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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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 caterers, picked one and got the rentals coordinated through them. Done.
We booked our DJ. Done.
We booked a florist. Done.
We shopped for props and found items to make our own tables. Done.

And we already had our photographers booked. We have a videographer friend to film the wedding. My bridesmaids are dress shopping as I type this. I have my shoes, I have my dress sash. We will DIY favors in December. I have a makeup and hair trial while home for my brother's wedding in October. Save The Dates have been mailed. Wedding website is almost complete.

What else?

We haven't done a registry yet. We aren't that good at deciding on gifts. I haven't decided on a cake flavor... but the groom's cake will be carrot. We have to decide on the menus, but we know we're doing non-traditional Mexican. I think we're doing pretty well with this whole wedding planning things. And that's just me and mom :)

So I wanted to show you some of the photos that I'm using for inspiration. After all the months of pinning, these are some of the final images. My bouquet will look like the one above - cotton and succulents. My cake will be a lavender color with succulents on top and with the messy ruffled look, one tier. Bridesmaids dresses will be my pastel, earthy color palette - except above-the-knee so they don't suffer in Texas outside. We're decorating with lots of greenery and natural plants. My dad is building farm tables out of recovered wood from my best friend's father's flooring business. We will be DIYing lots of decorations! And borrowing some of friends, friends of friends and neighbors.

We're still working on finding flights for the honeymoon to BALI! We've almost saved enough to afford two tickets; so we're starting to look now to get good prices and times. Long flight, but totally worth it! A month away in the southern hemisphere, diving, yoga, surfing, massage, good food. Yes, please. Sorry, off topic a bit.

Find my inspiration here: Floral Ceiling | Mason Jars | Pastel Bridesmaids | Succulents | Brides Bouquet | Cake | Menu | Table Runner | Shell DIY | Favors | Outdoor Wedding | Sparklers
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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 island gets energy from a solar grid, which runs out during the evening - so everything goes dark until the morning daylight hours.

We woke early, and dove all day. Tired, yes - but worth it. There was another group on the island too. Turtle researchers, who have been conducting nest surveys for over 20 years on Mona Island. While we were there, the researchers discovered a nest of baby leatherback turtles. Leatherbacks haven't been spotted on the island for at least 15 years. This was an amazing discovery and I was pretty excited to be present for that moment. Holding something so delicate in my hands, something that would grow to be over my size in its adult life, was humbling. They released several hatchlings that evening.

We dove at least 4 -5 dives a day, and on the final day we made the 3 hour journey back to the mainland. We arrived just ahead of the first tropical storm of the season. Only moments before the rain came, but in plenty of time to return home and unpack and prepare. 

Best diving in the Caribbean so far for me. This is my job. I love this life. Videos coming soon...
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Monday, August 18, 2014

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 moving and working and testing the durability and strength of her like never before. She held up, she kept the pace, she didn't falter. But I could tell I was pushing her, wearing her down. Her synthetic fibers just couldn't handle the stress. So then I did something I knew she would hate & love at the same time. 

I bought a new mat. 

I bought a durable mat. A natural mat. A mat that gives back, and lasts, and doesn't smell, and holds up to pressure. I bought a Jade Yoga mat.

Jade is a mat made from natural rubber - yes that exists. Rubber actually comes from trees! These mats are slip-resistant, produced in the US and give back to several organizations. First, this company plants a tree for every mat sold. That's awesome! They actually have a whole page of organizations they support - read more here!

My old mat, the one made of PVCs and harsh synthetics, mass produced in China... she's still around. Evan inherited her, and she doesn't seem to mind. She doesn't go to class anymore with me. But she enjoys a bit of yoga every time to time.

That's okay. I have no regrets. She gave it a good run, but Jade is my new best friend.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

culinary: museli

Hello, breakfast! One of my favorites: cereal. I love cereals. They are my processed food weakness and I've been trying for months to wean myself off of them completely. But it hasn't happened yet. However, I have upgraded my cereal to include a little dose of this healthy mix! Museli. Basically, granola that hasn't been baked or coated with sugar.  

Tastiness level: awesome but could use that sugar. 
Health level: high, look at all that good stuff!
Culinary skill level: easy peasy

What You Need:
1.5 cups of steel cut oats (not quick cooking oats)
0.5 cup of unsalted sunflower seeds
0.5 cup of unsalted pepita pumpkin seeds
0.5 cup of dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
0.5 cup of flax seeds

You can also add: raisins, nuts, cranberries, dried blueberries..

Just add everything together in a seal-able container  and shake to combine! Enjoy daily. Just add milk, and maybe a tiny bit of honey if you need the added sweet. You can also combine with yogurt. YUM
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

insta giveaway: sibella court's gypsy

My first Instagram based giveaway! Yup, surprise! And I'm giving you the chance to win one of my favorite books. Home stylist Sibella Court has always (and forever) been an inspiration to me. Her books encourage my wanderlust, and feed my insatiable appetite for travel and home decor utilizing your own interesting pieces. It's eclectic vibes, and easy to lose yourself in the thick, beautifully photographed pages of her newest book Gypsy.

Gypsy is likely to be Sibella's last book for a while. It debuted in the US back in April. Photographed by her talented brother, Chris Court, and portraying yet another adventure around the globe. Sibella curates a shop in Australia known as The Society Inc.

Just simply follow me on Instagram (@chiquitachela) and then regram the photo from Instagram, and be sure to include the following tags: @chiquitachela #seafieldandtribe #gypsy . A winner will be chosen at random then announced on July 30! 

Contest Rules:
Open to all USA residents (with a valid US postal address for me to ship it to you!)
Open to all sea, field & tribe readers, family & friends
Ships Media Mail (unless you'd like to pay for priority shipping via PayPal)
Must be a follower on Instagram and include all the appropriate hashtags to be eligible 

Good luck! 

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

post sickness recovery of good bacteria

Evan came down with strep throat. He's never had it before, so he didn't know what the reaction was like..... nor did the doctor we visited at our local Rincon emergency room. I don't want to start this post acting like I know more than a medical doctor because that is surely not the case - but when presented with all the signs and symptoms of strep throat, then treating the patient with an insanely strong form of antibiotics used to treat sexually transmitted diseases, Lyme disease and pneumonia - a red flag should go up.

You are probably aware that our bodies harbor certain types of bacteria that coexist with our immune systems and keep us healthy. When you take antibiotics, many of those harmless and helpful bacteria die off as well which can actually leave your immune system out of whack for a few weeks post-sickness. So what's the best way to recover those little bugs and protect our bodies after such [heavy] doses of meds? Probiotics! 

Feed that body with some good ole probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha... And try adding things like chutneys, pickle relishes into your meals. Eat more bone broth! Just to name a few. 

Here are two links I found useful: Recovering Gut Health | Would You Eat Bacteria? |

And also, do your research! Don't blindly trust everything a doctor tells you. Ask questions. Follow up on their treatments by researching the drugs prescribed. Know your own health history - are you allergic to certain meds? Have you experienced antibiotics before? Push to try a lower grade medication before stripping your insides of everything in one shot. Get a second opinion. Listen to your body. Try a natural remedy first. And again, ask questions. These are just my suggestions.

In Evan's case, he rarely gets sick and almost never requires antibiotics. We began treatment at home with natural ingredients like ginger herbal tea, hydrating with coconut water, adding turmeric to our smoothies. And as I type this, he just passed me a smoothie chocked full of spinach, greek yogurt, ginger, fruits and goodies to help bring his system back up to par after that IV of an unnecessarily intense antibiotic last night.

All-In-All: Eat healthy, listen to your body, know your medical history, be prepared, and seek medical attention when necessary, and ask questions. 

[image: Greatist]
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Monday, July 14, 2014

life lately: in instagrams

Life has been a whirl wind of wedding planning, trip to Texas, yoga classes, and research. I've had some great opportunities to get more involved with my community, and I'm loving every minute of it.I introduced a new yoga class to Rincon two weeks ago - a scripture based free yoga class at our local church. The response has been so tremendously inspiring to me; it just totally reinforces why I decided to journey deeper into yoga in the first place.

I have so many exciting ideas for workshops and special classes; I've been jotting down all my creative little plans into a notebook and referring back often to see what things have transpired or what I still need to do to bring others to fruition.  A local teacher and myself have even discussed plans of joining forces with the other studios in town to bring about Rincon's first yoga fest. Oh, I love this yoga high! 

And research. With so much else going on, I've been struggling to juggle blogging, my professional career, my hobbies, my new passions, casual reading, and just all around keeping up with the things I value as important in life. My research has slowed this summer, but it's purely of my own doing. I need a bit more motivation to rekindle that fire that burns during the semester. I find summer as a time to slow down, and maybe that's the pace I need at this time? I'm just not sure.

You will soon notice some changes to the blog - I will be slightly revamping by removing some elements that no longer apply (the shop, for instance) and adding some new areas (yoga). I hope to bring more wellness and health to the blog as I continue to explore this a bit more!

And I do have a  surprise for you this week.. if you're an Instagram follower, then get ready for an awesome giveaway. If you don't follow me on Instagram, now is your chance. You don't want to miss this. No hints, just patience!

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Thursday, July 3, 2014


Photographer: Duane Sanabria
Location: Rincon & Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Turquoise Dress: Sabo Skirt
Coral Dress: TJ Maxx
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