yasss!…I love the reaction!…This is a very competitive business, i try not to compare myself to others, but it makes me happy to know that people think my work is bomb!”

Let’s take a moment to celebrate and acknowledge Ms. Ebony Ellis as she leaves her traces of #BlackGirlMagic on so many clients each day! She is a great reminder that black girls do nails too! You can follow her and see more of her work at instagram.com/sanginnailtek 💅🏾

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My Stiletto Nails

 

Spotlight Series: Rudy Maybell III

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Chicago producer Rudy Maybell III has been blazing trails all year, and showing no signs of letting up any time soon. Rudy is only one part of the production duo, 7th Circuit Productions. He and his partner J-Tempo met and have been working together since 2008.

Rudy’s love for music goes back as far as the Space Jam Soundtrack on cassette! At just 9 years old, Rudy fell in love with the classic song I Believe I Can Fly. That along with Donell Jones classic, Where I Wanna Be, gave Rudy what he describes “vocal development.” He began to study artists such as Stevie Wonder, Aaron Nevell, Marvin Gaye, Donnie Hathaway, and Sam Cooke.  But, he still holds his biggest influence as R.Kelly. “He’s the reason I write songs the way I do.”

In high school he took a music technology class which opened up his mind to the producing side of things. Rudy’s music is more than just a hobby, it’s a “spiritual experience.” This year alone he produced and released 4:20pm, Way Up 7 with A-Way, and Touch Down. He has gained attention and had interviews with Power 92.3, UrbanGrind, Windy City UnderGround, and Illinois Tech. 2016 was a great year for Rudy and 7th Circuit Productions, but there’s even more coming up for 2017.

7th Circuit Productions has a website underway, set to launch on January 1, 2017. From their website, you will be able to purchase beat packages and more. They hope in the near future to start podcasts, and even a blog!

Not only is he looking forward to the launch of the website, but he plans to release 420pm part 2, Ballad of Cottonmouth, Songs in the Key of Pain, Prelude to Pain, and Party Time Magic.  At the age of 29, Rudy knows exactly what he wants, and is putting in the hard work and sleepless nights to make it happen. “All my energy is going into this, this is my lady, this is my child, and it’s going to make me what I want to be in this life…I love what I do I’m leaving and impression a legacy, something people can remember, we’re not just sitting around playing.”

You can listen to Rudy’s amazing passion, soul filled music at https://soundcloud.com/7thcircuit, https://soundcloud.com/rudypmagic/sets/420-pm, and https://soundcloud.com/a_wayofficial/sets/wayup7. You can also follow 7th Circuit Productions on Twitter @7thcproductions and @Alright_Magic.

Spotlight Series: Antonio King

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Chicago native and Western Illinois University graduate, Antonio King has launched Outta Sight Clothing Company. This company offers a variety of graphic tees and looking to add on even more.

Antonio started his company on November 24, 2016. But, his love for creativity began way before then. The 27- year-old Northsider began working with graphic design and logos at the beginning of his high school career. King says, “I’ve lost so many good and bad designs over the years but it has been a fun ride.”

Not only does he have an online store, but he hopes that his brand can become apart of the community to support and uplift the youth. Although Antonio keeps busy with his designing, he still finds time for some of his other loves such as spending time with his family, girlfriend, playing basketball, and playing 2k17.

He gives his family a lot of credit of being one of his biggest influences. He is the second of 7 children. “They’re always straight shooters, I can rely on them when i’m working on a project and need an opinion. They offer brutal honesty. We are all trying to accomplish greatness in our own way, that pushes me incredibly hard to stay awake until the early mornings and working on my brand. Whether it’s creating a design, or marketing strategies: they keep me going. I’m grateful for their support.”

King feels college gave him the preparation and skill set to gain longevity in the business. He is fearless when it comes to making mistakes, instead he sees mistakes as learning opportunities and ways to improve on his skill. King has a great drive to succeed, with such a great source of support there is nothing stopping him. You can find Antonio’s Outta Sight Clothing at outtasightclo.bigcartel.com and like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/outtasightclo.

Spotlight Series: Alicia Nolen

For the first of my young entrepreneurs spotlight series, we have Alicia Nolen. This 23-year-old Riverdale, Illinois native has recently started the business “Aspirations Apparel.”  she was looking to make something suitable for men and women alike. “I wanted to create something simple and positive; but also affordable.” Since the kickoff of the company on Thanksgiving 2016, there has been quite a buzz.

Alicia has always been very artsy. Not only does she do graphic design but she was a dancer for the Sankofa Dance Troupe, and a percussionist throughout elementary and high school. She even created her own MySpace and Tagged layouts back in the day! While most of us were scrolling through websites trying to pick the perfect one, she made her own perfect layout. “I’ve always been an extremely creative person, but was too shy to actually pursue my aspirations.”  She double majored in Computer Graphic Design with a track in Print Media and Public Relations & Marketing with a track in Business Marketing while a student at Ashford university. With such a strong background, Alicia is destined for success. She also runs a graphic design business, Nolen Designs. With this she creates logos, business cards, websites, and more.

“What’s stopping me?” That’s what Alicia uses for motivation. With solid education, and a good following thus far, there is nothing stopping her. She possess the drive and motivation and is striving for greatness. She is very family oriented, stating her mom, grandmother, and dad as her biggest influences to succeed.

“In time, and once I am a little more active in the world, I plan on putting on or sponsoring events targeting school children or at risk youth, where I can donate items in need or have a drive, not just the clothing. Thankfully, I have made amazing college friends who are actively working in various communities with the at risk youth and in the school system. I want the apparel in part to show unity and uplifting of one another. Something different from all of the other small clothing and hat businesses. I want to make a difference. I know that things take time and I can be a bit ahead of myself. But nothing comes to the one who plays it safe, its okay to be a risk taker. Going for it with all of my faith and pride is the only way I know how. Its gotten me this far and I am doing great!”

With that being said, let’s support Alica Nolen and her visionary business, Aspiration Apparel. It is not just another business, yet a business with a purpose, vision, and long-term goal. Cheers to you Alicia Nolen! You can find her merchandise at http://www.aspirationsapparel.com and like her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/aspirationsapparel/.