Best Surprise Visit & Weekend Adventures

Hey, Everyone!

I had one of the best weekends ever. Thank goodness I wrote a post on Friday because this weekend’s recap is longer than most of my weekly ones. Kyle’s birthday is coming up, and the only thing that could top jumping out of a plane was getting a surprise visit from his mom! His mom and I had this plan in the works for a while, and it was so hard for us to keep it a secret, but we did it. ๐Ÿ™‚ The permanent smile on his face all weekend was so worth it. We hadn’t seen Kyle’s mom since Thanksgiving,ย and we missed her so much! Kyle’s mom, Kathy (or I’ll keep saying “Kyle’s mom”), is the type of person that makes you feel like you’ve known her for years after the first five minutes of chatting with her. She’s so full of life, and her energy is contagious. Anyone who knows her is lucky. I could hardly wait to see her on Friday.
I woke up at 5 am to write a recap post and head to the gym before picking her up at the airport.

When I pulled up, she was standing there waving her arms, and I knew this was going to be a fun weekend!
After she had settled into the guest room, we made hot tea and chatted for three hours catching up on everything. Around three, we took the boys for a walk around the block and then got ready for the night. We had dinner reservations at six Uptown and Kyle still had no idea what was about to happen!

We made it uptown a bit earlier, so we walked around the city. The weather couldn’t have been any more perfect all weekend. It’s usually 95 and humid, but this weekend it was in low 80’s and breezy!

I took her into Amelie’s, one of my favorite places! We tried their passion fruit & strawberry lemonade. I am going to make this drink at home! It had pureed passion fruit and strawberries, mixed with lemon juice, sparkling water, and ice! It was refreshing, healthy, and not loaded with added sugars.

Look how happy that face is!

Kyle thought we were going out to dinner together, but that was it. I knocked on the front door (which was already out of the norm) and told him I had a surprise around the corner. He thought it was a bark box for Leo (lol I don’t know why he thought that), but his mom popped out, and he was in shock! He had no idea and was so happy to see her! This was the best surprise ever.
The boys had a special gift from Kyle. That kid goes through peanut butter jars like it’s his business. They’ll do anything for leftover peanut butter jars.
I made reservations for us at the McNinch House. This is definitely a special occasion place, and this was most certainly a special occasion ๐Ÿ™‚ I was so excited for Kyle’s mom to experience it. I took Kyle here for his birthday last year, so I guess this is now a tradition. If you haven’t checked out my post from last year, you’ll want to read all about the restaurant! It’s incredible and a place you have to go when visiting Charlotte.ย 
Kyle’s roommate, Steve, joined us too!ย 
Watermelon with goat cheese and a balsamic reduction. This combo was so heavenly! I’m going to make these at home! Watermelon and goat cheese go great together.ย 
First Opening Course: Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Louisianna-style remoulade, lemon aioli, and cucumber-tomato salad

Second Opening Course: Shrimp and grits with fried grit cake, tasso ham gravy, and stuffed fried squash blossoms.
Palate Cleanser: Guava sorbet with mint leaves.ย 
Main Course: Filet Mignon cooked medium rare with zucchini, purple potatoes, and cognac bordelaise.
The best way to end a delicious dinner, coffee.ย 
Their coffee was rich and even better with these cute cups.ย 
Chocolate Mousse Terrine: Chocolate Fluid Gel, Feuilletine, Strawberry/Honey Ice Cream. I loved how light and airy the dessert was. Everything was perfection, per usual.ย 
I love how each dining area is different. You must make reservations months in advance because they only seat about ten tables a night.
Kyle ordered the blackberry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. At the end of dinner, each lady receives a rose.
Kyle was flipping through the guest book before we left and he saw my name from last year ๐Ÿ™‚ย 
They have an adorable porch that wraps around the restaurant.ย 
Dinner was so much fun and watching Steve teach Kyle’s mom how to use a dating app was hilarious. She was swiping for him.ย 
We hit a storm on the way home, and Grumples sat up with Kyle and his mom. It was so cute! We stayed up late watching Dateline and chatting more. I fell asleep on the couch before making my way upstairs.ย 
I woke up at six to make coffee, walk the dogs, and chat with Kathy before heading to the gym.ย 
I made it to my HIIT class around eight! I thought it would be a good way to get my fitness in and let Kyle and his mom have some time together.
This was the hardest Saturday class yet! Holy Moly!
When I got home, I got ready, and we all headed to Waxhaw to grab lunch and walk around together. Another beautiful day!
We decided to have lunch at Rippingtons. I ordered a grilled salmons salad. The salmon was cooked perfectly!
We walked around the town and stopped in all the fun little shops.ย 
We showed Kyle’s mom the “haunted house.”
We stopped at Crossroad Coffee House for a pick-me-up! I ordered a small cappuccino with skim and an extra shot of espresso! Just the way I like it!ย 
If you’re ever in Waxhaw, you must stop at Stewart’s Art Gallery. It’s such an amazing hidden gem. The art there is out of this world! So much inspiration, and fun unique gifts.ย 
Sunglass thief behind me.
Kyle’s mom brought me tea from a health food shop and DIY tea filters! I can’t wait to start making my own tea blends. She’s the best!ย 
I made a reservation at the Garden Cafe for Saturday night. My parents met up with us to have dinner! This is another “must” if you live around Charlotte. It’s all the way out in York SC, but it’s worth the drive. If you missed it, here is a post about the Garden Cafe!ย This is another spot you’ll want to make a reservation at weeks in advance.ย 
Of course, we started with the fried green beans and steak bites!ย 
I ordered the pecan crusted chicken salad. It had lettuce, onion, homemade (addicting) croutons, cheese, bacon, and honey mustard on the side. The crazy thing is that this is a half portion! You get so much food here, and everything tastes so good.ย 
It’s a sin to eat at the Garden Cafe without dessert. It doesn’t matter how full you are; you have to have at least one bite. It’s always better with coffee, too.
The buttermilk pie is what I first recommend, but this chocolate lava cake is second. The portions are big enough to share with the entire table and still have some leftover.ย 
We had so much fun at dinner!
Of course, you have to walk through their gift store! They have pumpkin soaps. HELLO, FALL!ย 
So magicalย 
Surprise, Kyle! Your mom is here!
The Garden Cafe also holds weddings and events. They are breathtaking, and you would never even know it’s there!ย Too much coffee? Not a real thing.
We spent the rest of the night on the couch watching more Dateline!
Sunday breakfast before heading to walk the Riverwalk. Another beautiful day ๐Ÿ™‚
We walked three miles, and then stopped at the Grapevine for water and tea!
He was trying to get the ice out of my tea!
I ordered an unsweetened passion fruit guava tea and it was delicious!ย ย ย ย 
When we got back to my house, I made breakfast!
Whole Grain toast, Harvarti omelets, bacon, and fresh fruit!ย 
Kyle’s mom brought me Spirulina powder, and I’m obsessed. There are SO MANY health benefits. I’m anemic and it has so much iron in the serving. It’s filled with protein, magnesium, vitamins, no carbs, no sugar, and it detoxes the blood from harmful metals and protects cells. I blended some with almond milk and frozen banana.
Later in the afternoon, we packed snacks and headed to the movies!ย 
We saw Dunkirk at the IMAX. It was an intense movie, but very good. Kathy and I were swooning over Harry Styles.
Also ^ This stuff…SO OBSESSED. It tastes so good! It has 28 calories and 7g of protein per bottle! No sugar and no carbs. It has the best flavor. It’s called TriMino Water.
After the movies, I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up something easy for dinner.

ย I was so hungry, so I grabbed snacks for the drive home. I tried the Primal Macadamia Nut Sea Salt bar with collagen. It was alright… But, it is super healthy! So that’s a positive. Now, the Whole Food’s lemon vitamin water is delicious.ย 
I made us a Whole Foods Pizza and added peppers and onions to the top with pepperoni. I also bout some garlicky green beans, grilled chicken, salad and cauliflower rice for sides.ย 
My dinner plate! My salad had goat cheese, pecans, lettuce, and cranberries.

We all hung out having dinner and relaxing. We were so sad his mom was leaving in the morning ๐Ÿ™
After dropping off Kathy at the airport ๐Ÿ™ I headed to the gym for my HIIT class and a ten-minute walk on the treadmill. Check out that incline! When I got home, I headed out for a walk with the pups and had a Spirulina shake!ย 
I spent the morning working on a lesson for my personal training certification ๐Ÿ™‚ I figured it was about time I get one. It’s just good to educate myself and have the credibility. If you’re interested in the process, you can check out theย Personal Trainer Certificationย here! I plan on getting my group fitness certification as well. Why not, right?
Monday afternoon got even better! My ThredUp order came!:)ย 
I found my favorite Gap tanks in different colors for $6.99 a piece, a never worn Lucy Activewear tank and Underarmour pants. I fell in love with my last set of workout clothes from ThredUp and these were just as great.ย 
For dinner, I had cauliflower rice mixed with crab meat and garlicky green beans.ย 
An evening Spirulina shake! ๐Ÿ™‚ย ย 
Bachelorette season finale party! Me, the pups, yogurt & crackers! We didn’t get to watch the ending until later because we had crazy thunder storms and the cable went out. But, I didn’t like the way Rachel treated Peter during their chat. What do you guys think? I just felt so bad for him, and I hope he (or Dean) is the next Bachelor.ย 
Breakfast this morning! yogurt mixed with honey and spirulina powder, chia seeds, blueberries, raspberries, and almonds! ย Well, now I’m off to the gym! I hope you guys have a fantastic week!

Questions for you!

  1. Is it hard for you to keep surprises secret?
  2. Obviously, Bachelorette finale thoughts. Go…
  3. What is your favorite superfood?


  • Samantha

    All of your posts make me want to take a vacay there! Such a beautiful town full of little hit “spots”!

    Reply to Samantha
  • Mercedes

    My fiance surprised me too with the same thing! My mom, brother and aunt all flew in for the weekend for my birthday ๐Ÿ™‚ You guys definitely thought of the BEST surprise. Looks like you all had an amazing time.

    Reply to Mercedes
  • Rachel

    What a fun weekend!

    Reply to Rachel
  • Jessie

    Kyle’s mom is adorable!

    Reply to Jessie
  • Meg

    Hey! Where did you get that white dress from?

    Reply to Meg
  • Dona

    Kyle looked so happy in those photos!

    Reply to Dona
  • Jessica

    Kyle’s mom is so fit! I now see where Kyle gets it from. Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend, Taralynn! I always look forward to your posts.

    Reply to Jessica
  • Ally

    Please do a post about your personal training!

    Reply to Ally
  • Gale

    What do you do if you’re too sore to workout?

    Reply to Gale
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I just take a rest day!:) That is why I usually don’t plan rest days because you never know when you’re going to be too sore to workout! I’ll just go for walks that day or spend time stretching. You just have to listen to your body! Your body NEEDS rest days!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jess

    What a lovely weekend! I just made a reservation at the McNinch house! I’m so excited to try it out. It’s my boyfriends birthday this weekend!

    Reply to Jess
  • Carly

    I think suprises are always SO much fun! Good job keeping the secret!

    McNich House looks like a deliciously fun time! Such a cute unique little place! I’m definatly going to have to try watermelon and goat cheese combo! The garden cafe is absoultly beautiful and Grapevine is so cute! How do you find all of these great little spots?

    I’m pretty good at keeping secrets as long as I can tell someone else!

    Reply to Carly
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Carly!

      That was such a good combo! I think I might make those tonight.

      I’m so blessed to be in Charlotte where there are unique spots everywhere! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Susie

    I loved this post! What a wonderful surprise! It’s so fun to be a part of your life via your blog.

    Is it hard for you to keep surprises secret?
    Keeping a surprise is not too hard for me, but I do like to drop hints. I’m such a tease, haha! I like to surprise people, but I don’t care to be surprised myself.

    Obviously, Bachelorette finale thoughts. Goโ€ฆ

    I didn’t really watch this season, but this morning I heard on the radio that she already decided she is having 4 kids. Get to really know him first, geez.

    What is your favorite superfood? Blueberries. Just had them in my oatmeal. Oh, I made your spinach and goat cheese egg bake with a sweet potato crust last night and will be having it for lunch today – so excited!

    Reply to Susie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Susie! That is so sweet.

      Hahahaha I do the same!!! I kept hinting to Kyle but giving him random hints that had nothing to do with what was actually going on!

      Lol That’s crazy, we’ll see how it turns out!

      MMMMM Blueberries are great in everything!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jenn

    Such a sweet gift! I love planning surprises for my friends and family. When I lived in Florida and all my friends were still in NY, I planned a few surprise trips up for birthdays. It was kind of tough to keep it a secret, but I’m glad i did. Right now I’m thinking of a trip to surprise my mom for her birthday ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Jenn
  • Tonya

    Waiting on your next recipe post! Yay!

    Reply to Tonya
  • Ann

    His mom looks so happy! I’m very glad you had a nice weekend. Mine was filled with baby kisses and playdates! I don’t watch the Bachelor any more, but I used to love it.

    Reply to Ann
  • Fay

    You hair is so long!

    Reply to Fay
  • Susie @ Mile High Dreamers

    SUCH a sweet and thoughtful birthday surprise for Kyle! His mom looks like and absolute BLAST to be around! How lucky for him to have such a wonderful mom, and for you two to have such a close relationship too.
    You can definitely tell why he’s such a good guy!

    Also, SO stoked for you for deciding to get your personal training certification! I’ve thought about doing yoga teacher training because even though I’m not sure I’d actually want to teach, you learn SO much throughout the certification about fitness, health, and your own body. Excited for you!

    I’m the worst at keeping secrets. I get way too excited. Whenever I try to hide around the corner to scare Ben, I just end up getting the giggles and giving myself away.
    Favorite super food is probably chia seeds or matcha green tea!

    Reply to Susie @ Mile High Dreamers
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Kyle is the best! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I feel so lucky!
      You should definitely get a certification if that’s something you’re interested it! Even if you don’t want to teach, it’s great for understanding and learning the practice more!

      HAHAHA sounds like me, though…I’m the ultimate scare-er! I’ll hide in a closet for five minutes if I have to lol But it’s hard not to laugh!

      Love those both!! Especially Matcha!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Claire

    What a fun weekend! Random, but where did you and Kyle meet? I always love hearing where people met hahaha

    Reply to Claire
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Claire!

      Kyle and I met at a local park here. It’s not that interesting of a story but we were talking about running shoes. We exchanged numbers and we ended up chatting for months before even going on a date!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lacy

    You and Kyle are perfect for each other! I love how happy you look.

    Reply to Lacy
  • Brittney Anne

    Those restaurants look like a dream!

    Reply to Brittney Anne
  • Amy

    Your blogs are so fun to read! You put a lot of time and effort into them.

    Reply to Amy
  • katie

    Can I ask what brand your sofa is? We have been looking for a new one and want a sectional like what you own!

    Reply to katie
  • Katie

    SOOO cute!! Looks like you guys had an awesome time – great hosting with Kyle’s mom ๐Ÿ™‚ I adore the picture of you and his mom kissing him on the cheek! To answer your question .. I’m the WORST at keeping surprise secrets!! Lol I almost always spill the beans either from excitement or by accident ๐Ÿ˜›

    XO, Katie |

    Reply to Katie
  • Sara

    Love your outfits!

    Reply to Sara
  • Stephanie

    Such a sweet surprise for Kyle’s birthday!

    I’m interested in hearing more about the personal training stuff – hope you post more about it as you study!

    Reply to Stephanie
  • Ansley

    How are you liking your Fit Bit?

    Also, you and Kyle are adorable! Get married already.

    Reply to Ansley
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hahaha! Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚ No rush to get married lol we are both young and enjoying life!

      AND LOVING my FitBit so much! It has me out moving more and paying attention to my water consumption and heart rate.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Shannen

    I always love reading about your Charlotte recommendations. (I’m taking note for my dream vacation.. someday!)
    I think it’s cool that you are getting your personal trainer certificate. Someday I would love to look into that!

    Reply to Shannen
  • Harriet

    Wow what an amazing surprise for Kyle! Your weekend looked fantastic! I find it so hard to keep a surprise, we are currently planning my dads surprise 60th so hopefully we can all keep it quiet. Spirulina is so good, with lots of health benefits, I mix it into my fresh juices. Sounds odd my vet got me to give spirulina to my dog when she was on antibiotics to help her immune system. I will eat any superfoods, my favourite would have to be summer berries so darn good to eat and super healthy. Congratulations on getting certified! Hope you have a fantastic week!!

    Reply to Harriet
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Harriet!

      It is sooooo hard to keep a secret! My dad turns 60 this year too! I will probably do something!

      I didn’t know it was good for your dogs too! I’ll have to remember that! Maybe make some treats with it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Have a wonderful week, Harriet!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Brooklyn

    Taralynn, you are the SWEETEST girlfriend ever! Kyle looks so happy in all of the photos, and both restaurants you made reservations for look magical.
    It must have felt amazing to treat you man to such an incredible weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Brooklyn
  • Trista

    Where is your off the shoulder dress from? I love it!!! I love surprising people and luckily it’s not too difficult for me to keep something a secret. The look on the person’s face is priceless when you finally get to tell them what you’ve been hiding. I’m with you on the bachelorette- I was heartbroken for Peter and I didn’t like the way she acted towards him during after the final rose. Dean was my favorite so I’d definitely love to see him as the next bachelor. Chia seeds and blueberries are probably my favorite superfoods ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Trista
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Trista!

      It’s from Belk! It was on sale, too!

      OMG! The smiles from him all weekend were literally so cute!

      We are on the same page! Poor Peter! She kept saying “I don’t think this process is for you” and the only reason I think she said that is because she loves him and doesnt want to see him as the bachelor to be honest. Her selfish reason, but I’m not therapist lol I love Dean too, he’s young but his show will actually be entertaining!

      MMMM so good! love blueberries in everything!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Abbey

    Looks like so much fun! So I wanted to chime in about anemia! I am pregnant with my third kiddo, and my first two pregnancies I was anemic. This time I’m not and I’m pretty sure the main thing saving me are iron gummy supplements! They are awesome and I have tried many other iron supplements. They are also easy on your stomache. I think the brand is Beauty Fit and I found them on amazon. And yes spirulina is amazing too!

    Reply to Abbey
  • Krista

    Looks like the perfect birthday! I need to figure out something for my fiance. His birthday is in almost two months, and compared with his surprises this year (the proposal + my birthday itself), I’ve got nothin’! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m not good with keeping surprises a secret though, so I’ve got to get moving and work fast!

    The ACE personal fitness certification looks awesome! I definitely agree with you on why not, but maybe I’m biased– I work for a college, and we always say, you should never stop learning! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Krista
  • Kristin

    What a fun weekend!!! I’m jealous of all of the delicious looking food you ate!

    Reply to Kristin
  • Jen Frick

    YAY congrats again on getting your personal training certificate! And I can’t believe it’s already been a year since the skydiving surprise! Time is flyingggg (no pun intended! lol) I love reading about your friendships and seeing how much you just care for those close to you. ๐Ÿ™‚ p.s. how did you and Kyle meet?! Love stories are my favorite! ๐Ÿ™‚


    Reply to Jen Frick
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jen!

      Thanks so much! I’m so excited to finish and I truly love the lessons and learning all about new workouts and the body! I can’t believe it’s been a year either!!! Kyle and I actually met at Freedom park! It’s not an exciting story lol

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Dana

    So cool on the personal training. I’ve thought about doing that before. I don’t know if you would want to post much about it, but it would be really interesting to read updates on how your studying is going and what goes into it.

    I love surprises so I’m pretty good at keeping the secret.

    I’ve never watched any Bachelors/Bachelorette shows. (Have never seen Titanic either.)

    I think mine is kale, I’ve loved it forever, way before it was trendy. I don’t like chia seeds at all.

    Reply to Dana
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I will definitely be posting about it! I’ll even do a whole post on the process just incase someone is interested in getting theirs as well!

      I am good at secrets but I feel like I’m going to burst lol I had to avoid him all week.


      Kale and Chia seeds are both my fave! I don’t like that they both get into my teeth though lol

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Meghan Richer

    What an awesome surprise! I bet he loved that! Also, congrats on becoming certified! That is exciting!

    I am terrible at keeping secrets/surprises. I’m the person pressuring people to open their gifts weeks before Christmas/their birthday because I just can’t handle it haha

    I also thought that she treated Peter unfairly during their chat. I feel like he was so level-headed and down to earth through the series, and I totally understand his reasoning of not wanting to propose if it didn’t feel right, but continuing their relationship. I feel like that’s almost how Rachel was when she was on ‘The Bachelor’ but during the end of her season she almost seemed to get too caught up in how the show is supposed to go, and having a ring, not actually having a true meaningful relationship? Idk I wasn’t a fan of Bryan, he seemed like too much of a charmer & not the most sincere, like most of her family said. Also, his mother sort of creeped me out!

    Anyways, I am also a fan of spirulina! I love the benefits of it and how easy it is to use. Just throw it in your shake and your set!

    Reply to Meghan Richer
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Meghan!!

      lol you’re just like me with secrets. It’s on the surprise ones that I can’t handle.

      I couldn’t agree more! He was so realistic and not everyone LOVES someone after six weeks of “dating” it’s just weird. Her and Bryan probably spent a total of 48 hours together during the season and now they are in love and getting married. Not realistic and that’s why I loved Peter! Lol his mother was intense! Rachel for sure doesn’t want to see Peter as the next Bachelor, but he deserves that spot because he’s REAL. Although, Dean’s season would be a fun one! He went on the BIP, so I doubt it. But so did Nick…so…we’ll see!!

      Oh, and back to the spirulina! I totally agree! It goes in everything!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Carlee

    I HATE SURPRISES! I am the person that reads the last page of the book first because I just can’t stand it. I am also bad at keeping things a surprise–if I know the person is going to love it I just get so excited for them to have it!
    Finale–I thought how the ‘After the Rose’ was during was so weird! The whole break up thing with Peter was so confusing and there was so much pressure put on Peter that it would have seem so unnatural and not real/genuine had he proposed. I honestly don’t think Rachel and Bryan will work out, but I hope they prove people wrong!!

    Reply to Carlee
    • Taralynn McNitt

      HAHA! I’m not THAT bad at surprises. I am bad because I want that person to be happy instantly and holding it in kills me, but it’s soooooo worth!

      I totalllllly agree. I don’t think they will either. It’s too forced and they both want something so bad that they havnt taken the time to see if it’s with the right person.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    You are hands down the best girlfriend ever! Kyle is lucky to have you!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Linda @ The Fitty

    It’s not hard for me to keep surprises a secret but I sure get overly excited about them and if I can’t disclose it to the person I’m surprising then I HAVE TO CHAT IT ABOUT IT WITH SOMEONE ELSE! ๐Ÿ˜€ Like another friend or something. I just so excited–I feel like a little kid.

    I have never ever watched Bachlorette so I don’t know if I should start because another blogger I follow says she loves the show… I do want So You Think You Can Dance, though.

    Reply to Linda @ The Fitty
  • Emily

    Congrats on getting certified! I have been thinking about getting my group fitness certification. Did you use ACE? I could use all the help I can get!

    Reply to Emily

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