This is 30.

This is 30.

On March 18, 1992, an angel descended upon Earth in the form of a little girl, and her name was Nerelle…

Hahaha, just kidding!

It’s been three decades of life in this human body.

I am beyond blessed to reflect upon my thirty years, and utter daily gratitudes that I was born and raised in a loving home, surrounded by amazing people from all walks of life, and that in the three decades past, I have grown into who I am now… A silly, awkward, divine, and multi-faceted woman with a penchant for creative expression, and a deep appreciation for the beauty of my natural environment.

I am now no longer complete without my soul mate — my husband — and I mean this in the most loving way, while still being a strong independent woman. I’m thankful to have him by my side, walking this Earth with me. We are living our best lives, taking it day by day, and writing the chapters of our life together.

These photos were taken by my husband as the sun rose on the morning of my birthday. My best friend Gabs, who is an incredible professional photographer, offered to take photos for my birthday morning. I love her photos and I shared a few over on my instagram, but wanted to share some on here that my husband took because I think it’s cool seeing myself through his lens… and he’s right, I am hot!

LOL – ok I’ll stop now!

Hope you have an excellent day, week, and life 😉

xoxo, Nerelle

Amouli Beach Camping (and Journaling)

Amouli Beach Camping (and Journaling)

I haven’t gone camping on island since we came back earlier this year, so I was an immediate ‘yes’ when a friend asked if Ian and I wanted to join a small group of friends for camping at Amouli over the long weekend.

The Amouli Beach Fales is a small family-run business far out on the east side of the island, just before the Auasi Harbor, so you get a good view of Aunu’u Island. The accommodations are right by the main road, so that was actually appealing to me this time around — an easy camp site, and one I didn’t have to hike to and lug all our gear to get to. It was just what I was in the mood for… rest and relaxation.

It rained really hard for a few minutes, and once the squall had passed, we pitched our tents and hung out in the main fale, cracked coconuts, poured bevvies, and shared a modest umu spread of fai’ai pilikaki, fai’ai asiasi, ulu, and cooked marlin that was prepared for us. A couple of people brought extra food, and heated it up on the small camp stove. We moved to the beach and gathered by the bonfire, and attempted s’mores but it was short-lived as another squall rolled through. We played cards and after that I was thoroughly exhausted. I hit the sack and slept to the soothing sounds of the rolling waves, and the coconut fronds brushing against the roof of our tent.

The next morning, I woke up after the sun had already risen. Ian was fast asleep and I took advantage of the quiet time to bring out my journal and watercolors. Nothing elaborate, just the scene in front of me… tent screen, Ian’s snorkel and fins propped on the sand, and the empty beach. I played around with the scraps and stickers I brought and snapped an iPhone pic of my pared down travel journal kit.

Everyone was already awake by the time Ian and I finally emerged from our tent. For the rest of the morning, we all sipped on coffees, napped on the beach, went snorkeling… just hanging out until we got hungry again. We put an order in at Sadies by the Sea (thank you Tiara!!!) and drove back to Coconut Point where we tailgated and ate lunch together. It was high noon at this point, so it was extra warm out and our energies drained. Ian and I pulled ourselves away to begin the process of lugging all our stuff back home and unpacking for the week ahead, and then after a much needed shower, I proceeded to nap for the rest of the afternoon.

Pondering on Paper

Pondering on Paper

…outside in nature.

I love soaking up the ambient sounds of home.

I will forever love this backyard.

* turn on volume for a sense of what it’s like 🙂

Yes I’m still here!

Yes I’m still here!

Ahh yellowww… hi there. I know I’ve been M.I.A. for a while, but I’m still here! It’s been a long while since I’ve really sat down to catch up on my blog. I’ve been living offline a lot more these last few weeks since coming back home to the island. Heck, even when I was traveling and before then, I haven’t been pulled to the screen as much to meander in my mind. Instead, I’m doing all my pondering on paper…

OoOoh, a moment of appreciation please for these alliterations…

Meander in my mind…

Ponder on paper…

Yes, yes… very satisfactory indeedy.

Anyway. Just wanted to post a casual HELLO! But not too aggressive like that. So more like, helloooo 🙂

Mmm, much better.

I am hopped up on a delicious coconut smoothie that my Mr. made… he scraped the meat out of a young coconut after we drank the coconut water, then blended it with a little bit of milk, and that was it! No sweeteners needed because the young coconut is already quite sweet.

But I digress.

As I was saying, I’ve been expressing myself and documenting my life on paper every day these days. I haven’t brought out my camera in a little longer than I want to admit. I think because of the lockdown we’re living in too, I’m not taking photos as much since I’m at home all the time and I feel sometimes like it gets a bit repetitive. Also, I’m working from home and I guess my mind and my body demands a balance… to separate my 9-5 work from my personal work. I’m sitting at my desk. The one that my Mr. made me many years ago (under my supervision haha)… and it’s been my sanctuary. I love love love working from home. I love my office/studio… it has so many functions. It’s the other room in my two-bedroom home. It’s my studio space for creative projects, it’s where I look for birds with my binoculars at the window, it’s the ‘atelier’ as Ian likes to call it when I’m sewing cute new ‘fits, it’s an extra bedroom if we have people over (which we won’t for a long while, because the lockdown remember?), and of course, it’s an office space for getting our work done at a proper desk when we decide to be professional and get off the couch and wear clothes to attend meetings… and more!

I have been journaling like maddd the last few months. I’m very happy about it. I feel like I’ve reconnected with the muse version of myself from my youth. I’ve fully accepted that I’m a total nerd, who loves scrapbooking and tape and glue… and stickers! Oh my god, stickers! I will forever fondly remember the days when my prized possession was a sticker binder I carried around everywhere, and for my 12th birthday, everyone knew I was a sticker geek, so everyone gave me sticker sheets for my birthday!! I was very happy about it, but also a little annoyed because at the time there was only one place to get stickers on island so I got a whole lot of the same spongebob sticker sheets, and I love me some spongebob, but the sticker variety was quite limited back then. I felt like I rekindled a bit of my love for stickers when I made my own stickers to sell a couple years ago. I’ve been meaning to make more! I will make more! Just gotta make some time for it, so I’ll add it to my list of goals for the next month. I’ve been pretty good about meeting my monthly goals. Anyway… yeah, I have been in my Travelers Notebook literally everyday, documenting my daily life through scraps of paper and random packaging and magazine tear-outs. I even ordered a heavy duty book-binding stapler so I can start making my own notebooks as thread-binding them is quite a chore and I like to make life easier for myself 🙂

I have a ton of photos in my lightroom catalog that have yet to be edited and sorted. I really don’t love my external hard drive filing system. It works, but I think I need to get some smaller solid state drives so it doesn’t feel so clunky when I’m editing photos and using my chonkers LaCie drives. Here are some iPhone candids my husband took of me the other day so you have photo proof that I’m still here… and pondering on paper. 😉

Back from a long vacation (a journal entry)

Back from a long vacation (a journal entry)

Hello and Taaaaalofa!

I’m back in American Samoa now, waiting out my government mandated quarantine at the Fatu O Aiga quarantine facility. It’s strange not being allowed to go outside really and being in a “real” lockdown. I’m currently on day 12 of 14, and I’ve tested negative on every antigen, PCR, and nasopharyngeal covid test I’ve taken over the past two months, which is wild!

And it’s been two months since I last came on here because whewww-I-really-needed-that-vacation.

I feel like I’m in some sort of third life crisis or something because I hadn’t really been feeling myself lately. I think I’m feeling… old/older?? Like, I want to take naps constantly and just do nothing a lot more often now. I don’t know, maybe it’s the covid fatigue but I’ve been so lazy that I couldn’t even get on here to share an update or a photo or two.

Vacation has healed me in some ways though. I’ve been reconnecting with analog journaling (travel journaling always makes me feel so nostalgic!) and it’s been lovely to be so excited by new stationery and scrapbooking journal spreads — using my hands and imagination, and mostly enjoying the process more than the final result. I’ve truly truly missed it.

But yeah — today I finally uploaded most of the photos off my camera’s memory cards… Hmm, see, that’s how lazy I’ve been! I hadn’t even off-loaded my memory cards until now from my trip and it’s two weeks after I’ve come back from said trip. I took quite a few photos as usual, but it reminded me that I need to put them somewhere so I don’t turn into one of those people that takes a zillion photos and does nothing with them (literally, everyone with a smartphone these days). So over the next days and weeks and maybe months I’ll slowly share photo journals from this very lovely, very needed vacation.

My little frazzled brain has been in hiding so if what I share looks/sounds like gibberish, oops sorry — please bear with me!

If you’re reading this, and made it this far. Thanks for being here.

xo, Nerelle