Natural Wonder

Photography, Science, Thoughts

dragonfly

If you stop and observe your surroundings once in a while, you’ll notice that you are indeed surrounded my hundreds of living organisms. You might be swapping one, stepping on one, smelling one, or feeling one brush against your body as you are walking down the street.

The environment utterly fascinates/boggles/excites my brain. Whether it be geology, hydrology, ecology, biology, physics, or chemistry, you can consistently learn new things every day by watching the world around you. .

I came across this video last week and my mouth literally dropped open in amazement. Sit back and expand this video to fill your screen..trust me..it will be worth it!

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Beauty and the Beast of Nature

Thoughts

LET’S START WITH THE BEAST OF NATURE:

I went back and forth in my mind trying to decide if I should post this video on here or not..but given the fact that nature can be both beautiful and ugly at the same time, I decided not to discriminate. Nature is nature.

Ants have to eat and survive too?

As you just saw, these ants devoured a whole Gecko in only a couple of hours. I started to get grossed out when they began hauling away the finger bones! The species of ant featured in the video are suspected to be red imported fire ants. According to biologist/photographer Dr. Mark W. Moffett, these ants are “highly bred for warfare against each other.” Fire ants leave a nasty sting if you ever come into contact with one, so be weary. The spread of this invasive species across many southern and southeastern states is through the frequency of being stowed aboard ships.

NOW ONTO SOMETHING MORE APPEALING, THE BEAUTY OF NATURE:

Now let’s leave you with something beautiful. I was lucky enough to go to college in Monterey Bay, where Big Sur was only a hop and a skip away up the freeway. Big Sur was the best place to explore an untouched coastline, hike to a Redwood forest, relax your body and mind in a natural hot springs, and camp under a starry night sky all in one day.

“Fun” – It’s Different For Everyone

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Whilst reading The Happiness Project on the plane ride back to Los Angeles after a week in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday break, I read a chapter that really triggered the inspiration for this post.

The sub-chapter that stood out to me was titled: “Finding More Fun” in your life. The author talks about how she loves the idea of such activities like playing chess, or doing a crossword puzzles, or getting a massage…but when she really looked into it, those were things that weren’t FUN for her.

“Only recently had I grasped one of my most important Secrets of Adulthood: just because something was fun for someone else didn’t mean it was fun for me– and visa versa.”

– Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

I took these words and applied them to my own life. What was I doing that a lot of people think is fun..but wasn’t really that fun for me? And what was I doing that truly brought me happiness? Some people may hide activities that bring them happiness because they aren’t considered ‘legitimate’ or ‘normal’ – but I say who cares?! It’s your life, and you just have to do what you need to in order to make your life amazing each and every day. Below you will find my unfiltered list of some activities that I do for fun.

I want to hear what all of YOU do for FUN!

Don’t be afraid – Don’t be embarrassed – Be proud to announce to the world whatever makes you happy. Please leave a comment below with some FUN activities that YOU DO FOR YOU.

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY – I’ve been a nature lover since the beginning of time. And once I got a camera of my own, boy did I go wild! Whether I’m on a hike, on a whale watching boat, or at the beach..you can bet I will be there snapping away. When I’m in nature, I feel one with the planet and myself (cliché, but that’s exactly how I feel).

SCUBA DIVING Being submersed under 100ft of salt water, with fish and sea lions swimming curiously around you, you really are in another world. The ocean has been my passion and love since I was 5 years old. It’s never diminished- only grown and enhanced. I recall the first time I saw a shark, I thought I was going to freak out and swim the opposite direction, but instead I squealed in my regulator and instead followed it around the kelp beds for 5 minutes!

A NIGHT IN AT HOME– Some nights I just have no urge to put on nice clothes, make up, and a smile to go out and mingle on a Friday or Saturday night. Or, I just downright don’t have the energy to move from off my couch. Instead, I prefer to light some candles, cook a delicious meal, open a bottle of wine, and pick out an awesome movie (or 2). Let me tell you, Netflix is my best friend. I know that I’m young and I should enjoy my youth, but sometimes it just feels SO GOOD to stay in my pjs on a Friday night instead.

DRAWING – I started drawing after taking an art class in high school. I found out that I love chalk, pencil, and pointillism. Although, I also discovered that oil pastels were my enemy. So when I graduated high school and went to college, my mom gave me a pointillism/pencil set because she said how awesome my drawings turned out in high school. Thanks mom- that was a great gift that has now concluded with an awesome portfolio of all my work (and still growing of course!). When making a pointillism drawing, it involves A LOT of patience. This allows me to escape into my own world for hours upon hours. No distractions. My only goal is to create an amazing piece of art that I am proud to put my signature on. I really think it’s fun to create personalized drawings for people close to me. This year I created 3 drawings as newborn baby gifts! Let me know if you want one too 🙂

My Easter Island Drawing

BEING A HOSTESS – There’s just a feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment that comes over me when I know I’m having company at my little abode. It’s an excuse for me to have my apartment looking top notch, first off, and also it’s exciting to welcome someone into my ‘space.’ As I get older and more independent, I’ve noticed how much fun it is to decorate my house and make it MY OWN. When I have people over, I turn on the ‘house wife’ appeal 😉 – you won’t be disappointed with my service. Below is a picture of my girlfriend Miranda visiting from Canada earlier this year.

TIDE POOLING  If you want to put a smile on my face, just drop me off on the coastline and let me be free to explore the wonders of the tide pools. I love exploring and finding fascinating little creatures hidden away in the nooks and crannies of the rocks. There’s even more fun to be had when I have someone else there with me (not too marine science savvy), who I can dish out all of the knowledge I have about the ocean and its creatures! Below I  made a little progression photography piece of my love for tide pooling 🙂

Stop and Smell the Roses

Photography, Thoughts

Our lives are so non-stop busy on a daily basis, many of us forget to stop and enjoy the little things in life.

When you’re walking down the street next time, take a second to look up at the world around you. So many people focus down at their feet and rush to their destination to avoid awkward eye contact with strangers passing them by. Or they are enthralled on their phone making sure their social media life doesn’t diminish on the 4 minute walk  they have to the store (and thus increasing their chances of accidentally running straight into a building, pole or tree).

If you start to open your eyes and notice the world around you, you might be surprised at what you find. I love staring up at the rich blue sky and the massive San Gabriel Mountains in Pasadena whenever I take a walk around Old Town (where I work). The buildings in Old Town date back over 100 years, and the architecture is so beautiful and unique on every building- but so few people ever look up and acknowledge it.

Last weekend, my mom was visiting from San Diego and we went to this beautiful rose garden in Downtown LA. I haven’t posted my photography in a while, so I thought it was about time to get the ball rolling! I truly enjoyed stopping and smelling the roses (so cliche but so true)- some were so pleasantly fragrant I wanted to bottle it up!

Life is too short to not stop and smell the roses. Our world is beautiful; find the beauty in your life.

Here’s To Now.

Photography, Science, Thoughts

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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EARTH: In the highest-resolution EVER

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Earth- in the highest definition than ever before! It’s beautiful and amazing.

Also, today my boss showed me this little saying and said it’d be perfect for my blog- and he’s correct. André is a photographer himself, and so here it is:

PERFECTLY SAID! I think we all really should truly focus on who and what makes us happy in life and stick with it. The negatives do happen, and that’s how we learn and grow in this life of ours. With ups, there must be downs.

Happy Friday everyone 🙂 Have a fabulous weekend and enjoy yourself!

There’s Nothing Like the Yosemite Night Sky.

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Yosemite holds a special place in my heart after spending a week backpacking there with my high school companions for our senior trip (SPHS 2006 baby!). Even though that was years ago, I still come back to it often.

Funny story about my trip to Yosemite- might be a little TMI but it’s ok- when our group stopped and decided to set camp next to a creek- “nature called” and I went behind a tree for some privacy. When I looked up- there was a huge group of deer hanging out about 25 feet away from me. I was staring at them (not going to lie, a little scared), and they were just staring right back… It was a bit awkward, but overall it was quite a funny experience that I crack up every time I think about it!

Hetch Hetchy : Yosemite circa 2006

This spark of Yosemite love that inspired this blog post came from this amazing video of Yosemite I stumbled upon today. It’s a time-lapse of different locations in the beautiful California National State Park of Yosemite. I fell in love with the sky in Yosemite- star-gazing and counting satellites and shooting stars is one of my favorite things. There’s something just amazing, mysterious, and beautiful about watching the night sky. We are just a small part of this universe- it’s insane to try to wrap one’s head around it. It’s one of my Bucket List items to hike Half Dome…one day one day. I can’t wait!

Enjoy this video- make it full screen on your computer and turn it up and relax for 5 minutes.

“Slow yourself down, and you’ll see so much more”

Thoughts

I came across this video today, and it’s message is so pure and beautiful, I knew I needed to pass it along.

I’m not in the best mood today, and this made me smile and remember to breathe and love life.

It also makes me want to move to Hawaii (you’ll see why).

Enjoy and remember to live vicariously.

The ocean is the most powerful thing in the world.

In my mind it’s the fountain of youth.

That’s where you challenge yourself.

Day to life is the ocean, and the jungle.

You want to be as aware and in-tune as you possibly can.

To have to wait for something is what we all need,

slow yourself down and you’ll see so much more.

That’s what this whole life is about is

Passing on what you’ve learned

And hopefully create a better person by the end of the day.

Newport Beach in Black and White

Photography, Thoughts

I went to Newport Beach recently- and woke up at 7:00am and decided to fill my meter where I was parked overnight. I was going to go back to bed after filling the meter, but the moment I stepped outside to an amazing sunrise, calm crystal clear water, and an empty beach.. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy it all!

So I changed clothes- grabbed my camera and wallet- and walked up the bike path. My new friends live right ON the beach, and I totally fell in love with the place. It’s definitely my dream to live on the beach one day. I’d soak it up for all it’s worth.

I found a little cafe that just opened- got a chai tea latte and a blueberry bagel. Went next to the Balboa Pier and posted myself up on the Lifeguard Tower. PERFECTION. I watched the seagulls take over the sky, dolphins leaping, and pelicans diving while the sun warmed up my skin.

I decided to get some mostly black and white photos- just felt like it’d be a fun change of pace to see things in a different “light” so to speak. Hope you enjoy the slideshow.

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Male on Male Squid Sexy Time? Something Sounds Fishy Here..

Thoughts

If you have tentacles, watch out, male deep-sea squid will pounce on you!

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) has recorded 2 decades worth of deep-sea squid mating footage. And what they’ve come to acknowledge is that male squid don’t have an issue with mating with both female and male partners. Bisexual squids? Not necessarily..

This same-sex sex isn’t the first we’ve seen in squid- but it’s the first time that it has been as common as male-female sex. Out of 108 squid caught on camera- 39 of them have been identified as male or female- with 19 females and 20 males. Of these 19- 10 females and 9 males showed evidence of mating. The scientists determined that the male squid were trying to mate equally with both sexes.

The way squid mate is quite interesting and unique. The details are still unclear to researchers- but from observations, the male squid ejaculates a packet of sperm- turns it inside out within a membrane then it gets embedded into the skin of the mate. So hopefully if the male is successful- the sperm will stick and the female and choose when and where she wants to fertilize her eggs. (Must be nice.. haha)

Credit: MBARI

Credit: MBARI

As you can see in these photos- There are some white specs just above the female squid’s eye on her mantle. Those are male squid sperm packets.

The second photo is a close up of the sperm packets on the female squid’s mantle- thank you MBARI for the awesome photos!

So are you still wondering if male squid are gay? Well that’s not really the case… since deep-sea squid don’t come into contact with one another too often- their drive to reproduce is enhanced when the come into contact with any other squid (male or female).  It’s better to mate with whoever they come in contact with- than loosing any opportunity to reproduce. The squid live by themselves..so it’s lonely out there in the big blue. All they want to do is ensure the survival of their species…who can blame them?