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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