Life Lately: A Roundup Reel + Get In My Headspace

Life Lately: A Roundup Reel + Get In My Headspace

Hi hello how are ya —

I shared this round up reel on instagram which pretty much highlights my entire month of July in half second snippets… and shared in the caption how I’d been feeling.

And with that… here are a few updates of my life lately that I thought would be worth posting on here to look back on… please don’t mind my rambling… I feel like I haven’t written for myself in a long time so I just want to write without thinking too much.

My hard drive went kaput

My primary external hard drive stopped working suddenly last month, and I’m devastated because it contains the last three years of my life in photos, videos, and other random computerized parts of my life. It’s been a few weeks since, and I’m hoping that my new hard drive comes in so the Pago Tech guy can clone all the contents of my drive into this new one, but he’s indicated he’s not sure if it’ll work because the partition that my files are on are encrypted and who knows if it’ll clone over properly or come out as jumbled nonsense. Pray for me ya’ll!

Work was nonstop last month

I am finally getting used to not working anytime I’m in front of my computer, because I was constantly uploading, editing, emailing, and researching for work, for all odd hours of the day so much so that my eyes were starting to go cross eyed. So I’ve been avoiding my screens and resetting my computer habits. On the plus side, it wasn’t actually too bad because I enjoyed the type of work — filming a video for our annual Get Into Your Sanctuary summer program. You can find the completed video here if you want to watch it!

A few home projects

The hubba and I upcycled our sun-beaten leaf dining table and DIY’d a tile mosaic with epoxy resin to seal it up. It looks pretty cool, if I do say so myself! We’ve also just added curtains to our south/west facing living room windows because the sun comes in directly for a few hours in the late afternoon and it makes our house so hot and has affected our furniture (clearly, I mean if you’d seen our sun-beaten dining table, you’d know). I have always been a bit anti-curtains for some reason, but after way too many an uncomfortable sun-drenched late arvo in the house, I caved and we bought white curtain panels and wood rod dowels, and I sewed up some canvas to make loops to hold the rod dowels. I can’t tell if I like it or hate it, but I certainly don’t love the curtains, it’s really just there for function. The nice thing is we can always stow it away too.

My island fever is acting up

I feel like I always complain about this on here, but the last few weeks have been like salt on the wound, because we missed my husband’s family reunion that was postponed to this year from last year, and I’m also missing one of my besties’ weddings in a couple of weeks, and I’m one of her bridesmaids so I just feel crap for not being there to help and to celebrate with her. Of course, I also miss my brother and sister, and her little family. I don’t get to video chat with them enough as it is but every time I do, they seem to grow an inch or suddenly know division and have the most hilarious chats.

Online shop update

I have temporarily shut down my sticker shop on my website so that I can work on a photo prints shop. It’s been one of the biggest goals on my list for this year, so I am going to do my best to make it a reality! I’ve been wanting to sell prints of my photos for absolute years now, and I’ve gotten a few requests from people too, which has been super encouraging. I don’t know exactly how just yet, but I’ll figure it out, and I would love any advice or tips if you have any ideas to share with me!

Back to blogging

I really want to get back to my blog, because especially after losing the contents of my hard drive, which is essentially my life’s work, from the last few years, I want to still hold on to the highlights and little bits of memories that mean the most to me. I still am a pretty private person (for a person who overshares on the Internet), so those parts I tend to keep vague but they’re still there. I am learning to just have fun with it, and even if I misspell something, or make grammatical mistakes — I’ve made plentyyyy — that’s okay. This is truly my safe space on the Internet, a place to call my own.

If you’ve read all the way through to here… wow thank you for joining me in my headspace. I hope you have a beautiful day or evening, wherever you are!

xo, Nerelle

Life Lately: Burnt out but still going

Life Lately: Burnt out but still going

Been a hottt lil minute since I had a chance to get on here and share a life update. July was a busier than expected month for me, and I can barely believe that it’s already mid-August?! Wild.

Between my full time job, freelance work, social life, “thriving” social media presence for work and self, PLUS my self care couch potato time *foreshadowing here*, I’ve been burning out. I was really hoping to blog my weekly Plastic Free July updates, and all the photo sessions I’ve been taking over the last few months, but that fell off real quick when my work schedule picked up. I even dropped the ball on a project I committed to—drafting a book design for a travel guide—and I felt really bad about my dwindling motivation and time management, so I re-prioritized and got it done.

The to-do list never ends. And I’m not mad about it. I’m just losing steam. This loco-motive is in desperate need of a vacay; some time away to recharge.

I live in paradise, so working from home—slow mornings, settled routines, and jumping in the ocean for lunch—has been a great deal of help. But I got a case of wanderlust and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a trip to Manu’a in the near future.

A few highlights of my life lately though:

I got a new couch! *see I told you, foreshadowing* On the tag, it said it’s an L-shape chaise sleeper, so it can be converted from a couch into a full size bed. It’s the perfect size for our little home, and I’ve been stationed here most days lately with my bamboo lap desk and reading pillow for working on my laptop, or watching Netflix with my guy.

Finding rest and loving it — And while I know I said I’ve been uber busy, I’ve also been maxin’ my relaxin’ as much as I can. If the pandemic taught me one thing, it’s that there is never enough time in the world to do it all right now, so be kind to your mind and body, and do whatever it is that keeps you going. Can’t stay motivated if you are burnt out all the time!

Landed a new web design project — I’ve briefly mentioned this in a previous blog post, but I’ve made some changes to how I’m running my web design projects and I’m excited to have landed a sweet gig to keep me busy, active, and honing my skills. I generally only take one or two projects on each year so I can dedicate my time to each client since I have to do all this work in my spare time, when I’m not smashed with work at my full time job.

Plastic Free July — I truly meant to be better and share my daily updates, but alas, I was only able to post about my first week of the challenge. I did take photos on my phone that I’ll eventually get around to posting, but for now, all I can say is that it was pretty chill. There were definitely some fails, especially when it came to food and groceries, but it was a good way to reinforce my habits, and take stock in my plastic consumption again.

Dry July — On top of going plastic free in July, I also decided to go the entire month without alcohol. It wasn’t for any specific reason either. I just wanted to give it a try. And it was super easy. I didn’t crave a drink at all, except towards the end of the month when I was stressing about work stuff, and wanted to wine down (pun intended) with a cold bevvy. But yeah, it was cool otherwise.

Videos — The newest episode of PBS Changing Seas came out in early July featuring National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa and the various resource management agency partners, and I am stoked to be able to say I was a part of it! Back in October or November of last year, I pitched the episode idea to our office’s research coordinator, and she helped guide the direction and inform with research, and we sent it off to our headquarters media person, and got word from the South Florida PBS executive producer that we were selected for an episode! I helped with some logistics, and welcomed the film team back in February… literally just after the island’s measles epidemic, and just before 3 hurricanes came through, and of course COVID happened… it was a miracle it all worked out and they got a good weather window too. Anyhow, the show was amazing and I highly encourage you to watch it and get a sense of my beautiful island home and a bit of the science and research being done here to protect our natural resources. On another similar but unrelated note, I filmed a 20+ minute Get Into Your Sanctuary video program that turned out better than I expected. It took me and my coworkers 3 weeks to film, edit, schedule, and share the video on social media and I was so happy when it premiered live and the engagement was through the roof. Video work is new in my arsenal as I’ve always only been a still photo type of person, but I dig it and who knows, maybe if I upgrade my laptop’s RAM, I can get into more video work.

Hmm yeah, there’s probably more but honestly I’m tired. It’s 1am, and I’ve been forcing myself to stay up so I can finally post a blog update. And my eyes are drooping… so don’t mind any typos, and till next time!



Life Lately: a lengthy one, but a good one

Life Lately: a lengthy one, but a good one

HELLO friends, strangers of the Internet, and future me reading back entries when I’m feeling nostalgic or wondering what I did with my life… I hope you’re well!

I’ve been keeping busy over the last few weeks, and while I’ve been posting a bit more frequently in terms of random photos and tidbits from my days, I realize I haven’t summed up other notable life updates.

So here we go… a few “life latelies” that come to mind:

The most notable is… I celebrated half a dozen years with Ian! Who knew that I’d meet the love of my life right here at home when I least expected it?! I feel so lucky to have the kindest, most caring, handsome, and adventurous fiancé-slash-soon-to-be-husband. As you may know, we were supposed to get married last month in Samoa, but with the whole pandemic and everything, our destination wedding had to be moved. This deserves a whole other blog post dedicated to the details of how we celebrated our would be wedding weekend, but for now, I’ll mention that it was amazing. We went camping with just a small group of friends, and I wouldn’t have spent it any other way.

I’ve been actively saving money, mostly because I was saving for my wedding, and trying to meet my annual savings goals, but since one of those wasn’t going to happen this year, I did a little treat yo’self and got a new camera lens! It’s a prime Sigma 105mm f/1.4 lens, and let me tell you, it is a behemoth of a lens. It weighs about 5 pounds on the camera, and is so front heavy that it comes with a tripod holder for the lens. I’m still a little bit like, “whyyyy did I just buy that?!” because I tend to lean towards a lighter and more compact camera setup, but this was one of the best portrait lenses on the market, I just went for it. I love it though! Been getting different photos, and excited to keep shooting with it.

Something I never really talk about is my freelance work offering web design to clients. It’s been a journey over the years learning how to manage clients and design websites with the ever changing interwebs, but just a little update that I’m in the progress of changing up my process and will hopefully come up with a more streamlined strategy. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I have to say no when I can’t commit to a project. I have a full time job that I love and obviously takes up most of my working time, so I’m hoping a little changeup in my process will allow me to still do web design work in a more efficient way.

Speaking of work, I am a HUGE fan of working from home. I love being able to get up at sunrise, taking in the morning slowly, dressing up or down whenever I wanted to, working out in the mornings, spending time with Ian, Yodi, and Scruff, journaling, making matcha, and getting my work station all set up with the view of the lagoon. I feel less stressed when I work at home, and my skin has definitely been loving WFH life. My office building just has a really dry and sort of musty air about it, so my eczema gets irritated easily there. But at home by the beach? Ahhh my skin, mental health, and physical body are living for it lol. Oh yes, I’m also making food at home a lot, which means healthier meals, and not just tuna sushi and saimin. And saving time and money on my commute to town. Wow, I think it’s so cool that we can do so much of our work online these days, and I hope this means that workplaces will start to encourage teleworking going forward.

A couple of months ago, I upcycled a Tahiti-inspired two piece dress from a hand-me-down skirt, and coupled with the extra time at home, and my lifestyle shift towards slow fashion, I’ve been wanting to make more of my own clothes. I’ve spent more time on my sewing machine and made myself a reversible wrap crop top from scratch, upcycled an old favorite shirt I thrifted like 10 years ago into a tank top, and also made a wrap mini skirt from scratch. It’s been so fun to pick up this hobby again, and I’m excited to make more original clothing pieces that I’ll wear for another ten years.

Ian built a new board rack in our office/ studio/ spare room. Not a crazy update, but I thought it was worth mentioning. He got a new power tool (I forget what it’s called) and it’s so cute seeing him all excited to build stuff.

Last but not least, we are still safe from coronavirus in American Samoa. The borders are closed for another month and the local regulations have eased restrictions on business hours and social distancing rules, like allowing churches to congregate, and extending business operations hours to 8 or 9pm instead of 6pm. We are crazy blessed. Also, I don’t remember if I shared this on here, but my best friend’s photos were featured on this New York Times article about American Samoa being the only place in the US that does not have COVID-19! Proud of her, and also of our little island, for being a safe haven.

Life Lately: My birthday, Ian’s home, Yodi’s heart worms, and Coronavirus

Life Lately: My birthday, Ian’s home, Yodi’s heart worms, and Coronavirus

It’s been a little while since my last life lately update. Everything has unfolded just so in the last few months since 2020 rolled around, and let me just say, what the heck 2020?! I was expecting 2020, the new decade, to bring something big, but what I didn’t expect was that 2020 would bring a big crazy global event.


For now, here’s just a few updates of life lately:


My birthday is coming up! For me, birthdays are always an excellent time to reflect upon personal progress. Making a list of things to move the needle farther. It’s also a great time to take stock in my feelings and pulse check that everything is going to be okay, because it really is going to be okay. Sometimes I just gotta reinforce that in my life. I’m not necessarily a worrier, but I do worry sometimes and there’s a lot happening in the world that does make me nervous. More on that later. I don’t have any specific birthday plans yet, but I’m just glad my fiancé is back on island to spend it with me.

Ian’s back home! When the coronavirus travel advisory came out for American Samoa, I was shattered to know Ian would have to do an additional two weeks in Hawai`i to quarantine. After the advisory came out though, and unfortunately for Hawai`i, there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 on Oahu. In a scramble to get AS residents back home safely, our government issued a new travel advisory which removed the 14 day mandatory quarantine in Hawai`i, and instead returning residents were subject to 14-day home quarantine. So he arrived back home just a couple of days ago, and I’m so happy he’s here! I missed him so much while he was gone. He keeps me calm and centered, and I feel more relaxed to have him home safely.

Yodi is almost done with her heart worm meds! In case you didn’t know, Yodi wasn’t always our pup. She was born here at Coconut Point to a family that lived next door. When the family moved away and left her here, she became kind of a community dog and we all collectively cared for her. But then puppy paw-litics played out and she started getting aggressive to maintain her turf, her territory. At one point, she almost bit a visitor and it was decided that she needed a home, and that’s when Ian and I adopted Yodi. She was about 3 years old at that point. She was healthy, but we knew she had heart worms because she would have random coughing bouts. We’d been wanting to get her treated earlier but it was scary to think that her quality of life would decline during the medication period, and she could still die from it. Plus, we didn’t have a qualified vet on island anymore, so we just made sure to give her the best life we could. Thankfully, one of my favorite nonprofit groups, Coconut Mutts, was able to sponsor our friend who is a vet to come down, and we were able to get her the proper shots and medication. During this time, we have to limit Yodi’s physical exertion as much as possible, and it’s been slow going but we’re almost there. Just a few more days actually before we can start reintroducing her to high activity, and she’ll be able to go swimming with us again soon.

Now about the Coronavirus… it is crazy and I feel like it’s changing the world in so many ways. People are more aware of their health. Economies and industries are toppling. People are dying. Travel is slowing. But also, the environment is working on healing. True colors are being shown. People are slowing down. I honestly don’t know how to articulate yet how I feel about this global pandemic. I am fortunate to feel safe from it all as of now.

There’s a really great post on instagram by @thegreylayers that got me in my feels. She wrote:

“I can’t help but think about all that’s going on in the world. Maybe the world is trying to tell us to go back inward. Maybe our earth isn’t trying to slap us in the face. Perhaps it’s an awakening shake to put us in order. A correction in our own values. maybe because we’ve forgotten and just lost our way too maybe times. Maybe mother is saying, “you’ve lost your way too far from home.” We are literally being forced to stop and slow down by the force greater than all of us. Reminding us we are nothing but human at the end of the day. Let’s take this leisurely stagnance as a time of reflection. To think about what kind of world we want to live in. What kind of person you want to be. All along, our earth has been quietly telling us to take these crises as signs of opportunity. For us to stop and be better. To actually think of what matters. For us to be good again. For us to come home. And remember, not everyone is built for isolation, call your friends, your parents. Check in.”
Jeanne Grey

Grey Layers

Life Lately: Back from travels and trying to catch up

Life Lately: Back from travels and trying to catch up

Hello hello!

It hasn’t been too long since I last blogged, but a lot has happened, that’s for sure.

One of my recent life highlights is the 3-week travel around French Polynesia with Ian and his parents. I started blogging about it, but I have a bunch more to update on! We visited 4 islands in 3 weeks, and spent 5 days sailing around Raiatea and Taha’a. It was an epic vacation-slash-engagement-moon!

I got back from that trip in early July, and was home for just a week before embarking on a different kind of adventure, sailing on the research vessel E/V Nautilus! I also just returned from that trip earlier this week. It was actually a work trip that both Ian and I got to be a part of (me, from the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, and him, from the National Park Service in American Samoa). That was a super cool thing to be a part of, and I’m so excited to share some photos and takeaways from that experience soon.

Other life updates that I don’t remember mentioning yet:

I got a new camera! Well, I actually got it a few months ago right around my work trip in April but I don’t recall mentioning it yet. It’s a Sony A7III and it’s name is “Three” (don’t ask lol). I used to be a Canon shooter, and I hesitated a lot before finally deciding to switch to Sony’s mirrorless system. My thoughts on mirrorless? I’m a huge fan. It’s so much more compact which is great for traveling, the build-quality is great and feels sturdy, and the focus and clarity is impressive. I got a silicone rubber skin for Three and it makes it feel more rugged and weatherproof which I like.

We also got a drone – the DJI Mavic Air. It was a bit of an impulse purchase because I was preparing for our sailing trip in French Polynesia, and convinced Ian we needed to get one (because when else are we going to be sailing in French Polynesia, and don’t we want to get some cool aerial photos?!). Hahah, turns out we only used it a couple times while we were in French Polynesia because the tradewinds were extra strong and we didn’t want to risk losing the drone. I’m too much of a wuss to lose another drone, and now Ian’s really the only drone pilot.

And other than that, I’m still snapping away. I’ve done a few photo shoots in the last couple of month: a portrait session with Mareike, and some lifestyle-product shoots with Pacific Elegance. I’ll try to upload them soon. But for now, I’m binge-watching Versailles, reading Siddhartha, and trying to get my motivation back on track!

Life Lately: Sunrise haze and updates

Life Lately: Sunrise haze and updates

Woke up early this morning to a pastel haze outside the kitchen window. I grabbed my camera and went out to the boat ramp, and snapped away contentedly. So I thought I’d share this view with you, along with some life lately updates.

I haven’t been taking photos as much as I’d like to lately because my camera was broken, but a little googlin’ and we fixed it! Whew* but even before it broke, I actually had just ordered a new camera that’s on its way in the mail (thanks for sending it Polly and Rick!) and I’m so so so excited for it!

Today was Flag Day here in American Samoa. Even though it’s a local holiday (so jealous of ASG that gets the rest of the week off), my work doesn’t observe the holiday. So instead, I took the day off to go check out the Flag Day parade at the Veteran’s stadium with Ian… photos from that to come later.

Work has been extra busy the last couple of months, and last week we held the first ever Fautasi Heritage Symposium, which was a success! Initially I was nervous about the exhibits and the turn out, but the exhibit and the over all program was well received, and I’m grateful for a good team and that we were able to pull it off.

Next week, I’m off to the east coast for a work trip. And on the way there and back, I’ll stop over Arizona to visit my sister and her little family! It’s been almost a year since I got to visit so I have many cuddles and I love you’s to catch up on.

One of my best girlfriends just gave birth yesterday(!!!), and I got to video chat her today since she’s currently in New Zealand. I kept crying happy tears. She’s doing marvelously, and her baby is an absolutely beautiful earth angel! Just like her mama. Last year we were in a completely different place in our lives (and the year before that we were trying to figure out our lives), so we were laughing at how much has changed in just a year. Crazy!

Life Lately: January at Home

Life Lately: January at Home

January has come and gone. The government shutdown has come and gone. Money has come and gone. But here we are – taking life day by day and making the most of our time at home by working on projects here and there to keep us busy, spending quality time with our furbabies and each other, watching every sunset, cozying up for movie nights, and toasting still to the good life. So lucky to have this type of love. It feels so beautiful.

Remote work.

Lagoon stills.

Coming home from Ofu to this sweet face.

Mysterious mountain.

Wind socks.

After cold showers.

The smell of basil.

Aloe to cool burns.

Sashimi fillet meals.

Bird watching in the backyard.

Soft sunset glow.

Another sunset.

Can’t get enough.

Scraps for compost and spritzers for sunsets.

La vie en rose.

Restoring a SUP.

Life Lately: Catching Up with Myself

Life Lately: Catching Up with Myself

Wow. You guys. It has been absolutely forever since I last blogged or even just sat with my laptop to peruse the world wide web. I was using my personal laptop for work a lot (I was working as a consultant for the last 2 months) so whenever I was on my laptop I was basically just working away like a busy bee; and when I wasn’t working, I just wanted to chill out so hard. So that’s what I did during my downtime. I chilled. Or tried to… I also cleaned a lot. And worked on a slew of crafts. Oh my god, and I gardened a lot. I kind of turned into an obsessed plant lady for a solid 2 weeks. Not that I have a green thumb or anything. I just became really thrilled by plants, and plant pots (which, who knew, are kinda expensive!) and propagating my plants, and learning how to not kill them. But I digress. As I was saying, I usually blog on my laptop… and that’s the story of what I’ve been doing lately with my downtime. Because you needed to know.

But ANYWAY. Now that I’ve *mostly* chilled out, and settled into my new gig (more on that later), I’m back! 

A lot has happened in just the last couple of months, and can you believe that it’s the end of 2018 already?! It’s nuts. The weather has been up and down the thermometer and so have my moods, but as soon as I’m done typing this up, I’m going to take a deep long sleep, get out of my head, do a little yoga, and remind myself of all that I’m grateful for… 

Like this beautiful overcast Sunday afternoon when the tide was right, the water was becalmed, and Yodi joined us on the SUP then jumped back in the ocean because she knew Ian was trying to get her to go surfing but she wasn’t having it. She watched Ian catch a couple waves with a big smile on her face though and then swam back in with us. A dreamy reminder that this life is amazing and it’s all about perspective.



Now for the updates: the gist of it is that I’ve been transitioning into a new job, which I’m stoked on. It took a while to get my security clearance all done and dusted, which is why I was working as a consultant for the past 2 months, while waiting for paperwork to make its way up the chain. But as of this week, I can now officially say that I’m working as the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa! The job itself is great so far (it suits me well I think) and the people I work with are all wonderful and helpful. I’m really excited to have started together with my good friend Charity (who’s practically a sister to me on account of her and my sister being best friends), and being able to carpool and hang more often with my neighbor/friend Mareike; I’m happy to be surrounded by good peeps. And I finally have my own desk! Well, it’s a cubicle but I never really liked the word cubicle. I’m hoping to decorate it since it’s the holiday season (like, why not) and blast some Christmas tunes to bop to. I already got my yoga ball set up for ergonomics and now I feel like I’m working at Google or something. 

Well those are the condensed updates for my life lately! Thanks for reading and catching up with me. Till next time xoxo

Life Lately: Diving More (+ New Job, New Hair)

Life Lately: Diving More (+ New Job, New Hair)

Hello hello! I’m back with a new blog post, a new ‘do, and a new job! I’m basically a new person haha.

It’s been a hot minute since I last updated but I won’t bore you with dreary details. Just know that it’s been a hectic season for me, and lots has changed, which I’m excited about. My short (again) hair and new job being the obvious ones, but I don’t have any photos to show for any of that just yet soooo, here are some photos of me scuba diving!

Ian and I have been diving every weekend for the past several weeks and it’s been a real adventure! I saw two white tip reef sharks about 6 feet long just this last weekend and it terrified and excited me – watching one of them approach us and then turn away at a flinch. I clenched Ian’s hand nervously. It was scary awesome.

These photos were from a much shallower dive in Utulei/Gataivai, where Ian helped me practice skills and pretty much took all these photos.

I have a back log of photos to share, so please bear with me while I find my new balance in this flurry of a new season. Toodaloo!

Life Lately: I revamped my site / in a creative rut

Life Lately: I revamped my site / in a creative rut

Hi internet world!

It’s been a hot minute since I last posted.

I’ve been busy getting back into the groove of things since coming back from California, and if you haven’t yet noticed, I changed up my website layout a bit!

It’s still a work in progress…

I originally planned to work in drafts only and then change it all up in one go, but that turned out to be rather intimidating so instead I’ve been slowly making changes here and there.

Just playing around to see what I like and don’t like.

What do you think of it? Yay or nay?

In other news

I’ve been in a creative rut, and feeling unimpressed with myself lately.

So I’m working on getting my motivation up while setting my mind to power through the slumps.

I’m also writing a blog post about pushing myself to stay creative even when I’m feeling low.

Sustainability update

My zero waste kit, as you might remember (from this post) featured a wooden fork I got in Bali. Unfortunately that broke, so I’m now carrying around my regular stainless steel fork from home.

I also received a “cannibal fork” from a friend who came back from Fiji and I was obsessed with that thing. It’s a 4-pronged wooden utensil with the prongs in a square so you can dig into what you’re eating pretty easily. It worked awesome with fried chicken, let me just say. But unfortunately, that broke too. So if anyone is coming back from Fiji, please get me a cannibal fork!

Also, I’m sorry I never continued with #PlasticFreeJuly updates. I had daily notes which I was going to use for my blog post, but in the spirit of vacation I took a break from being behind the screen so much and just lived life ya know?

I will say however that #PlasticFreeJuly was a great opportunity for me to take stock of my plastic consumption. There were quite a few fails (aka learning lessons) but overall, I greatly decreased the amount of single-use plastics like straws, plastic bags, and take out containers, and I’m very happy about that.

Life Lately: A busy bee still stings

Life Lately: A busy bee still stings

Oh man it’s been a hectic past few weeks! Ever since I got back from my trip in May, all of June has blurred by with non-stop general busy-ness and a crazy lead up to my next trip. Which by the way I’m leaving for tomorrow!! Here are a few updates of my life lately…

Haaaave you met Courtney?

Courtney is a Hollings Scholar and summer intern for the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Ian and I are hosting her for the summer, so we’re doing our best to show her a good time. She’s so young (she just turned 21 two days ago and we woke her up on her birthday with mimosas!) but she’s also basically an old fart like me and Ian so we think she’s the bee’s knees!

#PlasticFreeJuly Challenge Accepted

I learned about this green movement online and never thought I’d try it out. From the start I just thought I would make more conscious choices, but these days I feel like I’m so much more involved and I’m trying to improve my lifestyle by going full fledge sustainable. So when #PlasticFreeJuly came around, I was looking forward to 31 days of saying no to single-use plastic, opting for naturally sourced products, and learning more about how waste affects the environment. I’m also really enjoying being crafty during this challenge… so far I’ve made another batch of deodorant (in a cute little travel size container), cloth napkins, a bento bag, and a coconut bowl! Earlier this week I shared how I prepared for #PlasticFreeJuly, and soon I’ll be doing a round up of lessons learned in my 1st week of this challenge!

Adventures Here and There

It’s trade winds season in American Samoa right now, so my little beach bum has had to chill out topside… usually curled up with a good book in the hammock set up in the treehouse. Other little adventures when weather permitted were hiking up to Mt. Alava with Yodi, kayaking the mangroves with Courtney, SUPing over to Pua Trees to watch Ian surf, a hot buti yoga balcony session, back of the truck cruising around the island, and probably some others that I’m forgetting right now. But the whole point of even mentioning these is that while I’ve been very busy, I’ve also filled my life with a lot of the good stuff too. It’s this stuff of life that makes me happiest.

Work and The Works

In case I didn’t mention this elsewhere in previous blog posts, there was a fire at work a few weeks ago. Fortunately it wasn’t too serious and everyone was safe, but it was just bad enough that we had to evacuate and temporarily relocate our workspace to our technical center, which is already a tight fit. That set my work back by just a bit, but things quickly ramped up again and I found myself working late at least a couple of days out of the week to meet quick deadlines. Plus, we just co-sponsored a big fireworks event in celebration of 4th of July yesterday (an overall success), and I feel like I haven’t slept properly in days. Ugh look at me now, typing up this blog post in bed at 2am. AND I HAVE TO BE AT THE AIRPORT AT 6AM. My priorities are wack.

Travel plans

I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t really made any solid travel plans other than to spend time with family–the main purpose of my trip. I’m so excited to see my nephew and niece again soon, be in the same place as my siblings, and have my parents and us all under one roof again, even if it’s just for a few days. After chaotically packing last minute and making it to the early check in, I’m finally feeling like vacation is here… I’ll probably let out a sigh of relief once I get on the plane.

Till then, I’ll be backing up my laptop and phone, and will try to go to sleep and wake up ON TIME for my flight!

Good night from American Samoa!


Life Lately: Ill & Will

Life Lately: Ill & Will

Hello humans!

It’s been a hot minute. It’s a brand spankin’ new year, it’s summertime in the islands, and I wanted to catch you up on my life. Read on.

I’m behind on blogging.

Such a bummer because I really want to be more consistent with my blogging. It’s kind of one of my new year resolutions. But I have a good reason.

I was really sick.

The most sick I’ve been in ages. I’m not sure what I had but it was like a mix of dengue (or chikungunya – I can’t really tell the difference) and the flu with allergies. The kind of funny part is that I was 50% sure it was the bends. I had just come back from scuba diving and did a solid car wash on the truck and was in the middle of trying to konmari (declutter) my wardrobe. I was exhausted but didn’t even think about it. I was about to head to the movies with friends but felt started to feel funky, and then suddenly a wave of body pains came over me. Ian got me an oxygen mask and was checking on my vitals. I was in bed for 3 days straight. Barely ate and couldn’t move except squirm around because I felt so uncomfortable. Anyway, it sucked. I didn’t go to the hospitable because I’m scared of that place. But thanks to my pseudo nurse Ian, Tylenol, and homemade soup from my parents, I finally feel better. It took a whole week to recover.

Other than that…

Scuba diving at Amalau.

I got to use my new BCD (thanks again, babe!) at a new dive site. It was righteous. We saw a huge humphead wrasse that I almost thought was a shark.

So much stuff.

I mentioned that I was trying to konmari my closet. I’ve been feeling weighed down by all the stuff I have. I’ve always known I was a bit of a hoarder but my goodness, there’s just too much stuff around here! So I’m slowly going through different parts of my apartment and asking myself the konmari golden question: Does this spark joy in my life? It’s a nice way to evaluate what stuff is essential and what’s just taking up space. Today I cleaned out my fridge and felt so good about it. Just sayin’.

Not much else.

It’s still early in the year and things are just ramping back up for me. I’m taking it easy, living slow, enjoying the Samoan summer.