Back in the A

We celebrated a national holiday in January! Brittany THE Brand was Tippin On 22 in Atlanta and and support North Carolina A&T at Honda Battle of the Bands. Somehow, I only got one picture with the birthday girl but we were still cute!

New York Fashion Week 2018

February 21, 2018

It doesn't matter who you are, if you are into fashion, it is a D R E A M to attend THEE New York Fashion Week! If you currently follow me on social media, then you already know that I had the opportunity to attend for the first time. 

It's amazing how the universe works because just five months ago, I wrote about how to experience the notorious well-known event. With only six weeks to plan, my friend and stylist Alysha Williams of Fetch Fashions, decided to buy a plane ticket and make it work! There was nothing but space and opportunity right in front of us to check this off of our bucket list. 

I managed to over-pack, get business cards printed and as you can tell from the home page, revamp my logo! Thanks to Custom Touch Designz, based in Charlotte, N.C., who worked with me to bring my vision to life because it made me feel more credible as a creative and entrepreneur. 

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If this experience taught me anything, it's taught me to prepare. My favorite quote is "stay ready so you won't have to get ready!" I can apply this inspirational phrase to all facets of my life. Whether it's brushing my hair before running to the grocery story, keeping an updated resume, or carrying cash just in case my card isn't accessible. Being prepared is essential, especially in a time when everything moves so fast, so quickly. 

As soon as we found out we were attending Fashion Week, we knew we needed a plug. If you aren't familiar with the term, it means a connection, a way in, an access point, all that. Phone calls were made, emails were sent and before we knew it, we had media credentials and a place to stay! I don't know how many times I can say this in each post but it's about networking, people!!

Work the room, maintain contacts, reach out to your friends who occupy the spaces you want to frequent.

 

As Alysha and I navigated the city, got lost in the city, ate in the city, and dominated the city, I realized my level of appreciation and pride I felt. The two of us could have made the decision to attend New York Fashion Week next year or thought small and attended the fashion week in our own city. Instead, we were decisive and intentional on making this trip happen. We chose to focus on the resources we had to create a strategy, not the resources we lacked. 

Take a look at our triumphs from that weekend and tell me in the comments how you will create a strategy in the next two months!

 

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Siraad Dirshe: The Glow Expert

The first guest ever to be featured and exclusively interviewed on The J Spot deserves a proper introduction! *I feel like a teacher at the front of the class, excited to share our special guest*

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Siraad Dirshe is a New York native, writer, and is currently a Beauty Editor for THEE Essence Magazine! She has written for publications such as Refinery 29, Vogue, Teen Vogue, Popsugar, Elle, Nylon, and many other notable platforms regarding skin care. I first learned of Siraad on the 17th episode during the second season of "Black Girl in Om," previously mentioned in Podcasts You Didn't Know You Needed

From that podcast alone, I acquired a huge amount of knowledge regarding skin care practices and the special attention for the largest organ in the body, specifically for women of color. Naturally, I followed her on every social media account possible. The information she spoke about pertaining to products was so impactful that I needed more! Over time, I followed her content, liked her pictures, and watched her Instagram stories. Of course, I replied to her polls, videos, and inquired about products that weren't familiar. Then, one day, I expressed my admiration for her knowledge within the beauty industry and asked if she would like to be highlighted as a woman of color within beauty on The J Spot and she said "yes!" 

If you don't know, Siraad is known as the GLOW EXPERT! I expressed to her that the J Spot is a platform for my readers, especially people of color, to have a resource and become inspired to try something new. Her skin is impeccable and I wanted her to explain how my readers could achieve it, too. There's six weeks left in winter! Which means there's six weeks left to obtain glowing, luminous skin. Keep reading to see how!

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The J Spot: I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to interview The Glow Expert, herself! I discovered you from your interview on The Black Girl in Om Podcast. You have an amazing breadth of knowledge regarding skin care, specifically for women of color, that I want all my readers to learn about. The below questions are focused on your insights on skin care, the beauty industry, and being a creative. 

You mentioned in previous interviews that you gravitated towards skincare products instead of makeup. That is so interesting! What motivated this preference?

Siraad Dirshe: Until very recently I never thought I was "good" at makeup, so I was pretty much afraid of it. I also think since beauty brands have historically not created products with us in mind, I never really found colors and tones that complimented my deeper skin tone. So I think skin care just seemed more accessible and easy to understand/use.   

TJS: In your articles, you talk about beauty and self love in your articles. What would you say the correlation is between these two topics?

SD: For me those two things are inextricably linked! When I'm taking 10-15 in the morning or evening to pamper myself with skin products, that's one of the ways I show myself some love. 

TJS: I recently highlighted self-care and its importance. What is your favorite self-care practice?

SD: Oh there are so many self-care practices I love and honestly, I am conscious to ensure that at multiple points in my day I am showing myself some love. Working out, eating foods that make me feel good, reading, spending time with loved ones, listening to music, and of course taking care of my skin are some of my go-tos. 

TJS: How did you accumulate your knowledge regarding skincare, specifically about melanin, which products are best meant for it, etc.?

SD: Because skin care is something I am just completely obsessed with, I never get tired of watching videos, reading articles or listening to podcasts about products and ingredients. So I think the genuine interest and curiosity made it so I was just always learning about it.  

TJS: What’s the most unconventional practice you’ve done or heard people do to improve their skin?

SD: I would say shocking my face (it's not nearly as crazy as it sounds) with an electro current facial or getting a colonic for better looking skin are some of the most interesting things I've done. 

TJS: What would you say the worst skincare practice is?

SD: Not wearing sun screen! Everyone needs to wear it, no matter how deep your skin color is.  

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TJS: You’ve been referred to as The Glow Expert! Can you tell my readers what it takes to get the perfect glow, even in the fall & winter?

SD: In my opinion, the best way to get the perfect glow doesn't have much to do with skin care. Drinking lots of water, eating a balanced diet, working up a sweat a few times a week are the best ways to help your skin glow. But a good moisturizer and an occasional mask is a great idea too. 

TJS: As a black woman, what do you feel your role is within the beauty industry? Do you feel you have a certain responsibility of any kind?

SD: Of course! I feel like it's my responsibility to help make the industry a place where we see ourselves reflected and to shine a light on the issues and people that Black women find relevant and important. 

TJS: What is your biggest challenge as a black writer?

SD: When I was freelancing, I would say it was getting people to respond to my pitches but now that I'm an editor, it's having enough time to respond to the emails I now receive. I want to help those who are trying to break into the industry as much as possible.  

TJS: What would be your advice to anyone looking to enter the beauty industry?

SD: The one piece of advice I would give is to don't be afraid to create your own opportunities -- something I wish I had done more of when I first moved to NYC. Last year, I started freelance writing on a whim (I was bored of my current job and knew I wanted to write in beauty). And lots of hard work later, I'm now working in my dream job. Oh, and don't let one person's no deter you from doing what you want to be do! 

TJS: What inspires you as a creative? 

SD: I find inspiration from other creatives, so I love to listen to music, visit museums, and reading other writers I admire. I also love to travel and experience new cultures, and I always feel inspired after I come back from a trip. 

TJS: Here at The J Spot, I refer to the people in my inner circle who support and guide me as my “Tribe.” Who would you consider your tribe?

SD: I have a tribe of 'sisters' (biological and not), that I could not imagine doing life without. They inspire, challenge and support me! 

TJS: You write for major publications, such as Essence, Elle, Vogue, Glamour, and many more. What would be the pinnacle writing experience to highlight the complexity and diversity of black women?

SD: Oh man, I'm not sure about that one! Maybe writing a book?  

TJS: Lastly, what are your top 3 skincare tips for women? Do you have any for men? 

SD: 1. Wear sunscreen 2. Wash your face at night 3. Drink lots of water!  

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I want to thank Siraad for taking the time to answer the above questions. Make sure to follow her on Instagram @sdirshe and read her article on Essence.com and BlackGirlInOm.com

I learned so much and I hope my readers did, too! Please like this post, share, and leave your comments below on your favorite skincare practices! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

World Tour: Series Part 4 - Los Angeles

For many who do not know, I was born and raised in Los Angeles and although I call North Carolina my place of residency now, I try to go back to visit my family as often as I can. More recently, I visited just to have fun but this visit was definitely a trip to check on my family and my best friend. 

As soon as I landed, I met up with my favorite people! My aunt and uncle. It was my Uncle's 70th birthday and I was excited to celebrate with them. As tradition, they always make reservations at Houston's. Although I used to go when I lived with them, it has almost been 5 years since I last went. I love my aunt and uncle because they may be seasoned with age but they are young at heart. They travel all the time, they're retired, educated, and well established. Honestly, they're goals. They don't have any children so I don't mind being spoiled by them from time to time. 

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I believe this dinner was the first time they saw me in a different light and more as an adult. We touched on topics regarding police brutality, net neutrality, 45, all the way to social media, how it works, what are influencers, etc. etc. It was nice to teach them about how my generation interacts and informs one another via social networking. My uncle and I also had a slight debate regarding his concern for my generation's plan of action with the current state of the world. I'm sure I could insert that [here] but then this post will be never-ending. Either way, with the help of my aunt as the mediator and translator (haha), we were able to see each others' point of views. In reality, my uncle and I are very much alike and if anything, this brings us closer. As always, dinner was amazing and I had a great time. 

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Upon arrival to my best friend, Aaryn's, house I was greeted with birthday presents! Little did she know I put Mario Bedescu's toners on my Christmas List! I was elated! She also gave me the book salt. by Nayyirah Waheed and I can't wait to finish it. I'm sure it will force me to deal with some "subconcious feelings that have not been addressed" but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Last, but certainly not least, I got Pantone postcards! Pantone is a color matching system used in different industries but primarily printing. So, if I were to have a logo with a specific color code, I could use that code on a variety of items such as business cards, websites, shirts, banner, etc. Pantone Books, which include thousands of colors, cost thousands of dollars. To see at least 100 in postcard form was super cool and new! I'm not sure how I will use them yet but I'm thinking for inspiration boards or photo shoot concepts.

My friends own homes! What do yours do? HA! I'm laughing but it's not a joke. It was so cool and super inspiring to see my oldest friend accomplish a huge goal of purchasing her own home. It reminds me that stability is attainable!

Saturday Night we had dinner at Rush Street in Culver City. Great ambience, cool lighting, and great food. We decided to share different appetizers: Spicy Ahi Tacos, Mesquite Turkey Sliders, Fried Jumbo Shrimp with Cajun Tartar Sauce, and their infamous Mac n Cheese.  Highly Recommend!

Saturday Night we had dinner at Rush Street in Culver City. Great ambience, cool lighting, and great food. We decided to share different appetizers: Spicy Ahi Tacos, Mesquite Turkey Sliders, Fried Jumbo Shrimp with Cajun Tartar Sauce, and their infamous Mac n Cheese. Highly Recommend!

I'm always here for cool lighting.

I'm always here for cool lighting.

Of course, Aaryn and I had to do brunch on a Sunday because well..duh. I have been crowned as The Mimosa Queen and it is only fitting that we indulge in bottomless rounds for   five dollars   to start the day off right at Market Provisions in the Fairfax District.

Of course, Aaryn and I had to do brunch on a Sunday because well..duh. I have been crowned as The Mimosa Queen and it is only fitting that we indulge in bottomless rounds for five dollars to start the day off right at Market Provisions in the Fairfax District.

This is actually a moment that needed to be documented because I don't even like eggs, let alone fried eggs. But their "Breakfast Sandwich" with roasted turkey, melted gruyere, bacon, grilled onions, lemon aioli + 2 fried eggs on ciabatta was impeccable. 

This is actually a moment that needed to be documented because I don't even like eggs, let alone fried eggs. But their "Breakfast Sandwich" with roasted turkey, melted gruyere, bacon, grilled onions, lemon aioli + 2 fried eggs on ciabatta was impeccable. 

Did someone say "Happy Hour?" Maragaritas, of course.

Did someone say "Happy Hour?" Maragaritas, of course.

Tacos...in LA...Mandatory. Aaryn pretty much ordered her favorites for the table but I think we have two chicken street tacos, guacamole, lamb barbacoa skillet wit lamb slow roasted in an adobo sauce marinade , and calamari. 

Tacos...in LA...Mandatory. Aaryn pretty much ordered her favorites for the table but I think we have two chicken street tacos, guacamole, lamb barbacoa skillet wit lamb slow roasted in an adobo sauce marinade , and calamari. 

The view on Stocker will never get old.

The view on Stocker will never get old.

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I'm a sucker for views and landscapes so I'm sure you won't mind the obligatory airplane scenic pictures. I would be grateful because there are more where those came from.

It never fails. I come to LA, get comfortable, my skin clears up, I adapt a natural glow and then BOOM I'm on the next flight back to North Carolina with 30 degree weather. Despite the worst Mercury Retrograde that I've ever experienced taking place in all three cities, this was the best trip in a while. I got to see my aunt and uncle, my best friend, and my grandpa (not pictured). I need to start planning my next one soon. But after this tour, I'm thinking I should stay put for a while. Actually, I'll be honest with myself, traveling for a living would be the dream.

While on this "world tour," I did attend a few events that will be separate posts so make sure to check back soon! Have you ever been to any of the cities mentioned? If so, leave comments on your favorite places! Maybe even recommend a restaurant, store, or museum for me to stop by the next time I'm in town. 

Think I Got it Covered for the Weekend

*Sings Weekend By Sza*

Preface: This post will be all over the place because that's how my weekend was!

This weekend I went from absolutely no plans to booked AND busy! It seems like adulting after graduation is just as busy when I was in school. I initially didn't have solidified plans other than washing my hair and doing laundry but that quickly changed. I wanted to throw a birthday party for my two friends, I went out both Friday and Saturday night, went to Trap Yoga & ate goooood. I had an eventful weekend to say the least. 

I started my weekend on Thursday and met up with an old co-worker from my retail days at Banana Republic! I can tell you now that I am very annoying when it comes to choosing where to eat *insert typical meme about indecisive women.* She suggested Crafted, The Art of the Taco! I heard a lot of great things about the restaurant and was excited to try their Baja Chicken Tacos! I highly recommend it. Their guacamole is on point and authentic (v. important)! Hopefully, I can taste one of their mojitos during happy hour in the near future. For this day, I stuck with my water and admired her drink since I had to go back to the office.

 
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Of course I'm extra. Not only do I refer to my friends and inner circle as "My Tribe" because it takes a village haha but I volunteered to host a birthday gathering. Even though the birthday shindig, wasn't technically a party, I wanted to make my friends feel special! The result, a few bottles of spirits, decorations, burning some sage and these flyers! I think they're pretty dope if I do say so myself. I try to be as Pinterest-inspired as possible which ultimately landed me in target to decorate. I love a good photographic background so I made my 2nd installation (still a work in progress) featuring one of the Virgo babies. 

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Spontaneously, Saturday morning I decided to attend Trap Yoga in Charlotte and whatever you're thinking, multiply by 5! It was the perfect balance between ratchet and zen. Leave a comment if you want me to talk more about Trap Yoga Bae and the safe space she created for women of color to practice yoga!

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Since I was in Charlotte, I took a self-care moment and spent the day with myself! I was so relaxed after yoga but I needed to eat. I finally tried Chopt Creative Salad Company, a restaurant I bookmarked on Instagram. I never thought I would cherish a salad so much and for $14, I better!...Damn, guacamole. At least I had a snack later so technically it was 1 1/2 meals. Justification, is key people. Aside from the high price tag, I would go back! 

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I definitely had an eventful weekend, to say the least! Let's see if that's the case next weekend. Where did you do? Tell me below this post or let me know on social media!

Let's Gooo

Welcome to the launch of The J Spot!

I wanted to make a web page for quite some time but didn't have the guts to do it. But, today at 5:47 a.m., I finally bossed up. 

This will be a space of documentation for myself and resonance for all things current, fun, and experiential. I'm on the go all the time and seem to have selective memory unless I have something to jog my memory. Because, let's face it, if you didn't take a picture, did it really happen? 

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So click through the site to see where I go next, what my current favorite things are, and the occasional outfit of the day! Make sure to comment and follow me on all social platforms to see what happens in real-time.

IG: Atribecalledjess

Twitter: Atribecalledjes

Pinterest: Jessica Roner