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

Transition Style | Denim, Midi, & Superstars

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Black midi-dress – H&M

Jacket – Lola

Adidas Superstars – Adidas

Sunglasses – Prada

Initial Necklace – Topshop

Watch – Daniel Wellington

Today I am tackling transition style. And not just transition style, summer-to-fall transition style! I’m one of those fall-loving, Christmas in July types. And I just so happen to be a September baby, so once the end of August arrives I am in my absolute element. Everyone, it is officially my favorite time of year.

There is something about this “awkward” time of year. Kids are heading back to school, stores are selling Halloween + Christmas decor, and there’s a slight autumnal chill to the air. Okay, so maybe San Diego is just enjoying a cool-down and a fairly cooler summer season. But this does nothing to deter my excitement!

The outfit you are seeing in this post is something I threw together for a day of thrift shopping, café sitting, and mother-daughter(s) quality time. I wore this black midi dress (which I tied into a knot), a light denim jacket, and my Adidas Superstars. Aside from the jacket, each piece has been a staple in my summer wardrobe. I threw in the jacket because it was quite chilly that morning. I thought the combination of everything, including those classic accessories, is be the epitome of summer-to-fall fashion.

Transition Style

So here in southern California, it is practically summer year-round. However, when you’re as obsessed with fall and winter as I am, you accept the sunshine and break out the light jackets as soon as the temperature drops to the low 70s. A bit much? Maybe.

Growing up, I had several bins to separate my clothes by season. This meant winter clothes were stored away once spring had sprung. These days, my wardrobe is no slave to the seasons. It is also full of black clothing, but that’s a different story.

Transition style is all about having fun and wearing clothes because you want to, not because the season dictates it. I’ll still be wearing white after Labor Day and shorts in the winter. Paired with tights, of course.

How do you and your wardrobe transition between summer and fall?

Do-It-Yourself Bottled Rose Water

The newest addition to my beauty routine is rose water, and today I have for the blog a do-it-yourself bottled rose water recipe. I took inspiration from Swooned Magazine and this post.

There are many benefits to rose water, however the biggest plus in my opinion has to be its light scent. It is very much so reminiscent of a bouquet of roses – and for a romantic like myself, that is its selling point.

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You will need:

  • Miniature spray bottles (I got this one for .97 at Target!)
  • Pot with lid
  • Stovetop
  • Fresh rose petals
  • Purified water
  • Measuring cup
  • Coffee filters


Making this DIY is fairly simple, and it only took me around 2 hours to prepare, cool, and bottle.

First, gather your rose petals. My grandmother has a variety of garden roses in our front and back yards, so I experimented with a few in order to achieve the pretty pink color you see in the photos. I ended up using petals from one darker pink rose. You are also welcome to use store-bought roses. Either way, make sure you rinse the petals!

Next, place your petals into a pot with purified water. I used less than half of a water bottle to cover all the petals. After it begins to boil, allow it to simmer just until the petals have lost all their color. Remove from heat.

Once cooled, I poured the water and petals over a coffee filter into a measuring cup. It made it easier to bottle in the long run.

The end result should be a full bottle of your very own rose water. The finishing touch was the sticker label I added to the front!

The Benefits

Aside from being cheap to make yourself, there are quite a few benefits of it. I was pleased to learn of these qualities:

  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflamatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Moisturizing
  • Toning

If its light, fresh scent isn’t enough to encourage you to make this DIY, I do hope its benefits are!

Let me know in the comments if you decide to make it!

Ice Cream Flights | Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream

Summer in San Diego just wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream cone… or six! You’ve heard of beer flights, but have you heard of ICE CREAM FLIGHTS?! We can all thank Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream for the brilliant concept. With flight options of 3, 6, and 32, no ice cream enthusiast walks out of the shop unsatisfied. A statement I personally know to be true.

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I remember first wanting to visit (way back in 2014) when I saw a picture of a flight of 6 on Tumblr, and I thought “Wow. Where is this place? I NEED to try it out.” A quick Google search later, I learned it was in my city! Needless to say, I paid a visit the very next day.

Hammond’s is now my go-to ice cream shop when I’m feeling like treating myself. I always go for the sorbets because I can’t say “no” to POG*-flavored anything. Flavor favorites amongst my sister and I are green tea, pineapple coconut, and pitaya.


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Ice Cream Flights

With flavors such as toasted coconut, Kona coffee, and peanut butter guava jelly, it’s no secret that the ice creams are island-inspired. Hammond’s offers over 300 flavors of ice cream and sorbet made by Tropical Dreams in Hawaii. They specialize in super premium, meaning you’ll be partaking in super rich and creamy ice cream.

When I visit the shop, I always go for the flights. I commend myself on being able to making a sound decision, but sometimes you just don’t want to choose between chocolate and vanilla. That’s why these ice cream flights are simply amazing. I can get every flavor I want, and the flight itself is quite the aesthetic.

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Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream

The initial shop opened two years ago in my favorite SD neighborhood of North Park, and now Hammond’s boasts a total of 3 locations in the city.

North Park – 3077 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104

Point Loma – 3740 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110

Pacific Beach – 1418 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

Please do yourself the favor of visiting one (or all three) of these locations when you’re in San Diego!

Empanadas, Pastries, and More | Liberty Public Market

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Last week, I had the chance to finally pay a visit to Liberty Station’s newest resident – Liberty Public Market. For those of you not aware, Liberty Public Market is a farmers market composed of local San Diego and southern California vendors. Inside you’ll find everything from food vendors to fresh produce and even wine tastings. There’s something for everyone – with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free options as well. It is basically a foodie’s paradise.

I was mostly interested in trying the Argentine empanadas from Paraná. The empanadas are baked, made with all natural ingredients, and are to-die for. I ordered the Mushroom & Cheese, Margherita, and Beef (for my sister) empanadas – and they were delicious. I loved the crust of the empanadas, and the Mushroom filling was so flavorful! Definitely a must-try.

It’s also worth it to mention that we went to the market during its peak time around noon. This place was poppin’, which resulted in not enough photographs of the many vendors inside of Liberty Public Market. There are a total of 25 resident “artisans,” and you could very well spend half a day there trying everything.

There’s no shortage of great food and fun at Liberty Public Market. Enjoy something healthy and raw from Fishbone Kitchen, something fried and greasy from Cane Patch Kitchen, or something sweet from Crafted Baked Goods and Le Parfait Paris! I had a lot of fun looking at all the pastries – it’s a favorite past-time of mine.

I’m a huge proponent of shopping and eating local, so I’m glad that I have Liberty Public Market. I love going to farmers markets here in San Diego, but now I don’t have to wait until the weekend.

If you ever find yourself in San Diego, make sure you give yourself half a day to enjoy this amazing marketplace. You won’t regret it!

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

Bad Owl Coffee | A Harry Potter Café

Potterheads come one, come all to the cutest Harry Potter café in the Las Vegas valley! I was finally able to check out Bad Owl Coffee during Fourth of July weekend. After hearing about this new place opening up in the city I grew up in, I knew I’d have to pay a visit the next time I was in town.

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Bad Owl Coffee – Henderson, Nevada

We arrived to the magical café at 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon. All the tables (each adorned with different HP expressions and quotes) were taken when we first walked in. However, by the time we ordered, the “Everyday I’m Mugglin’” table cleared up, which stood across their own Platform 9 ¾.

As we waited for our drinks and dessert, I sat fascinated with the number of customers that this café brings in. Every table sat a customer, and there was constantly someone giving their order. For such a small shop, they seemed to be doing quite well. Big kudos to all of them for supporting local businesses!

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The Menu

For being a small coffee shop, Bad Owl has a great selection of coffees, teas, and foods. Going in, I knew that I wanted to try the most Harry Potter-esque drink, in addition to their new waffles.

  • Butterbrew latte – my friend Angela and I both ordered this Hogsmeade classic, and were pleasantly surprised with their rendition. Had it iced, without the optional espresso shot. Wasn’t overpoweringly sweet like some Butterscotch flavoring can be. I would definitely recommend this drink.
  • Matcha latte – my sister ordered this and said that it was very creamy (from the milk presumably) but also very sweet.
  • Toffee coffee – my mom opted for an iced coffee, and really enjoyed the flavor.
  • Matcha waffle – this was as perfect as a waffle could be: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Served with maple syrup, matcha sauce, butter, and Thrifty’s vanilla bean ice cream. Best sweet treat, ever.


A Harry Potter Café in Las Vegas

You don’t have to be a wizard to understand that J.K. Rowling’s beloved book series has become something bigger than itself. With successful film adaptations and a Wizarding World of Harry Potter on either side of the country, it’s no wonder that Potterheads are finding new ways to keep it alive! There’s now Bad Owl Coffee.

Next time you find yourself in Sin City, make sure to venture away from the Strip and check out this Harry Potter café!

6 Disneyland Must Do’s From an AP Holder

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The past year has seen an upwards of 10 trips to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure for myself, and it’s all thanks to this bad boy: my Annual Passport. But fortunately, my 6 Disneyland Must Do’s don’t require the expensive Annual Pass – just the standard Disney ticket. Before you head out for your next Disneyland trip, check out this list!

1. Get a FastPass for Space Mountain

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My number one tip for anyone who loves rides (but hates waiting in long lines) is to get the FastPass. It’s honestly one of the greatest concepts; it lets you skip the lines and gives you more time to enjoy the park. Most of, if not all, the popular rides issue their respective FastPass – including (Hyper)Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, California Screamin’, Tower of Terror, and Radiator Springs Racers! Noticeably missing is Matterhorn, but they do have single rider passes for those keen on getting in and out quickly.

You are limited on how many FastPass tickets you can have at a time though, so plan accordingly. If tackling Disneyland, I recommend getting a FastPass for Space Mountain first. California Adventure? Definitely Radiator Springs Racers. Though, they do have a separate line for single riders.

2. Order the Pomme Frites

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Don’t get me started on the food. One of the best parts of Disneyland, if not the best part, is the food. They have something to meet everyone’s dietary needs and wants. We’re talking turkey legs for meat-eaters, veggie burgers for vegans, and delicious snacks for even the pickiest of kids.

There’s an Instagram account completely dedicated to the food, and I suggest following @foodsofdisneyland before your trip to the Magic Kingdom. I’m craving the pomme frites at Café Orleans right now; and dream about those Disneyland pickles on the daily.

3. Enjoy drinks by the Pier

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If you’re of age, you should know that all your adult beverages will be found in California Adventure. The only alcohol in Disneyland is in Club 33 and probably with Jack Sparrow and crew on the Pirates’ ride (*disclaimer: the latter part is a joke).

Check out Cove Bar to enjoy drinks, appetizers, and the view of Paradise Pier. Funnily enough, as I write about alcoholic drinks, I elected for the non-alcoholic Cotton Candy lemonade.

4. Rub noses with Winnie 

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Some of the older guests are quick to dismiss meeting the characters as child’s play, but it really is part of the magic that Disney is known for. What better place to be a kid than at the Magic Kingdom?

I’ve seen everything from babies crying in fear to grown adults crying of happiness when meeting their favorite Disney characters. The overall sentiment, though, is always one of awe. I like to believe that Disney was one of the first places where people were able to meet characters they read in books and saw in films. My personal favorites (and where to find them) are Princess Jasmine at Aladdin’s Oasis, Peter Pan in Fantasyland, the main Mouse himself basically everywhere, and of course Pooh bear in Critter County. Bonus points for cute poses!

5. Learn how to draw Minnie Mouse

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Learn to draw your favorite classic animated characters! I took my first drawing class with Animation Academy during my last couple of months as an AP holder, and I wish I discovered it sooner. You follow step-by-step instructions from a Disney artist to draw either Mickey or one of his friends. It is a lot of fun, and as I said, I wish I had checked it out sooner. I’ve drawn Winnie the Pooh, Pluto, and Minnie (as seen above).

6. Take the Cliché Photo-Op

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The typical Disneyland picture is one with the castle. If you don’t take a picture with Sleeping Beauty’s castle, did you even go to Disneyland? Some may argue otherwise, but it’s definitely something that needs to be done. My favorite spot is off to the side of the castle; it’s in a little nook on the way to Snow White’s wishing well.

Disneyland Must Do’s 

I am heartbroken to say that my annual pass expired back in May, and I have no plans to visit the parks in the near future. But this past year as an AP holder has been one of the most fun. Should you be heading to the Anaheim parks soon, I do hope you keep these in mind! They were a MUST every visit I took.

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.