a weekend at monarch beach!

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we spent the weekend before last at the st. regis monarch beach after they kindly extended the invitation for us to come visit! since it was our 8th wedding anniversary weekend as well as father’s day, it felt like the perfect place to celebrate it all, and celebrate we did! my sister hannah flew in for the weekend as well! it was so nice having her there and also having her help with the little ones while josh and i snuck away to dinner just the two of us on our anniversary and did a few other things. thanks, hannah!

the st. regis property at monarch beach is just breathtaking! from the rooms to the pools to the menu to the beach, it’s evident that every last detail is looked after.  we enjoyed s’mores on the beach at sunset, a day of whale and dolphin watching from a boat, a private lesson and game of croquet, a scavenger hunt all around the grounds for eleanor and samson, afternoons at the pool and some of the most delicious meals.

we always have so much fun putting together little videos so here’s one with some footage from our weekend, and then lots of photos below! (music in the video is “oceans” by kim edwards.)

and now, get ready for a bajillion photos because editing them down to just a few was impossible. editing in general is not my strength.

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pretty sure the highlight of walking into our hotel room for eleanor was discovering her mini robe and slippers! it is just so sweet how much this little lady loves her pj’s and comfy clothes each day. she’s even asked to wear her robe a couple of times around the apartment since we’ve gotten back. she loves it.

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conrad’s face here is epic. he’s like, “MOM. SERIOUSLY. HELP.” can you believe how big he looks here though?! where is my baby?

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if your kids are going to wake up at the crack of dawn on vacation, room service certainly does make the crazy hour wake up call worth it.

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our family likes to “ching-ching” with our glasses! it’s so cute that the kids do this all on their own and we’ll say “to eleanor!” or “to samson!”

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so lucky to have my sister hannah with us! she is getting married next month and we couldn’t be more excited for her.  we had fun together after everyone went to sleep a few nights in there going over her wedding planning and details. she’s got such a good one in the works!

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okay, so most definitely the best part of the weekend for me was our croquet lesson. mainly, because we really got into it and wore all white for the experience. :) and secondly, because josh played most of the game with a baby in his arms, and that to me, was just perfect.

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the kids did so well playing until they discovered that the croquet mallets could be turned upside down and used as pretend crutches!

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a family photo memorializing this epic adventure! what a fun afternoon! if you go, i can’t recommend this activity enough! we need a croquet set in our lives. but i guess we need a yard first. ha!

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we spent a few hours each day down at the pool! i have three water babies who live for time in the water and it just makes me so happy to see them splash and play and make such fun memories together in the water!

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can we talk about that sunset for a minute?! because REALLY. could it be any more beautiful?

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a downfall to city living is being behind on our swimming skills (we don’t have too many pools near us for practice).  we worked hard a couple of afternoons in there to take the “floaties” off and practice floating and doggy paddles and putting our head under the water! so proud of both eleanor and samson for being so brave and going for it!

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the crab cake eggs benedict from st. regis’ motif restaurant was delicious! we ordered it a second time our last day it was so good.

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conrad didn’t get any of the eggs benedict, but he did enjoy a mashed up banana that morning! i love this stage where they are so eager and interested in food!

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a boy and his balloon!

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so i have to take a second and tell you about one of the coolest things we experienced at st. regis. their butler service! have you ever tried something like that before? we hadn’t, but i found it incredibly helpful! they can unpack everything for you, steam and iron your clothing, shine your shoes, bring a juice or coffee and croissants to your room every morning and pretty much anything to be helpful to you and make your stay better. it was such a cool experience to try out!

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sneaking away for a little romantic anniversary dinner!

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josh had chocolate covered strawberries (with the fanciest gold on top) delivered to our room the morning of. samson might have eaten the majority, but he’ll tell you they were delicious! ;)  also, the lobster pot pie at their stonehill tavern restaurant (you can see the full creation in the video) was so good! the presentation (they bring it out to the table as a full pie and cut and dish it for you right there) was exciting and unique and we scraped the dish clean.

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the happiest water baby you ever did see! he loves to stick his tongue out when he’s extra happy!

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the kids had a lot of fun on a scavenger hunt one morning around the st. regis grounds! we called it a “treasure hunt” since they understand that a bit better, and they had a great time following their map and looking for clues hidden in tiny boxes around the halls and lobby and gardens.

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beach day!

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we enjoyed lunch down at the beach at the monarch bay club’s restaurant one day where my sister ordered some of the prettiest fish tacos i ever did see!

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ah, take me back!!!!!

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see! there’s the tongue thing again! we all have noticed that everyone in our family has been sticking their tongues out more when conrad does it. ha!

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we wanted to surprise our papa with a fun breakfast in bed on father’s day! since he’s eating super clean and doesn’t eat delicious stuff like sugar, we had to resort to a bowl of oatmeal and juice. but with the help of samson, he ate the entire bowl, so i think he liked it. and how cute is eleanor’s little whale under the water drawing on her card for him?

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we went to church on sunday morning, and came back to the hotel to a special father’s day buffet brunch the hotel was serving. they seriously were serving everything, from oysters and sushi to pancakes and waffles and everything in between.  we stuffed ourselves silly. i don’t think any other buffet with ever compare. i mean, they probably had 25 different desserts alone!

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the st. regis set up a fun day of whale watching for us with captain dave and we had a great time out on the water on a boat where we saw 4 different kinds of whales and so many dolphins up close (you can see them in the video!). it’s an experience none of us will forget! you could even crawl down under the boat and sit in these glass pod things to watch the dolphins and whales under water while we were in the ocean!

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on our first night, we had fun roasting marshmallows at the beach together! we also had a mini family talent show around the fire where we took turns introducing one another as special entertainers and performers and sang or danced or acted something out for each other! without question, the best part of the show was when samson pretended to be a “toy soldier.” i don’t think describing it will do it justice, but all of us adults were definitely crying from laughing so hard. it’s going down as one of my top 5 best memories of that kiddo so far.  it was just classic samson and executed in the sweetest and silliest way possible.  such a fun night!
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and riding in this adorable teeny tiny tram was another big highlight for not just the kids, but us too! it’s how you get to the golf course and  private beach, and the drivers were always so nice letting samson and eleanor sit up front with them and push the gate buttons and things.  i don’t know what i’m going to do when those kids are old enough to DRIVE!

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it was most definitely a weekend we will not forget, one where we felt so special and well taken care of.  it was impressive just how helpful and diligent the staff at the st. regis was to make sure our stay was nothing short of the absolute best.  we truly felt spoiled and will forever hold onto these special family memories made.

a special thank you to st. regis monarch beach, with whom this post is in partnership, for having us. and for making our stay such a wonderful one.

  1. Lauren

    That looks like pure luxury. Maybe someday if I win the lottery!!!

  2. That was only a weekend???? Well you did a lot of things!!! Lovely adorable pictures! Samson is the best!
    Oh, and vogratulations to your sister for her wedding! I love weddings… wedding planning is the best! ;)
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  3. carly

    Looks like a wonderful weekend of celebrating and of course the hotel looks like a dream! Happy belated anniversary!
    Dresses & Denim

  4. Gabriella

    I’ve always loved your videos, Naomi! So glad to see more and more popping up in my feed. Looks like you had a fantastic vacation and how wonderful that you were able to have your sister with you! x

  5. bri

    i love that your sister got to come visit and you got some alone time (and photos of the whole family! that’s so special and rare!). it looks like you all had the best time!

  6. Eva

    Loved this post so much and your adorable family!

  7. Great post with tons of fun memories! I love how your kiddos really have different unique personalities that come out in the photos. A very blessed family!

  8. Jackie

    Lovely pictures! What lens did u use in your trip?

    • TAZA

      thanks jackie! i used my portrait lens for most of the pictures and video with my canon 6D!

  9. Melissa

    So… about ALL the clothes your wore in these photos, where from. bc SO CUTE Can you share?

    • TAZA

      thank you! i meant to include… sorry! my white dress and blouse on the boat are from Other Stories and my swim suit is by Nanette Lepore. platform wedges are from Anthropologie and my sunglasses are by Karen Walker!

  10. Conny

    This is why i love working in Hospitality. The ability to be able to create a forever memory for a single person or even better, a whole family is priceless. Thank you for sharing so many beautiful photos with us!

  11. justine

    This looks amazing! I bought a similar pair of wedge sandals that you are wearing in the croquet photos … I’ve nearly twisted my ankle a dozen times (and have fallen in front of people once) – any tips on wearing? :-)
    Seriously, photos are gorgeous!

    • TAZA

      oh no! i have that issue with most high heels but platforms somehow feel more stable to me? definitely not as table as a flat shoe though, which is why i pretty much only wear heels or platforms on special occasions these days. flats are where it’s at! ;)

  12. Emi

    This is heavenly! Some of the cutest photos ever on your blog :)

    Xxx

  13. What a beautiful place! The photos are too sweet – especially little Conrad’s tongue sticking out!

    C x | Lux Life

  14. Melissa

    What a fun weekend!! Everything looks beautiful :) These posts make me so excited to go to Cali next month!

    http://www.melismcgrath.com

  15. Rae

    Looks like a fantastic trip! That’s awesome that the hotel is so accommodating and has all those fun things to do :)

    -Rae
    studentsandstyle.wordpress.com

  16. Jenn

    Wow what a vacation! We have a family of five and are always trying to plan fun events to the beach! There are chaotic moments but the memories will always last! Great photos and so happy you were in our neck of the woods!

  17. Jessie

    two worlds colliding! KIM EDWARDS played at my wedding!!!!

  18. glenny

    beautiful photos! i’m curious, what do you use to edit your photos? :)

  19. Amanda Lee

    What a gorgeous vacation! Looks like you all had a boatload of fun. Is Hannah not a Mormon? I noticed that she has some tattoos!

  20. Paige

    This looks like it was such a fun trip and your family is so beautiful! I don’ think I can ever tell you that enough!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  21. hanna

    It looks like a great time! –Hanna Lei

  22. Leslie

    I live 2 minutes away, isn’t it the most beautiful property ever! Walk my pup thru there daily, may have to plan a “staycation” soon!!

  23. Emily

    Adorable video! Amazing seeing the dolphins underwater, but I got nervous seeing Conrad by the boat side going so fast!
    Looks like a wonderful memory!

  24. Kaitlin

    Just beautiful–and so much to celebrate! As always, thanks for sharing!

  25. Jen

    Looks like a great trip — they really pulled out all the stops for you and the fam! Can you tell me where Conrad’s rash guard hooded shirt and long pants? I have a 6 month little girl and could really use something like that for her this summer at the beach.
    Thanks!
    Jen

  26. Giselle

    Vacation goals!!! Such lovely photos of you and your beautiful family. You look so tan – is a tan spray? If so, what brand, please?

  27. Naomi, It was such an honor and delight to host your gracious and adorable family. We hope that you will forever cherish these Southern California moments!

  28. Lucy

    Love love love!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Looks like you had a brilliant time!!! <3

    Thanks for all the photos you shared and the video… I can never get enough of your photos!!
    Lovely that Hannah could visit and can't believe her wedding is next month… wonderful!!

    X x x

  29. Thank you for sharing your beautiful family and memories with us! I love the positive and happy outlook you guys have on children and family. It makes me excited about doing the same with my kid(s) in the future. May God continue to bless you! <3

  30. Kelly

    Hi there! Love the post- amazing photos! Quick question… do you know where your sister’s white dress is from? I’ve been searching for something similar! Thanks so much!

    • TAZA

      i believe her white dress was a vintage find!

  31. I loved that short film. What program do you use to edit your videos?

    Thanks!
    Sarah
    sarahesh.com

    • TAZA

      thanks! i used final cut pro.

  32. Deborah

    Beautiful place and seems you guys had a lot of fun! Hope to go there someday.
    The pictures were amazing either, you are a very talented photographer.

    xo, Deborah
    http://www.loveandeverythingblog.com

  33. Katie

    I always love your videos! Where do you get the music you use? Beautiful family, as always!

  34. Susanna

    Beautiful pictures,,, you definitely had the opportunity to create unforgettable memories! Do you know how a family like yours is called in German? ‘Bilderbuchfamilie’ … literally translated it’s ‘picture-book family’ (‘picture-perfect family’) All the best for you and your Bilderbuchfamilie! :-)

  35. Sarah

    Absolutely beautiful Naomi! Happy Anniversary to you and Josh! Thank you for convincing me and my fam we NEED to go on a vacation and to this very magical spot! Welcome home (and happy summer!)!

  36. Callie

    Hi Naomi! I was just wondering where you put all your clothes because you seem to always be buying/ being given new ones to wear! Do you have storage elsewhere?

    • TAZA

      i don’t have storage elsewhere. just my closet here in the city! it’s kind of a mess though right now. i donate clothes often and occasionally have a closet sale on instagram.

  37. Cat

    Big fan of the “ching-ching” with my besties! Looks like an amazing time!

  38. Emily

    The editing in these pictures is so perfect!

  39. Kelsey

    I dream of having a family like yours one day. Your life is truly beautiful!

  40. Ashlee

    Just got home from a two week California vacation as well and am still going through editing soooooo many photos, so hard to pick the best out!!

    http://www.tusksandtails.com
    @favro

  41. Liz

    Hey Naomi! Is your sister Hannah a dancer too? You two have impeccable form!!

  42. Patience

    “… and did a few other things.” Hubba hubba, Happy Anniversary you love birds ;).

  43. Your bathing suit is beautiful!

    Christine | DimesandDonuts.com

  44. Leiana

    Hi Naomi! Always love your pictures.

    When you say “portrait lens” do you mean the 50mm? I ask because I have the same lens, but find it hard to use sometimes because I’m not sure how far away I’ll have to be to get a good (full-body type) picture (especially in restaurants or crowded places).

    Do you have any tips for using this type of lens?

    Thank you! xx

    • TAZA

      yes, sorry! the 50 mm portrait lens. i think you just start to get used to shooting with it, i don’t feel like it’s too close now, i think i’m just used to having it as a fixed lens.

  45. Sara

    Um. I love that dress, absolutely obsessed. Seriously, if I had not already married the man of my dreams, that would be my intended wedding dress. A casual, fun summer wedding of course. Ugh, so perfect! Thanks for the source!

  46. Jennifer

    where is your white panama hat from? I’m dying for one this summer!

    • TAZA

      thanks! it’s from imogene and willie!

  47. Kinga

    gorgeous family,
    lovely photos ♥

  48. AGATA

    hi Davis Family!

    Wonderful pictures, amazing video! Congrats on those 8 years together!
    you are the best family I’ve ever seen! and Naomi, I love your hats ;)

    take care, xoxo

    http://www.am-kubicowelove.blogspot.com

  49. Carson

    What a place ! Have a question though- in all truth- all sponsorships aside, was it actually a good place to be with toddlers ? We have two under two and this place looks great- ( as long as there’s a pool or beach they’re happy) I’m just wondering if it’s too fancy for littles? I guess what I’m asking is- were you up tight feeling like you had to shush them and make them behave perfectly the whole time or was it laid back comfortable and excepting of little kids and their antics ! ? i hope that makes some sense . Would you genuinely recommend going here on vacation to a family with two toddlers ? Any feedback/ advice would be appreciated ! Thanks Naomi- and – obbbbviously looking fabulous and beautiful as usual ;)

    • TAZA

      hey carson, i truly wouldn’t recommend it for a family if we hadn’t had such a great experience with our family. the staff was nothing but friendly and helpful, and our kids had the best time. at the table one morning i forgot conrad’s baby food in our room and asked for a banana mentioning i forgot his food so i thought i’d mash one up for him at the table and they brought a mashed up banana in a bowl for him which i thought was such a sweet gesture. so yes, i think it’s super accommodating for families and children, and caters to all sorts of hotel guests. i hope you’re able to make it there with your little ones and that you love it!

  50. Kristin

    What a beautiful place and vacation!!!! Everything looked so amazing and your pictures are really beautiful!! Thanks for sharing them!!!xoxo

  51. Jessica

    What an amazing weekend! You did so much I can’t believe it was just a weekend and only a smidgen of your California vacation!

  52. I just really love your style of photgraphing and filming. It’s amazing! What do you use to film these videos?

    • TAZA

      thank you! i used our canon 6d camera to shoot!

  53. So honored that you used “Oceans” in your video! :) And what an AMAZING trip for you and your family — that place looked incredible!

    • TAZA

      oh my gosh so honored you saw this! i love your music!!!!

  54. Tania

    Hey Naomi,

    These are so wonderful, looks like you guys had the best time! Was wondering if any of these photos are stills from the video you took on your Canon? Noticed that some of the stills coincide with the exact shots from the video & I haven’t played with this at all but would love to. I often feel torn between capturing a moment on video or with a single shot so I’d love to know more about it & how you find it!

    Hope you’re all doing great & enjoying the Summer thus far :)

    xo

    • TAZA

      they are photos actually.. when you’re shooting you can toggle back and forth between snapping photos too (at least with my canon 6d) so i took a lot of photos as well. i know many use stills from their film footage though, i just don’t know how crisp it all is. need to learn more about it for sure!

  55. Valerie

    Wow! It looks like so much fun! I love the pictures. They are great. The angle you got on the table with food is so cool. How did you manage to get it looking straight down like that? Also, adorable kids (as always!!) Conrad looks so big in that one picture…where you said he looks so big. Lol! Also, great bathing suit! It looks so good. Glad you had fun.
    (p.s. I remember playing croquet at my grandparents’ house when I was really little – great memories)

    http://whineandvegancheese.com

    • TAZA

      i totally stood up on the chair to get that shot. lol. no shame! how fun about your grandparent’s house and croquet! i wanna do that for my grandkids someday!

  56. Sara

    Hi Naomi!
    You all look fabulous! I love the little videos you make, what program do you use?
    Sara

    • TAZA

      thank you! i’ve been using final cut pro to make the videos!

  57. Alison

    I am a long-time super fan of your site!! I have to ask…who made the white swimsuit and cover-up you wore? I know the other one is Nanette Lepore, but didn’t know about that one.
    On a side note, thank you for your daily inspiration. What a refreshing, wonderful place you’ve created! xoxo

    • TAZA

      the white swimsuit is from amazon but i don’t know the brand name off the top of my head. the cover up is from anthropologie.

  58. Laila

    This looks awesome! I would love to have a relaxing vacation like this ^_^

    Laila from Townhouse Palette

  59. Christine

    Hi Taza,
    Where is your beautiful white hat from?
    xx Christine

    • TAZA

      thanks! it’s from imogene and willie shop!

  60. Mallory

    I think it’s great how you guys love spending time as a family. It really seems like you savour every moment together, and I think that’s such a lovely witness to the world! I would love to hear how your faith has impacted how you live your life as a mother!

  61. Marta

    <3

  62. Marijana

    What solid foods did you first offer Conrad? And did you wait until he was 6 months old? My son is 5 and a half months old but he started to seem hungry to me…he is also sleeping poorly at night, all of a sudden. Thanks!
    P.S. Love your photos as always

    • TAZA

      i started him about a week before he turned 6 months. just a little oatmeal mixed with breast milk at first but then did some peas and sweet potatoes and now he’s kind of eating everything pureed. he loves them! you can talk to your pediatrician to know when is best for you babe!

  63. vicky

    looks so fun!!! happy belated anniversary & Father’s day to Josh!

  64. jaana

    how is this even possible! it all looks like a magical dream! too awesome.

  65. Melissa

    You have a beautiful family! That video was simply lovely. Thank you for sharing!

  66. Julia

    This looks like seriously the dreamiest vacation! Maybe one weekend in the faarrr off future when I’m not totally broke and want to spoil myself :D

    Julia

    ExploresMore.com

  67. Erin

    Have I ever tried the butler service…Do Super 8’s and Best Western’s have those?

  68. Rachel

    I absolutely love how much happiness your entire family spreads! Your children of course — but it begins with you and your hubby! You guys are always smiling and choosing joy, and I know that it isn’t easy. The Joy of the Lord clearly is your strength and you guys inspire me to choose joy. I just love you guys!

  69. MONARCH BEACH is a really great place for the year necessarily going there with my family :)

  70. Eileen

    WHERE did you get your cream fringe cover up!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I NEED it in my life :)

    • TAZA

      from anthropologie!

  71. Kelleyn

    I have stayed next door at the Ritz, but I have to say the Monarch is stunning. Look at that pool! Glad you had such a special anniversary. Wishing you many years more of happiness!

  72. Queenie

    Looks like you all had a wonderful time! xx