Underwater Mama

Underwater Mama

Black and white edits of some maternity pics that Ian shot of me at almost 32 weeks pregnant with Alava.

And some random color edits I liked as well of most of the same pics.

We sold all our stuff at the Rotaract x Moso’oi Fest Swap Meet

We sold all our stuff at the Rotaract x Moso’oi Fest Swap Meet

We decluttered our house in prep for our baby girl, and sold a bunch of stuff at the Rotaract x Moso’oi Festival Swap Meet back in October.

We’d somehow accumulated more and more stuff despite our number of attempts at minimizing what we own. It was a chance to get rid of the unused masses of mess and allowed us to focus on a ‘fewer but better’ approach — especially with baby soon to come.

It turned out to be a blessing too because we have since relocated. We did the darn thing and actually moved off the island, after many many years of saying ‘maybe next year.’ And now that year has finally come, with opportunities for growing our little family.

I don’t miss our stuff so much, but I am very happy that we got to re-home pretty much all of it! Grateful for the Rotaract x Moso’oi Festival teams for making this swap meet possible. It was also really nice to see American Samoa embracing this mode of sustainable living — using and exchanging things already on island so they continued to be used rather than sent to the landfill.

Maternity shoot x Alafaga

Maternity shoot x Alafaga

My best friend gifted me with some of the best memories as a soon to be mama.

I’ll always look back at these photos and remember all the weekly bumpdates you made me do when I wasn’t feeling it, all the apple waters you fetched for me when I was at my most potato-y, the trip we took to Manu’a, and all the hours we spent huddled over our laptops editing late nights at my office.

Thank you for being there for me at every trimester.

Love you forever my soul sister @alafaga 💌

You. Me. We.

You. Me. We.

I can’t wait for it to be us three.

Throwback to my first trimester… I was actually not feeling great here.

I felt icky and tired, and I hadn’t showered in a while (because I was an actual couch potato!) so my hair was dirty and my skin was dry and oily at the same time.

Still, we wanted to take pics to commemorate this special time… I was just about to get out of the first trimester, into the clear of the second trimester. I was excited to get my energy back, eat food again, and make it into the “safe zone” of pregnancy.

My best friend Gabby was super sweet as always, and encouraged us to come out and shoot some short clips for a reel to announce my pregnancy to family and friends. It was a well-kept secret until then.

So we went out to the back of our house, walked into the mangroves since it was low tide, and Gabby shot some of the most epic clips of us! I’ll always remember this, thanks to Gabby again for capturing us at such a special time of our lives!

Babymoon camera roll

Babymoon camera roll

I’m reliving these precious moments and memories from my babymoon. Slowing down the pace, and breathing in, and out. Letting the warm sun shine on us like we were made to soak in the rays to grow — in the same way nature works it magic for flowers to bloom. It’s not that everything is perfect, it’s that I am allowing every imperfect thing to become part of my growing process.

Baby Moon in Samoa

Baby Moon in Samoa

Flashback to a few months ago… My life was looking and feeling way too busy that I wasn’t really able to enjoy even being pregnant throughout my second trimester. I had more energy and was feeling more “normal” — thankfully. But that actually made me work harder than I probably should have, and I hurried to get as much stuff done as I could do before the impending third trimester, because I heard it was a toughie… *IT IS!

*Me now in the third trimester

Towards the end of my second trimester, I finally booked our tickets and planned our baby moon trip. It was a sort of a combo between a girls trip to celebrate our gal pal, Sam, who was getting married soon, and then I double ended it with a baby moon for me and Ian to soak up our alone time with just us and the baby bump.

The borders were finally open — Let’s go to Samoa!

We all checked in to Taumeasina Island Resort to spend a few days in luxury with all our friends. We got together for fancy dinners out, and swam and hung out by the pool. Ian paid for a 90-minute prenatal massage at the Fofo Spa because I deserved it, he said! So sweet.

Waking up each morning felt romantic, with the light pouring in through the gauzy floor to ceiling curtains that lined the walls, and when drawn, we would take in the expansive ocean views from our Deluxe Oceanview Hotel Room. We were on the first floor, which I greatly preferred because: 1) I wouldn’t have to trudge up any stairs with my newest pregnancy symptom, pelvic girdle pain, and 2) we could walk right out to the lawn and enjoy coffee outside on our patio.

Our group got a rental van and took a road trip to the south of the island for a little adventure. Because of course, what’s a trip to Samoa without visiting the famous To Sua Ocean Trench?!

With tourism just ramping back up in Samoa, there was a small crowd already there, but we got to enjoy the saltwater trench all to ourselves for about an hour too before heading back to our hotel, and going out for pizzas at Giordanos that night.

For our last night of girls night, we went on a fancy dinner out to Paddles Italian Restaurant. We all got dolled up and toasted pretty beverages to a pink and orange setting sun and feasted on all the appetizers, literally. We ordered one of everything on the appetizer menu, and by the time our entrees came out, we were pretty full and most of us took leftovers back with us. The groom to be had won big at the casino so dinner was graciously covered by his good fortune!

When we got back to the hotel, some of the girls caught the second half of the Friday entertainment by the infamous Cindy of Samoa. Meanwhile some of us went back to one of the rooms and prepared some naughty decor and drinks to surprise the soon to be Mrs. with a girls night out on the town — Vegas bachelorette style — complete with a party bus, dedicated driver, all black sexy outfits, and sassy bachelorette sashes for us and the bride to be.

With me being at the cusp of my third trimester, I impressed myself by going out in heels (though they were moderate in height), dancing sober while managing my pelvic pain, and staying out till the club closed down just past midnight (thank God it wasn’t at 2am like back home in AS).

When we finally were done for the night, I jumped back into my cozy bed back at the hotel and by mid-morning, we were packed and checked out, and ready to officially hit the road to start our baby moon!

Ian and I got a car rental and roadtripped it to the south side of the island towards Maninoa Beach Fales. Nestled between two very posh resorts, Sinalei Reef Resort and Coconuts Resort, the spot we booked through AirBnb was the perfect vibe for us. The azure sea and sky welcomed us warmly and we settled in comfortably in our beach fale.

There was a small beach wedding party there when we arrived, but they were just there for the day, and Ian and I got the beach all to ourselves for the evening. Ian dug me up a belly hole so I could lay on my belly, FINALLY, and relax in the shade with a book.

After a big night out for me, I wanted to take it super easy, so I laid out on the beach all afternoon while Ian went and made friends with some of the guys who let him take out a paddle board out for a few hours of SUP surfing.

I felt blissed out and after a shower and a delicious dinner, we chatted in bed about baby and our future and cuddled until the stars came out.

More on the next blog!



A Tropical Beachy Baby Shower

A Tropical Beachy Baby Shower


I feel soooo lucky to call this place home, surrounded by some of the best friends a gal could ask for!

My girlfriends planned this tropical beachy baby shower for me, Ian, and baby Moffitt.

My only request was for it to be a co-ed event so our village of fam and friends — guys, gals, and pets — could join in.

We started off on island time, of course… just a couple hours after the start time on the invitation 😉

Dad started us off with a word of prayer.

Then a buffet of food was ready to be devoured. On the menu, we had:

  • Steaks, burgers, hot dogs from the grill thanks to Tim and Sam
  • A colorful green salad by Chef Dee
  • Mac salad and vaitipolo (freshly squeezed Samoan lemonade) by Traci and Ano
  • Filipino pancit by my mama
  • The best brownies on island, also by Traci and Ano

Everyone rallied for games like guess mama’s bump size, guess the age of baby Relly and baby Ian in the pics (these were displayed as cute centerpieces for each table), tinkle in the potty race, head-shoulders-knees-and-toes grab the diapers as fast as you can, and poppin’ bottles of beer and baby food.

My mom gave some words of advice.

Then Ian went up to the house and brought Yodi down in preparation for our version of a “gender reveal”…

Many thanks to Traci for giving us the idea just hours before the baby shower to have Yodi reveal the gender… we otherwise were just going to announce it by telling everyone because everything else seemed cheesy. Anyway! I had quickly made Yodi a bandana earlier in the morning using fabric scraps from an old tropical green lavalava, and hand stitched a canvas triangle scrap over the green fabric where I used acrylic paint to write out “It’s A Girl”.

For the gender reveal, we asked everyone to stand to our left if they thought it was a girl, and to the right if they thought it was a boy. When the groups were split, we gave one of our friends a piece of hamburger meat so Yodi would go to that side. Gabby counted us down and then we released Yodi from her leash and unfurled her bandana around her neck. It was pretty chaotic because Yodi ran the complete other way at first because she was so excited. From the folks who guessed boy, half yelled and half sighed because they saw that her bandana said “It’s A Girl”, and everyone that guessed girl, all yelled too! They were right!! It was cute.

While Ian and I generally think that gender reveals are a bit dated, and silly, it was a fun way to tell everyone at the same time what the doctor told us… there’s a hamburger down there, not a hot dog! hahaha.

To close off the baby shower, Ian and I shared our heartfelt thanks with everyone. We had a lot of fun, and I was happy that it was still early enough in the afternoon for us to just hang out, or dip out if we wanted to.

I changed into a bikini and got in the water to relax the rest of the day. I was only planning on hanging out in the water for an hour or two… but I ended up staying in the water until a little after 9pm (!) and we saw an epic full moon rise up out of the horizon. It was huge and bright red! It felt like the perfect way to cap the evening — under the moon and stars with our friends, and my little kicking baby bump.

Yes, I’m a Baby Mama

Yes, I’m a Baby Mama

At this point, it’s “old news” but since I’ve not been able to get on my blog for a long while, it’s “new news” on here…

I’m pregnant!

Yes, I’m a Baby Mama!

I am now in my third trimester, and gobsmacked at how fast the time has flown, but also wondering if the next last months are going to drag out. I’m patient though. Baby is kicking a lot and I have grown and changed a lotttt.

Being pregnant is a beautiful thing. I’ve been looking forward to this experience since the Mr. and I decided we were ready to start a family last year. And to be honest, I’ve had a bit of a rough go at pregnancy — nothing too crazy, but it’s been a roller coaster for sure. These days, even with all the aches and pains that come along with growing a human, I’m grateful to be where we are now, and for an exciting new chapter to come.

I’m adding a “Motherhood” category on my blog so in the future I can look back at this whole adventure, and in the meantime, share my evolution in words and photos whilst in the throes of my new life as a mama.

Cheers to me (honestly) and to all the mamas out there!

Sending all the hugs and belly rubs to new moms-to-be too!

xo, Nerelle

Photos of me at 24 weeks pregnant by my darling husband.

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.

You are the greatest project you will ever work on

You are the greatest project you will ever work on

I put this lil mood board together when I was in a funk about a month ago. I clearly haven’t been sharing much on here, but I think I’m ready to come back to my online home. This was nice to find in my drafts though because it’s a reminder that I am always a work in progress. Life is like the ocean and I am but a wave in constant ebb and flow.

I think this is my upcoming 2022 anthem — you are the greatest project you will ever work on.