About Chely

Born and raised in San Diego, Chely is a mermaid at heart, with a love for her family, husband, and water sports as deep as the ocean. Although Chely adores the West Coast, her newfound love for the Ramona country has cultivated in her a simple, farm-girl lifestyle. Follow her photo diary on Instagram @chelyfishh.

Posts by Chely:

Reflection: Life As A Post Grad

Last Spring 2013, I was a senior at San Diego State University, eager to graduate. In addition, I was wrapping up plans for an early June wedding, preparing to move out of my parents’ house for the first time, and looking to transfer departments at work. I had a lot on my plate, but thought that once I finished school I would move on to bigger and better things and finally start living the life I had always dreamed of.

Somewhere in my early college years I had begun to establish the road map of my life, so to speak. I had planned on graduating college, getting married, and becoming a mom. I had never been exactly passionate about academics and viewed graduating from college as something I had to do to get out of the way. As a result of my apathy towards school, I didn’t take my education half as seriously as I should have. I studied what I thought would make my parents proud, and then pursued a minor in a field I thought to be relatively easy. Looking back now, I realize how little of a foundation I set up for myself, just in case something was to change.


Graduation came and went, my wedding day (such a happy day!) also passed, but as the summer ended I found myself thinking, now what?  I had switched departments at work, but quickly realized that it wasn’t a place for me to grow, nor a place I wanted to be. I was looking at my degree and wondering what in the world I could use it for. I had a thirst to pursue a career, but I wasn’t even sure where to begin looking. Soon enough I was feeling panicky, puzzling over what exactly I was going to make of my life. I had planned everything out, but it was not at all going how I thought it would. I went through a phase where I struggled. Big time.


Eventually, I had to take a step back and look at where I was. I evaluated my field of study and honestly reflected on my skill set in regards to related professional employment opportunities. I also took a step back and took a look at what I personally enjoyed doing. Academia and college degrees aside, I thought about what fulfilled me, what I was good at, what hobbies I really enjoyed partaking in.

After some reflection, I did a little positive self talk and said, “Hey, you’re not where you thought you would be. That’s okay. But based off what you know now, where do you go from here?”  I began building up my resume and asking about internships as well as various job opportunities. I looked into fields of work that I hadn’t exactly studied while at SDSU, but knew I was passionate about. I had spent many years depending on the security of my planned out future, but I knew that it was time now to let that go and start taking risks.

It’s been quite a journey living as a postgraduate. I still haven’t found the right fit for me career wise, but I know it will come in good time. One major lesson I learned through graduating was perseverance. Just like I pushed through and survived all those years of schooling, I know that I can persevere and succeed at finding what it is I’m being called to do. To all of you who are in need of some encouragement, I say stay strong and to have resilience in the face of adversity. Maya Angelou once said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”


Spring Bucket List

Spring is probably my favorite season here in San Diego. This short but sweet bucket list was inspired by time back in high school spent with my best friends. Summer will be here before we know it, so grab your best girlfriends and without further ado, check off these 15 things to help you dive right into spring!

1.  Visit a museum.  Here in the heart of San Diego we have tons of interesting museums that are begging to be visited. Stop by local museums in your area and take advantage of learning something new!

2.  Ride your bike.  I used to love riding my bike around my neighborhood. My older sister and I would ride to our best friend’s house, or seriously spend hours riding around, taking pictures and enjoying some fresh air.

3.  Visit the lake.  We have a few teeny tiny lakes here in San Diego. Some of the lakes have rowboats that you can rent for like $10!  Pack a lunch and take a boat out on the lake.

4.  Purchase some cute, strappy sandals.  Ok, this is a must. Every spring/summer season would not be complete without a pair of go-to sandals. Target and Old Navy have super cute and affordable sandals right now…check them out!

5.  Watch the sunset while drawing with sidewalk chalk.  This was probably my favorite past time with my friends! My BFFs and I would sit out on the driveway and have ultimate girl time while watching the sun go down.

6.  Go to your local park and use the swings!  This was yet another favorite past time of mine. Swings are always fun no matter how old you are!

7.  Go to a baseball game.  Baseball games scream spring & summer. Take advantage of this beautiful weather and watch your MLB team! If you’re a local San Diegan, head over to Petco Park to see the Padres in action.


8.  Dance party.  I mean, it’s always a good idea for a dance party regardless of the season!

9.  Indulge in something, anything, mint colored.  Mint. The color of spring. Need I say more?

10. Ice Cream social while watching Now and Then.  If you haven’t seen Now and Then, you need to first buy some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, then rent the movie and watch it with your best friends. ASAP.

11. Paint your nails.  White, pastel, coral, anything bright and cheery!

12. Lay out and read.  Spring weather is always promising. It’s not too hot, not too cold…it’s the ultimate temperature to lay out and read a good book!

13. Go on a night hike.  Last year around this time I went on a night hike with some friends. We wore head flashlights and ventured out on a pretty cool trail! We made it to the top just in time to snap some pictures and see the sunset. On our way down, our handy flashlights gave us enough light to make it back.

14. Blast your favorite T-Swift song and go on a drive.  I personally like Taylor Swift’s older songs. Pump up the jams and take a nice, scenic drive.

15. Bake.  Baking always makes me happy. End your beautiful spring day by baking something sweet!

Timeless Vintage Waves Tutorial

Vintage waves are the perfect go-to hairstyle when getting dressed for a dinner party, date night out, or evening event. This hairstyle is timeless and looks great on everyone! Give this easy tutorial a whirl next time you’re planning a night out.

You will need: Mirror, comb, soft bristle wave brush, hair spray, heat protectant spray, argan oil, and, of course, a curling iron!


*Side note: in this tutorial I’m using my Enzo Milano curling wand with no clamp; however, both traditional curler and wand work just fine.

Step One: Begin with air dried hair. Part your hair using a comb, preferably creating a deep part. Now, evenly spray heat protectant all throughout your hair (got to protect those locks!).

Step Two: Begin curling hair, making sure that you are curling towards your face. Spray lightly with hairspray as you go along. After some time, your hair will resemble Shirley Temple ringlets. Leave the curls in place while you finish curling the remainder of your hair.


Step Three: Once all of your hair is curled and has completely cooled down from using the hot iron, take just a few tiny drops of argan oil and spread throughout your hair. This just adds that extra boost of shine!


Step Four: Using your soft bristle wave brush, brush out your curls, thus creating classy waves!


Step Five: To finish it off, set your hair with hair spray. Feel free to use styling wax to set any stubborn flyaway hair. And voilà, your look is complete!



Items You Should Be Buying At The Dollar Store

I remember when the first Dollar Tree was built into our local neighborhood mall.

My mom would spend time browsing the store, walking up and down the aisles looking to see what new items were on sale. I thought it was so boring and would opt to wait in the car for her until she was done. Not until I got married, though, did I realize what a treasure Dollar Tree really is.

Starting a new life while spending frugally turned out to be more difficult than I had thought. My husband and I made one of our first shopping trips as a married couple to the dollar store, and have returned many times since.

There’s something intriguing (at least to me) about walking into a store where everything is $1. I mean, what a steal, right? On my first few trips, however, my eyes were bigger than my wallet, and I loaded up my basket with things just because they were a dollar. Unfortunately, even at the Dollar Tree things add up. Over time I learned that maybe some of the products I had purchased weren’t all they were cut out to be. You know the saying, “You get what you pay for?” It can be true! So, after some trial and error, I learned what products are worth spending the “dollar” on, and which products are better left on the shelf.

This inventory was taken from the stores we have in San Diego: the Dollar Tree, and the 99-cent store.

Food: Fresh produce and whole grain bread (sold only at the 99-cent store), salt, pepper, pasta, Raisin Bran, and tea. These are pretty much the only “food” products that I purchase from the dollar store. The rest of the food selection seems a bit too over processed. These pantry-safe foods, however, are definitely trustworthy.

Cleaning Products: Cleaning products can get a little pricy if you’re purchasing them at big, retail, chain stores. I really like buying cleaning supplies from the dollar store because they’re inexpensive (obvi.), and work just like your run-of-the-mill name brand cleaners. Here’s what they offer: Easy Scrub (Soft Scrub dupe.), window cleaner, cleaning buckets, cleaning sponges, brooms, dust pans, latex cleaning gloves, cleaning towels, carpet freshener, trash bags, household disinfectants, dish soap, laundry detergent and baking soda.


Household Items: Candles (of all shapes and sizes), scented candles, matches, glassware (such as vases and tumbler glasses), Tupperware, doormats, various kitchen utensils (measuring cups, cooking spoons, tongs…etc.), tin foil, aluminum foil, Hefty sandwich and freezer bags, linens and dish towels.

Health and Beauty: I would not recommend purchasing anything cosmetics-wise from the dollar store (except for maybe e.l.f. lip gloss). However, there are a few unexpected items that I found and really like: sleeping masks, shower caps, conditioner caps for hair masks, eye mask to reduce puffiness, Epsom salt, foot scrub, heat wraps, ice packs, Advil, Aleve, ibuprofen, aspirin, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and Band-Aids.

Dollar stores also have tons of miscellaneous items. There are always party supplies, craft supplies, greeting cards, plants and flowers (99-cent store only), and of course seasonal goods, to name a few. You’d be surprised at how many cool little odds and ends you find at the dollar store.

Next time you’re low on cash, stop by the dollar store and save!