The Aloha Spirit is Real: Exploring The Big Island ?

Aloha!  ?

I only have four more days left on the Big Island. Hawaii is so beautiful, and I can’t wait to explore more. The next time I visit, Kyle and I are going to go island hopping. I’m currently sitting at a coffee shop, drinking a cappuccino, and staring at the ocean. This is the closest to my dreams as it gets.

After spending eight months training for my half marathon, I wanted to take a break. I put a lot of stress on my mind and body the past year. I was running more than three times a week, spending my off days at the gym working on strength training, sticking to a clean diet, and thinking about the race almost 24/7. I was nervous and anxious, which took an even bigger toll on my body. I was beating myself up a lot and it was because I was slowly cracking under my own pressure. Even though I LOVED my long Saturday runs and working towards the goal, my body just tapped out and forced me to reconsider my plan.
Coming to Hawaii was a great way for me to spend time with friends and to find a new focus. Relaxing, taking a break from exercise, and the stress of “reaching goals.” I knew I couldn’t do that at home. I tried to “just relax” when I was home, but I kept finding myself at the gym or worrying about the way I looked, and it wasn’t healthy. I’m aware of what is healthy and what is not healthy so I try to stop myself before spiraling down an unwanted path.

I made a promise to myself that Hawaii would be fun, and I wouldn’t worry about going for a run, finding a gym, or doing strength training in the living room. I wanted to lay on a beach, or sit outside and just BE. This truly has been the greatest week without any stress, and my body feels so refreshed. Sometimes you just have to get away to knock off the craziness 😉

When I get home, I will start incorporating trail walks, barre class, yoga, swimming, and light weight lifting. I don’t think you’ll see me back out running for a while, but we’ll see. I just want to do what is right for my mind and body. The meanest thing you can do for yourself is to ignore your mind and body. 
I’m lucky enough to have good friends that live in Hawaii. Not only am I blessed enough to have a place to stay, but they know the island better than any google map. I can hardly remember anything because all of the places and names of streets sound the same to me.

On Tuesday morning, we headed out to explore a bit.

Birds of Paradise flower.
activities on the big island kona beach hawaii travel palm trees
The Big Island is covered in fountain grass. It grows on the lava rock and spreads like crazy during fires. The grass is native to Africa but was brought over to Hawaii as a decorative piece, and with the winds and fires, it spread. It’s actually become a problem with farmland.
We were super hungry, and the last thing I had was a turkey sandwich on the plane, so we headed to Daylight Mind to have breakfast. It’s spot right on the water.

This is the ideal place to pack your laptop and get to work.

I started with a Waimea strawberry farm local smoothie. It came with strawberries, banana, mango, pineapple, coconut water, and I had them add kale. Very refreshing and the perfect thing to pick me up from my jet lag. 
For my breakfast, I ordered two eggs over medium and bacon. Their food was delicious! 
I had to get a picture of Shaughna’s. She ordered the Kona Kine benedict. It came with smoked pork shoulder, poached eggs, avocado, hollandaise sauce, and fresh fruit.

After eating Hawaiian pineapple, it’ll never be the same for me anymore. I forgot how good it was! My parents used to take my brother and me to pineapple farms as kids.
The view from our table at Daylight Mind.

After brunch, we headed out to drive around more of the island. 

Tuesday evening, we sat around having wine and watching the sunset from their back porch.

So beautiful.

On Wednesday morning, Shaughna made these delicious cheese, bacon, and egg cups. They reminded me a lot of my frittata recipe. I had a side of fresh fruit with them to start my day. I have been going to bed around 7:30 pm and waking up at 4:30 am for the past week. My body is fighting this new schedule of mine.

We decided to take Kona (the Goldendoodle) with us to Turtle Beach. Remember when I used to watch Kona in D.C., and when he used to come visit me in Charlotte? Turtle Beach (Kahaluu Beach Park) is one of the few beaches on the island that allows dogs.
Kona met a friend!

This beach was very quiet and so scenic. I mean, everything in Hawaii is scenic…

This beach is ideal for snorkeling because of all the fish species that can be found there.

Kona likes to fetch the Coral.

Now, do you see why it’s called turtle beach? Kahaluu Beach is famous for their sea turtles. They are always there feeding on the algae or laying on the shore in the sun. It’s important to keep your distance from the turtles because they are a protected species in Hawaii. Luckily, I brought my zoom lens. I love that this a place the turtles can find peace. 
We stopped at a couple other beach spots along the drive. 
The views from Kealakekua Bay are breathtaking. 
Hikiau Heiau is and ancient Hawaian temple site thats located on Kealakekua Bay. It was built by King Kalai’opu’u. There were human sacrifices done there.

“Hikiau Heiau was visited by Captain James Cook in 1778-1779. When the natives first saw his huge ship sail into Kealakekua Bay (source), they thought he was the returning god Lono, the god of agriculture and prosperity. The time when Cook arrived was during the months of the makahiki, which was a festival honoring the god Lono with hula performances, competitive games, feasting and special offerings.
My favorite flower.

We spent about an hour exploring more of Hawaii and taking pictures of everything. The island is so beautiful (I can’t stop saying that.) I can’t wait to blow up the photographs for my bedroom when I get home.
We were exhausted by afternoon, so we headed back to the house to grab some lunch and relax with coffee.

I had a salad for dinner. It had baby kale, pineapple, goat cheese, cranberries, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, and a mango champagne dressing. HOLY moly.

I was in bed at 7:30 pm.
I was up at 4:30 am on Thursday. I relaxed with coffee, watched the news, and worked on emails. By the time eight rolled around, I made a fruit bowl with blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, avocado, and goat cheese for breakfast. 
We headed to “The End of the World” (Maihi Bay) to walk Kona. I was shocked to see all the wild goats in Hawaii. They are so cute and tiny.  
The waters are so clear and blue. This is a great place to whale watch during the peak season. There is a spot towards the rocks on the other side that people (mostly locals) cliff dive off of. 
Coffeeberry Juice is my new favorite. It kind of tastes like cranberry, but less tart. I found it on Amazon, so it should be waiting at my house by the time I get home.

Shaughna eats a Keto diet, and she made these fat bombs that were to die for. I have the recipe now, so I’ll post them! They are carbless chocolate bars, and they taste just like the real deal. So unbelievably good.

We all took off to explore Hawi.

Hawi is a great little town to explore. They have a lot of art and gifts!

We had lunch at Bamboo. It’s a fun and colorful little spot with great food. There are two things you have to start with. First, the Lilikoi iced tea. It’s fruity, refreshing, and sweet.

Second, the calamari. They almost tasted like mozzarella sticks. I know that sounds weird, but the calamari is thick, soft and chewy like cheese. It’s so good.
I ordered the bamboo salad. It was a blend of organic Kohala-grown greens garnished with fresh seasonal Hawaiian treats and roasted macadamia nuts with homemade papaya seed dressing and grilled ono on top. I loved how unique and fresh the salad was. The fish here literally tastes like chicken. 
I spent some time shopping for gifts, and I loved all the Hawaiian print bags! How cute?
We headed to Kohala Frest Reserve to check out the Pololu Valley lookout.
Next, I walked around Lapakahi State Historical Park. There is so much history in Hawaii, and a lot of it is heartbreaking. 

We stopped to get the Big Island’s best shaved ice on our way back to Kailua Kona.
Mango & Blackberry. 
What a great way to end the day!!

Next, I’ll be blogging about my trip to the Sunshower Coffee Farm & more!!

Questions for you! 

  1. How do you handle jet lag?
  2. Ice Cream or Snow Cones?
  3. Do you ever take breaks from stress? If so, what is your escape?


  • Anonymous

    Love the photos.

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Chelsea

    Wow! Hawaii looks beautiful.

    Reply to Chelsea
  • Anonymous

    love your photos

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Tonya

    Hi, Taralynn!

    Looks like you had fun in Hawaii! Quick question. Do you get anxiety before flying?

    I just can’t seem to get over it, so I avoid trips.

    Reply to Tonya
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Tonya!

      Funny you should ask. My friend and I were just talking about this. No matter how many times I fly, I ALWAYS get anxiety before the airport and sometimes when we take off. I think it’s TOTALLY normal. I try to just take deep breaths, get there SUPER early, make sure everything is ready to go the night before, and listen to good music as we take off. My anxiety has been much better, but I TOTALLY get it.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • nancy

    Saw your photos on snap chat and I cant wait to read more

    Reply to nancy
  • Kristin

    Wow!!!! What incredible pictures! It looks so awesome and relaxing!

    Reply to Kristin
  • alyssa

    OMG This is BEAUTIFUL!!! I live in California and have thought of planning my first trip to Hawaii as a family. We have 2 little guys, 6 yr old and 2 yr old. Dealing with the Terrible Twos on an airplane isn’t too lovely so I’ll be looking to plan a trip within the next year to save up and be sure to stay for at least 7-10 days. Now I’m determined to go with this lovely experience you shared!
    I’d try and catch a redeye to help with jet lag.

    Tough choice! Both, Ice Cream & Snow Cones!

    The best way for me to destress without working out or picking up a journal, is to simply…look at pet memes. They make me laugh.

    Lovely post, glad you shared these cool snippets of your trip!

    Reply to alyssa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Alyssa!

      You should totally do it. NOT TOO FAR for you at all!

      You could probably take a redeye and turn the free movies they offer on so they can fall asleep!

      They actually had ice cream with snow cones as their special! I didn’t get it though, not too sure about it lol

      lol that is true!

      xo xo Thanks for commenting.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Linda

    Great job on taking a break from your workouts. I’m proud of how strong you are!

    Reply to Linda
  • Kelsey

    I thought Shaughna lived in D.C.?

    Reply to Kelsey
  • Anonymous

    You should check out Magic Sands

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Stephanie

    Daylight Mind is my absolute favorite place in Kona!!! So glad you went.

    Reply to Stephanie
  • Anonymous

    Who pays for these trips?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Hilary

    Gorgeous photos.

    Reply to Hilary
  • Hannah

    I think I know where I’m planning my next trip to!

    Reply to Hannah
  • Barbara

    with what you are taking photos? phone or camera? or maybe both? if by phone – is it apple?

    Reply to Barbara
  • Amber | A Piece Of My Tart

    Going to Hawaii is definitely on my bucket list! It looks like so much fun!

    Reply to Amber | A Piece Of My Tart
  • hao

    Did you get to try poke?

    Reply to hao
  • Anonymous

    I love Kona! My husband and I went on our anniversary.

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    How long will you be in Hawaii for?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Quinn

    Love your blog Taralynn.

    Reply to Quinn
  • Deana

    I can’t wait to read the rest of your blogs. I found you from a hashtag and now I am hooked.

    Reply to Deana
  • Anonymous

    I love your photography!

    Reply to Anonymous
  • London Girls

    Hey! Pretty inspirational photos Taralynn! I definitely have to do something like this 🙂 Cheers!

    Reply to London Girls
  • Georgia

    Kona is so cute! I thought it was Leo at first.

    Reply to Georgia
  • Leslie

    Is Hawaii expensive?

    Reply to Leslie
  • Amani P.

    Hoping to plan a trip to a tropical paradise after seeing your amazing pictures!
    1. Combating jet lag: early morning jogs or meditation helps me relax and (hopefully) fall asleep on time
    2. Ice cream! Worked at Ben and Jerry’s in high school and have always had that sweet tooth
    3. As a fourth year undergrad student, I constantly have to take brakes. Usually I go for a walk with my dog or go book shopping

    Reply to Amani P.
  • Anonymous

    You must eat at lava java!

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Haley

    Did you bring your dog? Where is Grumples?

    Reply to Haley
  • Lisa

    What does Kyle do for work?

    Reply to Lisa
  • Greg

    How do you edit your photos?

    Reply to Greg
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Saturation. Contrast. Sharpen. Brightness!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Maria Garcia-Mayorca

        What camera/lens do you use for these Hawaii pics?
        How do you edit the pics you take with your phone?
        Any tips on taking awesome pics like the ones you take on a daily basis?
        Love your photographs!!!!

        Reply to Maria Garcia-Mayorca
  • Jess

    Living through you while I chug this gas station coffee at work.

    Reply to Jess
  • Falicia

    Now I have FOMO!

    Reply to Falicia
  • Georgina

    I miss Hawaii so much! This seems like the perfect way to escape stress. Are you there on a sponsored trip?

    Reply to Georgina
  • Hannah

    Your snaps have me excited for your next blog post! Glad you are enjoying yourself, Taralynn!

    Reply to Hannah
  • Anonymous

    Great photography

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Jennifer Jimenez

    What camera do you use?

    Reply to Jennifer Jimenez
  • Auloa

    I think I saw you at the beach but I was afraid to say Hi to you because you were reading a book. Were you at magic sands?

    Reply to Auloa
  • Tyler

    You have to try Donkey Balls in downtown Kona!

    Reply to Tyler
  • Ja

    Love your blog! kisses from France!

    Reply to Ja
  • Jane

    New to your blog. Love it.

    Reply to Jane
  • Anonymous

    Are you ever going home? you’re still there?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • marti @fitwithheart

    loved all these pictures! i would LOVE to visit hawaii and i’m PROUD OF YOU for knowing when to get away and recognize the signs of a downward spiral. i’m so glad you are destressing and LISTENING to your body! i actually did a live video today on my facebook page about dealing with overwhelm and here are 3 things that i do!

    1. declutter and clean up!
    2. decompress by doing something that brings me joy! a of wine…etc.
    3. BRAIN DUMP and write it all down 🙂

    Reply to marti @fitwithheart
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Marti!

      Love all of your steps!!:) I totally did the declutter before I left and it felt amazing!!! & I’ve had my FAIR SHARE OF WINE here 🙂

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jordan

    Hey Taralynn,

    Loving all of your gorgeous photos from your trip! Can’t help having a little bit of vacation envy! I also think it is well deserved! Like you said, you have put your body and mind through quite a bit training and preparing for the half-marathon. I think I took a few weeks off after running my first half. (I also said that I would never run another half-marathon again right after I finished my first, and here I am signing up for another a year later! Haha )

    1. I can’t say that I’ve ever had jet-lag. I also haven’t flown too much at all, so maybe I would experience that if my flights were longer.

    2. You scream, I scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! I can never turn down a bowl, or a cone, or a sandwich… you get the picture.

    3. You definitely got to take a break from stress in order to stay sane and grounded! For me, running is usually my stress reliever, but I have also discovered yoga or playing piano helps me break away from reality for a while. (As long as I stay away from the ice cream, it’s a win in my book for dealing with the stress is a positive way.)

    I hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation — and I really love the pink and white top you were wearing in some of the photos! Where is it from??

    Reply to Jordan
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jordan!

      Thanks for reading 🙂 This break has been really therapeutic, that’s for sure! Good to see you’re ready for your next half! That is awesome.

      Lol yea, some people can handle well, but my body is so scheduled that it hates it!

      Me either girl, me either!

      Yoga is so therapeutic.

      It’s from a collection I used to do! I hadnt had time to run it, so it’s closed for now !:)

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Farah

    That food looks great!

    Reply to Farah
  • Nicole

    Hi Taralynn!

    1. I’ve never had jet lag, I’ve only ever flown from my home state (Iowa) to Florida. Not much of a time change!
    2. TOTALLY ice cream. Mint chip is my weakness!
    3. I definitely think its important to take breaks from stress. Usually, I take a nice, long walk with my pups or take a scenic drive on the country side! I hope your trip totally refreshes you so you feel new when you return home.

    Side note: I’ve been following your blog for quite awhile now, and I just recently read your entire story. I realized from your pictures that you grew up in Ottumwa! I live about 25 minutes from there, and go there frequently. I thought that was way cool! 🙂

    Reply to Nicole
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Nicole!

      Not a big change, but I used to LOVE going to Florida when I lived in Iowa!

      Pistachio is mind, but mint is really good too!

      The trip has been great 🙂

      That is crazy! What a small world!!! I havnt been to Ottumwa in so many years! Need to get back there!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous


    Reply to Anonymous
  • Jess G.

    I’ve been reading your blog since it switched formats, it gives me such inspiration. I haven’t left a comment before, but I just had to this time because I found it so funny that we were actually in Hawaii at the same time! It was my first time to Oahu! It looks like you had as much fun as my family and I did. Swimming with the turtles was definitely the best part for us!

    Reply to Jess G.
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jess!!

      Sounds like you are really enjoying Hawaii! Oahu is great. We spent a lot of time there as kids!

      It’s a great time to be on the islands <3 The weather has been so wonderful!


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Krista

    Love the pictures! My dad always talks about when his family lived in Hawaii for a year, and my grandma served them so many mangos in so many ways that I never had mango until I got to college! XD

    It’s so important to let your body rest, that’s so cool that you have the opportunity to do that in such a beautiful place!

    Reply to Krista
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Krista!

      That is funny. The fruit is growing everywhere right now and it’s prime season for picking! I had mango in my acai bowl and it was SO good.

      xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Quinn

    I just booked a flight to Hawaii. Thank you for the inspiration Tara!

    Reply to Quinn
  • Amanda

    Cool photos of the sea turtles! They are my favorite.

    Reply to Amanda
  • Day

    Did you try poke?

    Reply to Day
  • hoavu

    Gorgeous shots

    Reply to hoavu
  • Daniella

    I can’t wait to see your coffee farm post.

    Reply to Daniella
  • Jennifer

    I’ve only experienced true Jet Lag when I went to Europe… for that I used melatonin! I was young, aka 16ish, so I may have just been so energetic that it didn’t affect me too much! Haha

    Oh man.. tough choice. I LOVE ice cream but I also LOVE shaved ice. I can’t find shaved ice many places though, so when I get the chance I get it! There’s a little cart up in Duluth that sells it by the lift bridge, I LOVE the watermelon flavor shaved ice!

    I would absolutely love to take a break from stress… unfortunately money and the lack of vacation time don’t make that too easy! My trip to NC in September is coming up and I’m SO FREAKIN EXCITED to not have to worry about anything for over a week. It will be amazing. At home, I like to just put down my phone and not look at it for long periods of time, even things like that make me feel so much more stress free! Bubble baths always help too. 🙂

    Loving the pictures btw! The turtle ones are amazing. They make me want to go somewhere and get my own prints!

    Reply to Jennifer
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jennifer!

      lol nothing affects you when you’re 16 lol (those were the days)

      Watermelon shaved ice sounds heavenly!

      You will have so much fun in NC! I love the Carolinas so much :):)

      Take so many photos on your trip!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Amina

    Those turtles?!?! ????? I’m obsessed!

    How do you handle jet lag?
    Ugh! I hate jet lag and feel like as soon as it’s gone it’s time to fly home! Which always messes me up more. I just try to relax & kind of keep to my same at home schedule.

    Ice Cream or Snow Cones? Snow cones! Yours looked amazing!

    Do you ever take breaks from stress? If so, what is your escape?
    You have to, I wicked stressed myself out this semester with trying to mea prep, study, go to the gym & work full time. I would take time off from the gym mostly because it was just too much & I would go late after work.
    So important to take relaxing time to yourself even when you feel like you should be doing everything.

    Hope you have the best trip ever!

    Reply to Amina
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Arent they so cute?!?!

      I’m already on Hawaii schedule, but I leave Friday, so there goes that!!!

      I agree 100%! & sometimes you just have to force yourself to do it. If you can’t shut your mind off, your body won’t be shut off either!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    That coffee shop is a dream. Are you in Kona?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Erin @ Brownie Bites Blog

    I have been to Hawaii twice. The first time was on my honeymoon and we spent the whole week on Kauai, which was remote and natural and beautiful. I loved it. The second time was in 2015 for a good friend’s wedding and we stayed in Honolulu near Waikiki. Man, I gotta say it, Honolulu was such a dumpy, dirty city! The beaches were covered in trash, people in apartments and condos had trash stuffed floor to ceiling on their balconies. We got out of the city as much as we could because the other areas (such as the mid and northern parts of Oahu where the Dole Plantation is) were quite a bit nicer and had more of that “Hawaiian” vibe to them. I LOVED seeing your photos from the Big Island… I think the natural parts of Hawaii are the whole reason to go there!

    Reply to Erin @ Brownie Bites Blog
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Oh wow! I bet that was so much fun. You totally have to come to Hawaii for more than a week because of the jet lag! I love Waikiki! We used to go there every weekend and get snow cones on the beach as kids.

      Honolulu must have changed A LOT! Since I lived there lol

      The big island is definitely less touristy!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Evie

    Gorgeous pics! I’m desperate to visit Hawaii. What do you think of the keto diet, Tara?

    (How do you handle jet lag?) Jet lag KILLS me. I get so sick for weeks. I hate it!
    (Ice Cream or Snow Cones?) Snow cones Japanese-style are the best!
    (Do you ever take breaks from stress? If so, what is your escape?) I escape into TV shows!

    Reply to Evie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Evie!

      You should totally try to visit sometime.

      The keto diet is pretty awesome! If you can commit to it, it’s a great lifestyle, because you’re not depriving yourself & it’s pretty healthy!

      Jet lag definitely isn’t my friend either lol

      Japanese style sounds amazing! I had to google it and now I’ll be on a hunt to find one!

      lol not a bad idea. I’m actually watching the bachelorette now haha

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Susie

    Ahhhhh this post is making me crave getting back to Hawaii!! Everything about that state is incredible – land, culture, food, etc. That’s the best vacation we’ve ever taken so far. There’s no better place to recharge and reconnect with yourself. And you’ll absolutely love going as a couple :).
    Enjoy the rest of your time!

    Reply to Susie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      It’s a dream here 🙂

      I know Kyle will LOVE it.


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Susie

        We stayed on Oahu in Kailua. If you guys are into the adventure activities, we stayed at an AirBnb where the host had ALL of the ocean toys you could want – SUP, kayak, snorkle gear, etc. All things that would cost hundreds to rent that we were able to use free. It made our trip seriously unforgettable!

        Let me know if you’d like the name!

        Reply to Susie
  • Brooklyn

    I am in love with these photos! Especially the cool lizard.
    Those print bags are so beautiful. Did you buy one?

    I hope you’re having the best relaxing trip 🙂

    Reply to Brooklyn
  • Carly

    Your pictures are absoutly beautiful! The colors and tranquility are inspiring! So glad to see you taking the time to get away and RELAX! Life these days is always go go go… relaxing can be tough to find but SO rewarding when you do!

    I’m so excited to see Kona on the blog again! Such an adorable little dog! And perfectly named for island life!

    Whenever I travel I try to fight jet lag by staying up till 10pm local time and going to bed then in attempt to reset my internal clock. It doesn’t always work perfectly but it certainly helps adjusting to wherever I am!

    Don’t make me choose between ice cream and snow cones (shaved ice)! If its good shaved ice aka. basically from Hawaii I’d choose it, but its so hard to find that I guess I have to pick ice cream! Last summer I found maple ice cream after seeing it on your blog and I’m STILL obsessed with the flavor!

    I always try to take breaks from stress when I can. Durning the day if I get stressed working I always try to take a break and go for a walk with Moose without my phone and just be with nature and the dog. Less often I try to plan trips with very little plans to decompress and relax.

    Can’t wait to read about your Coffee adventure!

    Reply to Carly
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Carly!!

      You’re so right and this relaxing time has helped a lot.

      It’s so funny because they even named him Kona before moving to Kona! Such a sign 😉

      I literally stay up, but my body is like STAY UP AND GO TO BED WHEN I TELL YOU TOO!!!

      There is actually ice cream served WITH the snow cones at that shop we went to. I wasn’t brave enough to try it! Maple walnut!? omg the best.

      Walking is the best for stress! Walking and being with my pups is great as well. I’m missing them so much!

      Having little plans here has been amazing. Sure, I’d love to be go go go, but just relaxing on the porch and watching the sunset has been good enough!

      xo xo the coffee adventure was great!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Vanessa

    Oh these gorgeous pictures made me want to go to Hawaii soo badly! Thank you for this little mental break from everyday life haha

    How do you handle jet lag?7
    Never had that actually, I never went further than 2 time zones from home..

    Ice Cream or Snow Cones?
    Always ice cream. Preferably my mums homemade version 🙂

    Do you ever take breaks from stress? If so, what is your escape?
    I love to go somewhere new, that I’ve never been before. Being in a different environment helps because there is nothing to remind my of my tasks and my stress. I just moved pretty close to the beach so taking walks there is great as well 🙂

    Reply to Vanessa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks so much Vanessa!

      Totally take a trip to Hawaii 🙂

      I never thought jet lag was a thing until now. I didn’t get it bad in Europe, but here it’s taking a toll on me lol

      Beaches are GREAT for stress. I need to move closer.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lauren K

    To help jet lag I always try to stay up as long as possible when landing in Europe or another time zone that’s a longer time difference. That usually works for me until I come home. I still haven’t mastered the jet lag post vacation haha I’m traveling to LA and San Francisco in a month and I really hope my jet lag isn’t super bad on the return flight because I’ll be going to work that day instead of taking the day off! If I have the option of vegan ice cream over the snow cone that’s what I’d do. Your pics from Hawaii look amazing! That island is definitely on my bucket list. When I’m stressed out I try to just take some deep breaths as cliche as it sounds or I’ll do a little yoga if I’m at home. I can’t wait for the rest of the blogs about your trip!

    Reply to Lauren K
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That sounds like a good plan to beat the JL.

      Totally add the big island to your bucket list! SO MUCH FUN.

      Yoga is relly great for stress. I’m excited to get back into it when I get home. xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Tiffany

    Hi Tara!
    I’m currently in St. John for the summer with my family, and I can appreciate the love for the island! I just got here over the weekend and definitely relaxed and ate well to kick this jet lag. I’m also still new to blogging so I appreciate how real you are as a blogger, as I strive to be the same. ☺️ How do you get your pictures to look so colorful!? I can’t get mine to even look half as gorgeous as yours, although I’m sure Hawaii is way beautiful anyway. Have fun, and safe travels! ??

    Reply to Tiffany
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Oh, that sounds like so much fun!

      Thank you for the kind words about my blog and welcome to the blogging world! It’s so much fun and I’ll have to check your blog out!

      I just add saturation/contrast/sharpen to all of my photos! 🙂


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Nikki

    Those turtle pics are amazing <3 <3 <3

    Reply to Nikki
  • Hannah Lee

    Gorgeous photos!

    Reply to Hannah Lee
  • Nanny

    Thank you for being real with your readers. I’m struggling with the guilt of working out and you have inspired me to really tone it down! Thank you!

    Reply to Nanny
  • Bea

    Hey Taralynn,

    Im a LONG time reader but first time commenter…

    Your trip looks absolutely amazing!! And THAT FOOD!!! wow! I wish!

    I think its great that you have decided to scale back the intensity of your workouts… the body knows what it wants! And it sounds like yours is calling for a bit of a slower pace and easy going love.

    Anyway, love your blog. Safe travels.

    Reply to Bea
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Bea!

      Thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂

      The food here has been so fresh and delicious. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I’m forced to eat airport food again. lol

      You’re so right. When you can’t connect the body and the mind on the same level, it’ll take a big hit on you. I have felt better than ever scaling back! 🙂

      Thank you so much!

      XO XO Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Joanne

    Wow, your trip looks stunning! I really want to make Hawaii a priority as a vacation spot. Feeling it especially on this gray day in the Midwest!

    Not sure if I’ve ever really experienced extreme jet lag before. I kind of just adapt. When I got home from a trip to France last year, I think I just slept really well the first night and readjusted to the correct time. Wish I was more helpful :/

    I prefer ice cream 😉

    I deal with anxiety a lot, so I feel stress more often than I would like. I usually just try to balance it with activities that don’t stress me out. For me, that’s working out, going to yoga, reading and getting out of town if I can. I wish the travel option was more available to me, but I do what I can with my schedule and budget to get out and explore as much as possible.

    Reply to Joanne
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Joanne!

      Totally make HI a spot to visit!!

      I’m hoping I adjust back when I get home ASAP.

      I read a lot on this trip and that helped me tremendously. Beach & Books!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Sofia


    How do you handle jetlag?
    I sleep! I don’t sleep enough on my everyday life, so, when I travel, I sleep in the plane, I sleep on the train, I sleep on the boat… I put on my headphones, listen to my travel playlist and I take a nap. Jetlag never affects me too much. And, of course, I keep hydrated.

    Ice Cream or Snow Cones?
    I think ice creams are tastier, but Snow Cones are more refreshing in the summer. I went to Italia last year and I miss their gelato (they really are ice creams masters!)

    Do you ever take breaks from stress? If so, what is your escape?
    When I need to take a break, I have to be absolutely alone andsee nobody. I can go to the beach (I feel lucky to live by the sea!) or just sit on my balcony with a tea and soft music. And, really, nobody. I’m not frequentable when I had a tough day!

    Reply to Sofia
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I wish I could sleep that easy! My mind never shuts off lol

      I agree!! Oh, gelato! Charlotte has an amazing gelato spot.

      That is actually a great way to escape and being alone can be so theraputic.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Tracey

    Hawaii looks amazing!!

    I love your pink tie-dye dress!! Where is it from?

    Reply to Tracey
  • Linda @ the Fitty

    Totally respect you for taking a break from reaching goals. Take me with you because I need a week like that!

    How did you feel about going from blogging and getting work and exercise to 0 of that? And 7 days of it too??

    Reply to Linda @ the Fitty
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Linda!

      I’m actually doing two weeks off and it feels amazing. I feel better now mentally and physically than I did working out every day. Your mind is just as important as your physical body.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Erin

    OMG! Your pictures are beautiful! I need to get to Hawaii ASAP. I just texted my BF and told him that Hawaii should be our next trip.

    As for jet-lag… I try to plan my flights overnight so that I can sleep on the plane. I also pop a melatonin my first night in a new place 🙂

    For stress-relief, I like to make food, watch movies, take a nap, or go sit by the lake! My parents live on the water and it is so relaxing.

    Reply to Erin
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Erin!

      It’s so amazing here. Totally make a trip to visit. A GREAT place to go with the BF

      Ugh, I wish I could have slept on the plane!!! I had a super drunk women next to me.

      So relaxing for sure.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jess

    The photos in this post are absolutely beautiful!! Hawaii seems like a great place to relax :). I hope to travel there some day.

    The only time I’ve dealt with jetlag was last year when I traveled to California from the east coast. I seemed to adjust pretty well, but I think if I went to Hawaii or somewhere similar, I would have a harder time adjusting.

    I prefer ice cream 🙂

    My favorite way to take a break from stress is camping. There’s nothing more grounding than hanging out in the forest with nature. Even just one night of camping usually helps me escape stress. However, I am overdue for a relaxing beach vacation.

    I can’t wait to read more about your Hawaii adventures!

    Reply to Jess
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks so much, Jess!!

      Try to make a trip here 🙂 You won’t regret it!

      Adjusting is hard, especially a 7-hour difference.

      ICE CREAM is so good, but when in Hawaii……..

      Camping is fun. We used to go all the time as kids and sometimes we’d even camp in the backyard!!
      xo xo

      thanks for reading!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Katie Meshko

    Wow it looks absolutely amazing!! I just love that you have your dog with you .. so cute 🙂 All of the food looks so delicious and colorful too..I think I’d probably get a snow cone! I have a major case of the travel bug now! 🙂 Glad your enjoying it!!!


    Reply to Katie Meshko
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Katie!

      That is actually my friend’s dog, Kona!:) I used to watch him all the time and he’s been on the blog before! He’s just the sweetest!!

      Snow cones in Hawaii are a must!!

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

    Taralynn, I am so, so glad that you’re taking care of yourself in this way — getting away to just have a break is so vital to overall health! What a blessing for you to be able to do it in such a gorgeous area. I hope you’re getting all the refreshment and relaxation you need, and a new focus for going forward now that the race is over. I’m sorry the race (and preparing for it) mentally exhausted you so much, but it makes sense considering how many injuries you’ve had in the past. I’m glad though that you were able to finish the race, that your knee is healing up, and that you’re able to take some time to reflect back on the past months of training.:)

    1. I honestly don’t normally have major jet lag….when I do, I think I normally just try to get some extra sleep.

    2. Definitely ice cream cones! I’m not a huge fan of ice/slushy-type treats. But banana or coconut ice cream — oh yeah!

    3. When life gets overwhelming, as it often does, I have to make the time to take breaks from stress, just for my overall health and also for the sake of my hubby. On Sundays I love to just read a book. If I can make the time in afternoons, I like to work on art projects. And for both my husband and I, when life is just crazy and we need a break, we’ll go camping for a weekend. The beauty and solitude and lack of to-do lists in God’s creation is so rejuvenating for both of us.

    Have a wonderful rest of your time in Hawaii, Taralynn!

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

      Hi, Lauren!

      Feels really good to be able to focus on everything else right now. No goals and no workout plans, just relaxing. I can totally feel a difference.

      Extra sleep is always nice 🙂

      Oh, yum!! Have you ever tried blending vanilla, coconut, bananas, and walnuts together, freezing and eating it as ice cream? SO GOOD.

      Love that!:) You live in a gorgeous area, so I bet you just love going outside and reading a book!!!


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Harriet

    Wow your photos are amazing! Hawaii looks incredible!

    To handle jet lag I drink lots of water during the flight and add at least one hydration tablet to my first bottle of water once off the plane. I do this on nearly every flight I take, unless it’s under 3 hours.

    Snow cones for the win! In Asouth Australia there is this dessert bar that only serves snow cones with real fruit toppings.

    I think taking breaks from stress is a massive must or you may get sick. My escape is turning off my phone and heading to the beach for a few days, if I cant get away yoga or a massage are my go to’s.

    Hope you have a fantastic last few days in Hawaii ?

    Reply to Harriet
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Harriet!

      Lol, I NEVER drink anything (unless a small cup of coffee) on the plane because I refuse to go to the bathroom. I’ve been on over 50 planes but NEVER used a plane bathroom lol

      I really wanna try a Japanese one!

      Oh, that sounds like the perfect little stress reliever! I actually do that from time to time and head down to Charleston.

      xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Katie Jo

    1. Fight sleep! power through, then crash the next night.
    2. Ice cream all the way!
    3. I have a full time job so I have to save up a lot of PTO time to get it. Usually the little bit of time I get off isn’t enough!

    It’s so refreshing to see your friend is on the keto diet. I’ve been doing it for a year now and am down from 43% body fat to 18% bodyfat and have improved soooo much athletically eating all the things I love to eat most. Ketogains is such a great source for people who want to get fit. After a lifetime of being overweight I never thought I could ever be as small as I am now but I am! You should honestly look into it, it would make your recovery time from your races so much easier! I can’t wait for you to post the fat bombs recipe 🙂 enjoy your time in hawaii!

    Reply to Katie Jo
    • Taralynn McNitt

      TRIED IT 🙁 My body is like girl NO!

      I’m craving ice cream so bad right now!

      So awesome to hear about your progress!! She really loves it and it just seems SO attainable for being a “diet.” Although I look at it as a lifestyle because you’re not cutting calories, fat, and there are so many substitutes that are so healthy and fulfilling, like those fat bombs she makes!!

      I probably won’t be able to do a keto diet just because I like carbs and sweets too much lol and I have to have them from time to time. I’d be out of ketosis like every other day lol

      But I’ll be posting it!!

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

    It’s great to see you enjoying Hawaii – I want to go so badly myself! I never really travel far enough to have jetlag – halfway across the world is too expensive for me, haha, so one great thing is that I never have to deal with it!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Stephanie

    Looks like you’re having an amazing time! Your fruit bowl with goat cheese!! What a combo. Looks really yummy though. I just might have to try it.

    Reply to Stephanie
  • Nathan

    Your photography is incredible! I love how real you are with your readers.

    Reply to Nathan
  • Chi.

    Love you from China

    Reply to Chi.
  • Lisa

    I wish my boyfriend let me go on trips alone!:(

    Reply to Lisa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Lisa!

      I know it’s none of my business, and you did not ask for my advice, but I thought I’d go ahead and leave this here for you!

      Your comment made me a little sad. Your boyfriend should have no say over whether you want to go on vacation or not. If you want to travel and visit places, you should be able to do that anytime you want. He should be excited for you and encourage you to do it. One of the great things about Kyle is that we both support each others dreams and intuitions. He gets so excited for me when I travel, when I write a blog, when I show him my photos, and I get excited for him when he doesn’t something great at work, or succeeds in his hobbies. A relationship needs to be based on pushing each other towards happiness and not on controlling. I truly hope you never allow a man to tell you what you can and cannot do. You are your own person, even when you’re in a relationship. If you want to travel, do it. If you want to wear something, do it. If you want to try a new activity, do it. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t. Life is way too short to be told you can’t do something, especially alone. Traveling alone is important. xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jessica

    What beautiful pictures! I am so glad you shared them and are enjoying your time relaxing.

    1. I have never really had much jet lag except for Las Vegas back home to St. Louis in April. We stayed up super late, changed our eating time and eventually I had to stay up late and wake up early to reset myself.
    2. My favorite thing is ice cream so this is hard. Usually ice cream hands down but the snow cones are a staple when the midwestern weather gets sweltering in July and August.
    3. Sometimes I have to step back and realize first that I am stressed. A few weeks back I removed myself from everything and stayed home alone for a night doing a whole lot of nothing to reset. Other times a quick walk with the pup helps me get back to normal.

    Reply to Jessica
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Jessica!

      Lol Las Vegas is the one place I just feel like staying up! I SWEAR they pump oxygen into the air there!

      It’s so hard to choose!

      Pup walks are always the best!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Caitlyn

    Hi Tara, your trip looks like SOOO much fun, I haven’t gotten to visit Hawaii yet but it is on my to visit list for sure, it looks so beautiful and so full of nature <3 Whenever I feel jetlagged I either sleep my first day at a place or I force myself to stay up the whole day until the correct sleeping time, then when I wake up the next day my schedule will be a lot closer to that time zone than it would've been. As far as ice cream and snow cones go, it depends on what I'm feeling like, I prefer snow cones while AT the beach, but I like to have ice cream AFTER the beach, and yes, I go to the beach a decent amount lol. My escape from stress is either going to my local coffee shop and bringing my computer and just zoning out or grabbing all of my fur babies and cuddling in bed watching youtube, it really helps to distract from whatever is stressing me out, I mean honestly, how could you go wrong with puppy and kitty cuddles?

    Reply to Caitlyn
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is a smart idea. I think I would have been fine if I could have slept on the plane, but I was near a crazy drunk lady that made it SUPER difficult lol. I’m hoping that I can sleep on my way home since it’s a red eye!

      I think we are the same when it comes to ice cream and snow cones lol gotta be in the mood!


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Carrie this fit chick

    oh my GOSH these photos!! This is paradise- I’m so jealous! I hate jetlag, but I push through it and take melatonin or sleep aids when I can’t sleep. If I stay busy, it’s easy to make it work. ICE CREAM all the way…. and YES, I just got back from a caribbean vacation, which was much needed. Unplugging can do so much for the mind and soul 🙂

    Reply to Carrie this fit chick
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Carrie!

      I really love Hawaii <3

      I’m finally getting used to the schedule, but now I’ll be going back in three days and all messed up again lol

      I bet your vacation was so fun and perfect for an unplugging!


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kathryn

    I take melatonin right before bed for jet lag. I used to really struggle with jet lag, but now I have almost no problems!

    Reply to Kathryn
  • Juliette | Namastay Traveling

    Hawaii has been on my bucket list for years, this only fuels me more! I’ve felt in a similar way before when I was running a few half marathons a year, I just got worn out. Mentally, physically, my body just wasn’t where it needed to be to be balanced. Hope there’s lots of yoga in your future, next time you’re in Old Town would love for you to come to my class (I teach vinyasa and yin at Your Life Energy! It’s healing and refreshing and great for complimenting strength training.

    Reply to Juliette | Namastay Traveling
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Oh, you should definitely go!

      There is so much yoga and long walks in my future. I am actually going to Old Town soon!!!! I will totally reach out to you!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Darby

    Shaved ice is amazing! I love the fluffy texture. The flavor combo sounds amazing. Looks like you’re having a great time!

    Reply to Darby
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I really am! & the Hawaiian shaved ice reminds me of being a kid again! We used to get it + bbq chips (idk why we loved the combo) on Saturdays!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Sam

    HOLY beautiful!!!! Its always been a dream of mine to visit Hawaii, and your pictures have me wanting to look up flights now, lol 🙂 Seriously amazing shots, looks like a dream trip. Glad you get to spend it with friends and relax, you deserve it xo.

    I can’t help but find it weird that one of the only beaches that allows dogs is also the beach full of turtles?! I know a few dogs that would see them as toys!

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Reply to Sam
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Sam!

      You should totally visit one day or now! 😉

      There aren’t a lot of dogs at that beach (not a dog beach) but they are allowed there ON LEASH. Hawaii does not have a huge dog population. I agree with you about some dogs that would totally bother them! I know Grumples would!


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • jordan @ dancing for donuts

    all of your photos are making me miss hawaii so much! it’s insanely gorgeous. i’m glad you’re taking some time off to recover and enjoy – downtime is so important and i can’t think of a more perfect place to have some than hawaii! i’ve never been to the big island, just maui and kauai, but i hope to someday 🙂

    Reply to jordan @ dancing for donuts

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