Posts Tagged ‘ocean’

Scenic sights

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Been away for awhile on a cruise to Alaska! Check out some of the sights so far. There’s all sorts of awesomeness, with more pics to come. 🙂

carnival legend leaving seattle port with space needle in background

Cruise ship view of Seattle.

sunshine reflected on deep black ocean water

Glittering black waters.

glacial ice floating in tracy arm fjord with glacier in background

Ice chunks floating in the fjord!! And that’s a glacier back there.

forest area on trails of skagway with spider in foreground

A little bit of land exploration too. Tried to get the spider in the foreground.

Working remotely in Hawaii

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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: , , , , , , , , ,

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.

UK Vacation Day 7 Recap

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On day 7 of our grand UK adventure, Panda and I explored the streets of Edinburgh and found a bunch of museums. The morning started off with a silly moment, when Panda got my ring stuck on his finger… and we thought he might have to wear it around all day for me. 😛 I got a delicious treat at a cute bakehouse, we swung by the cafe where Harry Potter was written, and of course went to check out the castle (getting a few items in the gift shop but not actually going in). Along the way, we came across two Chinese ladies asking for directions and I regretted not helping. We wanted to also check out this place called The Mound, but I think they were closed so we skipped it. For dinner, we got Pizza Express and I discovered my new favorite pizza. Later at night we got hungry again so we went out to a Chinese place where they were very interested in chatting us up. I guess Chinese-Americans don’t come around that often.

[Don’t forget about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, and Day 6 recaps.]

english breakfast at hilton edinburgh with fried eggs, baked beans, tomatoes, hash browns, tea, omelette, and fruit

We started the day off right with a hearty breakfast British style.

salt and pepper shaker in one unit with salt on top and pepper on bottom

I’ve never seen a salt and pepper shaker as one unit! I want.

princes street in edinburgh bustling with pedestrians

Off to the bustling Princes Street. There’s just a bit of blue sky out there.

rainbow colored columns of building in edinburgh

So bright and cheery against the other dull colors.

old building with clock tower in edinburgh

Classic building in these parts.

girl standing with hair blown in face on streets of edinburgh

Caught me chillin’ on these cute roads.

world's end painted on wall in edinburgh

We found the world’s end!

flodden campaign of 1513 sign in museum of edinburgh

We arrive at the Museum of Edinburgh to find we were there on exactly the 500th anniversary of the Flodden Campaign.

stone spiral staircase in museum of edinburgh

What a cool staircase.

painting in museum of edinburgh with midget man standing next to towering giant

Hehe, I was amused by the midget next to the giant.

pairs of old shoes on display at museum of edinburgh

Those shoes do NOT look comfy.

scottish ambulance driving down road in edinburgh

Ambulances here use blue and neon yellow.

large selection of dessert items on display at mimi's bakehouse in edinburgh

Stumbled upon Mimi’s Bakehouse, where I could hardly choose just one thing to try!

cute bird cage-themed light frame hanging in mimi's bakehouse in edinburgh

Such a fun light frame.

malteser bar with white chocolate and malteser balls

I decided to opt for the Malteser bar. Yummy yummy.

old stroller from long ago in museum of childhood in edinburgh

We made a quick stop at the Museum of Childhood. Strollers used to be so much simpler.

shoot the moon vintage game in museum of childhood in edinburgh

I’ve never heard to this shoot the moon game and I haven’t a clue how it works.

view of giant three story room in museum of scotland

Next up was the grandest museum of all: the Museum of Scotland! Gorgeous room.

girl standing on scale showing weights of various animals weighing in close to giant aneater

Weighing in against animals, I am right around the same as a giant anteater. Fun fact: Panda and I are almost exactly the same weight – sometimes 2 lbs off but often identical.

large cat display in museum showing only cat that can climb down trees

This is the only breed of cat in the world that can climb down trees, thanks to claws that go the other direction! If only household cats could get those claws…

girl sitting in museum using giant light to signal morse code

I spent all this effort sending a Morse code message to Panda only to discover he wasn’t paying attention! Men.

girl sitting on chair provided at museum for those with tired feet

So perfect for me! My feet and back get sore easily, so I happily grabbed a seat to rest on.

the elephant house in edinburgh's storefront

The fun little cafe with a view of Edinburgh Castle in the back, where JK Rowling did much of her earlier writing.

plaque detailing the elephant house in edinburgh's history of inspiring authors like jk rowling, ian rankin, and alexander mccall-smith

Apparently this place inspires plenty of writers!

view of sliver of ocean in distance from edinburgh

We can just make out the ocean out there. So cool! I wish we could have gone to visit but it’s far.

walking up hill towards edinburgh castle in scotland

Up, up, up to the Ednburgh Castle.

entrance to edinburgh castle atop hill with temporary bleachers set up

There was some sort of event there and they were taking down the bleachers they’d set up.

view of edinburgh from edinburgh castle

Spectacular place to live. We decided not to go into the castle but just enjoy the views and shop.

adorable brightly-colored sheep-shaped soap sold at edinburgh castle gift shop

Such cute soaps! I recorded the brand so I can remember to get these one day…

pizza express dough balls appetizer dish

Not quite what we imagined when we order dough balls, but they were good!

pizza express la reine and pomodoro pesto pizzas

Panda go La Reine and I go the Pomodoro Pesto in the back – FAB. I love thin crust, fresh tomatoes, mushroom, and pesto.

view of edinburgh castle from princes street

What a beautiful place Edinburgh is. So much greenery!

cobblestone path down to princes street gardens lined with multicolored roses

Such a quaint path down into the Princes Street Gardens.

windowsill in edinburgh with bright flowers growing against dull walls

Such a beautiful burst of color against the drab.

pile of red scottish print sherpa blankets

Seeing this inspired me to get one back when I was stateside!

red and white changed priorities ahead sign in edinburgh

Time to consider changing your priorities along with it?

singapore noodles dish at china star restaurant in edinburgh

Panda always loves his Singapore noodles.

These are a few of my favorite things…

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , ,

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 236: sailing

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 236: sailingMy first major encounter with sailing was at Leadership Academy, which was a JROTC boot camp I attended in Newport, Rhode Island. One of the skills we were taught was sailing a tiny little sailboat operated by 4 people. The exact roles escape me now, but the sense of camaraderie and teamwork it took to successfully operate that sailboat have stayed with me over a decade later. We learned the techniques used to catch the breeze and got quite good! Many years later, I visited a friend and we got to enjoy sailing the Irish coast on his family’s yacht. Most recently, Panda and I soaked in the Hawaiian sun on a lovely excursion sailing with dolphins. Each of these times, I loved the sense of freedom you got from being out in the ocean and being so close to it. When you’re on a ship, the water is a distant thing; when you’re on a sailboat, you can just lean over the side to enjoy. I love connecting with the water that way. It’s such a great feeling!

365great Day 92: rays

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 92: raysWhat tremendous creatures these rays are. They glide through the ocean and blend in with the sea floor, usually not causing a ruckus. They don’t really attract attention to themselves – they’re not bright or scary, but they are quietly beautiful in their own way. I never appreciated them until I got to pet some while visiting the Underwater World at Sentosa. I was shocked at how soft they are! Their skin is unlike anything else I’ve touched before. They were super friendly too, swimming right up to the glass wall and even coming out of the water so I’d pet them. It was such an amazing experience to be able to interact with them like that and I think everyone should go give it a try. They might just become your new favorite pet species. I’d absolutely love it if I could raise pet rays, but of course that’s not happening, so I’ll just continue admiring them whenever I can. I’m so glad I got to touch them; what a great experience.

365great Day 86: surfing

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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 60: the Getty

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 60: the gettyThe Getty sits perched atop a hill, overlooking a gorgeous landscape. If you know what you’re, looking for, you can see everything from downtown LA and UCLA in one direction to the ocean in the other direction. But its beauty lies not only in its view – the museum and grounds are marvelous too. The Getty is LEED certified and beautifully designed. Skylights, white stones, water fountains, and cool wood paneling all add to the serene and bright atmosphere. You get to enjoy picturesque scenes inside and outside, no matter where you wander. There are rotating exhibits that change every few months, so each visit can be a fresh look at things. The garden and lawn area is an excellent place to hang out, relax, and soak in the sunny days. Whether you’re into art, history, architecture, gardening, views, or nature, there’s something there for you. It’s worth a visit no matter what your interests! A place that caters to such a range of tastes is pretty unique and very great.

365great Day 58: a great view

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 58: a great viewWho doesn’t enjoy looking out from a mountain or across a valley or over the ocean or even from a penthouse and checking out a beautiful view? It could be a wide expanse of fields, a mountain range, the great big ocean (or a giant lake), maybe even a downtown skyline. When you look out at a landscape, it’s hard not to marvel at its beauty. I’m sure everyone’s idea of the best view varies, but we can all appreciate “seeing the big picture” in that way. I personally love sunsets behind mountains or over the ocean, as well as a glittering body of water as far as the eye can see. I love a connection with nature! Meanwhile, my mom enjoys more man-made views like that of a dense sprinkling of lights at night, whether from street lights or buildings. To her, they sparkle like stars for a bright nightscape. Whatever your preferences, a wonderful view is great.

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