Hawaii Life Part 1: Yoga, Exploring, Healthy Eats, & Tennis!

Good Morning (4:30 am over here on the Big Island!)

I’m recovering this morning from yesterday’s fun adventure. We packed so much into one day that I’ll have to make an entirely separate post. And the fun doesn’t end there. Tonight, we are diving with the manta ray!

Before I head out for another day of fun, I wanted to leave you with a new recap post so you can see what I’ve been up to!ย 
I was so jetlagged waking up on Tuesday morning.

I needed ALL the coffee to keep me going. Later in the afternoon, after dropping my friends off at the airport (they headed to Ecuador), I stopped out at the grocery store to pick up some things for the house. I wanted to spend a few days adjusting to the time, catching up on some work I needed to finish, and playing tennis before my friend, Caitlin, arrived!

I picked up cashew milk, Rxbars, eggs, yogurt, pineapple, kale, salmon, rice cakes, jalapeno Kite Hill almond milk “cream cheese” (omg so good), and a few other things.ย 
My late lunch ended up being my dinner because I was so tired.

I had a salad with some of my leftover turkey burgers from the flight topped with jalapeno almond milk cream cheese, sweet potatoes, avocado, sprouts, tomatoes, fig, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, kale, macadamia nuts, and a side of fresh pineapple.ย 
Kona and I went for a walk around 8 pm, and then we were out. I took melatonin to help me sleep in and not wake up at 3:30, but that didn’t work. I was up on Wednesday morning at 3:45 am. I probably should have taken something stronger than melatonin, but I knew I’d eventually adjust to the time.
After having some morning coffee, I took Kona for a walk and then got ready for tennis.
I love tennis so much, so I knew I had to look into social play, or lessons while I was out here on the Big Island. I thought it would be a great exercise, and so much fun to meet new people and play the best sport ever in on of the prettiest places.

I talked with a tennis pro that runs a group exercise called “tennicize.” I decided to join, and take lessons after the workouts to sharpen up my skills. It was the best decision ever. I had SO MUCH FUN playing with everyone, and holy moly was it tough! I hope I can find a workout class like that back in Charlotte.ย 
I made breakfast after showering off from tennis. I had an omelet topped with the jalapeno Kite-Hill spread, a side salad, and fresh pineapple. I can’t get enough of the pineapple here on the island.ย 
After my late breakfast, I grabbed a book and headed to Magic Sands Beach to read by the water. I was surprised at how empty the beach was. Magic Sands is a very touristy spot.

On Wednesday evening, I braved it out and went up to grab a papaya out of the tree, and it was ridiculously amazing!
I made a salmon salad for dinner with my fresh papaya on the side!

I watched a movie and fell asleep at 9 pm!
There was a heavy storm for about an hour on Thursday morning. The skies were gorgeous afterward!
I was up at 3:30 again! I had an RXBAR and a cup of coffee while watching the morning news and relaxing a bit before the sun came up. I was excited because it was day one of the 40 Day Fitness Challenge! I’m honestly blown away by all of the participants and posts! It’s never too late to jump in if you’re interested.ย 
Before heading out for a big morning of tennis, I had a protein yogurt (coconut milk yogurt + vanilla protein + cocoa powder) topped with figs and fresh papaya. I also had some collagen in my coffee.
Before heading to tennis, I did a little backyard circuit from the 40 Day Challenge page! Kona decided to join ๐Ÿ™‚
I played tennis for several hours! Towards the end of it, I was feeling the vog effect, but it was so much fun. Tennis is one of those sports that I never get tired of playing. After tennicize, we worked on a few new techniques for my backhand that really helped. The group calls me “animal,” and I’m taking it as a compliment haha!ย 
I was so hungry after tennis, so I headed to one of my favorite spots in Kona, the Evolution Bakery and Cafe! It’s vegan spot with amazing to-go bites, coffee, pastries, and juices. I ordered a gluten-free bagel, and an elevate smoothie with extra ginger.ย 
When I got back, I packed up some water and took Kona to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park to walk the beach.ย 
This is the spot to snorkel to see the sea turtles.ย 
Kona LOVES fetching coral.
I was ZONKED when we got back. I took a shower, had a snack with coffee (in hopes that it would keep me awake) and relaxed on the back patio.ย 
For dinner, I had a kale salad with avocado, eggs, leftover salmon from the night before, and fresh pineapple!

We went on a dog walk, watched Southern Charm, and went to sleep!ย 
I was so excited to start my day with yoga at Daylight Mind! If you visit Kona, add this to your list. Listening to the ocean waves while getting a good stretch in was so relaxing and perfect. A great way to start day two of the challenge!
I just wanted to lay there forever.ย 
I headed downstairs to have breakfast after yoga.

I had a coconut milk cappuccino, which was sooooooo delicious. This was probably one of the best coconut milk cappuccinos I’ve ever had.ย 
I ordered a side of fresh fruit, two eggs with spinach, and strawberry coconut smoothie. Everything was fresh and delicious, just like last year!ย 
I picked up another fresh pineapple on my way back to the house. They have a little market downtown with fresh fruit.
I headed out for a walk with Kona on Friday afternoon. We walked by a giant bush filled with bees and monarch butterflies. It was absolutely breathtaking! Sometimes, Hawaii feels like a dream. How is this much beauty stored in one place?ย I went up into the papaya tree to get eight more papayas!
Today, we are going up to get the bananas!ย 
For my dinner on Friday night, I had a vegan salad from Island Naturals topped with a falafel, and a Big Island Kombucha!ย 
On Saturday morning, I had coconut milk yogurt with protein powder and almond butter! This is one of my favorite go-to breakfasts.
After breakfast, I headed to Kua Bay (Manini’owali) to walk the beach after dropping Kona off at doggy daycare.ย 
For my lunch, I had some eggs, papaya, quinoa, and coffee before heading to the airport to pick up Caitlin.ย First things first, green smoothies!

We got our beachwear on, headed to Evolution bakery for smoothies, and headed to the beach. I ordered the “Kaleocalada.”
We spent a few hours relaxing on the beach at Magic Sands. The water felt so good!
After the beach, we came back to get ready for dinner. We decided to go have mai tais and watch the sun go down!

We walked around the block with Kona before we headed out, and one of the houses on the block had several pineapples growing in their yard. It was the coolest thing! Can I just grow pineapples in my front yard?? I told Kyle that I’m moving here in the next five years.ย 
The best place for mai tais and a sunset? Don’s Mai Tai bar!ย 
Told you…
We split some nachos for dinner! ย 
We headed down the street to stop at a few places, but couldn’t hang. We were SO TIRED!!! We ended up headed back to the house at 8:15 pm, and falling asleep at 9 pm. Some warriors we are!
I cannot wait to blog about our adventure to Green Sands Beach, the hidden coffee shops we found, and our eats from yesterday! I have a ton to bring you this week!

Now, we are off to tennis! I hope you all have a fabulous Monday ๐Ÿ™‚

Questions for you!

  1. Have you ever swam with manta rays?
  2. Do you wash the salt out of your hair after going into the water?
  3. Is it hard or easy for you to eat healthy while traveling?





  • Anonymous

    I didn’t realize you were so into tennis

    Reply to Anonymous
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I started picking it back up a couple years ago, and my love has grown stronger since. My brother was the state champion back in the day and it was more of his sport. I never really cared for it until I realized I’m not too bad at it and it’s a great way to workout:D

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    Will you blog about the mantas? Im interested

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Jay

    You should start a tennis group in charlotte.

    Reply to Jay
  • Toby

    I’m anxiously waiting for your next blog.

    Reply to Toby
  • Susie

    Wow, such gorgeous photos! So happy to see you having a great time. I love how your days are so balanced with exercise/adventures, relaxation, healthy EATS and treats (hello Mai Tai’s!). Can’t wait for my own Hawaiian vacation in August!
    I’ve never swam with manta rays, but definitely sounds exciting!
    The salt water give me perfect beachy waves, so no I don’t rinse it out until bedtime.
    I think Hawaii will be easy to eat healthy for the most part, but someplace like Italy where I’d be devouring all the pasta, pizza and gelato? Not so much, lol!

    Reply to Susie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Susie!

      You are GOING TO LOVE Hawaii! It’s a very relaxing and adventurous place.

      You HAVE to swim with mantas when you are here.

      Oh…I bet it’s tough in Italy and so worth it! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lindsey

    Oh my,,, this looks absolutely magical! It is giving me all the vaca/beach feels!
    I cannot wait to see what else you have to share!! Enjoy your trip!

    Reply to Lindsey
  • Anonymous

    are you safe from the lava?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Megan

    Why didnt Kyle go to Hawaii?

    Reply to Megan
  • Anonymous

    You brought your dog?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Steph

    I saw you went to black sands beach. Did you find it hard to breath with the air?

    Reply to Steph
  • Ashton

    I’ve traveled all over Europe and been to Maui & Oahu and I can say without a doubt its easy for me to eat healthy in all of those places! I love all the fresh produce, baked goods and fish! Plus I feel like when I am on vacation I am walking around exploring so much that by constantly moving I can eat whatever I want. Also those Mai tai’s you had look amazing and I’m pretty sure I NEED that strawberry coconut smoothie in my life ASAP! I need to go to the big island and try Sunshower Farms too! Hope you’re having a blast can’t wait to see more pictures and hear about your snorkeling adventure!! Also you should bring home a pineapple for sure!

    Reply to Ashton
  • Jen

    This post is seriously giving me the beach/island/getaway vibes! Living vicariously through your blog in rainy Pennsylvania!

    No swimming with the Manta rays (yet) ๐Ÿ™‚

    I don’t typically wash the salt out of my hair. When I’m at the beach, I take full advantage and go throughout the whole day. My natural texture is crazy/wavy so even just standing on the boardwalk next to the beach gives my hair that beachy, salty vibe.

    I find it more challenging to eat healthy while traveling b/c I want to try everything! I make a conscious effort to stay fit and eat healthy when I travel, but vacation is usually when I’ll splurge a bit ๐Ÿ™‚

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Reply to Jen
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jen!

      Hope you get some warm weather soon!

      Love that you added “yet”, because you know you have to ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I’m the same way! I need to rinse it with the showers at the beach, but that’s only so it doesn’t mat together.

      It’s all about balance! ๐Ÿ˜€

      xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Bailz

    How fun! I look forward to more posts.

    Reply to Bailz
  • Nina

    Enjoy your trip!

    Reply to Nina
  • Anonymous

    Is the big island safe right now?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Madison

    So glad you’re enjoying our island. You should check out Basik (it’s on Ali’i) … best acai! You should also check out Loko Wraps … its in town and has really delicious local healthy food. ( :

    Reply to Madison
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Madison!

      I love Basik! I had it like three times last year, and we are going there after our surf lesson!

      I’ll add LOKO WRAPS to my list!

      xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Joye McInturff

    Taralynn, I am so thankful for you sharing your journey in health, fitness, and life. You are an inspiration and have helped so many. I really appreciate your openness and have taught me so much. Just thought you should know that. Blessings to you!

    Reply to Joye McInturff
  • Katie B

    Looks like you are having a wonderful time! Keep up the tennis and beautiful pictures!

    1) No! I haven’t, but I’ve swam with smaller rays, I forget which species they were.
    2) I definitely do not wash the salt out of my hair. Lol, it gives you those wonderful beach waves everyone loves!
    3) I find it easier to eat healthier during travel, because I don’t feel like my life is so hectic and I don’t have to just eat whatever I can find.

    Reply to Katie B
  • Blair

    Wow looks like you are having a ton of fun!!! I have swam with sting rays while on a cruise a few years ago. I definitely donโ€™t wash the salt water out of my hair, I love the way it smells and with my naturally curly hair it makes it curl up perfectly. As for healthy eating depends on the location if I was in Hawaii Iโ€™d be eating all that fresh fruit too!!! Any concerns with that volcano where you are?

    Reply to Blair
  • Susie @ Mile High Dreamers

    Ahhhhh SO MANY Hawaii feels right now! You’re like Ben, he literally bought about 12 pineapples when we were there and ate them every single day. I would just die of happiness if I had fresh pineapple, papaya, and bananas growing in my backyard! So much fresh and delicious food to eat there.
    Never swam with manta rays but it sounds amazing and I would love to someday!
    Ehhhh, I just rinse my hair regularly. That salty beach hair is the best!
    We love eating (mostly) healthy when we travel. We’ve figured out that we have so much more energy and feel way better overall if we do. We splurge occasionally, but we have so much more fun when we’re feeling our best. Hawaii is a place that makes it so easy to eat healthy with all of the fresh produce around!
    So glad you’re having such a blast!

    Reply to Susie @ Mile High Dreamers
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Lol the pineapples are ridiculously good, and the MANGOS…don’t get me started on the mangos.

      You would LOVE swimming with them!

      I agree and feel so much better eating healthier while traveling, but of course adding balance!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    You look pretty!

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Emily

    This looks like such an amazing adventure! The photos are gorgeous. Are you house sitting there?? Thanks for sharing with us. <3

    Reply to Emily
  • Meghan Richer

    I’ve never swam with manta rays but that seems so cool!! I don’t wash the salt out of my hair until the next time I actually need to shower/wash my hair. I love the texture it gives my hair, I honestly feel like I had the best hair of my life when I was in Mexico a couple years ago haha. Staying healthy depends for me-if I am in an area where there are a lot of healthy options available then it is easy, but it seems like most of our travel is local in the midwest and it seems like the smaller towns around here haven’t really caught on to the health trend haha. I just do the best I can and if I slip up or eat something not so great I just make sure to get back on track once I get home! Hope you are having a great time!!

    Reply to Meghan Richer
  • Anonymous

    You should go surfing or snorkeling.

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Kim

    1- I havenโ€™t but it sounds like fun! Canโ€™t wait to hear how it goes!
    2- No, Iโ€™m too lazy lol. I just wait until I shower and my hair is due to be washed.
    3- My husband and I try to balance – healthy breakfast and semi-healthy lunch and dinner, plus workouts every day to make up for all the drinks ๐Ÿ˜œ

    Reply to Kim
  • Jen

    Oops! Forgot to answer…
    Questions for you!

    Have you ever swam with manta rays? Nope.
    Do you wash the salt out of your hair after going into the water? No, I leave it in for beachy waves! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Is it hard or easy for you to eat healthy while traveling? I land somewhere in the middle. If a place I travel to has something really unique – I treat myself. Then I stick to healthier options for most of my meals.

    Reply to Jen
  • Jen

    Hawaii looks AMAZING! You and your friend are twinning! You look like sisters! The tennicizing (spelling) looks super fun *albeit challenging! So jealous! Keep enjoying every minute!

    Reply to Jen
  • Tracey Giannola

    The food looks delicious!! I love your beach cover up – where is it from? And those gold sandals! So cute! Where are you staying this time? Do you rent a house?

    Reply to Tracey Giannola
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Tracey!

      It’s actually from TJMAXX.

      And no, my good friends live in Kona! (the ones i visited last year) and they headed to Ecuador. I’m here watching the pup!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    Please stop using the word “eats.” As an English professor, you make me cringe! Increase the quality of your writing!

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Kelli

    First off, this must be the time of year to hit the big island…in all of your pictures the beaches are EMPTY! That’s awesome!!!!!!

    1. Not with Manta’s, but we did encounter several sea turtles while freelance snorkeling on Maui. Manta Rays would be epic though!

    2. No way! I love the texture if gives my hair and the smell. Just another reminder that I’m in paradise ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. Oh my gosh so difficult. The perk of vacationing in tropical places for me though is the endless fresh fruit. On my last visit to Hawaii I had Mai Tai’s for days and every fried and unhealthy food that was available, but I feel like it was decently balanced because I ate so much pineapple and papaya throughout the day it wasn’t even funny! I also had tons of fruit smoothies which are amazing out there.

    Reply to Kelli
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I also try going to the beach super early! But it’s the spring/summer months here, so people are having warm weather on the mainland, so busy season is over.

      Yes, the sea turtles are so awesome to encounter!

      I have to agree! The endless fruit is the best!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Rachael

    Looks SO beautiful! The most Iโ€™ve seen of Hawaii was a layover in Honolulu!
    1. I have unintentionally swam with manta rays, and intentionally did a cage free shark dive

    2. Hours later…or when I get around to it

    3. I need to get better about eating healthy at home but erode attempting it while traveling haha

    Reply to Rachael
  • Emma

    Love seeing the Hawaii pics! Do you have any other fun trips planned this year or next?!

    Reply to Emma
  • Anonymous

    What bramd racket do you use?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Hanes

    You will love the mantas!

    Reply to Hanes
  • DailyFitFab on Instagram

    Looks like youโ€™re having an amazing time there! Iโ€™m so jealous ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ And the food looks so perfect! But hey, Iโ€™m having the best time over here with the 40 day Challenge haha, I really hope youโ€™ll have more challenges for us this year aswell!
    So excited to read more about your trip!

    Reply to DailyFitFab on Instagram
  • Natalija

    Gorgeous post! Can’t get enough of those amazing ocean pictures. Thank you very much for sharing your adventure. The food is awesome beyond description and looks even better than that. Enjoy your holiday!

    Reply to Natalija
  • Lauren

    How do you and Caitlin know each other? Looks like fun!

    Reply to Lauren
  • Gemma

    Love that photo of Kona with the cat! Is it a local cat, or does it belong to Kona’s parents too?
    Also, I LOVE your yoga mat!
    Hawaii is on my bucket list for sure!

    Reply to Gemma
  • Kelsey W.

    Hey Taralynn, I’m glad you’re having a great trip! I’ve never been to Hawaii but it’s on my list ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve never swam with manta rays but I’m excited to hear your experience. I usually don’t wash the salt out of my hair while on vaca and my hair usually looks awesome haha beach waves at its finest! For me, it’s hard eating healthy while traveling. The last few family vacations, I would have to hit the grocery stores nearby to stock up on veggies and healthy meals because everyone else just brought junk food! But with all the junk food around, I indulge more frequently than I should. I know you’re only halfway into your trip, but what do you love most about Hawaii?! xo Kelsey

    Reply to Kelsey W.
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Oh the mantas were gorgeous!!

      You have to do it when you come to Hawaii.

      I love the vibe! And it’s way too hard to pick something specific because everything is great!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lindsay

    You two could be sisters โ˜บ๏ธ
    Your blog has me sold on where to vacation next ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ

    Reply to Lindsay
  • Kayla

    Eating healthy on vacation depends on who Iโ€™m with and if I have a few โ€œfavorite placesโ€ to hit. Been going to the same places in the Lake of the Ozarks since I was 11… have to hit my regular places for burgers & desserts. Also, hate washing the salt (and even fresh lake!) water out of my hair. Nothing better than dirty vacation hair. Have fun! Your pictures are breathtaking. Telling my boyfriend that we need to go NOW.

    Reply to Kayla
  • Kate

    Those cocktails look tasty! I thought you didn’t drink though?

    Reply to Kate
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I don’t get “drunk”, but I have no problem sipping drinks. I prefer sparkling water or coffee over alcohol, but will still sip.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Kate

        Wow haha. Yeah, that still counts. LOTS of people drink without the intention of getting drunk, but they still say they drink. Not sure why you’re so weird about it.

        Reply to Kate
        • Taralynn McNitt

          Not sure why it matters to you so much?

          Reply to Taralynn McNitt
          • Amanda

            I’ll never understand why people care so much about the life of a complete stranger. Who cares if you sip alcohol? Don’t let these people get to you! They are a bit creepy if you ask me.

            Reply to Amanda
            • Taralynn McNitt

              Lol thank you Amanda

              Reply to Taralynn McNitt
              • Tory

                You would be so, so much more likeable if you were just NORMAL. You used to drink wine, often actually. You don’t have to say you “sip” and that you prefer water and coffee, it makes you sound stuck up.

                Reply to Tory
                • Taralynn McNitt

                  Actually, no matter what I do, there will always be people like you, trying to tell me to act a certain way. I love who I am, whether it’s normal or not. I’m anything but stuck up, so that’s laughable. I will continue being me, doing life the way I want to, and the great thing about it is that you don’t have to like me. You don’t even have to waste one more second on this blog. That is your choice. So if you want to invest your energy into making me feel bad about the way I am, that’s all on you. Just know, I don’t really care what you think. I’m confident in who I am, and loving life right now. Maybe you need to do the same.

                  Reply to Taralynn McNitt
                  • Tory

                    You CHOOSE to share your life with your readers. That is how you chose to make a living. When people question things that have changed, thats your responsibility to share with them. If you have such a problem with that, change your profession.

                    Reply to Tory
                    • Sam

                      Wow. That was pretty crappy. Responding to a reader (Katie) like that and everything since. Most of us come here to be inspired and that kind of ruined my day.

                    • Taralynn McNitt

                      I choose to share the things I choose to share. Simple.

                      I don’t owe anything to anyone and that is the beauty of writing a blog. Also, does it really matter that I “sip” alcohol without getting “drunk.” Should I hold a press conference for this? Would that make you feel better?

  • Linda @ the Fitty

    To be honest, I try not to touch the water with my hair unless I’m showering!

    Reply to Linda @ the Fitty
  • Katie

    Wow girl, you are truly living your best life!!! This all looks so amazing! Wish I was there. All the food looks so good too, I always find it hard to eat healthy when traveling! But you are so good at it! haha:) Wishing you the best time <3
    XO, Katie | http://www.meshkomoments.com

    Reply to Katie
  • Elisabeth

    Hawai looks so amazing! I wish I’ll go there one day (just for fresh papayas straight from the tree…)

    Have you ever swam with manta rays?
    No, but it must be amazing!

    Do you wash the salt out of your hair after going into the water?
    I love how my hair look after the beach (who doesn’t like the surfer aesthetic in summer?) but my hair don’t like salt, so I shower when I’m back from a beach day

    Is it hard or easy for you to eat healthy while traveling?
    It’s relatively easy. I love to try everything, sometimes it’s clearly NOT healthy (hello, fish’n’chips!). My only rule is to make all my snacks healthy (fresh fruits and smoothies are my thing)

    Reply to Elisabeth
  • Erin

    Hawaii looks like a dream! I hope to visit someday (soon)!

    Reply to Erin
  • Anonymous

    I love salty beach waves!! I always wash them out before bed, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You inspired me to lose a lot of weight several years ago, and now I have gained some of it back going through grad school. Following your blog again for inspiration, and I’m doing great!

    Can I ask – where did you get the sandals you are wearing when you are walking Kona? They look like they are gray with a brass buckle. Are those Birkenstocks?

    Reply to Anonymous
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yes! I can’t sleep with them in my hair lol I wake up with dry hair if so!

      We all go up and down, and that’s the beauty of the body! We can always change it. You should check out the 40 Day Challenge! xo

      I got them at Target!! $20! I bought Birkenstocks and didn’t like them, and just love the Target ones!

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

    Your Hawaii journey looks amazing, Taralynn! I’ve never been there before so I love reading about your adventures there. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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