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聽New Years Life Goals for 2015 were:

Stay in touch聽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聽

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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.聽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.

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 馃檪聽}


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聽blog.

From a photography standpoint, this was really the first time I’ve really branched into professionally photographing people instead of landscapes and fish聽馃檪 I had a BLAST聽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.聽

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 馃檪

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.聽

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

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聽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聽and聽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聽helped inspire them in their life in one way or another, or that they just looked forward everyday to see what handstand聽I did next. It was those kinds of messages that kept me going whenever I doubted myself at all 馃檪 So to you, I say thank you.

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

Which one is your favorite?

 

Rinc贸n – New Favorite Getaway

Photography, Thoughts

I just had one of the best weekends of my life. My housemate/coworker/best friend here – Sara – and I went on a 2 hour road trip west to Rinc贸n (the surf capital of Puerto Rico). Although, right now is slow season, we still had an amazing time. We stayed with a friend of Sara’s, Gabi, who is from Washington but her family is Puerto Rican. She just moved to a beautiful house her dad owns in Rincon, and overlooks the whole stretch of ocean.

We went snorkeling on Steps Beach – which inspired the beautiful pictures seen above of the very friendly (and photogenic) juvenile Hawksbill Sea Turtle. The Elkhorn Coral was HUGE and teaming with life around it. A definite “must-see” when in Rincon. We were eager聽to go Scuba Diving, but after calling 7 different shops, no one could get us on their trip the next morning. Bummer :/ But, that just means we have something to look forward to next time.

We went back to Gabi’s house to freshen up. The rain had started to pour down outside – but that didn’t damper the聽fun evening we had ahead of us. We drove to Hotel Villa Cofresi, which is a little waterfront hotel. It’s famous for their outside bar which serves a delicious drink filled with multiple rums, coconut water, and served in a giant coconut. We sat on the patio right next to the ocean front, where we saw a huge bait-ball of sardines jumping and moving across the water’s surface.

After that yummy beverage, it was time for dinner. One of my favorite restaurants in Rincon is Ode to the Elephants. I had met the owner, Clay, last time we were surfing in Rincon a couple of months ago.聽If you like awesome Thai food, this is the place to go. Not to mention Clay is an expert bartender – he makes THE BEST martinis you’ll ever sip. I swear. The restaurant is nestled on top of a hill that overlooks the whole coastline (gorgeous!). As we were sitting at the bar, the black night聽sky聽lit up every couple of minutes to remind us of the fury in the聽clouds above. Thunderstorms were moving across the ocean in front of us, it it just felt like a perfect evening. After dinner, we headed for a night cap at the new Rincon Beer Company.

There, we played Cards Against Humanity (most hilarious card game ever), and drank some of the local brews. It was a great nightcap to an adventurous聽day.

The next day we headed to town to find some coffee and a bite to eat. We wandered into an聽environmentally conscious silk screening house and retail store called,聽The Uncharted Studio. It reminded me a lot of a little surf shop I’d see somewhere in California. They awesome printed shirts, hand bags, hats, and various art pieces from local artists. I ended up buying a shirt and some postcards, but I know every time I go to Rinc贸n I’ll have to buy something new from them 馃檪 Plus, I love supporting local companies.

Then, we went to a little secluded beach spot to meet Clay and his friends from around town. We went SUPing, snorkeling, and relaxed in the sunshine. We made lots of new friends who work at the various bars and restaurants in Rinc贸n – one of which has supposedly an amazing brunch where Sara and I HAVE TO TRY when we go back.

That’s all for now – until our next big adventure…

 

Photo & Video Update

Photography, Thoughts

WAHOO! I’ve finally had time edit some video footage and photos from the last couple of months. I have to say, I absolutely love my GoPro Hero3 – it’s been attached to my hand both above water and underneath it. I really love creating little video summaries of the adventures I have here in Puerto Rico.

The video below is a promotional video I made for our Underwater Photography activity at work:

And here are some various underwater photos I’ve taken with my GoPro Hero3 馃檪

Here are some photos from my trip to Belize in May:

100 Days Project (Take 2)

Photography, Thoughts

Chanel #5 – 100 Days Project


 

This is my second (and hopefully successful) attempt at the 100 Days Project聽described below:

The 100 Days Project is simple.聽

Choose one creative exercise, and then repeat it every day for 100 days.聽Record each daily effort and see what evolves in the work and in the self over time.

The project gives anyone a framework and the permission to be creative. It challenges you to dig deep into your creative reserves, to rely on your readiness to work in order to achieve creative breakthrough.聽It can be an end to procrastination, and the development of resilience. It takes a lot of energy, and yet the rewards can resonate for a long time after the 100th Day is over.

In 2011 Emma Rogan decided to start a 100 Days Project after reading about Michael Bierut鈥檚 鈥100 Days of Design鈥 class at Yale. She invited others to join her and word of the project spread. Since inception hundreds of people have participated in the project.

This 100 Days Project is not a commercial undertaking, and is not in anyway (but spirit) affiliated with the Yale School of Art. Good things will come from the rigorous repetition of a process or idea over the 100 days. To see what others have done before, have a look at the previous projects. – Emma Rogan

Last year, my 100 Days Project’s creative daily task was to draw a pencil sketch of a item listed in a sketch book I received as a gift from a friend. I lasted about 6 days, and my busy life got the best of me :/

This year, I decided to pick a relatively easy task that would be: FUN, EASY, and that聽I COULD DO ALMOST ANYWHERE:

= HANDSTANDS!

Chanel Handstand

Starting July 11th for 100 days, I will have a friend take of picture of me doing a handstand somewhere new. After starting CrossFit last year, I love doing handstands. I still have room for improvement, so I am hoping doing this task for 100 days will help me improve my form. Also, I’m excited to jump out of my comfort zone and do handstands in some locations where handstands aren’t normally done. It’s time to get CREATIVE 馃檪

To follow my 100 Days Project – visit this link here :

Chanel #5 – 100 Days Project

 

Be sure to check out some of the other projects. Last year there were around 800 participants, and this year we have reached over 1000!

If It Hurts, It’s Probably Worth It

Photography, Thoughts

Chanel Rainforest

 

So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never overstay your welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.

— Alex Garland

It seems the older I get, the more heart-to-heart posts seem to emerge. As many of you know, I packed up my life in 2 weeks and sold most of my life to move to Puerto Rico for what I thought was my ‘dream job’ in February. I’ve had 3 very tough months here. I’ve had to move 3 times already – dealing with crazy landlords and unfair predicaments. But, the plus side is that we ended up finding a fantastic beach front home that is walking distance to work. There were聽a whole other multitude of issues I’ve encountered thus far, but I am trying very hard to focus on the positive aspects聽instead of the negative.

I’m not going to lie, I have come to many bumps in the road here where I was one click away from booking my plane ticket home. After I decided to pursue going back to school to get my teaching credential about a month ago, that’s all I can focus on. I felt like there is nothing keeping me here any longer, so why stay? All my friends, family, continuous fun concerts/events/activities, boyfriend (see below), and future were in California. Why am I still here?

Well, I am no longer in a relationship. Throughout my life, I’ve become accustomed in a sense to long distance relationships. No, it’s not easy or my favorite thing to do, but if both parties want to make it work, they will do whatever it takes to do so. At this point in time, Adam and I decided it would be best to just be friends. I’ve come to understand that it was the best decision for us both considering all the factors. Life is too short. My heart is very full of love and gives unconditionally – it deserves the same.

The quote at the beginning of the post resonates with all my experiences here in Puerto Rico thus far. I am keeping my mind open and sucking聽in every adventure-filled moment. Of course not every moment has been a good one, but it was worth it because I learned something about myself.

I definitely consider myself聽lucky to have been able to pack up in 2 weeks and move to an island in the Caribbean. I don’t take this opportunity for granted. I am in love with the fact that I wake up every morning and see the ocean outside my bedroom window. My job can be mentally and physically exhausting at times, but when it’s rewarding, all I can do is smile from ear to ear. Each time that I snorkel and see an octopus (favorite creature!!)聽– I keep聽reminding myself that I am getting paid to do this –聽and yeah, things COULD be worse 馃槢

I jumped into this聽life change聽without a safety rope. I moved to a country where I didn’t know a soul – I don’t speak the native language – I can’t eat 95% of what is on the menu at most places – I don’t have a car – and I took half a paycheck cut to be here. But,聽HERE I AM. I’m healthy – I am getting to a happier place each and every day – and I’m starting to sink into the reality that I am on a beautiful island聽that has so much to offer if I just keep an open mind. No doubt it took awhile to reach this point, but there’s no reason聽in being negative when life is meant to be lived to the fullest.

I am expecting聽multiple聽friends and family to visit before I move back to California in January. It will make me so happy to share my experiences with people I love and who know, respect, and聽understand my passions in life 馃檪 If you are keen to take a quick vacation to a tropical island – let me know!

 

Belizian Waterfall Adventures

Photography, Thoughts

 

Adam Chanel Waterfall Belize

Recently, I just returned from the most amazing week vacation in Placencia, Belize. My boyfriend’s friend was hosting a destination wedding, and I couldn’t say no to being his date 馃槈 As soon as I heard “Belize” – all that I could think about was being able to scuba dive the Great Blue Hole (a Bucket List item for many divers). I will save that whole adventure story for a future post.

I took my handy GoPro Hero 3 on her first big adventure under the water as well as above the water. Throughout the weekend I earned the title of ‘GoPro Girl’ haha – it was attached to my side. Hence, I have A LOT of video footage to edit over the next couple of weeks.

Luckily, I had some time on my hands last night and was able to put together a quick little summary of our trip to the waterfalls. Around 40 people from the wedding party hopped on an old school bus for a 30 min ride to the forest. We were greeted at the falls with huge coolers of Belize聽Belikin beer and burritos – can you say heaven?! There was even a natural water rockslide that you’ll see me go down in the video. It was a perfect getaway adventure! Stay tuned for more video summaries to follow this month 馃檪

Photography: Kite Boarding

Photography, Thoughts

I had the pleasure to host a professional wakeboarder the other week by the name of Moti Levi. He is 25 years old from Israel, and one of the sweetest most genuine people I’ve ever met.聽Moti has a twin brother who is also a professional wakeboarder, and they both have been hard of hearing since they were young. But, that doesn’t stop them from doing what they love in the water!

Here’s an awesome little video that he聽recently聽published:

 

In my photography career, I’ve never really ventured too much into the ‘action/sport photography’ world. So, when the opportunity presented itself to photograph Moti’s amazing skills while kite boarding here in Puerto Rico, I jumped on it! Here are the results – let me know what you think:

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Moti9 Moti8 Moti7 Moti18 Moti17 Moti16 Moti15 Moti14 Moti13 Moti12
Moti10 Moti19 Moti20 Moti24 Moti22