The Like-a-Local Guide to Oahu Life with Surfer Tara Michie


It’s one thing to know that there’s more to Oahu than the crystal clear waters and lush views you’ve double-tapped on Instagram. It’s another thing to actually find those hidden gems, like where to get the freshest poke or catch some late-night music. That’s why, after we wrapped a recent photo shoot, we asked Hawaiian native, surfer and creative director Tara Michie—whose work includes directing ad campaigns for swim and surf brands—to show us exactly how and where to do Oahu like a local.

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Mara Hoffman’s Top 5 Swim Spots


Bikini days are on the horizon, which means it’s time to plan—or at least start seriously dreaming about—your next getaway, complete with blue skies and a swimsuit to match. This is where designer Mara Hoffman, part of our Labels We Love family, comes in. She’s not only a master of flattering and colorful suits, but she has also perfected the great escape—especially when swimming is involved (places with volcanoes optional, though Mara-recommended). In no particular order, Mara gives us her five favorite heaven-on-earth swim spots.

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Three Talented Ladies, Three Winter Escapes

As you can probably tell from the bikini picture, we’ve got vacation on the brain. We asked three of our favorite creative ladies whose work inspires us to spill their own winter getaway plans. And, because we couldn’t help ourselves, we had to know the one thing they always pack, no matter what the destination.


Mara Hoffman: Swimwear designer extraordinaire (aka, the genius brain behind the most amazingly covetable psych-art prints around)

Where are you headed for a winter escape?

I’m hoping to get away to Miami the second fashion week is over!

Is there anything you always like to travel with?

I have a weird thing where I have to wear a special bracelet when I fly.

Sadie Stein: Talented scribe, deputy editor of the Paris Review, bespectacled gal icon

Where are you headed for a winter escape?

I’m not typically a tropical-vacation kind of girl, but the recent frigid weather has everyone dreaming of sun. My dream getaway is something low-key and easy, like Florida’s Pine Island, a 17-mile refuge on the Gulf Coast that’s filled with charm and natural beauty. A weekend of reading and biking sounds just about perfect right about now.

Is there anything you always like to travel with?

Whenever I travel, I get a new perfume. Nothing expensive—in fact, samples are perfect for most vacations—but it needs to be something I’ve never worn before. I spray it on before I leave for the airport and immediately feel like my vacation has started. Later, whenever I smell that scent, it takes me immediately back to my trip. 

Shruti Rya Ganguly: Senior producer at MTV World, producer and director at James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions, maker of music videos we actually want to watch

Where are you headed for a winter escape?

In the winter, I usually head home to Oman in the Middle East for a much-needed getaway. I get to see my family and friends for the holidays, and am by/in/under the sea almost every day whether I’m going for a jog, a swim or for some scuba diving. Oman is also the type of place where time is on your side and you can sit back, relax and recoup. 

Is there anything that you always like to travel with?

When I travel, I always take my diver’s log book so I can document my dives.