Still Not a Housewife: My OC Trip Recap

My job is 75% travel. Most of the time, I’m whisked away to glamorous places like Owensboro, Kentucky, or Little Rock, Arkansas, or even Bismarck, North Dakota. But occasionally I am forced to go somewhere like Southern California in January. Ugh…I guess…

But seriously, I love my job and the people I get to work with everyday. Each year, we start with a team offsite to set our goals and intentions for the upcoming year. It is seriously the best way to start a new chapter. And why not meet somewhere beautiful like Orange County?!

When I heard that we would be staying and meeting at the Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort, I was elated! When I travel, I am a Marriott ride or die. But give me a Kimpton property all day, ery day!

As soon as I walked in, I was reminded why I love Kimpton properties. They have such attention to every last detail and ensure that every touch is positive and lasting. Check out this lobby and the gorgeous sunflowers (my absolute fave!) that greeted me at check in! They even have a special check in experience for their puppy guests! (Don’t tell Roxy!)

After checking in, I went to check out my room, because I know that Kimpton knows how to decorate a guest room. And I was not disappointed! It’s like they were inside my head with all my favorite colors and textures, and the shower of my dreams. And right outside my room, my balcony overlooked the indoor rock climbing gym! (You done real good here, Kimpton.)

After dropping my bags, I walked over a couple of blocks to meet some people that had already arrived. We had a little bit of time to kill before the rest of our crew landed, so we walked around Downtown Huntington Beach. So many cute restaurants and shops, and they still had up their big Christmas tree!

After we had the whole gang together, we walked over to the beach to walk along the Huntington Beach pier. The views were breathtaking! Every day should include a view that requires absolutely no filter.

We walked along, taking pictures, checking out the shops, and even discovered a Zoltar machine. (I was like 65% nervous I would wake up a 12-year-old boy, but crisis averted.)

We had an early start time the next morning, so we decided to walk back to the resort, grab dinner in their restaurant, and call it a night.

While waiting for a table large enough for our group, we took advantage of the nightly happy hour, while sitting by the outdoor fire pits.

The restaurant inside the Kimpton, the Pacific Hideaway, is stunning! Everything is beachy and boho. But the real masterpiece is the wall-to-wall mural that has all the Frida Kahlo vibes.

The menu is a mix of Asian and Latin inspired dishes, and it was tough to narrow down a choice. I landed on the Grilled Cali Tacos: Grilled cauliflower, quinoa, squash, hummus, cucumber, quinoa, and red pepper. And of course I couldn’t pass up an order of their Brussels & Jerky. Yum! Yum! Yum!

But the real MVP at Pacific Hideaway is a hidden gem on their bar menu: the $3 Paper Bag Beer. Here’s the scoop…for $3, you get a rando beer (selected by the bartender), served in a brown paper bag. So obviously every single one of us had to partake to see what hoppy adventures lay before us. From Bud Heavy to the most obscure craft IPA, we had so much fun peeling back the wrappers, comparing beverages, and laughing a lot.

After our delicious dinner and high class cocktails, it was FaceTime and bedtime.

The next morning started with a 5:00 AM sweat sesh at my 44th Orangetheory Studio: Huntington Beach–Brookhurst. Every time I travel, I try to get in a workout at my favorite gym, so I’m always happy when there’s one close by. One of my work besties is also a member, so it’s even better when we travel together and can get in a workout as a duo.

After class, we got cleaned up for our meetings. It doesn’t take me long to get ready, so I had some time to kill. I took advantage and walked a block over to Nekter Juice Bar for a smoothie and some fresh juice. I absolutely LOVE Nekter and try to go anytime I’m in one of their cities. (I have it on good authority that one is coming to Overland Park!)

I grabbed a Green Apple and Health Nut and took a gorgeous walk back to the resort.

The morning was packed, so we decided to take a walk down to Huntington Beach Beer Co. for lunch. We were able to score a table on their rooftop, which looked out onto the beach. I got a killer veggie burger with all the avocado and a hefty side of sweet potato fries.

(Sadly no beer since we were working. But a friend went back later in the week and said their brews were on point.)

The afternoon was another full session, so it was a fun little surprise to see a Fiesta Bar delivered by the Kimpton team to our meeting room later in the day, complete with chips, salsa, guac, and churros. Churros, y’all!

We finally called it a day around 6:00 so we could make our dinner reservation at BLK in Huntington Beach. It was within walking distance of the resort, and on our way, we discovered that HB has a weekly outdoor festival every Tuesday night with live music and local vendors.

Dinner was exceptional! We each got entrees, but we also ordered a large selection of their side dishes to share. I decided on the Grilled Vegetables on Polenta as my entree, but I sampled the Risotto, the Grilled Asparagus, the Margherita Flatbread, the Lobster Mac & Cheese, and of course, the Brussels.

After dinner, we rolled ourselves back to our resort and called it a night for our full bellies.

The next morning was a trip to Orangetheory Studio #45: Huntington Beach–Bella Terra. Killer burn with my girl and then back to clean up.

This morning meeting started with a beautiful breakfast on the Pacific Hideaway terrace. The Kimpton team spared no detail with this setup.

It was such a fabulous start to what would be another full day. And this Chia Pudding was something out of my food dreams.

We had another productive day, and fortunately we were able to use the Kimpton outdoor seating for some of our time. I never pass up an opportunity to work outdoors!

We decided that our last day called for lunch by the ocean, so we walked over to Sandy’s Beach Shack, which is right below the Huntington Beach Pier and has a perfect view of the water and the sand volleyball players. I don’t eat a lot of meat these days, but when you can actually see the water from your dining table, Mahi Mahi Tacos it is. And oh so glad I did…

We walked back over to finish our meetings and walked away with so many ideas, actions, and projects for the year.

We wrapped up our time together with a dinner at Ola in Huntington Beach. This was some truly delicious Mexican food! I chose the Veggie Tacos: Asparagus, shitake mushrooms, corn, and avocado, served with a guajillo pepper sauce on a blue corn tortilla. Y’all. Amaze. Oh and of course I ate my weight in their chips and salsa. (I’m like 90% sure their chips are dusted with crack. Something magical was happening there…)

After three full days of meeting and eating, we still weren’t sick of one another (or food), so we walked back over to the resort for some more.

Another fun thing that this Kimpton offers for their guests are s’mores kits that you can take out to their fire pits. Graham Crackers, marshmallows, chocolate, sticks, and blankets.

We roasted marshmallows, assembled our treats, and ate and laughed until we were sick.

Our group lives and works all over the country, so we don’t get an opportunity to see one another very often. So when we do, we work real hard. But we love and laugh real hard too.

After my fair share of sweetness, I made my way to my room and fell into a chocolate coma.

The next morning started at Orangetheory Studio #46: Corona Del Mar. Okay, full disclosure. There were no less than 3 other studios that were closer to our resort that could have made the #46 spot. However, after an embarrassingly deep dive on Instagram (I’ll spare you the details…), I discovered that this is the studio frequented by several of the ladies from RHOC. I could NOT pass up the chance to go All Out next to Heather Dubrow, so here we are. Sadly, no housewife burn ensued, but I still got a killer workout before my flight home.

I got cleaned up and packed my bags, “ready” to leave the sunshine for the cold of KC. (Okay really I missed my dudes, so I was willing to sacrifice.)

When I got off the elevator in the lobby, I saw one last Kimpton touch: the Hot Chocolate Bar. I mean…What a perfect ending to my time in California and at this exceptional property. They truly think of everything in creating an exceptional experience for their guests.

So I made myself a delicious custom concoction, checked out, and took a VERY chatty Uber ride to the airport.

I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen the sun since I’ve been back in Kansas City. So when the days are cold, dark, and icy, I close my eyes, and I imagine that I’m back on that pier, eating s’mores. And guac. And tacos. And churros. And…

XOXO,

Molly B.

Tips to Drink More Water

I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t drink a ton of water everyday. I hear people talk about struggling to drink water. I see countless articles about how to drink more water. I have friends ask me all the time how to drink more water. I really had to think about it, but here are my 5 Tips to Drink More Water: 

1. Add Some Flavor!

I LOVE flavored water! You can go the natural route by adding lemon, cucumber, strawberries, or oranges. However, I ain’t got time for that, so I buy flavored water in bulk. My favorite is Flavor Ice, which you can buy for $1 each at pretty much any grocery store, including Target and Walmart. Pineapple Coconut is my jam. 

2. Use Your Phone.

Set an alarm. Download a tracking app. Technology is your friend. 

3. Drink a Glass Every Hour.

If you’re not good about sipping throughout the day, drink a glass every hour on the hour. 

4. Use a Marked Water Bottle.

A bottle that’s marked with ounces or even hours can help you reach your personal water goal each day. 

5. Keep a Gallon Jug with You.  

This is my personal favorite and how I personally drink so much water. I purchased this Gallon Water Bottle for $13 on Amazon, and I keep it with me all day. My goal is to finish it by 5:00, and that’s usually no problem. 


What tips would you add?

XOXO, 

Molly B. 

Tips From a Road Warrior 

The past three years, I’ve taken on quite a bit of travel for work. I started a new role in July 2017, and I’m now traveling about 75% of the time. 

For any normal human, that’s a lot. Let’s add in the facts that I’m married, I’m a mom, I have a dog, I’m committed to exercise and usually some sort of training cycle, I’m a (fairly) healthy eater, I have a side hustle, I’m a friend, I’m a daughter, I’m a volunteer, the. list. goes. on. I’m also super Type A and want to be the best at all the things. Over the years, I’ve tried to convince myself that I’m doing “good enough,” but easier said than done some days. 

This week I’m headed to Orange County. Yea, I am 0% sad about sand and sunshine. Plus, I really love my job, so I don’t get too down about any location. But it does have me reflecting on some of my “tricks of the trade” for travel, so I’m sharing my Top Ten here today. 

1. Make a standard packing list, and keep it in the Notes on your phone. Sure my list may vary slightly from trip to trip, but most items are pretty standard. This keeps me organized and ensures I don’t forget those essential items. Why recreate the wheel each trip?

2. Schedule your workouts along with your meetings. Does your gym have a location in the city you’re visiting? Book it. That’s one reason I love Orangetheory and ClassPass; I can book my classes ahead of time and visit their other locations when I travel. Does your hotel have a fitness center? Great! Plan your workouts ahead of time so you’re ready to hit the ground running. Literally. No gym or fitness center? No problem. Again, plan ahead with a website or DVD workout. Or check out Pinterest for lots of no-equipment-needed workouts. This Resistance Band Set is one of my favorite things to throw in my suitcase! I am a firm believer that exercise makes me perform better in all areas of my life, so it continues to be a priority during travel. 

3. Take a reusable water bottle. You can’t take water through security, but you can take an empty bottle. There are water fountains throughout every airport, so you can fill up when you get through security. Most hotels have water coolers in their fitness centers with cold, filtered water, so I take advantage and fill up often. I definitely swing by for a fill up in the mornings on my way to start my day. This Water Bottle is one of my favorites for travel days. This is more cost effective than buying bottled water and a much better option for our planet, while staving off travel-caused dehydration.

4. Have ALL travel docs printed or easily accessible on your phone. Personally, I print, but I know that’s not the greenest option. I’m also OVER prepared with every document pertaining to my trip. If anything should come up, change, delay, etc., I’m ready with all confirmation numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and anything else all in one spot. 

5. Get phone numbers for anyone you are meeting or traveling with during your trip, and save them to your phone. This way you’re able to send a quick text if you have a question or need to update someone on your travel. 

6. Bring snacks. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been delayed or stuck in an airport late at night after restaurants have closed, feeling like I want to eat my arm. Stock up on fresh fruit, nuts, crackers, protein bars, or your other favorite portable treats before traveling to save on expense and experience. 

7. Plan a little fun. Do some research on your destination before you go, and try to plan something fun to break up your work. Unique restaurant? Cool boutique? Sight that must be seen? A lot of things are within walking distance or a quick Uber ride. I find that this is a welcome break for me and gives me something to look forward to during my trip. 

8. Buy a souvenir. It kind of follows the idea of number 7, in that it gives me something to break up my work. Kind of like a treasure hunt, I’m looking for that perfect item from my trip. After Jack was born, I started bringing him a magnet from every state I visit. Hopefully, as he gets older, it will get him excited about growing his collection, versus being sad about mom being gone. I also started bringing Chad popcorn from different cities. I have no idea how that started, but he seems to like it. 

9. Bring a distraction. iPad, book, journal, coloring book, whatever is your jam. Flights are long. Travel gets delayed. There’s only so much hotel TV you can watch. Having a fallback will make you a little less crazy. 

10. FaceTime. This has been a lifesaver for me the past couple of years. Talking on the phone is okay, but if I have the ability to SEE Chad and Jack, I’ll take it all day long. 

These are just a few of my favorites, and I hope they help you with your travels. 

What tips would you add?

XOXO, 

Molly B. 

Every.Single.Day.

I’m going to tell you a secret.  An embarrassing secret.  An embarrassing secret that I’ve never told anyone.  Not a friend, not my husband, not my mom, no one.

I once worked out, every.single.day, for three years.

It’s been a few years, so I honestly can’t remember HOW it started, but I do know WHY–to lose weight.  It had been a couple of years since I started working out on a consistent basis, and was seeing changes to my body that I really liked.  So I thought, if I do this every day, surely I will see even more results!  Every.Single.Day.

During this time, I trained for and ran two full marathons; I completed two rounds of P90X; I did multiple two-a-days at the gym and often went to back-to-back classes, spending sometimes as much as 5 hours at the gym.  (People honestly thought I was one of the trainers.)

During this time, I avoided and cancelled a lot of plans with friends and family to ensure I didn’t break my streak; I could be found many mornings in our basement at 3:00 AM, getting in a treadmill run before a 7:00 AM start time at work; and I lied to people about why I needed to leave places early so that I could get to the gym before it closed or get in a run before bed.  I remember a friend seeing some late-night miles on my Fitbit feed after a work event and texting me, “Did you go home and run?!”  I lied.  “Oh no!  There must have been an issue with the syncing!”

You see, I felt like if I needed to lie or hide what I was doing, there was something wrong.  I was terrified that someone would ask me why I was doing a streak, and I didn’t have an answer that I was willing to share.  But I was also terrified to stop.  I honestly thought that if I missed a day, I would gain a bunch of weight.  I actually had dreams (nightmares) about it!  Visions of me sleeping through my alarm or getting caught at an event and missing a workout, waking up the next day having gained 500 pounds.  So I just kept going.  Every.Single.Day.

A little over three years ago, I joined a new gym.  I knew that I needed a change, and I was hoping this would break me out of what I knew I could no longer continue.  I was so tired; my body was so sore; I was actually gaining weight.  I remember my first class at this new gym, the coach asked how many days I was planning to workout, and I casually said “seven.”  And he said, “no.”  We had a fairly short conversation about the importance of rest days, and I kind of blew him off.  I’ve been doing this for three years, man.  I’ve got this.  But that first workout was REALLY hard, so on the drive home I gave this rest day thing some consideration.

I worked out for six days (which was really like 9006 days, because #MATH), and on that Sunday, I didn’t work out.  Not being dramatic, it was one of the hardest days of my life.  I didn’t know what to do with myself that morning when I woke up.  I didn’t know how to navigate through that day without a run or a trip to the gym.  I was also obsessive about tracking steps and calories, and I literally had nothing to enter.  I even checked my gym’s schedule later that day when I was ready to give in, but there were no more classes for the day.  Horrified and relieved all at once.  The streak was broken.

And you know what happened?  Nothing.  All of the fears that I had, none of them came true.

Actually, you know what?  That’s not true.  It wasn’t nothing.  Because I gave my body a break. I got faster.  I got stronger.  I started to love my body for all of the things that it could do now that I was treating it with some respect.  I’ve taken breaks, week breaks, month breaks, I’ve gained weight, lost weight, run really fast, run not so much, and all of that is OKAY.  Every.Single.Day

Is it hard some days, even over three years after breaking the streak?  Absolutely!  Those old doubts and fears can creep in real quick, and it’s easy to give in to their power.

So every year, around this time, my social media fills up with the promises of resolutions in the upcoming year.  A resolution to work out every.single.day is often on that list.  And my heart breaks.  Knowing me, Superhero Name “HYPER Type A Girl,” who loves a good fresh sheet of paper, my own streak could have started in the same way.

A very popular blogger published a bestselling (that’s an incredibly modest description) book last year and subsequently challenged their tribe to a 90 Day Challenge, with one component being working out every.single.day.  When I read this on social media, again, my heart broke.  Also knowing me, I’m a “trier,” so it could have easily started this way, by hearing the idea from another and thinking it sounded interesting.

We’re all so different, and everyone has to do what works for their lives, their bodies, their minds.  As a matter of fact, one of my favorite humans is, as I write this, on Day 222 of a running streak.  One of the most confident, vibrant, positive, self and others-loving people I’ve ever known, so I was intrigued to know her “why.”  And she told me something so beautiful, something that was basically the antithesis of my own streak.  She is doing it FOR her mental health, to ensure that she does something for herself every day that she enjoys, and to be able to help others by helping herself.  Gah…

So you see, I’m not saying we’re all the same or that every streak is bad.  I just want you to promise me something…

As you make those resolutions for 2019, can you please make them in the spirit of loving yourself?  Before you enroll for every class at your gym, before you buy $1500 worth of groceries for that 30-day diet, before you start giving up on all the goodness that exists outside of a number on a scale, can you please ask yourself why?  And if that answer does not come from a place of loving everything about yourself, can I please ask you to reconsider?

XOXO,

Molly B.

PS–Every single time I typed STREAK, I actually typed STEAK.  This was almost a TOTALLY different story, my friend.

 

Happy 2019!

Who doesn’t love the first of a new month?  (And not just because it’s an added excuse to sing Bone Thugs in your car on the way to the gym.)  New goals.  New opportunities.  A fresh start.  You name it…it speaks to my Type-A soul.  With that said, this new month brings something new for me that I’ve been putting off for quite some time: Starting a blog!  Let’s kick this off with a lil “Getting to Know You” sesh that would make Julie Andrews proud.

10 Things About Molly B:

  1. The name of this blog, CrowningGlory, has many meanings for me: being a daughter of the King, loving the fact that I have hair, living in Kansas City (AKA “Crown Town”), all of which I will explore in later posts.
  2. Chad B. and I celebrated 12 years of marriage on June 23, 2019, and we’ve been together since 2002.  I have always called him Chad B., and I have absolutely no idea why.
  3. I am a mommy to our son, Jack, who we adopted in April 2017.  He. Is. My. Sunshine.
  4. Our first baby was our dachshund-pug mix, Roxy, who we adopted in 2006.  Sadly, we lost her in April of this year, and we miss her every day.
  5. I love all things health and fitness.  My main jam is running, but I am all out for OrangeTheory Fitness.  (Get it, Oranges?) They should seriously put me on the payroll for all of my free marketing.
  6. I have a massive sweet tooth.  Cupcakes are my everything, but I really don’t discriminate when it comes to baked goods.
  7. I was diagnosed with gestational trophoblastic disease in 2007, which is a uterine tumor caused by a molar pregnancy.  Lots of prayers, eight months of chemo, and some incredible people have me celebrating my Second Birthday every July 7th.
  8. I am obsessed with all things fashion.  I converted one of the bedrooms in our home into a dressing room, and I am (apparently) on a mission to fill it.  I have a special affinity for accessories–jewelry, handbags, shoes.  I am a Stella & Dot Stylist, and I love sharing my love for fashion and beautiful things with others.
  9. I. Love. Food.  Yes, I realize I mentioned my sweet tooth above, but this deserves its own line item.  Chad B. and I love to try new restaurants and recipes.  There’s not much we won’t try.  I don’t eat much meat, but that hasn’t stopped me from eating some incredible things.
  10. I am a Banker.  It was completely accidental, but definitely meant to be.  I have a lot of other interests and side projects that keep me busy, but banking pays the bills, and I love it!

I look forward to sharing more of my world with all of you!

 

XOXO,

Molly B.