A Perfect Thanksgiving in Venice

Helloย & Happy Wednesday.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Mine couldn’t have been any more perfect. I had the greatest time in Florida and I can’t wait to share all of the special moments with you. This is going to be a crazy few weeks for me, but I will be backย to normal posting next week. I have a lot of exciting events going on and I promise to share everything with you soon. I am going to chop my recap post in half today because I’m trying to manage my time wisely!?ย picmonkey-collage
Kyle and Iย decided to drive all the way to Venice, Florida to spend Thanksgiving at his mom’s. We wanted to drive so we could bring the pups along. It’s about an eleven hour trip, so we broke it up into two days. I decided to pack some snacks for the car. I stopped at Target to grab snack bars, pineapple, bananas, peanut butter packs, goldfish, popcorn, almonds and apples.ย 
We stopped at Starbucks before officially taking off. I had a skinny peppermint mocha latte with three shots of espresso and Kyle had a hot chocolate. Yum ๐Ÿ™‚ย 
We made it to our halfway stop around 10:30pm. If you are ever looking for a dog friendly hotel, check out La Quinta. They are reasonably priced, have a great breakfast bar, and accommodate for your pets. Grumples has been staying at La Quintas since he was a pup.

We woke up around 6 am so we could shower and get ready for the drive. We were so excited to get to Florida for Thanksgiving.
We were so close to Venice. We stopped in Ocala to get gas, take out the pups, and of course…coffee break.ย picmonkey-collage-2The Ocala square was so cute. They were all ready for Christmas.
img_1138Only had two more hours to go!ย 
Afternoon lunch: almonds, honeycrisp apple and a chocolate chip cookie dough Larabar.ย 
We finally made it to Venice, Florida around 4pm! It was beautiful and time to shed some layers!ย picmonkey-collage-3
The pups made themselves right at home. Grumples was begging for the turkey in no time.ย 
Can’t take these two anywhere…
Kyle’s mom cooked up a wonderful Thanksgiving meal for us, and the table was set up beautifully.
The food was perfection. I’m not just saying that either…I truly mean it. We had stuffing, broccoli, homemade cranberry sauce that had orange zest, turkey, potatoes and gravy. I wanted all the recipes.ย 
We took the pups for a walk after dinner. We needed to work offย theย food and make room for dessert.
It was a beautiful night.
I could get used to a sunset like this.ย 
Kyle’s mom bought some locally roasted pumpkin spice coffee and it was perfect for dessert.ย 
We had chocolate covered strawberries, mini pumpkin pies,ย pumpkin magic cake (to die for), and seven layer bars. Now that’s how you do Thanksgiving!ย 
We ended our night playing Cards Against Humanity and it was hilarious. I learned some pretty interesting terms…img_1164
I woke up to the most beautiful sunset. I walked Grumples around the block and then headed back for coffee.ย picmonkey-collage-4Imagine having coffee with a view like that everyday?
Kyle’s mom made a really cool breakfast for us. She made little egg, cheese, and hash brownย cups. They were delicious!
picmonkey-collage-5Grumples had so much fun playing with Moe! Look at those floppy ears ๐Ÿ™‚img_0211
I needed to get out and stretch my legs after two days of driving and all of that Thanksgiving food. I decided to go for a run while Kyle was at the gym. My body was so confused as to why I was running in 80 degree weather when I wast just running in 45 degrees. I loved the weather and the change of scenery. I ran 7ย miles and walked 1.33.ย 
Kyle’s mom is my new cooking inspiration.

Look at this!! Why have I never thought about making a sweet potato crust? I can’t wait to run with this idea. This dish had egg, spinach, and feta.ย 
Thanksgiving leftovers are the best.
After lunch, we all headed to Venice Beach.ย 
It was the perfect beach day.   I want to move here. Beach in late November? Yes please!ย 
I love this photo ๐Ÿ™‚

Kyle and I were searching for shark teeth. Did you know that Venice beach is shark teeth capital of the world?picmonkey-collage
We took a long walk along the beach and soaked up all the sun we could.ย picmonkey-collage-2ย ย picmonkey-collage-3Afternoon coffee was a must.ย 
Kyle tried to get Leo to swim in the pool for a little bit, but he wasn’t loving it. I’m sure some of you saw that on Snapchat.
picmonkey-collage-4We made a giant bowl of popcorn with almonds and goldfish for a movie night. We ended up watching one of our favorites, The Visit.

I can’t wait to share more of my trip with you! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you guys for being so patient with me the past couple of weeks! You rock.

Questions for you!

  1. Do you add any fun toppings to your popcorn?
  2. What was the highlight of your Thanksgiving?




  • Paer

    Marry each other.

    Reply to Paer
  • Allie

    Ahhh! I grew up in Sarasota and miss it everyday. So happy you enjoyed the west coast of FL ?

    Reply to Allie
  • Lauren @ Following the Path of Life

    Taralynn, I’m so glad that you had such a wonderful Thanksgiving!! You and Kyle made memories this weekend that will last you a lifetime — treasure them. Thanks for letting all of your readers kind of tag along on your trip — it was so much fun getting to watch your journey on Snapchat and Insta!

    1. I tend to like my popcorn plain, but sometimes I’ll add cinnamon and/or melted honey. Granted, then I have to eat it with a spoon because it’s so sticky — hehe!

    2. Hmm…probably just getting to have a quiet day with my hubby. We’d tried to invite some people over, but they were all busy, which was apparently God’s plan. He knew well before we did that we kind of just needed a day to ourselves (except for one friend coming over for a short while in the evening to play games and eat pie), and it was pretty special that way.

    Reply to Lauren @ Following the Path of Life
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Lauren!

      Thank you for the kind words ๐Ÿ™‚

      I am going to try my popcorn with cinnamon and honey next time! I love doing cinnamon, but I’ve never done the honey!:)

      Glad you had the chance to hang out with your husband and relax! Games and pie? count me in!

      Have a wonderful weekend!

      xo – Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lacey

    I live super close to Venice Florida!! Looks like you guys had a blast. Love your blog I’ve been ready for years!

    Reply to Lacey
  • Linda @ The Fitty

    Sunset after dinner, wow! What time do you eat dinner there? Must be before 4pm?!

    Reply to Linda @ The Fitty
  • Brooklyn

    I love adding hot sauce to my popcorn, it is SO GOOD!

    Those sunsets and the sunrise? Beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚


    Reply to Brooklyn
  • Amanda

    Please please share the egg, spinach, feta pie recipe from Kyle’s mom! Sweet potato crust sounds amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Amanda
  • Carol

    Hi Taralynn! Your thanksgiving trip looked wonderful. I love your popcorn mix and am going to make that up this weekend! I like to pop kernels in a brown paper lunch sac then add a little bitty bit of honey and some cinnamon and shake it up ๐Ÿ™‚
    I live in Texas with that 75 degree weather, so I bet that run was such a huge change up after your cold weather runs! Love your pups btw ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Carol
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Carol!

      Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ I had so much fun! The popcorn mix is so good and I’m going to make it again this weekend! I want to do one with sweet goldfish now.

      I have never thought of doing honey and cinnamon! Does the honey stick to your fingers?

      You get that weather all year round! lucky!

      xo & thank you!!


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Melissa

    Aw, that looks like the perfect, relaxing getaway! Kyle’s mom just might be my cooking inspiration, too, haha.

    I once made a quiche with a spaghetti squash crust. That was super good but the sweet potatoes look even better!

    Excited to see part two. ๐Ÿ™‚

    xo, Melissa || http://www.greenpalatelife.com

    Reply to Melissa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      It most certainly was and she really is an inspiration. I’ve heard of doing a spaghetti squash crust! That might be added to my list.

      xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jaime

    1. I love adding m&ms if I want the sweet/salty combo but if I want straight up salty, it’s really good to mix in chex mix!! Love the smartfood delight popcorn too. So yummy. Def going to try adding goldfish because they’re my fave ๐Ÿ™‚
    2. My favorite part this year (other than the food lol) was a new tradition my sister started. We all got a sheet of Thanksgiving related trivia questions that my sister (a history teacher) made and we all filled it out..with cellphones taken away! The person with the most questions right got a stack of lottery tickets.

    Reply to Jaime
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Jaime!

      M&M’s and popcorn are true soul mates. I almost added them to the mix, but I didn’t want to get tooooooo crazy ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I think that is awesome. I love trivia games and escaping from the cell phone world. I always use my phone to take photos and then throw it away.

      Hope you have a great weekend! xo


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Adrienne

    Hi Taralynn!
    I read your blog all the time but never comment and just had to today….I actually live here in Venice! So glad you are enjoying your visit! Have you taken the pups to dog beach?!

    Reply to Adrienne
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Ahhhh you’re so lucky! I loved Venice ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to go back! We did go to the dog beach!!! so much fun & the nicest dog beach I’ve ever been to!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Mackenzie

    Looks like an absolutely perfect Thanksgiving! Was it awkward playing Cards Against Humanity with his family?!? Hahhah. Kyleโ€™s mom is literally Martha Stewart. All that food looked straight out of a magazine. So glad you had a wonderful time.
    – Popcorn toppings: I donโ€™t really add many toppings, but yours looks so good. My favorite is boom chica pop, I could probably eat a whole bag of that stuff in one sitting.
    – Highlight: I met up with an old friend the weekend before thanksgiving and we did the Night Nation Run in Santa Clara. It was such a blast. HIGHLY recommend!

    Reply to Mackenzie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Mackenzie!!

      It really was ๐Ÿ™‚ Hahaha you’d think it would have been, but they are so funny and down to earth. I got an ab workout in by laughing so hard. Martha Stewart definitely has some competition!

      I love Boom Chica! I like that they have mini bags now for road trips. Otherwise I’ll eat the entire big bag….whooooops ๐Ÿ™‚

      So happy you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and catching up with old friends is always fun!! That run sounds like so much fun! I’ll definitely look into it ๐Ÿ™‚ xo xo xo xo


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • lidia

    That picture of kyle and his mom is so precious!

    Reply to lidia
  • Ale

    Hi Taralynn!
    I have been reading your blog since sooo long, since you had the other blog but first time writing. A few months ago I remembered your blog and returned to this, what an amazing blog. I always canยดt wait for your recaps, your lifestyle is really fascinating and motivating, you are always on the go. Really inspiring.
    However there are always things I donยดt understand from your culture, like pumpkin flavor in everything, whaaaaat hahaha. In Mexico we only use pumpkins for carve in halloween haha. And in here all beaches are hot all year around.
    Iยดm excited to read your part 2 with a cup of hot coffee ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Ale
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Ale!

      Thank you so much for the kind words. That means so much to me. Hearing that you can’t wait for my recaps is what keeps me writing. SO THANK YOU. I love cultural differences and sometimes they can be comedic. This whole pumpkin flavor everything is a trend right now and we just can’t get enough around the fall. There really is pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING & it has yummy spices. Have you ever had pumpkin pie?? It’s kind of like pumpkin pie flavored everything. You’re so lucky to have the beaches warm all year round! We have cold beaches, mild beaches, and hot beaches!

      I hope you have a wonderful weekend!! I’ll be writing that recap today!

      Thank you for reading and commenting! xo


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Olivia

    Glad you got to come down to Florida! I live over on the east coast, we always love running the AC through the holidays because it stays so warm! We’ve even got to the beach on Christmas! Lol

    The highlight of my Thanksgiving was moving! I noticed in your snapchats it looks like you moved too. We closed on our house Wednesday afternoon so we took advantage of having 4 days off work to move everything in! It’s so exciting to have a new place but so much work too! I hope your pups adjust well to the move, my kitties did not like it at first but they eventually warmed up.

    Reply to Olivia
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Olivia!

      You’re so lucky to live in FL! I love it ๐Ÿ™‚ I remember when we lived in Hawaii and it was so weird during Christmas!

      Moving is sooooo much work. Glad you guys took advantage of it and got it done!:) Congrats on the new home ๐Ÿ˜‰ Cats have a hard time adjusting. My dogs are pretty good at adjusting to just about anything!

      xo xo xo Have a great weekend and enjoy the new home!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Mindy

    Wow! All of that food looks great. Your photography is great!

    Reply to Mindy
  • Bethany

    Omg! I have a half full ziploc bag of shark teeth from Venice beach!!! My grandparents used to live in Venice, SUCH a beautiful town!! Hope you found some good shark teeth! Definitely one of my most memorable beach trips ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Bethany
  • Emily Weir

    Venice is only about an hour south of me! I’m glad you enjoyed your Florida Thanksgiving; I always dread the warm Thanksgiving day temps so I’m glad someone was excited for them ๐Ÿ˜‰ For my popcorn, I like to add the random ingredients I can find in my pantry: marshmallows, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, walnuts. Random, but delicious! And the highlight of my Thanksgiving this year was convincing my husband to join me for a 75 minute spin class to start the day. He hated it, but I was still glad to start the holiday together.

    Reply to Emily Weir
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Emily!

      That is so cool ๐Ÿ™‚ Do you go there often?

      I loved the warm Thanksgiving ๐Ÿ™‚

      You and me both! All random ingredients get added!

      What a trooper & go you!!! 75 minutes of spin!!!! wow!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jakie

    Are you moving to Venice?

    Reply to Jakie
  • Charmaine Ng

    Your Thanksgiving looks so perfect!! I wish we had the tradition where I live in Hong Kong!

    – Charmaine

    Reply to Charmaine Ng
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you Charmaine!! You can always celebrate ๐Ÿ™‚ xo But I know there are amazing celebrations in Hong Kong that I wish we had over here!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Carly

    I love all popcorn so I go through phases with my favorite toppings. Right now I’m all about simplicity with light sea salt!

    The highlight of my thanksgiving was being home in Colorado with family. And seeing moose get to play with his best dog friend Howie (my moms dog)…. so much dog joy when they were reunited!

    Your thanksgiving adventure looks/sounds wonderful! You and Kyle seem like a great pair and perfect pup parents for Grumples and Leo!

    Can’t wait to hear more about your exciting changes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply to Carly
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Carly!

      Light sea salt is really good on air popped popcorn!

      I love seeing dogs play together!:) I loved watching Kyle’s mom’s dog play with Grumps. They are the same size so it was a nice change for him since leo is so small!

      I’m pretty lucky to have Kyle and such wonderful pups!

      xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Janice

    Your photos are great! Looks like you had a great time.

    Reply to Janice
  • Hussain

    You must have enjoyed your stay in Florida. I lived there for one year and 8 months and loved โค๏ธ this place. I enjoyed reading your post too ?.
    I only add salt to popcorn (doesn’t seem to be a fun topping?).

    Reply to Hussain
  • Kate

    Love the pics from the trip! It looks so warm, nothing like November in the Midwest!

    We had a low key thanksgiving with the family. Nothing exciting but it was nice to relax.

    I saw your snapchat pics- are you moving in with Kyle?!

    Reply to Kate
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I spent many years having Thanksgivings in the Midwest ๐Ÿ™‚ Always sweater weather!

      Low key Thanksgivings are always nice ๐Ÿ™‚

      & no no. Not moving in with Kyle.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kate

    1. Chocolate
    2. Seeing family… our drive was 15 hours and we did it in one go. It is not fun, I think the next time we will consider splitting it. My body is a complete wreck from the holiday stress and trip going back to work is wayyy more relaxing ?.

    Reply to Kate
    • Taralynn McNitt

      M&Ms! ๐Ÿ™‚

      OMG. I remember when I used to drive home to Iowa from Charlotte or Atlanta. It was 16 hours and I used to go straight through! It was crazy! I hope you get some rest this weekend!


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kat

    What an awesome thanksgiving! My dream is to live by the ocean one day!

    I loveeee popcorn but just by itself. I don’t normally drink soda but a coke on ice, with popcorn is like heaven to me!
    The highlight of my thanksgiving was enjoying the day with my daughter!

    Btw you and Kyle are adorable. I’m just waiting for you to announce your engagement ๐Ÿ˜‰


    Reply to Kat
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That would be a dream of mine too!

      Coke & popcorn mmmmmmmmmmmm!

      So glad you enjoyed your holiday with your daughter! I bet that was so special.

      & Thank you. He’s the greatest!


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Sarah

    The food looks amazing ?

    I love staying at La Quintas! My dog loves to go on trips and we’ve always had amazing experiences. So happy to hear you had a great holiday ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Sarah

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