Challenge Yourself

We live in strange times. There has been a constant barrage of anger, frustration, and devastating losses on a scale we've never witnessed before. Sometimes it feels like we stepped into another world that's on the cusp of the apocalypse. What do you do when the world is literally falling apart around you? It's something we're all struggling with right now. I think back in this moment to how I used to check my social media when I woke up in the mornings just to see what's trending, catch up with people and now... I get anxiety every time I log into anything in fear of the negativity that seems to be constant. I always try to see the light at the end of the tunnel and offer motivation to anyone I can. I feel like that's my true purpose in life. But, honestly, I'm just as drained as a lot of you are. But still... we all have to move on and I think now more than ever we have to live our lives to its fullest. 

My challenge to you is to take at least 30 minutes to yourself and write down these questions and answer them as brutally honest as you can:

  1. What makes you truly happy?
  2. What are the Top 5 Things you accomplished in your life?
  3. What are the Top 5 Things you want to do before you die?
  4. Who means the most to you in this world?

And after you answer each questions:

  1. Do what makes you happy. 
  2. Never forget how far you've come and what you've accomplished in life. Remember how tough it was to do. Try to remember every detail. Then remind yourself you can do anything you put your mind to. Keep this as a constant reminder.
  3. Keep 2. in mind and go forth. Chasing after what you want the most in life. Move quickly as if there is no tomorrow because honestly it's not guaranteed.
  4. Contact that person that means the most to you in this world. Do it immediately. Tell them how much they mean to you. How much they affected your life. It doesn't matter if it's someone you lost touch with our someone you're having a war of words with... let love and honesty take over here. If you can, go see that person. When you see them, give them the biggest hug you've ever given anyone in your life. 

I hope you can take on this challenge and take full control of your universe. In any case I'll be doing the same and rooting for your success.

Wardrobe:  N 2-B Barricade CTN jacket is from Alpha Industries

 

Alpha Industries

Photography by Madi Mae

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Don't Hold Back

In a time where the world literally feels like it's ending, it's more important now than ever to remember to surround yourselves with the people you love. Challenge yourself today to find time to thank every person who inspired you, showed you love, or looked out for your best interest even if at the time you didn't think so. Live today as if it's your last and don't hold back. You never know what tomorrow holds. 

 Hoodie, jacket, and jeans are from Kollar ClothingShoes are Frank Wright

What You Get: Stylish streetwear that's blowing up right now. Check out their catalog here.

 

Kollar Clothing

Photography by Madi Mae

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No journey is easy

"Everyone is handed adversity in life. No one's journey is easy. It's how they handle it that makes people unique." 💯

Season change. People change. Time flies. Etc. Etc. I've had one of the toughest years of my entire life so far in 2017. Most people wouldn't know this because I've chosen to focus more on being outwardly positive and keep things moving forward. That doesn't mean there haven't been challenges that have tested by own beliefs and self-worth. I've had so many enlightening conversations, especially lately that always keep things in perspective for me. I woke up this morning, feeling like I should share some words with you if you have ever faced tough times:

  1. You are Special - At times you may feel scared, sad, unworthy, envious, downright angry about the obstacles life has presented you. But never forget how great of a person you are and you are in full control of your own destiny. Know that you are special. 
  2. It's okay to be wrong - It's okay to be wrong. It's okay to accept fault. You shouldn't feel embarrassed to admit a mistake. Life is full of mistakes. You're going to make plenty more. It's how you respond that shows your true strength. 
  3. Know your character - You don't have to pretend to be something you're not. This life is your own. If you want to be kind and generous, then show it in action. If you don't. Same. Just be true to yourself. We often make this mistake of trying to be someone we're not because we want to match the opinions or perspectives of others. We shouldn't though. The truth is no one will ever put as much thought into what you're up to with your life than you will. 
  4. Show compassion (especially to the people who don't deserve it) - I'm not going to lie. This is the hardest thing for me. I can be a very vengeful person and if you challenge my well being or the people I care about... there will be hell to pay. But, I've learned that the best thing you can do is let go and show compassion for people even if they don't deserve it. We're all hurting in some way at different stages in our lives. Nothing makes that abundantly clear than to come in contact with someone who goes out of their way to hurt you. That's why compassion is the right response. It may not seem like it at the time but showing kindness is both liberating and a true test of character.

That's about it for now. Just wanted to share. If you have tips of your own, leave some in the comments section. I'd love to hear from you. 

My shoes are from the UK shoe brand, Frank Wright. Which if you visit their site...

What You Get: Badass Mens Shoes. Check out their catalog here.

 

Frank Wright

Photography by Madi Mae

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#enjoytheadventure

I've been thinking of ways to introduce more insight into what I do behind the scenes so I thought sharing my latest commercial with you is a fantastic start. One of my main goals with crafting this blog was to offer a bit of inspiration with my creative content and offer tips/advice for you. I wanted it to be more personal than professional. This is great and the responses I've been getting have been wonderful. But, I've been getting a lot more questions asking me to share more examples of what I do day-to-day and more examples of brands I work with behind the scenes. So, this post is to show you what that looks like. Also, if you're interested in learning more about professional work and brands I've worked with, just visit my agency's site here: www.janueljohnson.com.

This particular campaign is called "#enjoytheadventure", showcasing the brand-spanking new wireless car charger, OMNIA for a longtime client of ours, Bezalel. J+J is responsible for the visuals, marketing, and branding for the company. We always approach the tone/style of Bezalel with a "fashion meets tech", highlighting the lifestyle approach. We like striking a nice balance of highlighting users and product. We believe showcasing the experience vs a million close ups of product shots is much more appealing to people.

In this particular concept, my partner and I wanted to showcase a romantic adventure set in Joshua Tree. When we're not filming big budget projects, we typically use skeleton crews when the project allows. This makes it easier for us to be more flexible and save costs. Usually I direct our video projects and occasions like this I'm also the Photographer. I try not to pull double duties but in some campaigns it's important to maintain a consistent tone and style. I always think it's smart to hire a Photographer for video shoots. This strategy usually saves time, money, and actually helps keep the energy up for everyone. In a world where creative content is a necessity you can never go wrong with getting more quality content.

You can see the full video with a few select photos from our campaign below.

What You Get: 20% off any product when you use my special discount code: CJ20.

Get it here.

🌴 #enjoytheadventure Credits:

Nunca Te Rindas

I try my best to offer advice based on the knowledge that is been passed down to me by highly successful people and first-hand experiences. I do this to make sure I'm not bullshitting anyone and I can offer realistic expectations on what you need to overcome the many challenges life presents to you in your career and in life. This year so far has been one of the most challenging years I've experienced in my entire life. I was presented a whole new set of obstacles that I never faced before and put in situations that made it nearly impossible to move past. Even with the arsenal of tools that I have at my disposal I was still worn weary and taken back by some situations. 

I'm also at a stage in my life where I'm becoming increasingly more comfortable with talking about my personal life as you can see here, here, and here. But, currently I'm still navigating uncharted waters that I'm not quite ready to share with the world. I also don't think any amount of passive aggressive posts or cryptic messages change the reality of one's situation. I would rather focus on embracing positivity and love. If there is one thing each of us are in control of it's our mind, body, and spirit. 

I'm writing this post for those of you who are going through tough, confusing, and ultimately challenging times. Understand that you are not alone. At times, each and every one us feel scared. Sad. Angry. Frustrated. Lonely. Each one of us at one stage in our lives have asked ourselves, "Am I good enough?", "Can I do this?", "Am I loved?", etc. 

I say this to you... "Nunca Te Rindas". Never Give Up.

No matter how many disappointments you face. No matter the failures that get you down and make you second guess yourself. No matter the cold toxicity of other people's insecurities and lack of self-awareness that gets thrown at you. No matter how overwhelming that sinking feeling of despair you have. Never give up. Keep moving forward. Stay positive (which may seem impossible at times). Always remember that life is supposed to be hard at times, that's why the "sweet is never as sweet without the sour". 

In tough times, repeat this to yourself "nunca te rindas". Provide a random act of kindness to someone you care about or even a complete stranger. Accept love and positivity. Send it back out to the rest of the world. Love yourself. Respect yourself. Be kind to yourself.

Always remember...

Nunca Te Rindas.

What You Get: I customized my shirt with Apolis. Check out their catalog here.

 

www.apolis.com

Photography by Madi Mae

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Saving Lives and Water with MAHI

As seen in high-level publications like GQ and Vogue, MAHI Leather is taking things to another level with style while giving back to the world. Aside from the beautiful leathered goods they have, their mission is intriguing. MAHI Leather takes its name from the Mahi River. The coordinates, posted on their badge, "22° N, 72° E", represent the mouth of the river, where it joins the Arabian Sea in Gujarat, India. According to MAHI, this is a sacred river and in a country where 103 million people lack safe water it's also timely. So, this is one of the reasons why I love MAHI so much. From each sale of their product, they donate $1.50 to FRANK Water Projects (registered Charity No. 1121273), a UK based charity which has helped over 300,000 people gain access to clean water since 2005. If you're interested in supporting Frank Water, visit here.

The leather bag I received was customized with my initials so... YES, I've been roaming around like a baller, pointing at my initials everywhere I go. Just kidding (no, I'm not). My bag is perfect for travel and for a digital nomad like myself. If you like to travel and do it with style, I recommend doing it with MAHI. Below you'll see some awesome photos I took in Playa Del Rey, California with Madi Mae behind the lens. She's got skillz.

What You Get: The power of giving. $1.50 from every bag sold donated to FRANK Water. Safe Water. Saves Lives. We call this a "win win" Check out their catalog here.

 

www.mahileather.com

 

 

Photography by Madi Mae

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Game Of Thrones Pop-Up Pub

Game Of Thrones Season 7
 

Game Of Thrones is hands down one of the best damned TV shows on the face of the planet (don't @ me). From the thrilling battle sequences to the Shakespearean like storytelling, GOT is not just a ratings/critical hit. It's also a cultural phenomenon. The best part of GOT is the world building and how detailed the locations are. That's why when I was told about the pop-up pub gracing the streets of Washington, D.C. with a Game Of Thrones theme I knew I had to hit that spot up.

I went on a day that an especially hot as hell summer day. The line to get into this place (opened at 5pm. We got there at 5:05) was insane. Wrapped around several blocks. The wait was an hour. So, if you hate waiting I'm just letting you know. Once we finally got in, the pub featured several areas that were meticulously laid out to provide you with various experiences. The pub span nearly 3,000 square feet, replicating settings from across the realms: the North, the Red Keep, Mereen, the House of Black and White, and the Throne Room. They're cocktails will get you hyped up with their names like "What is Dead May Never Die" and "The Lannisters Send their Regards". This is all paired with the show’s soundtrack. Swords, dragons, horns, and an Iron Throne help celebrate the show’s summer return.

The main attraction was a the throne that rules them all. You get scheduled photos to sit on the throne as soon as you enter the pub. So you get to have a good time before your name comes up. The drinks were overpriced and not particular amazing. The snacks were so simple and overpriced that it might make you "what the f^8k is this?". But, overall it was A LOT of fun. It was great to talk GOT with so many fans but even more interesting to see people that have never seen the show and just wanted to visit to see what all of the fuss is about. I recommend you check it out now because the themed pub will end on August 27th. So, embrace the GOT summer fantasy now while you still can. 

Hours:

  • Monday - Thursday 5pm-12:30am
  • Friday - Saturday 5pm-1:30am
  • Sunday 1-7pm

What You Get: The Experience

Disclaimer: If you have you have an interesting destination you would like for me to visit, please feel free to send me a message directly so we can talk about future collaboration opportunities.

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The Coolest Coffee Spots in Los Angeles

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I've been on a personal mission to visit the best coffee spots in Los Angeles. Those who have heard of this spur of the moment decision have supported me on my journey. I'm a digital nomad and my work doesn't require me to be beholden to any one place unless I so choose. So, why the hell not?

I first started with a simple online search for the best coffee spots in Los Angeles that evolved quickly into a long list of places to visit. I curated a master list from places listed in The LA Eater, Thrillist, Google Places, Yelp, and a few other outlets. From that list I cross-checked the names and if one spot came up more than once it made the cut. I selected a spot for each day. I visited a few more places not on my list too. When I began my journey I had fun discovering so many gems and meeting so many great people along the way.

With each place I visited, I was told of even more spots I never even heard of. People seemed delighted about this mission I had. It has nothing to do with the coffee brew and no I'm not obsessed with coffee. It has more to do with discovering new chill environments where I could enjoy myself alone or with company over a cup of coffee, get some work done, and cool ambience. I don't know if this is "Part I" of whatever because I'm still in the thick of this. But, here's what I have so far...


Bar9 - This is one of my favorite getaway spots. Tucked away in a Culver City neighborhood near my office. It's a fantastic spot to get work done. The staff is incredibly nice. Very chill atmosphere. A lot of open space. You even get to see how they make their coffee. It's all fresh.

 
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Go Get 'Em Tiger - Great coffee choices. Food is just OK. This place is incredibly crowded all the time. Especially for brunch on the weekends. Not a lot of places to sit and chill inside so it can get crowded fast. It gets so busy that the service can be a little suspect. But, it's a cool spot to visit. If you want to get away and work for a little bit this is not the place. BUT, if you want to have a good time with your friends and cool vibes, I'd recommend this spot for sure. 

 
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Bardonna - The Bardonna is a small and can get a little uncomfortable on a hot day inside. But they have a big back patio that's a lot cooler and very chill. It's a great spot to meet up with a friend or get some work done. I saw a lot of college students there. More writers too. The staff was really nice and very funny. 

 
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Here's my first list of places and there will be many more forthcoming. If you have any recommendations or your own feedback about some of these places, hit up the comments section below and let the world know your thoughts. Until then to be continued...

The Republique - I have mixed feelings about places like The Republique. They're hugely popular which means there's always a wait to get a table, always crowded, and everything can get a bit pricey. But, dammit the food is good and so are the drinks. It's still a great place to grab a latte and get some work down. There's a lot of ambience and always an interesting story to hear and even more interesting people to meet.  

 
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The Verve - This was a great spot to chill and get work done. I saw a few famous faces come in and out of the spot during my visit there. They also have a fantastic menu of tasty treats and refreshing drinks. There seemed to be quite a bit of writers here so this is a great spot to draft your next great screenplay. 

 
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Milo & Olive - This cute spot on Wilshire has great food and a great coffee menu. Everything here was really classy and tasty. 

 
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More Gems (not pictured):

Blacktop Coffee - in the heart of the Arts District down town. This was an interesting spot to me. They had no wifi and the place is tiny so you'll end up sitting outside. But I guess that's what makes this spot so interesting. It's a great place if you just want to take a breather, catch up on some reading, or link up with a friend. 

Pie Hole Los Angeles - Another Arts District spot. This place DOES have wifi and you can never go wrong with pie! The staff was really cool and this was a very chill spot to hang out at.

The Majesty of the Malibu Hindu Temple

 

One of the many reasons why I love traveling and exploring is that I want to see every beautiful thing the world has to offer. My trek to the hidden gem of the Malibu Hindu Temple is no different. I was joined by photographer, Sydney Jackson and actor, Andre Boyer. The temple is off a beaten track, down a long dusty road. When we first drove up to it we were all blown away about how gorgeous this site was. We were at first a bit timid just to get out and stretch our legs.

As I approached the temple, I immediately took off my socks and shoes, taking in the space. I walked around, a flood of thoughts racing through my brain but only one word stuck out... peace. Wait. No. There were two words... peace... AND... hot. Everyone. It was seriously hot as hell outside this day. My skin was glowing from all the damn sweat. 

But, I digress... peace. When we actually entered the temple, I took in the smell of incense candles and the sounds of prayer chants. I respectfully took in the space and continued on my journey. I created this blog in part because I wanted to share ways you can clear your mind in a world that demands your constant attention. 

I visited this temple because there are still so many destinations in Los Angeles that I haven't seen. It doesn't matter how many hot spots, dives, secret spots I go to. There's always more. I used to make excuses of not having enough time until I eventually said f*8k it and made time. I challenge you to do the same in your community. Wherever you are right now, make it a point to visit some place new. A place that demands your respect and attention. Do it and go forth freely. 

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If you're interested in visiting the Malibu Hindu Temple be sure to be respectful upon your visit. Take your shoes off before you walk around. You're free to snap photos around the temple, just not in it.

Enjoy the journey and always remember to keep smiling. 

Disclaimer: If you have you have an interesting destination you would like for me to visit, please feel free to send me a message directly so we can talk about future collaboration opportunities.

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Be My Buddytruk Valentine

Check out my Valentine's Day campaign for Buddytruk. We created our funniest video yet, entitled, “Be My Buddytruk Valentine”. In it, our "Awesome Buddytruk Driver" goes on adventure to deliver a teddy bear on Valentine’s Day but things get really awkward on his delivery. It was a great time shooting this campaign. We had one of our team members, Billy Bradley make a cameo in this one and it's funny as hell. He played off of the hilarious Andre Boyer so well without uttering a single word of dialogue. 

We shot everything on Wednesday and needed everything ready to go by Valentine's Day weekend. It was a mad dash to finish everything. I generally don't like fast turn arounds like this but it had to be done. One of the main reasons why it was such a short turn around was that we were not 100% sure about the type of promotion we wanted to have. But, the production was planned in advance so either way we would always have images to showcase. In the end, everything was ready to go and we're receiving a fun response. I think it's important for brands to take advantage of special holidays, occasions, and trending news. It's the perfect opportunity to humanize and showcase your brand to everyone.

You can read more about the campaign on the Buddytruk Blog. For the full photo scrapbook visit Buddytruk's Facebook. "Be My Buddytruk Valentine" features: Andre Boyer as our “Awesome Buddytruk Driver” – Follow him on Twitter. Raylene Pereyra and Billy Bradley as our “Buddytruk Users” – Follow Raylene on Instagram and Billy on Instagram.


Buddytruk User Photo Campaign

I have been developing a photo campaign for Buddytruk. One of the cool things about this campaign is that when I began strategizing for it, I knew we would be showcasing these images primarily online. So, instead of holding casting calls for creative talent, I tried something different. Instead, I reached out to creative talent I personally knew that had strong engagement from their social media following. So, you might recognize some of these names and some of these images from previous shoots. This is why I was capturing those images.

My goal was to capture subjects that already have a built in following so, we could showcase Buddytruk to their fan base while continuing to build our own. In return, the creative talent I captured can use any of these images for self-marketing purposes, get free promotion, and in the future we can go back to them for much larger campaigns. I honestly think this is the way marketing/advertising will move forward into the future. This sort of strategy can empower creative talent who can use their social media following to their advantage and brands/companies being able to reach audiences in a more cost effective way. 

Featured below:

Utah Landscapes //

"Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams."

My first VSCO Journal featuring new iPhone shots from my flyover Utah. Check out the rest of the photos by clicking the link below.

http://cjjohnson.vsco.co/journal/utah

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