Au Revoir 2016

What a whirlwind of a year 2016 has been. It has beat me down, it has built me up, and it has continued to do what 2015 did –  challenge me. Ever since graduating college, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching to figure out just what I’m meant to do. Spoiler alert: I still don’t know what I’m meant to do. However, I have learned to hone in onto what I love to do. Which is giving back, traveling, writing, and creating content.

#BestNineof2016

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Giving Back

At the beginning of 2016, I was feeling lost and simultaneously inspired. You all know how the New Year tends to do that. I decided to finally sign up to volunteer at the local animal shelter to keep me occupied/sane during my job search. I did that for almost half a year, and I’m eager to get back to continue! The joy I get from volunteering with dogs is borderline silly, but it brings such happiness to me!

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Traveling

This year I was also fortunate enough to do some traveling and cross off some bucket list items. In March, my sister and I traveled with EF College Break to Costa Rica – my first visit to Central America! That was where I embraced the Pura Vida lifestyle, and who knew that half a year later I’d be working at Pura Vida Bracelets!? More on that later.

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A week later, I was off to the valley – the Coachella valley to be exact! I’ve been meaning to go to the Coachella Music Festival since Vanessa Hudgens put it on the map for me, and it finally happened this year. With three of my best friends, we made this dream a reality. My first music festival was THE music festival and it was probably one of the best weekends of my life. Being able to see some of my favorite musical artists (The 1975, Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith) brings literal tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Ah, what is life?!

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Another highlight of 2016 was my trip to San Francisco with Diana. I’ve been once before, but not as an adult (okay ew, not using that term ever again). This meant that I also got to experience Wine Country with my best friend, and it was so much fun. Diana and I always manage to go on fun trips, which I’m more than sure we’ll continue in the new year. What do you say to Mexico in the summer, Dee? VAMOS!

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Then there was my trip to Canada, which has been in the making since the end of semester abroad in 2014! It meant a lot to me to see and hang out with Amanda and Sudiksha after all this time. It also got me closer to my imminent return to Europe. Before I travel to Europe again, I wanted to see more of North and South America. It’s actually my goal to be in London in 2018, so I’ve got to get a move on ;)

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Writing + Creating Content

I’m actually really pleased to see that I documented on the blog all of this year’s travels. It was a personal goal of mine to write more and I used this blog to do just that. Admittedly, I’ve fallen in and out of love with this blog. But at the end of the day, it is a passion and a creative outlet. Writing and content creation are things I love, and it’s important to me that it is part of whatever career route I take.

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Which brings me back to Pura Vida Bracelets! These last few months of 2016 I have been grateful enough to get hired at a wonderful company and dip my toes into the world of social media and influencer marketing. It’s been a learning process and I’m so fortunate to finally have the chance to show what I’m made of. I’ve been able to create content for their Instagram, and I have realized that I really really love it. And it’s something I like to believe I’m good at! So here’s to creating more and more in the new year!

Au Revoir, 2016

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2016 also saw another revolution around the sun. Who knew that a person could have an existential crisis at the ripe old age of 22? It was a hard year and I have a feeling 23 will be just as tough, but you know what? So am I. Bring it on, 2017.



It’s My Birthday | 23 Goals for 23

Today is my 23rd birthday.

Before I can say hello to 23-year-old me, I have to bid adieu to 22. This past year was really difficult for me. Looking back, a lot of it was spent feeling sad. My first year out of college – be it an existential crisis or just too much negative energy – was tough. Really tough. And I want it to be no secret that I found it that way, especially in this age of social media. No one’s life is as perfect as their Instagram feed.

Life is hard, but we get through it. And as I get older, I think the lows are just as important as the highs. I’m going to refer to them as growing pains, and my early twenties have already had a lot of them.

Every day I have to remind myself that I’m on my own personal journey. I might not be where I want to be yet, but I will get there. I’m looking forward to what this upcoming year has in store for me.

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23 Goals for 23

  1. Take better care of myself.
  2. Eat well (less processed, more whole foods)
  3. Do things that make me happy.
  4. Be a better daughter, sister, and friend.
  5. Travel to a new destination.
  6. Get out of my comfort zone more often.
  7. Learn how to dive.
  8. Read 10+ books.
  9. Watch all the Star Wars movies.
  10. Make an unlikely friend.
  11. Volunteer with animals.
  12. Work towards making my London dreams a reality.
  13. Visit Mariah in Washington state.
  14. Experience Harry Potter World Hollywood.
  15. Take a spin class.
  16. Spend more time outdoors.
  17. Write more.
  18. Smile more.
  19. Laugh more.
  20. Continue trusting in the process.
  21. Keep learning/growing/creating.
  22. Stay positive.
  23. Take it one day at a time.

And I’d like to wish a massive happy birthday to all my fellow September babies <3

Photo: @drakeoncake



My Best Dog Friend’s 15th Birthday

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A more personal post for the blog – my best dog friend’s 15th birthday! We’ve been blessed to have JC in our family for 15 beautiful years now, and he’s our little senior baby.

We got JC the fall of 2001 because we wanted a second dog after having JJ (RIP) for a year. I’m the one who gave JC his name, and I like to think it’s because I pitched in $20 for him. I was 7. Over the years he’s become my best friend, my best dog friend. There is honestly no better bond than the one between woman and dog.

Last Monday was his 15th birthday. We choose to celebrate his birthday every year, but we only just started getting him a cake. He’s a spoiled dog, don’t get me wrong. But once your dog’s in their teens, you just want to celebrate him even more. Don’t ever doubt people’s love for their pets.

His birthday cake is from Paw Pleasers bakery here in San Diego. They specialize in grain-free birthday cakes, and JC loves it so much. He gets a few pieces of cake every day after his dinner, and still has less than half a week later!



I’m on Bloglovin’

In an attempt to grow my following (which who can blame a girl?), I’ve finally got around to signing up with Bloglovin’. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Bloglovin’ is a website that allows readers (and bloggers) discover lifestyle content, and is just an overall awesome thing.

Bloglovin’ will hopefully help get Dressed in Black on its way to hundreds, maybe even thousands of subscribers.. A girl can only dream!

With that being said, I’ve added a widget and included a link to where you can all subscribe to Dressed in Black on their website!  Also, don’t forget that you can subscribe via email! All my social media links are off to the side, as well. Just when you thought we couldn’t be more connected ;)

I can’t wait to begin this new journey with you all!

Jas x



Dear Millennials,

Woke up today to the nightmare that is when reality hits. Yesterday, the UK voted to leave the European Union. Now, you may ask “What does this young American girl care? She’s not British or European.” But let me assure you, this American millennial has her eyes tuned in to the world and does care. And frankly, more of us Millennials need to care or this world will go to shit.

I am one of those rare (or maybe not so rare) young people who actually pay attention to global current events. I genuinely love knowing what’s going on around the world. International affairs really get me going, which is why I slightly regret not choosing to be an International Relations major at university… There’s still my Masters.

I think what we’re seeing here is backward progress. The worldwide trend is this: older generations are succumbing to fear mongering tactics, which leads to hateful decisions and contempt for the repercussions to follow, and then they show up to the polls. I’ve read multiple tweets that literally say “Baby boomers shouldn’t be allowed to determine the fate of the world they’re leaving soon.” Grim. But what’s worrying is that millennials just don’t care enough to exceed, let alone match their numbers.

The fact of the matter is younger people aren’t showing up where it counts – the polls. All over social media, I’ve only seen pro-EUers. In fact, so many that it didn’t make sense to me how predictions were saying it’d be a close race, let alone a one million vote difference. Closer to home, the same thing goes for pro-Bernie/pro-stricter gun control. And lo and behold, we are the generation of all talk and no action. For a generation so keen on being seen and heard, we do a crap job of being seen and being heard.

From one Millennial to another

I love the passion that Millennials have on social media and in real life. I love that we’re a more tolerant and loving generation. I love that we’re travelling more, learning about different cultures, and are more internationally inclined than our elders. But by no means are we perfect. No one’s perfect.

All this passion that we have as young people needs to be translated into action. Like yesterday. Or else we’re going to be left with a world that’s going to need a lot of rebuilding. Wasn’t Daenerys Targaryen basically saying the same thing just last week? Funny how life imitates art.

I think the overall lesson to be learned here is that Millennials do have a lot of power. What we choose to do with that power is up to us. We just need to show the older generations that we do have a say in our future. We need a healthy mix of stating our opinions/beliefs on social media and following through in real life. We have to show the older generations that they can’t mess up our future.

We need to leave this world better than we found it. I believe in you, I believe in us.

–  J.M.



A Brief Hiatus

I’m not even going to try to make up excuses to explain the brief hiatus. I haven’t written a blogpost in two months, and it is proving difficult to even start this one.

Let’s just say, I want to get back to the basics.

One of the reasons why I started this blog (and blogging in general) is because I have always loved to write. It has continually been my preferred creative outlet. I still have old diaries and entire notebooks that I’ve filled up with anecdotes, thoughts, dreams… WORDS! Truthfully, I am terrified to read them back. There’s a lot of teen angst that went into them. Silly 16-year old stuff, understandably. But it was how I expressed myself.. Maybe I’ll open them up one day when I’m bored, just for the lols.

I have spent the first couple of months this year really pushing myself to be happier. “Pushing” has a very aggressive connotation to it, but it’s better than saying I’ve been forcing myself to be more positive. That just takes away from the fact that I am genuinely happy. A place that I thought I wouldn’t get back to until I had finally made it. Whatever in the world that means.

Then I realized that I was being ridiculous and putting all this unnecessary pressure on myself. Boy, 22 sure isn’t the upbeat, bubblegum pop song Taylor Swift made it out to be.

What I am saying is that the journey through adulthood can be extremely stressful at times. It was super important for me to take these past couple of months to sorta feed my soul. I’ve actually started to volunteer at a local animal shelter as a dog walker. Quite possibly the best hour of the week. I’ve also been more committed to eating a plant-based diet, and working out more.

My January and February has been a much needed change in mindset and attitude. It’s been spent remembering what I’ve accomplished and what I still want to accomplish. To straighten out my priorities, which just so happen to be celebrating my 16 year academic career coming to a glorious end.

Over the next 3 months, I will be basking in the Costa Rican sunshine, channeling my inner Vanessa Hudgens at Coachella, (not)crying about my Disneyland annual pass expiring, and enjoying a week in the Bay Area with a best friend. As well as my shelter dog walking responsibilities. I want the celebrations to last forever, but the plan is to start working full-time this summer.

Many things to look forward to, and I’m feeling incredibly lucky.



Hello 2016

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Goodbye 2015. Hello 2016.

2015 will go down in my books as the year of growing pains. I honestly would not describe it any other way.

I spent an unhealthy amount of 2015 being sad and angry and disappointed with myself, when I honestly should have been so freaking proud and stupid happy. I worked so hard in school, and I graduated with honors! I had the best, last spring break I could ever ask for. Made it out to Disneyland more times than I can count on one hand. I ate SO MANY AÇAI bowls, aka my favorite icy concoction!! And I decided that I don’t want to eat animals anymore.

But all this was overshadowed by the fact that I haven’t found my “big girl” job yet. Yes, it’s as pathetic as it sounds. But I honestly still get anxious just thinking about it. Twenty-something angst is a thing. However, in retrospect, I realise now that the universe owes me nothing.

I don’t ever want to lead a life where everything is handed to me on a silver platter. Why I thought that I deserved such VIP treatment beats me. My family and my friends work so hard, and I admire each and every one for making it all look easy.

All that being said, I am still in the process of figuring it out. And I hope to continue in this journey of personal growth.

I aspire to be someone who can truly be proud of themselves. Someone who can see beauty in everything. Someone who knows how to live life and can enjoy the ride. Those are my goals for this upcoming year.

I don’t want to feel sad anymore. I wasted too much time last year pitying myself because I had so much newfound time on my hands. But I want this year to be different.

Hello 2016, I’m ready for you.



Hello Autumn

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Hello Autumn! And hello November!

We’ve now entered the best time of the year – HOLIDAY SEASON! I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year, and of course, Thanksgiving. Though, it should prove to be interesting as I’ve decided to make a transition into a plant-based diet. This is a personal decision, and I’d love to delve deeper into the subject in another post soon. But a quick shoutout to sweet potatoes and other yummy fall produce!

This month I have loads of fun posts planned and I can’t wait to share them! November is honestly the only real month of autumn here in southern California, considering the fact that it’s summer weather practically year round. I long for a place where I can experience all four seasons (I’m looking at you, England!) Or, if anyone knows of a place where it’s autumn weather all the time, please enlighten me. Regardless, I’m excited for long-sleeves and layers, even if it’s still not quite cold enough for my favorite coats and cozy sweaters.

AH, I LOVE AUTUMN! Now show me some leaves! Seriously, where are the pretty colored leaves??

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the pumpkin in the photo. Check out the pumpkin I painted. Isn’t she gorg? It was painted with white and gold acrylic paint, and the calligraphy is written in black Sharpie. All done by me! My sister and I wanted to paint our pumpkins this Halloween, instead of carving them. And I think I prefer it because it doesn’t involve icky pumpkin guts and lasts longer! Yay for autumn decor!



Get to Know Me Tag

For today’s blogpost, I thought I’d do the Get to Know Me tag. I just typed in ‘fun blog tags’ on Google, and this is the first one that popped up.

I love reading these kind of posts because it’s a great way to get to know the person behind the blog.

One quick thing before I get started! So last week, I scheduled out my blogposts for the rest of the year (which is quite scary considering we’ve only about two months left!) Starting next month, I’ll be posting twice a week: Mondays and Thursdays. Needless to say, I’ve been feeling inspired again and loving this newfound motivation! I hope it lasts!

Now let’s get back to the tag. Here we go!

1. Are you named after anyone? As far as what I’ve come to understand from talking to my mom about it over the years, I am and I am not. No one in the family is named Jasmin, but my mom’s initials just so happen to also be the first four letters of my name. Not sure if that counts but we’ll go with it.

2. When was the last time you cried? This is actually quite sad but I cried just a couple of nights ago because GROWING UP IS TERRIFYING.

3. Do you have any kids? No.

4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself? Sure! In fact, I think we’d be best friends.

5. Do you use sarcasm a lot? I definitely was more sarcastic when I was younger. I think that changed when I studied abroad and started making international friends though because that type of humor wasn’t conveyed as well? I don’t know. However, I do use a lot of sarcasm when I’m around people who understand it.

6. Will you ever bungee-jump? No…but I’d sky-dive. I’m not so scared of heights, but I just have this fear of the bungee cord snapping.

7. What’s your favorite cereal? Probably Lucky Charms or Reese’s Puffs, even though I don’t really eat cereal anymore.

8. What’s the first thing you notice about people? It’s usually their style. I’m a sucker for great fashion sense.

9. What is your eye color? Brown.

10. Scary movie or happy endings? Happy endings because I’m a Disney kid and hopeless romantic. :)

11. Favorite smells? I love Christmas scents, freshly baked cookies, and anything with a nice crispness to it.

12. Summer or winter? I’m going to go with winter because I like not sweating, being cozy and bundling up.

13. Computer or television? Computer because I could always watch TV shows there. Boom.

14. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home? To the land down unda’: Australia.

15. Do you have any special talents? I’d like to believe I’m quite crafty and creative. That’s special, right? I also pride myself on reading people. I think I’m quite good at observing facial expressions and body language.

16. Where were you born? San Diego, California.

17. What are your hobbies? Right now, my biggest hobby is Dressed in Black, and all things having to do with blogging. I’m loving the writing+photography combo. I also like baking and DIY projects. I like to get crafty.

18. Do you have any pets? Yes I do! He’s a 14-year-old Miniature Pinscher who I named JC. Yes, as in my fave *NSYNC member, JC Chasez.

19. Favorite movie? Tough one. I can watch several different movies over and over, but I’m going to have to go with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

20. Do you have any siblings? One younger sister.

21. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be successful in my chosen career path, as well as a wife and mother.

This was just a fun little Get to Know Me post that I hope helped you get to know me a little better. I’m more than certain as that as this blog grows, you’ll know me a lot more.

If you haven’t done this tag yet or would like to, I tag you!



2014

What. A. Year.

I will always remember 2014 as the year I didn’t take “no” for an answer. The year I lived in Europe, and made it my playground for the first 7 and a half months of it. The year 16-year-old me fantasized about. The year dreams were made into reality.

It’s already 2015 in my part of the world, and most of the world for that matter. But I couldn’t not talk about this past year. Because it’s been the best year yet!

A year ago I was ringing in the new year in Paris, France, with my famille française – and to this day I am still touched by the kindness and hospitality that I was showered with. Followed by several days in the City of Lights – in a 17th Arrondissement studio apartment – with my French pen pal whom I’ve been exchanging letters with for around 3 years now. How does one top that for a start to a new year?

Then, it was time for my semester abroad in Toulouse. Five entire months of 3-hour long business lectures taught in French that were actually spent on Buzzfeed, Facebook, travel sites, and 2048. These distractions made “study” abroad a bit more tolerable. That and the best distraction of all – the ever-elusive Colombian exchange student: hi Manu if you’re reading this ;)

All jokes aside, the best part of my time abroad (and of 2014) was all the travel I got to do. Paris, Carcassonne, Tarn, Berlin, Munich, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Budapest, Prague, Nice, Monaco, Barcelona, Venice, Rome, London, Cambridge, Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Ios, and last but certainly not least, Dublin. I left Europe not only with a few more stamps in my passport, but also with a yearning to return for a much longer stay. I also came out of it with newfound knowledge and life-long friends from all around the world. A dream.

And then it was time to return to a bittersweet reality. I completed the penultimate semester of my college career. Soon I will be off into the “real,” adult world and the mere thought of that is terrifying. And I think I finally have a clue of what I want – in every aspect – which has got to be even more terrifying.

But most importantly, I believe that 2014 was a year of tremendous personal growth. The Jasmin that started 2014 is different than the one ending it, and it’s a change that was inevitable and must be embraced. I’m ready for you, world.

So with that, I would like to bid adieu to 2014. Thanks for another amazing year, ’twas truly a dream come true.