Monday, December 30, 2013

DIY Knit Dog Sweater

I have another dog-related post to share today. I knit a sweater for my pup. This isn't an instructional DIY, it's more of a "Hey, I made this and I'm vaguely showing you how I did it."

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

George Michael Snow Day

Happy Christmas Eve! I thought I'd just share a few photos from a few weekends ago. I took GM outside in the snow and snapped a bunch of photos of him having fun. He's wearing a Santa sweater, which I felt was appropriate for the season, and he looks crazy in all of the snapshots. He just freaks out over snow; he just loves it so much he can't calm down. At one point, he shoved his face straight into the ground. I just, I don't know.

You'll notice one photo below where there is animated snow falling on GM. Google did this for me. I didn't ask Google to do it, but Google did it so I included it. You will also notice a GIF. I did do that one.
Enjoy the holiday.

xoxo.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

DIY Flash Diffuser (Sony NEX 5)

Here is a quick and easy DIY flash diffuser. The dimensions I'm sharing are specifically for the Sony NEX 5 but you can apply the same concept to almost any flash. I figure this is a good DIY craft for this time of year, since it's the holiday season and the days are shorter so it's likely that you'll be taking a lot of family/friend photographs in darker settings.
You'll need:
black craft foam
white craft foam
straight edge
craft knife or scissors
glue
cardboard/chipboard or surface for cutting on
This is what my flash looks like. It's tiny but powerful and it usually washes out my photos and makes them look kind of terrible.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Camera Bag

I still haven't booked my French holiday yet but I've already done a bit of shopping for it.
I decided that I wanted a chic bag to tote around France. French women are so stylish, I don't want to feel out of place or frumpy. Enter: Rebecca Minkoff's Craig Camera Bag. It's currently on sale and if you're a new shopper, you can receive a 15% off coupon code at rebeccaminkoff.com just by signing up to receive email updates.
The bag is a lovely, rich leather with pyramid stud buttons and sturdy zippers. There's a snap pocket on the front and two zipped pockets on the side.
This bag is the perfect size for my CSC camera with enough room for an extra lens, small wallet, and keys.
I still love my AcmeMade case. It's great for tossing in a larger bag when I need to travel with more than just the essentials. But this new bag is going to be perfect for touristy moments.

xoxo.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY Bokeh Filter

So since we put up all of our Christmas lights, I've been playing around with my camera and I made some bokeh filters. They didn't pan out exactly how I wish they had but they still produced some pretty cool photos.
You'll need:
black construction paper
compass or circle template
pencil
scissors
Start by tracing a circle just slightly larger than your lens. Cut the paper out, leaving a little tab (which will just make it easier to remove the filter from your lens). Fold the circle in half and in half again to find the center and cut out whatever shape you like.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Christmas Decorating

We actually started decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving but it took us a few days to finish, just because we're slow and a little lazy. I thought I'd share a few photos because our new kitchen makes the lights look so much prettier.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Welcome to December! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Did anyone go Black Friday shopping? I only ever go if I need something electronic, like a GPS, television, external hard drive, etc. but I've already got all of those so I just ignored the madness and slept in like a normal human.
racheerachh 2013 holiday gift guide


I thought I'd just put together a quick gift guide. Honestly, this is more like a personal wishlist for myself and I just fashioned it into a gift guide-style format. I feel like this makes me look like I have multiple personalities or something; I'm just a multi-faceted person with many hobbies and loves.For the...
  • techie [cool usb sticks | cable organizers] - I love browsing sites like tech.woot and thinkgeek for creative and unique gifts for the technology-obsessed friends on my list.
  • bookworm [drippy bookmark | pig bookends | eyeglasses bookmark] - Though I find reading e-books super convenient, I still love the old fashioned way. Since it can be difficult to pick out a book for someone and gift cards are too impersonal and boring, shop for bookmarks and bookends.
  • caffeine addict [glass teapot | glass mugs | loose leaf tea] - I'm not a daily caffeine drinker but I love sitting down with a delicious pot of tea on lazy weekend mornings. For the coffee/tea drinkers in your life, might I suggest a nice french press (a gold one for flair) or a pretty tea set?
  • sparkler [heart ring | bow ring | charm necklace] - What girl doesn't enjoy a little bling? Are people still saying "bling?" Anyway, Asos, DailyLook, and H&M are three of my favorite sites for browsing cool but affordable jewelry.
  • beauty guru [essie polish | lime crime lipstick] - Nail polish is one of the easiest gifts for your makeup freak friends; hand cream and beauty oils are also awesome and universally enjoyed. Just browse Sephora or Ulta for inspiration.
  • chef/hostess [salt cellar | cheese board] - My favorite home-related sites: World Market, Sur La Table, cb2, and H&M; all of these sites have really cool good and they are affordable.
  • pet lover [dog coat | cat toys] - Some people, including myself, are super in love with their pets and if you're having a difficult time coming up with a gift idea, just buy something for their dog/cat/fish/what have you. Besides PetSmartTarget's $1/$3 section often has dog coats so that's a good place to browse.
  • homebody [unicorn slippers | diptyque candle | fur throw] - I'm sure I'm not the only person who'd rather sit at home in pajamas watching crap television than go out. Am I? Comfortable items (slippers, robes, blankets) and comforting items (yummy candles, hot chocolate, Enya) are awesome for the introverts in your life.
  • fashionista [clear clutch | gel insoles] - It's not the easiest thing to shop for fashion fanatics but it can be done. Stick to accessories and you're golden: bags, hats, knee socks, something that fits the theme of the person you're shopping for.
  • lush [decanter | wine rack] - I'm not a huge drinker but I think it's nice to have a little bar set up because it looks pretty and it's nice for when guests come over. For your lushy drinker friends, I'd suggest some pretty barware, stemware, and/or pretty bottle stoppers. It's a bit more creative than showing up with a bottle of wine; plus, it'll last longer.
Confession: I actually ordered those unicorn slippers and the pig bookends. Both are adorable; the slippers are so comfortable and the bookends are really nice. I love them both!

Happy shopping and good luck in the malls this season.

xoxo.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DIY Thanksgiving Tealights

So just one more quick DIY I need to share. It's hardly complicated enough to warrant a post but I love this idea.
All you need:
tealight candles
glass votives (mine are from CB2)
rosemary
string
scissors
Trim a 3" piece of rosemary and tie it around the glass votive.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DIY Thanksgiving Party Prep

So I'm off this entire week from work, woohoo! Since it's rather cold outside for my taste, I've been occupying myself with indoor activities. Besides having a huge list of things to do to get ready for our Thanksgiving meal, I've come up with a small list of crafts that would spruce up the buffet table. I'm sharing those crafts today.
These crafts are really quick and easy but add a nice personal touch.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

DIY Thanksgiving Bunting

One week until Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday! We normally don't decorate for Thanksgiving but since our kitchen is brand new and this will be our first time entertaining since the renovation, I wanted to give it a little extra oomph.
This is a really quick and simple craft and it's not a new concept but I'm sharing anyway.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Trips with George Michael

So last week, I talked about my France trip planning. This week, I want to talk about planning a holiday with my pup. GM rarely comes on holiday with us. We usually get someone to dogsit and he sits at home (probably moping) while the rest of us are having fun.

The only vacation I've taken with George Michael, in his 6 years of being alive, was a short weekend ski trip to Vermont. He had a good time with me, taking walks through town and on the hotel property but it wasn't exactly the best experience for either of us. I felt guilty leaving him alone in the hotel room but I also wanted to be out and about. Next year, I'd also like to take a trip that the entire family would enjoy.

Here are my ideas so far:
Luckily, GM is small enough that he would count as carry-on luggage if we need to take a flight. I'm leaning towards Chicago (despite having been there before) because it's lunchtime as I'm writing this and I could really go for a Chicago-style hotdog. Apparently my stomach dictates all of my trip decisions.
xoxo.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Trip Planning: Road Trip Through France

For my next grand trip, I've decided that I want to do a road trip through France. I haven't started doing any actual planning; so far I've just been doing lots of researching and reading. I've been taking notes on my Google Docs account so that I can add to it any time I get some inspiration.

Here's a list of areas I'd love to definitely visit during this trip:
  • Annecy because it is so picturesque with its waterways and I want to see the Palais de L'Isle;
  • Rocamadour because it's a cliffside town and it looks beautiful in photos;
  • The Loire Valley because of all the castles and nature and history;
  • Normandy, more specifically, Mont Saint-Michel;
  • Anywhere in Provence, to hang out on the Mediterranean and get genuine herbes de Provence and maybe see some flamingos (in the Camargue); and
  • Bordeaux for the wine - the experience of being in the vineyards as well as the drinking of.
There are so many more places I'd like to go but these are some of the top priorities. I'd only be able to go for about 9 or 10 days and I have my reservations about driving in a foreign country, but I'm pretty excited to plan out an itinerary, find some of the cutest lodging spots ever, and stuff my face full of baguettes and brie.

I'm also considering taking a train. I'm not sure! I'd love for this holiday to be a nice mix of relaxation, intense French culture immersion, and a never ending feast of amazing bread, wine, and cheese.

As I learn more, I'll keep sharing here. I'm pretty excited and I haven't even bought tickets yet.

Yeep!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

Happy Halloween! The past two years, Halloween in this area has been ruined by natural disasters. Two years ago, we had a major snow storm and last year, Hurricane Sandy blew in and took away all of the children's candy. This year though, Mama Nature decided to let us have some fun.

My sister and I decided to be Louise and Tina Belcher (respectively). We made our costumes, of course. I say "of course" because we're cheap-os and we don't like to spend a lot of money on something we'll wear once.

I'm sharing how I made my Tina wig. Posting a DIY today is a little bit useless because it's Halloween already so even if I share this, will you have the time to make it? Actually, it's a pretty easy project so maybe you can make it. Whatever, I'm sharing it because maybe you can save it for next year.
You'll need:
4 pieces of black felt (8.5" x 11")
scissors
needle
black thread
tacky glue
yellow paper
And this is how you'll want to cut out your felt. It's a really boxy "wig" if you can even call it that, but it's pretty comfortable and easy. The middle top piece is for the back of the head, the two side pieces are for the sides (duh), and that lumpy bit is the front bangs.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Apple Picking

For my sister's birthday a couple of weekends ago, we went apple picking at Alstede Farms. I wrote a post in the summer about how we went strawberry picking at Alstede Farms and shared a bunch of animal photos.

Because I don't have any major vacations planned in the immediate future, it's been important to me that I find fun activities to do in this area. New Jersey, despite its strange reputation as being the armpit of America full of nuclear power plants and industrial hot spots and terrible drivers, is actually the garden state, and with good reason. If I head just 20 to 30 minutes south of my home, I end up in farm country where there are countless pick-your-own orchards, horses, cute baby goats, and awesome hiking trails. It's a luxury that I will never, ever take for granted.

Luckily, the day we decided to go (the Sunday before Columbus Day) it was the perfect weather. The skies were bright blue, dotted with fluffy white clouds, and the air was crisp but not overly cool; it was perfect sweater weather.
The apples were plentiful and I'd be lying if I said we didn't eat a few (re: a dozen) while we were picking.

Monday, October 21, 2013

DIY Painted Planter

This isn't a super helpful instructional DIY post. For one, it's literally just slapping some paint on a terracotta planter so it's hardly impressive. But also, if you pop onto Pinterest and type in "DIY painted planter" in the search box, you'll be bombarded with a plethora of creative designs that are a lot cooler than mine. And yet, I still want to share this with you. Why? Because of the greenhouse for which these planters were meant. Bam! I didn't end that sentence with a proposition so props to me.
As you may know, my kitchen renovation took over my life for the past few months. This renovation has required several trips to Ikea and way back when, during a particular trip in July, I fell in love with a mini tabletop greenhouse. My sister discouraged me from buying it at first because she kept insisting we should wait until our kitchen was finished to buy decorative items. But finally, during our most recent trip to Sweden's greatest gift to us, she caught me lusting after it again and told me that I was obviously in love with that thing and I should just get it. Hoorah. Great decision.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Current Top 10 Dream Destinations

These aren't in any particular order.
  1. Santorini, Greece - I've wanted to go to Greece ever since watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
  2. St. Petersburg, Russia - I want to see those iconic onion domes in person, while sporting one of those fur hats.
  3. Machu Picchu, Peru - I've been to a Maya site and I'd love to see an Inca site. Plus, the nature, the hiking, the ruins; those are some of my favorite things.
  4. New Zealand - Have you ever watched Flight of the Conchords? I'd like to hang out with kiwis for a bit. Also, my best friend in 5th grade (who was also called Rachel) was from NZ and I fell in love with her accent. I'd practice saying 'no' in a kiwi accent, which is a combination of 'noy' and 'nor.' Try it.
  5. Bali, Indonesia - Every paradise photo I like on Pinterest is usually a shot of Bali. It looks sublime.
  6. Phuket, Thailand - The pretty temples and street markets are a big motivator but I mostly want to go here for the food. 
  7. France (but not Paris) - I've been to Paris thrice so I'd like to go to France and roadtrip everywhere else. I would visit Annecy, Nice, Provence, Toulouse, anywhere scenic and quaint.
  8. Masai Mara National Park, Kenya - Going on safari is high on my list of things I want to do in my lifetime. I'd wear khaki, bring binoculars, and cry with happiness to see an elephant in its natural habitat.
  9. Iceland - I want to take a swim in the Blue Lagoon and I really want to see the Northern Lights. I actually didn't know anything about Aurora Borealis until I read The Golden Compass in my fantasy fiction writing seminar freshman year of college.
  10. Darjeeling, Pondicherry, and Agra, India - Darjeeling because it's my favorite tea; no, I'm kidding. I'd love to go river rafting and hiking here. Pondicherry because the name sounds adorable; kidding again. It's one of the most popular spots in India for a reason. And Agra because of the Taj Mahal, duh. India's always had a spot in my travel heart since reading A Little Princess as a child.
What's on your top ten travel destination list?

Cheers.

Monday, October 07, 2013

My Favorite Blogs

Every (weekday) morning, I stroll into work a little early to give myself a little "me time" before things get busy. I fill up my water bottle (which is really just one of those reusable clear Starbucks insulated cups), settle in with my breakfast (usually a green smoothie or a piece of fruit), and open up my computer and read some blogs.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites. I'm a pretty eclectic person so I look at a lot of different blogs.

Favorite Food Blogs
Spoon Fork Bacon - More than the recipes, I'm so in love with this duo's food styling and graphics.
Smitten Kitchen - delicious, homey food that makes me feel comforted and happy.
What Katie Ate - Katie's food photography skills are so enviable.

Favorite Style Blogs
Olsens Anonymous - I'm an Olsen lover. I, too, have crunchy hair and a love of hobo-chic.
Cupcakes & Cashmere - Emily has a feminine and refined style which makes me wish I were more elegant and put-together.
Barefoot Blonde - Amber is tall, thin, blonde - everything I'm not - but I like her style and her dog is precious.

Favorite Lifestyle Blogs
The Pioneer Woman - Does this count as a lifestyle blog? I love the Pioneer Woman's food, photography skills, and wit.
A Beautiful Mess - This blog is written by two sisters that share recipes, DIY projects, home decor, and everything else in an accessible, sweet way.
A Subtle Revelry - I haven't been following this blog for too long but the style jives with mine and it inspires me to make my home and food prettier.

Other Favorites
Luxirare - Her high fashion and intense food and pretty awesome photography inspires me.
Suri's Burn Book - Snarky and fun.
Books of Adam - My favorite comic blog; love his style of drawing as well as the actual content.

It kind of feels like I'm scraping the barrel for post ideas (though I really did want to share this). I've been so preoccupied with my kitchen renovation that I haven't had time to think about much else. I highly doubt that I'll be going on any more holidays this year, but I did spoil myself with four, yes, four trips last year so I can't be snooty about it.

I do have more than 2 weeks of PTO time at work though, so I think a few staycations are in order. Those are always fun.

Cheers.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kitchen Renovation

I wish I could say I have another glamorous set of travel plans coming up but sadly, I do not. In August, I had two large expenses come out of my bank account. The first was the final balloon payment on my car. The second was a kitchen renovation. Yes, I paid for both of these things out of pocket. I'm a pretty frugal person so I had a good sum of money in the bank to finance both of these things without going broke. But, because I'm a frugal person, I don't plan on dipping into that money to pay for a vacation - at least not a glamorous one. I will, of course, do other fun things - after all, I live 30 miles west of New York City - but alas, no more snorkeling trips in 2013. I weep.

Okay, wow, this post is getting super boring and weird. The reason I am writing this entry is because I just wanted to share the link to my food blog so you can read about my kitchen renovation, if you are interested. At this point, things are coming along swimmingly and it's pretty exciting. But, I expect things to get pretty dull around this blog. I'll probably have plenty of DIY projects though, especially since Halloween and the holiday season is approaching.
Cheers.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bunny Cactus

I'm just realizing now that I never shared my bunny cactus! I think it made a brief appearance in my New Office entry but that's not enough! I love this little guy. He's so cute.
I picked him up while I was at Home Depot. I can't remember why I was at Home Depot - it was probably kitchen renovation related - anyway who even cares about why I was at Home Depot? He's the best, regardless of the back story. Home Depot actually had a huge selection of flowering cacti but I gravitated toward this one immediately because of the way the plants look like two rabbits. Then, I looked around and saw a few hot pink flowering cacti, some flowery succulents, and some neon plants and started thinking I should buy a bunch. But, I calmed myself down, picked up this little guy, and brought him home.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tea at the Plaza & Le Bain

Happy Friday the 13th! Spooky scary.

I just wanted to share a few photos from last month when I went to hang out in the city for my friend D's birthday. We started off the afternoon with tea at The Plaza Hotel and then headed to Le Bain for afternoon libations.

The Plaza is a little pricey but the ambiance is unbeatable and the finger sandwiches and desserts are quite delicious. If you're a fan of afternoon tea, I recommend it.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

DIY Hair Brooch

A few weeks ago, I was perusing Asos. I was just "window shopping" and trying to get some fashion inspiration when I came across so many pretty hair brooches. Many of them looked like they were just made with a bit of felt and a triangle clip so I thought to myself, as I often do, "I could totally make those." So I did.
You'll need:
felt
triangle hair clips
rhinestones, beads, sequins - anything you want to use to decorate
hot glue, super glue, needle & thread - anything you want to use to attach the decorative bits
scissors
I had a pack of colorful rhinestones that I purchased over a year ago just sitting in my craft box and I thought I'd make use out of them. I think it's good to start with a theme or a color and lay out your design before starting.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My New Office

I recently set up a little home office for myself and thought I'd share some photos because it looks pretty and this is where I've been doing all of my blogging lately (since the day it was set up). The desk is the Vittsjo and I love it. It's exactly what I wanted - easy and plain and elegant.
I picked up this table easel from Christmas Tree Shops earlier this year and it's been sitting tucked away because I didn't have a spot for it but now I do. And now I have no excuses for my stack of unfinished paintings.
I love my little space.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Belize Trip Video

This year, I thought it would be fun to make a vacation video. I made an effort to take as many interesting video clips as I could through my trip. I wish I'd taken more but filming does distract me from enjoying and experiencing things fully; I think I struck a nice balance. I got a new MacBook Air (ordered it while I was in Belize, actually) so I tried using iMovie for the first time. I prefer Adobe Premier Pro but iMovie is quite user-friendly and easy.

It's mostly snorkeling videos but there's a few other fun things mixed in there. Hope you like it.

Hey, Belize. I'll be back.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Maya Island Air SPE to BZR

We took Maya Island Air back to Belize mainland to fly home. It was quite a different experience because the airport is basically two tiny buildings (one for each airline) and there is no security. You just check in and grab tickets, pass your luggage to the handlers, and hop right on the airplane.

They gave us laminated boarding passes, which are color-coded by flight (ours say "organge" but I think they meant "orange") and they will say, "Orange boarding passes to Belize International boarding now." Makes it quite easy. And I like that they're not wasting lots of paper everyday to print out boarding passes.
While we were queued up to board the plane, one of the airline's helpers asked my sister if she wanted to ride beside the pilot, which was pretty cool.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Last Day in San Pedro

This post should also be titled "Biking in Ambergris Caye Part 2" but I didn't really take many photos of us biking so I went with a different title.

For our last full day in San Pedro, the weather gods smiled upon the island and granted us blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and lots of sunshine. We decided to take another bike ride and this time we ended up a lot farther north than our first bike trip. I've been trying to figure out on Google Maps how far we were exactly but it's hard.

The easiest way to show you is with this landmark. The San Pedro Police Department (a tiny 1 room building) and a huge yellow sign for Palapa's Bar & Grill, which, by the way, looked awesome. You can sit in floaties in the ocean and they bring you drinks.
Many of the signs are hand painted and I think they look really cute.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sandcastles in the Sand

Because the beach is so skinny and because summer is the wet season with frequent middle-of-the-night rains, San Pedro beaches are awesome for making sandcastles. The day after we got back from Lamanai, my sister and I built a sand temple/ruin. We got quite a bit of attention with locals and tourists taking photos of our creation.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

San Pedro Town

Today, I won't be typing much; just sharing some of the photos I took while I was wandering around San Pedro Town one afternoon.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Photography 101

I thought I would take a quick break from Belize posts to talk about photography, since I've been discussing disposable cameras and underwater photography and prints and all that good stuff so much lately.

I consider myself a beginner when it comes to photography. Sure, I've been religiously taking photos ever since I got my first point & shoot camera back in middle school and in this age of iPhones and Instagram, we're all amateur photogs, right? But, I never really thought about the science behind cameras (despite years of physics classes) and photography until I decided to purchase a CSC camera. All of a sudden, it really mattered to me that I learn how to take really good photos because otherwise, why did I waste my money on such an expensive piece of equipment if I wasn't going to learn how to use it properly?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Disposable Camera Photos

Like last year, I purchased more disposable Fujifilm Quicksnap Waterproof Cameras just as a back up in case the digital camera didn't work out. Disposable cameras are fun because once you get back from vacation, you can send them in to get developed and then it's a lot of fun to relive memories and look at images you forgot you'd taken. Digital cameras are obviously great but I really enjoy the delayed gratification that disposable cameras provide.

Here are a few shots from our Hol Chan & Shark Ray Alley trip:

Friday, August 09, 2013

Lamanai

I spent a bit of time trying to figure out which Maya ruins trip we should do. I googled things like, "best maya ruin belize" for inspiration but of course, there were many differing opinions. In the end, I opted for Lamanai because of the journey itself (boat, bus, boat) where people described seeing howler monkeys and crocodiles and other awesome wildlife.

Unfortunately, our day started off with some rain. We showed up at the Searious dive shop at 7am with worried faces. The first boat trip we took, which was towards mainland Belize, was torturous. The wind pounded in our faces for a good 30 minutes and we were soaked to the bone halfway through. Luckily, I'd brought a plastic bag to wrap up my camera bag so it didn't get wet. If I could re-do the trip, I would have brought a change of clothes. There was really nothing we could do to prevent from getting pelted with water in the boat. The whole ride took a little over an hour.
Once we got near the mainland, we entered this little alcove-y area with awesome trees. It was awesome.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

DIY Crop Top

I'm taking another quick break from Belize posts to share this DIY.
I was inspired by this Balenciaga crop top that I saw both Gwyneth and Kristen wearing.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Snorkeling: Mexico Rocks & Tres Cocos

Our second snorkeling excursion with Searious Adventures was to Mexico Rocks and Tres Cocos. Mexico Rocks was an amazing spot where we saw tons and tons of fish - seriously, they were swarming - and beautiful coral. Tres Cocos was a shallow area (even at 5'2", I could stand in most spots) where we saw a lot of tiny baby fish, squid, and an octopus.

Our guide, Eddie, had made this heart out of conch shells, which I thought was awesome.
I dove into the heart of the ocean! Just kidding. That is so disgustingly corny. I'm sorry.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Snorkeling: Hol Chan & Shark Ray Alley

We went on two snorkeling excursions during our stay in Belize. We organized both with Searious Adventures because they had great reviews, competitive pricing, and they were located close to our hotel. If you book 14 days in advance, you can receive a 10% discount, so I booked both snorkeling trips and a day trip to Lamanai, which I will be blogging about soon.

Hol Chan is Mayan for "little channel." The reserve was established to protect the amazing coral and sealife from overfishing and destruction. The Belize barrier reef is the 2nd largest in the world but it's the largest living reef so it's important to keep it protected.

Last year, when I went to Turks & Caicos, I used a case for my iPhone which was definitely waterproof but didn't produce the most stunning photos. This year, knowing we'd be experiencing some amazing snorkeling spots, I spent a bit more money to get dive-proof housing for my Nikon point&shoot camera. This case is essentially a rectangular prism with a little protruding oval for the lens so it will fit most point&shoot cameras. There was some reflection off of the plastic case but overall, the photos were fantastic. Obviously, the quality will be directly related to the quality of your camera, but in general, this is a great buy.
Early in the morning, we headed over to the Searious Dive Shop. We hopped in a small boat, picked up a few other snorkelers at their hotels (Searious will pick you up if your hotel is farther away), and then we were on our way.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Three Dogs

Let's take a short break from the Belize posts for a cute puppy post! The week before I went on holiday, I wanted to have a puppy playdate for GM. Princess, who I dogsat previously, came over for another 1-week stay. My sister invited her boyfriend's dog, Stan. And I proceeded to go photo crazy. Enjoy. Or don't.
{We started by going for a walk.}

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