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 Teach Your Man to be the IG Business Partner You Deserve: Our Story

Now, although this post is geared towards bloggers/content creators, I know many people outside of this whole influencer world are curious as to how this whole thing works. So in addition to spilling the tea on how we grew my account, I also wanted to share our tips on how your S/O can also become your business partner.

So before I continue, I have to give major props to my boo for growing into a role he did not ask for. Without him, none of this would have been possible. You believed in me before I even believed in myself and for that, I love you so much! YOU DA REAL MVP, BB!

Ah, so where should we begin!?

If you’re first starting out and have no idea where to start, don’t stress, because I was there…we were there! And I’d like to preface that although I’m referring to a significant other, these tips can hold true to any helpful person in your life.

Backstory:

Prior to bae and I dating, I had been blogging for half a year but only shared my posts with my inner circle of about 1K friends and family on Instagram.

Although, my blog views were low, each post fulfilled me more and more. Especially when I would receive messages that people actually resonated with my content… OMG, the best feeling in the world! I also felt creatively liberated after suppressing this side of me for so long. But, it wasn’t easy, y’all! I was simultaneously just as nervous to really open myself up and remain vulnerable on this platform, I was so used to posting random sh*t, like the fortune in my cookie that came with my Panda Express meal, not paragraphs on (for example) my journey dealing with anxiety, and the like. So with each post, I felt my walls go down, little by little.

So after half-heartedly blogging for 6 months, I finally decided to publish one of my most proudest pieces to date, “Why it is Okay to be Single”. I figured, I needed to give this blogging thing a true shot and put my entire soul into my writing. Coincidentally, this was published just a few days before my now bf, asked me on our first date.

Well, the rest was history! We were inseparable! One of the things I was attracted to the most about him, was his genuine interest in my passions and blog! He complimented my work and it was clear, he had read a few reads! In fact, he had been a food blogger for a while so we shared that common interest.

As our time together grew, so did our mini roadtrips. And since he has an eye for photography and landscape, he had asked me to pose for the camera a few times. And although, I’ve always been photogenic, I felt so awkward and uncomfortable, LOL. This was brand spankin’ new! I did not want him seeing my bad angles, ugly outtakes, etc! But weekend after weekend, he had encouraged me to shake the shyness off.

After a few months in, I remember us having this serious conversation about my intentions surrounding the blog and online presence.

Bae had hyped me up and really gave me the pep talk I needed to hear. In sum, he laid out the facts. He believed in my content, my creative talent, and potential brand but in order to see real growth, I needed to give this my allll and actually share it with the world, (not just the 1K followers on my private IG account.)

He vowed that he would do everything in his power to help me grow! BUT DAMMMNN, WHAT A CRAZY, WILD, STRESSFUL, BEAUTIFUL, JOURNEY ITS BEEN!! (We legit had no idea what we were in for!!)

The Beginning of Our IG/Content Curation Journey:

For starters, we really had no effing clue what we were doing.

On 2.05.18 we decided to try out our first curated post! This was the day, I made my profile public and one year ago to the date, I can say that day/decision was the first day of the rest of my life. I know, sounds dramatic but its so true!

In my caption, I let my followers know the shift of purpose I’d decided to make for my platform. It was my way of 1) holding myself accountable for all I had set out to do, but also 2) alerting my peeps that things would begin to look different.

Bae and I began utilizing our road trips as mini shoots. Both of us gravitate towards aesthetic photography so we just began to take shots that felt whimsical and pleasing to the eye!

At that point, what became equally important was learning/figuring out what editing software/style we liked. Bae introduced me to Adobe Lightroom and together, we learned the ins and outs of the program. I truly believe in creating a cohesive Insta feed through your editing but, at the beginning, it’ll likely take you some time to know what that exactly will look like. You can try out cool or warm toned photos, colorful, black and white, etc. Some people buy presets from other creators to slap onto their every photo or you can go our route and create your own presets; either or!

But this photographer/subject relationship is the hardest part! At first, I felt awkward telling bae that I did not like a photo. But now, let me tell y’all, she does not hold back! Haha, ugh!

In the beginning, it’ll take you some time to develop a trusting relationship with your partner/photographer. Especially if your partner does not come from an artistic background, YOU WILL HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. DON’T ASSUME. Even though bae enjoyed taking photos before, ya girl required a whole new level of expertise! SO, YOU WILL NEED TO TEACH HIM!

If you don’t know exactly what this is: I would suggest coming up with a mood board and showing your partner. What niche are you wanting to dabble into? Fashion, Lifestyle, Beauty, Fitness, Travel, etc… the possibilities are endless and with trial and error, you will find yourself gravitating towards one over the other.

So we decided to shoot every weekend at cool locations with some cool outfits that I had in my closet. In the meantime, I began engaging with accounts I found on my explore page and tried to build relationships via DMs with other aspiring content curators/bloggers.

Almost two months later, I landed my first collab. Now, this was the dopest feeling because it made us feel like we had been doing something right.

But with this, also came the pressures to provide service/quality to brands outside of the one we were trying to build for our own.  The bar of expectations were now raised and bae felt that. (Well the relationship did! Will elaborate in a bit)

Road to 10k:

As time passed, I began connecting with soooo many like-minded people! I decided to use the same unfiltered/authentic voice that I spoke in in my blog posts but now in my work over on IG. The more I did this, the more I felt like I was resonating with others. Like actualllly making an impact in someone else’s life, no better feeling! A couple months in, (still figuring out what the heck I was doing) a girl had confided in me in that her random stumbling across my content the night before, actually saved her from hurting herself. I was taken aback. That conversation really moved me.  What good would it be to just post photos? I needed to provide real relatable substance to those who came across my content. I began to feel like this was God’s way of telling me I was heading down the right path…that this was the purpose he had intended for me to live out. That 1 heavy, genuine message, turned into at times 120+ a day. I truly felt so incredibly blessed that my words and photos actually meant something to so many souls!

BUT. All of this correspondence takes time! SOOOO MUCH TIME!

And if you’re in a relationship, this is time away from the relationship!

We struggled with finding this balance for such a long period! This, I’d say is this second hardest part about being business partners with your S/O! It’s really about finding that right balance. But in order for this to work out, your partner must be truly understanding of the hard work this whole thing takes. But in order for your partner to truly understand this world, you must introduce him to it. Show him your stats, explain the pros and cons of this industry, what your intentions are for the passion and if then your partner is willing and all in, here are…

Ways your partner can support:

  • Take his role seriously: 
    • Bae and I are celebrating today as OUR 1 year IG anniversary. The brand of “Jasmin Vanessa” has two heads behind it. He takes pride in all his efforts surrounding my IG, because he has also put his heart and soul into it! AND HE’S SEEN THE BENEFITS! We’ve been blessed enough to BOTH reap the benefits of complementary stays, dinners, amazing experiences, the opportunity to connect with so many people, creating amazing works of art, and just simply sharing each little milestone together.  If your man is talking crap about your passions, thank you, next! LOL JK… But seriously, your S/O may need some convincing, and thats totally okay! I suggest sharing your vision in its full potential! Map it out, create a powerpoint, buy him dinner on shoot days, just whatever you need to get them fully on board. Because at the end of the day, this is a career, and in just one year from now, your life may very well look 100% different! I know yours, does!
  • Research:
    • Understand the dynamics in turning your IG account into a business.
    • Read business articles, study other content curators, watch YouTube vids, etc.
  • Master an editing software:
    • + assist with edits
    • Bae and I worked together to create our own presets (which we hope to release in the near future)
  • First, learn your preferred style of photography:
    • And show him! Practice makes perfect!
  • Be your photographer.
    • THIS can be the trickiest part! We allll know how bratty we can get when we’ve been photographed in an unflattering angle! And sometimes if a friend takes a shot, we’ll joke or mask our frustration. But when it comes to family members or S/O, most of us will say it as it is. I saw a meme recently that said: *Me after my man takes my photo, “Ew, I hate this photo!!” *Him to me: “What do you want me to do about it, thats how you look!!” HAHA. Some days will be easier than others but I def think this is an art form that can take years to master. I mean it makes sense considering, we as the influencer have a creative concept in mind and we are just hoping our partner can evoke that on the other side of the lens. It really is a symbiotic relationship that requires time and patience. What has helped us is positioning bae in the perspective I’d want him to shoot me in, I take the photo on my phone and he’ll study it and then refer back to cross reference while shooting me on his camera or phone.
  • Be the listening ear you’ll need.
    • If your partner is out of the loop, the complaints or frustrations you have about this platform, will sound so ridiculous. But if your partner is as invested and knowledgeable in this as you are, they will not only be understanding but actually have the capacity to provide you insight, morale boosters, and hopefully constructive criticism.
  • Give honest feedback:
    • I am such an indecisive person but having that reassurance or difference in opinion means everything to me!
    • I live for constructive criticism. I always want to know the areas I could improve on for the next time, so having that outsider perspective can really shape and mold your brand into something even greater.
  • Assist in emailing brands:
    • Once you are at a point where you are working with brands, email correspondence can feel overwhelming. Especially when you are constantly negotiating your rates, getting campaign approvals, or just planning out your sponsored content for the month.
    • This is where you will make your money, so having your partner knowledgable in the business side of things can be a hugee help!

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Today, one year later:

02.05.19. We are still wrapping our heads around this all! Just a little over a year ago, I knew I was called to do something more. God was tugging on my heart to ACT but I was just so scared to take that next step. I almost allowed fear of critique and the unknown to block me from one of the biggest blessings God had waiting for me. I truly believe if something is tugging at your heart and it scares TF out of you, it is not random, it is what you were called to do! I am so entirely grateful for every single soul who I’ve connected with this past year. And all I can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Y’all have pushed me to become openly vulnerable, true to my authentic self, and just overall a better freaking person and I thank y’all for giving me so so much in such a short amount of time! I wake up every single day with the intent to create aesthetically pleasing content but most importantly, content that is of substance and content that will somehow shake up and challenge my little community for the better! Love y’all and thank you bae, for everything! I hope I can give just as much to y’all, as you have given me! XOXO

How Baring my Soul on Social Media Encouraged me to Seek Help

As we all know, social media has the ability to highlight only the good in life. Often times we look up to our fave influencers and fellow bloggers and ask, “how is their life so seemingly perfect?” Well, obviously, the answer is: it’s not; just people are selective with what they share. Even before taking social media seriously, I’ve always tended to be an oversharer with the friends who followed me; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

But this year, as I noticed my following beginning to grow, I made that same vow with my new followers. And as I remained transparent, I think I was able to build trust within the community I was striving to grow. As time went on, I noticed an increasing amount of messages re life struggles: anything from work, to relationships, social media, confidence, mental health etc. I’m talking anywhere from 15 messages to 125 a day! With every response, I try to use my own experiences as reference. But as the inquiries rolled in, the more they made me evaluate my own life.

The past two months, have felt really heavy for me. Nothing in my life was really making sense. So many random injuries, health issues, career concerns, and just what seemed like an endless laundry list of unfortunate events came at me all at once. I felt completely lost and as though everything was spiring out of my control. I did not feel optimal anymore. I was down and out, y’all! So, with everything going on, I was presented the opportunity of mindfulness classes aka a form of therapy. I was told that with the heavy demands of the 9-5, my social media, my family, and just the usual adulting responsibilities, I had not made myself a priority anymore.

And let me tell y’all, I was conflicted. One side of me, thought, “Ugh, I don’t have the energy to set aside for this.” And the other side, had a self-realization. In order for me to be truly authentic to myself and thus my followers, I had to hit the pause button and really dive deep into the chaos. I had to love myself enough by taking that time to explore all of these new emotions and most importantly, care after my mental health. For so long, I was doing and not sitting still to simply be. I felt like a machine conditioned to just produce, yet I did not take the time to check in with myself, especially among the uncertainty.

These classes have been SUCH a blessing. I was able to really tap into myself: my thoughts, my feelings, my actions, and learn little by little how to live in my breath, live in the moment, vs tackling of all the issues presented at once. I went in as a ball of anxiety, but I truly feel things have come full circle for me and I’ve found clarity in a sense. I also learned how to successfully meditate and relax my body, which is HUGE for me! And the most rewarding thing of it all is that these classes gave me courage to speak up on my truth and encourage others to get the extra TLC they need!

So in short, through connecting with so many of y’all and giving daily advice, I realized I was not practicing what I was preaching. Homegirl, was given a reality check! I was sharing my struggles, but not doing much about them! So, in order for me to be this “authentic” voice on social media, I had to be honest with myself in that ya girl, needed some extra loving! And remember, in order for you to be a voice for others, you must be that voice for yourself! There ain’t nothing wrong in asking for help or dedicating more time for yourself, okurrrt!

I leave y’all with these two quotes:

“I am allowed to be BOTH a work in progress AND help others grow at the same time”

& my fave….

“If you have time to feel like sh*t, complain and check social media, then you have time to meditate, write in your journal, create a list of goals, make a list of things you are grateful for and better yourself” !!! AMEN, hallelujerrr.  XO

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

Bloggers Who Inspire Me

Heller, friends! Lately, I’ve been getting a ton of questions regarding my blog and what inspires me in terms on content, social media strategy, etc., so I thought I’d highlight the women who inspire me the most.

In my opinion, each of these creators, stand out from the rest!

Tezza Barton

Image result for tezzamb

Image result for tezza nyc empire state instagram pics

@tezzamb

http://www.bytezza.com/

Tezza is by far, my go-to everythanggg inspo account! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times over, SHE IS A CREATIVE MUSE! Literally an icon in the making! Tezza & her photographer hubs, can literally make any backdrop come alive! Whether she is frolicking through European flower fields or just chillen’ in the streets of NYC, every single photo is curated with so much TLC! Her props are amaze, her outfits are amaze, and her overall gift of creating is INSANE!

 

Alyssa Bossio

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@effortlyss

http://effortlyss.com/

Alyssa is truly a gem! Her cityscape shots are probably the best I’ve ever seen! She makes you want to travel to each and every place she visits! Her and her business partner, have truly inspired the wanderlust in me. She is also extremely transparent in her work and personal life, which I love. You get to know and relate to the person behind the photo, rather than just seeing her as an “influencer’.

 

Negin Mirsalehi

4.5m Followers, 462 Following, 6,506 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from Negin Mirsalehi (@negin_mirsalehi)

 

G o o d l i f e

@negin_mirsalehi

http://neginmirsalehi.com/

Negin just wins at fashion! Every single outfit is effortlessly gorgeous! For years I’ve been following her and it’s so inspiring to see her rise to the top! She campaigns for brands, you can only dream of and now has successfully launched her own business/products, #GOALS! As a woman of color, I love seeing Negin break the mold. Not to mention, she travels to the most picturesque places in the world alongside her cute lil’ family!

 

Sazan Hendrix

unsuper mommy, life tips, life advice, sazan, sazan Hendrix, happy life, life advice, Maggie combs, perfectly imperfect, beauty, self love,

 

stevie and sazan, sazan pregnany, pregnancy, gender reveal, pinterest, ideas, style, fashion, beauty, baby, news, maternity, second trimester, blog, mommy bloggers, los angeles, kurdish

@sazan

http://sazan.me/

Sazan is truly God sent! Like actually. I fell in love with her and her hubby years ago when they first decided to make a living for themselves here in LA. I mention her hubby as these two are breaths of fresh air. Sazan’s personality is by far the reason I admire her the most but her outfits are also to die for! She has the ability to make you, as the viewer, feel good. What I think separates her from a lot of influencers, is that she uses her platform to uplift and create a community of women.

 

Suzy Shattuck

@suzyshattuck

shopsuzyshattuck.com

Suzy is literally my spirit animal! She is a creative genius and lights up any corner she shoots in! Not to be dramatic, but like you want this girl as your bff! She is funny as hell and super responsive! She inspires me to push the envelop and think outside the box! She also just launched her own magical presets/workshops to help upcoming bloggers, ugh! She is for sure my daily dose of laughter and inspo!

 

Woooo! These women are continuously reminding me and millions of others that if you continue to follow your passions, they will come to life! Hope these boss babes bring you as much inspo as they do for me. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and give them a follow! XO

Being a Woman of Color In Social Media

We are almost there, guys; One more day til’ Friday, yaas! SoOo, for a while now I have been sitting on this post. I was a bit hesitant on speaking about this topic, but I decided that after all, this is my truth, so here I go…

Growing up in a multi-racial family, I’ve always felt in between, if that makes sense.

Although both of my parents immigrated from Central America, their parents were also mixed with European & Middle Eastern blood. So you can imagine the visual melting pot going on in my family tree. To spice things up even more, most of my family members have married outside of our race(s), so I knew nothing, but inclusivity in my household.

But in school, finding my “people” or those who I identified most with was much harder. In some cases, “I was too dark” to group with the Latina women, in others, I was not “Latina enough” or I got the common, “what even are you, Persian, Indian, what?”

Oh, and standardized tests were beyond frustrating! E.g.: “Please check one: White (non-Hispanic or Latino), Black, Latino, Asian, other.” By going with the most obvious, “Latino” I was then diluting my own genetic make up. And its funny too, because more often than not, once I explain what I’m mixed with, I’ve experienced people’s attempts of deciding who I was, for me. I’ve gotten, “well basically, you’re just Latina then!” And this makes you realize that there can be a disconnect between how you identify yourself and how you are identified as. 

Now, let’s talk about the media. As a young girl of color, I grew up somehow admiring and consuming all the fashion tips and latest trends from models/influencers who I could not relate to.

I did not see my brown skin on the front of magazines. I did not see women with my short stature or curvier body as the face of the latest mainstream campaign. I did not see me represented to the masses.

And I remember during the onset of Instagram & YouTube, I found myself following a bunch of pretty tall, blond hair, blue eyed women. And I still do, but I really had to dig deep to find other influencers of color. In addition to identifying with these individuals, it became extremely helpful to follow, lets say, make up tutorials/product reviews from  women with darker complexions vs those with fairer skin.

So this is where I began to think. I loved writing and sharing my own tips/photos with those around me. What if I started to document aka blog my experiences in hopes that others could relate? This was the question I asked myself for almost 6 months before I finally decided to just do it! I also remember asking myself, how would I be different? What would I bring to the table that is not already out there in the blogging world? Now, that answer came pretty quickly. I may not be the tall, blond hair, blue eyed woman I so admired growing up but instead I would be a representation of so many other women.

What I’ve learned so far, is that one of the biggest blessings in blogging is being able to represent yourself and finding confidence in that. It’s been amazing to see the influx of colored women in the social media game! I truly believe inclusiveness allows creators and their audience to build a commonality. Some of my proudest moments since launching my blog, are the times when I’ve received messages from other ladies, saying they feel represented through me in this blogging world. And it is in those moments, when I truly see the value I have brought to this platform. I may not be this macro influencer yet, but thus far I’ve realized, that by literally just embracing who you are, you can actually help others do the exact same thing. During the initial stages of my blog I was unsure of who my target audience would be. And this was because (as I’ve mentioned) I really didn’t know where I’d fit in, and maybe I still don’t, but I think people appreciate my authenticity and what makes me different.

So, in short (lmao, not really), I hope to encourage you (regardless of color, size, gender, sexuality, etc) to embrace your identity and all that comes with it… the trials & triumphs. For so long, I allowed society to tell me where I belonged. And I am so grateful for the trailblazing women who encouraged me to put myself out there because now I have the opportunity to be the representation, I longed for. Embrace your melanin, ladies!

I will leave you off on this quote by David Grohl, “No one is you and that is your power.”

Xo

 

 

 

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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How to Feel Inspired When You’ve Lost Motivation

Heller, friends, Happy Thursday! I find it well suited to touch on this topic as it is one that has been so powerful in my life. Ever since I launched this blog, I’ve felt my creative juices flowing more than ever! There are days where I’ve had so many ideas for shoots and/or blog posts that I’m just like, “whoa, this is pretty bad ass”. But on the contrary, I’ve met days where literally nothing comes to mind and all inspo is lost. This feeling of being stuck is entirely frustrating because I know what I’ve been capable of creating. But its almost as if my own psyche gets in the way. This being said, I wanted to share my tips in how to feel inspired, when all motivation is lost.

  1. Channel your energy within
    • For me at least, my mind is always in a million places at once! During breakfast, I’m already thinking about what to make for dinner. If I am stressed at work, I’m thinking ahead to all that still needs to be done before the end of the week. If yet another stupid decision is made by our government, I’m already thinking of its’ repercussions. All this to say, my mind can be so hyperactive sometimes, which leaves my energies are all over the place. And when you try adding content curation to the mix, it’s obvious that the creative energies are either shot or not of quality.
    • It is in these moments where I have to acknowledge both the chaos internally and externally and simply focus within; freeing my mind of worries and opening space for the creative juices to flow in and out. You know, be in the moment!
  2. Take a Break
    • Due to the heavy demands of our day to day, by the time we sit down with the intent to create, often times we are just too exhausted to do so; creative block.  As much as I love to be productive, there are some days when, it just won’t happen. I’ve had weeks where I’ve tried to jam pack my day and almost force some sort of content to come out, but all I was doing was leaving myself discouraged. Once I accepted that I needed to just rest and pick it up another day, I then allowed myself the time to gain inspiration.
  3. Venture to a New Location
    • My room is usually my work space. A place where I am relaxed and clear minded. However, there are days where I don’t exactly feel inspired in such a familiar/quiet space. The best way to break this, is to step outside of your comfort zone and head to a new location. Whether that be a local coffee shop, nearby park, beach, museum, etc. You will be introduced to new stimuli and hopefully new inspo.
  4. Keep Your Head Up
    • Its easy to feel discouraged when you dedicate so much time into your content and it does not get the feedback you were expecting. I am so guilty of this. There was one time in particular where my stats were so low that I thought, “ugh maybe people are getting tired of my content” and I literally laid there, felt defeated, and could not sleep. Instead of allowing this to propel me to work harder for the next one, I allowed those numbers to crush my spirit. For following day, I had 0 motivation to work. By the end of the day, I just had to remind myself that not all content will be received in the same way. This being said, I had to shake it off and keep on going! I legit had to inspire AKA talk some sense into myself, through positive affirmations…
    • For example: “Gurrrrl, look at all of the content you have put out lately, you’re a bad ass B- Keep it up!”
  5. Turn to Creative Outlets
    • Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Moodboards- are all great outlets for inspo. If I have an idea of a location, but am not sure what props, outfits, aesthetic I’m trying to achieve, I will look up related posts, narrow down my options, and of course put my own spin on it.
    • But this can be dangerous at times. I think at some point or another, we have alllll compared our work to those we find already published. If we think too much about it, we can start to doubt our own work. So in short, focus on finding the inspiration you were looking for vs comparing their content/success to your current state of work. I have to remind myself, that there is room for everyone as we each bring something different to the creative table.

 

In short (not really, lol) I hope that these tips are helpful in times of need! Xoxo

 

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

How to Fight the Fear of Missing Out

Whether it’s a Snapchat story of one of our favorite influencers at a trendy lounge or a friend’s latest Instagram post of an adventure abroad, this constant exposure to things that are happening fuels our anxieties.

This desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing is a phenomenon known as FOMO: the fear of missing out. Here lies the threat that if we don’t participate in a certain activity, we will then miss out on some vital point of living.

Many of us have this erroneous belief that these plans will satisfy us, when in fact, FOMO is illusive.

Scrolling through happy status updates and scenic vacation shots often times leaves us with comparing our lives with those of our social media followers. The internet can show us all of the things we are not, what we have not accomplished and where we have not been.

Those social comparisons lead us to assume that these people MUST live more exciting lives than us. And those feelings of envy, ultimately, poses the question as to whether we will ever settle for what we have.

And this disturbs me in a way as I am absolutely guilty of this too.

Recently, my pastor touched on the subject.

He mentioned how our social anxieties and itch for inclusion, shifts our focus on looking outwards instead of inward.

If only we feared the void of a spiritual adventure vs one overseas…what if we were in as much of a pursuit of God as we are with our next adventure?

This question left me shook, as spirituality means something different to everyone: for some, it involves participating in organized religion and for others, it’s more personal.

But whatever it may mean to you, spirituality, includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves.

So I beg the question, what if we stopped seeking meaning and value through Instagram and it’s trendy photo opps and instead find purpose through our personal definition of spirituality.

Maybe if we practiced mindfulness and spiritual connectivity, will we then find that satisfaction that FOMO never quenches.

With an awakened sense of spirituality, we will never miss out. 

Just some food for thought! -Xo

Uncensored Guide to Understanding Women

With the surge of mobile dating apps, looking for love in this digital age, can seem utterly impossible. I mean, when there are a plethora of options just waiting at your fingertips, it’s no wonder that we encounter so many individuals who make a piss poor effort in creating real relationships. And although there are plenty of us who aren’t on dating apps, I argue this culture of convenience and the paradox of choice has influenced our dating experiences in some adverse way. On the contrary, when we meet someone who puts forth the effort and time, it likely feels like a breath of fresh air.

In fact, I’d go as far as saying there is this general lackadaisical dating ideology. Why put forth true effort into a person when there will always be more options? It’s almost as if this burden of choice has taught us to treat each other like disposable objects, rather than beings who feel.

My girlfriends and I are constantly sharing our experiences, discussing what we like and don’t like when it comes to dating and often times we find ourselves saying, “If only we could make a PSA about this!”

Well….this post is by no means intended to bash on men, but rather a guide into women’s dating preferences.

I can’t even count the amount of times, I’ve heard men say, “Women are so complicated, what even pleases you guys?”

So, I conducted a small survey to gather varied responses from ladies my age.

The question posed: Based off of your dating experiences, what male behaviors do you appreciate/can do without?”

Appreciated behavior:

  1. When plans are made 
    • Whether it be a formal dinner date or even a casual hang out, taking the initiative – shows us that there is interest and direction in the “relationship”
  2.  Manners, chivalry, compliments
    • “Please” and “thank yous”  – aka basic etiquette can go a longgg way.
    • It’s actually quite refreshing when doors are opened, the meal is paid for, and when pleasant comments are given.
  3. Tons of eye contact/ not easily distracted
    • It is especially appreciated when phones are kept tucked away during the date
  4. Remembering the little things 
    • This is just a simple indicator that you’ve taken the time to listen.
  5. Reciprocity 
    • Returning the kindness in any capacity is so attractive!
  6. Common courtesy/open communication
    • MAJOR KEY!!!
    • Letting us know if you can’t make it out for dinner or whatever the plans are, totally okay!
    • Expressing your feelings and intentions towards the “relationship”…yaaas!
    • Being vulnerable and open in sharing personal details/struggles

Behavior we can do without:

  1. Surface level conversations
    • Regardless of the extent of the “relationship,” this is a huge red flag. If you’re not concerned with getting to know who your “partner” is on a deeper level, then that’s a clear indicator of your intentions.
  2. Flakiness
    • Don’t be that person who commits to something, then changes plans last minute. What is especially infuriating is when it is done without notice. If you can’t make it, don’t commit.
  3. Not responding in a timely manner 
    • THIS! THIS! THIS! The way you communicate with someone is very indicative of how you prioritize them in your life. If you’re into someone, you’ll find the time to respond to them, appropriately.
    • And if you’re going to be tied up throughout the day, a simple text will suffice.
  4. Lack of self-awareness 
    • This can be so apparent in literally the first minute of a conversation.
      • (e.g.) Mentioning your ex on the first date
        • Taking up the entire conversation
        • Speaking as if you’re hanging out with the boys
  5. Insecurities
    • We all know that people who are insecure tend to sabotage a healthy relationship…
    • I’ve met multiple men who have openly admitted to suddenly ending a “relationship,” solely because “it was going toooo well.”
  6. Social media etiquette
    • If you are single and dating, there is no reason why you should still have posted pictures with your ex…not cute
    • Liking and commenting on other girls’ photos while actively seeing someone else

Whoo! Fellas! Now that you’ve heard the ladies’ input, my hopes are that you’ve somehow been enlightened. You may disagree with some of the points listed, and that’s totally fine, but the aim of this post was to visualize the dichotomy of dating behaviors. Hope this helps 🙂

Keeping Memories Alive: The Value of a Photo

Us, Millennials easily receive the most flack over our digital media consumption; You know, our desires in taking selfies, posting pictures of our food on Instagram, and snapping aspects of our day-to-day…just to name a few. But I say, there’s nothing wrong in doing so!

Ever since I can remember, I have always been in love (or to some, obsessed) with both being the photographer AND subject of a photo. At the end of every school year, I would find myself piecing together scrapbooks, making space for even more photos in my giant albums and handing out those ridiculous classic mall glamour shots.

 I truly enjoyed looking through my albums from time and time and recounting all of my childhood shenanigans.

Once I discovered Photobucket, I was livingg. A digital photo album? Yaaas.

But it obviously didn’t stop there. When Myspace came about, I was shoooook. You know the standard duck lips and peace sign, angled selfies? Well, those were kind of my thing. Updating my profile with photos of my summer, after school activities, etc. was literally a pastime.

But wait! Come social media and iPhones….O  M  G!!!

Finally, there was a forum for photo taking lovers to share and connect with others. With the explosion of social media, there is of course the critique/truth that it has the ability to disconnect us from the real world. But in moderation, I think capturing the moments we experience, is quite incredible! Like yeah, sure, memories do last a life time but sometimes yo’ girls memory is not that good.

To this day, I find myself constantly looking through my feed/photo library. I get super nostalgic, looking back at the different phases of my past, the changing trends, friends, and life events. And more often than not, I think, “OMG, I totally forgot about that!” Like you know, those crazy nights, sleepovers, travel adventures- that you reallly can’t remember (b/c of the bubbly) or even try to forget (again, b/c the bubbly).

Like guys! I truly truly believe in the power of a photograph. Photos do much more than document. They have the ability to heal, capture raw emotion, and transcend us into unseen worlds.

Speaking of healing, photos really helped my family cope during the passing of my dad. Obviously, his generation did not grow up on smart phones or social media, so finding photos of him throughout his life was tough. My dad was in his mid-forties when I was born, so I had hardly seen photos of him prior to that. Luckily, his aunts and siblings dug up a handful of Polaroids they kept in albums over the years.

We pieced together all of his photos and created a video montage for his funeral. As heartbreaking as it was to watch it all come together… it was equally as cathartic and beautiful. We all got a glimpse into his sense of style, (which included: wacky 70’s & 80’s outfits – and lets not forget- those infamous 90’s dad jeans), his groups of friends throughout the years, his hobbies, and of course his everlasting smile!

I’m also equally as grateful of social media for allowing me to document some of the final memories between my dad and I. We would play around with the different Snapchat filters and laugh over the ridiculous ones. Whenever I would ask him to take a picture with me, he would always preface with, “Now, Jas, I’m only taking a couple, alright?!” And that statement made me laugh every time because even with his illness, he still remembered how annoying I could be with pictures.

Every now and again, when I feel down, I look through our photos and they instantly bring a smile to my face. And… I’d like to think that is the beauty of pictures… they literally bring memories to life.

I know of a lot of people who hate having their picture taken or who are opposed to posting much of their personal life. But in 20 years, their kids may be interested in who they were as youths and not to mention memory worsens over time. Photos provide that instant recollection of some of the best moments of our life. I say, SNAP AWAY, PEOPLE!

The Pertinence of Memes

God bless the curators of 2016-2017 memes. These viral phenomena have literally touched my soul in ways that even Chinese food, can’t.

You bored? Look at memes. You sad? LOL at memes. You angry? Tag yo’ friends in the comments.

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Have you ever been told “you’re too dramatic,” “you procrastinate too much,” or  “you laugh at the dumbest things,”? If so, memes are for you! 🙂 If you find yourself a reputable meme page, I guarantee, that you have just tapped into a goldmine.

Seriously though, memes have literally helped me through the most painful time of my life.

I experienced a break-up (was notttt fun). BUTTT let me tell you, there were memes for that! Figuring out how to do this “single” thing – there were memes for that!

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Come 2017,  My dad passed away and I literally went numb. That my friends, can not be alleviated by any photo/vid + caption… but I will say, after some time, I was able to laugh again. Like laugh to the point where I’m in tears.

 And it is in those moments when I have to give thanks to the social media Gods,  b/c I’ve found the remedy to shitty times.

Quality memes brought me back to life, literally they giveeee me life. If you are ever having a bad day, do yourself a favor and refer to this gem. xo! (IG: jstlbby)

 “Better enjoy life now before its too late!”(*Que lollipop suck*)