Q & A – Instagram Edition Pt. II

Hey boos! I see a lot of new faces on here + it has been a minute since I dedicated a post to my most asked questions so here we go 🙂

  1. Any tips on creating content on a budget?
    • This is tricky! Curating a photo can be multi-layered. This can all depend on location, outfit, props, etc. If you are wanting to shoot at a botanical garden, state park, museum, etc these locations all cost money, not just for your own entrance fee but your photographers as well. So in terms of location, try to stick to public places like the beach, down town area, and even your home. For outfits, if you are not gifted certain pieces, thrifting will be your best bet. I have posted photos in entirely thrifted pieces from head to toe where I spent anywhere from $10-$40. Now if you use props in your shots, which I do almost 100% of the time, flowers are my go-to. Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, and Whole Foods carry my fave kinds of flowers for a decent price (depending on the week). But many times you can find props laying around the house and just incorporate them into your shots as you see fit.
  2. What is the biggest surprise in your transition into blogging full-time?
    • I would have to say, the struggle lies in the actual adjustment of schedules and time management. Before, when I was working full-time in the office, I knew I would only have the 6pm-12am time slot to work on my blog/IG. But now, as “more” time is available, I am finding myself still cramming everything into a small window of time as I am picking up more work on this end. Before there was some sort of structure there, though chaotic, it somehow worked. So, I am trying to fine tune a new schedule that works for me and that all begins with practicing good habits so that they eventually become routine.
  3. What advice would you give to someone who is trying to gain a bigger but yet organic and authentic audience on IG?
    • Now, I think this can vary depending on who you are asking. And this is because there are several routes to take. And by no means am I throwing shade to those who do the following techniques, but I’m just stating what I’ve seen be done. So in order to build an organic following, you want to refrain from joining any “course” that promises quick growth. Although, you may gain authentic followers, the way in which they advise you to do so, most likely won’t be organic. Because in my eyes, organic growth happens over time and not overnight or in a matter of a few weeks. Also, from what I’m hearing, these techniques can be flagged by IG which can effect your overall reach. In terms of authentic followers, do not succumb to the pressures or even curiosity of buying fake followers. I know SOOO many people do it, but like…it is SOOO obvious. And I have IG friends who have confided in me that they do this only because “desperate times call for desperate measures” and I can totally understand the frustrations of not growing, but I personally could not go about my day knowing I am making moves that have challenged my integrity. I also think there is a different sense of pride knowing you built your community solely through your hard work vs. through sus means.  So, the simple answer here…is literally just do you. Speak on issues that matter to YOU, create content that excites YOU, and by being your true + raw authentic self, people will take notice. Utilize your stories to help your audience get a glimpse into your every day non-curated life. Relatability means a lot to people! I like to ask myself, “am I the same person online than I am in real life?” If I feel I posted something that does not match 100% to who I am, I delete it. This has been key for me in my growth. In addition to authenticity, I love to focus on community. I want to get to know my followers and the only way I can do that, is through engagement. Are you taking the time to make real connections with others? Also, I listen to what my audience likes, if they ask for more at home shoots, I try to throw a few in there to show their suggestions are being heard.
  4. How do you stay inspired/creative?
    • I am naturally drawn to aesthetics. I love to look at content that makes me feeeel a type of way. And usually that is through pretty, thought out, photos. Yes, I love seeing bomb ass outfits, but what else can the photo give me? I want to leave looking at a photo feeling something stronger. So, that emotional aspect of it, is something I try to take with me in curating my own content. And this is not to say, I am successful each time. In fact, there are many photos of mine which will never see the light of day (or I wished never saw the light of day), because I didn’t/don’t feel any type of way while looking at it. It can be hard to conceptualize a shoot and go in thinking it’s going to be amazing, but during post-production, simply hating it. So I think what keeps me inspired, is creating and figuring ways that give me opportunity to feel less of those shitty days. I want every single photo of mine to spark something within me. So the more I am able to pull within myself and up my game more and more each and every time, the stronger collectively my work will be. I also like to analyze my feed as a means of surveying. What am I seeing too often? What am I not seeing enough? Which photos spark joy and which don’t? Whatever data I am able to pull from that, I can then go into Pinterest, IG, the outdoors etc., and try to locate those answers. Also, taking a break from posting, can also give me a fresh perspective on the direction I’d like to take for future shoots.
  5. How do you balance being so active on your social media and being present in your real life?
    • THIS IS TOUGH! I feel like the two go hand and hand at this point but that is partially because I have always been this way! Ever since I can remember, my friends and family HATED that I had to take photos of everything! But, I’d always found joy in documenting my life. So now that social media is actually a thing, I don’t necessarily find it to be any different? I know this sounds bad but I don’t look at it as an inconvenience to whatever my day to day is. But I also think this is because of who I am. If I’m having a shitty day, I am able to talk about it and share what that looks like. No make up, greasy ass hair, etc. But I know of friends, who can’t do that! They feel they have to “show up” for Instagram, make up, cheerful attitude, the whole 9.  So it can be hard for me personally to draw that line, because I can easily watch a movie with bae, take a quick video while slumped on the couch, post it, and keep watching. But what I did in Europe to try to remain as present as possible was saving all my videos until later that day, so I wasn’t spending that time while out adventuring. But again, this is a work in progress for me!
  6. How do you get such great engagement on your posts? 
    • Well, right now I am currently shadow banned so meh, it’s been hard out here for a sis!! HAHA. But overall, I have to owe it all to the community I have been blessed with! I think the amount of time I have put into getting to know my audience, and the friendships I have built has been reciprocated in so many ways, one being through engagement. For me, there is this sort of loyalty to each other so when we post, so we just naturally want to support and engage. And I truly think that has been the case for me.
  7. I’m a smaller account and larger accounts have directly copied my content, any advice?
    • UGH, if I had a dollar for every time this has happened to me (massive ass eye roll). So I know there is this notion that ideas are not owned and we all pull inspo from each other at some point and I get that! However, it can feel like a robbery when all the time, effort, energy it takes to curate one post, can literally be “taken” for lack of better word and treated as though it were an original concept. Because as content curators our work is essentially public, we are not really protected against this. So the only thing I can suggest doing, is finding it within yourself to some how shake it off. It’ll suck, it’ll sting, it really makes you question the integrity of others, but unfortunately this is a risk all creators take by putting their work out for the world to see. It is almost inevitable. But what is most important to remember is that people can copy your recipe, but YOU ARE THE SECRET SAUCE 🙂
  8. When it comes to blogging, what is your biggest fear and what’s your advice to fight it?
    • My biggest fear is that I am not touching on topics that resonate with people. If y’all notice, often times I don’t talk about very blogger-esque topics because simply other things interest me. I’ve found myself wondering if people even care what I’m writing about but then I have to remind myself that I am not creating content to conform, I am creating because I have a passion for whatever it is I’m putting out. So in my case, remembering that as long as I am loving what I’m doing, the rest will follow.
  9. If you knew something when you started your IG journey that you know now, what would you do differently? 
    • I would have cut off toxic, half-assed support earlier on. When you start a small business, you have a lot of skepticism around it. And in the beginning, I went through several months where I struggled maintaining “friendships” that I knew were not supportive but I stuck around anyway because #loyalty. But I realized, life is too short to surround yourself that with type of energy. Life requires you to level up and if my circle is not vibrating to that same frequency, girl, bye! The time and guilt I spent/felt by ending those friendships were yes, worth it in the long run but in retrospect, it would have been healthier for me to just act on those red flags earlier on.
  10. What does your BTS actually look like, if you could paint the picture for us. 
    • AH!! So usually the real BTS takes hours and this is because my posts are all for the most part… fully curated. We start off heading to the store to pick up our props, then we head to our location. Thing is, our location, is usually a longer road trip away, HA! So once we are there, I quickly change into my outfit, we have Troy (our dog) in his stroller chilling on the side of us, and we location scout. Once we have our exact location, I have bae stand in my desired spot, and then we add in the props. Usually the weather is against us, so many times we both are just standing idle until the wind passes. Usually I try 10-20 different poses. Often times after 20 minutes, Troy starts to bark and the embarrassment begins, LOL. Half of my shots are me telling or yelling at  Troy, “almost done, Bubba, just a few more!!” We normally take a break for me to review the photos and if none are to my liking, bae knows the pressure is on, because I can get impatient AF! Our roles are like reversed: he’s the one telling me we need to shoot more, and I’m the one who’s like, “K, lets go!” HAHA. Depending if the photo is due that day, we either edit straight after in the car for posting or we narrow down our selects so once we arrive back home, the post production part is not as long.

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Ah, soooo I know this is long (let’s be honest, when are my posts ever short?) but I tried to be thorough AF. Or if you’re just a metiche like me, hope you enjoyed the tea! XO 

 

How to Make the Leap and Transition Into Full-Time Blogging

I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I AM WRITING THIS PIECE!! AHH, WHAT A DREAM COME TRUE!

So before I proceed, I just have to say, THANK YOU to every single one of you for making this new chapter in my life possible! As y’all have probably noticed, my blog posts have been brought to a minimum in the past couple of months but that is because I’ve been working my bootayyy off in other realms to ensure this plan of mine panned out. Eek, still feels surreal!

MY JOURNEY:

So, lets go back 4 years ago (senior yr of college). I remember seconds before walking the stage, I said to myself, “I have no idea what the hell the next 4 years hold, but let’s effing gooooo” and moments later walked that stage with so much faith and happiness. But once the euphoria settled, I found myself job searching and unemployed in a coffee shop one week later. For those 8 long hours, I remember casually scrolling through my social media and seeing what felt like 95% of all my peers post offer letters to their first big-girl job! I was #Jelly . WHAT THE HELL WAS I GOING TO DO?!

All throughout college, I held internships at some of my dream companies, but 0 full-time offers were made. I studied sociology and communication and had a focus in broadcast journalism. My passions lied specifically in sports broadcasting and entertainment reporting. And although I loved my university, I realized early on that my school did not provide the same resources or tools to those pursuing this specificity among the communication major than they did per say, those pursuing marketing or sales. So although discouraged, I had to remind myself that this was the not so traditional career path I decided to pursue.

One month later, I was working at my dream network! I was ecstatic! BUTTTT, as most of my friends were beginning their careers making 65K +, I was damn near surviving. I had to pick up two other jobs to live close to comfortably. WHAT HAVE I DONE?

But again, this was my passion. I was well aware it would take YEARS before I was making anything close to that and even longer before I was in placed in front of the camera…but it felt worth it to me! I wanted to give people an escape from all the ugliness going on in the world. I wanted to connect and engage with an audience, as I had in my college work. But as entry level as I was, those desires were obviously not being fulfilled. I felt so much fire and passion but had the inability to channel that energy.

SO I had an epiphany. Clearly, my energy was being misplaced. If the industry was not going to pave the way for me, I HAD to CREATE one for myself.

AND THIS IS WHERE THE JOURNEY TO THE UNTRADITIONAL ROUTE BEGAN.

After two years in the entertainment industry, I realized I could still work towards all those goals of connecting and “broadcasting” certain messages but through a different way. And in all honesty, a girl had to survive. I remember my mom telling me to think long term. She said, “although I know this is what you want to do, you are barely affording rent. Maybe you have to put your dream on hold and work in a higher paying industry for the time being.” And I remembered those words pained me. But through a shift of perspective, I realized I could still fulfill all those things but on a much micro level. I then had the idea of a podcast. I could still work a BS decent paying day job but have the ability to pour my passions into something I believed in after the 9-5. And that’s exactly what I did. Luckily at that time, my then bf had all the equipment to begin one. But life happened, shortly after, we broke-up and boom, here I was, sitting in an office cubicle, working in an industry that was so far removed from what I studied, left with with that same unfulfilled passion taunting me.

NOW WHAT? WHAT CAN I DO RIGHT NOW TO CHANNEL MY PASSIONS AND TRUTH?

In that exact time, my dad unexpectedly passed away and I was left with this massive hole. My education and career meant everything to my dad. But here I was chasing this dream that felt unattainable, but even worse, working in an environment I loathed. At this point, I felt like an absolute failure. Now, several years out of college, I was not happy, not fulfilled, unsure of my career path, all while seeing my college buddies living their best lives, most in managerial positions within their companies, and not to mention…making the type of bank I could only dream of! Where did I go wrong? Did my decision to follow my dreams actually screw me over in the long term? Should I have just succumbed to a field that I hated from the beginning to at least propel me in any sort of direction professionally? I KNEW I WAS DESTINED FOR MORE, UGH!

These are questions I also projected onto my family and friends. My best friend was the person who nudged me. She said “you continuously asking all these questions will not get you anywhere. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.”

That next week, alllthatjas.com (this blog) was born. The day I finally began drafting my very first blog post, this feeling of overwhelming peace flushed over me. It almost felt like this was God’s and the universe’s way of saying, “I GOT CHU.” And even though, I was writing to my 1k family and friends on social media, that ability to FINALLY speak and channel all those years of pent of energies, was the most liberating feeling I had felt to that date.

Ugh, I remember sharing my post to my co-worker in that office and she said, “whoa, I’m actually really excited for you and want to read more, do you have any more content?!” And in that moment, I realized that exchange alone was the type of connection, I’d been longing for.

For that next year, I continued to share myself with my 1k audience. It was my only form on expression in a very monotonous unfulfilling corporate world. There were countless amount of days where I would look around the office thinking, “so many of us are working tirelessly towards a goal that isn’t our own!” Yes, we were crunching numbers every day, doing what we were told to do, but were any of us even fulfilled or most importantly happy?!

And although we saw our parents work these jobs, following the American way, by which if you work hard, you will then in turn have equal opportunity to become successful, did that mean we too had to follow this?

My personal beliefs led me to believe that the answer was a huge, fat, NO! Just because we are raised in cultures that teach us we must conform to a certain way of living, does not mean we have to continue in live in such a damaging vortex.

And every morning, I would read the following quote by Steve Jobs and remind myself that this was only temporary. A more fulfilling life lied ahead…

“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world.

Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life.

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” – Steve Jobs 

Every morning I felt inspired by his words to make something of myself, because that to me was the only way to get out of a world I hated so much.

Once bae and I began dating, I shared my dreams with him of one day, being able to work for myself and give 100% of me to issues and content that were actually fulfilling. (You can read how we began our journey in depth here: How to *Honestly* Balance the 9-5 With a Side Hustle ).

Ah, one year later, here we are. I’ve connected with so many souls and it all started here…sharing my unfiltered voice and experiences with the world.  This was what I was aiming to do… my entire life! This is where I am meant to be! I love it with my entire heart and soul!

THE DECISION

A few months ago, I realized I had come to the point where I just had to make that leap of faith and decide what I wanted for my life. I just felt like I was living a lie. I’m going into a space where even though I was physically present, my heart and soul were else where. I, day in and day out had this tugging on my heart which kept leading me back to this…my platform. HOLY CRAP, CAN I ACTUALLY DO THIS FULL-TIME? CAN I LET GO OF THE STABILITY OF THE FAMILIAR AND EMBRACE THE UNKNOWN?!

QUEUE THE ANXIETY, Y’ALL!

I had toyed around with this idea for years really, if you think about it, but naturally we are all wired to go with what feels safe. But remember y’all, “safe” can actually be detrimental. After all these struggling years, my mom understood my decision and that meant everything to me! And I’m sure if my dad were still here, he would too!

So I went in with the confidence in my abilities and self to be up front with my employer and ask for their support during this time. I honestly was a mess, as I thought they would laugh in my face and close the door on me. But, I feel they entirely blessed that they gave me the opportunity to transition out, so this is where we are at.

I seriously can’t believe I am manifesting all that I’ve ever dreamt about! I wanted that connection, that ability to channel my energies to what mattered to me, and no longer submit to a work culture that I felt was damaging on the human soul.

SO THE HOW:

*And this will look different for everyone*

  1. DOES THIS WORK SET YOUR SOUL ON FIRE?!
    • Yes, it mostly stems as a hobby, but make sure this is what brings you joy and fulfillment. If you can picture doing this for many many many more years to come, that is telling the longevity of your passion.
  2. TRUST IN YOUR ABILITIES TO SUCCEED:
    • Believe in thy self, sis! Have the understanding that you are a powerful force. You have the ability to manifest literally any single thing you envision for your life. Be your #1 fan! Know in your heart that you were created for something greater, now it is just your job to unfold what that looks like.
  3. REVISIT YOUR RATES:
    • If you have not already, create a media kit! This is where you pitch your rates to brands. But if you are thinking of transitioning into full-time blogging, you most likely will have to adjust your rates to your needs.
    • Calculate how many collaborations you would need to match your current salary or at least what could get you by.
  4. BE WILLING TO SACRIFICE: 
    • If your job does not support you in this decision, are you willing to leave the stability of your bi-weekly paycheck and pick up random gigs across the city?
    • Are you willing to be open to the uncertainties and judgements that come along with self-employment?
  5. HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND:
    • If shit hits the fan and blogging is slow for an entire month, would you be able to still pay the bills?!
    • I’ve read that having 3 months worth of funds is a good place to start thinking about this.
  6. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO WHOLEHEARTEDLY BELIEVE IN YOU. 
    • We only got time for those who see our greatest potential. Half ass energy and support is a definite NOOO at this stage. If this means to cut your circle in half, by all means!
  7. HAVE DISCIPLINE!
    • This is no longer a hobby, boo! This is your livelihood! Nourish it, give it more life every single day, and in this way, I truly believe it’ll give you that and then some long term!
  8. UNDERSTAND THAT IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN?!
    • If you have a dream but you are allowing your fears, anxieties, family, friends, etc. etc. to hold you back, you will NEVER propel to where you were meant to be. There will be never be a “right” time. Ask yourself, “if I died tomorrow, could I look back and see that I was in pursuit of the life I had envisioned for myself?” JUST DO IT, BOO!

AHH, so I know this was long AF so kuddos if you are still here! I just know there are so many of us out there waiting on some sort of sign. If you are reading this and need the nudge to take your life to the next level, LET THIS BE IT! Trust me y’all! This is scary as hell for me, but I am so damn proud and grateful that I am manifesting all that I have struggled for and dreamt of. All those years of unfulfilment, feelings of inadequacy, defeat, comparison, dun, dun, dun…..SHE HAS FINALLY ARRIVED! I think it’s sooooo important to realize this is YOUR LIFE! There is no right way of going about it! Your path may look different than every single one around you, but sis, (or bro- lol), live your best life, #noragrets!

I love you all and THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for letting me live out my wildest dreams!!!! XOXO, Jas ❤

 

How to *Honestly* Balance the 9-5 With a Side Hustle

As y’all know, ya girl is tired! HA. Working that 9-5, weekends, nights, and every hour in between ain’t easy!

…And whoever told ya it was, they’re lying! HA. In fact, I like to call it, one big, fat, messy, juggling act.

Like many of us, I initially created this space as an expressive outlet, a passion project, per se, to wind down after the 9-5. I knew “the dream” of building an online community and meaningful presence one day would require tons of sacrifice…  but dang, I really had no idea what that would eventually look like! And I think so many of us go into this blindly because we don’t actually have a frame of reference. We see these “glamorous” lifestyles of those in the influencer world while scrolling at our cubicles and wonder if we are destined for something greater. Blogging and IG gave me the freedom to explore those big questions and I am so entirely grateful. TIRED. BUT GRATEFUL. BUT I REPEAT, TIRED! HA..

At the end of the day, I DID ASK FOR THIS, we all did by signing up for it BUT since all I’ve ever heard were blanket statements as to how people really do make it work, I thought I would share the truth that I wish I heard, starting out.

The statements I always hear is that “time management” & “hard work” will be the trick! And althoughhh, there is truth to this, it is not always so black and white.

IT WILL VARY… IT WILL LOOK DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE! From the start of my social media journey through hitting 10K, I was working full time in an environment that was extremely low maintenance and flexible. I had the time to work on my passions while in the office without disrupting my role within the company. In addition to the time, I also had the energy and mental capacity to continue working once I returned home. And ultimately, I was able to attain that work-life balance everyone aims for. This was not to say, that is was EASY managing both my full-time job and side hustle, BUT it wouldn’t have been fair to share with the world that “time management” was my secret sauce in balancing the two, when in reality, it was my particular circumstances that allowed me to do so.

Now a days, that is soooo not the case! My current role is completely hands on and 10000x more demanding. I do not have the time to check my phone or work on my side projects while in the office. I work M-F, and weekends, 12 hour days, long commutes, and thats just my full-time position! Blogging and IG legitimately take up every single hour in between, excluding 1am to 5am. TEAM NO SLEEP!

HOW I DO IT: HUSTLE YOUR TIRED LITTLE HEART OUT

I’ve juggled, up to 4 jobs at once in my time but never have I been more exhausted YET fulfilled in my entire life. It is such a time consuming grind but this passion of mine is legit what sets my soul on fire! When you are creating with PURPOSE, all of your energies are put forth; physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. So slap on an extra 50-60 hour work week, it is likely you got one tired being! But what has kept my spirit ALIVE is the love I have for my craft. The itch I have to create and connect with others, keeps me afloat. But I know this is not for everyone. The amount of sacrifice and dedication this juggling act takes, is insane. Free time, who?!?! HAHA.

But I know it will all be worth while! There won’t just be some late nights and early mornings, but prepare to have ALL of your nights be late, and ALL of your mornings be early. Ya girl is tired AFFFF but also sooo freaking happy that I found the path that God has chosen for me! In the beginning, I honestly had no effing idea just how much work goes into this! I mean, posting photos of yourself? How hard can that actually be? LMAO! ….HARD. When your intent is to build an authentic community on here, you have to be willing to open your entire heart and soul to the world. Not only are you aiming to create beautiful content, but you are exploring what exactly your purpose is, and what about yourself makes you stand out from the rest. Its an emotional rollercoaster at times, because these are pressing questions that may take a lifetime for some to discover. But if you know in your heart, this is the path that makes you happy, liberated, excited, challenged, etc etc, you must go after it! And with force, tenacity, faith, and purpose! YOU WILL BE TIRED, IT WILL NOT BE EASY, BUT IF YOU WANT IT BAD ENOUGH, YOU WILL WORK TOWARDS THE BIGGER PICTURE.

WHAT IS THE BIGGER PICTURE?

Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted a platform that served. I wanted to share my voice with the world. In those days, when I say voice, I actually mean, my vocal talents. My dad was a musician and his love for music had evidently passed onto me. As a baby, I would rehearse songs, before I could even make out full sentences. Up until college, this is what I knew for sure. I wanted to spread joy through my soulful sounds. But as college gave me other avenues to explore, my passion shifted into Sports and Entertainment Broadcasting. I fell in love with the idea of spreading relief from all of the ugliness in the world. But as I was finding my way in that industry, my morale suffered. That industry was a beast in itself. It wasn’t really what you knew, but who you knew.  Although, I was working for a large network, the ability to move up the ranks seemed utterly impossible. What was the use of having so much passion for a field, and the desire to share my knowledge with others, when the accessibility to do so was so slim. Rejection offer after rejection offer, it came to a point where I said, “if I can’t find my way in, I will make a way of my own.” And THIS is where my life AND perspective shifted. I already had a following on social media, how about, I create a sports/entertainment podcast from my home studio? I had the necessary equipment but, as I was drafting ideas, my life was shook TF up by a dramatic break up. So, once the dust settled, I began a new chapter of my life, singlehood! Fast forward a couple of months later and then my dad passes away. It was a crazy ass time. As a way of coping, I began journaling my experiences. After some push from my best friend, I finally channeled those thoughts onto WordPress AKA this blog! At the time, I had no idea if anyone would even care what I had to say. Ah, two years later, here we are! I’ve connected with so many souls and it all started here. ..sharing my unfiltered voice and experiences with the world.  This was what I was aiming to do… my entire life! This is where I am meant to be! I love it with my entire heart and soul! So long story long, my big picture, is to be able to do this full-time and inspire/connect with as many souls as possible! Until then…

CORPORATE WORLD-BY DAY

When I say, I have the best tribe out there, I truly mean it! I hear my phone buzz every few minutes and there is like this innate urge to want to respond and connect with every single message in that exact moment. But in my current workspace, 9/10 times that’s just not possible, UGH! This legit eats at me throughout the day. Ever since I was young, I’ve been notorious for “socializing” too much and like, not responding to my peeps in those moments, makes me feel just gross, HA!

During the few free moments I have while in the office, AKA water breaks, restroom breaks, etc. I’m like a ninja. It’s almost a game of mine, at this point. How many messages can I get to in the 1 minute walk to the restroom? How many comments can I respond to while sitting down on the toilet? How many emails can I sort through while buying food for lunch?

Once the work day is over, and after the almost 2 hour commute home, the real work begins.

From 6:30pm-1am is work mode.

BLOGGER-BY NIGHT

There are so many nights, where the work day has physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually depleted my energies. Some nights, all I want to do is Netflix & Chill with my little family or legit just knock out. But I understand, that is no longer an option. If I want to live out this dream as much as I say I do, I need to put in the work. But again, this is not to say, “time management will be key” but more like, “be prepared to spend every waking hour, grinding towards your dream!”

Once I walk through that door, I change hats and begin the blog grind. Dinner is usually eaten with both my laptop and phone in hand. Many times, if bae and I know we are crunched for time and especially if a post is due at a certain time that evening, dinner is often pushed to the side lines.

I usually schedule out my posts for the week, but this can vary depending on the commute home, brand approvals, etc.

Lets say a post of mine is scheduled for tonight at 8pm. All day, bae and I are sending edits of the photo back and forth. Once, I am home at 6:30, I finally get the chance to truly connect with y’all! In the midst of this, we are sometimes, frantically getting the post ready.

Once the post goes live, I reply to DMs & comments/working on a blog post until usually midnight. From midnight until 1am, I am responding to emails and/or bae and I are planning our next shoot.

In an industry where, lighting and looking glam is everything (well not everything but uber important) shooting after work, post sunset and/or when you look entirely wrecked after a long day, is not really an ideal situation. And this is not to say, many of us don’t find ways to shoot M-F buttttt again, it’s not ideal.

SOME WAYS THAT WE HAVE SHOT DURING THE WEEK:

+ Take note of when your office will be having early closures. Mine usually has one 1x a month so its not common but when they do, I try to schedule one massive shoot before sundown.

+Transition into shooting indoors. Again, the lighting or lack thereof, can be an issue here but I would suggest either purchasing professional lighting equipment for your house or shoot first thing in the AM.  For our recent Valentine’s Day Shoot, we did just this. Since bae and I both work long days, we were  not able to style this shoot until 9PM. We finished setting up at 1AM. 4 hours of ballon blowing, measurements of the roses, taping, light testing, etc. Since it was getting late, we decided to leave everything on the bed, sleep on the couch and shoot before we left for work in the morning. Needless to say, we only slept a few hours in order to get the shot in time! LOL, the full time struggs!

So again, it is doable but if you are a full-timer, weekends will mean everything!

WEEKENDS

I usually work every Saturday so yet again, my weekends are limited… but I try to schedule my shoots for the weekend on Friday evening. Depending on how many collabs I have to shoot, I either split my outfits between the two days or solely shoot them all on one. I try my best to give myself one full day of “rest” but working Saturdays, kind of eliminates that option. Sundays are usually the day, we wake up early, location scout, shoot, edit, and post in the evening. And the process begins again for the week.

LEARNING WHEN TO SAY NO AND REST

UGH! So although, the hustle is real! So is fatigue and burnout! I’m really the last person who should be giving advice about this but I am here to tell y’all that I’ve FELTTTT the repercussions of not properly doing this. It can actually be really scary, how quickly your body and mental health can deteriorate. I see it like this; if you are constantly “producing” and “creating” you are pouring a bit of yourself each and every time. But if you are not watering the pot, nourishing it with Vitamin Sleep, soon enough, it’ll leave you dry. Dry of creativity, motivation, etc etc. We are NOT machines that just “do,” we are physical beings that require regeneration. And I, along with many others, associate rest with unproductiveness, especially when we have a lot on our plate, but this is the biggest fallacy. When I actually force myself to stay home and rest, (yes I say force) I legit feel lighter. I feel refreshed. And just inspired AF. So rest thy body, sis!

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So, do I have this bullet point list on what you can do to juggle both? NOPE. Because it will vary on a case by case basis. And I’m still trying to figure it out. SOME WILL HAVE IT EASIER THAN OTHERS! SO DON’T GET WRAPPED UP IN THE COMPARISON GAME. Your productivity does not determine your worth! And for a long time, this “balance” may not be ideal, hell, there might not even be real balance at all…but I’d like to think, this is a work in progress. What I can say is that, though, this will take so much sacrifice, if you give this every single thing you have, it WILL all be worth it! I just know it! So, whatever it is that you’re in pursuit of, manifest that sh*t every single day and watch it unfold! OKURRR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q & A – Instagram Edition

Hi guys! Long time no talk, ha! So, I’ve compiled a list of my most asked questions as of recently from my IG and thought I’d answer em’ in an easy read blog post!

  1. Q: How do you plan a curated feed?
    • A: I use the app called, “UNUM” It gives you a look of what your feed currently looks like plus a preview of what it would all look like with whatever photo you’re looking to upload next. Plus, I edit all of my photos with the same style of editing on Adobe Lightroom.
  2. Q: What are you hoping to achieve with your personal brand?
    • A: For right now, I hope to create beautiful photos that tell a story. I hope to continue to inspire women to be their bad ass, fierce, confident selves, but also to come together to create the better good in society. Whether that be, helping a stranger in need, speaking up on issues that are important, and/or not being afraid to put you and your mental health first! As I grow with my audience, I hope to create presets and possibly workshops/meet-ups for aspiring bloggers.
  3. Q: Do you ever get body shamed? If so, what do you do to forget the haters?
    • A: Not really in my adult life, but growing up, I would get dumped on for how my body looked! I was called, “cottage cheese legs”, “wide-load”, “corn-bred fed” throughout my time in school. It happened so frequently that I had a talk with my parents. They advised me that in this life, we are giving one body and we have the choice of loving or hating it. Through my practice with self-love, I realized these people were the problem and not my body! I felt empowered knowing this and am very comfortable in my own skin, today! However, just recently I received a comment on IG from another blogger that read, “You are the most beautiful big-skinny girl, I’ve ever seen!!” Now, part of me, was like, whoa! Although, maybe a compliment?? – it came off as icky. But at the end of the day, no matter what people intentionally or unintentionally say, you are the only person living in your body so might as well love it!
  4. Q: Do you connect IRL with many creatives? If so, how do you find them?
    • A: Yes, I actually have! In fact, I’ve made really strong friendships with a number of them! About 6 months ago, I mustered up the courage to host a meet up with some babes I know solely through IG. It went so well that now we talk everyday and are meeting up again this weekend, actually! Since then, I’ve met up AND collaborated with so many others and I think the most useful tool in doing this is your DMs! I heard a podcast that said, “Your DM portal is your magic potion!” You can literally create such strong connections  every single day with complete strangers by simply reaching out and complimenting someone’s feed, recent post, outfit, whatever it may be!
  5. Q: What inspires you to create?
    • A: For me, I get inspired by so so much! I’ve always been more of a visual learner and in my adult life, aesthetics really draw me in. I feel a mood whenever I see something that captures my attention. And this tingly- weird awe-inspired feeling is something I try to bring to my own content. I want to tell a story of some sorts: I want to make the seemingly ordinary look extraordinary, lighting up whatever random corner I’m shooting at. Most importantly, I don’t just want people to look at my content, I want them to FEEL something after looking away.
  6.  Q: Tips on posing and shooting locations?!
    • A: I try my best to scout locations ahead of time. Whether that means: I take a mental note of a cute area I see on my way home from work, or visiting a popular tourist site, or even hashtagging my city and going through recent posts of other IG users to get location inspo. However, there are other times that we just wing it, pick a random neighborhood, and drive around and around until somewhere speaks out to us. As for posing, I try to stand tall and confident in whatever movement I make. I like to go for more action motions such as: walking, arms swaying, dress in the wind, that sort of stuff. But do whatever feels most comfortable for you! If you are a hand on the hip, head tilted a bit, cheesy smile gal- you do the damn thang, boo!
  7. Q: Do you plan your outfits for the location?
    • A: Typically, yes! Like I said, I like to set a mood. So if I am doing a shoot with plants, I will go for animal print or something that is in the same palette. Also, I think you should go based off of your feed! If your tones are more warm like mine, I like to stick to neutral colored items but if its more cooler, than maybe whites, tans, black. Or I’ve seen some really colorful feeds, so likely brighter pieces will fit better. But the great thing about creating is that you can take a completely diff spin on what you’re comfortable wearing and switch it up every now and again!
  8. Q: How do you stay consistent with posting content?
    • A: This is actually a very complex question for me. I used to post on IG, 4 times a week, no matter what! I was on turbo mode and made sure shooting was of top priority. It wasn’t until I sprained my ankle when the universe sent me the unfriendly reminder that it will not always work alongside your preferred schedule. I legit could not walk for almost 2.5 weeks. I was miserable! I felt as though someone was suffocating my creativity and just sitting at home made me feel as though I was not bringing value to the world. I even tried to force myself to shoot, crying in pain on the way to our location, yet smizing for the shot, but what that actually did was exacerbate the injury and leave me with a photo where I looked pained. But as time passed, I accepted what was. But I was nervous, tbh! On this platform, you’re expected to create to remain “relevant” as sad as that sounds but more so, there are so many people looking forward to your content. I decided to be transparent with my followers and made it known the content would be slowed down for a while. Personally, I know of a lot of people who share “filler photos” or throwbacks consistently but I wanted to be true to my situation and honestly listen to my faith and the universe that maybe…just maybe I needed to slow down. Now that I’m finally healed (from my ankle, HA) life has given me a bit of a window to create more content again, so I do what I can for now. I try to make shooting a priority but I realize life will get in the way sometimes and we have to take care of our health first and everything else second.

 

So if you’re still reading this, you da real MVP! I’m such a chismosa and LOVE reading Q&A’s so hopefully this brought some insight into who I am and most importantly, has been helpful in any way to other aspiring bloggers or influencers. XOxo

Personal Growth > Social Media Growth

The number one question I receive on social media is : “How do you suggest I best grow my following?” And there is not one simple answer to this. For me, It’s actually taken a lot of PERSONAL growth to even see a dent in my social media growth.

As many of y’all know, blogging and maintaining a social media presence…is basically a full-time job. We are expected to create quality content time and time again, which I LOVE! BUT! We all know the occasional struggle of when we pour our heart into a post, yet it does not do as well as we thought it would! It can be really, really, really discouraging at times. But then theres the other side of that too! When my content compels people to reach out to me, it is in those moments where I feel the most fulfilled. It’s like “whoa, I’m actually making some sort of impact here!” So all this to say, this industry can be an emotional rollercoaster!

And of course, as an individual trying to navigate my way through this space, my own  psyche is affected by it all. I’ve had to learn or am still learning how to be inspired by others’ content rather than intimated. I’ve had to learn how to be vulnerable with all of my followers, rather than just showing the surface level of who I am. I’ve had to shake off and/or learn from any negative comments or criticism I get on posts. And most importantly, I’ve had to gain the patience and understanding that this journey of becoming an “influencer” TAKES TIME! And the most important part of the journey (at least for me) is learning how to accept and grow as a person from all of the ebbs and flows that come our way. Back in February, right before I started to take this platform seriously, I was still very weary and unsure of my content. The numbers meant everything to me and I was heartbroken when they were not up to par. I would compare my humble ass beginnings to one of an influencer with millions of followers! But thank God as time has past, I’ve grown so much as a person and hence, that wisdom and maturity has poured over into my creative realm.

I think the most common sentiment I receive from people asking this question, is discouragement. “Why is my account not growing?! UGHH!” That question alone has the ability to make you second guess yourself and even your potential of making it on this platform. But what has helped me is shifting that question of “how do I grow my followers?” to “what do I need to do to grow as a person so that my content reflects that?”

As an example, I share with y’all these two photos.

The bottom was a girl who was shy and thus a bit uncomfortable with her photographer. I was self-conscious of what the people around me were thinking and you can see that in my pose!

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Over time, I worked through those personal flaws. You now see (in the featured photo) a confident, DFAG gal, living her best posing life. Of course there was a line of people staring at me, but oh well! In addition, you also see the strong connection and trust, I’ve built with my photographer. My personal growth blossomed and in turn, so did my creative juices.

Sooooo, if we only shift our thinking and look inwards for growth, that growth can be multiplied in our content and reach so many more people than even imagined!

I found this quote online and thought it was pretty magical:

“Dream big, develop yourself, unleash your potential, play well with others, play to your strengths, enjoy the process, share your unique gifts with the world, and grow your greatness by testing yourself, expanding yourself, learning and improving.” – Unknown

How to Host an Effective Meetup

TGIF, GUYS!! I am beyond grateful and excited to share my experience hosting my very first blogger meetup this past weekend. There was so much anxiety and anticipation for this event to run smoothly and also effectively, and let me tell you, this day went far beyond my expectations! For quite some time, I had been tossing around the idea of organizing a blogger/creatives meet up. Considering this is the industry I aspire to work in, networking and creating real life connections are so important to me. Just as in any profession, bringing together like-minded individuals not also enriches that community but also generates purpose. I wanted to share with y’all the steps I took to approach such a meetup and hopefully encourage you to facilitate one of your own 🙂

Pick a date: 

  • I wanted to choose a date that ensured optimal attendance. However, I made the rookie mistake of pushing back the meetup date every time a person could not attend the prior date. After two months of push backs, I finally made an exec decision on a date. At that point, my only option was to hope that people were able to attend. Luckily, 4 amazing ladies joined me!

Find a venue:

  • This is also a tricky decision to make because you can never be 100% sure with exactly how many people are going to attend. Even for those who confirm, usually only a fraction of them actually follow through. With this in mind, I made a cap of how many were in our reservation. Oh yeah, make a reservation! I decided on one of the most Instagrammable brunch cafes in LA:  The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker. I knew the food was yummy, their outdoor seating space was amble for a larger group, and that we would be served quickly, (ya don’t want a bunch of hungry people all together, ha!). I also made a reservation a bit earlier in the day, so we could actually talk intimately vs having to yell over the noise of a packed restaurant. The cafe was flexible with the reservation and they even allowed me to arrive a bit early to decorate our booth.

Decide on your focus of discussion:

  • Although, I wanted the conversation to feel natural, I also wanted to go beyond the surface level. Nothing too structured, but as we had bloggers, YouTubers, and a photographer in the group, I wanted everyone to share a bit of their journey, their intents, and expectations thus far. We all shared our achievements and struggles in this social media world and turns out we all had sooooo much in common. Not kidding, by the end of the day, we legit felt like a bunch of best friends. (I will touch on this a bit later.)

Prep for the event:

  • I wanted to put together fun little goody bags as a token of my appreciation for those who made it out! I went for a Breakfast at Tiffany’s teal and gold theme. I made sure everyone had fun succulent stickers, succulent notebooks (you’re not a blogger if you don’t love succulents, ha, JK) pens, and lip balm. For some reason I was more nervous of the reception of the goody bags than the actual event itself but all this to say, the girls loved them!

The day of the event:

  • Get to the venue early to make sure everything is ready
  • The morning of, send a quick reminder to all attendees with the meet up time and/or parking info.
  • Have a positive mindset that the meetup with be a success! I know for me, I had a moment of doubt right before I left; “what if no one shows up?” AHHH, but once I accepted whatever will be, will be, the day seemed to progressively get better.
  • Exchange contact information and actually keep in touch!
  • Plan for the next meet up! I wanted to gauge how well this meetup went before I planned for the next one but like half way through our breakfast, the other ladies had already suggested we meet up once a month! So that is our plan!

*I could not have asked for a better day! As different as we all were, we connected on SO many levels. I am entirely grateful for this group. Like legit, so grateful. I really did not know what to expect for this meetup but honestly, it was enriching, fun, helpful, and much much more! Xo 

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Collab with Caseapp + Giveaway

If you know me, you’d know I am on my phone and/or laptop 24/7.

On this Earth Day, I’m pretty excited to be partnered with Caseapp to give away a custom iPhone case or laptop skin on the blog!

*My phone case and laptop skin were provided by CaseApp, but all opinions are my own*

Since Caseapp has been kind enough to reach out, I’d like to share my experience with their amazing choices and built quality. Caseapp provides endless possibilities for customizations and default designs. Just like any accessory, phone cases are crucial to compliment a given outfit and make it all come together. That’s exactly why I went with a more minimalistic look and a phone case that can offer versatility.  I searched through Pinterest for inspo of potential case/skin art. For some time now, I’ve been a sucker for succulents and the power of plant therapy. I feel like plants and greenery all together really combine well to add a genuine relaxing atmosphere whether it be at the office, home or when you are out and about. Similarly, with blogging, I think it’s important to create a space where you are inspired aesthetically. My iPhone case and laptop skin channel that for me.

Now through May 11th, you can save 20% with the code JASMINVANESSA20 during checkout at caseapp.com 🙂

Also, I will be hosting a Giveaway! It is open internationally and the winner gets one free product from their site. All you have to do is comment on my latest Instagram post or in the comments below and I will randomly select the winner this upcoming Wednesday, 4/25 🙂 Goodluck, yall XO

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My One Year Blogging Anniversary

A year ago today I officially launched this blog! Ahhhh, like for real, where has the time gone? A part of me feels like I’m still so new to this whole blogosphere with so much left to learn! The other part of me feels extremely comfortable and grateful of the growth I’ve seen in my writing and creativity thus far, so much that sharing with you all has become such a normal part of my life and one of the most dearest things to me.

For several years, I had suppressed the creative side of myself because of fear of others’ opinions. It was this decision to publish Alll That Jas that gave me the liberation of putting myself out there. And although I am only beginning to do so, I feel my creative energies are slowly but surely being quenched. The original purpose of this blog was to create an expressive outlet of my own, a passion project per say, to wind down after the 9-5. But as time as passed, I realized this has become more than a passion project for me. Blogging is absolutely the highlight of my day and has grown to become a part of who I am, (I know, dramatic…but really) I legitimately find so much joy sharing content and engaging with my readers.

This year, my New Year’s Resolution is to push my boundaries. I want to utilize my social media more than ever and this blog especially by sharing relatable yet original material. And there might be times when some people may not be able to relate, but my hope is to encourage dialogue and connect with as many people from as many backgrounds as possible, because isn’t that what community is all about?

Over this past year, I’ve seen this blog grow in so many ways.  First off, it looks quite different! I spent numerous hours playing around with designs and learning how to code some of it. I’ve toyed around with what categories I’ve felt most passionate writing about and also tracked which ones seem to be the most interesting for my audience. I’ve found that in the very beginning, I was struggling with what my next post would be. I would take a while and literally sit on a post for weeks at a time. As time has passed, I’m noticing so much more ease and confidence into every post I publish. In fact, I am finding myself writing up to 3 posts at a time, scheduling which post to publish first. This past year has been a lot of trial and error but I feel extremely excited with the direction of where Alll That Jas is going.

I have so many fun ideas on where to take the blog in my second year! I plan on posting tons of new beauty, outfits, and relationship content. But I am going to ask you as an audience most importantly, what would YOU like to see more of: travel, relationship advice, beauty tips, recipes, etc? PLEASE DO LET ME KNOW 🙂 

From the bottom of my heart, I just wanted to extend my highest gratitude to every single one of you who has taken the time to read my posts. In this digital age, we are so use to instant content that sometimes reading a full article, can be tiresome…so THANK YOU for dedicating the time out of your busy schedules! Every like, every comment, every follow gives me the continued motivation to push the boundaries!

We tend to limit ourselves because of fear of critique. Many of us have self imposed this “glass ceiling” by our own expectations and comparisons of where we should be. Are you limited by your own expectations of what’s possible for you? Let’s not create this invisible barrier to success, let’s just create! Creating Alll That Jas has been the biggest gift I could give myself. Through this, I have been able to tap into a side of myself I had been longing to meet! I have connected with peers in ways, I probably would not have otherwise.

I encourage any person who has allowed fear to be the barricade to their happiness, to step outside of their comfort zone and take a risk! Lord knows it took me quiet some time to do so.

I’d like to end things with my new favorite quote, “Great things never came from comfort zones.” This is my motto moving forward! And although, I am nowhere near my dream of becoming a full-time lifestyle influencer, I will continue to find joy and growth in my blogging. Great things are ahead and I can’t wait to have you guys along with me for the ride! Xo