New State | New Chapter

FullSizeRender-2

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

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.

Screen-Shot-2015-12-14-at-5.26.47-PM-645x400

On The Same Level

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

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

11999050_785785712810_1093869686271166196_n

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 

12119001_789117535810_8269503378843108076_n

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

10926304_747828035300_1003438577794428204_o

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

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

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


{ 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.

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)

Featured Image -- 4925

Say Yes To Strangers

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

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

IMG_5392

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.