Packing Light for a Long Weekend (in Samoa)

Packing Light for a Long Weekend (in Samoa)


MAY 2017

I love long weekend getaways. These little trips are lifesavers.

I’ve booked my tickets for a long weekend adventure, island hopping to Samoa. It’s still a couple of weeks away, but I haven’t been back there since last year, so I’m excited to go and eat some good food, get a massage, and explore new places!

With that being said, I’m mentally preparing for the weekend escape with a list of things to bring, the essentials for packing light for a long weekend. Island style!

It’s only a weekend, so I don’t want to burden myself with too many things. And as much as I’d love to travel and have all the contents of my room readily available, it’s just not practical. Here’s my light packing list which I will be fitting all into one backpack and tote bag.

Packing light for a long weekend (in Samoa)

What I’m Packing:

* Deuter 30L Backpack
* Sunglasses
* iPhone
* Canon 60D with 24mm and 50mm lenses and 3 memory cards
* GoPro Hero 4 with underwater housing and dome
* Comfortable walking shoes
* Slippers
* Lavalava
* Hat
* Toiletries (deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, retainers, soap shampoo and conditioner if you’re not hoteling it, moisturizer)
* Sunblock (doubles as moisturizer)
* Natural Bug spray
* Voltage converter
* 3 Bikinis
* Hand sanitizer; travel size
* Travel Journal
* Passport/ Driver’s license/ cash and credit cards
* Favorite book/ eReader
* Microfiber towel

What to wear:

Samoa is a tropical climate, and it can be sunny one moment and then stormy the next. Either way will be very humid. It’s a good idea to pack clothing that is comfortable and dries easily, like cotton fabrics. I’m bringing 3 swimsuits that also double as my undergarments, because first of all, you’re on vacation, let those girls hang! And second of all, because I will likely spend most of my time in the ocean or by the pool, so it helps to have underwear and bras that dry very quickly. If you don’t have slippers, you must not know what an island is.


While some places offer snorkel gear for rent, I prefer to bring my own because it’s saving me money and I won’t have to worry about finding a place to rent gear from. I have this awesome Cressi Mini Frame mask and snorkel that fits my smallish head, and Ian got me this pair of DaFin kick fins that are perfect for bodyboarding and relaxing snorkels. Take sunblock everywhere (doubles as moisturizer) and a small bug spray if you plan to be hiking.


It’s a long weekend away. Use this time to disconnect from technology and reconnect with mother nature. For technology, I’m only  bringing my DSLR camera, a Kindle (pre-downloaded 2 books so I don’t need to pay for WiFi), and my iPhone 6 for snaps here and there. Also, because Samoa has different sockets, I brought a power adapter in case I need a quick recharge.

Travel documents:

These are the obvious essentials: passport, driver’s license, wallet, and itineraries. Since I am packing light, I plan to take all these important documents with me everywhere, so keeping them stored safely is very important. I am using my Lalelei clutch to hold my passport, IDs, and money. As for the itineraries, I do like to have printed copies with me, but I also keep a copy on my phone, usually screenshots so I can just access them in my Photos folder. Tip: also save a photo copy of your passport and driver’s license on your phone or on your email, just in case.


Bring a notebook and pen in case you need to jot things down. I’m bringing my Midori Travelers Notebook with a fresh insert for this trip. I’m also bringing my tricolor pen and my watercolor travel palette that I made out of an Altoids tin! Travel journaling is a lot of fun, and I just collect little mementos from the trip like tickets, receipts, stamps, maps and pamphlets and write down absolutely anything.

CREATE: DIY Altoids watercolor travel palette

CREATE: DIY Altoids watercolor travel palette

One of my favorite things about art is art supplies. I adore looking at them, using them (obviously) and now making them! I’m currently obsessed with the watercolor medium—how amazing it makes everything look, the way the paint flows wherever the water goes, and the palette of colors with an array of color combinations.
I have been shamelessly binge watching art journal YouTube videos, mostly while I’m journaling (so it feels like I’m doing it with other people lol). And I saw that a few people had these tiny tin watercolor palettes that they would take with them on travels or while journaling on the go in cafes and libraries. I’ve always had a thing for miniature art supplies (I loved tiny things as a kid), so I wanted to try to make my own tin watercolor palette.


What you’ll need:

1. Altoid Mints tin

Or any other box of your choosing! I like to keep my breath minty fresh and am too much of a nostalgic person to throw away my Altoids boxes, so it’s great to reuse them this way. Another option is to use pill boxes.

2. Watercolor half pans

There are half pans and full pans, but I like half pans because I’m not a marathon painter and don’t need much paint at one time. Also because I can fit more colors in my travel palette. I bought mine on Amazon. They’re quite pricey, so substitutes I’d recommend are water bottle caps or beer caps.

3. Watercolor tube paints

I’ve only ever had the pre-filled pans in my Sakura Koi and Prima Confections kits, so this was my first time using tube paints. I got this Royal & Langnickel Medium Tin Watercolor Set for really cheap on Amazon. I was going to get Reeves, but as you can tell, I love tin sooo my mind was made.

4. Other things you may need are:

– Double sided tape
– Watercolor paper
– Scissors
– Acetate paper
– Paintbrush
– Water

HOW To make watercolor travel palette:

1. Eat all the mints in one sitting (or spread out over several days, whichever tickles your fancy) and rinse the Altoids tin box.

2. Gather watercolor tubes. Arrange and plan colors.

3. Carefully fill half pans with paint from the tube.

4. Use double-sided tape or other adhesive and adhere to bottom of tin.

5. Affix pans over the tape/adhesive.

6. Measure tin cover and cut watercolor paper and acetate into slightly smaller dimensions, so that it will fit inside of the tin.

7. Paint each color in the order that the watercolor pans are arranged.

8. Use the water to control the opacity of the swatch, going from opaque to transparent. This will help you in the future to know what the color looks like both opaque and transparent.

9. Insert color chart in the top half of the tin, and the acetate paper layered over it. The acetate paper will block the paint from touching the color chart.

10. And you’re done!

Just a fun little painting of sabrina’s aura I made during a girls’ wine and paint night.

And that’s it!

So simple, right?

I’m still a total noob, but it’s fun to paint with watercolors, especially from this cute little travel palette.

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SESSIONS: Kelley & Alden (+1)

SESSIONS: Kelley & Alden (+1)



At 7 months pregnant, Kelley is still a bombshell in a lavalava. This hot mama and her handsome husband of 7 years are expecting a tama o le motu in June.

We spent an afternoon on her home beach attempting to do some underwater photos but after some technical difficulties we played little mermaid turned human by love. And then a few days later we headed over to Moana O Sina for photos just before dark and listened to the waves crash against the lava rocks at dinner.

Both Kelley and Alden are marine scientists, living loving and working to promote earth friendly solutions in American Samoa. I was really excited when Kelley asked me to take their photos and had a lot of fun hanging out with this duo.

She is a mermaid. A steward of the sea.
Alden and Kelley at Coconut Point
Alden and Kelley at Coconut Point
Alden and Kelley at Coconut Point
Alden and Kelley at Coconut Point
Alden and Kelley at Coconut Point
Nerelle is an incredibly kind and caring person, and that love for people really shines when she’s shooting. She’s able to make everyone feel comfortable while getting shot, even photographers who are notorious for disliking being on the other side of the lens. In addition to her great personality and people skills, Rellie has some great camera skills too! She’s very creative and knows how to use the local environment to her advantage, and while I don’t know enough to speak to the technical parts of editing, I can say the photos sure look even better when she’s done editing than they did before!

– Kelley Anderson Tagarino