Dad turns 60!

Dad turns 60!

My dad turned 60!! On Sunday, our church family surprised him with lunch, cake, random singing, and lots of fun and hilarious games. It was really nice to see him being celebrated by such a loving community. They even projected a really sweet video compilation from many other church members who had moved to other countries, wishing my dad a happy birthday and recounting their memories together. On Monday, Ian and I brought more cake and food over for dinner and enjoyed quality time with my dad and mom at their home. We had a great time talking stories about all the crazy things they did while growing up in the Philippines! I’m so glad I finally get to spend more time with them… I am feeling exceptionally blessed that our family can still find our health and safety intact, and that we are surrounded by love and warmth.

He’s nacho average dad. He’s got all the qualicheese that make him the best dad in the world, and taco bout 60 – he just gets cheddar with age! I’m so blessed with such a grate dad! Love you, and happy birthday🎂

Celebrating my birthday in quarantine, social distancing outdoor movie night with friends

Celebrating my birthday in quarantine, social distancing outdoor movie night with friends

March 18, 2020

I just want to start by saying that every new day is worth the effort. Despite the craziness happening around the world, it has always been important to me to make every moment count, whether it’s in celebrating a milestone, resetting, or finding healing.

That being said… yesterday was my 28th birthday! …also my 6th day in quarantine… BUT we made the best of it!

Being in quarantine made celebrating my birthday a bit tricky because I hadn’t left my village in almost a week, and hadn’t even gotten in my car to get groceries or see friends/family. Luckily, I have a great community of neighbors and friends around me, and we got together for a pandemic-social-distancing-quarantine themed outdoor movie night. We watched Contagion, which was intentionally ironic because that is essentially real life events right now. We stomached it without too much cringe though.

Initially, I had zero plans for my birthday. I’d been spending most of my quarantine evenings either blogging (so much time to blog these days, I love it!) or watching movies on our rad new projector that Ian’s parents gifted us for Christmas. I thought it would suck to not do anything at all, and asked Ian if we could do an outdoor movie night. He discussed with our friend and neighbor Traci, and we were a go! Ian sent out a message to a few neighbors that we share our yard with so it would still be considered a “stay at home party”. Plus we all practiced social distancing and situated ourselves at least 6 feet apart.

The view, and our cute simple set up: white fabric and string lights taped to a shipping container

Traci and Ano’s cozy couch set up, with Officer up on top

Made some bomb fish lumpia, which Ian was mmMmm-ing so hard lol

Ian was even disinfecting the camp chairs with Lysol hahaha

Photos of me and Ian taken by Traci

Can we all have your immunity, Matt Damon?!

The friends/neighbors all keeping their distance from us hahah

Thank goodness WHO let the dogs out… Yodi snuggled so hard with us during the movie

From earlier that day

 I was in the middle of a conference call for my annual employee performance review–which I’m pretty sure I nailed–when Ian came in with this lovely brunch spread for me! I waved him away while I finished up my call, then Ian came back and snapped this cute flick and told me to open up my sweet gift… also pandemic themed, organic patchouli soap! I’m definitely the type of person that truly appreciates handmade natural bar soaps, so I love that Ian gets me.

Also during my conference call, my supervisor wished me happy birthday and asked for my favorite order from Ruby Red Cafe. Apparently my coworkers were planning to get food from there to deliver to me! I love that my team always celebrates birthdays, regardless of how busy we are,  or if we’re not at the office, or even  during a dang pandemic haha. That was so so so sweet. Sefa and Bel stopped by a little later, and Sefa cracked open his door covering his nose and mouth with his shirt all cautious, and I busted out laughing. We are in quarantine and so it was good that he did, but if you know Sefa, he’s simply hilarious. He put the food down (and brought my yoga mat from the office) and backed away slowly back to his truck. I thanked them, laughing and waving goodbye. They got food for both me and Ian, satisfying our power bowl craving from Ruby Red! ahhh
After clocking out from work, Ian and I head to the beach for a little fresh air. Ian went SUP surfing while I hung out in the hammocks under the pier with a bevvy for a bit. Then I swam around, and Ian was showing me his swimming techniques because I told him I wanted to get better at swimming. 


I’m truly so grateful for this man coming into my life, loving me the way he does, accepting me for who I am, and wanting to grow old with me too. 

Happy birthday to meeeee!


Aunty Files: Isaac Turns 4

Aunty Files: Isaac Turns 4

My nephew’s at the age where he’s really excited for his birthday. He was so excited when I visited, the first thing he said to me was “Aunty Relly! It’s almost my birthday!”

Grandma Elaine and Grandpa Noni had just flown into town and we waited until almost midnight to sing happy birthday to him. His birthday party wasn’t until the weekend and my parents were going to miss the party, so my sister baked some homemade cookie butter cupcakes so our whole family could be together to celebrate his actual birthday. He was so ecstatic – he sang the happy birthday song with us and blew out his candles with a big smile.

Babbling: Almost 25

Babbling: Almost 25

I’ve always been the type of person that seeks to accomplish something before a deadline, usually birthdays or yearly goals. I love being able to say that I did it, it’s under my belt, what next?

I turn 25 in a month and I’m scrambling to cross off some personal goals one by one that I wrote on a list taped to my studio wall last year.

For me, 25 is a big one–it just seems like a significant year for a person to make decisions. Is that when “adulting” really happens?

It’s not until I realize I have X amount of days left that I start to get frustrated with myself for procrastinating on things like finishing up my online SCUBA courses so I can get certified already, or crafting something every week, or getting into the rhythm of a workout regimen.

And when I do realize them, I have to decide which things I need to do right away versus which things I can hold off on. Or do I just accept that this will perpetually be on my to-do list? But yeah yeah I’ll get around to it sometime, when I can, when it’s convenient. And then I become complacent. There’s never an easy way to decide this.

These photos were from Valentine’s Day with my guy. Don’t you just love love?

Enter: the part of myself that I do enjoy. Highway motivation station. I get real excited for these spurts of energy that are derived from long days at the workbench creating anything I can to make my soul feel alive.

Lately it’s been my traveler’s notebook which I am currently obsessed with. I’ve gotten back into bullet journaling and adding bits of my every day life into these handmade notebooks. It’s like I’m watching myself become my tomorrow self every day. Oh, and listening to music I’ve never heard before so I can lose myself in the cadence and pretend it’s the background song to my inspirational montage.

Only 4 more weeks to go before I turn 25, and I am mentally preparing myself for crunch time.

Some random things on my list right now are:

  • Get SCUBA certified
  • Make 2017 travel plans
  • Find a new spot for camping
  • File my taxes
  • Sew a kimono dress
  • Do something risqué
  • Finish reading that book
  • Save money

Do you have special deadlines you set for yourself?

What are some of your goals that you are passionate about?

24 Years Old and Boat Day on the North Shore

24 Years Old and Boat Day on the North Shore

Last week was something else… Friday was especially dreamy.

Just for starters, my hunk of a boyfriend made me a yummy breakfast, I packed my adventure bag, and on our way to town, I saw a pod of dolphins!

This felt like déjà vu because exactly 1 year ago on my 23rd birthday, Ian and I were house-sitting for some friends in Faganeanea. Ian made me breakfast in bed and I opened gifts on the porch, and was sipping on coffee and looking out at the ocean when I saw a pod of dolphins swimming gleefully in front of me!

How crazy is it that exactly a year later, I would witness this all too familiar sight, fins gliding in and out of the ocean’s surface, forcing me to recall a whole year’s worth of blessings I am so grateful for.

Fast forward to my 24th birthday. I took the dolphins as a sign of a good day ahead.

I had the day off from work and the awesome people at the National Parks of American Samoa invited me out for a boat ride around the island’s north shore. This is one of those perks – dating an NPS marine tech – that I never took advantage of until now! I almost cannot believe that this is their everyday job, diving in pristine waters and maybe tanning on the bow in between. It’s something of a dream. I jumped off the boat and snorkeled for an hour while the dive team worked, and got to use my birthday present (all green DaFiN kick fins) that Ian surprised me with that morning!

My only qualm that day was my motion sickness. Yup, I puked a couple of times, and it wasn’t pretty.

But nothing could detract from how amazing I felt my day was going otherwise. The dive team came back up and picked me and Brenda up from the bay we were snorkeling in. We took a photograph-worthy tour of the north shore and went around the eastern most tip of the island, in between Tutuila and Aunu’u. When we got to the Pago Harbor, I asked to drive the boat and they let me! It was in the no-wake zone so we were going 10mph tops, but I was still ecstatic. And then the NPS team brought out brownies and ice cream in a Hydro Flask and started singing happy birthday to me!

The rest of the day went by just as amazing – my best friend and boyfriend threw me a surprise party and there was painting involved and lots and lots of friends and pizza. What more could a girl ask for?!