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.

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 a whole other multitude of issues I’ve encountered thus far, but I am trying very hard to focus on the positive aspects 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 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 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!!) – I keep reminding myself that I am getting paid to do this – and yeah, things COULD be worse 😛

I jumped into this life change 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, 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 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 in being negative when life is meant to be lived to the fullest.

I am expecting multiple 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 understand my passions in life 🙂 If you are keen to take a quick vacation to a tropical island – let me know!


Lessons and Highlights of 2013


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?


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 fortunate I am to have a strong, stable, and fantastic group of individuals who have 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!


What Cards Were You Dealt?



“I can’t say that there’s anything that I can’t do,

I don’t know that there’s a whole lot in life period that I can’t do,

just things that I haven’t done yet.”

-Richie Parker

We are all dealt a different set of cards in life. It’s how you play the cards – no matter the suit or class – that shows your true talent.

Life is a series of unknown events. You can try to plan out your life, but that’s where you’ll always end up in disappointment. Trying to predict the future is a poor excuse for not living in the present.

To be honest, I couldn’t tell you where I’ll be a year from now. And as scary as that sounds, it’s also exhilarating and thrilling. I could be still living here in Pasadena, or I could be living on a tropical island running a nature program. Only time will tell…The beauty of life is that WE DON’T KNOW what will happen next (no matter how hard we try to control it).

You can’t allow people to influence you to live a life that THEY WANT you to have. You can’t allow people to tell you that NO, you will never be able to do that. Your life is in your hands, so make some magic happen! The magic tends to happen when someone tells you that you can’t/will never be able to do something, then you prove them completely and utterly WRONG.

What sparked today’s post is the inspirational video below. As you will see, Richie was dealt what many would call a bad set of cards in life, but the way he played them, is something to be admired.

That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles..



Sometimes things don’t always go the way you expected. Sometimes you get completely blindsided. Sometimes you’re left standing there wondering…why?

But, there are always hidden positive messages in these occurrences that you must search for when you think all is lost. As I have grown and matured, I’ve truly begun to understand that without pain you will have no growth. You will never always know WHY things happen or WHY people did what they did (which is honestly very hard for me..I always want to know why.. it must be the scientist part of me yearning for concrete evidence and answers 🙂 ). So stop overanalyzing – that will only fuel you to keep digging yourself into a pit of lies and assumptions. Whatever happens, just remember that you are a strong individual who will find the growth the situation to better yourself in the end.

This weekend I am heading to Monterey Bay to visit a lot of old friends from college. I have a jam packed 3 days that I couldn’t be more excited about! I can’t wait to be surrounded by the natural beauty of the peninsula, share stories and laughs with people who make me so happy, and visit my fishy friends under the water in the kept forests. I know I will return home a better person with a rejuvenated soul.

All I can say is roll with the punches and make the best out of every situation that lands in your lap. Remember that life is a sorting process – whether you are sorting through jobs, relationships, friends… in due time you will land your dream job, meet the person you can’t live without, and acquire irreplaceable friends. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles 🙂

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

What’s Next?

Photography, Science, Thoughts

So I thought today would be a good day to update you on my crazy life. After the Australia’s Best Jobs 2 week Social Media Extravaganza, I was left looking for new employment. Luckily, my old boss (and mentor and great friend) for the past 2 years re-hired me to do my old job for the summer (Thanks Andre!). But what happens at the end of August…?




After the Best Jobs contest, I have been really thinking about getting involved in the Ecotourism field. Thus, my search of Masters Degrees in Ecotourism has begun! I am also looking into Masters Degrees in Marine Science/Conservation Biology as well.

To be honest, I feel that ecotourism really is my calling. Working for a hotel/ecotourism establishment would combine all the things I love: Marine Science, Education, Meeting people from all over the world, Photography, Living near the ocean, Being outside for the majority of my job, Traveling, and probably Social Media and Blogging of some sort! I do love marine biology, but I don’t want to get sucked into the research field per say. My happiness lies in educating people about our environment and how to protect it. So stay tuned to see what happens next for Chanel Hason 🙂

I also want to get my feet wet more – in terms of SCUBA Diving that is. I am FINALLY planning a trip (July 19-21) back to where I left a piece of my heart- Monterey Bay. There are so many amazing people that I haven’t seen in such a long time that I must reunite with 🙂 Not to mention the BEAUTIFUL sights that I will have to re-visit. I can already picture those 3 days to be filled with adventures including hiking, kayaking, frolicking under the waves in the kelp forests, wine tasting in Carmel Valley, behind the scenes tours at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, saluting my old college stomping grounds at CSUMB, and so much more. Don’t you worry – I will definitely document it all so you can live vicariously through these adventures. Who knows, I might even make an epic video summary of the weekend … 🙂 GET EXCITED!



I am going to start showcasing more photography – from both myself and other fantastic photographers. My new (and SPIFFYCanon 60D has been so fun to play with over the last couple of months. I have already gotten some freelance work photographing a restaurant for their social media/website.

If you are a photographer who wants to participate in a photography showcase on my blog please shoot me an email . I will give you a category – then you will have to submit to me 3 photos after a certain time period that best summarize that category to you.

My first photographer will be JOE PLATKO – his photography challenge category is “Summer” – stay tuned to see what photos he showcases within the next couple of weeks! We went to college together in Monterey, and Joe has blossomed into a fantastic nature and underwater photographer in the meanwhile. I’m so excited that he is going to be my first photographer on my blog!

I also want to start a “Fitness/Health” section of my blog. Over the past year, I have really educated myself in terms of food/fitness/health and how to change my life for the better of my body overall. I want you to be part of my journey to living a healthier life as well in one central location.

Stop by my Facebook Page (and Like it too!) : Photography + Science = Chanel
 Shoot me a Tweet : PSChanel
Check out my Pinterest : PhotoScience

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.


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.



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
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!

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

New Years Goals for 2013


Last year, 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. My 2012 goals were as follows:

 Surround myself with  more positive people- and less with negative ones

Draw More

Cook More

I can honestly say that I did fulfill all these goal successfully this past year, and will continue to do so from now on. I love the people who are a consistent positive influence in my life. I have fresh white sheets of paper waiting for a drawing masterpiece to unfold upon it soon. My kitchen is stocked with new appliances, spices, and food to concoct delicious meals with! I hope all of you

As for 2013, here’s want I want to add to my life standards:

1) Visit the ocean at least once a month– Salt water really does run through my veins, and when I don’t see the ocean, I feel like a piece of me is slowing dying. I seem to get so wrapped up with work and life sometimes, that I forget to fulfill the void in my heart for way too long. Just seeing the vast open sea, hearing the waves crash ever so consistently along the seashore, and smelling salt water in the air puts me in a safe place.

Hawaii Relaxing

2) Keep open, honest, communication in relationships from the get-go – This past year I listened to a relationship expert and her views of how men and women differ completely when it comes to dating and relationships. It seems that it’s so hard for people to be open and honest from the start of a relationship because they don’t want to scare someone off. Well, wouldn’t you want to scare them off at the beginning than find out after 2 years you both don’t want the same thing? Nip it in the butt from the start! Save time and energy for both parties.

Boat Ride

3) Volunteer for a new organization –  Life is all about giving. This past year, I got very involved with volunteering for a range of new different organizations in my local community. I’d love to continue this trend for the rest of my life. If I can also accumulate my friends and family to jump on the same goal bandwagon, it would only lead to more wonderful things.

Pasadena Jaycees Operation Santa

I wish you all a fantastic new year full of adventure, love, and inspiration.

Do you have any resolutions/goals for 2013? 

Embrace Your Inner Trouble Maker

Photography, Thoughts

Hi blog world!

Well, I officially survived the Bud Light Port Paradise Cruise I won a couple of weeks ago from Young the Giant and Bud Light. It was an amazing experience and a 4 day weekend I will never forgot. The musical concerts were out of this world amazing, and I met some really awesome people from across the United States.

I have so many photos and videos that I will make a little summary video/photo diary that I will post on here very soon 🙂

It felt so amazing not to have a worry in the world, especially when we were on the beautiful private island of Coco Cay in the middle of the Bahamas. It really was a little paradise just for the estimated 5,000 people on the 2 Bud Light Port Paradise Cruise Ships. There were a numerous amount of fun activities located all over the island (jet skis, inflatable ocean wipeout course, local little shops, paddle boarding, etc.). Of course there were hammocks and lots of beach chairs scattered along the pristine white sandy beaches, for those who wanted to work on their tans and kick back for a little bit.

I leisurely strolled into the crystal blue water and just floated on my back and soaked up the beauty, the large amount of luck in my life, the happiness that was overcoming me, and the overall euphoria I was experiencing right then and there. I had no worries. I felt amazing. I was surrounded by amazing people. I was content with life. I had no obligations (but to have fun). I had a huge smile that couldn’t be wiped off my face. 

I was embracing my inner trouble maker. I danced. I drank. I swam. I explored. I made new friends. I learned to embrace the feeling of being free and enjoying EVERY moment  (within reason of course). The picture above is shot of me dancing to Young The Giant – the band who I won this amazing opportunity from. I thought it was a perfect image to pair with this saying.

Life is what you make of it. So you better make it unforgettable!