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

Learning to Sea Podcast

Science, Thoughts

 

Miss Scuba USA


LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE

 

I was recently interviewed by Ashley Hasna, who聽started the聽Podcast –>聽Learning to Sea. We chatted about how I got involved in the marine biology field, and how that lead me to becoming Miss Scuba USA 2013. I also throw out some fun facts about the Miss Scuba International Pageant that happened behind the scenes – pretty funny stuff! Here’s a little more about the podcast itself:

Whether living on, near, or far from the water, this is a place to comprehensively learn, love, and share your enthusiasm about the ocean.聽 We鈥檙e covering the ocean from fact to folklore.

Find latest ocean news, interesting crafts, book reviews, and more on the blog. Also hear from ocean experts and enthusiasts on the Learning to Sea podcast. Connection is key, so come down to sea level and enjoy the tide.

Ashley had heard my previous appearance on the Scuba Obsessed Podcast, and reached out to me to see if I would like to be interviewed on her podcast as well. I said OF COURSE! I love meeting and connecting with people from all over the world – luckily podcasts are a great way to do that 馃檪 You can listen to the podcast by clicking this link or downloading it on iTunes as well. Be sure to follow all of Learning to Sea’s social media outlets 馃榾

Follow Learning to Sea:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

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

Lessons and Highlights of 2013

Thoughts

Goodbye 2013, HELLO 2014!

What an unforgettable year 2013 was… it felt like so much was packed into those little 12 months. 2013 year was filled with risks and opportunities of a lifetime. Through all the experiences I had this year, nothing is more precious than the people around you who have proved that they support you 110% in life. I want to personally thank everyone who supported all my crazy life adventures in 2013. Whether you simply liked a Facebook Page, donated money to help get my to Malaysia for Miss Scuba International, sent a personal inspirational note to my inbox, or just verbally wished me luck on my ventures – I honestly couldn’t have gotten this far in life without you. Two words that sums up 2013: Thankful and Grateful.

I’d love to hear from you – please comment below: How was your 2013 year? What did you learn? What were some highlights?

LESSONS LEARNED:

I learned that taking risks has its advantages.
I learned that a good friend will always come back to you in the end.
I learned that being a vegetarian was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I learned that juicing is a delicious and an exciting new addition to my healthy/fit lifestyle.
I learned that life is short, and there’s no reason to not do something you want to do.
I learned that being confident in your own skin shines brighter than anything else.
I learned that being in a beauty pageant is exhausting work.
I learned that doing hand-stands passes the time real well.
I learned how聽fortunate聽I am to have a strong, stable, and fantastic group of individuals who have聽my back with any wild and crazy venture I choose to take.
I learned that there are more nice people in the world then there are bad.
I learned that the worse thing someone can say when you ask them something is ‘no’ – so don’t be afraid to ask for something you want.
I learned that finding a pair of heels you can actually walk in comfortably – is like finding a needle in a haystack!

HIGHLIGHTS:

Photography + Science = Chanel | 2013 Summary

Photography, Science, Thoughts

looking glass

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Going For It

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Chanel03

In just 3 short weeks, I will be sitting on a plane traveling across the world to Malaysia.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I have never competed in a Beauty Pageant before. I have no idea what to expect. I have no idea what we will be doing for the 2 weeks I am there. My feet prefer flip flops over heels. I’m not a model. But – that’s not stopping me. The fear of the unknown is where excitement stems.聽

I am passionate. I am strong. I am an environmentalist. I am a scuba diver. I am a marine conservationist. I am a photographer. I am a lover. I am positive. I am a blogger. I am an adventurer. I am a woman in science. I am a health nut. I am a fitness guru. I am competitive. I am ready. I am going for it.

Opportunities like these don’t come around too often. My passion is the ocean and protecting it, and that’s what I’m going to showcase in full force at the Miss Scuba International Pageant. I’m so ready to get my feet wet!

I decided to host a Silent Auction Fundraiser this weekend to help fund my expenses to compete in the Miss Scuba International Pageant. I am fiscally responsible for my airfare, as well as clothing/equipment. The funds are totaling over $3000 very quickly. As a single independent passionate woman, I am reaching out to others to help make my dreams come true.

I am so lucky to have amazing friends and family who believe in me and my dreams. Many of you have known me since I was a little girl, and understand this journey I have been on has led me here for a reason. I have incredible people donating and assisting in gathering items for the Silent Auction, which I couldn’t have done this all without them. SO THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Everyone is invited – please feel free to join if you are in the area 馃檪
SilentAuctionFlyer

DONATE HERE:聽Scuba Miss USA PayPal Donation Page

VISIT:聽Scuba Miss USA Facebook Page