A Very Merry Christmas

Brueggers Bagels Charlotte NC Park Road Plaza

Holy Moly!

It’s been one heck of a week and I haven’t done an update posts since last Sunday. This week has been so much fun, but I’m officially worn out.  I just left the grocery store, prepared a veggie crockpot soup, and now I’m ready catch up on blogging! This is going to be a LONG recap post, so I hope you don’t mind!

Last Monday, I headed over to Bruegger’s Bagels to grab breakfast.

Juice Bar Charlotte Nc CLT

Right next to Bruegger’s Bagels (in the Parkroad Plaza) is one of my favorite places…I Love Juicebar. They are putting these up all around Charlotte and it makes me so happy. I like when healthy choices are convenient. They actually just put one up about five minutes from my place. I haven’t been to that location yet, but it’s on my agenda for tomorrow.


I decided to grab juice for lunch and a Apple Orchard Maxon Dixon bar. They are gluten-free, paleo and vegan…and delicious.  They are made with almonds, dates, organic figs, pecans, organic apples, organic maple syrup and cinnamon. I really want to make some of these this week.

Cantina Fifteen Eleven in the Park Road Plaza

Monday night, I met up with my friend Amy and her fiancé Todd for dinner. We’ve been wanting to try the Cantina Fifteen Eleven in the Park Road Plaza because we’ve heard so many good things about it. Can you tell I’m slightly obsessed with that plaza? I ordered the chopped salad with salmon. It had mixed salad greens, jicama, red onions, garbanzo beens, cucumber, cotija cheese, cucumber, and avocado with the dressing on the side.  The salad was perfection and I’ve been craving it ever since. The Cantina Fifteen Eleven was such a great restaurant! The interior designer definitely nailed it. I can’t wait to go there in the summer and eat outside on the patio under the lights.

Mugs Coffee Shop Park Road Charlotte NC

Tuesday was ALL about christmas shopping and cookie baking. I headed out around nine am and stopped at Mugs for some coffee  before getting down to business. I drive by Mugs all the time, but I’ve never been in there. I finally had the chance. I also picked up a vanilla almond Kind Bar and a banana since I didn’t have time to make breakfast. I headed to Hobby Lobby to pick up some Christmas tins and I ended up finding TONS of Christmas gifts there. I could spend all day in that place .


My friend wanted to meet up for lunch at Portofinos. I ordered the Antipasto with the dressing on the side. I was really hoping they’d have my favorite soup, but they only had clam chowder. I promise there was salad hiding under all of that meat!

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I took the dogs with me on my errands. It was rainy and chilly all day, so I wanted them to get out.

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I got done shopping around six and headed straight to the kitchen to bake sugar cookies for friends before they left town for the holidays. I will do a separate post with the tutorial 🙂

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I ended up baking cookies for about four hours. I rented Pitch Perfect 2 on iTunes while baking 🙂 I love making these.


I took the dogs to the field before baking and they were exhausted all night.

9PicMonkey CollageI dropped Grumples off at the Groomer’s Wednesday (I hate doing this) and finished up last minute Christmas errands. I picked up more ingredients for baking, photos I ordered for frames, and then finished up Christmas wrapping. It took me five hours to wrap gifts. I had so many people to shop for this year. I decided to treat myself to a cappuccino truffle and a coke zero. I know coke zero is incredibly bad for you, but I love it, so I have one once a month. Treat yo self!

After I picked Grumples up, we (me and the dogs) headed to my parents to bake and hang out.


I had more treats to make for friends, neighbors and the family. I made more sugar cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, oreo balls, coconut balls, and my mom made peanut brittle. Hers is SO good.


I actually forgot to bring my cookie cutters over, so I ended up using the pizza cutter to make square and a cup to make circles. I think they turned out pretty well!


Oreo ball recipe here!


Coconut Ball Filling: 4 cups shredded sweetened coconut, 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tsps vanilla, and 1/2 stick butter! I made some with chocolate almond bark and some with vanilla almond bark.


I boiled a pot of water and then placed a bowl over the boiling water to melt the chocolate in. This is my favorite way to melt chocolate! I love my little chocolate melters, but they are so small and can take forever to melt the chocolate.


I always have chocolate left over after making truffles, so I coat pretzels with it!


I made chocolate ones too!

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The desserts turned out perfect 😉


After baking on Christmas Eve day, I headed back to my place to get ready for church. We spent Christmas Eve at my parents house.


My mom made one of our FAVORITE appetizers…sausage pepperjack cheese poppers! They are seriously addicting. I’m making these for Super Bowl this year and will do a recipe post.


I made some of my favorite sweet green beans 😉


The red potatoes I made were out of this world. I seasoned them with olive oil, garlic powder, italian seasoning, brown sugar, onion powder, and baked them on 375 for an hour.


It’s a tradition in our family to have crab legs on Christmas Eve. We didn’t do it last year becuase my parents were moving from Iowa and we would have had to go all the way to Charleston. We jumped back into the routine this year and my dad cooked up ten pounds of crab legs! It was definitely an all you can eat night! We were STUFFED!

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We sat around for the next three hours opening gifts. We like to do one gift at a time to drag it all out.

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My brother and Karlee got me a diffuser and I’ve been wanting one of these for so long. The lemon scent is my favorite.

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My parents got me a Nespresso and I’ve wanted one of these for three years now! It’s a life changer. My mom also surprised me with a Coach purse I had my eye on.


New Asics running shoes! I needed new running shoes!


My parents also got me new IT Cosmetics! MY FAVORITE:D

We had such a fun Christmas Eve!

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Christmas shopping was so much fun! I’d love to be a personal shopper.


We woke up to 80 degree weather on Christmas Day. I can’t complain about that! If it’s not going to be a white Christmas, it better be a warm one!


Incredible breakfast! He made french toast, eggs, cinnamon rolls, bacon, toast and pancakes! As long as I have eggs and bacon, I’m good.


After breakfast, we opened gifts.

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My parents came over around two for Christmas day dinner!

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We had appetizers and all sat around and hung out.


Obsessed with this Goat Milk Lotion…I put this stuff on at least six times on Christmas day. You can get it at the Narrow Way in Fort Mill, SC. It smells so good and makes your skin so soft.


The meals at the Campo’s house never disappoint. Here is last year’s Christmas dinner post...


This year, we had prime rib.


There was SO much to eat!


Salad, Glazed ham, seafood Alfredo, greenbean casserole, potatoes, roasted vegetables, parmesan rolls, and baked mushrooms.


For dessert, we had lemon marscapone cake. Marscapone anything will never be denied by me!


I had such a great Christmas.


Hope you enjoy my snow effects 😉


I immediately set my nespresso machine up when I got home!


I watched Empire and had decaf espressos to end the night!


On Saturday, we had a fun day planned. We headed to pick up an old antique dresser to refurbish.


First, I stopped at I Love Juicebar 🙂


I ordered two sweet green juices. It consists of apple, kale, cucumber, parsley, lemon and spinach. We also split a apple pecan bruks bar! They are so good!


This is the wood dresser we bought for $70.


We worked hours on removing the polyurethane and sanding. We are going to do a fun tutorial post when we are done.

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We chose divine white for the dresser color, espresso stain for the top, we are going to buy new handles, and remove the center pieces and add baskets.

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We picked up the dogs after a couple of hours and brought them over.

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Later on that night, I had some espresso and a pita pizza!  I also took down all the Christmas decorations that night…


After church on Sunday we were back at it! We headed to Lowes to buy some more tools and supplies.


We stopped and grabbed coffee, a kind bar, and almonds instead of going out to breakfast.


We have the entire thing sanded now! + the drawers. We are painting it and staining tomorrow night.

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I had a leftover salad while watching the game!

This was such a great week and I feel so blessed to be where I’m at in life. I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas filled with love, faith, and family!

Three Questions For You!

  1. How Was Your Christmas?
  2. What did you get for Christmas?
  3. Are you planning anything for New Years?


  • Steve

    Hello, Happy New Year! I stumbled here whilst perusing Pinterest (actually looking for sandwiches, which, btw, I pinned your warm sub thing from last Super Bowl) and decided to look at your ‘my life’ thing because I’m nosey.. LOL.. hey, any chance you can post the recipe for that delicious looking soup up top of this page, it looks like it has sausage, and maybe kale or spinach, in a delicious-looking creamy broth.. I would love to try that.. Thanks in advance! Thanks for sharing! I’ll have to check out your other recipes some time..

    Reply to Steve
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hello and Happy New Years to you too!

      That warm sub is INCREDIBLE and you’ll LOVE it! I’m making it again for the group this year. Ive learned me lesson though…I need to make more than one, actually more than two! That soup was made by my boyfriend’s dad, but I can try to squeeze the recipe out of him! 🙂

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Amanda

    Oooh, a pita pizza sounds delicious. I’m on 21DF right now, but that is one treat that is totally allowed 🙂 Happy New Year Taralynn!

    Reply to Amanda
  • amy

    Hi Taralynn!

    Can’t wait to try the juice bar! I have a very nice juicer… but honestly it’s SO much work :/ Really enjoyed your post… Just curious about the house you’re fixing up… is it yours or nick’s or both of yours…are you going to live in it or are you flipping it? I’m mainly just being noisy …sorry… I live in the Charlotte area as well and my boyfriend and I are patiently waiting to get into income properties …. It’s such a booming area… with the light rail extending… but the real good deals are becoming harder to find… I think you mentioned it’s around South Park and Dilworth….nice area!!

    Reply to amy
  • Linda @ The Fitty

    Invite me to your parties! They look so well done with all the food and fun.

    Reply to Linda @ The Fitty
  • kelly

    Hey! How do you like IT cosmetics? Why do you choose that line over any others?

    1. My Christmas was nice 🙂 went too fast though
    2. One of my gifts from my husband was a snow globe. I know it’s silly, but I really love them! I also got a lot of baby stuff. I am due the day after Easter with a boy 🙂 it was fun getting stuff for him already!
    3. My in-laws are having a party at their place, so that’s where I will be tomorrow!

    Enjoy your new years!!!

    Reply to kelly
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Kelly!

      OBSESSED WITH IT COSMETICS!! love IT! :D:D I really don’t care for make up but IT changed my whole view. The it goes on is like magic, it’s not greasy and shimmery, it’s natural, and it just looks like velvet! You should go in and have them put it on you to test it out.

      1. Doesn’t it always?
      2. It’s not silly!:) I think it’s cute! Congrats on the baby!! so exciting!
      3. That’ll be fun! Enjoy yourself 🙂

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Chandler

    Hi Taralynn! I LOVE your recap posts. So fun to read! I’m super jealous of your gifts because they all look amazing! I got some fun gifts too though 😉 I got a pair of Columbia winter boots, a crock pot, a bunch of gift cards, some cute notebooks, The Little Mermaid, and a Minnesota Wild jersey from my boyfriend! For our Christmas Eve tradition, we have Italian food! We make a huge pot of homemade sauce with an entire beef roast, and then make spaghetti and homemade pizza with the sauce. We also had Olive Garden salad this year too. For New Years, my boyfriend and I are keeping it simple and making Mexican at home, and just hanging out 🙂

    Reply to Chandler
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks Chandler (love the name)

      All of your gifts sound amazing! You can’t go wrong with italian food for christmas!!! yum!

      Your New Year’s plan sounds awesome! We are actually driving up to D.C. tonight so hopefully we get there by new years!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Justine

    Hi Tara…happy new year to you!! Saw your post about the belly slimmer. Does it really work?!? What do you think?

    Reply to Justine
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Justine!

      It doesn’t make your belly “slim” it just gives it a workout. Like, our abs felt like we just did a workout after wearing it. So if you’re eating right and working out, it helps a lot!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kelsey

    1.It was super busy so many places to be and so little time. My brother and his gf got to come down for a little bit and they revealed the baby gender to us for our christmas gifts so that was a really nice gift! I was so tired and worn out by the time christmas was over I felt like I had been ran over by a train for a few days.

    2.I got several things only because we had several places to be. I got 4 new victoria secrect bras from my gf because my other one’s were rags just about lol and she also bought me some rainboots and northface monogrammed rain jacket, a florida georigia line cd, 4 different dvds, selfie stick, a vera bradly purse and a bunch of candy. My mom got me a adult coloring book that I can’t wait to try out and a justin bieber cd, a lunch box, some fridge boots and a few other odds and ends stuff. My grandparents gave me money and clothes and then my gf’s parents gave us $1000.00 for a vaction trip in the summer. We have never been on a vacation together and well I have never been to the beach. We are thinking about taking a cruise to the bahamas.

    3.This new years we don’t have much planned except for some football games my gf is a huge clemson fan! So I know we will be rooting for them and I may cook some football finger foods she loves my buffalo chicken dip. I also am planning to get back on track and become healthy again I did so well and then got off track I am determined to get back on track again this year. It helps that my gf went to school for fitness and wellness lol. We are currently turning one of our rooms into a at home gym since we can’t afford a gym membership right now. My work has a free gym but she of course can’t go with me and working out alone is no fun.

    Reply to Kelsey
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Christmas is always busy! I feel like the last three days are the busiest! I bet that was so exciting! 🙂 Congrats on being an Aunt!

      You got so many great gifts! wow! Your family should adopt me.

      New Years is going to be fun and all about football for us too! Turning a room into a gym is a great idea!!

      Sounds like you’re going to be busy busy!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ashley

    Can’t wait to see how the dresser turns out! What a fun project. I got a spiralizer for Christmas and I’m excited to finally try some veggie noodles!

    Reply to Ashley
  • Jen H.

    Your new Nespresso looks just magical! I can’t wait to see all the fun recipes you whip up with it!! Now I am going to be tempted to get one 🙂 Can I just say Mr. Grumples is looking extra cute in these pictures. Can I ask the story behind him? Maybe you’ve posted about him before but I would love to hear how you got him. I’m on the market for a Goldendoodle but they are so darn expensive. It’s going to be YEARS before I (a broke grad student) can afford one! If you have any suggestions/tips/pointers on getting a dog or how to choose one that would be great!

    1. My Christmas was wonderful. Close family and delicious food…what more could you ask for!
    2. My mom got me WeatherTechs for my car. They make a huge difference and I love them already! I live in Illinois and in the winter all the snow gets in your car and makes a mess….I know you understand!
    3. I’m heading way up into Wisconsin for a good ole fashion family NYE. Were going to spend it iceskating, sitting around a bonfire, and of course watching the Rosebowl!! GO HAWKEYES!!


    Reply to Jen H.
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I love my Nespresso so much. I am so obsesssso with it! 😉 I havnt done anything clever yet, but I have some things in mind. They’re a game changer!

      Thank you and I think he looks adorable as well 😉 There are actually rescue groups for certain breeds. If you’re looking for a doodle, look into rescuing one :)It’s cheaper that was and you’ll be rescuing!

      So glad you had a wonderful christmas.

      I know how Illinois winters can get…(used to live in Chicago)

      AHHH GO HAWKEYES!!!!:) your new years sounds like so much fun!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Brooklyn

    I have such a coffee craving now after seeing your beautiful picture with it pouring down the side. Yum!
    My Christmas was pretty good, I made a delicious chicken.
    I know for New years I’m having a movie night with friends, but not sure what we’re watching.
    What are your plans?

    Reply to Brooklyn
  • Jen

    What type of Nespresso is that? I’ve been wanting one for awhile. Maybe I’ll treat myself. Glad you had such a fun Christmas with your family!

    Reply to Jen
  • Poli

    Great post!
    I’m not taking our christmas decors until mid january, I just love them so much!
    I had a great Christmas, thanks for asking 😉 my favorite gift was all the books I received, seems that it’s going to be a loooong reading holiday season for me, at least for a couple of months 🙂
    As for new year, my boyfriend and I are going to the mountains with my parents, I’m excited for that!
    Have a great 2016!

    Reply to Poli
  • Heather @ Polyglot Jot

    Looks like such a great Christmas! Are the nespresso pods hard to come by or are they as easy to find as kcups? looks awesome! Also those poppers look amazing!!

    My favorite gift this year was an adult coloring book. I’m so excited to color! haha!

    Reply to Heather @ Polyglot Jot
    • Taralynn McNitt

      It truly was!

      They sell them in larger quantities. The Kcups usually have 12-15 in a box but the nesspresso pods have way more. My mom bought me about 200 pods on amazon! I think trader joes has them too. You’ll want to order them online becuase theyre cheaper!

      I’ll put up the popper recipe soon!

      Everyone seems to be coloring now days!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lou

    Beautiful photos. It looks like you had an amazing Christmas and lots of wonderful gifts.


    Reply to Lou
  • Ashton Jury

    Your Christmas looks like it was a lot of fun! I wish I had a juice bar a bit closer to us, you would think living at the beach I would! I have to say I’m a bit jealous of your 80 degree Christmas, it was actually chilly here in Seal Beach. I got a fit-bit charge hr, which I am super excited about and also some essential oils, I am going to need to get a diffuser though. Also nespresso is the best! Last time I was in Strasbourg I was cracking up because I saw a commercial for nespresso with George CLooney! Glad you had a fun christmas, and I can’t wait for your cheese popper recipe! That is one of my favorite guilty pleasures! 🙂

    Reply to Ashton Jury
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yeah that would make sense! Maybe one day you’ll get one! they seem to be opening up everywhere.

      I love Strasbourg!!! Thats the first time i ever used a nespresso!!


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Carolyn

    Sounds like you had an awesome Christmas! That Juice Bar place looks delicious 🙂 There is one opening near my parents’ house and I cannot wait to try it!

    1. We spent Christmas with my parents and did Christmas early with my boyfriend’s family. We had a blast!
    2. My favorite gift was definitely my new standing mixer. I pulled it out to make brownies last night just so I could use it haha 🙂
    3. Going to Charleston! If you have any good restaurant suggestions send them my way! What are you doing for New Year?

    Reply to Carolyn
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I love the juice bar so much! You’ll lOVE it! & Christmas was so great!

      1. So glad you had a wonderful Christmas with your family.
      2. You can never go wrong with a mixer! I love mine.
      3. We ALMOST went to Charleston for New Years, but decided to go spend it with my brother! Here are all my Charleston posts!! http://simplytaralynn.com/tag/charleston/

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Mary

    I have a question seeing all this plastic… do you recycle or anything?

    Reply to Mary
  • Sophie

    I love my nespresso! So happy your coffee loving soul owns one now as well! I got a super fancy coffee grinder because mine decided to die just weeks before Christmas. And pre ground coffee just isn’t the same. I love the ritual and the smell of freshly ground coffee… mmmhhhh…

    As for the new year, I am making sure I’m starting it healthy. What are your new year’s resolutions?

    Reply to Sophie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I’ve wanted one for so long. I felt bad about buying one becuase I had received an espresso maker for Christmas three years ago, but since it was a gift…I didnt feel bad :)I also LOVE coffee grinders!

      I havent really thought about my resolutions yet!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Owen Carver

    You’re blessed! I actually am not big on receiving gifts, although I did get two white shirts. My gift really was coming to Colorado to visit family and see my 2yo nephew speaking and being super cute. Plans for New Years are to just hang out with sister, Mom, & brother here until I go home after New Years. Christmas was different though since my father and youngest sister couldn’t join us this year due to Peace Corps & divorce. But there’s so much to be grateful for. My sister has a Nespresso and loves it, although I’m starting a coffee company in Vegas so I’ll have to persuade her to buy my beans instead. 🙂

    Reply to Owen Carver
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I truly am!

      I bet it was a beautiful Christmas in Colorado! New years sounds like it’ll be fun! We are going to visit my brother! Congrats on your new startup! I’ll have to make sure to come visit next time I’m in Vegas! HOPEFULLY SOON 🙂

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lauren @ Jesus and a Side of PB

    Looks like you enjoyed every minute of your holiday!! Is that Italian wedding soup I see? We had that on Christmas eve night and it was so good! Never had it before but definitely a keeper.

    Reply to Lauren @ Jesus and a Side of PB
  • Karen

    I love your hair that dark!

    Reply to Karen
  • Lindsay @ A Runnaroundd Life

    Looks like a blast! My boyfriend and I got tons of camping stuff–tents, sleeping bags, jackets, etc. We’re doing a big bike trip next year. Can’t wait! 🙂

    Reply to Lindsay @ A Runnaroundd Life
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Was so much fun 🙂 I’m so jealous of your camping trip planned! Where are you going and what are the plans!? Love camping but haven’t done it in years!!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Brooke

    I just refinished a dresser similar to that one and use it as my TV console. Gotta hide hubs game systems!! Lol. I got my drawer handles/knobs at Hobby Lobby in Rock Hill. They were 50% off when I got them recently and have a great selection if you’re still looking!!

    Reply to Brooke
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is what we are going to do with it. We are going to mount the T.V. above it and put frames and little decor items on top! The center will hide all the game systems lol. And we just bought our handles at the same exact store!!!! too funny!!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Misty

    Hi Taralynn! Christmas was great as I was able to find those really great gifts for my kids, I feel like I really nailed it this year! I got a ninja blender and it works fantastic! I would appreciate any recipes for smoothies or juices that my ninja could make! New Years will be spent with my husband and children watching the ball drop and Dick Clarks Rockin New years eve show! I would like to make a healthy Chinese dinner that night too! Have you tried any recipes that are keepers? Always love your posts and Happy New Year!

    Reply to Misty
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Misty!

      I think finding gifts for kids would be so much FUN and really put you in the Christmas spirit! I have a ninja and love it. We are also just going to watch the ball drop and I love doing that every year. I do have some healthy Chinese food recipes on my blog 🙂 xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Marti

    Can’t wait to hear what you think of the nespresso! I got one too! Do you have a fav pod or recipe so far? I’m still experimenting…I got the latissama plus. I know they are all a bit different!

    Reply to Marti
    • Taralynn McNitt

      LOVE IT!!!! I’m still trying all the pods, but I think I have some favorites already! I’ve just been making espressos and using my milk frother!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt

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