Month: August 2014

diver

true tale: the most terrifying dive

I’m going to tell you a story, about a very recent encounter I had with a group of manatees. Oh, how cute, you may think. Well.. not so fast. First, this story is in no way shared to scare you or persuade you to never go in the water, or try scuba diving, or to strike fear into the heart of your soul for all charismatic marine mammals. No, this is just a story I’d like to share because it’s interesting and because you probably have never heard anything else like it before (unless you know someone who works or swims with dolphins for a living). Friends and family who caught this on Facebook, you know where the story goes… everyone else, get ready. Evan and I are both marine scientists. We live and work in Puerto Rico where we are studying to complete our doctoral degree. We are fish biologists, but have an appreciation and understanding of all marine life and the marine ecosystem. Occasionally, we encounter dolphins, whales and manatees while diving or …

pose guide: downward dog

The basics. A restorative pose, but a powerful pose. Downward dog is a building block for your practice, and getting into this asana with proper alignment will help carry you through the whole vinyasa. 1 | Start by pushing the body into an inverted V shape, either from table top or child’s pose. Then you can prepare to align and sink into it. 2 | Start by looking up at your fingertips and making sure they are firmly planted into the mat. You shouldn’t be able to lift them from the ground, and there can be a small space underneath your fingers. Grip the mat with the hands to protect the wrists. 3 | Now release the head and tap your ears against your arms. Do this each time you come into downward dog and you’ll be sure that you’re keeping your torso and upper body in the proper position. Your gaze should be back between the legs. 4 | The feet can be hip distance apart or closer. Take the sit bones (your bottom) …

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culinary: cashew cream

Perfect for vegan Mexican food! Have you tried cashew cream? It’s a great substitute for Mexican sour cream or any creams that you would like to slather over enchiladas or burritos or tacos. And the best part is that this couldn’t be any easier to make! What You Need: 1 cup of raw, unsalted, uncooked cashews 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp of water 1-2 Tbsp of agave or honey What to Do:  In a large bowl, add the cashews and cover with water to soak for at least 2 hours but no more than 6 hours. Drain the cashews, place in a food processor. Add the water and sweetener until it’s completely smooth. Use immediately or cover and keep refrigerated. This will last for at least a week. Enjoy!

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DIY: natural insect repellant in a jar

An easy and natural way to keep the bugs out of the house or patio is by using all natural ingredients. We’ve been growing lemongrass for a while. Like all grasses, it grows rampant and much faster than I have time or need to consume it all. Apart from seasoning my rice, I also use this as a natural bug repellant. Here’s what to do: What You Need: Several long stalks of lemongrass, cut into pieces Citronella essential oil Germanium or other floral essential oil Sliced lemons or limes A glass of warm water Pretty vase or cup for display What to Do: Simply place the sliced lemons or limes into the bottom of the cup. Add the lemon grass pieces. Pour the warm water over top. Now add about 10 drops of Citronella essential oil and about 5-6 drops of your other favorite scent. Use lemon stalks to stir and combine. This smells heavenly and works best in smaller rooms or areas that aren’t super breezy or exposed. The scent lasts for a couple …

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wedding plans: an update

Oh, the planning. The rentals, the dress, the hair and makeup, the details. So much time goes into planning down to almost every moment of my special day. I think the real mystery is how to stay sane during the process. Want to know my secret? Start planning early. Have backups. Nothing is perfect, and not everything will turn out like you want it to. Enlist the help of someone you love (thanks mom!). Go with the flow. I was at home for two weeks back in June. Since living here, but getting married in Texas, I have minimal time spent in my wedding location to actually plan. In fact, most of my planning has been done over the phone or internet, and placing my trust in my mom to figure out the details. So far, things have been on track. But while I was home, I made the most of my time.  We visited four different dress shops, I found THE ONE and got it altered in two days. Done. We talked to two …

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travel: mona island

A few weeks ago, I was blessed with an opportunity that not many folks are granted. I traveled 30 miles off the coast of Puerto Rico to dive and survey the waters of the beautiful and remote Mona Island. This summer, I’ve been contracted by the Biogeography sector of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to survey fish abundance and species richness around Puerto Rico. I’ve been diving around my town of Rincon, in the south of La Parguera, and then off the mainland and off the grid out at Mona. I took a few photos from the boat and the island. There is a ranger station on the island, that houses members of our Department of Natural Resources, who are responsible for maintaining and enforcing the laws of “no take” in the waters and from the land. So we camped here for our three days of diving. Evan and I strung up a couple hammocks and slept out in the calming gentle breeze of the night, with a sky full of stars. The …

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how my yoga mat became my friend

I had a love/hate relationship with my first yoga mat. She came with me to all the short 30 minute gym classes at my university, proudly displaying her bright sky blue plastic synthetic self for all to see. I adored her at first. After all, she was a steal from Marshalls – $12? Yes please! Then, after a brief forgetful moment left out in my car on a hot day, she took on the smell of old crinkled leather and car interior that saw one too many hurricanes with a leaky sunroof. Yuck. And then there came the black tattoo from getting caught under my car seat – metal doesn’t seem to appreciate her synthetic beauty. Or at least I thought it was beauty. But I guess I was superficial too. After that, she seemed less attractive. Her smell that never went away, her plastic outer shell started to break down and wear off from use. Her real true nature appeared. Then I moved to Rincon. I started taking a power yoga class. I was …