The Travel Series – “Laguna Beach”

I am very excited to begin a new series, “The Travel Series,” with this post on a recent “girls trip” that I had the pleasure of taking the first weekend in March to gorgeous Laguna Beach, California. I love to travel! It is one of my favorite things to do. I gather so much inspiration from my travels in experiencing and seeing new places and cultures. I believe that your mind goes into a more peaceful mode when traveling, which allows you to see things, and appreciate things in a way that you may normally miss in the busy day-to-day. At the beginning of this year I pledged to try to put a little bit more of myself out there in this space and on Instagram. I think that taking you along on some of my travels might provide a little more insight to my life and the things that I love and find inspiration in. I hope you enjoy!


Two of my very good friends from college and I had been talking about planning a little getaway for quite some time, but kids, work and life in general, always seemed to get in the way. Coming from Kansas City, Minneapolis and Denver has made getting us all in one room at the same time a tall order over the past few years. Finally, one friend said, “We are doing this!” And proceeded to plan the trip. And I’m so grateful to her for making it happen!

My beautiful friends, the Emilys. Emily M. and Emily A.

We stayed at The Montage Laguna Beach, which if you ever get the opportunity to visit, do it! The resort was absolutely stunning and the service impeccable! We took full advantage of getting out of sub-zero, ridiculous Antarctica-like temps back home by enjoying drinks on the veranda of the Lobby Lounge within about 3 seconds upon our arrival. The weather, and views, were such a welcome departure from snow and ice.

Treats awaited us in our room.

Our room decor was perfect California coastal design, light, bright and airy, with more gorgeous pool and ocean views.

Textured wallpaper in muted tones added interest and warmth to the room entry.

A spacious marble bath featured soft grey grasscloth wall coverings and a mirror that made you look at least 10 years younger. (I need one of these at my house!)

White shiplap walls add to the coastal vibe. Little decorative touches abound, such as marble topped built-in drawers, decorative grey mirror and glass jewelry box.
And the views!
Did I mention the views?!

We stayed at the resort for our first evening in Laguna Beach enjoying dinner at The Loft and taking in the sunset views from the Lobby Lounge.

Day 2: We start with breakfast back at The Loft.

The prettiest avocado toast.

Then off to Spa Montage for some very appreciated relaxation.

Spa Montage offered amazing amenities in a gorgeous and peaceful space. After an afternoon soaking in the whirlpool, a visit to the sauna, massage and lunch poolside at Mosaic Bar and Grill we topped off our afternoon of wellness with a cocktail at the outdoor spa whirlpool overlooking the ocean. Pretty much every tired mom’s perfect day.

Before we headed out to dinner in Laguna Beach I snuck off for a walk along the shoreline. With amazing architecture and lush plant life, Laguna Beach is so stunningly beautiful.

The Montage Laguna Beach.
Studio Restaurant at The Montage.
Tile mural near Spa Montage.

A hint of pink lights the sky behind Catalina Island in the distance.

Later that evening we dined at Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach. Located in a charming cottage-like building, the interiors surprised with a contemporary coastal vibe. While exuding a modern, current atmosphere, the restaurant also felt intimate and comfortable and offered amazing steak and seafood fare.

Selanne Steak Tavern
Low slung ceilings gave the bar area a cozy feel.

Day 3: Today we took a field trip up to Los Angeles for the afternoon. We started the day with mimosas at the beautiful Montage Beverly Hills.

While the Montage Laguna Beach featured airy California coastal style, the Montage Beverly Hills gave off a vintage, classic Hollywood vibe.

After a little shopping (actually more like window shopping for me) we kind of half-heartedly gave in to one friend’s Bravo TV, Vanderpump Rules fandom and let her take us to SUR Restaurant and Lounge. Now, full disclosure, I have never watched one episode of this show, although my friend swore I’d love it. I actually have never watched any of the Housewives shows or spinoffs and I am well aware that puts me in a minority in this country.

Having said this, my review of SUR is…well…if your a fan, go. It’s totally a place for fans of the show. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

The ones who don’t watch the show…taking it all in.

After lunch we checked out the Glossier store on Melrose. Buzz is big on the cult brand as evidenced by the fact that we had to wait in line for about 20 minutes just to walk in the door.

Visual goodness all over the Glossier Los Angeles space.

Wrapping up our day in Los Angeles, we headed back to Laguna Beach for our final dinner together at the very cute and delicious Alessa Laguna. This cozy restaurant had a real neighborhood-y, local feel and served up amazing Italian dishes.

I grudgingly said goodbye to these incredible views before heading back to the arctic chill of Kansas City.

The entirety of this weekend getaway was so fun, and a respite that I didn’t know I really needed until I did it. Beautiful locale, great food, drinks, conversation and laughing until your sides hurt. My favorite thing about longtime friends is that, even if you don’t talk as much as you would like, and rarely get to see each other, you can still pick up exactly where you left off. As if no time at all has passed. That is what I have, and cherish having, with these ladies.

As I get older, it becomes more and more apparent to me how truly fast time goes by. We are all so busy nowadays and we are always in such a hurry. We could all stand to set a goal to attempt to slow things down a bit (goodness knows I need to). Take the time to appreciate the good things surrounding us a little bit more and make the effort to reach out to those that are dear. As cliche as it may sound, life really is short, so get out there and grab it. Travel! See as much as you can, experience as much as you can, surround yourself with good people, keep them close and just have fun!


All images and content are created and owned by Courtney Payne unless otherwise credited.

1 Comment

  1. Sandra P Haynie, Louisiana
    March 18, 2019 / 12:15 pm

    Nice. Love the decor and setting.

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