Welcome to the B-Side of the business where you get an inside peek of the backstage area of JDP.

I’m Jasemine, in case you didn’t know. I travel as a photographer, I write novels that I swear are better than my personal instagram narratives , and fashion is my favorite off duty hobby. I live life like a rockstar, and every photoshoot is like performing in my favorite city.

Catch up on our latest photoshoots, my craziest looks, and if you want.. You can even learn a little more about me.

Things I Recommend

The fashionista in me wouldn’t let you leave without hooking you up with some awesome places to scoop your own gear. Check these out!

Also, if you’re a fan girling fanatic or just wanna see some cool blogs I visit a lot, check these out:

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Twisted Tuesday: Writer’s Block

April 8, 2014 5 min read No Comments

I’ve officially dubbed all Tuesdays… Twisted. Twisted Illusions is now available to buy and right now you can even get a signed copy. So if you’re looking to get caught up in a juicy trilogy filled with drama, action, romance and so much more, now’s your chance! The next book in the Twisted Trilogy won’t be out for a while, but in the meantime, Twisted Tuesdays will give you a glimpse of what’s happening right now! This week, it’s less about the series and more about the making of! I know my fellow writers out there get writer’s block a lot, so I felt like I could offer some of the things that I do to beat it.

First, How Far Am I?

Right now, I’m in the seventh chapter of Twisted Abandon and emotions are about to start running. It was right around mid-chapter five when I hit writer’s block and nearly cried over the fact that I had hit a bump. It was this really pivotal scene, one that I felt was subtle but crucial to the story line and I just couldn’t get past it. I had a few drafts of it that weren’t good. I had a few ideas that could jazz it up, but at that point, I was just plain not into what I was writing. The scene was missing something. I couldn’t put my finger on it but my brain wouldn’t let me move on without it.

There Are Different Kinds Of Writer’s Block, But There Are Two That I Encounter Most..

Everyone knows what writer’s block is. I’m not gonna lie, I like Wikipedia’s definition of it the best.

Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with typing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition ranges from difficulty in coming up with original ideas to more extreme examples in which some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years, and some have even abandoned their supposed lifelong careers.

Well, okay. I like some of that. I don’t like the part where they mention abandoning lifelong careers. Writing’s something I”ve been doing forever. If they just cursed me, *knocks on wood* I’d be devastated.

Type One: How Did I Get Here and Where Can I Get Out?

The Problem: I’ve found that my books are like movies to me. I play them in my head and run different scenarios until I envision one that fits. A lot of the times, they tend to write themselves. Sometimes when I’m writing, I’m not even looking at the paper. I’m observing things around me, and when I look down I will have written a sentence that I didn’t even plan. A great example of that is the scene from Twisted Illusions where Chris Harrison confronts William Kelly and Matthew Stevenson. (You can actually read that because it’s the official snippet for Twisted Illusions). I didn’t mean for it to happen but I liked it. I was thoroughly confused though. Where was I supposed to go from there? This opened up a brand new wormhole for all the characters involved. I mean, how could our beloved Matthew Stevenson just become so soft like that? I thought he was the macho man!

My Solution: Then, I started playing around with it. I started writing down things about Matthew I liked. I referenced things I didn’t as well. Matthew has certain personality flaws and strengths that would make him more relate-able as a person. Honestly, that’s how Matthew’s addiction was born. At first it was like, Matthew has a few out-of-character moments that turned into Matthew is completely out of character. So, “how did I get here?” turned into “HEYYYY I LIKE WHERE THIS IS GOING” after days and days of confusion. Best case of writer’s block ever. It took me two weeks and to draft up an entire character evaluation document to fully map out a small scene in order to make it important enough to not be strewn on the cutting room floor later.

Type Two: OH GOD NO, I’M STUCK. COME ON BRAIN FIX YOURSELF!

The Problem: Sometimes it can be a sentence, sometimes it can be a scene, sometimes it can be an entire book… The most common and my least favorite form of writer’s block is when you just draw a blank. You’re writing, or typing at 1,000 mph and then your brain just stops. You leave your characters standing in that room arguing with each other and because you can’t figure out what that one character says to make the other smack him in the face with the frying pan (If you even want to use a frying pan. Why not stab her?), they’re inevitably stuck there.

Fun Fact: I picture my characters as real life people and when I hit writer’s block, my characters are in limbo in their own lives. To be or not to be, that is a question that my characters can’t control because they can’t live their own lives unless I tell them to. (Like The Sims!)

My Solution: Lately, I’ve been playing instrumentals and cinematic scores to locate one that fills the empty moments in the scenes that play in my head. It helps to watch movies that have a lot of rises and falls. For instance, I remember watching “The Vow” a few years ago and loving the earthly scenes where a lot of emotion was completed with moments where the camera panned around the apartment. I loved that it was shown from the view of both main characters, and the music corresponded with the emotion that that particular character was feeling in that setting. Anxiously, I rewatched it and bought the soundtrack. I listened to the entire thing with my eyes shut.

Eventually, listening to the music forced my mind to paint a picture. The blank, empty canvas of  the missing sequence of the scene I was “blocked” in began to come to life. Yet,  there was not a song in my library that described the atmosphere of the moment so I resulted to my personal favorite… Soundcloud. I love Soundcloud, I constantly find myself on it after the first time I heard “We Found Ourselves Lost” which if you haven’t heard, you need to. As a writer, I’m a storyteller and “We Found Ourselves Lost” tells the story of love. Upon a diligent search, my ears heard the song that painted the full on image that completed the scene. Writer’s block gone! It really helped me! Music inspires the mind.

One of these Tuesdays, I’ll make a playlist that gives you a look into how many songs have saved scenes in Twisted Abandon, alone.

So What Broke The Writer’s Block This Time?

A song entitled “Lay Beneath Your Beautiful” was the perfect moment of background music to describe a sentimental moment where a character ends up stumbling across an item that reminds her of her teen years. She takes the time to gingerly place it down and there are paragraphs of describing her amorous emotion toward this dress. I chose this cover of the song by Labrinth because it’s a piano instrumental and it definitely gives off a subtle cinematic vibe as if it could be playing quietly in the background. You can hear the original song here. 

That song right there is what finally pushed through Chapter Five.

So, what’s your Writer’s Block Buster?

Lighten Up! Why Me?

April 3, 2014 6 min read No Comments

Have you ever had an instance where you asked yourself, “Why me?” Why have I been “chosen” to bear the heavy load? Why am I the leader? Why was I born in this family, at this time, in this place? When you’re asking yourself these questions, it’s normally proceeding some horrible turn of events. You know what? You’re not the only one who asks the big “W.” Today’s Lighten Up Thursday may answer the question, “Why me?”

The Story: Priscilla Jackson

Down the street from me is a lady named Miss Jackson. (#IamForReal) She’s lived there for as long as I could remember. She had pink walls that aligned her stairwell, a loud laugh, and nine cats. I hadn’t visited her in years, but last night, I was locked out of my house for hours. “Why me?” I asked to no one in particular as I rang her doorbell and bounced on my heels to fight the cold chill of the Chicago night air. Why was it always me?

For the first fifteen minutes after she answered the door, Miss Jackson limped around her intricately decorated home and yelled at me about being a user. It had been years since I visited and despite the fact that I spoke to her everyday as I walked past her house, I never had come to check out the earrings that she had mentioned to me several times upon my trips to work. I apologized many, many times but I still kept wondering Why me? Why did I have to be locked out? Why was she the only safe neighbor to come to? Why did my phone have to die upon exiting my school after orientation?

She suddenly calmed down and smiled. She had been idly staring at her rocking chair which was beside my place on the couch. She began telling me the story of how she got it, and it was quite a story. To be an older lady (mid-70s to early 90s) she had lugged the sizable chair up an entire flight of stairs. This story transformed into a tour of her entire house including the infamous closet bed that I will be telling people about for centuries to come. The houses on this block were built with long, walk in closet and while mine is filled with my grandparent’s junk, Miss Jackson had put a twin sized box spring in hers, surrounded it with Christmas lights and turned it into her very own “closet bed”.

As she ushered me into her bedroom, she showered me in gifts including several pairs of earrings and a hat. She doted on toy hamsters, her curtains, the way everything in the room matched and then she spoke words that I will hear eternally. “Sometimes I wish I had a granddaughter to show this off to. All I have is four boys and they’re all grown. But.. You, you will never be outside again.” I froze. This was that thing that your parents told you about when they tell you about what strangers could do to you. Years and years this elderly lady had been friends with my grandma and she was about to kill me. I sputtered a bit and she continued, smiling. “I’ll get you a key to my house and if no one is home at your house and your grandparents won’t give you a key, you can come and stay here until they get home. You can stay in the closet bed but you can never be outside again.” She was inviting me to come back.

Why it Had Been Me.

As I was leaving, I noticed that Miss Jackson had changed emotionally. She was practically gliding among her rooms, stepping over cats, beaming as she led me to the door. She had enjoyed my company despite the way I’d rudely entered demanding to have a phone. As I was leaving, she mentioned she was out of tissue, nonchalantly as if an afterthought. Then she began to talk about loneliness and how she never felt lonely but sometimes it was quiet in her house. I realized that I had an opportunity there. I could bring a small bit more of joy to her life.

So I offered to buy her tissue and to come back. Truthfully, thought it was 100 degrees in her house and I was constantly having to look out for cats, Miss Jackson wasn’t that bad and the happiness my visit had brought to her made me feel good. This morning, as I was writing this blog it occurred to me that I’d almost forgot. I raced through the rain of the dreary Chicago street and brought her toilet paper. When she opened the door, I could tell she wasn’t expecting me. She smiled and gave me a long hug and although I didn’t stay long I could tell it made her morning.

It was me that had been locked out because I’m always racing through everything. I never slow down and really take the time to enjoy the intricate moments of life. It was her that was the only neighbor who answered the door because she was in need of a companion. It was my chance to cheer someone up because lately I’d been feeling slightly low and a little useless. We served as a reminder to each other that people still need companionship.

After all that time, I finally realized why it had been me.

The Lighten Up Lesson: Why You?

We were all chosen for greatness. Sometimes we are destined to be great, but often times we overlook it because we have to know “why!” The real why is why question it? Life has a strange, mysterious way of constantly moving and changing and we can’t always have the answer right then and there. I think we question it because we fear that if we don’t know the answer, we can’t control it. Yet, there are somethings in life we can’t control. They weren’t made for us to understand. Believe that your path was designed and created for you to travel and though we hate hearing it, I am a strong believer in the theory that everything always happens for a reason. It’s just that sometimes, we don’t know it but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t all for a greater, higher purpose.

When I was out there, shivering, wondering how much longer it’d be until I got in my house and had a nice warm meal, I was only asking why I was stuck out there. I didn’t think why was I placed in this particular moment. The real question should’ve been “What.”

“What can I do to seize this moment and turn this negative into a positive?”

I’ll end this Lighten Up Thursday with a quote. It’s one that is probably overplayed but also overlooked. When you read it, think about the last time you’ve wondered “Why me?” and ask yourself

“How can this very moment make me greater in the eyes of myself.”

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -Timo Cruz, Coach Carter

Why you? Because you have a light inside of you that sometimes is brightened by the darkness surrounding you. Do not fear light or darkness, liberate yourself. Forget about the questions. Find your answer.

Lighten Up. Happy Thursday.
Jasemine-Denise

Chop Chronicles Chapter 6: Destiny

April 1, 2014 7 min read 3 Comments

I was nervous about sharing this story but I said I wanted to bring you guys down this journey with me. Destiny as well as my resignation is a huge part of it. Like my hair, this decision was made to better myself. It’s amazing what talking, thinking, and a bottle of hair dye can do to a naturalista. That being said, Chapter Six of the Chop Chronicles is entitled “Destiny.”

Twitterr-Avi

March 2014: The Month of Destiny and Determination

March 30th 2014 was my last official day of work. No fooling. I mean, I know it’s April and all but come on. Freedom is no joke. It took a lot of courage and pep talk, but things became clear. I was missing out on what I’d sacrificed when I began working there. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t time, money, real respect or maturity that made me quit. All of those things played small parts but in reality it was destiny.

Destiny is A Big Word.

In the month of March, I’ve learned a lot about jail. Imprisonment comes in many forms including both physical and mental. One thing that comes to mind when I reflect back on this month are the lyrics from the play Aida.

You are your own master. There are no shackles on you.

I’ve imprisoned myself in this case of social anxiety this year. I’ve spent many days questioning myself, my relationships with my coworkers, my worth and my importance. My general manager asked (And I quoted it in my last CC blog) if I was going to be this way my whole life. I insisted that I was going to be because I knew he was referring to my hair and “alternative lifestyle” (which is pretty much my piercings.). As I sat down and talked about it with my friends, I recalled that I was wrong when I told him that. The Jasemine who stood in front of him that day was not the Jasemine I wanted to be forever. It wasn’t who I was destined to be. In fact, the “Jasemine” that I envisioned that I should be was someone who I was terrified to be.

I wanted financial promise twenty-four seven. That meant no risks and little to no freedom. It also meant riding two hour bus routes to get to and from work each day. It meant working more hours than the average person would even if I wasn’t always working my hardest because I needed it. I was proud to have my fraction of fairness and completely imprisoned by fear until I was given two words.

That Power.

Have you heard the song That Power by Childish Gambino? If you haven’t, I’m not gonna force you to, especially if rap and educated rap metaphors aren’t your thing, but if you have listen to it again. Listen until you hear your own message. Don’t skip the outro either because it’s my favorite. Camp is gold if you don’t know by now. It’s one of my favorite records of all time. I played “That Power” on repeat as I stared at a blank Microsoft Word document that would later contain my two week notice. Then. I heard it. It was clear as a bell and directly in my ear. Destiny.

Destiny is a noun. It means: “what happens in the future” or “the things that someone or something will experience in the future.” It also means “A power that is believed to control what happens in the future.”

When “That Power” ended, “We Aint Them” came on. I hadn’t really dipped into Royalty that much but for those of you who are familiar, “We Aint Them” is the song where Donald makes reference to leaving 30 Rock. He never implied that his job writing for them was bad. He just mentioned that it was time for more. 

“My mama said why you wanna leave a good job?”
“My Dad said do ya thing, boy don’t stop.”

When I talked to my grandparents about my decision to resign, I was anticipating getting a lot of backlash. Instead, they listened and were proud. Finally, I was accepting my destiny wasn’t what I’d been chasing.

So, What Is My Destiny? Surely It’s Not To Quit My Job and Become Financially Unstable.

Was quitting my job scary? It was. You quit your job, you scratch your head, you cry a little and when you start to wonder what’s next it starts to get a little liberating. Things have been falling into place since the day I slid that typed letter across the counter. I enrolled in college. That’s right! I’m finally going to get my business degree. It happened so fast. I didn’t even question it. Yet, in my mind I kept asking “What next? What about money? Freedom costs!

wecanwaitwhat-7

I bet you were wondering why this was a chop chronicles post… Like, what it has to do with my hair, right? Well.

A week of worrying went by when I got called in for a job interview. Several actually. It seemed as though my personality had attracted attention. In these interviews, I was calm and I only ever had one question. What about my hair color? It’s no surprise that I went into a few of these interviews with my real natural hair instead of a wig. Sometimes I feel like within the wig, I’m hiding my identity.

4/5 places that I wore my natural hair to? They didn’t care. Two managers were enthralled asking if they could touch it and how I got it that shade. Suddenly, freedom was there. The experience was on paper and the personality was right there… I mean, come on! You try explaining to someone that your last job was to host birthday parties, sing and jump around stage. For once, I could say that I was being considered for hire based off of my work, not my appearance. That’s when I realized it. There it was.

My destiny. 

I couldn’t explain it but it made me shake a few hands and simply thank them for opening my eyes. For the past year, I wanted so bad to make people happy that I wasn’t aware that I was hurting myself. I stifled my own personality, safety, needs, because.. Because I was afraid. I was afraid that if I truly was myself and did things to make myself happy that I couldn’t be successful.

Now I know. It’s my destiny to prove to everyone else and myself that destiny is unavoidable.

You’re looking at an African American published writer, a professional photographer and a college student with a bright red naturally curly mohawk and a drive for success.

 

This journey never ends.
It’s destiny.

Before this Naturalista is Hasta La Vista.. I wanna speak words to my coworkers.

 

For the past year, most of you have been an absolute joy to work with. I loved that I could come to you. I loved that you would meet my energy with this fire of your own and you would be beyond excited to see me each time I walked in. The fact that all of you signed a petition saying that you wanted me to stay really brought tears to my eyes. I mean, I honestly can’t believe that each of you have felt I made that sort of an impact on this moment in your life. Please know that there were times that I was counting down the hours to clocking out but even moreso, there were times when I didn’t want to leave. A lot of you are like family to me and although as I’m typing this, I am overwhelmed with sadness to even have to tell you all, I am promising that there are moments I won’t walk away from. There are some of you who have made permanent impacts on my life and I plan to still see you. Whether I have to come up and visit like Tony or whether you guys personally invite me out, I’m always just a phone call, a text, a facebook message away.

Even though, I won’t be working full-time everyday, I’ll still be around. I might even still be hosting birthday parties! I want to give thanks to all of you for giving me so many kind words and supporting my decision whether it was to stay or to leave. I was told recently that I was a negative influence on all of you. So let me plant one small seed in your head, one last one that I hope can make a major impact.

You are phenomenal. You are smart, a leader and a person who is just as enthusiastic as you are great. Don’t push back on your dreams, don’t let anything or anyone stop you. You guys are such a unique bunch and you don’t need the negative energy. No one does. Spread the love. We all talk each day about how grossly negative that environment can be… Be the change. Show each other the bond that was once there is still alive, it just takes teamwork. It’s so easy when everyone plays a positive part and I believe in you all. 

This naturalista, is hasta la vista. 😉

Jasemine-Denise

Lighthen Up! Appreciate

March 27, 2014 2 min read No Comments


The photo above depicts the most comically tragic moment of my month. When I saw it, I thought to myself “oh this is one for the books.” At the time this picture was taken, I was just getting dressed after the doctor had given me a long list of things I couldn’t eat because of the fact that I was in the early stages of developing an ulcer. If nothing else, the doctor’s trip taught me to do one thing… appreciate. 

What Did I Learn to Appreciate In My Four Hour Stay?

  • appreciate the fact that I had two very supportive down-to-earth people by my side. I had an awkward time explaining to the doctors that my grandparents weren’t the ones in the waiting room.
  • appreciate the last bit of chocolate I got to eat before I was banished to a “bland diet” It was a Snickers and I won’t lie, it hurt a lot but I loved it!
  • appreciate the fact that ti wasn’t food poisoning because I just couldn’t stand the thought of being betrayed by my beloved Portillos.
  • My nurse, despite her accent did not shy away from my favorite words when she couldn’t find my vein. German curse words are pretty dope, I swear.

Anyway.

Lighten Up Lesson? Simple, Appreciate!

Sometimes we’re so focused on bad news that we forget to remember the god things we’re blessed with.

I’m terrified of doctors because I hate bad news, but when they told me that if I hadn’t had come, things would have gotten much worse… I saw the bright side. Many times, we avoid the bad news because we don’t take the time to appreciate the good behind it. For example, if a friend of any of ours turns out to be really mean to us and we stop being friends, the first thing we do is mourn the loss or get angry with it. We should instead focus on the potential we gained. Better friends will come.

There are too many things to appreciate in this world to just be focused on the negative. Lighten up!

Remember that wherever there is darkness, light is sure to follow or remember me wearing my bra over my face because apparently, that works too.

 

Twisted Tuesday: An Autobiography?

March 25, 2014 1 min read 1 Comment

 

I have decided that every Tuesday from here on out is a “Twisted Tuesday” where I’m not blogging as a blogger or as a photographer but instead as an author. More specifically, the author of my current work on the “Twisted” trilogy which has a book available now!

The most frequently asked question about “Twisted” is if it’s an autobiography. I always lie. I always say “no” or “technically no,” because never in this series outside of thank yous, acknowledgements, italics, or quotes do I ever use the word “I” and using Microsoft Word search engine, I find that the word “Jasemine” makes its appearance twice: once on the first page and once on the last. Simply put, this book isn’t about my life.

Lighten Up! Tattoos

March 13, 2014 4 min read 1 Comment

This Lighten Up Thursday Covers the Controversial Views Of Tattoos and My Harsh, Short Opinion On Them.

 

The Story

So, I was talking to an old friend about life lately. We both went to what I’d consider a top tier high school and although I’d only attended the school for a year, I enjoyed my year there. Anyway, we began discussing the changes we had made to our lives, and I mentioned my tattoos. Her response was a scoff and to further explain that I’d never make it by with a good job because of my tattoos. (I only have two) I simply replied “Lighten up!” but to her, tattoos were the scum of the earth. I support the right for everyone to have their own opinions and today’s Lighten Up Thursday talks about mine.

Tattoos Are Like Drawings. I mean, they are but..

Have you ever had a toddler, a family member, or a friend draw something on you? Have you ever had a body part signed by your favorite celebrity? Have you ever gotten one of the popular Henna tattoo? Jasemine, what does that have to do with anything? It has everything to do with it.

If you replied “yes” to any of the above instances or any similar, then think back to when you had to wash that off. Surely, you felt some remorse washing your little daughter’s first masterpiece off of your hand. Yet, you probably snapped a picture for Facebook first so that you could share it with all of your friends and family.  Now imagine you didn’t have a camera, but your child’s drawing as SO GOOD that you felt you wanted to share it with the world. Yet, you couldn’t because you have to wash it off.

See where I’m going yet?

Forever is A Long Time To Have A “Drawing” on your Body

I agree about forever being a long time! Forever is also a long time to be married to the the love of your life but people are doing that every single day and they’re not banning that in the workplace. Well, not unless the love of your life has all the same body parts as you do. Then, it’s banned all over the United States of America *sarcastic voice* because that makes sense, right? WRONG. But that’s a totally different topic entirely and it should never be forgotten or overlooked.

Anyway, no one should be the decider of your forever. To me, that’s our problem. We, as a country, spend so much time determining and limiting the forever of others that we can’t find our own. As if forever is something completely harmful 100% o the time. These “drawings” aren’t harmful… I mean, with the exception of ink poisoning, but at least it’s not to your employees or friends. If it is, why not hire based of what tattoo they have not if have one. I say that because I’d much rather someone with a butterfly tattoo than a Swastika but that’s for personal reasons.

Art is forever, one that a lot of us depend on. The common misconception is that all tattoos are impulsive which is just that. A misconception. My first tattoo was symbolic to my struggle, and it was indeed impulsive but my second tattoo took two years to plan and it was my tattoo artist Ofie who eventually sealed the deal. It’s because of her that my dad is in the skin I’m proud of forever. He taught me to work hard and to be the best I can be at everything I do. My tattoo reminds me of that everyday.

 

Prisoners, Gang Members And Murderers All Have Tattoos!

If that’s your reason for not accepting them, I’m actually a little offended. You know who else may have tattoos? Kathy in HR. Yeah, that’s right. She’s got a cute little bumblebee on her left ankle which you’ve never seen because she hides it beneath her business pantsuit leg. What do Kathy, gang members, murderers, teenagers, anyone else with tattoos and you all have in common? We’re human! We’re all misjudged by our exterior features instead of being accepted for our interiors. We all have or will or will strive in our lives to be the best we can be at some point and along the way we all find things we’d like to keep forever because we hold them dear. Some people just keep forever in different ways. your old baseball cards don’t place you in the same category as a criminal, so why should anyone’s tattoos do that for them? It sounds like an absurd example, but really think about it!

 So Lighten Up!

The next time you see a tattoo, you should ask the person the story behind it Listen before you take judgement. Learn to accept someone else’s forever and embrace the impact that your acceptance may have on your workplace, your friendships, or even your life.

Remember that a tattoo is not just a drawing but a work of art that is someone’s forever.

What About You?

Have you ever been rejected because of a tattoo? Have you ever heard or do you have an interesting story behind a tattoo? Share!

Until next time, this fashionista is hasta la vista. 😉
Namaste
Jasemine-Denise

 

Chop Chronicles Chapter Five: Change.

March 11, 2014 6 min read 1 Comment

Change is here!

This is the fifth chapter of the Chop Chronicles,  a section of the site that I created so that anyone who wanted to venture through my natural hair journey could witness the transition from the big chop onward with me. I shaved my head fully bald in July of 2013 and I must admit that I thought my life was over. Little did I know, it was just the beginning.

February: The Month Of Freedom And Change.

Big news! My workplace finally accepted both my hair and hair color. Freedom is beautiful. Unfortunately after a deeper examination of the handbook, they found that it is now my industrial ring that is unacceptable. At first, I was irritated, but soon after, I realized that I had finally gained the right that I wanted so desperately since the dawn of time. I can finally embrace the beauty of my own hair as I had been doing up until I began working there.

When I first started working at the arcade, my Mohawk was bright red and I was at my prime of self-confidence. Ninety percent of everyone I worked alongside hated it. It was unacceptable and I had to wear a wig to cover it up.  Admittedly, I felt like I was hiding a part of myself that I had spent a whole previous year trying to fully love. It wasn’t as though I was ashamed of my hair all over again, but I certainly stopped giving it the love and care that it deserved because I mean, it was covered up by a wig about 85% of the time.

One big chop, an untamed afro and some pleading later, the battle was finally won. The general manager grimaced at my current hair, combed down so that the shaved sides of my Mohawk weren’t visible and replied that the style was “doable” despite having asked mere seconds later if I planned to look like this all of my life and how old I was. To be honest, I do plan to have awesome hair all my life. I spent the first nineteen or so years at war with my hair. It wasn’t pretty enough, it wasn’t long enough, I couldn’t do what I wanted with it. I’m twenty two now and I’m finally proud of the progress I’ve made within myself to embrace my roots, and despite any apprehension on anyone else’s part, being granted the freedom to have the freedom of my own hair is something that I will never grow out of.

Freedom is here to stay even if it means, there’s seven new things to be nitpicked at about, it’s worth it to be able to look in the mirror and truly be happy with myself no matter where I am.

Feeling The Change

Two years ago in November when I first shaved my head into a Mohawk, I was terrified. You couldn’t tell by looking at me but as a result, I kept a natural hair journey journal. It only lasted a week. (Talk about non-committal!)

In the spirit of maintaining a hopeful progression, I opened up a brand new notebook and started hammering out my current regimen. What works, what doesn’t work, what food is good for my hair, things to add to my grocery list, etc. I probably mentioned this in my last CC but I can’t stress it enough. Having a healthy diet is key to hair growth. It helps with stress, it gives you the nutrients needed to stimulate growth and it overall sustains you as a human being. I have been eating breakfast more and I’ve discovered that breakfast in itself contributes to a major change in my hair, my skin, and my attitude. The irony of it all is that I remembered being younger and all the things I used to eat and how I never had as many health issues as I do now. My hair was healthy and my mom made it a point to tend to it each day until my grandma took over the challenge when I turned sixteen. Therefore, it sounds like if I revert back to the great amount of responsibility and focus I was blessed with as a child, I could potentially conjure up a hair regimen that will produce similar results.

Photo Mar 07, 2 51 16 PM

Yowza!

Changes To the Current Regimen

To my fellow naturalistas, especially the ones who also experienced a big chop! Do you ever just get overly excited for having hair? I’m sure it’s not just me! I get so ecstatic for the growth that I see, that I immediately start wanting to gift my hair for all its goodness. Uh oh, you know what that means. Buying more products! A bunch! Anything that sounds nice. Ladies, word of advice, save. Not all that glitters is gold and not everything works for every hair type!

When I got these products, I was so excited that I began using them all at once. Absolute no, no. Do you know how many products I used didn’t work with my hair type? Because, I don’t! Why? I was too caught up in the “glitter, shine, make your hair shimmer” that I didn’t realize that I had used 7 different creams in my hair! Suddenly, I started breaking out in dandruff. I’m not talking about, a little here and there… No I looked like Jack Frost’s long lost sister! I couldn’t decipher which of these new products was the culprit because my regimen lacked selection and structure. Yet, something had to have dried it out because I wasn’t experiencing that problem before!

My advice to all of those who love shopping for haircare products is to write down products that gain your interest and if you don’t need them right away, wait until you completely dissolve the bottom crevice of that last jar of the stuff you’ve been using for the past month before moving on to the next product that does the same thing but has totally different ingredients.

As for me? I’m going to wash my hair, narrow it down to my basic regimen and use one item at a time. One shampoo, one conditioner, one leave-in, one brand of hair mayonnaise, one (In my case, two) hair crèmes, one brand of moisturizer and one oil to seal said moisturizer. I’m going to use that item until it’s all gone, then write down the results of that product in my journal. How many times did I have to wash my hair, was the moisturizer doing it’s job, what about hair color? Did any of these items make it run away faster?

Remember that your journey is a learning experience, and that absolutely no one is a screw up by learning.

Viva La Change!

Now for my absolute favorite part: Reflection. I remember when I used to cycle through the “natural hair” tag on Tumblr and really feel the hair envy. I hated seeing girls with prettier hair than mine. This month, I’ve become so much more comfortable with my own hair. Maybe it’s because I’mn not required to hide it anymore. I don’t know but now when I look in the mirror, I feel proud. I wink at myself like “Hey, Mohawk girl! You’re doing it big today.” As for the natural haired girl wonders on Tumblr, I’ve accepted that patience will bring me the same results!

I’ve become so much more patient with my hair, with its growth, with the time it takes to make it look like it does on its best day. Patience has never been my strong suit (right next to commitment!) but my natural hair journey is definitely helping with that.

What about you? What changed in your natural hair journey since last month?

Don’t Forget To Subscribe!

Don’t I sound like your favorite YouTube personation right now? Haha, well! That sort of thing works! Now you have the ability to subscribe to my blog. It’s taken so long because to be honest, I can be pretty prehistoric when it comes to the internet, I had no idea what “RSS FEED” meant or anything like that, but now I’m learning! Anyways, every week you’ll get this awesome email showing you what’s latest and greatest here at JDcom. It’s also gives me this awesome option to email you guys about giveaways, discounts, and stuff like that! I mean, it’s a win, win!

Click here to subscribe and start getting the weekly email that tells you exactly what’s up, what I’m up to, and what’s coming soon.

I think that’s about it. So until next time, this naturalista is Hasta La Vista! 😀

A Little TMI To Lighten Up Your Thursday!

March 6, 2014 5 min read No Comments

Ready to LIGHTEN UP Your Thursday with a Little TMI story? For those who aren’t familiar ,“TMI” is an acronym for “Too Much Information” often used to describe something that your average audience isn’t exactly dazzled to hear. Today’s quip isn’t gross, but depending on who you are, you may not want to read it over your nightly tea. Alright, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

When I was little, I wanted desperately to be nice. I didn’t want to be known as a nice person. I actually wanted to be a nice person. After looking back on the past year of my life and the amount of friendships I’ve reluctantly strayed away from, I recalled my childhood struggles to be sweet. Where did I go wrong?

The Story

Back in grade school, my younger sister and I would visit her grandmother’s house after school each day. There was a sign above her toilet seat that read, “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie.” Instantly, it became my mission to achieve what I’d call “sprinkle status.” Every time I’d come over and stare up at the sign before sitting down to initiate mission sequence. Finally, after much failure, I asked. the elderly woman laughed at me for at least ten minutes. “Aw, baby. Boys usually sprinkle. It’s harder for young ladies.” She continued to laugh as she concluded her short speech with “You’re so sweet.” I grinned proudly at that very moment because for the first time in my life, I was technically referred to as a sweetie. The crazy part about it was that I didn’t have to do ANYTHING!  I had struggled and fought to achieve something that was out of my control and pretty much came naturally. I mean, come on! My lifelong childhood dream achieved itself .

The Lesson To Lighten Up!

Sometimes, when you push for a goal to become or achieve something, you tend to overlook the big picture. What’s the big picture? The fact that you can be whatever you want with no limit and no time constraints. When its something you really want, sometimes you put too much weight on yourself to get it. I’ve begun calling it “Worry weight” in my journals. When you exercise good habits and calm thinking, you lose your “worry weight” and it makes it easier to conquer the difficult things stopping you from being that awesome creature you envision when you’re scowling in the mirror. One lesson I’ll always teach my children is that it won’t always take a toilet to make a sweetie. It doesn’t always take a million dollars to make a hard worker. Your success starts with your mentality, and your mentality starts with your drive. If your drive is in the wrong place, you may never achieve your goals therefore your mentality will waiver. For example, younger me could’ve spent much more time giving more hugs to my crying siblings or holding doors open, but yet she was so obsessed with that stupid toilet seat. She missed the big picture. She missed what being sweet was all about. Yes, she achieved her goal of being recognized as a sweet person, but it took ages when she could’ve known it all along through her actions. The big picture is there people.

Sometimes, all it takes to become something is to truly be it with no fears and no question. Don’t be afraid to truly be a sweetie, or spend the rest of your life on sprinkle status. Trust me, it’s not fun and it can get messy. And hey, lighten up. It gets better, okay?

What Am I Up To?

Oh man, that’s a loaded question. Haha. Right now, I’m working on rolling in some big changes to the way JDcom operates. For one, I’m gonna stop calling it JDP. I mean, come on. You know I’m a photographer, but do you know how many people don’t know I’m an author? I mean, chyeah.. Not like I’m working on a third book or anything right now… >_> On top of just showcasing all the other things, I’m working on an emailing list, which means you guys can sign up to get a real “What’s up?” email from me every now and then just reminding you about new blogs, exclusive deals, and random stuff like that. I’m not gonna come banging on your door like a Jehovah’s Witness or anything (No offense to them. They really can market), I’ll simply have a little “subscribe box” on the website and I may even be sending out a few messages to people I would personally LOVE to see on that mailing list.

Oh and I went to Florida! Tampa, to be exact and I celebrated this awesome girl’s birthday and got to meet her boyfriend for the first time! Aren’t they cute? I plan to post like a whole master post about it on Tumblr but I have just not gotten around to it! Stay tuned for that if you’re following my “personal blog” which would be my Tumblr! In the meantime, here’s a picture of them being all adorable just to keep you waiting!


 

Other than that, I’m working on Twisted Abandon and let me tell you this book is so much more than I originally imagined it to be. Being the second installment of the Twisted  Trilogy, it has a lot of potential to live up to after the first one. I love how everyone’s who’s been finishing the first one is shaking my shoulders about the release of this one which I’m hoping to have out on my birthday if not before it. “What first one?” Twisted Illusions of course!

I guess that’s it! Be sure to comment and tell me about your “sweetie” story. Have you ever had a time when you TRIED to really be something? Tell me about it! Seriously, I wanna know! Or you could comment about how stupid I was in eighth grade (I mean, seriously, eighth grade)

Also, look out for my next big chop chronicles blog post coming to you soon! Until then, this Naturalista is Hasta Lavista!
Later Days!

http://jaseminedenise.com/lighten-up-toilet/

Chop Chronicles Chapter Four: Loss.

February 4, 2014 4 min read No Comments

This is the fourth Chapter of the Chop Chroniclesa section of my website that I created so that you could go through the natural hair journey of the big chop with me. I shaved my hair in July of 2013, completely bald and I must admit I thought my life was over. Little did I know, my life was changing before my eyes.

Why January Was Difficult.

Christ, it’s February already. I can’t believe I’m 7 months into my natural hair journey. I’ve been slacking on the chop chronicles! Forgive me! It looks like I never cut it. Like I just dyed it a darker color. A color in which I love. This month of the natural hair journey was the hardest (By this month, I’m referring to January.). I lost a friend to my mohawk… Yeah, you read that right. She was one of my close friends, or at least I had thought so. She said hurtful, hateful things. A little backstory, is that she was a friend of mine, infamous for having people take a lot of her style…. At a point in time, she and I both had had mohawks, and it was okay. She knew that I wasn’t trying to steal her style, and that my mohawk made me happy with myself.

Not this time. Instead, she got angry. Vicious. Hurtful. At first, the realization that I had lost a friend to my hair hurt a lot. Probably more than anything. Then, I started to realize, my mohawk made me happy. It was my red, private place to be proud of myself for my devotion to individuality. It didn’t matter who else had it or who wore it better as long as when I looked in the mirror, I recognized myself. I realized that you can’t be happy with yourself if you’re always trying to make someone else happy. I knew I wasn’t stealing her thunder, and I would like to think that deep down somewhere, she knew it too. Learning that my haircut was worth our friendship to her started out as a tragedy and ended up being for the better. It’s really good as well as healthy to know who your real friends are. When it comes to this situation, I could only think of one phrase that described it.

Sometimes you must forget what you feel and remember what you deserve. 

No one deserves to be called hateful names because of a haircut. Many, many people have the same haircut she and I both have and don’t seem to be bothered by my change. Often times, we focus on our hurt feelings instead of the big picture. The ultimate picture. Slowly, I began to accept that maybe we just weren’t meant to be friends anymore. No real friend would put you down for decisions you made not meant to hurt, change, or spite anyone.

The Change.

Project dye a success. Getting to spend another awesome night with two of my favorite schenaningan starters. <3

This time, I wanted something different. I wanted a natural hair journey milestone as I call it. I ran to my friend, who was the biggest supporter of my decision to shave my hair back down. She and I spent a whole day in her bathroom dying my hair. We made a hangout of it; she, I, and Jason. We sat around and watched stand up, made jokes, and eventually dyed my hair this really bad ass shade of red. The perks of having a best friend who works at Sally’s. I immediately began feeling the difference in my confidence level. New haircut, new hair color, and a few weeks later, new hairstyle. I was so excited to put striped accents in my hair that it just couldn’t wait. Why should it need to?

I know that I kept saying that I wanted to grow this big “Erykah Badu” afro, but I love my mohawk. It fits me. It molds with me to create this persona that matches every concave of my inner being. Spontaneous, colorful, me, and I couldn’t be more happy.

Have you ever lost a friend because of a decision you made for yourself?

Project 365 | Day 151: S is for Self awareness.I don’t care if you think I’m strange, I aint Gonna Change.. -Joan JetteWhen I was in high school, a good 96% of my class hated me from sophomore to the beginning of senior year. I went to a school where you weren’t cool unless you were wearing the hottest weave, the tightest pants, and you had to be think. Growing up being the kid who hated socks and tried to pierce her lip in the lunch room with a safety pin just wasn’t cute. Being bullied was what pushed me to really evaluate my life. “yo, I thought Halloween was over!” was probably one of the biggest “insults” I ever got, but it never slowed me down.As I got older, I started to refine what I liked, how I dressed, who I was. I never once looked back. More and more people started to give me that scrunched up disgusted face when they saw my hair or my clothes, but when you’re really happy with yourself, none of that matters. See, I don’t dress the way I do because I think other people will think I’m cute. I dress the way I do because I love the way I look. I’m comfortable with my mohawk and I’m my “monster boots” make me feel like I can kick the shit out of anyone who blinks at me funny.When I’m in my element, I am free. I am happy. I am more aware of myself, my mistakes, my strengths than when I’m covering my entire self up with fake hair, fake clothes, fake things that appeal to other people.I am my most complete, when I am fully me.Be who you really wanna be. Not just on Halloween or when no one’s watching, but ALL the time. Who’s really going to stop you from being happy?If you could take the decision back to make that friend happy would you? You shouldn’t. Don’t let anyone bully you or make you believe that what you want for yourself doesn’t matter because of the fact that they’re not okay with it. People are going to be unhappy with a lot of things you do. Get used to it. Especially if you’re trying to make something of yourself. You have to be bold, unafraid and you every day of the year, even when it’s something that no one agrees with.

The one thing I take away from my friendship with that old friend is that I never want to be mistaken for a replication. My name is “Jasemine”, and my parents spelled it that way on purpose because they wanted me to be different. I grew up wanting to be different. I grew up being comfortable therein. People fail to realize that you don’t want to be a celebrity, a model, your peers… You want that feeling, that confident look, that attention. You’ll never be that by becoming a carbon copy of someone else. You have to make your own way.

I never once looked at anyone and said “I want to be them.” I’ve told myself “I wanna be as awesome as P!NK, as free-spirited as Janis Joplin, as bold as Eminem and as strong-voiced as JC Chasez.” Yet never in my life had I looked at a person and said “That girl right there… I wanna be her.”

Do not compromise the beauty of yourself to gain an image like someone else’s.

Chop Chronicles Chapter 3: The Six Month Mark Has Arrived.

December 26, 2013 3 min read No Comments

We have finally come to the sixth month mark since I shaved my head, and I must say, this month came as a surprise. I decided that it would be my first “end clipping” session because I take a least two inches off with my own scissors when I “clip my ends”. I figured it’d be harder to notice if right after I straightened my hair, clipped the ends, etc, I washed my  hair because when I wash it, it goes straight back into it’s natural curly state. So I went to work at it. As I ran the flat iron over the heat protected strands, I was amazed as my hair began to reveal six months of long hair. I don’t know what I was expecting at 6 months, but it was nowhere near what I encountered. “Shrinkage” or the amount of which the hair recoils when washed, curled, etc is a beautiful thing. It really tends to keep you guessing.

A lot of people have been asking “Jasemine, how the heck have you been getting your hair to grow so fast like this?” and I’ve sounded just as baffled as them. SO I decided to break it down to myself. Now, mind you. What works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for you.  A lot of “naturalistas” have raved about Creme of Nature products and it left my hair dried out and broken off.

My Daily Regimen At The Six Month Mark: 

Products

Daily

  • Africa’s Best “Super Gro“: Don’t get this product misconstrued. It’s not going to make your hair grow super fast. It’s actually going to provide it with some of the nutrients and oils it needs to keep your roots strong.
  • Africa’s Best Hair Mayonnaise: This product keeps my hair moisturized like no one else’s business.  It keeps the curls flowing.
  • One a Day Women’s VitaCrave Gummies: Believe it or not, vitamins are important. These particular ones support bones, health, calcium and vitamin D.
  • Nature’s Bounty Optimal Solution: My hair used to be weak and thin, and now that I take biotin, it grows in thicker as well as my nails, and my skin clears up a little bit.

Weekly:

I wash my hair weekly. “Co-wash” is a weekly thing for sure, and shampoo is a more biweekly thing. I use Shea Moisture moisture retention shampoo and Shea Moisture restorative conditioner and they make my hair smell delicious.

I don’t like to use excessive products and I am four thousand square against using “hair vitamins” such as hairfinity. Believe me when I say I have nothing against products or hairfinity, they’re just not in my regimen. I believe in a healthy diet being a strong factor in your hair regimen. Ever since I quit soda, I’ve noticed a change. Eating things like granola, nuts, fish, etc are also making a effect on my hair.

IN six months, I’ve learned more about my hair than in 22 years. I remember when I used to go into the bathroom and slather myself in all of my grandma’s hair products. It’s funny back then, I thought the more stuff you put in your hair, the prettier it looked. Straightening my hair was great, but I’m much more satisfied with the afro. I feel as though my curls give me a unique “crown’.

What about you? What’s your hair regimen? What did your hair look like at six months? Share your story!

Mission for the next chop chronicles… To find my “hair type”.


side by side six months side by side six months two

About Me

Jasemine Denise

I travel as a photographer, I write novels , and I fan girl a lot. I have an unnecessary attachment to all things 80s punk, 90s hip hop, and girl power. You'll find some Fashion, photography and many more on this blog. Read more about me. Read More

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