Professional Photographers of Oregon


When I was 10 years old, my twin sister and I were taken out for our birthdays. John, a family friend, took his daughter and he treated us three girls to a late-lunch at one of the fanciest restaurants I had ever eaten. Olive Garden. We sat at a window table–over looking scenic views of the 60 Freeway–and I gazed around the restaurant in complete wonder. I rearranged my ironed jeans (because, really, you MUST iron your jeans for fine dining) as I sat in the pleather chair. When the waitress took our drink order, John raised his hand and hushed our pleas for soda. The girls will have strawberry daiquiris…without the alcohol, of course. He then winked our way as if we were sharing a secret.

It was the first time I’d ever been allowed to order anything but water at a restaurant, and as I slurped the bright pink confection, I happily slipped into a sugar coma. At that moment, I felt like the luckiest girl alive. With my brown eyes just above the lip of the oblong glass, I smiled. And the sounds of freight trucks on the 60 Freeway filled the air.

Last night, I sipped on camomile tea and watched cars fly down 28th Street in Portland, Oregon. Sitting in Papa Haydn’s, mixed desserts filled the table and JD and I toasted to a wonderful day. I had the pleasure of speaking at the PPO Conference and I was delighted to teach such an AMAZING group of photographers. From the moment I walked into the ballroom, I was treated like an old friend and welcomed into their club immediately. I can’t say enough great things about the leadership, the organization, and the energy of this group!

JD and I walked down 28th Street with our hands pushed deep into our coat pockets. As we window shopped–and I dreamed of donning a apricot colored dress in a boutique window–my breath danced in the air like filigree. We ducked into Papa Haydn’s to escape the cold and share dessert. I couldn’t decide what dessert I wanted and went back and forth what felt like a million times. JD then told the waitress he’d like to order four desserts…I want to make sure she can taste the best Portland has to offer.

It was the first time someone had ever ordered four desserts just to ensure I could taste each of them, and as I nibbled on each confection, I happily slipped into a sugar coma. With my brown eyes just above the lip of the tea cup, I smiled. And the sounds of flying cars of 28th Street filled the air.

A special thanks must go to Andy of Front Street Photo for being a wonderful host and taking the above photo. He also gave me a gift bag on behalf of PPO and in it a few attendees wrote thank you notes. I was SO touched reading such kind words and my heart melted on my way home. I LOVE PORTLAND! 🙂

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  1. Stephanie Greenwell

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:00 am

    I’m so envious! I wish you could come to the midwest, we’ve got a lot of good, southern food here and you can try as many desserts as your heart desires! you’re so awesome–those letters are just a small representation of the folks far and wide your blog and your talent, but most all of you. I love coming here to read and learn. Please come to Missouri!! 🙂

  2. Stephanie Greenwell

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:02 am

    I meant to write "small representation of the folks far and wide [who love] your blog…" my mind moved faster than my fingers!! 🙂

  3. Melissa Tomeoni

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:14 am

    Portland LOVES you too!

    Come again soon 🙂

  4. Holli True

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:20 am

    It was so amazing to meet both you and JD in Portland- please come again!! Jeff and I so enjoyed talking with you- you truly are one of a kind, girl! 🙂 Can’t wait to see you again! You rocked it out!!!

  5. Shy

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:24 am

    Portland is my home and Papa Hayden’s is literally my favorite place! NW 23rd is the most magical little street… so glad you experienced it 🙂

  6. ruby rideout

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:31 am

    i love your stories and your writing. i know i hardly comment on your blog…but i almost feel like my comments would get lost in their somehow.

    we met at wppi last year and had a brief conversation. i still think you are amazing and down to earth and that goes a long way in this industry. I can’t say that for every single photographer who’s as successful as you are. Thank you for being real….for being YOU.

  7. Lydia

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:32 am

    After reading about all that sugar happiness, I think I’ll go and get a bowl of that yummy Samoas ice cream in my freezer!

  8. kate

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:33 am

    how cool to see all the thank you notes :] i’m sure it was amazing!

  9. B

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:48 am

    John and the virgin daiquiris! Hilarious. I’m glad broke down and ordered all four desserts. You only live once…

  10. B

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:48 am

    John and the virgin daiquiris! Hilarious. I’m glad broke down and ordered all four desserts. You only live once…

  11. wrecklessgirl

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:49 am

    portland is my most favourite place on earth. so far, that is!!! what a magical place! did you feel it? i’m glad you can appreciate it’s uniqueness; glad you had a fun time, too!

  12. Joan Solitario

    February 25th, 2009 at 5:10 am

    I know what you mean about sugar comas! :o)

  13. Bethany

    February 25th, 2009 at 5:36 am

    What a treat to hear you speak yesterday! I’m so glad you came to P-town!

  14. Priscilla Gragg

    February 25th, 2009 at 5:43 am

    I love your writing Jasmine! You should write a book! Thanks for sharing your stories!

  15. Elaine

    February 25th, 2009 at 6:00 am

    So glad you enjoyed Portland and Papa Haydn’s! My favorite! 🙂 I was sorry to be out of town yesterday while you were here. I hope you come back someday soon!

  16. Seini

    February 25th, 2009 at 6:06 am

    Love it!

  17. Curtis Farmer

    February 25th, 2009 at 6:11 am

    I echo Elaine! I wish I didn’t have to be in Salem that day and could’ve been at your session. And yes, Papa Haydn’s is the bomb. Chocolate Torte Bombe to be exact… Glad you love our city and we’d love to have you back soon!!

  18. Gina Meola

    February 25th, 2009 at 6:30 am

    Beautifully said…

  19. Jason Lackey

    February 25th, 2009 at 6:31 am

    you like the word confection! It’s a great word.

  20. Whitney

    February 25th, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Its actually NW 23rd street….Heaven isnt it. Glad you got to see a little bit of what makes our city so wonderful. It was awesome having you here. We really enjoyed your presentation as well as the "Sushi"! Hope to see you again soon! Hugs!

  21. Elaini Garfield

    February 25th, 2009 at 6:57 am

    Gosh, you can paint such beautiful pictures with your words! I am so glad you love Portland and I am not surprised that Portland loves you too…

  22. serena

    February 25th, 2009 at 7:09 am

    love papa hadyn!!

  23. Larry Chen

    February 25th, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Hoooooola! It was so nice to meet you and JD in person!! Thanks again!

  24. Nancy Ramos

    February 25th, 2009 at 8:02 am

    It is so wonderful that get to reach to so many people. You are a true inspiration.

  25. Matthew Saville

    February 25th, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Wow. I wish I could get HAND-WRITTEN fan mail! That is nuts!

  26. Jess

    February 25th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    ahhh jasmine, you are just pure awesomeness!! i LOVE reading your blog and sadly enough, um… might check it a few times a day 😉 anyway, your stories are amazing (dare i say as amazing as your photography!) when (um, *if*) i ever find mr. right and get married, you will so be my choice to capture everything! keep on being you 🙂

  27. Paula Emery

    February 25th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Now PLEASE come to Nashville or somewhere nearby. Not fair for the West Coast to get all the love. I promise lots of handwritten notes AND sweet tea.

  28. Christopher

    February 25th, 2009 at 11:39 am

    You have a great writing style. Keep it up.

  29. Eric

    February 25th, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I’m so glad you loved Portland. I’m living in the midwest now but grew up there, so I loved your post about my home town!

    Thanks again for sharing Jasmine,

    Eric Lovelin

  30. Lora Carr

    February 25th, 2009 at 12:44 pm


    Aside from being a talented photographer, you are an amazing and captivating writer. Love to read your posts.

  31. Stephanie Stewart

    February 25th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Great post. I love the parallels in your writing. Portland is so lucky! Indianapolis would love to welcome you anytime!

  32. Tammy Jolley

    February 25th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    You should write a book. I don’t usually read blogs just look at the pictures but I read every word of yours!

  33. Lindsey

    February 25th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I live in Arkansas, so I second the person from MO and the person from TN – please come to the midwest and/or southeast! We’d love to have you down here and would totally show you some true southern hospitality! 🙂 You do great work. I must admit, I stalk your blog! 🙂 Not in a creepy way. Just in a "wow. i want to be her when i grow up" way…even though I think i’m older than you…..or at least the same age. lol!

  34. Paula Herko

    February 25th, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    so… Jasmine… I have an offer for you… if you PLEEEAAASE come to Orlando, Florida and do a workshop, a luncheon, a park meeting… ANYTHING! I will treat you and JD to Disney!!! 🙂

    Wouldn’t that be FUN?!?!?! Really… PLEASE come to Florida! 🙂

  35. Amy

    February 25th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    your writing is raw and filled with incredible emotion. i LOVE reading your posts. i’ve been a silent admirer of your pictures for some time but now find myself completely moved by your words. thanks for paying it forward all the time and reminding us how beautiful life is through your pictures and your words.

  36. Oleksandr Photography

    February 25th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Great post! Nice story! You are the writer!

  37. tish

    February 25th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    JD is seriously the sweetest person alive. He should teach seminars on being kind to others.

  38. Leandra

    February 25th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    That is so incredibly sweet. JD sounds like a wonderful husband. 🙂

  39. Ash

    February 25th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    What a great story!


  40. ~abi~

    February 25th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    seriously, SO sweet!!!

  41. Jenny Duffy

    February 25th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for making me laugh! Your comment about ironing your jeans made me laugh as I’m feeling a little stressed and blue today (my mom is undergoing hip replacement as I type)

  42. Rachel

    February 25th, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I LOVE Papa Haydn’s!!
    Wish I could have been there!

  43. Apple

    February 25th, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    That’s so sweet!:D

  44. Angelica

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I love your blog…….this has been one of my favorite posts! You always inspire me… continue shooting and working towards my dream….. and to continue believing that there is so much more to this life than what is on the surface. Thanks Jasmine!

  45. The Last Forty Percent Photography

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I love the part about you ironing your jeans – it made me laugh out loud!

  46. Muriel

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I love Portland too! I visited a couple years ago and was only there for an evening, but just fell in love. It is a city that I would love to live in for a while.

  47. Erica Velasco

    February 25th, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I totally used to iron my jeans for special occasions! haha…of course now I’m too lazy. Awesome notes from the participants…that must warm your heart.

  48. jeramy

    February 25th, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    jd is a keeper for sure. that story inspires me to be a better desert orderer for sharon (make sure and tell him that). great story! i’m glad things went so well for you guys in portland. i’ve often thought that it looked like a fun town as we’ve driven by on our way to seattle. 🙁 maybe some day we’ll stop. take care.

  49. Jackie L.

    February 25th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    You are such an inspiration both in your personal triumphs and those in the photography industry…keep it up!

  50. Maria

    February 25th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Wow, the photographers there are sweet! And I love your stories!!

    Your are ALSO a sweet person! 🙂

  51. kelly Brown

    February 25th, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    so sweet! you are so inspirational. do you ever get tired of hearing that? 😉

  52. Deyla Huss Photography

    February 25th, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    So bummed I couldnt make it to hear you speak, Im sure it was fabulous! There are so many cool spots in P-town! Come back soon!

  53. melissa pearce

    February 25th, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    love your descriptions. i was so bummed you couldn’t come to NC with the FTS tour… though DJ did say we’d get to see a video of your "speech" but we never got a link– do you know anything about this?

  54. Beka

    February 25th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    I’m kind of new to your blog, but I love it, and… I really like your writing style! It’s sweet and colorful. 🙂 Do you write anything really besides on these posts?
    Sorry; odd question; I’m a writer myself and thought it read really well –especially the lip of the teacup! 🙂
    Have a lovely day! 🙂

  55. Anne Nunn Photography

    February 25th, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I’m so glad you love our state! 🙂 Oregon is beautiful. I hope I can see you next time you come!

  56. cassandra m

    February 25th, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Looks like Portland and some amazing photographers LOVE you too….great story as usual!

  57. mika

    February 25th, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    i loved the way you linked the two stories together in this post…. simple thrills and acts of thoughtfulness can be so meaningful to our lives 🙂

  58. Simone

    February 26th, 2009 at 2:13 am

    If you ever tire of wedding photography (like that will ever happen 😉 you can always take up writing. You write so beautifully, feels like I was right there with you.

  59. Christina Dickson

    February 26th, 2009 at 2:33 am

    I just missed you! I would have loved to meet you! I hope you are in Portland again soon!

  60. SJ Styles

    February 26th, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Jasmine Star you are an amazing person. I look at your blog daily just so I can smile and I swear reading your blog is like reading the J-Star Bio and I LOVE IT!!! You are so LUCKY to be YOU!

  61. Ellen

    February 26th, 2009 at 4:02 am

    Frequent Blog stalker 🙂
    and rarely leaves a comment.
    Okay, so, I just read on someone’s comments here that you’re going to post a video of the conference you spoke at??. PLEASE post that video of your conference., pretty please. I’ve never been to a conference, but I’d like to attend one and I’m interested in seeing what is involved, especially seeing what your speaking style is like.

  62. Lisa H. Chang

    February 26th, 2009 at 4:10 am

    When I was growing up in rural Wisconsin, McDonalds was a treat, and Ponderosa was the ultimate in fine dining 🙂

  63. lucy

    February 26th, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Im so jealous..Portland oregon is my boyfriend and I’s favorite place to visit for a weekend getaway. I just love it there.

  64. Meredith Perdue

    February 26th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Congratulations on the well-received presentation- I wish I could have seen it. Come check out the other Portland- in Maine. It’s equally as awesome!

  65. jamie

    February 26th, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    you are such an amazing person jasmine. i could totally see your story… you feeling on top of the world that day. you are so inspiring and i am so proud of you.

  66. Heather Espana

    February 26th, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I LIVE by Portland. And I still haven’t gotten to meet you :-(.

  67. Melissa

    February 26th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Great story Jasmine!

  68. Cassidy

    February 26th, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Wanna come speak at PPC? Professional Photographers of Colorado? Denver is greeeat 🙂

  69. Cailyn

    February 27th, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Those thank you notes are too cute! Oregon seems like a great place to visit!

  70. allie

    February 27th, 2009 at 5:31 am

    what a great story! those notes are all awesome!!

  71. A. Weight

    February 27th, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I can never get enough of your writings….your writing is as beautiful and magnificent as your photography.

  72. Cindy Meadors

    February 27th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Your blogs and stories put a smile on both my face and they become embedded right into the deepest part of my heart. Sometimes those stories are the best part of my day, thank you for sharing so much of yourself always. Love you!

  73. master clipping

    March 2nd, 2009 at 3:58 am

    very nice

  74. Dinea de Photo

    March 5th, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    We would LOVE to have you in Seattle!

  75. Heather Corporan

    April 10th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    You’re SUCH fab story-teller. I’m drawn deeper and deeper into your bog (as I’ve just recently started following, I feel the need to ‘get to know you’ better by going further back and back) This story brought a tear or two to my eye. We’re the same age, and we were pretty poor as kids in the 80’s (YIKES, that’s two decades ago, almost three lol) My husband and I just recently brought his youngest cousin (14) to OLIVE GARDEN! While we ordered soup, salad, and breadsticks (our favs!) we let him order whatever he wanted. The MOST expensive thing on the menu! lol. But what a treat, to let him have an experiance I never had. I hope he one day looks back with the same appreciation you still have, as he had NEVER been to such a ‘fancy’ resturaunt. I made him try Calamari just for kicks. . . bingo, he loved it ; ) Thanks for your talent!