Life Update: I’m Moving

Mar 8

 chasing denisse arizona

You read that correctly. I’m moving. Not apartments, or cities. STATES. I’m moving to the West Coast. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, and if you know me in real life, you may have already heard the news. However, I thought what better way to officially break the news to everyone than an emotional post with pretty images and memories.

I was born and raised in New Jersey, and I’m probably as East Coast as it gets. Taylor ham, diner eggs, $20 regular cash, why are you only doing 80 in a 65? JERSEY. There is absolutely no denying I bleed shitty ocean water and bodega sandwiches. I grew up knowing everyone within a 5-mile radius. Living just a 5-10 minute ride from every cousin ever, and being related to every human within those five miles. Whether by blood or by that one time they ate at my grandma’s house. “That’s your tia!” as my mom points to a woman I’ve never met before and will probably never remember when I see her in 20 years.

We grew up close, in a land full of culture and life. I remember hair salon trips on weekends that took HOURS. You could hear either salsa, merengue, or bachata blaring through someone’s window as their mom cleans the entire house like social services is coming to inspect it all before noon on a Saturday. Dominoes being played in backyards and meeting your friends at the basketball court to do nothing but eat chips that weren’t 75% bagged air, and drink quarter juices.

My favorite thing about where I live is how easy you can travel to another country by just jumping on a train or a bus. I’m just a 20-minute ride away from the Dominican Republic in the Heights. Just a 10-minute walk from some of the most amazing Indian food I have ever had. Just an 8.5-minute drive (6 if I’m starving) from the BEST TACO PLACE IN MY CITY along with a strip of incredible Mexican restaurants and shops. Just a train ride away from Colombia, or Queens. Greece is there too, and so many others. I love the East Coast. I love the street performers, the food, the noise. I grew up around all of that, and that’s the thing. You grow up. You live and life changes.

 chasing denisse arizona sunset

My partner is from Phoenix. I visited for the first time this past December when we went to visit friends and family for the holiday. As much as I was set on hating it, I loved it. I loved the change of pace. The sunshine. OH, MY GOD, THERE IS SO MUCH SUNSHINE. The grass (where you could find some), and the feeling of easy living. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I still think the roads are trash because why on earth do you need so much space on the roads? I think it’s weird that everyone smiles at you, and what the hell is stucco? Also, google a ‘haboob,’ If I die, it’ll be from not knowing what the hell to do during one.

When we got back from our holiday we sat and discussed a west coast move. I was of course thrilled. Something new, different, exciting! Nevertheless, there was a lot to consider. 75% of my clientele is from the North East. I’m an award-winning street style photographer and no offense Phoenix, but there isn’t much style in your streets. I’d be giving up my niche and starting from the ground up. I’d be leaving my family. My parents, my siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandma who I adore. My nanny family!!! I know the first thing everyone has asked me is “WHAT ABOUT SEEF!?” My friends who I’ve known for over 15 years are also here. ::SIGH:: we thought about all of these things and discussed them for a really long time.

One of the things that really solidified the move for me was leaving to Phoenix for 17 days. I came back to clients replacing me and finding other means to make their projects happen. I realized that one of the largest factors that were holding me back was non-existent because I was easily replaceable. Now don’t feel bad. I mean, I felt terrible at first because it’s a shitty feeling, but I pushed myself to see the bigger picture. Just like I built this incredible empire here in NY / NJ, I can build one in the West Coast. My magic does not stop working outside of a 30-mile radius. My magic stops working when fear becomes more powerful.

 chasing denisse @nofacechase

So Chase (@nofacechase_) asked me if I’d be down and I was like HELL YES! I was scared. I’m still scared as shit, but I’m so excited and ready for what this new chapter in my life brings. I’m fortunate enough to be going somewhere where he’s already built a life and has a home. Because could you imagine me going somewhere where I don’t know anyone at all? That cannot be good for my mental health. I’m brave, but I ain’t crazy. We’ve got tons of people who love us and support us. We’ve also got guest bedrooms so you can all come visit! And I’ve got magic. I’ve got magic to make and lots of growing to do.

So yes, the closest thing I’ll have to a bodega is a circle k gas station store. And sure, there is NO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION even close to the MTA, but whatever. I’ll still make Chase listen to Hector Lavoe on Saturdays. My mom will mail me plátanos and Seef will come visit. I’m looking forward to everything life has for us this fall and September is already so close!

Cheers to new adventures, and here’s to finding a noise maker that has sirens, buses, 4 AM car music and the occasional firework that makes you wonder whether or not that sound will be on the news tomorrow. Now let’s go raid all of the bodegas for pan de agua before I leave.

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  1. Julie Pozo- Cepeda says:

    I wish you nothing but success, peace, love and happiness! You will now build that empire in the West coast! They are going to be lucky to have you!!!! You will be missed!! 😘😘

  2. DP Jolly says:

    😩😩😩. When you said “last winter here” in your story I was wondering if you were!
    I do believe you’ll be successful wherever your feet lay because you are that great of a person.
    I thought there was all the time in the world that we would meet but guess not 😅. Still will be the #1 fan and cheering you on! Best of luck Denisse!

  3. Krista says:

    "My magic stops working when fear becomes more powerful." YASSSSS girl! I am so inspired! My man and I are also making a big move later this year (literally just finally decided) and starting a business together as well. PNW to the South! Texas to be exact. A tiny bit scary but more exciting than anything. Excited for you lady. GET IT mama! ❤️

  4. Christal says:

    Awwww Denisse best of luck. Live your best life.

  5. Patty says:

    Omg!! I loved your post! I am so happy for you. Change is hard but it is so good for the soul. You will shine wherever you go. Your talent is your talent and no one will take that away from you. Being a jersey girl is the best things EVER! And who would wanna leave the nest, but you’re a one of a kind Jersey girl who will make ppl fall in love with you by blasting that salsa on Saturday mornings lol. Wishing you so much luck and success Denisse.
    Xoxo from a former Jersey Gal.

  6. Paige says:

    Literally crying. So happy your making this decision ❤️ I’ll miss the hell out of you but I know this is what you want and I’ll be there to visit you and my dad soon!

  7. Alex McVey says:

    😭😭😭😭I’ll probably see you just as often so 😁😁😁😁😁🖖🏻you’re gonna so great out there 😂❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️I really am gonna miss you tho

  8. Michelle Coda says:

    So so happy for you lady and amazed at your adventurous soul!! 💕💕💕

  9. Vanessa Mendez says:

    OMG I’m going to have to go to Phoenix to see your beautiful self!! That’s very exiting. Can’t wait to go visit your guest room!!😍 I love you and I pray the Lord will continue to give you the strength and ability to make all of your ways prosperous! You’ll be a millionaire in no time out there (it will be just you to explode that market). Phoenix get ready to be blessed by the best chase of your life, Queen of Everything!!! 😇🕊 😭

  10. I felt nostalgic reading this. I’m from Texas, but reading this took me to where you’re from. Good blessings on your move.

  11. Jennifer Lattimer says:

    As scary and terrifying as moving it, it was the bet decision I know I ever made! Puts you out of your element, shows you what you’re made of. Congrats to you and your partner, Denisse! It’s the beginning of a WONDERFUL adventure! Best of luck! We’re all right behind you!

  12. Shavonda says:

    Man o man!! Let me tell you….I’m a military brat who also joined the military as an adult and all I’ve done my entire life is move. I’ve lived in so many places i can’t count them on all my fingers and toes. But i was primarily raised in the south. I’m talkin below the Mason Dixon line south. I was used to the food the weather the slow pace the southern comfort….so my last move out to Cali did not come as a welcome thing at first. I literally was not interested at all in anything to do with the west coast. BUT i got here and within a month i knew i would probably never leave! The west coast has a special way of getting into your spirit and heart girl. The weather, the laid back lifestyle, etc. Although Ive ever really considered Arizona the west coast, it is beautiful and I wish you nothing but the absolute BEST. You’re so incredibly talented and i have no doubt that you’ll build that tribe so quickly. Plus you’re not too too far from LA which is a whole other avenue of opportunity. Love and light your way as you prepare for this next chapter! 🙂

  13. Mayra Nieves says:

    Wow! Congratulations on your move. I’ve been following you on social media forever I love your work. I felt a little nostalgic reading this. May all your dreams and wishes come true no matter where you go. Thank you for putting the Latina word up high. Like our parents always say para adelante no mires paratras. May God bless you and your new family. Keep up the excellent work. Besitos xoxoxo

  14. Charisse says:

    Oh wow, you’ve given me a new way of looking at my own prospective move. I ADORE London but my husband wants to start a business somewhere new, and also grant me my wish of living by the sea, so we are moving to Cornwall in a few months. I keep thinking of the things I’ll miss out on, but this post has helped. And what’s the worst that can happen, right?

  15. Alm says:

    When I was 23 my new husband, who’d I only known 9 months and been married to for 2 weeks, called me at work and asked how do I feel about moving to Arizona to live on an Indian reservation in 3 weeks. Of course I said yes. We sold everything we could (We were broke from a really great honeymoon ) packed up what was left and headed for the rez. We were 60 miles south of Tucson which meant we had to drive there to nuy groceries, go to the bank and pretty much anything else. We were poor as church mice but it was such a great adventure! We lived with the Tohono’Odom, learned their culture and even hiked to their sacred cave on their mountain- a really long hike.! Honey, this is the time to do things before you’re tied down with a house, children, etc. Helen Keller said " life is an adventure or it is nothing ". Go on your adventure .And I hope to see you before you go. Love you lots !

  16. We are ready for you here in Arizona! I moved here in 2016 and reunited with my line sister who moved to Phoenix right after college. She moved to Phoenix with her now husband from New York and loves it here!! They had a baby out here and named him Phoenix. It’s a really special place.