Ritz Carlton Reserve Photo Walk

Photography, Thoughts

After being sick and out of commission for over a week with the mosquito virus, Chikungunya, I decided to grab my camera and go for a walk around the Dorado Beach, Ritz Carlton Reserve property. The fresh air was much needed! I have to admit, I work on one of the most beautiful properties in the world. From the gorgeous beaches to the sub-tropical rainforest, there is beauty everywhere you look. Hopefully I was able to capture some of that beauty in my photographs. 

ALSO – Please visit my NEW ADDITION to the blog – the VIDEO section 😀

100 Days Project: COMPLETE

Photography, Thoughts

MISSION COMPLETE!

 

WAHOO! I did it! 100 Days Project is complete. It’s been quite the journey let me tell you. I want to thank all my friends, and even strangers, who assisted in taking pictures of me doing handstands. I also want to show appreciation for those individuals who kept rooting me on each and everyday to keep producing more epic handstands.

This project has actually taught me a lot about myself. I was able to get out of my comfort zone doing handstands in very public locations. Having a creative task to complete everyday for 100 days taught me about consistency and discipline as well. I thought it was going to be SO easy to simply do a handstand everyday, but sometimes that wasn’t the case. I’m not going to lie, some days I took 2 handstand photos because I knew the next day I wouldn’t have time for one if we were too busy at work. Don’t hate me haha. At least I was planning ahead right? In fact, on Day 100 I was diagnosed at the hospital with the Chikungunya Mosquito Virus :/ Not fun. Luckily I had an epic photo from the day before on our scuba dive with a sea turtle that was worthy of being the final handstand of the project.

To see my 100 Days Project Page – CLICK HERE

 

I can’t tell you how many messages I received during this project where people said that I helped inspire them in their life in one way or another, or that they just looked forward everyday to see what handstand I did next. It was those kinds of messages that kept me going whenever I doubted myself at all 🙂 So to you, I say thank you.

Hope you enjoy the full ensemble of 100 days of handstands below! 

Which one is your favorite?

 

Blood Is (Not Always) Thicker Than Water

Thoughts
Chanel and Grandpa Houston

Chanel and Grandpa Houston

 

Let me first start off by stating that I don’t want to offend anyone in my family with this post – this is just a summary of my feelings and emotions that I need to release.

For the past couple of years, I’ve seen a lot of changes within my family – on both my mother’s and father’s side. Today, I’d like to share some of my feelings and emotions with what has been going on. Releasing it here is sort of a therapy session for me…I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section if anything relates to your life as well.

Growing up, you tend to think that you have the perfect family. You look up to your family members and think that they are the best role models for you in life, or at least they should be.

As you get older, to fog dissipates and you see the reality of the situation. Let’s start from the beginning:

My parents divorced when I was 2 years old. My mom got full custody, so most of my life was spent with her raising me. In terms of my father, I would see him more often when I was younger for holidays and such, but over time, the frequency decreased. I rarely see or speak with him now. Throughout my life, I would look at my friends whose parents were still married, and wonder what it would be like to have a father in my household growing up. Most of my friends dads basically took me in as one of their own, which was wonderful and I am very thankful for that. Big props to my mom though for being a kickass single mother and providing the world and more for me growing up in a single parent household.

I am lucky that I was close to both sides of my family growing up. My dad’s side of the family consist of some of the most amazing, giving, kind-hearted people I’ve ever met. My Hason Grandparents will always be the most selfless individuals and loving individuals I have the pleasure of being related to. They didn’t have much, but they didn’t need much. They welcomed anyone with open arms, and wouldn’t let them leave the house without a full tummy or something to takeaway for the road. Even though they are not fully themselves right now as they are both are in hospice care due to the effects of alzheimer’s and dementia, the memory of how they once were will live on forever within my mind. My Aunt V is another beautiful soul who gives and gives and never expects something in return. Her kind and selfless acts have not gone unnoticed. My mom’s side of the family is a bit smaller, but we were all very close when I was younger.

My mom’s mother and stepdad were like my second set of parents growing up. My Grandma Houston has been my travel tour guide across the globe. I am so thankful that she has shown me so many amazing places, and has supported my hopes and dreams. My Grandpa Houston was always full of wonderful advice. I wish I had spent more time talking to him about life in my younger years. He passed away when I was in Middle School, and that began the downward spiral of that side of the family. Things have never been the same since he left the planet – he was the glue to the family. My mom has 2 sisters, so it’s a lot of estrogen to handle on holidays and other special occasions.

Currently, both sides of my family have dealt with some wild and crazy scenarios. I won’t get into the full details, but both situations have just left me speechless and dumbfounded. Let’s just say that no ‘family’ holiday will ever be the same. I honestly don’t mind about not spending the holidays with my full family anymore since the most recent memories have been filled with anxiety, anger, and lies. What happened to all the love?

I always feel like the middle man in every situation, which gets old really quickly. Sometimes I wonder how adults can act so childish, and how I can even be related to those individuals. You begin to see certain traits your family members portray, and then make a note to not be like that (especially whenever you have children). It’s sad when you grow up looking up to certain individuals, and then you realize all their faults. You want your family to be perfect, but no family is ever that way. I am not saying I am better than anyone else, don’t get my wrong. I have my faults as well. I’m just discussing how the mold I had for most of my life about certain individuals has been completely cracked into millions of pieces.

There was a time I though my friends families were perfect when I was growing up. But over time I saw many behind the scenes arguments and tears that would conclude the opposite. Life isn’t perfect. Families aren’t perfect. I had to stop comparing my family to others – it’s just not the way to look about things in life. Every situation is different.

Blood is not always thicker than water. I’m lucky that people I consider family range outside of blood relation. I’ve got a strong foundation of amazing friends who have seen me at my best and at my worst, and are still here rooting for me to succeed at life. I can’t thank those individuals enough for being fantastic mentors, parent figures, teachers, best friends, and role models for me.

Thanks for listening/reading. It feels good to get that all out.

Toro Verde

Secret To Life

Thoughts

My soul is not contained within the limits of my body, my body is contained within the limitless of my soul.

The effect you have on others, is the most valuable currency there is. Because everything you gain in life with rot and fall apart, and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart.

Now fear is going to be a player in your life. You get to decide how much. You could spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about the pathway to the future, but all there will ever be is what’s happening here in the decisions we make in this moment which are based in either love or fear.

So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised of as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m saying, you can ask the universe for it.

Doesn’t that video just move & inspire you? It did for me.
I hear so often that people are truly impressed and amazed that I have been so gung-ho about following my dreams and passions in life, and that I’m succeeding. Whether that be studying abroad in Australia for a year, being short-listed in Australia’s Best Job In The World Contest, becoming Miss Scuba USA 2013, or packing and selling my life in 2 weeks to move to Puerto Rico for a job of a lifetime. No, all these things didn’t ‘just happen’ to me. And Yes, there have been plenty of opportunities that I didn’t get. But the thing is – NEVER GIVE UP. To be honest, I don’t know what other way to live. I know that I’m not on this planet for forever, and so why waste any of the precious time that I have.
My next step in life is to get my teaching credential. After that, who knows where that might take me. I’d love to do more traveling because that’s when I truly feel small on this large planet of knowledge, beauty, and wonder. The more I see of the world, the more fascinated and curious I become. As long as I can educate people about the ocean and sustainability, I will die happy.
So go out there – do what you love – find a way to make it happen – never give up – don’t settle – and smile 🙂

 

Revelation

Science, Thoughts

Sunset Kayak

I moved to Puerto Rico about a month and a half ago for what I thought was my ‘Dream Job.’ As time passes, I am realizing that this isn’t my ‘Dream Job,’ but instead an eye-opening revelation about what I really want to accomplish in life. I work with 80% kids as my job as a Naturalist. They are definitely a handful and exhausting to keep them entertained for increments of 3 hours at a time back to back everyday. But to be honest, it is so thrilling and rewarding to see how excited they get when we take them to the tide-pools, snorkeling on a coral reef, or even explore a sub-tropical rainforest. Most of these children live in the city (NY), where they don’t get to experience ‘nature’ as often. We even have parents who join in our activities who have never been immersed in a forest, and we have the pleasure to show them a whole new world for the first time.

So, I’ve decided that after my year here, I want to move back to California and get my TEACHING CREDENTIAL! I’ve said it many times before that what I am meant to do on this planet is to educate as many minds as possible about our natural environment and ways to protect it for future generations. My current job has solidified what I want to do in the future – teach kids about natural world and pass onto them all the lessons I’ve learned through my life experiences.

With so many friends who are teachers, I am lucky to have a large community of people willing to answers all the questions that will soon arise once I start this process. It’s actually pretty ironic that I am deciding to become a teacher… in 12th grade at our Senior Breakfast at South Pasadena High School, we voted for people in all sorts of “Best/Most Likely” categories. I won Most Spirited, which is a title I’ve held strong since Elementary School basically. And then out of the BLUE, my class voted me “Most likely to become a teacher at South Pasadena High School.” It looks like my classmates were predicting a future for me even before I knew it!!

I also recently just moved to a different house with a new roommate. It is closer to the beach (literally right across the street), and it’s closer to work. The house is a bit of a fixer-upper, but I think it will be a fun project to take on. My roomie is a cool guy from Washington, who actually works right next door to me at the water sports facility for the Dorado Beach Club. We have a 3rd bedroom open for grabs, which will hopefully be filled by the new Naturalist we are hiring ASAP. We shall see! Things are looking up 🙂

I AM Scuba Miss USA!

Thoughts

instagrammissscuba
BIG NEWS!

After the Best Jobs in the World Contest, I got approached by a wonderful woman by the name of Ashlee Smith on Facebook. She informed me that she was the 2nd Runner Up in the 2012 Miss Scuba International Pageant, and that I would be a great representative for the USA this year. At first I was like, “Wait a minute..how did I not know of this amazing contest before?!” Well, after some research I learned that this pageant began in 2011. But, the basis of this pageant is right up my ocean conservation alley!

I turned in my application, and soon found out that I was a top contender to represent the USA in the Miss Scuba International Pageant. I was actually chatting with a long time friend today about this whole experience, and he said:

Well, I know you’ve been laying down the bricks for something like this for a long, long, LONG time. If you ask me, you’ve created this path yourself. Things happen for a reason, and this is proof you’ve been on the right path all along. Super stoked for you.
I really took this comment to heart. My whole life has been dedicated to learning and continually falling in love with the ocean. I am meant to educate as many people as possible about protecting our planet. The Miss Scuba International Pageant is made for me.

Please feel free to review the history of the Miss Scuba International Pageant as stated on their website:

The Miss Scuba International pageant was held for the very first time in 2011. There has been many a beauty pageant held in the past, many embracing great causes, however none yet have focused on our oceans. Life on Earth as we know it today began with our oceans. Thus, we decided that it is time that an event such as this is produced to celebrate, not only, the inner beauty and courage of today’s modern women, but also to simultaneously advocate worldwide marine conservation.

The Miss Scuba International Organization is founded by Mr Robert Lo who is also the proprietor of the Sipadan Mabul Resort (SMART) and Mabul Water Bungalows, and as such is a strong believer in sustainable development within the realms of our marine environment. He hopes that by sharing the beauty and wonders of the underwater world via beauty queens, it will enable more people to understand how fragile our oceans are and how much more we all need to play our individual little roles to make a big difference in protecting it.

The winning delegate of the Miss Scuba International competition will undertake a year of ocean conservation campaigns to educate and inspire the desire in all of us to do our best to safeguard our oceans. The pageant will also offer her a unique and comprehensive platform to launch her career and personal development.

Additionally, we also aim to promote safe diving practices through worldwide professional training organizations, and elevate international tourism and cultural appreciation. As people travel to far off destinations to dive, they also learn to appreciate the cultural diversity that makes our world such an interesting tapestry.

Low and behold – I was chosen as SCUBA MISS USA 2013!!! I definitely did a little dance of joy and happiness after I got off that faithful phone call. I can’t express how honored and overwhelmed with compassion to represent my amazing country.

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

I am going to Malaysia for 2 weeks in December to compete in the Miss Scuba International Pageant. I never thought I’d participate in a beauty pageant before.. But to be honest, I view this pageant as something so much more. The MSI is sponsored by some big names in the marine conservation, tourism, and diving industries. As many of you know from reading my blog over the years, my passion is marine conservation and photography. I am hoping to gain some valuable connections within the marine conservation industry, and to of course just soak in this amazing once in a lifetime experience!

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Although my accommodation while visiting Malaysia is covered, I am personally responsible for my roundtrip airfare (~$2000), plus all of my clothing/accessories needed for the pageant ($1000+). It sure does add up… which is why I am asking for help from all you kind-hearted individuals out there who recognize and appreciate passion when you see it.

I’ve raised almost $1000 so far from so many generous kind people in my life, and even some individuals I don’t even know personally. If you believe in marine conservation, ecotourism, women in science, and environmental education – please donate anything you have to spare :

Chanel’s PayPal Donation page

(Photo: Nicole Strack Photography)

(Photo: Nicole Strack Photography)

 

 Also, please visit my Scuba Miss USA FACEBOOK page and ‘like’ it! I can’t wait to share this amazing adventure with you all!

Top 10 Reasons Why LA is Awesome

Photography, Thoughts

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOS ANGELES!

The City of Angels turned 232
on September 4, 2013

LA Sunset

* My Photograph was Featured on DiscoverLosAngeles.com *

My mom and I moved to South Pasadena – only a 15 min drive from the heart of downtown Los Angeles – when I was in 4th grade. I spent the majority of my youthful years in LA, that is until my mom moved back to Texas when I was a sophomore in college. While going to college in Monterey Bay CA, I cherished the clean air and beautiful coast line each and every day. But after 4 years of foggy days, cold blistering winds, and rainy days, I was ready to move back to LA so I could be reminded of what the sun looks like.

I’ve spent 14 years of my life in the City of Angeles, and it truly holds a special place in my heart. There really is NO PLACE like Los Angeles 🙂 In saying that, I’d like to share a couple of key factors that make LA so amazing:

Top 10 Reasons Why LA is AWESOME:

 

  1. ALWAYS SOMETHING TO DO: There is never a week that goes by in Los Angeles that there’s not a festival, event, concert, or some kind of exciting gathering. If people say they are bored in LA, tell them they are crazy and lazy.
  2. SUNSHINE YEAR ROUND: After living in Monterey where there was only about a week of sunshine for the entire year, I learned that LA was in fact where I belonged. I’m a child of the sun and sea – and thanks to the 292 days year round of sunshine in Los Angeles – I’m a happy camper!
  3. LOTS OF HIKING: Yes this is a large city, but we’ve got hills and mountains galore! There’s even a waterfall 5 minutes of the street from my house. If you consider LA a concrete jungle, let me treat you to a hiking tour around the area to change your mind.
  4. MIXING BOWL OF PEOPLE: It’s true that there’s a lot of struggling grads trying to get into the film/production/screenwriting/acting/music industry, but there’s also a lot of other people that make up Los Angeles. There’s more to LA than “Hollywood.” So many people move here from around the world to start a new adventure in their lives!! Never judge a book by its cover in LA – you never know who you are talking to and who they know and what they could do for you.
  5. BEST STAYCATIONS: Everything in LA is a basically a 30 minute drive away. You can be at the beach in the morning splashing around in the ocean, and have a bonfire in the evening at the top of a mountain all in the same day. Palm Springs is just 2 hours away, or Santa Barbara for that matter. It’s easy to escape for a staycation when you live in LA. (Heck, Vegas day trips have been made before..)
  6. ENDLESS AMOUNT OF PALM TREES: Yes this might be strange reason, but you can’t help but love flying into LA and seeing the streets lined with palm trees. It is just a reminder that the beach is just a short drive away from the hustle and bustle. Plus their silhouettes make for some fantastic photos when the sun is setting on that big blue Pacific Ocean.
  7. YOUR TASTE BUDS WILL LOVE YOU: LA has one of the best food scenes in the country. We’ve got such a vast variety of cuisines, we have multiple festivals a year just to showcase it. People travel from all around the world to visit restaurants in LA.
  8. FITNESS CULTURE: People in LA like to look good. A lot of the time it’s for superficial reasons, but hey, who is complaining? Thus, there’s a huge amount of fun fitness activities to participate in. From Crossfit, to Barre classes, to Yoga, to BootCamps – everyone can pick and choose which method to keep them fit and healthy!
  9. DRINK UP: The beer, wine, and mixology scene in LA is fantastic. Which ever beverage you are in the mood for, you can definitely find the hidden bar that specializes in your specific thirst quencher. From dive bars, to breweries, to wineries, to mixology bars, to historic renovated locations, to new and up and coming innovative establishments..you can’t go wrong.
  10. ROLE MODEL: Los Angeles is often times a role model for other cities. Whether it be in the terms of passing a significant bill, changing a law, dealing with environmental issues.. LA is a frontrunner.

If you have any other reasons to add why LA is fantastic – feel free to comment!

Photography Challenge #1: Joe Platko

Photography, Thoughts

Firstly – my apologies for the blog-posting-hiatus. Summer is the busiest month for my work..and any free time is mostly spent trying to catch up on sleep or working out. In saying that – I will try my hardest to post at least once a week for all you great readers from across the globe. I am crossing off a Bucket List item in a couple of weeks…stay tuned to find out which one it is 🙂

I am super excited to announce my first Photography Challenge today! Here is a summary of the Challenge:

1) Find a willing and excited photographer

2) Give the photographer a theme 

3) Have the photographer submit 3 photographs encompassing the theme

4) Showcase their 3 photographs on PhotoScienceChanel.com 

5) Then I will share a photograph of my own encompassing the theme

My first Photographer participant is one of my classmates from Cal State University Monterey Bay – Joe Platko. He is an amazing nature photographer – both on land and under the water. We both have an affinity for marine life 🙂 so we get along very nicely.

The theme I chose for Joe seemed fitting for the time being here in America :

SUMMER

At first Joe had a hard time with this theme..that is until he went on vacation in the beautiful state of Hawaii. Here’s what he said :

Hey, so now that I’m back from my “summer” trip to the big island, I thought I’d just give you three images that wrapped up the trip for me. This will likely be my last big family trip, as my youngest sister is now in college, so our family thought we’d go out with a bang. That is why I decided to give all three images for the Summer assignment, and tried to choose shots that epitomized what the trip was about, aside from the family togetherness. Hope you enjoy the shots, ALOHA!

Credit: Joe Platko

Credit: Joe Platko

The palm trees were taken in the parking lot of the beach for our resort.
Lol so that was cool, shooting something everyone else was just walking by.
And I was only aimed up because if I shot dead ahead you would have seen all the cars.
Credit: Joe Platko

Credit: Joe Platko

The reef scene was taken right off of the harbor, when I was diving with my dad.
Credit: Joe Platko

Credit: Joe Platko

The turtle photograph was taken on the last day I was there, after I was bummed about not getting a single shot of one while diving. And I was snorkeling with it just north of Kona.

Thank you so much Joe for these spectacular photos! I couldn’t think of a better place to take “Summer” photos than Hawaii… I have so many fantastic memories when my family vacationed in Maui. The photo I took for this particular challenge was on one of my favorite excursions : whale watching. Well, other than a couple of sea lions and pelicans…our luck out in the big blue was unsuccessful. No whales or dolphins in sight!

But, it was honestly one of the nicest boat rides I’ve ever been on – the weather was beautiful and warm & the sea was so very calm and BLUE. I also had some great company as well 🙂

The photo I snapped to represent “SUMMER” was of these playful sea lions we pulled up to alongside the boat. After working with sea lions, I have a whole new perspective about these pinnipeds. They are such intelligent and dynamic creatures. Hope you enjoyed my first Photography Challenge! Thanks Joe for being my first photographer 😀

If you would like to participate as a photographer – please comment below.
Credit: Chanel Hason

Credit: Chanel Hason

Stop by my Facebook Page : Photography + Science = Chanel
 Shoot me a Tweet : PSChanel
Check out my Pinterest : PhotoScience

The Flame.

Photography, Science, Thoughts
it's a sign

Thank you Nicole for sending this to me – too perfect.

I had written out a blog post yesterday, but I decided to delete it all and start fresh. My thoughts have completely changed. It’s amazing what a group of motivated & supportive people can do to your mind, body, and soul.

I didn’t make the Top 3 cut for the Best Jobs in the World Contest for Wildlife Caretaker. Unfortunately, that means that the WIN A FREE TRIP TO AUSTRALIA contest is no longer valid – I appreciate all those who entered though. Needless to say, I was devastated, confused and upset when I didn’t see my name on the list. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so diligently and hard in my life as I did on my campaign for Wildlife Caretaker. Sleep and food came second while I put my WHOLE SELF into being the best candidate for Wildlife Caretaker. My friends, family members, and even strangers, all stepped up to the plate and helped me achieve GREAT things. The day after I found out I wasn’t in the contest, I deemed it to be my sole day of ‘sulking’ and took a break from social media/interaction. Yes, I did my fair share of crying, but I also produced a number of smiles from comments/messages/texts my friends were delivering to me. Life has an incredible way of balancing everything out 😦 / 🙂

Throughout the past 3 weeks of campaigning, I have received numerous messages from people I haven’t talked to in years. Their kind and sincere words of appreciation/love/inspiration/hope hit me hard. Being flooded with messages like that changes a person : in the best way imaginable. Not only do YOU know that YOU can do what you put your heart into, but then you find out there’s a whole ARMY of people behind you supporting you?! It only helps fuel my flame to achieve amazing things in this life of mine.

I can’t even begin to describe everything I accomplished over the past 2 weeks. From feeding sea turtles behind the scenes at Sea World wearing my CocoRoo kangaroo costume, to volunteering with kids at the YMCA Healthy Kids Day, to cleaning Compton Creek with Heal the Bay, to touring the Australian Consulate in Los Angeles, to getting a behind the scenes tour of the Wildlife sector of the Pasadena Humane Society…gosh this list could go on forever!!! Even though I didn’t win my dream job, I wouldn’t change this experience for the world.

This contest has allowed me immensely grow as a person, and has helped me understand what I am truly passionate about in this life. Various family members and close friends relayed to me that it was great seeing me in this contest, because my passions became so much more apparent to them. I am not meant to sit behind a desk 8 hours a day doing a job I’m not invested in – I am ready to take the reins and find something out there in this world that would benefit from my talents and passions. How I will find that job? Not entirely sure yet, but if you ever come across something that might be a good fit/connection PLEASE comment on my blog and let me know.

One of my fellow Shortlisted 150 Finalists created a Facebook Group to connect us all together today – Thanks Emily! Even though at times during the contest I felt some of the other Wildlife Caretaker finalists were my archnemesis (thanks to my competitve gene), they are actually amazing individuals whom I have no doubt we will become very close. Thank you Tourism Australia for connected 150 passionate individuals from across the globe, who share the same love of travel and adventure! A couple other Finalists and I are hoping to plan a trip to Vegas soon (and my blow-up kangaroo will definitely be packed in my suitcase)!

THANK YOU!
THANK YOU!
THANK YOU!

I can’t move forward without giving recognition to these individuals who helped make this campaign phenomenally amazing: My Mother, My Aunt Brenda, and my Aunt Linda. These three women worked day in and day out, just as hard as I did, to try and make this dream of mine come true. I don’t know how I will ever thank you enough for everything you selflessly donated for this cause. I already had ‘tokens’ of appreciation picked out for each one of you that I could have purchased with the prize money if I had won. You all mean the world to me, and I am so grateful to have such fantastic female role models in my life. I appreciate you.

I want to express my gratitude of thanks to the 1,000’s of friends/family members who helped out on this campaign as well. For each person who shared my contest Facebook page, highlighted my journey on your blog, donated your talents (music/drawing/etc) towards the campaign, Tweeted/ReTweeted me, gave me a shout out on Instagram, took a picture with one of my posters, wrote a letter of support, sent me encouraging words, and I could go on and on… I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL! You never really know who has your back until you need their help. My heart grew 100x bigger with the overwhelming amount of love I received from each and every one of you. Even during the campaign some of your messages would bring me to tears of happiness. I honestly am surrounded by the most wonderful people on the planet – thank you for believing in me.

After the Top 3 were announced, my inbox filled with messages from my companions. Everyone alludes that even though I didn’t win, they know I would only amount to great things in the future. They see the passion, the dedication, and the strong will to succeed. For people to have faith in me to achieve amazing things in this life is a remarkable feeling. If you are one of those people who sent me a message of hope, please know that I am so humbled and honored to have you in my life. 

In conclusion (if you’ve made it this far thank you for continuing to read this beast of a post), many people are asking me “WHAT’S NEXT?! WHAT GREAT ADVENTURE DO YOU HAVE PLANNED NOW?!” To be honest, this contest helped ignite the flame inside me that’s been dormant for quite some time. This flame represents the determination to pursue my passions in life. But, sometimes life creates what you call ‘roadblocks’ – placing your dreams just out of reach for the time being. Well, I am ready to demolish those roadblocks. I’m in the drivers seat of a hover craft (I know very high-tech), and I’m ready to fly over those roadblocks in pursuit of my dreams while I explore new opportunities just waiting to be discovered! Stay tuned…because the journey I’m about to take will definitely be something you won’t want to miss out on. 

I Made It – Best Jobs TOP 25 !

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Wow, I can’t even begin to explain how non-stop the past 36 hours have been.

AN INSANE WHIRLWIND OF EMOTIONS, NO SLEEP, PASSION, EXCITEMENT, AND UTTER DETERMINATION!

I posted a couple weeks ago my submission videos for Australia’s Best Job in the World contest. And yesterday was the big announcement forwhich applicants made the Top 25 qualifiers for each of the 6 available jobs. I had received and email the week prior from the Best Jobs people asking if they could use my Wildlife Caretaker video for media purposes, and I screamed when I read the email and quickly replied YES! They made sure to point out that this doesn’t mean I’ve made it to the next round, but I sure as heck felt like I did!

They announcement was to be posted on the Best Jobs website at 2pm PST – so I was anxiously awaiting on my computer when I arrived at work at 1pm. I refreshed my email on my phone at 1:36pm and saw an email from the Best Jobs starting with “Congratulations…” and I squealed and ran outside on the sidewalk and screamed and started crying all in one sort of huge fluid emotion haha. It must have been a sight to see for all the people that drove past me. I had officially made it the TOP 25 out of 600,000 applications from over 122 countries to become a Wildlife Caretaker in South Australia.

WOW. IS THIS REAL LIFE? CAN THIS BE HAPPENING? AHHHH?! 

BJITW Photo

Now for the next 2 weeks, I have to throw the biggest social media campaign of my life. Sleepless nights – attached to my computer – bursting with ideas – setting up meetings – writing letters – it will be a week of non-stop PUSH PUSH PUSH!

Luckily I have a strong group of family and friends that helping me get the word out across the globe. After less than 30 hours of creating my Contest Facebook Page – I am already at around 400 likes! I AM OVER THE MOON!

What can you do to help my chances of winning you ask?? REBLOG this post would be a great one to start 🙂 and these as well:

1) Like / Share / Comment on my FACEBOOK PAGE
2) ReTweet me or Tweet @Australia and @TourismAus to pick me for Wildlife Caretaker – @PSChanel and hashtag #BestJobs and #ChanelWC
3) Follow me on Instagram – @ChanelWildlifeCaretaker and add #ChanelWC tags to your pics of support
4) If you have any connections with Media, Celebrities, people who work in the Wildlife Profession – please email me CAHason@gmail.com
5) Write a letter of support addressed to the address below stating why you are supporting me on the journey to win my Dream Job! And then email me the letter so I can turn it in as one big package on May 7th.
Tourism Australia 
GPO Box 2721,
Sydney NSW 1006
Tel: +61 2 9360 1111

The overflowing support, kind words, positivity, messages from people I don’t know, and just all the LOVE I’m feeling right now is keeping this engine running strong. If I make it to the Top 3 Finalists – announced on May 15 – I will be flown to Australia for a week in June to interview in person with the Tourism Australia staff. I’m SO CLOSE I CAN TASTE IT!

Women in Science

Science, Thoughts
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California State University Monterey Bay – That’s me!

Imagine a tall, skinny, beautiful New York City professional ballet dancer telling you anything and everything about neuroscience. Pretty hard to imagine right? Now imagine a short, nerdy, conservative, glasses wearing girl explaining the theory of evolution detail by detail. Pretty easy to picture in your head, huh? The media portrays ‘scientists’ as nerdy-socially awkward-not ‘attractive’-etc- which has caused widespread stereotyping across movies and televisions shows.

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Doing larval research on the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s a sad but true statement that women don’t get the respect or acknowledgment for their accomplishments nearly as much as men in almost every job field. I have personally witnessed this sexist concept whilst studying in the scientific field of marine biology. Yes, it’s true that men and women are very different – but that doesn’t mean at all that one sex is better/smarter/more advanced than the other. We are all human. We all have a brain. It’s just how you use it that makes us all unique.

I’ve loved science since I was little. And I can bet you that if you took a poll, I wouldn’t fall into the normal ‘nerd’ spectrum that the media portrays. If you watch the Big Bang Theory, I’d probably be placed into the same category as the ‘dumb’ southern blonde girl across the hall than the neuroscientist Cal Tech girl who is socially awkward, dresses frumpy, and wears glasses. If you judge a book by its cover – you will never know the great novel that lies inside.

I fell in love with Chemistry in college – and I even got an A+ in my classes! Who does that?! –> This girl 🙂 Learning how the world works and why makes my brain do cartwheels with excitement. I used to get self conscious for some reason when people called me a nerd – but now I embrace it and wear the title proudly with a smile on my face.

One of the coolest things about science is that : WE ARE ALWAYS DISCOVERING NEW THINGS! Thus, my thirst for knowledge never runs dry – thanks SCIENCE!

I’d like to share with you the inspiration for this post : a great TEDxCal Tech talk about the Myths of Scientists. (You go girl!)

Like Photography + Science on FACEBOOK
Follow me on Twitter : PSChanel
Pinterest: PhotoScience

Meeting My Hero.

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Do you have a hero? Do you have a mentor in life? I think we all have someone we look up to and who are inspired by each and everyday. Heck, it may even be a handful number of people that you consider your mentor.

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This past weekend, I had the honor to meet one of my heroes/mentors: Jean-Michel Cousteau (JMC). Being the son of the historic ocean explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau, Jean-Michel has also made a huge name for himself in the marine conservation society. Jean-Michel founded the Ocean Futures Society, a non-profit whose mission is as follows:

The mission of Ocean Futures Society is to explore our global ocean, inspiring and educating people throughout the world to act responsibly for its protection, documenting the critical connection between humanity and nature, and celebrating the ocean’s vital importance to the survival of all life on our planet.

When I found out that JMC was going to speak at the Travel and Adventure Expo held in the Long Beach Convention Center, I knew I couldn’t miss this opportunity for the world! I even won 4 tickets to the event on the Travel and Adventure Expo’s Facebook page – I guess my contest luck is continuing through 2013  🙂

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There was a rush for his autograph after his speech, and I decided to wait patiently for an hour for the crowds to die down. I wanted my meeting to be memorable, and last more than 1 minute.  And let me tell you, it definitely worth the wait.

Whilst waiting, I got to have some great conversations with JMC’s right-hand woman with his Ocean Futures Society, Holly Lohuis. She’s been working with the Ocean Futures Society for the past 15 years as the field producer/executive coordinator for JMC. She’s a marine biologist, educator, and passionate ocean conservationist. My friend Josh who was with me at the show, said that she reminded him of  what an older version of myself would be like. I take that as a huge compliment!

Some younger girls and boys approached JMC and told him that they wanted to be a marine biologist just like him. And my heart smiled when I heard Jean-Michel say, “Don’t listen to what anyone else says. Do whatever you love.” Not too long ago that little girl was me… and I have wanted to be a marine biologist since I was 5 years old. After years of Sea World Camps, marine biology field courses in Baja, and lots of hands-on volunteer experience with numerous marine organizations, I can happily say that I followed my dream. I earned honors receiving my Bachelors of Science Degree in Marine and Coastal Ecology, and I couldn’t be more happy. Now I just need to find a job that sums up my love and passion for the ocean and marine science education…let the job application process continue!

The time FINALLY arrived to come face-to-face with JMC:

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Jean-Michel was such a pleasant, personable, funny, and passionate individual to meet first hand. I honestly thought in my head, ‘I wish he was my grandpa!’ haha. I bought his book, Explore the West Coast National Marine Sanctuaries with Jean-Michel Cousteau, for him to personally autograph. I think it MAY have been the beautiful Humboldt squid that caught eye to buy the book 😉 , and Holly even pointed out that she actually was the diver photographed on the cover ! I would definitely love to dive with Humboldt squid one day, I should actually add that to my Bucket List right now…

In 2005, the Ocean Futures Society teamed up with Ritz Carlton hotels around the globe to exclusively home JMC’s Ambassadors of the Environment program. The Ambassadors program, “provides educational, outdoor adventures to guests and the local communities of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, and The Ritz-Carlton Reserver, Dorado Beach.” I have actually been in the interview process for the a couple Ambassadors programs at the Ritz-Carltons listed previously, and when I disclosed this information to JMC, he was super impressed by my determination and dedication to be a part of his marine education program. He autographed a very kind and personal message in my book that I will cherish forever, and told me to keep in contact about the Ambassadors program.

After that, I was on Cloud 9 for the rest of the day 😀 Josh and I walked around the whole Expo entering in every contest possible to win dream vacations. Between the two of us, we are hoping the odds are in our favor to win at least one of the contests haha!

This whole experience just solidified to follow my love and dream of working in the field of ocean conservation/education. There’s nothing I love more than the sea and doing whatever I can to protect it for future generations. Life is too short not to do what you love for a living. It’s time for me to find my next journey in life! I’M SO READY! Cheers to your hopes and dream 🙂

Salt Water In My Veins

Science, Thoughts

My friend Evan (and author the amazing blog: The Better Man Project) this past weekend told me – “You have salt water running through your veins.

Although, yes is quite a witty comment, I also find a lot of truth behind the statement within myself. I live, breathe, love, care, and exist for the sea. There’s nothing that remotely comes close to the undying passion I have for the ocean and its inhibitors. The sea is so mysterious, important, beautiful, scary, and just an overall necessity for our existence on this planet. As I’m applying and interviewing for jobs for next year, all I think about is ‘how can this job help me achieve my dream?’ – then that comes up with the question – ‘what is Chanel’s dream?’ My dream is to start my own marine conservation non-profit, or at least help run one that is already intact doing AMAZING things for this planet. 

Educating the public about the numerous hardships our planet is facing each and every day is VERY important- especially because most of the problems are result of human action. An uninformed mind, is an uneducated mind. Unfortunately,  I feel as though our government in America doesn’t always have our best intentions when making decisions that affect us all. It was after watching multiple documentaries, and reading lots of papers, that I have come to the conclusion that large corporations will the death and destruction of our planet as a whole. EVERYTHING  they do is all about what makes them the most money with the least amount of money/effort. Our personal health and the health of this planet usually get put on the back burner :-/ while overall corporation prosperity and wealth take the lead.

We only have 1 Earth, 1 life to live, and 1 chance to leave it a better place than when we arrived. I feel it’s my job on this planet to leave it a better place for future generations. 

I wanted to share this video I found while blog browsing last night, as it truly touched my heart (causing me to shed a couple of tears).

Whales fascinate me. The blue whale (featured in this video) is the LARGEST animal to EVER live on this entire globe. It used to be every time I saw a whale in the wild, it would make me cry just a little to just be in the presence of such a beautiful majestic creature.  It pains me to think that whaling is still legal in some places, and illegally still occurring in others. When you take into account their intelligence, history, beauty, mysteriousness, and importance on our planet it’s hard for me to consider the killing of these creatures voluntarily.

I can understand if a whole tribe of people in New Zealand, or the Arctic has to kill whales to feed their whole community. They cherish the death of the whale by utilizing the whole body as much as possible. But for example the Japanese- they hunt whales with very inhumane practices which has led to much controversy expressed in the Discovery Channel Show Whale Wars. My mom was pushing me to apply to be on the show Whale Wars…but I had college degree to obtain, and I couldn’t see risking my life as an option while I’m so young.

You know what, I’d like to say that salt water really does run through my veins. I’d also love if I had gills too (which would totally be my superpower if I was granted one). I hope I can come back to this post 50 years from now, and smile because I accomplished my dream. You are in charge of your own destiny and future. I’M GOING FOR IT!

“Fun” – It’s Different For Everyone

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Whilst reading The Happiness Project on the plane ride back to Los Angeles after a week in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday break, I read a chapter that really triggered the inspiration for this post.

The sub-chapter that stood out to me was titled: “Finding More Fun” in your life. The author talks about how she loves the idea of such activities like playing chess, or doing a crossword puzzles, or getting a massage…but when she really looked into it, those were things that weren’t FUN for her.

“Only recently had I grasped one of my most important Secrets of Adulthood: just because something was fun for someone else didn’t mean it was fun for me– and visa versa.”

– Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

I took these words and applied them to my own life. What was I doing that a lot of people think is fun..but wasn’t really that fun for me? And what was I doing that truly brought me happiness? Some people may hide activities that bring them happiness because they aren’t considered ‘legitimate’ or ‘normal’ – but I say who cares?! It’s your life, and you just have to do what you need to in order to make your life amazing each and every day. Below you will find my unfiltered list of some activities that I do for fun.

I want to hear what all of YOU do for FUN!

Don’t be afraid – Don’t be embarrassed – Be proud to announce to the world whatever makes you happy. Please leave a comment below with some FUN activities that YOU DO FOR YOU.

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY – I’ve been a nature lover since the beginning of time. And once I got a camera of my own, boy did I go wild! Whether I’m on a hike, on a whale watching boat, or at the beach..you can bet I will be there snapping away. When I’m in nature, I feel one with the planet and myself (clichĂŠ, but that’s exactly how I feel).

SCUBA DIVING Being submersed under 100ft of salt water, with fish and sea lions swimming curiously around you, you really are in another world. The ocean has been my passion and love since I was 5 years old. It’s never diminished- only grown and enhanced. I recall the first time I saw a shark, I thought I was going to freak out and swim the opposite direction, but instead I squealed in my regulator and instead followed it around the kelp beds for 5 minutes!

A NIGHT IN AT HOME– Some nights I just have no urge to put on nice clothes, make up, and a smile to go out and mingle on a Friday or Saturday night. Or, I just downright don’t have the energy to move from off my couch. Instead, I prefer to light some candles, cook a delicious meal, open a bottle of wine, and pick out an awesome movie (or 2). Let me tell you, Netflix is my best friend. I know that I’m young and I should enjoy my youth, but sometimes it just feels SO GOOD to stay in my pjs on a Friday night instead.

DRAWING – I started drawing after taking an art class in high school. I found out that I love chalk, pencil, and pointillism. Although, I also discovered that oil pastels were my enemy. So when I graduated high school and went to college, my mom gave me a pointillism/pencil set because she said how awesome my drawings turned out in high school. Thanks mom- that was a great gift that has now concluded with an awesome portfolio of all my work (and still growing of course!). When making a pointillism drawing, it involves A LOT of patience. This allows me to escape into my own world for hours upon hours. No distractions. My only goal is to create an amazing piece of art that I am proud to put my signature on. I really think it’s fun to create personalized drawings for people close to me. This year I created 3 drawings as newborn baby gifts! Let me know if you want one too 🙂

My Easter Island Drawing

BEING A HOSTESS – There’s just a feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment that comes over me when I know I’m having company at my little abode. It’s an excuse for me to have my apartment looking top notch, first off, and also it’s exciting to welcome someone into my ‘space.’ As I get older and more independent, I’ve noticed how much fun it is to decorate my house and make it MY OWN. When I have people over, I turn on the ‘house wife’ appeal 😉 – you won’t be disappointed with my service. Below is a picture of my girlfriend Miranda visiting from Canada earlier this year.

TIDE POOLING  If you want to put a smile on my face, just drop me off on the coastline and let me be free to explore the wonders of the tide pools. I love exploring and finding fascinating little creatures hidden away in the nooks and crannies of the rocks. There’s even more fun to be had when I have someone else there with me (not too marine science savvy), who I can dish out all of the knowledge I have about the ocean and its creatures! Below I  made a little progression photography piece of my love for tide pooling 🙂

New State | New Chapter

Science, Thoughts

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My passion and drive are two things that never diminish.

2016 has been quite the roller coaster to say the least, but I finally feel like it’s turning around for the better. Let’s rewind a year (aka 2015). I originally moved back to California from Puerto Rico to attend CSULA for my teaching credential in science. I completed one semester, and realized that it was not the correct pathway for me. My mom and grandma told me from the beginning that I couldn’t be contained in a 4-walled classroom for very long and be happy… turns out they were right.

I have family in Portland, Oregon, so I began to look into some graduate programs up there for a change of scenery, and also to be closer to them. Portland(ia) is very green & eco-conscious, so I knew it would be a good place to look for environmental education opportunities. It didn’t take very long until I found a program that was PHENOMENAL.

At Portland State University, they offer a Master of Science specializing on Leadership for Sustainability Education (LSE). When you say it out loud it’s a mouthful, but it still doesn’t beat my previous degree: Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science Technology and Policy focusing on Marine and Coastal Ecology. Say that five times fast! 

I digress… continuing on with the story… I researched the graduate program more in-depth and ended up attending an LSE Open House last October at the university. My cousin Tiffany and I arrived couple minutes late to the Open House unfortunately, but we still ended up conversing with one of the professors of the program and a previous LSE graduate. They were both very welcoming and helpful, and I left feeling overcome with a mixture joy and relief that this program was truly meant for me. Ultimately, I want to be a Director of Education for an aquarium or non-profit, and/or eventually create my own environmental school focusing in marine conservation. A master of science degree would help me achieve that goal!

Once I had finished my meeting with the professor, Tiffany insisted on taking a photo of me against this wall at the LSE Department (since it WAS going to be my new school eventually). While we were in the middle of taking the photo (seen above), a gentleman walked up who had guided us earlier when we first walked into the offices. He was just checking in on us to make sure we were successful in locating a professor to speak with. Low and behold, he was the Admissions and Student Support Specialist for the LSE Program! I immediately felt like a complete idiot for taking this silly picture while he was trying to check in on us, but he was a good sport about it all 😛

Long story short – I applied – and got accepted earlier this month! I’m not going to lie, I went back and forth with my final decision. Paying out of state tuition is A LOT of money, but my close friend/mentor said don’t let money be the deciding factor if that’s the only thing holding you back. He is right. I’m 28, single, no kids, and I don’t have any other seemingly huge excuse to keep me from making this next life move. It’s time for a new state – new friends – new adventures – and new memories for (at least) the next 2 years!

Thank you to everyone who has helped me in this process – I have leaned upon many of you in this final decision. I appreciate your support whole heartedly – and I can’t wait to have you all visit me! There will be many Pacific Northwest adventures to come, I am sure of it. Time to bust out my flannels and rain boots…

See you in July, Portland!

 

PS – If you know of any potential job opportunities or housing (preferably furnished) in Portland –> PLEASE COMMENT BELOW ❤ ! 

 

 

Daily Cephalopod Dose

Thoughts

My favorite animals on the planet are members of the molluscan class, Cephalopoda. This class includes these magnificent creatures:
octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus.

Why would I love such weird, scary, freaky, alien-like animals?

Just watch the video below and and you’ll see they are fascinating, highly intelligent, and beautiful animals.

On The Same Level

Science, Thoughts

I watched this video of Jane Goodall tonight, and it clicked with me VERY strongly.

Mind, Body & Soul

Every point she hits, I agree. Every experience she speaks of, I relate.

The majority of the problems on our planet result from human actions. The truth of the matter is, we have overpopulated the planet. We are abusing and depleting our natural resources, and ultimately leading to a future of intense suffering for the next generation. But, there’s not easy way around solving that matter. With morals and ethics involved, no government official is going to bring up this topic.

So, do your best to decrease your environmental footprint, and pass that message along to as many people as possible. Be the change you want to see in the world.

www.cloakedtruth.com 

 

 

New Years Goals for 2016

Photography, Thoughts

Bye bye 2015! I swear, where does the time GO? I hope each and every one of you had an amazing year.

Let’s recap what my New Years Life Goals for 2015 were:

Stay in touch more with family members

Make more presents/gifts for people instead of buying new things

Go SCUBA diving every year

I can definitely say that I stayed in touch with my family more. With visits to Texas and Oregon, I have enjoyed my time with both sides of my family. Although my intentions of making presents, more so drawing presents, I didn’t succeed too well on that. I plan to focus on that this year as well though. I went SCUBA diving all over this year! From Catalina Island to Barbados and Grenada in the Caribbean – I loved being under the waves.

This year, I have big plans. Possibly moving to a different state & starting my Masters Degree! More details to come when everything gets confirmed. But, if you’ve followed my life at all over the last 10 years, you’ll understand that I never set any plans in stone. Life changes fast, and I’m always open to new pathways that open themselves up!

1. Do 10 Sit-Ups and Push-Ups Every Day

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If you don’t know I’m a fitness buff, now you know. I literally just did 10 push-ups and sit-ups and it took less than 2 minutes. That’s 3,650 push-ups and 3,650 sit-ups minimum for the entire year! We often make so many excuses for why we can’t get to the gym, or why being a couch potato is the best option after a crappy day. You have 2 minutes to spare everyday – if you don’t – then you need to change your daily routine

2. Have One “Me Date” Per Month 

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We all know who the most important person in our life is – that is ourselves. If we don’t take care of our body, spirit, mind, and soul, we can’t depend on anyone else to fill those big shoes. We often spend a lot of time by ourselves on our couches watching Netflix and drinking wine (at least I do…), but instead I want to say NO. I am treating MYSELF to a fun day of adventuring, or a delicious dinner, or out to a movie at least once every month. Have you ever been to a movie or dinner by yourself? It’s quite liberating actually. Me time is necessary in this fast-paced crazy world we live amongst. Treat ‘yo’ self as they say on Parks and Recs.

3. Say What I’m Grateful Every Night Before I Go To Sleep

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I’ve actually been doing this goal for the last month or so. It’s nice to close my eyes and reflect on something I am grateful for in this beautiful life of mine. We all have bad days, or horrible weeks, or a terrible month. But, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. You’re alive. You have a roof over your head. You have friends and family who care about you. You’re reading this on your mobile device or your computer. Life could always be worse, so I’m taking a moment every evening to reflect on something I am grateful for.

#StartWith1Thing

Science, Thoughts

discovery-education-startwith1thingIt all starts with 1 thing.

1 kind act a day | 1 change to your daily routine |  1 new method of transportation | 1 day of changing your diet | 1 different outlook on the way you live life.
Seeing as it is the night before Thanksgiving, I found it fitting to sit down tonight and write this for you. I am going on 4 years as a Vegetarian – and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I don’t follow some sort of ‘rule book’ for my diet, I just listen to what my body accepts and rejects. I don’t push it upon people to eat a certain way or not, and I do appreciate others having an open mind about why I do things differently. But unfortunately, for the most part omnivores can’t FATHOM how I can survive my life without eating SIZZLING BACON, or RAW SUSHI, or CHICKEN NUGGETS?! Let’s face it, we all have brought up in such a carnivorous culture who don’t like change.
I have my continuing long list of reasons why I choose to not eat meat or fish everyday, which you can read in my previous posts about being a vegetarian. Often times it is hard for me to spit out all these facts about why it’s beneficial to choose forks over knives on your dinner plate, but this video hits the head on the nail on under 3 minutes. I would like you take a gander at these videos below, and maybe you might understand why it might be good to #StartWith1Thing about not eating meat…today.
Thank you to Discovery for creating the #StartWith1Thing movement to help make the world a better place. A movement can be born when hope is ignited.

 

If your interest is peaked – continue watching Graham Hill’s TED Talk : Why I’m a Weekday Vegetarian. It’s very eye-opening, and such a simple change that if we all did, it could make a BIG difference.

 

You Vs. Ocean Creatures

Science, Thoughts

The ocean is a vast, mysterious, and beautiful place. Underwater creatures get the opportunity to grow to extreme weights and lengths compared to us terrestrial animals. Could you imagine walking down the street and seeing 12 foot long crab pass by you by?!

See how Scuba Steve compares to some of the GIANTS OF THE DEEP 😀

Expanding my Photography Horizons

Photography


{ PREFACE: I apologize that I haven’t been very frequent on here lately. I have 4 jobs, and am going to school in the evenings for my Teaching Credential. Needless to say, my life is extremely busy at the moment. BUT, I want to make it sure I post at least once a week from now on. So I give you the OK to be on my back if I don’t 🙂 }


I am currently the Community Leader at Athleta Pasadena. We are a women’s fitness & lifestyle apparel clothing company, which focuses on empowering women to be their best. We did a fitness blogger highlight the other month, and I was asked to take the photographs of my wonderful friend, Rachel Baker. She is the creator and author of The Love Fit Life blog.

From a photography standpoint, this was really the first time I’ve really branched into professionally photographing people instead of landscapes and fish 🙂 I had a BLAST taking all these portraits of Rachel for Athleta. We were lucky to snap some pictures in a variety of locations -> Pure Barre Pasadena, Central Park, & Pasadena Fire Station 31. 

I am really interested in getting more portrait photography experience – so if you or anyone you know needs to get any portraits taken – please comment on this post 🙂

When Scientists Geek Out.

Science, Thoughts

Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico, Scuba Divers, Nurse Shark

As a marine biologist, I can’t even begin to list the amount of times I gleefully screamed or screeched underwater when I saw something astounding right before my own 2 blue eyes. Some underwater face to face encounters that stand out are: having a whale shark come straight towards me in Mexico, a giant cuttlefish staring at me in Australia, and multiple manatees in Puerto Rico. Heck, I couldn’t even form a sentence when I saw a huge manatee moving underneath me!

Yes, I totally was that nerd who sat on the floor in-front of the TV a couple of years ago after the Super Bowl to watch the first footage of a live giant squid caught on camera. And of course, I shed tears of happiness because cephalopods are some of my favorite animals on the entire planet. If there is ever an opportunity for me to go into a submersible 1000’s of feet below the surface, YOU BET I WOULD BE ON THAT SUCKER IN AN INSTANT!

So when I saw this video yesterday, I knew I would have gone just as crazy as one of those scientists operating the ROV. Can you imagine starting at a screen for HOURS and even DAYS just hoping that something interesting passing in front of your camera and lights 600m underwater? Then, BOOM! Check out what puts on quite a little show for these researchers 🙂 (Here’s the article if you want to read it as well)

Say Yes To Strangers

Thoughts

My wonderful friend Kira has just started her own blog! Please enjoy her latest post – It’s something I think we could relate to, in one form or another.

The Sturggle

Don’t take candy from strangers, but definitely learn how to say yes to them.

As a female living in bro-infested San Diego, I find that my immediate reaction to strange men who approach me is CAUTION; As it should be – most of these interactions occur in drinking establishments. But what I’ve also noticed is a trend of females responding to strangers with disdain, rudeness, and a whole lot of attitude – and rightfully so! Before you, Mr. Nice Gentleman, came up to say hello, we’ve already been groped by two others, received an invitation back to some guy’s house, and had many more talk way too close to our faces. When you walk up with your harmless intentions and your friendly hello, it’s not surprising that girls sometimes respond with a dirty look and an,

“Umm, excuse me, but i’m just trying to dance with my friends, not give my number…

View original post 1,387 more words

Chikungunya Took Me Down

Thoughts

chikungunya

Many of you out there probably have no idea what Chikungunya is. It’s ok, I had no clue what it was until I moved to Puerto Rico last year. Recently, the virus has gotten some coverage in the United States, because Lindsey Lohan got infected while she was vacationing in Bora Bora. So, why don’t we begin with answering some key questions:

WHAT IS CHIKUNGUNYA?

  • A viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitos
  • There are two species of mosquitoes of the genus Aedes: A. albopictus and A. aegypto that carry the virus
  • The infected mosquitos often bite throughout daylight hours outside
  • After bitten by an infected mosquito, illness often occurs usually between four to eight days later
  • The first outbreak was reported in Tanzania in 1952
  • “Chikungunya” derives from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning ‘to become contorted‘ and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Causes fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea, very itchy rash (see photo below), and fatigue
  • Joint pain is often very debilitating and can persist for several months, or even years
  • Inflammation of the eyes may occur

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WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?

  • There is no cure for this virus, only treatment to relieve the symptoms
  • There is no commercial Chikungunya vaccine

    WHERE DOES CHIKUNGUNYA OCCUR?

  • The mosquito-borne virus can be found in nearly 40 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and also in the Americas

WHAT WAS MY EXPERIENCE?

  • Started showing symptoms on October 11, 2014. After researching, I discovered that the infected mosquitos like to be closer to the forest than by the ocean (where I worked and lived). With that information, I assumed I was infected the week before when I had a friend visiting me in Puerto Rico. We traveled to El Yunque Rainforest, went zip-lining in Toro Verde, and also went to Oktobeerfest which was close to Toro Verde up in the mountains as well.
  • My first symptom was red spots all over my body on October 10th. I thought that I had gotten a rash from something in the ocean… it was very strange. It didn’t itch or anything though.
  • The next day I woke up with severe joint pain, a fever, and felt very nauseous. I almost fainted when I got out of bed, and I could barely walk 4 feet to my bathroom my joints hurt so badly.
  • I still went to work, walked an hour to get there along the beach. I didn’t have a car in Puerto Rico, and my boss was out of town who usually was able to give me rides, so I knew the only way I could get to the hospital was for someone from security at the Ritz to take me.
  • When I finally got to the hospital, I got my blood drawn and a shot in my tush and spoke with the doctor who said it looked like I had Chikungunya, or it could be Dengue. He wasn’t too helpful to be honest.
  • The rash came back with vengeance over the next couple of days. It covered my whole body – and some extremely itchy no matter what anti-itch ointment was used. VERY IRRITATING especially paired up with the severe joint pain in my knees, ankle, foot joints as well as my shoulders, elbows, wrists, and finger joints. I honestly couldn’t lift a glass of water sometimes, or open a door handle, or even walk without holding on to something to keep me up.
  • I decided to go to a different emergency care facility to get help for the rash. The doctor there was much more helpful, and after blood tests she confirmed that it was Chikungunya and then prescribed me some drugs for my stomach and the joint pain. Apparently, the virus has some affects on your stomach, even though I didn’t really have any, I took the meds just in case. She didn’t prescribe anything for the rash – just said to pick up Benadryl from the pharmacy (which still didn’t work).
  • Doctors orders were rest at home and drink lots of fluids for a week before I could go back to work.
  • The joint pain has been constant for the last 3 months. The pain was worse in the mornings, sometimes it affected my sleeping habits. Chikungunya can stay in your system for up to 2 years, so I was really crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t have this pain for that long. I am a very active person, so this has been a very difficult process for me.
  • As I enter my 4th month (February 2015) with the virus, the only joint pain I still get are in some of my finger/hand joints when I wake up in the morning. The pain usually dissipates throughout the day though, which is good. I am able to start working out again – short runs and yoga – and not be in pain.