Life Lately, in iPhone Photos

red sandals (water-friendly Jack Rogers!) | denim shorts (if you’re going to buy one pair of shorts this spring make it this pair.  I seriously live in them!) 

The month of December was crazy!  Our home had a revolving door of visitors, which was lots of fun and it allowed us to play tourist a little more than we normally do when we’re out in Hawaii on our own.  My parents showed up first, then my brother Nathan and his wife Nina visited for a week, then our dear friends from NYC visited us over Christmas.  It was so much fun and we crammed a whole lot in!  It’s so easy to get comfortable with our normal routine of school, gym, running, Target, Costco, etc. and forget to explore the beautiful island we live on.  Sooooo…here are some iPhone photos from this past month (some edited, some not).  I already shared my Army Navy game attire here, my marathon recap here, and our Santa visit here in case you’re interested seeing how the rest of the month looked for us!

hiking with children

hiking with kids

athletic tank (I have this in 4 colors, they’re great!) | similar trail shoes (mine are 5 years old) | toddler carrier

When my mom and dad were here we hiked Likeke Falls with a few of my friends and their toddlers.  It’s a pretty short hike and not really strenuous.  Definitely muddy though.  Park at the Ko’olua Golf Club…do not go where Google maps takes you because it’s a totally different hike! 

acai bowls
North Shore Oahu


North Shore
North Shore

North Shore Oahu
  saltwater sandals | white tank (old from Walmart!) | denim shorts | sunglasses (pretty much the only ones I wear because they’re black and brown and go with everything…and they’re 7 years old!) | striped sweater (old from J.Crew Factory)

Two days after the marathon we went up to the North Shore.  We had acai bowls at Haleiwa Bowls, then drove to Waimea Bay and then on to Sunset Beach.  The waves at Sunset were massive and there were so many talented surfers to watch.


shave ice

After that we headed back to Haleiwa and ate lunch at one of the many shrimp trucks.  Turns out Caroline likes garlic shrimp…who would have thought?  Then on to Matsumoto’s for shave ice.  We were back in time for Jack to get home from school, and even though it wasn’t a super long trip we had a wonderful time exploring a different side of the island.  (It’s best to go to the North Shore during the week when the traffic isn’t as bad.)

pink sandals (only $39.95 and they’re amazing) | hammock (2 person and packs into a tiny square!) | denim shorts 

We also stayed in a cabin on the beach at Bellows Air Force Station for two nights.  This is a fantastic resources for those of you who are military!  Bellows has cabins, tent sites, rustic cedar cabins and even condos you can rent for a fraction of what it would cost to stay in a hotel.  (The 4 of us stayed in a cabin, my parents camped and my brother and his wife stayed in a cedar cabin, so we pretty much tried out all of the lodging options!)  Our 2 bedroom cabin was $105 a night and right on the beach.  It can be tough to get reservations but it’s always worth checking to see if there have been any cancellations (I secured ours the week of, even though a month earlier we had been told there were no openings).  Going during the middle of the week when school is in session is another way to increase your chances.  It was really windy the entire time and rather chilly too, so we didn’t get to enjoy the beach as much as we would have liked to, but it was still fun to get away for a few days.  There is a mini golf course, a driving range, volleyball net and you can rent all sorts of things, so it’s a great place for a family getaway. 

my sandals (I call them my adventure sandals because they’re so durable) | athletic tank (I have this in 4 colors, I love the sheer stripes!) | denim shorts

While we were at Bellows we went and hiked the Lanikai Pillboxes.  This isn’t the best for kids (my parents stayed with Caroline) because there are some pretty big drop offs.  Jack did well, though because of the strong winds that day we turned around about half way up.  This hike provides such a spectacular view of the Mokes and it’s definitely worth doing.  Parking is tough in Lanikai though, so make sure you go really early if you decide to do it.

hiking in Hawaii

On our way home after 2 nights at Bellows we stopped at Koko Head and my dad, Nathan, Nina and I hiked it.  Mom stayed back with the kids at the playground in the park.  It’s a strenuous hike and you must bring water with you and wear good shoes.  You essentially climb train tracks the entire way up so it’s a tough workout.  It’s also best to get an early start because the sun can be brutal if you do it in the afternoon.  The view from the top is always incredible!

White Plains Beach

Albion Fit 

my Albion Fit swimsuit | hat is old from H&M

One thing Nathan and Nina wanted to do while they were here was surf.  We don’t own surfboards so we went to White Plains Beach, which is a military beach that is open to the public.  This is a great place to learn to surf because the beach is wide and the waves are the perfect size for learning.  If you’re military you can rent boards for $7 an hour.  I had surfed here once before when I lived here in 2010 but had a 12 foot longboard that time and it was so big that I couldn’t even control it.  This time I used an 8 foot board and had a much better experience.  I caught a lot of waves and had the best time!  Talk about an arm/shoulder workout…I was sore for a few days afterwards!  

my cover-up is old from J.Crew Factory | Jack’s puddle jumper cover is from Smocked Auctions

After my family left our friends Niki and Leo showed up!  They’re the best kind of couple friends because all four of us get along so well.  We went to Pokai Bay with them and a few other friends one day.  This is a great locals-only type beach out on the west side of the island.  The water is incredibly calm and it’s a great place for little kids.  This is a pretty unknown beach to tourists, but it’s beautiful and a great place to camp out for a few hours.  I brought our Cool Cabana tent that I bought last summer and every time I put it up I am so glad I bought it.  It’s a million times easier to put up than a traditional tent, and it’s actually made for the beach.  It has pockets in the fabric that you fill up with sand so you don’t have to mess around with stakes.  It’s genius!  If you’re military you can access Pililaau Army Recreation Center (there are cabins you can rent), though we typically just go to the public beach park.

my striped shirt (I have it in all 3 colors, it’s my favorite button-down ever) | kids’ table (only $50 and incredibly sturdy) | kids Eames chairs (similar, mine are Hobby Lobby from a few years ago) | kids ghost chair | gingham mat/picnic blanket

We made cookies on Christmas Eve and it Jack really got into it.  We used my grandmother’s fail proof recipe and the simple frosting recipe (at the end of the page) she swears by.  They never let me down and always turn out perfectly!  Plates are by Kerri Makes (her shop is currently closed but I think it should open back up this month).  

kids’ pajamas (Hanna Andersson makes the best ones!) | my swimsuit (old J.Crew Factory)

We celebrated Christmas at home, then went for a morning family run, and then after naps we went to the pool at the Marriott in Ko Olina, because that’s where our friends were staying.  It was a great way to celebrate Christmas in Hawaii!

sneakers | athletic tights | striped athletic tank

We did a good bit of running over the break, but not a ton because the marathon is over and I don’t want to kill myself anymore.  Jack’s new thing is running with us once we get back in the neighborhood.  I’m so proud of the little athlete he’s become!

scallop tortoise shell earrings | sandals (similar, this exact pair is sold out) | scallop shorts (old J.Crew) | flutter tank (old J.Crew Factory)

My dear friend Holly and her family (one of Jack’s best buddies) moved away on New Years Eve, so we squeezed in one last zoo trip with them before they left.  We have had an annual membership to the Honolulu Zoo the whole time we’ve lived here and it makes so much sense and pays for itself in less than 2 visits.  Just an FYI if you live here too.  Tom and I had lunch at The Street in the International Marketplace, which is our go to when we’re in Waikiki.  Affordable food that is so good!  It’s like a foodcourt but it’s all one restaurant.  Definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been there.

We went on a lot of walks around our house, which means lots of playing in the dirt for the kids.  They always get messy but it’s such a nice way to end our day!

dress (last summer Vineyard Vines) | earrings (current version, I have these in 2 colors and LOVE them) | Caroline’s shoes (old Mini Melissa) | dress (hand me down Lilly Pulitzer)

For New Years we celebrated at a friend’s house nice and early so that none of us had to stay up until midnight.  It was fun for the kids and parents!

So that’s what December looked like for us.  The highlights of it, anyway.  I tried to link all of my outfit details in case anyone is interested!

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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