California Travels, Yummy Food & Fitness!

Good morning, everyone.

I hope the weekend treated you well. I’m so saddened by all of the damage and lives lost during Irma. The last time I wrote a recap post, I was talking about Harvey, and now it’s Irma. Hurricane season is really coming in hard this year. Kyle has family down in Venice, where they lost all water and power for hours. I stayed up late watching the storm tracker. It makes me so sad to see all of the devastation. I know I’m all the way in California right now, but I’m keeping my eye on the storm and sending prayers down south.

I also want to take the time to remember those who lost their lives, their family members, and to those who stepped in to help during 9/11. No matter how many years pass, it will always be very sad and never forgotten.ย 
Last weekend, I sat around talking with my mom about my upcoming trip to California. When I went to look at the time of my flight, it said the 6th and not the 9th, so I had to hurry up and get my work done, stuff packed, and schedule revolved around leaving on Wednesday instead of Saturday.

I spent Tuesday getting a lot done. For breakfast, I had my power green breakfast smoothie.

Kapok Maca
Organic Spirulina
Plant Protein Powder
Collagen Peptides

Green Protein Smoothie: 1 Tbsp Spirulina, 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder, 1 Scoop Collagen, 1 Scoop Maca Powder, 1 small frozen banana & 1 Cup Coconut Milk.

After packing, I put my new entry table in my hallway. My dad refurbished an old piece of furniture for me, and I love it. I had a rustic wood bench there, but this is so much more vintage and cute.ย 
I stopped at Starbucks on Tuesday afternoon to pick up a pumpkin spice cappuccino with coconut milk. They ended messing up my order and threw a ton of drinks into a tray and giving them to me. It was kind of funny, but it worked. I ended up pouring the black coffee into the cappuccino. I even tried the coconut milk pumpkin spice frappuccino, and it was incredible, like dessert.ย 
I headed over to a little park to take photos of the new Pumpkin Spice RXBARS (holy moly so good) for the giveaway! I hope you guys enter! Click here for the details.
Kyle and I ordered late night food from Zoe’s Kitchen while watching Bachelor in Paradise. I ordered the Tossed Greek Salad, and he ordered steak kabobs! It felt so weird not having the dogs with us. They are out at my parent’s house while I’m in California. It’s easier for them to have the dogs while I’m gone since my dad is retired.ย 
I woke up really early on Wednesday morning to hit the gym before heading to the airport. I had my favorite breakfast smoothie and stopped at the Fresh Market for airport snacks.ย 
I had to change out luggage because I wanted to bring my tennis racket to California. My brother is really good, so I knew he’d be able to give me a challenge, and some tips!ย  He played tennis in Highschool, went to state, and taught tennis at our Country Club.
I got to the airport an hour before my flight, so I had time to decompress with a coconut milk cappuccino. I added some cinnamon and coconut to the drink as well. The feeling of getting to your gate with extra time is one of the best feelings. I hate the pre-airport anxiety.

Some of you were asking about my shoes on my Instagram story. Here is the link! They are the “blush” color ๐Ÿ™‚ They come in so many colors and they are on sale! They are my most comfortable shoes, and PERFECT for traveling.ย 
I was a little worried about the weather and travel plans, but the rain and wind stopped just in time.ย 
On my flight to Dallas, I sat by Jose. I’m pretty sure we are best friends now. We talked the entire three hours, and probably making everyone around us annoyed. I loved his stories and his very good advice. He was on his way to Houston with Fema to help with the hurricane. I had so many movies downloaded on my computer reader to watch, but there is nothing better than interacting with an actual human being.

On my flight to L.A., I watched seven episodes of the show “Younger.” The show was so cute, and I can’t wait to watch more. It made the time fly (literally) by. Also, that was the best flight I’ve ever been on in my entire life. The new American Airline planes are incredible.ย 
I made it to LAX 8 pm (west coast time), and I was so hungry. My brother and I grabbed dinner at Poke Bar.
I was so excited for this. I want Charlotte to get a Poke Bar so so so bad.
We took our bowls down to the Hermosa Beach pier. The moon was shining down on the water, and it was breathtaking. My bowl had brown rice, spring mix lettuce, spicy tuna, salmon, sesame oil, sweet chili sauce, avocado, sesame seeds, pineapple, jalapeno, seaweed salad, grab a salad, and crunchy garlic.
I woke up early to have coffee and go for a little walk around my brother’s neighborhood. I love the mornings here. It was chilli and I needed my sweatshirt.
For breakfast, I had fried egg over leftover poke! Random, but so tasty!ย 
My brother and I walked a mile down to the tennis courts to play some matches.ย 
We ended up playing for two hours. It was so much fun!ย 
After tennis, we headed out to run some errands and grab some groceries for the house.ย 
After grocery shopping, we grabbed our beach gear and headed down to Hermosa Beach.
We stayed for a couple of hours. We were sitting by a girl that was deathly afraid of the seagulls, and it was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. She was screaming (the horror movie kind of screams) every time one would fly over. At one point she was running around in circles and falling. It was so funny! Her boyfriend was sitting in the chairs cracking up as well, so we weren’t the only ones that found it humorous.ย 
I poured a glass of my favorite sparkling water and topped it with blueberries before dinner.
We decided on hibachi night. My brother got a new grill for his place, so we had to break it in. I chopped up zucchini, summer squash, carrots, onions, asparagus, bell peppers, tofu, and chicken for our stir fry.ย 
We seasoned the veggies with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and ginger sesame sauce.ย 
I was up again early (5:15 am) on Friday. My body is clockwork, so it’s still on Carolina time. I had a bowl of cheerios and some coffee!ย 
My brother and I had plans to visit the Griffith Observatory. Before taking off, I had a bowl of fresh fruit and more coffee! It was like four hours after my first cup.ย 
We plan on hiking the Hollywood sign this week, but it was pretty cool to see it!ย 

We walked almost a mile up the trail to the Observatory.ย 
The Griffith Observatoryย is a free planetarium with astronomy exhibits! A great spot to visit.
We headed down to the Art District for coffee at Groundwork.
I ordered a cashew milk iced latte with an extra shot of espresso. Very good ๐Ÿ™‚ย 
We walked around the Arts District Co-op and I bought a new pair of sunglasses and earrings.ย 
My brother was thrilled to pose.

Sidenote…did anyone catch his “amazing” dance moves on my Instagram story? lol
My brother and I ate at the Urth Cafe for lunch. We are totally coming back here before I leave! I HAVE to try one of their green tea lattes! We ordered the falafel plate and vegetarian chili. It was so much food, so I’m so happy we split the meal. It came with pickled carrots, pickled shallots, pickled cauliflower, chickpea falafels, hummus, and an incredible side salad. The vegan salad had avocado, peaches, cherry tomatoes, capers, Italian beans, organic black wild rice, balsamic, and almond cheese. Almond cheese tasted like Ricotta!ย 
We walked a bit more around the Art Districtย and then headed back to my brother’s house.ย 
I needed some coffee and DT.ย 
I heated up leftover hibachi for dinner! Only the best.ย 
Ok. so this is big. TC’S cats HAVE NOT liked me for the past six years. They would hide or bite the crap out of my hand. Now, they’re sitting with me, giving me kisses, and begging for morning treats. I am so happy that we have reached this level. I woke up early on Saturday morning to work a bit before heading to the bar to watch the Hawkeye game with my brother. Jax, the cat, and I cuddled for an hour.ย 
How funny is this photo?
T.C. found an Iowa bar (Barney’s Beanery) in Redondo Beach! It was FILLED with Iowa fans, and if you wear Iowa gear, you get 40% your entire order during the game. And I had about three of their coffees. It was THAT GOOD.

I had to borrow one of my brother’s Iowa shirts. I tried to make it cute with a skirt, but 40% off was the only thing working.
It’s so weird to watch college football at 9 am in the morning, but that’s the west coast time for ya. We ordered breakfast around ten.ย 
I had an egg white omelet with spinach, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and a side of strawberries. The food was spectacular! The game was AMAZING!!!! We went into overtime and won. GO HAWKS!!!ย 
It was a beautiful day.ย ย 
After the game, T.C. and I headed to some furniture stores to scope out some new things for his place. It was around 4 pm, and we both hit the wall. We walked the trail back to his house.ย For dinner, I made a salad! It had romaine lettuce, avocado, cucumber, chicken, sesame seeds, cranberries, Cabrese salami, balsamic, olive oil, and honey.ย 
I decided to head down to the beach to read a book. I stopped at Starbucks along the way to grab a coconut milk cappuccino.ย 
I took over 200 photos as the sun set. I am going to do a separate blog post soon with all of them! ๐Ÿ™‚ The beach never gets old.ย ย 
This was one of my favorite moments.ย It was so cold once the sun went down.
I packed up my book, bundled up, and headed back to the house. If I lived here, I’d do this every night. What a calming way to end the day. Our world is so beautiful.ย 
When I got back, I made a little snack bowl for Netflixing and Chilling. It had kettle popcorn, protein Cheerios, dark chocolate pieces, and cranberries.ย 
I was up early for the gym yesterday morning! It had been four days since weight lifting, so I was ready to get back to it.ย 
We didn’t end up going to the gym later in the morning. Around nine, I had fresh fruit and eggs.ย 
My eggs had leftover hibachi veggies! Strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, and clementines!ย 
This workout was so great! I ended up buying new running shoes, so my run felt like I was running on clouds. I’ll post about my running shoes soon!ย 
I was drenched after my workout, which means success.ย 
My brother and I headed all over the place after the gym looking for home decor. We were starving late afternoon, so we stopped at Mendocino Farms. I HIGHLY recommend it if you’re ever in the area.ย 
I ordered the avocado and quinoa salad. It had butter lettuce & romaine, curly kale, quinoa & millet, house-made superfood krunchies,ย (SERIOUSLY CRUNCHY) black bean, roasted corn & jicama succotash, red onions, cilantro, Cotija cheese, grape tomatoes, avocado and chipotle vinaigrette. I also had organic free range chicken breast on the side. AMAZING.

My brother ordered the Mama Chen’s Chinese salad with tofu. It hadย napa cabbage & kale slaw with carrots & bean sprouts, butter lettuce & romaine, scallions, cilantro, toasted slivered almonds, crispy wontons with miso mustard sesame dressing. I had a bite and confirm it was delicious!ย 
I’d love to come back and try one of their sandwiches next time.ย 
We spent the next two hours organizing, hanging mirrors, and adding decor to the house.ย 
More shopping.ย 
We stopped at Sprouts on the way home to grab snacks and an easy dinner. Oh, and I’m already obsessed with Sprouts. Why can’t we have one in Charlotte!?ย 
We tried the Daiya supreme pizza, and it was so good. I was excited for my brother to try it, and he loved it too! This is a vegan pizza that doesn’t taste “vegan.”
I had it with a side of jalapeno kale chips, veggies, and hummus! I started a new show last night on Netflix. If you haven’t seen A Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, you should! It’s so good.

Questions for you!

  1. Where is your happy place?
  2. Have you had anything pumpkin spice flavored yet?
  3. Have you entered the RXBAR giveaway yet??



  • Shelby Boyce

    Do you ever mix sparkling water with your wine? I love having a little wine and a lot of La Croix in mine. It makes me drink it slower and enjoy it more!

    Reply to Shelby Boyce
  • Lori

    Wow, you were in our backyard & hit some of our favorite places. Hermosa/Manhattan Beaches are the best. We often biked the path that runs along the ocean. Beautiful! So glad you enjoyed Southern California. We would love to have you back. : ) Thank you for sharing you through your blog.

    Reply to Lori
  • Anonymous


    Reply to Anonymous
  • Caitlin

    Sprouts is the best!! I just moved to the Southwest from Tennessee, and it’s definitely my favorite store. Hopefully they get it by you soon!

    Reply to Caitlin
  • Myriam

    Maybe it’s too late to leave a comment and get an answer, but I’ll try anyway! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1) Mmm I guess Barcelona, it’s where if I’ve lived all my life (except for an awful month in Paris)
    2) Not this year, but I tried the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte last year, before realizing it’s not vegan :O (I am).
    3) Not sure what that is, but anyway I live in Barcelona ๐Ÿ˜›

    Just wanted to add how much I admire you. I’ve been following you for a really long time (since your old Tumblr) and I really wish I had your energy (for example, to go to the gym or have long walks, even on your own) and always be willing to try new experiences or to simply enjoy the small things. I’m really trying to change my life perspective (first step: quitting for good a very toxic relationship) and I hope one day I’ll be as active and happy as you seem. I wish you the very best in life ๐Ÿ™‚ <3

    Reply to Myriam
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Never too late !:)

      Barcelona! <3

      Yeah, it’s too bad they don’t make them vegan! but you an make them at home ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thank you for the kind words! I’m glad you’re taking the steps towards a better path!! XO XO

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Susie @ Mile High Dreamers

    Pumpkin spice Rx Bars?! How did I not know about this?? Officially the #1 thing on my shopping list now haha. It looks like you’ve had such an awesome time in California. I love all of the yummy fresh food they have!

    My true happy place, as cheesy as it sounds, is definitely on sleepy mornings in bed with Ben and our fur baby. I always just feel so thankful in those moments for all of those blessings and our little life!

    I already had pumpkin spice vegan marshmallows (by the company Dandies). Sounds weird haha but they’re SO good! Gelatin freaks me out and these mallows have a different texture, but it’s SO addictive and delicious!

    Rx giveaway = another happy place ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Susie @ Mile High Dreamers
  • Jennifer

    SUNSET BEACH/SOUTHPORT. Our family/friend drove us through Ocean Isle too while I was down there and it’s a cute little town too! I’d love to be living in Wilmington within the next 5 years (goals) haha P.s. thanks for the Duke Mansion recommendation — it was AMAZING! They upgraded us to the King Porch room for free. It was a once in a lifetime experience! (unless I go back and stay again of course, which is highly likely) We went to Amelies (So fricken cute!) as well as Heist Brewing (holy good food).

    No pumpkin spice for me — people probably think I’m weird, but I’m not a huge pumpkin spice person, I might have a piece of pie at thanksgiving, but that’s it! I’m more of an apple/pecan pie person ๐Ÿ™‚

    Of course I’ve entered the giveaway! Haha I actually one an insta giveaway for the first time through @simplybeaming and the movie just came out, too! It’s called The Glass Castle. I need to finish another book first, but it’s on my list!

    Reply to Jennifer
    • Taralynn McNitt

      OMG! I can’t believe you actually stayed at the Duke!! IT’S ON MY CHARLOTTE LIST OF THINGS I WANT TO DO!! So glad you did it!!!! You went to my faves!

      NOT weird, I actually just started liking it four years ago!

      xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Shelby

    forgot to mention that i went to the University of Northern Iowa to play softball! Love Iowa!

    Reply to Shelby
  • Shelby

    My happy place is the ocean or hiking in the mountains! I love reading your blog…one of my favorites! I can’t wait to hear about your new running shoes! I got some new nike’s about a month ago as i was having knee issues with my old pair. My knee seems to be better but now my hip is sore every time after i run since wearing these shoes. I am due to run a half in a month so any advice would be appreciated!

    Reply to Shelby
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks so much, Shelby!!

      Asics have changed my world and keeping track of miles! The Nikes KILLED me. You should 100% get fitted professionally for shoes!! Like asap. They’ll fit you to shoes that go with your running form!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Dana

    Hope you’re loving California. How long are you there for?

    Reply to Dana
  • Harriet

    Amazing recap, L.A art district looks amazing!! And all of your photos are fantastic!! My happy place is a forest hike that leads to a view, nature gives off such a great energising feeling and helps clear your mind. I am currently drinking a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte while reading your blog, so good!! Have a great week!!

    Reply to Harriet
  • Betty

    Did you graduate from Iowa?

    Reply to Betty
  • Amanda

    Looks like you’re having so much fun! Mendocino farms is my favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Amanda
  • Anonymous

    You better get those photos blown up on canvas!

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Rachel

    Ok, first loved this weeks recap!!! Second, your brother is so good looking. & third Chinese salad with tofu win win!!!

    Reply to Rachel
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    My happy place is definitely just at home! Nothing I like more than being holed up with my TV shows, haha – Iโ€™m such an introvert.

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Katie

    Southern California is the best. It’s my home and I find myself comparing it to everywhere else. Did you ask Starbucks why the wrong order? I feel bad for whoever was waiting for multiple drinks!! Enjoy your visit <3

    Reply to Katie
  • Sarah

    1. I so rarely get to the beach, but it is one of my happy places. I also love sitting on my balcony as the sun is setting with a glass of wine ๐Ÿ™‚
    2. Oy…Pumpkin is my favorite flavor and as soon as Sept 1 came around, I couldn’t contain myself! I’ve tried the pumpkin RXbars, Puffin’s cereal, Cheerios, lattes, I’ve made pumpkin desserts…and I’m can’t wait to try more! What are your favorite pumpkin products?
    3. You bet I entered! Can you only enter once?

    Reply to Sarah
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That sounds perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

      You’ve had all the amazing pumpkin flaves!! I love pumpkin cheerios, pumpkin cookies from CVS, and pumpkin spiced mixed nuts from CVS!!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ashton Jury

    WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA!! Seal beach Native over here! So happy you got poke and that coconut creamer from Trader Joes is my jam! If you want a good burger YOU NEED TO GO TO IN N OUT!! Or even Ruby’s on the pier. I too am pumpkin obsessed, my favorite thing is a grande iced coffee from SB with two -three pumps of pumpkin. it’s perfect, doesn’t even need milk because the pumpkin sauce is creamy enough. Of course I have already entered for the RX bar, and I love just being at the beach, however I love the forests in the PNW, but I have to say I’m most at home sitting outside the cafes underneath the cathedral in Strasbourg France. <3

    Reply to Ashton Jury
  • natalia

    hi! i love all of your posts!! I have been reading you since a few years already! and I loved they way you write and the pics and Charlotte! if I ever go to the States im def coming to visit your city! so full of colours and coffee places! and nice neighborhoods! like in the american movies! ๐Ÿ™‚ but I wanted to ask you.. can you consider making a post about why (justcurious) you dont consider veganism or being vegan or mostly plant based as a lifestyle suitable for you? I see you really care about health and fitness and health as a whole.. what are your thoughts on the issue? because I have researched about it and its so good for health, the enviroment, the humans and the animals.. but I understand this is a hard decision given how this society as taught us to ea etc , so dont take my question please as accusing you or something like that.. but Im just curious about what your thoughts are on this and what are your main “contras” for not becoming plant based. but Im just happy to see you are giving us some chance by trying up some vegan goodies.. I know not all the options are amazing but there is still a lot to work to do and the market is expanding like crazy! we just need more time to experiment with new foods and creations till they can make it finally as tasty as the originals! hehhe I hope soo!

    much loooove from Barcelona!

    and I always keep forward to read your post!

    Reply to natalia
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Natalia!

      Thank you for reading my blog all of these years. Please please come visit Charlotte!

      I have been trying to eat more plant-based foods, but a vegan lifestyle is not for me. With a past eating disorder, it’s not healthy for me to have “off-limit” foods or a restrictive diet. I know being vegan doesn’t have to be restrictive, but I do enjoy meat, eggs, and all of the lean protein sources as well. Also with being an anemic, having that iron from animal source is beneficial for me. I’ve been eating vegan almost 70 % of the day and trying to get a ton of plant based nutrients, and I feel great about it. I do appreciate the vegan lifestyle, but it’s not for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Natalia Echiburu

        Thanks for answering !! Its very understandable! Just happy to hear that you are trying to eat more plant based !! Thats enough! Hopefully more people do it that way! Much love!!!

        Reply to Natalia Echiburu
  • Jordan

    I think it’s so awesome that you’re eating more vegan friendly things! I’ve been replacing all my dairy items with non-dairy and daiya and califia are so far the best brands I’ve tried for cheese and coffee creamer.
    Your trip to Cali looks like fun! I’m so jealous. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Jordan
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Jordan!!! I like making little switches! coconut milk instead of cream, coconut oil instead of butter. I love the idea of meatless Monday, but all the little changes throughout the week can add up!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Maximiliane

    I have different happy places! By the ocean is one of them, but something as simple as curled up with a book and hot tea while it’s raining at candle light is also my happy place! I just tried a decaf almond milk latte with pumpkin spice syrup at Whole Foods, which was pretty good though I didn’t expect it to taste so much like coffee (silly, I know, I don’t know what I was expecting!). It definitely was less sweet than anything I’ve ordered at Starbucks which I like! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been on the hunt at different grocery stores for the Pumpkin Spice Rx bars, but haven’t been able to find them yet! Will get on the entering the giveaway!

    Reply to Maximiliane
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That sounds so peaceful.

      I can’t get down with almond milk & coffee unless it’s cold. So weird to me. I do like the coconut milk though!

      Yes, enter the giveaway! & you can get them on their website today!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Amy

    Gorgeous beach photos.

    Reply to Amy
  • Lisa

    UGH plane friends are the best! I love talking to people on planes, it’s so interesting and entertaining.
    I’m glad you’re having a good time in Cali ๐Ÿ™‚ I used to live there myself and it’s so nice, I can’t wait for more beach pictures, they are beautiful.
    Also, lol, I saw your brother’s dance moves on your Snapchat story, he was hilarious, I was cracking up hahaha
    Hope the rest of your trip goes well!

    Reply to Lisa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yes! It can be and then it can be like the flight when I was on my way to Hawaii…(the lady was extremely intoxicated, tried smoking her e-cig on the plane, kept pulling out my headphones, putting her drinks on my tray, and driving me nuts lol) but this guy was the best !:)

      & Thank you! Cali has been very fun!

      lol He is a goof!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Haley

    I wish I got along with my brother! Have fun.

    Reply to Haley
  • Emma Keller

    I made myself some pumpkin bread to have for breakfast this week ๐Ÿ™‚ I love your blog so I usually save it for breakfast time when I can have my coffee while reading it. So not only did I have pumpkin spice but I had it while reading you blog! I went to cali for the first time this summer and it was amazing! I’m glad you’re enjoying it so much ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Emma Keller
  • Danni

    Urth Cafe looked so good! I didn’t know they could make almond cheese!

    Reply to Danni
  • Brooklyn

    “I tried to make it cute with a skirt, but 40% off was the only thing working.” HAHAHAH I died!

    Why did your brother decide to move to California? I’m so jealous!
    And that Hibachi looks delicious!

    Reply to Brooklyn
  • Steph

    You know Netflix and Chill means have sex right?

    Reply to Steph
  • Julie

    Why’d you stop drinking black coffee?

    Reply to Julie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I haven’t stopped drinking black coffee. Just, sometimes I add a little coconut milk to it. I was drinking it with heavy cream and that is what I gave up.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Casey the College Celiac

    How fun! I went to undergrad in California (San Diego) and it’s definitely a super fun place to visit!

    Where is your happy place? –> Anywhere my family is, especially if I’m going on a long, reflective hike with my dad!
    Have you had anything pumpkin spice flavored yet? Homemade granola! ADDICTIVE.
    Have you entered the RXBAR giveaway yet?? Not yet! Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply to Casey the College Celiac
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I will probably be visiting SD in December!)

      Love that answer! Hiking with your dad? How awesome!!

      mmmm love homemade granola!! & yes! go enter!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Madison

    As an ISU fan, I’m very sad about Saturday. Haha. That’s so funny that, even in California, you found a Iowa Bar! No matter the outcome, it was a great game.

    Reply to Madison
  • Peyton

    THAT STIR FRY THO. Looked so good!!

    My happy place is pretty much anywhere outside, I love the outdoors (hence why I moved to SLC). I grew up next to the beach so that is always a special place ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m a little worried to hear about how my beach (in jax, FL) turned out after Irma…it took a big hit from Matthew last year. I have family in Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville so it was a stressful weekend for me to watch all of that happen while I’m across the country lol

    ANYWAYS, I have finally gotten my hands on pumpkin spice coffee creamer (international delight)!! It tastes just like fall and finally got my boyfriend to like it. I was so happy when I was drinking it this morning haha

    And yes I entered! I’ve only had one Rx bar, but really liked it! And if it’s pumpkin I have to have it (yes, I am basic, no shame). Halo Top also has a pumpkin pie flavor right now and i need to try it!

    Reply to Peyton
    • Taralynn McNitt

      It was pretty amazing!

      I’m praying that your family is safe, and I was up watching the storm as well. Kyle’s family is in Venice, so it was pretty scary!

      That is so funny. I think I’m going to attempt to make a DIY coconut milk/pumpkin creamer when I get home!

      I bet it’s so good!!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kelsey Weissner

    1. My happy place is Arizona! I’m on the opposite side of the country so it’s difficult to visit as often as I’d like to, but the hiking there is INCREDIBLE! Have you been?
    2. YES! I’m a Dunkin girl, so I’ve already had the pumpkin iced coffee with almond milk + a pumpkin donut
    3. Of course ๐Ÿ™‚

    BTW–I also love the Daiya supreme pizza. The “cheese” is so creamy and it’s the first time in my life I can eat a pizza without feeling like I’m going to die an hour later haha.

    Did you cruise up and down the esplanade while you were in CA? I lived in Redondo Beach for a month a few years ago and biked up and down to Hermosa & Manhattan Beach almost daily. I loved checking out the gorgeous ocean front houses!

    Reply to Kelsey Weissner
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Ahhhh love AZ! Camelback mountain is one of my favorite hikes!

      Of course!:)

      I am still here in CA, but I’ve been spending the first couple days helping my brother get settled into his house before we go out and explore!:)

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kyla

    It looks like you are having an amazing time on the West Coast!!

    * Where is your happy place? – There are multiple places – but closer to home in Knoxville, my happy place is Seven Island Birding State Park – it’s the best for walking around and getting away from everything!
    * Have you had anything pumpkin spice flavored yet? – It’s finally getting cooler, and I expect to have some pumpkin spice flavored coffee/muffins soon! I cannot wait!
    * Have you entered the RXBAR giveaway yet?? – Not yet, but I will shortly!!

    P.S. – I absolutely love the show “Younger,” it is an awesome and hilarious show!!! Enjoy it!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Kyla
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yes! What a great show ๐Ÿ˜€

      State parks are always a great place to go! ๐Ÿ™‚ So peaceful.

      mmmmm muffins are the best. Pumpkin & blueberry!

      GO GO GO! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lauren

    My brother lives in So Cal too!!! (Culver city) so I am living vicariously through your visit to your brother!! It’s so hard to not live near your brother but what a fun place to visit! We are going in December and I cannot wait!!

    Reply to Lauren
  • Krista

    The hibachi looks so good! I can’t get into Daiya pizza, unfortunately– the gooeyness of the cheese makes it stick to the top of my mouth, so I usually just load up a homemade crust with sauce and veggies or get Papa John’s veggie pizza without cheese. It’s AWESOME! ๐Ÿ™‚ But those nacho kale chips are everything, OMG.

    I think Shenandoah National Park is probably my happy place. My fiance and I go about once a year (though I wish more often!), and we just got engaged there on this year’s trip!

    For pumpkin spice, I just got the Cheerios and Starbucks home-brew coffee the other day. I love how it’s the perfect amount of spice, without being overwhelming. The latte at Starbucks isn’t veganize-able (the sauce for it has sweetened condensed milk in it), so having other options is crucial! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply to Krista
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I dont know why, but I loved the cheese on the Daiya, but I don’t like their shredded cheese sold separately. I swear it’s different. lol.

      Ohhhhhh how beautiful! Gorgeous place! Congrats on your engagement.

      I love adding pumpkin spices to coconut milk with coffee! I think you’d love it!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Annie

    Your photos are so gorgeous

    Reply to Annie
  • Anonymous

    No more Carly?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Jessica Field

    It’s incredibly sad to hear everything going on with Irma and Harvey ๐Ÿ™ I feel blessed to be safe in Iowa right now, but I am praying for anyone affected by the storms.

    Pumpkin Spice is taking over my HyVee and it makes me so happy! Fall is the best time of the year! There is an Apple Pie Wine I really really want to try!!

    California is the best! I have family up there so we visit a lot, and it is one of my happy places ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for sharing all the delicious food you make! I am always needing meal inspiration haha

    Reply to Jessica Field
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I agree <3

      It’s so funny when you mention HyVee. I get weirdly excited and sad at the same time. I miss it so much! The chinese section can’t be beaten.

      I’m excited to explore some more! ๐Ÿ˜€

      xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jen

    You made me miss living in So Cal (lived down there for two years for grad school), its such an awesome place! And enjoy Sprouts it’s literally the best grocery store! If you head more south, head to Long Beach, there are some awesome coffee shops! Viento y Agua Coffeehouse & Gallery, Rose Park Roasters, Lord Windsor Coffee , and Pollyโ€™s Gourmet Coffee.

    Reply to Jen
  • Kat

    your pictures are incredible!! Makes me want to book a trip to So Cal ASAP!
    Enjoy the beautiful scenery & weather ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Kat
  • Orsi

    Hi Tara, gosh I have so much to say, I don’t even know where to begin ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. My happy place is actually on the beach. I lived in Thousand Oaks, CA for a couple months but worked at Santa Monica. So every day I had to drive an hour to work and then back but I left 5:30 am just so I can sit on the beach, drink my morning coffee while watching the sun rise. The best times ever.
    2. I had pumpkin spiced latte! I have been waiting for this moment since the fall of 2016, I am not proud to admit but I am a big sucker for that drink.

    I came to the States from Hungary on a tennis scholarship for a Div I university. One advice I would give you on your serve is to: turn your body more and drop the racquet behind your back and band your knees. Your contact point is when you reach up and stretched out, don’t let the ball drop low. Reach up as high as you can :)The power of your serve will come from your body’s upward rotation and the snap of your racquet at the top!

    And funny you mentioned Sprouts! I went to school in Arizona and sprouts was the only place where we shopped. We just moved to the East Coast 3 weeks ago and there is no Sprouts around here. So I have been on a mission to try and find something similar to it.

    Have a great time in California, it is my forever favorite place!! (After Budapest, Hungary of course ๐Ÿ˜€ )

    Reply to Orsi
    • Taralynn McNitt

      You can never go wrong with the beach! I’m hoping to move to the beach one day. I think I’ll head to the beach with my coffee in a bit!:)

      MMMMM Love the pumpkin spice latte! It’s funny because I like it better with coconut milk!

      That is great advice!:) That wasn’t my serve though!:) lol I just threw the ball up and my brother took a photo. I will have to send you a video of my serve so you can give me some pointers!

      Some of my other fave healthy grocery stores are whole foods, earth fare, fresh market, and trader joes!

      xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lace

    Where is that purple shirt from?

    Reply to Lace
  • Anonymous

    Why are you in cali?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Mrach

    Not a pumpkin spice fan really. I don’t mind it, but I don’t seek it out either. So i guess that answers the giveaway question as well ?

    My happy place is outdoors. Traveling, hiking, walking, or just sitting. Irma’s on her period at the moment here so just enjoying the inside for now. ?

    Hopefully you get a Sprouts soon! They are here in Georgia and keep building more here so hopefully they make their way to NC.

    Reply to Mrach
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Lol, I never used to be. I used to hate pumpkin pie or pumpkin flavored anything.

      Being outside is my favorite too. I love it <3


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Melissa FitzGerald

    Let me know if you need any more recommendations for Redondo Beach! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love it there and I can also ask my sister!

    1. My happy place is definitely in Los Angeles. Not any particular spot, but the city in general. My sisters are there and so are a lot of great friends of mine and I just always feel so relaxed and happy and like I can conquer the world when I’m surrounded by my people.

    2. Yes!!! When we were hurricane shopping to prepare for Irma, I got two boxes of pumpkin spice Cheerios and a container of pumpkin-cream-cheese cookies from the Publix bakery. I’m so excited about the cereal but the cookies are SOOO sickly sweet. I’m also going to be ordering some pumpkin spice Nutpods (dairy free coffee creamer) as soon as this hurricane madness dies down!

    3. I haven’t! I should probably get on that. ?

    Reply to Melissa FitzGerald
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I’m always open for more places to go!!

      This is a wonderful place for sure! So much to see & do!

      mmmmmmmmmmm those sound amazing!! & the Cheerios are golden.

      Hope you’re staying safe!! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Dana

    The beach (or near water) is my happy place. I feel so calm even thinking about it.

    The only pumpkin I’ve has thus far is Dannon’s light and fit pumpkin yogurt. And I think it’s really good, especially with maple granola on top.

    When I lived in Colorado there was a Sprouts pretty close by. I seriously miss their fresh meat/fish case. The prices are amazing and the pre-prepped is sooooooo delicious (and still really affordable as well).

    Reply to Dana
  • Jenellrenee

    Hello there! Welcome to the west coast! Next time you get out here you should come up to some of the gold rush towns in Tuolumne, Calaveras, and Amador counties. I think you also might really enjoy a trip out to Yosemite (if you haven’t already been) to hike around the waterfalls or even Half Dome (I haven’t done it, but have heard its amazing and you have to get tickets).

    Reply to Jenellrenee
  • Beth

    I just bought Pumpkin Spice Cheerios last night and ate some for breakfast!! I loooove fall and all things pumpkin!! :). So happy you’re having fun in LA! I was just there in March! IF you get into downtown, Gracias Madre is an insanely delish plant-based Mexican restaurant!! xo

    Reply to Beth
    • Taralynn McNitt


      We will be spending a lot of time DT this week!:) Thanks for the rec, I’ve heard great things about that place! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Carrie this fit chick

    Yay! Welcome to Cali! I used to live near DTLA, but now im up north in SF. Its a fun place to be and its so fun to see you at my old spots! I havent had anything pumpkin yet, but you betcha I will soon!

    Reply to Carrie this fit chick
  • Nicole

    My husband and his sister and her family are stranded in the Virgin Islands after Irma, prayers for them would be appreciated too! Nobody remembers they exist, are a part of our country, and got devastated by the hurricane! We didn’t hear word for 3 days if they were ok, and now they still don’t have service or power on top of the islands being devastated. Please please pray!

    Reply to Nicole
  • Emily

    Hi Taralynn! Love your blog and your energy, have been reading for years. I think it’s great that you are trying different vegan foods, but it seems like you are expecting them to taste bad….i.e. something “tasting vegan”. Wondering why you think this is? Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Emily
    • Taralynn McNitt

      There are some vegan products that arent that great, just like non-vegan products that arent that great. When I say something didn’t taste “vegan” it just means it actually tasted like the real deal. So that pizza tasted just like pizza made with dairy cheese and real sausage.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Emily

        Cool, I see more where you were going with that! Thanks for your response. I suppose I think of all vegan food as real food, so get thrown off when people use “vegan’ as a descriptor rather than as a reference to the absence of animal products. If you’re interested in trying some more great non-dairy cheeses, see if your local Whole Foods or other natural grocery store option carries Miyokos or Treeline brands. They have really clean ingredient lists, are minimally processed, and really delicious!

        Reply to Emily

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