Posts Tagged ‘beach’

Working remotely in Hawaii

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I spent a week out in Hawaii while doing everything to make it seem like I wasn’t even gone work-wise. It was a last-minute thing: when I realized Veteran’s Day was the following week, I had asked Panda what our plans were (anticipating taking Monday off to enjoy a 4-day weekend). Instead of the type of answer I was expecting, I discovered that would be the week he was slated to go to Hawaii for work. I was so disappointed because I was really wanted to enjoy the weekend with him, but work travel meant he’d be leaving me Sunday morning. In other words, what I thought would be a long weekend would actually only consist of Saturday. For the first time, I was actually serious about joining him on a work trip. I really didn’t want to lose out on making it a holiday weekend worth my time.

So, once it was confirmed that he was going, I decided to make a decision and book tickets too. I’ve never planned a trip like this on such short notice, but it was one of those things I knew I’d regret for ages if I didn’t go for it. I figured I could still get all my work done at the normal EST hours I work and then I’d have the afternoon to enjoy the surroundings in Hawaii. Just like that, we found tickets for times I felt were reasonable and least interfered with work. By Sunday, we were off on our journey to spend a week out at the North Shore.

turtle bay resort at north shore hotel room with king bed

My office for the week.

I woke up daily (except Veteran’s Day and the weekend) at 4:30 HST to start work. I joined meetings remotely, answered emails, and worked on projects. Before I knew it, the sun would be rising and people were going off to lunch. I’d usually have a late “lunch” break and go enjoy the breakfast buffet downstairs. I savored the meals and watched the waves coming in as the heat began to build outside. Then it was back to the room for more work, which flew by pretty quickly. I found myself to be more productive (or at least it felt so) working from the hotel. This was probably because I had very few distractions. I hardly even got up for a drink or restroom break whereas usually at work I’m up at least once or twice an hour.

view of sunrise from turtle bay resort hotel room

Being awake for the sunrise was pretty cool.

view of turtle bay beach and ocean from turtle bay resort hotel room

The daytime view was pretty awesome too.

breakfast spread from breakfast buffet at turtle bay resort

A typical breakfast halfway through the work day!

I tried to finish my day around 1, but it usually went past that, though for the most part I was able to stop working by 2. At that point I had the choice of beaches to play at. One day I went the less traveled route and happily caught dozens of hermit crabs, snails, and even fish. Another day I found other crabs lurking by the rocks and swam around in the bay following a variety of fish around coral reefs. Yet another day I caught more critters and had a staring contest with some ghost crabs. I kept meaning to go to the banyan tree everyone checks out, but there were so many distractions along the way that I never quite made it there. I did have fun filming storks taking off in slo-mo, getting super close-ups of the creatures I caught, and generally basking in the sun.

clear plastic cup with a fish, hermit crab, and sea snail

Just the beginning of my catchings.

As the sun went down, we’d search for dinner and my night would wind down. I’d shower off the sand from the day and spend some time online before calling it a night. I tried to sleep around 8, but oftentimes it was closer to 10 when I got to bed. And then the day would start anew just past 4 as my alarms began to ring. It was much easier to wake up at that time than I thought it might be. I was quickly alert and ready to go! On our days off, we’d sleep in until 9 or so and then grab breakfast before embarking out on some adventure. Panda didn’t get the weekend, but luckily was free on Veteran’s Day and had some opportunities to leave work for a few hours. We went to Waikiki twice, hiked Diamond Head, visited Pearl Harbor, and even swung by the Dole Plantation. Not bad for a working vacation!

How to train a crab

laelene Posted in how to guides, lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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I’ve been playing with a variety of crabs of late and it’s fascinating. They’re rather smart creatures and I can almost swear they understand me. I’ve definitely stared into the eyes of some and felt like they could communicate with me. Maybe that’s just how their eyes look, but if you’ve ever tried to stare down a crab you might know what I mean. Sometimes their cunning is shocking. I’ve had them figure out how to climb up and out of cups, planning their escape. I’ve had them (somewhat) calmly crawl on me and learn that I’ll keep picking them up every time they try to leave. I’ve even had them working in teams to try to reach higher out of their temporary home in my cup.

tower of hermit crabs climbing on top of each other

The leaning tower of crabs. Smaller ones love to hitch a ride on larger ones!

clump of hermit crabs crawling on each other climbing up side of paper cup

Hitching a ride or using teamwork to escape?

line of hermit crabs crawling up side of paper cup

One by one, they learn from each other and crawl out.

It all started with some hermit crabs. It was the first day I got to go to the beach by the hotel (Turtle Bay Resort). I went wandering and eventually found a way to get to the beach I’d seen from the breakfast table. At first it was just tons and tons of snails on the rocks. I picked a bunch and was just enjoying the day playing around in the water with them when I noticed much faster movement. It was a hermit crab scuttling by! Once I knew what to look for, it was game over. I spotted so many that I had caught at least 30-something and there was no room in my cup. So I started to take pictures and release them. After all, what I really want are some close-up images of these cool creatures.

hermit crab staring at person holding it in fingers

If you just hold them, they’ll come out and look at you.

The next day, I went to the other side of the resort to check out what else I could find. It turned out to be a gold mine for other crabs. The land ones move far too fast to ever be caught, but the water ones have a tendency to hide and blend with the rocks. Since these rock formations have plenty of pools, it provided an easy microcosm to focus on. I was determined to get a “normal” crab (the kind that walks side to side). I succeeded with that eventually and got a crab that was almost too big for my cup! Now my goal is to get one of those burrowing crabs, which are a lot harder since they’ve got plenty of open beach to run across and even more sand they can dig below to escape.

crab hiding against rock and blending in

The crabs blend in quite well with the rocks!

crab hiding against rock and person pointing finger near it

I see yoooou.

ghost crab in hawaii sitting at entrance of tunnel in sand

My next challenge awaits.

So, how to train a crab:

1. Figure out where they hang out and go sit/squat nearby.

2. Stay still and watch for a bit. Look for an area they’re hiding where it’s enclosed enough for you to chase it.

3. Choose one that isn’t too large (no bigger than your pinky is probably best) and use a clear cup to get close to it. If we’re talking hermit crabs then just pick them up.

4. It takes a bit of back and forth to trick them into running into the cup area or falling into it as they scurry around. Just be careful and use one hand to guide them towards the cup.

5. Once caught, make sure you provide a decently comfortable environment, whether it’s just having enough sea water and not making it too warm or you need some rocks so the crab can sit out of the water too.

6. Keep it in the cup for awhile. Let it calm down and get used to this strange new environment.

7. After the crab is no longer desperately attempting to crawl out of the cup, you can stick your hand in and see if it’ll let you brush it. Move your finger around to guide it where you want to (that’s how I taught a crab that it actually could climb up the cup – of course then it wouldn’t stop climbing up the wall after that).

8. Before you know it, the crab will be totally fine with you touching it and might even crawl around on you! Beware, it’s definitely trying to escape though. If you’re good you’ll get some moments of peace where you can actually stare into its eyes, make that eye contact, and ponder its thoughts.

baby crab sitting on hand with ocean in background

Spending some quality time with my baby pet.

holding crab on hand smiling at it

Another one of my trainees, just chillin’ on my hand.

These are a few of my favorite things…

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , ,
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Every year as a child, my dad and I would watch the Sound of Music on TV together around the holiday season. It’s one of those things that reminds me it’s that time of year and I plan on watching the live version that Carrie Underwood’s doing in a few days. My dad won’t be able to watch with me, but it’s still a nice memory. I’m reminded of that because yesterday I got to enjoy some of my favorite things! Panda and I really took advantage of what LA has to offer and went around making the most of this chance to do many things I love. So here are a few of my favorite things (along with random tidbits from the day)!

girl wearing cheap plastic sunglasses and orange bikini top holding up peace sign and sticking out tongue

Free sunglasses.

cluster of tiny jasmine flowers with giant leaves

I kept smelling a really fragrant scent in the yard… and tracked it down to these tiny suckers. Jasmine FTW!

cat laying on top of brick wall

Are you surprised? Of course Missy would make it on here. She’s too cute not to.

cat by open door tentatively stepping outside

Molly deserves a shoutout too. Here she decides if it’s worth it to go outside.

girl wearing black ucla hoodie driving car with grey interior and moon roof

I <3 UCLA and enjoying peaceful drives.

girl smiling holding up cha for tea peach iced tea drink with boba

Love the boba at cha for tea!

bag of crispy chicken at sweet and sour sauce

Crispy chicken at a boba place is usually bomb. A most excellent snack.

view from los angeles freeway of palm trees and clouds into distance

Driving in LA… palm trees, freeways, and beautiful skies in the distance.

tesla model s driving by on pch in malibu

Checking out a Tesla Model S and how the handles are flush with the body of the car. Do they push in? Are they sensor-based?

teal flat shoes sitting on wet sand at beach with dog paw prints nearby

Time for fun at the beach!

sunset over pacific ocean through clouds in malibu

The beach offers fantastic skylines.

mcdonalds holiday pie with cardboard sleeve

Sharing a snack with my boo.

girl in bikini at beach standing in circle drawn out in sand around her

I mark off my territory.

collage of girl in orange bikini jumping midair at beach

Jumping for joy!

collage of girl in orange bikini running around on beach in shallow ocean water

Splashing around gleefully.

girl standing in ocean at beach stretching arms and legs out like starfish

I’m a starfish!

girl in orange bikini doing pistol exercise on sand at beach

My new favorite move: the pistol!

collage of girl in orange bikini bending backwards into backbend

Time for a backbend! I used to be a lot more flexible.

girl in orange bikini doing backbend on beach with sun shining on skin

Hi world! Now how do I get up? 😉

collage of girl in orange bikini jumping off skateboard on beach

Bringing out my beloved board for some springy fun.

collage of girl in orange bikini jump roping off skateboard on sand with piece of seaweed

I found a strand of seaweed that I decided to jump rope off my board with.

collage of girl in orange bikini jumping over strand of seaweed at beach

Do you remember those toys you spun around you ankle to swing a ball around and you jumped over it? I was trying to replicate that.

pelicans flying low over ocean by beach

Taking a break to admire the pelicans gliding by. Too bad there were no dolphins this time.

collage of girl in orange bikini playing on skateboard at beach

Having some fun atop my skateboard. 🙂

ripple pattern in sand at beach

Took another break to admire the patterns of nature this time.

silhouette of girl doing yoga tree pose with backdrop of setting sun through clouds at beach

I’d love to come here for my yoga practice!

collage of girl in orange bikini doing cartwheel at beach by ocean

Almost forgot to do some cartwheels!

girl in orange bikini doing cartwheel at beach paused on one hand

Look ma, one hand!

girl in orange bikini doing cartwheel at beach paused in handstand

This is where I pretend I can do a handstand and hold it. Just go with me on this one. 😛

bright yellow sunset reflecting off pacific ocean

So brilliant and beautiful.

engagement ring with purple sapphire center stone worn on guy's pinky finger

While taking pics for me, Panda helps wear my ring.

collage of girl in orange bikini wearing sunglasses playing on skateboard

And a little time with my awesome board. Best ever!

view of sunset from side of road by beach with lifeguard station silhouette

Time to leave this beautiful place.

blurry image of firetruck with front part tilted open

I didn’t know the front of firetrucks could tilt like that!

Climbing up into the mountains and getting a colorful sunset.

Climbing up into the mountains and getting a colorful sunset.

sprinkles cupcake atm machine glowing at night

I didn’t use the cupcake ATM, but I did get some Sprinkles!

For dinner, one of my favorite places. This is a new location I haven't been to!

For dinner, one of my favorite places. This is a new location I haven’t been to!

din tai fung hot and sour soup in small bowl next to large bowl

Classic hot and sour soup. They chop everything so finely it’s amazing.

din tai fung shrimp and vegetables wonton soup in clear broth

I decided to try the wonton soup too. Great for cleansing the palette.

din tai fung xiao long bao tray of ten with shanghai rice cake dish in background

Most delicate xiao long bao known to man.

christmas lights and fountain water at americana in glendale

The Americana’s such a nice place to hang out at this time of year.

stalled maserati in middle of street turned off blocking traffic

On the way home, I found myself behind this Maserati that had stalled and was just sitting there, dead. It soon got help from a tow truck and police.

365great Day 86: surfing

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Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 86: surfingEver since I moved to the greater Los Angeles area, I have been meaning to try surfing. Of course, this kept getting pushed off because I didn’t go to the beach that often and when I did, I didn’t want to spend money to learn. I just wanted to chill with my friends! Then last year, Panda and I went on a trip to Hawaii and I knew this was my chance. I tried to get him to learn with me, but hey you can’t always get what you want. At least I got to learn though! It was fun and definitely felt different from anything else I’ve experienced. I don’t know if my skateboarding helped with my balance, but I’d like to think so. This was shot on my first try, when I was still grasping what this strange feeling of being pushed by a wave is like. You can read more about my surfing experience and also watch some videos of my surfing lesson. Good times! I think everyone should give it a try; the feeling is just indescribable (and of course, GREAT!).

365great Day 59: Del Sol

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365great challenge day 59: del solI was on a cruise ship when I first encountered Del Sol and I was fascinated by their color-changing products, especially the nail polish. In fact, I bought a bottle of the nail polish as a souvenir. I wanted to get more items, but held back until I came across their store in Myrtle Beach. At that point, I found this cool t-shirt design that I loved, so I got that. I love the look of both the plain outline when I’m indoors and the bright colors when I’m out in the sun. Watching the colors emerge or fade never ceases to entertain me. It’s so much fun! I was given a nice tote bag for the t-shirt purchase, which I proudly carried around the beach. Over the years, I’m sure I will continue to collect a variety of Del Sol products. I love when science can be put to fun use like this! It’s so great.

Living it up in LA

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It’s been a busy two days for my relatives! They spent their first full day in LA out at Universal Studios, with a brief stop in the Hollywood area first, and a visit to Griffith Observatory afterwards. They took pictures of the Hollywood sign, walked around Hollywood & Highland, checked out the Chinese theater, looked at the star walk, and even stopped for some photos with some street walkers dressed as pirates from Pirates of the Caribbean. Then it was off to nearly 8 hours doing every possible thing at Universal Studios! The shows, the rides, the sights… and some of them they even got around to twice. Pretty impressive.

sunset over hollywood hills with hollywood sign on right sideI picked them up at 6:30 yesterday after that full day of adventure and we wrapped up the night by swinging by Griffith Observatory to check out the view of LA and look at all the exhibits inside. They peered into a telescope looking at a giant telescope atop Mount Wilson, learned about tidal waves and seasons and moon phases, played with the giant periodic table, figured out the way the pendulum worked, and tested out their weights on various planets. Oh, and they took a ton of pictures along the way! The sun was setting as we arrived at the observatory, so they went crazy getting some great shots of the natural scenery. We didn’t get home until 9:30 and then it was time to eat up for dinner!

Today it was another full day, first going to the Getty, where we explored nearly all the exhibits (it was actually my first time entering anything other than the West building). Then of course we had to wander around the garden area, where there were a ton of great pictures to be taken and flowers to be admired. Three hours later, we were able to wrap up and get to Santa Monica, where we wandered around Santa Monica Place, Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica beach, and the Pier. There was a stop for lunch so we’d have the strength to continue going and we saw everything ranging from the shopping strip to the ocean and even paused to check out a trapeze lesson on the pier!

panoramic shot of getty garden area view

Before we knew it, it was late afternoon and we rushed off to the Getty Villa since you could park there for free if you go on the same day as visiting the Getty. They close at 5 though, so time was limited. Traffic on the PCH was awful and it took a good 45 minutes to get from Santa Monica to the Getty Villa! Insane. We made it just 10 minutes before closing and they almost didn’t let the car through, but I sweet talked them. 🙂 Once again it was a great time for lovely pictures, with some exploring of the grounds before they started to chase us out for the day. On the ride home, we made a pit stop to get some ingredients for dinner and then another to get the wine that they forgot the first time around. We were going to make our way to some outlets too, but they decided that they can figure that out when they’re in Vegas or on another leg of the trip.

They sure did check out a lot in these two days, and got a pretty good feel of things from the coast all the way inland. There’s of course plenty they missed out on, but I think they covered quite a bit of ground in just two days.

Surfing Waikiki

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When Panda and I vacationed in Hawaii this summer, I was determined to finally get around to surfing.  I found a great instructor via Yelp and lucked out with my timing by being able to join two sisters of similar physical abilities and experience, so our skill levels were basically the same.  That allowed us to progress at about the same pace, with nobody holding the others back.  Perfect!

dcx surf school instructor erik, photographer ray, and dog malu

Meet Erik the surf instructor with his dog Malu (who used to surf with him but is a bit old now) and Ray the photographer!

happily carrying surfboards to waikiki beach

The day started with an intro lesson at Erik’s surf shop, and then we were off, carrying our surfboards to the beach!

posing with jellyfish warning sign at waikiki beach

Apparently there had been jellyfish spotted earlier in the morning, so there was a warning sign up.

jellyfish caught from waikiki beach

Erik showed us the jellyfish that had been caught and was being kept in a cup at the lifeguard station until it could be released back to the ocean.

laying on surfboard paddling out into ocean

We then got into the water and started to paddle out towards the waves.

surfing small wave at waikiki beach

Before I knew it, I was catching my first wave! I lost my balance pretty early on but got much better after a few tries.

catching wave with arms by side for balance

Out in the water, Ray accompanied us so we could get some awesome close-up shots on his pro camera. As you can see my first try was just me trying not to fall off.

surfing with knees bent for better control

By the second or third wave, I had figured out how to squat a bit for better control.

chillin' on surfboard getting pictures taken

After catching a few waves, Ray had us pause for some pics on the water. That’s him on the left with the camera, one of the girls in the lesson getting her pics taken, and me sitting around waiting my turn.

laying on surfboard in ocean enjoying sun and water

Then it was time for me to get a posed shot on the surfboard out in the gorgeous ocean waters.

laying on surfboard in ocean giving hang loose hand sign

Feeling in the surfer spirit, I threw up a “hang loose” sign for Ray.

surfing waikiki confidently

By the end of the lesson, I was pretty confident on the kind Waikiki waves and even had people watching me! The wave looks bigger than it felt.

Next time I’ve got to convince Panda to join me in a lesson too.


laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , ,
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Panda and I went to Fiesta Hermosa today and boy was it windy and chilly at the beach! Waves were crashing in more violently than normal, sand was getting blown around, my hair and dress got whipped about, and so did a kite some people were flying.

windy beach day from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

blown around from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

kite in wind from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

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