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…