A Day with The Salty Blonde

In Hawaii, they’re slippahs, not flip-flops, and you can wear them just about anywhere: the beach, the pool, the shops, the bars, and your neighborhood açai joint. To get a feel for local culture—and fashion sense that goes way beyond those touristy aloha shirts—we spent the day with one of O’ahu’s best dressed: a local who goes by the name The Salty Blonde.

How long have you lived here?

“I came to Hawaii two years ago with my boyfriend, who got a job out here as a teacher. I didn’t want to move to Boston, where he was based, and he didn’t want to move to New York City, where I was living at the time, so we ‘compromised’ on Hawaii. It was the greatest decision of our lives!”

JDVpic1Arriving at Shoreline Hotel Waikiki

Tell us about your perfect day in Honolulu.

“Living on the North Shore, I don’t get to Honolulu as much as I’d like. So when I do, I try to take full advantage! I start off with coffee and an açai bowl at this cute café called Heavenly, located right below Shoreline Hotel Waikiki. Then… Well, it’s Waikiki, so time for some heavy shopping, obviously!

Once I’ve had my fill, I head to the beach to tan and people-watch; this area has some of the best. If I have time, I climb aboard Sunset Booze Cruise, one of the better deals on the island. Think gorgeous views and Mai Tais galore. Afterwards, we might hit some of the lesser-known dive bars, or just head back to unwind at the hotel. I love the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, and like to think of it as almost a tiny, tropical NYC. After a couple of days, I’m ready to ship back up to the country and detox.”

JDVpic5Sunning on Waikiki Beach

Do you get any fashion inspiration from time spent in the great outdoors?

“Always! Around here, there’s inspiration everywhere you turn. I’m a huge fan of colorful tropical prints, ocean blues, and lush greenery, and there’s no better place than Hawaii for that. We have hibiscus flowers right in our yard, and they’re bigger than my head! I also want everything to be palm leaf or banana leaf print right now (it’s an obsession), so the flora in the courtyard of Coconut Waikiki Hotel was a welcome sight.”

JDVpic7Downtime at Coconut Waikiki Hotel

Describe your style ethos in five words.

“Boho, beachy, tropical, retro, casual.”

JDVpic10v2Pau hana at Heavenly Island Lifestyle

What’s your “happy place,” where you go to think, reflect, recharge, relax?

“The beach on the North Shore, for sure. It’s a bit typical, but true. It’s where I go when I need a break and some alone time. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I’m the only person on the whole beach! It has a therapeutic effect, and I could spend hours there… with lots of sunscreen, of course. It’s also my favorite date night spot. Grab a six-pack and some food-truck grub, and watch what I consider the best sunset in the world.”

JDVpic4Exploring the luxury boutiques on Kalakaua Avenue

What are some of your favorite fashion trends?

“I can’t live without my hats. The bigger, the better! Pair yours with a good pair of sunnies, and you’re good to go. I’m also really digging matching sets at the moment. They’re super feminine while remaining fun and funky. And the most important part? They’re actually comfortable! I think people can pull off whatever they want to wear, no matter where they are… as long as they exude confidence and feel good in what they’re in. In experimenting with fashion, I’ve learned not to care what people think. And that’s been really liberating.”

JDVpic8v2On the lanai at Coconut Waikiki Hotel

Best spots for consignment shopping on O’ahu?

Green Gypsy Thrift Shop in Waialua has an awesome, wholly unique selection! I’ve been known to bring some of my clothing there.”

JDVpic6v2The lush courtyard at Coconut Waikiki Hotel

I guess we have to spend some time indoors, too. What are you reading/watching these days?

“My boyfriend and I have our rotation of shows that we watch at night when the workday’s done. Veep, Modern Family, and Silicon Valley, to name a few. I’m a fan of comedies on TV—light, feel-good stuff—and the same goes for my reading material. I’ll admit to flipping through US Weekly every now and then, and I just finished Mindy Kaling’s book. It’s laugh-out-loud funny! I have a giant girl crush on her, so her show, The Mindy Project, is a favorite, too.”

JDVpic9The pool area at Coconut Waikiki Hotel

Best poke in Hawaii… Give us the deets.

Pupukea Grill on the North Shore, definitely. Try it ASAP and thank me later.”

JDVpic2The light-filled lobby at Shoreline Hotel Waikiki

Where are you traveling next?

“Back to the mainland for an East Coast tour to visit family and friends, celebrate my Mom’s 60th birthday, and attend a couple of weddings. It’s been a while since I’ve been back, so I’m excited to catch up with everyone—and have tons of New York pizza! It’s going to be a whirlwind and I’m not looking forward to those long flights, but it’s always worth it.”

JDVpic3The rooftop pool at Shoreline Hotel Waikiki