New Years Goals for 2015

Happy New Year everyone! Three years ago, I started a tradition where I create 3 new goals/standards to live by instead of resolutions. I would rather create standards to uphold throughout the rest of my life than create a ‘resolution’ that would most likely not last the entire year. In review – My 2014 goals were:

Travel to a new country each year

Write a random postcard/letter once a month to a friend/loved one

Read at least one new book every 6 months

In 2014 I did travel to a new country – Belize! It was amazing – the people, the diving, the food. I can’t wait to venture back there. I did go overboard, in a good way, with writing post cards and letters to lots of friends and family members this year while living in Puerto Rico. Physically writing a letter or postcard is such a dying act unfortunately with the invention in the internet and emails…but thankfully I got so many return postcards and letters in the mail that made my day each time 🙂 In terms of reading a new book every 6 months…I managed to read one full book and that was about it. For Xmas this year I asked for the hardcopy of Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please. I am excited to start reading that on the airplane home back to California in a couple of days 🙂 NOW it’s time for my 2015 goals:

1) Stay in touch more with family members No family is perfect. This past year my family made that even more evident than ever before. With the backstabbing and lying occurring all around me, I want to focus on my family members that are open and caring, especially the young ones. After working with children of all ages this past year, I know how important it is to be a part of their life as they are quickly growing, learning, and changing. This goal means more visits, updates, and interactions with family.

Family Goal

2) Make more presents/gifts for people instead of buying new thingsAfter utilizing Pinterest this year for my job, I’ve realized that it is so much more satisfying and thoughtful to make a one of a kind gift than an easy scapegoat gift like a gift card. I especially want to utilized recycled items in my presents for people – you’re helping save the planet and you aren’t spending a lot of money on something new – it’s a WIN-WIN don’t you think?! Use your creativity people 🙂 We learned how to make an angel fish with a palm frond at work a couple of days ago – pretty cool huh?

Angel Fish Palm Leaf Weave

3) Go SCUBA diving every year I’ve been certified since 2006 to explore the oceans underwater. Unfortunately, I haven’t gone SCUBA diving as much as I would like to have over the past 8 years. This year I did A LOT of diving! Since I moved to Puerto Rico in February of 2014, SCUBA diving was much more easily available whenever we had time off of work. I went on 3 different dive boat trips in Puerto Rico, and then I did some dives in Belize as well this past year. If you’ve never been SCUBA diving, I suggest to start putting some money aside in order to get certified. The earth is 75% water, so you essentially haven’t REALLY seen the planet until you’ve seen it under water 😉

Chanel Hason and Sea Turtle

Seeing The Good Happen All Around You

Photo: Felipe Jacome

Photo: Felipe Jacome

Sometimes when you are feeling down, or having self-doubt, you see something that makes you instantaneously feel extremely inspired.

When I went onto my computer recently and saw what my friends and family were accomplishing, all I could do was smile from ear to ear. It’s a reminder that there are good people in this world, and they are making a difference in their special own way.

I just found out my very own uncle is going to be the assistant coach for the Haiti 2014 World Cup Amputee Team. With my father’s side of the family being full-blooded hardcore successful Slovakian soccer players & coaches, I grew up loving and playing that amazing sport. Unfortunately after 2 knee surgeries, I am unable to play the sport any longer. To see these men – these survivors – these lovers of the sport – getting a chance to represent their country in the World Cup – it’s inspiring the say the least. These young men have gone through such horrific tragedies, but that doesn’t put a damper on their passions and dreams. They just acquired 1 new fan to root them along on their tireless journey to the World Cup. Hopefully you will join me too 🙂

My uncle is an amazing and talented soccer coach – the team is so very lucky to have him on their side. Here’s the summary listed on the Pursuit of Hope’s website and the trailer for the video that will make about their journey to the Amputee World Cup in Mexico:

Nearly 1 million people in Haiti are amputees or have disabilities. They are largely outcast. In many cases their families consider them cursed. Dealing with severe poverty and joblessness, these individuals experience the worst of living conditions. They are disregarded, and even discarded.

Pursuit of Hope is a feature-length documentary that tells the story of the Haitian amputee football team as they seek a spot in the 2014 World Cup of Amputee Football.

More than that, Pursuit of Hope tells the story of team members as they seek acceptance in their own country and desire to become models of hope for Haiti and the rest of the world.

 

Now onto another group of men doing good.

For the past couple of years, I have become quite good friends with the Pasadena Fire Department, in particular Fire House 31. They have been super helpful whenever I needed them for anything – helping get rid of a crazy huge wasps nest in my doorway – help get my keys that I locked into my 2nd story apartment unit – star in a promo video for a contest I was competing it – and so much more.

One firemen, Tony Zee, has been a huge supporter of mine ever since I met him. He is always smiling and inspired by accomplishments, but I am also of his. He is an individual you know is genuinely such a kind-hearted and caring individual. He has two wonderful young daughters, and a beautiful wife.

The Fire House 31 was just recently featured on segment for ABC 7 Eyewitness News in Los Angeles. They focused on the department’s participation in the ‘Movember’ movement to raise awareness mainly for men’s health issues such as testicular and prostate cancer. I am so happy that they are participating in raising awareness for these persistent issues for men.

WATCH THE SEGMENT HERE

 

From this video segment, I learned that my friend Tony had battled cancer. I had had no idea! He battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which unfortunately took the lives of close to 19,000 individuals in the United States in 2014 (cancer.gov). He stated that it is one of the top cancers for firemen, and as a survivor, he feels like he should promote and make other firefighters aware of cancers in the fire service industry. Thank you Tony for spreading the knowledge!

So keep your eyes open, and appreciate those all around you who are doing something to make the world a better place. 

Blood Is (Not Always) Thicker Than Water

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.

Quarter of a Century

We turn not older with years, but newer every day.

-Emily Dickinson

I hit a milestone in my life. Age may just be a number, but turning 25 was kind of like a ‘wake up call’ so to speak. But maybe in a different way than you are imagining…

When I was younger I thought by the age of 25, I would have the job I’d have the rest of my life, and maybe dating the man who would eventually be my husband. Are those two things happening? Not even close. I do live on my own though (not with my parents) – I think that’s an accomplishment nowadays (no offense to those living at home). I have a job that’s interesting and in the fitness field, but not where my passion lies (obviously with the ocean). What I’ve realized is that we are grown up with standards, kind of like a guide-book, of accomplishments and expectations for certain points in one’s life. I am definitely guilty of thinking that way and falling into the trap, but that’s all it is, a trap. Life is so uncertain, and you can’t plan too far ahead in life. Should I feel bad that I am not doing the future life profession or dating the man of my dreams – no, not really. I’m breaking the mold. I’m just living my life, the way that my life is to be lived:  Young, wild & free.

I had a deep chat with my close friend Evan this weekend about this particular topic actually. We both are young, passionate & positive individuals who know we were made to do something great with our lives. He just published his first digital book, and now has an idea in the works that I think will be a fantastic hit. I’ve discovered on my birthday, from all the 100’s of messages on my Facebook wall, phone calls, and text messages, that people recognize and acknowledge me as a positive/ocean loving/photography/adventurous/successful woman. I was overwhelmed with love and positivity this whole weekend by so many people who I’ve encountered in my life – even some surprising ones who popped up out of the blue. It just goes to show you those who truly do care about you in life, and see the passion burning in your soul and want you to succeed.

I’ve written this blog for 3 years now, and have no idea how many of my friends or strangers even read it. But now, I know the things I’m doing in life are being recognized by those around me, and it makes me smile from the inside out. I’m (plain and simple) just being: ME. 

I have expectations of what my life will look like in 5 years – I hate when people (especially in job interviews) ask you that kind of question. NO ONE KNOWS THE ANSWER. I honestly don’t really want to know the answer – life is about living in the now and enjoying each moment of it. The excitement in life is not knowing what’s around the next corner.

Basically – all I’m saying is that turning 25 just means that I still have plenty of time to accomplish what I want in life. I’m not a ‘failure’ for not being married yet or having my destined long-life job at this age. There are no rules in this game of life – only ones you create in your mind and within society. We make our own unique paths through our decisions and actions. You can either make your life worth living, or live a life that’s boring and monotonous  You choose. I choose the excitement of the unknown 🙂 Because I know I’m destined to do amazing things and I can’t wait to continue my journey for another quarter of a century.

Facebook : Photography + Science = Chanel
Twitter : PSChanel
Pinterest : PhotoScience

Here’s To Now.

I apologize for the late post…it’s been a busy couple of weeks! I ran around the Rose Bowl 3 times today- which is about 15K/ 9.3 miles. It’s a good preparation for the actual 5K marathon I’m running on June 24th!

The song I posted above pretty much sums of my view on life at the moment: Here’s To Now

Step back- and take a look at your life and see if you are happy or sad with what you are seeing. If you are happy, continue doing what puts a smile on your face and figure out what else makes you a better person. If you aren’t satisfied with your  life, then I suggest focusing on YOU and what YOU feel. People can give you a lot of varying advise, but only you know what’s best for you. So, here’s to now!

Salamander!

Moving on…Here’s a summary (plus PHOTOS!) of my previous weekend of fun times! I went on an early morning hike with my friends Marisa and Nelson. Mind you, I am not the type to rise early on weekends..the only time I have to sleep in..but I made an exception in order to enjoy being around nature and friends! And I am so happy I did! We saw a cute little salamander by the creek, and I even spotted a small little snake. It’s nice to know that I only have to travel a couple of miles from my doorstep to see nature up close and personal.

The next day I woke up early again and met up with my mom and grandma in San Diego- my grandma lives in San Diego so it was nice to spend some time with her. Through my mother’s work- we got a Box at the Padres Baseball Game! It was definitely the best experience I ever had at a game! Free awesome food, unlimited alcohol, comfortable seats, lounge, and even a dessert cart rolled through that looked like something out of your dreams?!  IT WAS AWESOME! Definitely felt like high class royalty. It was also the same day as the solar eclipse- which I kind of saw afterwards at a bar we hung out at after the game. I wished I had remembered about the eclipse so I was better prepared to view it..oh well..I guess I’ll just have to wait another 11 years to see it properly!

Please flip through these photos and tell me which ones you like best! 🙂

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It’s a NEW YEAR.

Wow. 2011. What a year you were! It definitely was the year of change in my life.

I won’t bore you with the details of last year- but everything that happened helped me grow, appreciate certain people more, disregard certain people (haha), and become a stronger individual.

I don’t really make New Years resolutions- but I have just created some standards that I want to hold up throughout the rest of my life.

Such as..

1) Surround myself with  more positive people- and less with negative ones. I know it may sound simple- but really take a step back and address friends in your life and how they treat you and others. I’ve realized that I have a couple friends who are always negative nancy’s and debbie downers. And it is usually not fun to be around them when we hang out…so what’s the point? I still care about these people, but I will just spend less time with them throughout the year. Life is too short to be unhappy.

2) COOK more. I got lots of fun cooking supplies for Christmas. I feel like I should turn into Betty Crocker or Julia Child by the time this year is over. I moved into my own place in September- and I really haven’t used my kitchen at all- I usually eat out or get food made by the chefs of the restaurant connected to my office that my boss always owns. So my goal is to buy more fresh veggies and eat less frozen foods.

3) DRAW more. After taking painting/drawing in high school- I kind of became fascinated with pointillism and pencil/shading drawings. I’ve got a nice little portfolio of my drawings that I want to increase over the next year and beyond. I already started a little drawing last night for my friend’s new baby girl that came into this world a week ago. It’s an escape to relaxation and creativity that I truly enjoy. I’ll be posting my new drawings throughout the year for your eyes to feast upon 🙂 Be on the look out.

I think those are some good goals to start off with for now. All these goals will hopefully make this year better than the last. I hope you all had a fantastic New Years- filled with friends and loved ones and possibly new friends. It’s 80 degrees and beautiful here in Pasadena CA – so I couldn’t ask for a more perfect way for 2012 to start. Being a sun child..life is good right now.

Cheers to a new possibilities!

Welcoming the New Year with open arms!