DIY Natural Lip Balm (Simple Recipe!)

DIY Natural Lip Balm (Simple Recipe!)

I’m really enjoying concocting my own homemade products and working towards a more low impact/high quality lifestyle.

It just feels right. It contains clean, honest-to-earth ingredients. And it works!

In case you’re new here, I made my own deodorant a little while ago but what I didn’t share was that I also made my own lip balm. It’s so so so easy. So in case you’re feeling crafty and want to give it a go, here’s what you need to know!

Clean out and reuse old lip balm containers

I’ve had this EOS lip balm since right after college which was (omg) 7 years ago! It was a spare one I carried around in my various bags and miraculously didn’t lose. It started to get stale after so long and I didn’t have the heart to throw it away.

Then I came across this idea to make my own lip balm, and found a whole plethora of ways to reuse the EOS container. Here’s how to empty and clean out your EOS container to be reused.

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

1. Open EOS lip balm. Notice the removable cartridge holding the balm.

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

2. Remove the balm cartridge using a sharp utensil (I used a butter knife)

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

3. It might take a bit of prying, but will come out with a bit of leverage

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

4. Scrape out the old balm from the top and bottom of the cartridge

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

5. Then clean it all off under warm soapy water

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

6. Let dry. And you’re ready to reuse!

DIY Lip Balm & What You’ll Need


1 tsp Cold pressed extra virgin Coconut oil
1 tsp Shea butter
1 tsp Beeswax
5 drops of preferred essential oil (optional – I used lavender for its soothing effect)
½ tsp Cinnamon (optional – add to naturally exfoliate your lips!)

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

Directions for Making the DIY Lip Balm

Mix all the ingredients in a double broiler (the exact same way I made the deodorant here).

While it’s still warm, pour into your lip balm container!

Place the cap back on upside down and let cool at room temperature.

Or you can put it in the fridge for a few minutes.

Once it’s dry – voila!

That it! That’s how easy it is!

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

I poured the ingredients into both the EOS lip balm container and a regular lip balm container – both of which I cleaned and disinfected before reusing.

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle
DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle
DIY natural lip balm | Sustainable living | Nerelle

So I hope you clean up those old cute lip balm containers, play around with these natural ingredients and and DIY your own sustainable lip balm!

xo, Nerelle

25 Creative Ideas for ‘Plastic Free July’

25 Creative Ideas for ‘Plastic Free July’

It’s already July!? Wow… the months are zooming by!

I usually try to blog about my Plastic Free July efforts, but this month really got away from me, and to be honest, I’ve been failing at it!

Just today, I was in between appointments at the radio station with my coworkers for a song recording project (more on a later post!) and filming an interview for the same project in Vaitogi which drew out longer than I expected… and I was so hungry that I caved and got an iced coffee that came in a single use plastic cup with a plastic lid… andddd… I had McDonald’s for the first time in more than two years!! It was surprisingly mostly plastic free, except the dip packaging, and the drink lid/straw that I forgot to refuse when I got my order… le sigh*

Anyhow, long story short… I’m still doing my best, but some days, my “best” doesn’t really look very good. Still, I love that an entire month is dedicated to being mindful of our plastic consumption and that there is a growing worldwide movement towards bigger change, just by taking small steps at home.

So to keep myself in check, I wanted to share 25 creative ideas for Plastic Free July… these are ideas that aren’t just about plastics per se, but are about reducing waste in general, and ways to live more mindfully and sustainably.


  1. DIY unpaper towels
  2. Carry your cute tote bags everywhere
  3. Make up a recipe using existing food in your fridge/pantry
  4. Use a bidet
  5. Declutter your physical space and digital space
  6. Clothing swap with friends
  7. Go thrift shopping
  8. Practice saying ‘no, thank you’ to politely refuse single use cutlery and straws
  9. reuse pasta jars
  10. Ditch plastic water bottles forever
  11. Go ‘naked’ when choosing fruits and veg
  12. Learn to mend your clothes to give it new life
  13. Start a compost
  14. Grow your own herbs and vegetables
  15. Host or participate in a beach cleanup
  16. Switch all paper mail to e-mails instead
  17. Learn about your town’s recycling programs
  18. Turn off the lights – conserve energy
  19. Make your own household cleaners with natural ingredients
  20. Opt for solid bar soaps, shampoos, and conditioners
  21. Make food at home instead of eating out
  22. Start a daily or weekly budget tracker
  23. Air dry your laundry
  24. Create your own “zero waste kit
  25. Be kind always – it’s free, and good for the planet!



A couple weeks ago I caught my very first fish on my new JBL three-prong pole spear.

I’ve been wanting to learn how to spearfish for a while now because I’m literally surrounded by ocean, and yet I’ve only ever bought fish at the store—sometimes locally caught fish, but most times imported fish because they don’t always have local/fresh fish in stores—or when I’m lucky, my husband or friends will catch fish and share their bounty.

I’d like to be less reliant on pre-packaged food full of who knows what kinds of ingredients that I can’t even pronounce… and more reliant on fresh foods harvested straight from the source in a sustainable way.

Enter: fishing… specifically, spearfishing.

My neighbors have been doing a lot more spearfishing lately, and while I was out snorkeling a few times, they lent me their pole spear to get a feel for it. I’ve only ever tried using a three-prong pole spear once when I was in Hawaii with a friend of a friend… and two things: 1) I was not good at it because at the time I was uncomfortable in the water, and 2) there were basically no fish there, just lots of urchins. I haven’t been interested in spearfishing at all since then.

However, since watching Seaspiracy and learning about how bad the commercial seafood industry really is… I wanted to integrate more sustainable living practices.

My husband surprised me with my very first pole spear for our 7-year relationship anniversary (which is also exactly our 6-month wedding anniversary). It’s an aluminum JBL travel three-prong travel spear. It can be broken apart into three pieces so it’s great for travel and camping, and fully extended, it gets up to 6ft tall, or I can opt to only use two pieces for a shorter ~4ft pole spear.

I took it out for a spin a few weeks ago at our beach out front. I didn’t try to shoot anything, I just tested out my aim on some algae and tried to stretch out the band. I made a valiant effort though when we went camping a couple weekends ago and I was so close, but so far away to actually catching anything.

Last week, Ian and I went snorkeling out front and I brought my three-prong. I was in the water for about an hour and after many attempts at some manini (convict tang), and poge (striated surgeonfish), I was about to give up. I turned and saw from the corner of my eye a fish staring straight at me. I reloaded the band and turned to face it and let my pole spear fly without really even aiming, thinking I was going to miss again… but as my pole hit the sand I saw at the tip of the three-prong, a red fish… I got it!

It was unfortunately a little guy – a bloodspot squirrelfish (Neoniphon sammara). It looked so much bigger underwater! I splashed around and squealed for Ian to come over, and when he raised the pole out of the water to “brain it” (literally, bite the brains… ew), I got very sad as I understood I had taken a life. I said thank you to the fish, and we went home and prepped it for dinner.

And with that I wanted to share some initial lessons learned…

1. Be patient – spearfishing is not a speed sport

Don’t chase the fish – Let the fish come to you. I chased after a few fish thinking I could catch up to them but I actually ended up scaring them away with my thrashing. Plus, all the fish in the area could hear me coming and were like ‘peace out’.

2. Look where you’re spearing – Don’t spear onto living reef

It’s very uncool to kill a fish and their fish habitat, so pay attention to where you’re aiming to shoot, and avoid spearing onto living reef. If you break off a piece of living reef, that section may die and not grow back. And as you know, reefs are super important and we need them, so let’s take care of them.

3. Pay attention to what fish are on your reef – be selective of what you catch

This is a specific example, but I’ve known for a while now that parrotfish are extremely important fish species for reef health, and they are unfortunately overfished in my area. I’d suggest looking up size guides and fish stocks beforehand to get a better sense of different species’ reproductive sizes and what fish are abundant or rare in your area so you can make better fishing decisions.

4. Learn which fish are good to eat – and which are bad

Some fish are extra bony and may not be pleasant to eat, while others may have very little meat to begin with. I’m also learning which fish are likely to cause ciguatera toxin poisoning so I can avoid those completely.

5. Gut the fish right away – otherwise, it’ll spoil

This is something I just learned – The guts and innards will start to rot as soon as the fish dies and because they contain nasty bile and worms (ew), those will permeate onto the rest of the fish meat, making it unsafe to eat.

6. Fish sustainably – don’t catch more than you can consume

I’ve noticed many people fishing everyday or every other day for sport and catching way more fish than they need so they can store in their freezers or give away or sell for profit, but I’m learning that can easily become unsustainable.

7. Respect the circle of life – be grateful

This goes hand in hand with the previous lesson learned, but worth mentioning on its own. Fish, like humans, are part of the circle of life. Be grateful for what it means to take a life.



1. Serve breakfast in bed

wake up a bit earlier than usual, cut up some fruits, whip up some heart-shaped pancakes, prep a cup of tea or coffee, maybe even a cold mimosa, and serve on a nice platter straight to the bedroom to get your sweetheart smiling first thing in the morning.

2. Write a heartfelt letter

what better way to proclaim your love than by putting it into words and writing them down on paper. And, remember to always, always, always add nature (thanks for the advice, Nick Offerman).

3. Take a hike

put on your sneakers for a hike up a new mountain, or even a nice long walk/bike around your favorite part of town to get your endorphins going, and don’t forget to pick up flowers along the way for your special person.

4. Pack a picnic

look through your fridge and cupboards and pack all your favorite snacks in a bag, maybe even a book and a journal if you like to read and write… don’t forget to grab a blanket or two, then head to the beach or park and settle down for a cute lil picnic.

5. Homemade dinner

clean the house, cook up a delicious homemade meal and whip up a bevvy, then turn on some smooth jazz or r&b music, and light a candle to set the vibes.

6. Build a blanket fort

all the blankets, all the pillows. Work as a team to make your bed extra extra cozy by building a blanket fort — your inner child will scream if you find a partner who’s actually willing to do this with you.

7. Have a movie night

pick a movie (rom com, anyone?!), make some popcorn, turn on the A/C, and get super cozy in pajamas for a movie night (or a movie night marathon) — in bed, preferably.

8. Go stargazing

grab a couple of blankets, throw on a hoodie (in case of bugs), jump in the car, and drive somewhere dark to get a clear view of the Milky Way. Cuddle up and try to spot shooting stars.

Tropical bird of paradise flower x Nerelle

Week 1 Recap of Plastic Free July

Week 1 Recap of Plastic Free July

Hello hello!

I’m here to keep myself accountable as I said I would… so here’s a recap of my week 1 doing the Plastic Free July challenge.

Prepping for the challenge

To prep for the Plastic Free July challenge, I had set some realistic goals and expectations for myself and did a really quick scan of my home to look out for ways I could improve. I got my zero waste kit ready, and I also received some mail I ordered last month which came just in time for Plastic Free July. One package was for Ian — I had ordered him a pair of upcycled boardshorts from Vissla made from coconut fibers. His other pair of board shorts have worn out so this was my little gift to him. The other package was for me, containing 7 pairs of period panties from Thinx. Just typing the words ‘period panties’ feels weird and almost TMI but I liked that the cardboard packaging the undies came in essentially said “we’re saying bye to stigmas around periods”. Anyway, I’m excited and feel more equipped to tackle the month.

July 1 — Didn’t use any new single use plastics (SUPs) on my first day! I’ve come to terms with the fact that if there are single use plastics that are already in our home (i.e. chopsticks from previous takeout orders), those would be okay as long as we reuse them and try to avoid new SUPs. I also learned how to make popcorn on my own! We got popcorn kernels in bulk last year and Ian normally makes the popcorn, so this was a win for me, because I was itching so hard to buy a bag of chips at the store for a snack and instead made this plastic free snack. I also started watching decluttering videos on YouTube because I’m in need of some minimization inspiration, and found these old bags in my closet that I never really use because they’re tucked away. Giving away the teal one, and keeping the fabric bag because I made it around 10 years ago!

Day 1 success rating: 10/10

July 2 — Decided to treat ourselves and get lunch from Henry’s Diner. I love their fried chicken and mashed potatoes, mmmm! We were only going to order one dish each, but we brought six of our food containers, and good thing we did because they all got used up! They always give really large Samoan sized servings, and they put each food item in a separate container. I love it because it always means delish now, and delish later when we have leftovers. We were hungry and excited, we got home and set it out like a big mukbang spread and put on our current favorite show, Community. We thought we did so well avoiding SUPs, but we later noticed they included two small plastic sauce cups in our container. A good lesson learned to include our own sauce cups in the future. Overall, valiant effort!

Day 2 success rating: 9/10

July 3 — We got the day off from work for the federal holiday. Ian wasn’t feeling too well, so I spent nearly the entire day with Gabby, and boy was it a busy day. We went fabric shopping at Island Image, and brought our own reusable bag, avoiding the plastic bag they almost gave us. Then we did some groceries, and it was a bit disappointing to really look around at the supermarkets and see almost all the produce wrapped in plastic and styrofoam. Most of our island’s food and supplies are imported by cargo ships from the mainland. I couldn’t avoid SUPs this day because I needed to get food supplies for the next couple weeks, and I did a bad thing and caved into my potato chip addiction, and got a jumbo bag of potato chips, since I was messing up anyway! I was also bummed to find a grab and go lunch box all packaged in plastic. For some reason, I didn’t think it would be, because it’s from a local cafe that really tries to make sustainable efforts. But of course, convenience, options, costs… they all play a factor here. BUT no hard feelings. I am also of the mind that we are imperfect, and all we can do is try our best, and minimize our plastic consumption as much as we can. It was a good eye opener though, about how jaded I’ve become (even though I’m a huge proponent for sustainable/low waste living) that I forgot how much of what we buy at the stores has plastic, and how abundant it is in our daily lives. I hope we can turn this part of the culture around. Later, I went with Gabby on one of her photo shoots, and then we stopped by Tradewinds for Charles’ birthday. He had so much yummy food! Luckily, Gabby had compostable paper clamshell takeout plates in her car, so we used those instead of styrofoam plates. I also had two pairs of chopsticks in my bag, and my reusable water bottled topped up, so we did pretty well considering!

Day 3 success rating: 6/10

July 4 — Learned to make almond flour pancakes with organic agave syrup at home! Ian suggested to add an over medium egg too, and I was skeptical at first but it tasted so good! Afterwards, Ian and I went out and bought a brand new washing machine! There wasn’t really much of any plastic, except for the stickers on the washing machine, and the large cardboard box was given to our neighbors to use as their kids’ new playhouse. I forgot it was the 4th of July, but I think I caught what Ian had the day prior. I was so lethargic that I took a nap on the floor of our living room, and Ian carried me to bed where I slept for most of the afternoon.

Day 4 success rating: 10/10

July 5 — Went to church, and my zero waste kit was all ready to go! We had toana’i (Sunday group lunch) after church to celebrate two church members’ birthdays. They had paper plates, plastic utensils, and plastic water bottles, and Ian and I looked at each other sideways and nodded. Ian and I grabbed our containers that we keep in the car for these “just in case moments”, I brought my own water bottle, and I also still had some leftover compostable utensils and chopsticks in my bag. We avoided SUPs the rest of the day!

Day 5 success rating: 10/10

July 6 — Did a good job I thought. I drank my morning matcha out of a reused glass pasta jar with a metal straw. I ate potato chips and shared on my daily instagram stories about how I felt a bit guilty about it, but I expalined, potato chips are my weakness! All other new SUPs were otherwise avoided. Gabby came over and hung out after work, and we started sewing her duvet cover with the fabric she bought at Island Image over the weekend. I was also stoked to get a few messages from friends on instagram who have watched my daily Plastic Free July updates, and how they were inspired to start the challenge too! I had some really good conversations about ideas on reusing glass jars for a variety of purposes like for propagating plants, as drinking glasses, to put homemade gifts into, or for shell collections. Those interactions have motivated me to keep sharing my sustainability journey on here and on instagram, and to try my best!

Day 6 success rating: 10/10

July 7 — A little change of scenery from the past few months, as I worked from my office in town on this day. Ian and I made plans to have lunch together at Ruby Red Cafe. We were going to eat in, but I still brought my zero waste kit in case I had leftovers. Which was a good call, because I did in fact have leftovers. I also had my own utensils with me in my bag, so I used that. Ruby Red Cafe has paper takeout boxes but it’s always good to avoid waste when possible. Plus, Ruby Red Cafe does this amazing thing where they will offer a 50-cent discount if customers bring their own reusable containers! I think it’s a great incentive, and another reason why I will always love supporting their small business. After work, Gabby asked me to go with her to Photogenix because she was going to pick up a photo frame. We went but turns out Photogenix was closed, so instead, we spontaneously decided to go thrifting at Savers Samoa just down the street. We were there for like, 2 hours! But we got some really good vintage pieces for suuuuuper cheap! And I’m very happy to say that I’ve made the shift to slow fashion over the years, including making my own clothes, repairing clothes I already own, and buying second hand. I’ve only had to buy some new pieces (like my Thinx period underwear) out of necessity, and I plan to wear and rewear them for many many many years.

Day 7 success rating: 10/10

Whew! What an update!

The Plastic Free July challenge is just that, a challenge. It has also been very rewarding and taught me a lot already in the first week. This is my third year doing Plastic Free July, and I feel renewed stoke for sustainable living. Hopefully we do better in week 2!