Blonder Hair, Purple Carrot & Last-Minute Travel Stuff

I’ve never taken this much time off writing before. It paid off because I spent my extra time capturing photos, videos, and memories from my California trip. I have so much to share with you that it’s almost overwhelming when I think about where I should start. I have two more days here in California, and then I’ll start with all the recaps and guides. Since I took a bit of time off with the blog, I thought going back and sharing last week’s recap would be a good place to start. It’ll help me get back into the swing of things. Not going to lie, I’m excited to get home and jump back into my regular routine. I need my running trails, protein oats, and mornings spent blogging. And I miss my pups!
green smoothie, amazing grass, protein, almond milk, ice, banana, healthy eating, gluten free, dairy free,
The week was mostly dedicated to getting the backend of the blog work done, and planning last minute details for the upcoming trip. I also wanted to make sure I was ahead when it came to packing. Whenever I am about to go on a big trip, I always get a little stressed about packing or stress about things not going according to plan. But once I’m on the plane, all of that stress goes away.
green smoothie, amazing grass, protein, almond milk, ice, banana, healthy eating, gluten free, dairy free,

Monday Morning Green Smoothie:

For breakfast, I had a smoothie with almond milk, banana, mango, vanilla protein powder, amazing grass powder, and cinnamon.

I spent my Monday writing the recap post and working on a few new recipes for the blog. We had rain nonstop, so it was a good excuse to stay inside and get things finished.
spaghetti squash, pasta sauce, healthy, no added sugar, gluten free, dairy free, squash, pasta, plant, dairy free, summer squash, tomatoes, vegetables, dinner night, blogspaghetti squash, pasta sauce, healthy, no added sugar, gluten free, dairy free, squash, pasta, plant, dairy free, summer squash, tomatoes, vegetables, dinner night, blog

Spaghetti Squash Dinner

I was craving something warm and savory on Monday night. It had been a while since I had spaghetti squash, so I decided to make spaghetti squash with roasted summer squash and roasted garlic marinara. For my protein, I added in turkey meatballs to the sauce. I don’t know why I haven’t had spaghetti squash recently because it is so dang good. I have a ย feeling you’ll be seeing this pop up a lot more on my blog.ย cinnamon roll, snickerdoodle, ice cream, vegan, dairy free, plant based, homemade, dessert, healthy ice cream, cinnamon roll, snickerdoodle, ice cream, vegan, dairy free, plant based, homemade, dessert, healthy ice cream,You all know that Kyle and I have been on an ice cream kick. I cannot wait to make homemade ice cream when I get home. Kyle has been making it and sending me pictures of his creations, and I’ve been super jealous. I have a fourth of July ice cream recipe coming to the blog soon that I think you’ll love.

Vegan Ice Cream Nights

On Monday night, we made cinnamon roll ice cream with vegan cream cheese frosting on top. This recipe is in the top five that’ we’ve made so far, and you better believe it’ll be in the ice cream series I have planned.ย running training fun exercise summer fitness four miles jog slower pace simply taralynn fitness healthy burn
My running schedule has been horrendous on this trip. I’ve run twice, but falling way behind. I kind of expected that, but when I get home, I’m going to jump right back into my running schedule. If you’d like to see a blog post on how “getting back into running after vacation” went, let me know! I think taking a few weeks off always scares me that all the work I put into building up my endurance will go away, but I’m sure it’s all in my head. Luckily, I’ve stayed active, but I’m craving a good run. Since I leave on the red-eye tomorrow night, I may try to fit in a beach run in the morning.

Tuesday Four-Mile Run

Onย Tuesday, I woke up, had my coffee, and then headed out for my run. I got so lucky because the weather was stunning. 60’s in June? I’ll take it. The run feltย good. The best part was seeing sweet Luna on my way back. She’s the pup that always waits and cries for me when I go by her house in the mornings. Goodness, she’s just the sweetest. Leo and Grumples love her, too.
travel prep, dermaplaning, Starbucks, mall, packing, skincare, dr capizzi, Charlotte, nc, faceAfter getting cleaned off, I headed to Charlotte for my dermaplanning appointment with Wendy at Capizzi, MD. I’m telling you, she’s the absolute best. My skin always feels so amazing when I leave. I’ve mentioned dermaplaning several times on my blog, but if you haven’t heard of it, you can read more on it here.

Tuesday Dermaplaning

After my appointment, I headed to Loft because I needed to find a few shorts to take with me on my trip. I was tired of always wearing the same jean shorts. Their clothes always fit my body type the best, and I’ll make sure to link everything I got in my travel posts. I picked up some coconut cookies and an iced coffee for the drive home. Coffee is the only thing that’ll have me thinking positive during rush hour traffic. plant based, high protein, vegan, purple carrot, sweet potatoes, food service, gluten free, cauliflower masala, sweet potatoes, learn to cook, dinner,plant based, high protein, vegan, purple carrot, sweet potatoes, food service, gluten free, cauliflower masala, sweet potatoes, learn to cook, dinner,
I was so excited to try my Purple Carrot box for the first time on Tuesday. I let one of those Facebook ads get to me, and I had to purchase a box to try. I didn’t want to go grocery shopping before my trip, and I figured it would be a good time to cook healthy meals (without the thought and planning.) I saw that they have higher protein and gluten-free, vegan meal options available now, so I was so happy about trying them. The thing with me when it comes to vegan food is that I never think out of the box or try unique recipes, so Purple Carrot is perfect for that.

Trying Purple Carrotย 

The first meal I tried was the Masala Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. I knew what I was getting myself into with this one because I have never liked the taste of curry. I’m all about giving things another chance, but I still didn’t like it. I added a ton of extra garlic and a bit of onion powder to tone down the curry flavor. The idea of this meal was still really unique. The sweet potatoes were delicious! I would make this meal again without the curry.ย 
I finished packing on Wednesday morning.

I also laid everything out and took photos so I could write a packing blog post. It’s so sad when the pups see my suitcases because they know exactly what is going on.
I met up with my mom at Starbucks for a latte and lunch during the day. I had to head to Target for some toothpaste, and other little things for the trip, so I figured I’d meet up with her since it was on the way. ย She always brings a giant bowl of fruit, salad, and tea for her lunch every day. I love how healthy she eats, and it always inspires me.ย 
When I got home, I had leftover spaghetti sauce mixed with the sweet potato masala for lunch. I ended up finding the Waterloo sparkling water brand at Whole Foods, which made me so happy. Ever since trying them in Savannah, I have been hooked!ย 
Since I’m going to be in Hawaii for most of November, I decided to start testing some pumpkin recipes. I’m already craving some pumpkin spice (i know too soon), but it’s fun to create the recipes early and have them ready to go by November! This pumpkin spice ice cream turned out to be incredible. It has pumpkin puree, almond milk, vanilla protein powder, pumpkin spice, vanilla, salt, and monk fruit.ย 
Temaki Sushi was on the menu for Wednesday night while we caught up on Handmaids. I am so happy that I tired Purple Carrot because now I know how to make sushi, and I can’t wait to do this with vegan cream cheese, spicy tuna, and avocado! I was also impressed with how good Sriracha and Veganaise tasted together. It made for the perfect dipping sauce, and I made it again tonight to go with our roasted vegetables and salmon. Kyle and I loved this meal.

Five-Mile Run Thursday

I had a feeling Thursday was going to be one of the last long runs until I made it to L.A. (one long run scheduled in the morning) so I headed out around 9 am to get my miles in. I was hoping to hit six, but I was just as proud with five. I’m pretty excited about catching up on my running tomorrow. I’m just crossing my fingers that I can do it. Since I fly home on the red-eye tomorrow night, it’ll be a good thing to wear me out for the plane.
I showered off quick and hurried to my hair appointment. I picked up a pink drink and hot tea for the three hours I was going to spend getting my hair done. I didn’t have time to eat a big lunch so I was hoping it would hold me over until I got home. I wish I would have never tried the Starbucks pink drink because it’s so good.
And I decided to go blonder! I think it’s so fun and I love changing things up. We’ll see how long this lasts before I change my mind and go back to brunette again. It’s still weird when I look in the mirror, but it’s growing on me.ย 

I didn’t get home until later, and I was so hungry!

Walnut sauce is my new favorite!

Kyle and I made Purple Carrot‘s rice noodles with miso walnut sauce & charred green beans. HOLY MOLY IT WAS DELICIOUS! I kept my plain, and Kyle added grilled chicken to his bowl for more protein. I will be making this walnut sauce again! I love that it makes you prepare the sauce instead of giving you a bottle of sauce to add. It’s teaching me new ways to cook, which I need.

For dessert, we made vanilla birthday cake ice cream! I’m sorry I keep teasing you with all of these ice cream pictures, but I’m trying to get the consistency down perfect before sharing.

4:00 am came around really fast on Friday morning. I needed to wake up and have a bowl of protein oatsย and a cup of coffee before heading to the airport.
I picked up Caitlin and our friend, Tyler, at 5:00 am and then headed to the airport to take off for our trip! ย We flew out of Charlotte to Salt Lake City, then to Reno, rented a car, and drove to South Lake Tahoe.
I had to share this photo because it’s hilarious to me. We all pulled over to stop and look at the view on our way from the airport. I had airplane hair (bed head), sandals, pajamas, and still managed to climb the rocks. I looked ridiculous, but the view was spectacular.

Questions for you!

1. How early do you get to the airport?
2. Have you ever tried Purple Carrot?
3. Tell me about your weekend!

Anywayssssss it feels good to be back writing. I can’t wait to chat with you all and finally be back on schedule. xo

PS: I have a vlog done from Tahoe and I may put that out tomorrow before the actual blog goes live! Let me know if you want to watch it. OK IT’S LIVE!!!!





  • Natalija

    Hi Taralynn and welcome back! First of all thank you for the gorgeous post! Secondly, I simply can’t wait for the ice cream recipe post! My pups used to get super sad seeing the suitcases too, sometimes I even felt like skipping the trip. But then the returns are so happy and worth looking forward to.What is in Starbuck’s pink drink? They don’t have it here in the UK at the moment.Your new hair looks gorgeous! Looking forward for your holiday blog.

    Reply to Natalija
  • Tara

    I would love if you did a blog on running after taking a vacation break! I am always so worried when I take some days off that all my progress will be gone. I’m sure you’ve mentioned it, but why did you go to California?

    Reply to Tara
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Definitely will do that.

      My friend turned 30 and had a birthday in Lake Tahoe so Caitlin and I decided to make a road trip out of it and drive the Cali coast after the Tahoe weekend.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jenna

    I seriously can’t wait for you to share your ice cream blog with us! I guess I need to invest in an ice cream machine.

    I get to the airport about an hour before my flight. I have clear and TSA pre check. So the line is always empty for security.

    I’ve never even heard about Purple Carrot, but I don’t think it’s something I would like, honestly.

    My weekend was great. Saturday morning from 10am-noon is swim practice for Special Olympics, then I went to my boyfriends parents and we swam, played pool volleyball and had a cook out. Then we all took naps! Sunday, I hung out with my best friend!

    Reply to Jenna
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yes, and it’s definitely a great investment!!

      Pre-check is the way to go.

      PC is definitely not for everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

      Sounds like the best weekend! Especially with BF time! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • alex

    This looks like an absolutely beautiful trip. Will you be documenting it on your YT channel?

    1. I try to get to the airport 2 hours before my flight time.
    2. Never tried purple carrot, I think it’s because it looks weird.
    3. My weekend wasn’t as eventful as yours, but it was great to have nothing to do and actually relax.

    Reply to alex
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Alex!

      Yes! The first YT video for Tahoe is processing now! eeeek!

      SAME! (keyword try)

      haha totally get it.

      Relaxing is the best kind of weekend for sure!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • mikaela

    I can’t wait for this recap to see what you did. I grew up in Pacifica & Linda Mar beach is my second home! We were in Tahoe the same weekend too. I’ve never had sushi there though, so I want to know about Naked Fish. Yum! It might be on my dinner list for 4th of July weekend there. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply to mikaela
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is so awesome! What a great weekend to be in Tahoe, too!! Naked Fish was FANTASTIC!!! I’ll have my vlog up today ๐Ÿ™‚ Definitely make a reservation there.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Alissa @ PositiviTEA

    Your hair looks GORGEOUS!! It always does — as if every hair color suits you. Ha!
    I’ve only ever been on a plane once, but we got to the airport two or three hours in advance. It made me much less nervous and stress, that’s for sure. Plus, we had great seats while waiting.
    I’ve never had Purple Carrot! Our weekend was fantastic — we went to New Hope, PA on Friday, grocery shopped and cleaned over the weekend, and then went to our local animal refuge yesterday to end it all.
    Happy Tuesday! ๐Ÿ™‚
    XO, Alissa @ PositiviTEA

    Reply to Alissa @ PositiviTEA
  • Lindsey St Onge

    I love your hair blonde! It looks so good! And oh my goodness I am so excited to see your post on your homemade ice creams! I love ice cream and it would be so cool to learn to make it myself and try fun flavors. As for the airport, I am always paranoid that I will miss my flight so I usually get there a few hours before takeoff and just bring a good book to read while I wait at the terminal. I’ll be traveling a lot this upcoming month so I’ll have to prepare myself ahead of time with packing and my anxiety (I’m one of those scaredy cats when it comes to flying). I haven’t tried Purple Carrot, but they look like they have a lot of interesting recipes that I would enjoy. I used to use Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, but after so long it seemed like I had pretty much gone through every recipe so I cancelled my membership. Also, I would love to watch your vlog! I really enjoy all your blog posts and videos so keep them coming! I hope you have a safe trip home from California!

    Reply to Lindsey St Onge
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks so much, Lindsey!!

      The ice cream maker has been the best investment ever!!!

      It’s crazy how so many people get travel anxiety no matter how many times we travel! I get all of those fears.

      Hahaha I felt that way with Blue Apron. We ate so many that it was time to change it up and I wanted ones filled with more unique vegetables and less dairy/gluten to make it easier for me to make swaps.



      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Katie Meshko

    I seriously LOVE reading your recap posts – always so inspiring! <3 Makes me feel like we are friends IRL lol ๐Ÿ™‚ I am loving the blonde on you and that purple carrot meal looked amazing! We had friends visit and stay with us this weekend so we had a lot of fun with them going to wine tastings, ice cream, and dinner. I hope you have a great week.

    XO, Katie |

    Reply to Katie Meshko
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you, Katie! ๐Ÿ’œ

      That is so sweet and exactly how I want my blog to make people feel! Whenever I get to talk to you all in the comments, that’s exactly how I feel as well – like IRL friends โ™ฅ๏ธ

      xo xo sounds like you had the perfect weekend!

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

    It feels like forever since Iโ€™ve seen your posts, Taralynn! I missed you – thank you for the update. Itโ€™s good to hear youโ€™ve been well! ๐Ÿ’•โœจ

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Brittany

    Yay you’re back! I kept checking to see if there was a post on your adventures, so I am so happy to see you back on here ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks like you have been having lots of fun! Can’t wait to read your recap on your trip.

    As for my weekend, it was pretty good! BBQed with a co-worker, worked on sewing a romper I am in the progress of making (I am slowly learning how to sew.. we will see how it turns out ๐Ÿ˜‚), tried out a new restaurant me and my fiance have been dying to try, cleaned my apartment, and went for a much needed hike! I would say it was a good weekend!

    Reply to Brittany
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Brittany!!

      The fact that you were checking posts just put a smile on my face! lol I do that with some other blogs I love to read as well. I’m so excited to put together the rest of the blogs from the trip!

      Sounds like a fun & successful. weekend. Pretty cool you’re sewing! My mom sews a lot and sometimes i’ll jump in to help.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ashley

    Everytime I see you’re in California I’m like ahhhhhh! I could have met her lol but I live in the Central Valley and you’re never there. I would love to see a get back in to running post! <3

    Reply to Ashley
  • Kelsey W.

    Iโ€™m honestly drooling from the pumpkin spice ice cream picture haha! Canโ€™t wait for that post, especially because I canโ€™t have dairy and the store-bought dairy-free ice creams just arenโ€™t very good! My weekend was spent with my boyfriend as we were celebrating our 3 year anniversary! We took a roadtrip to Charlottesville, VA and stayed in an awesome Airbnb, hiked the Blue Ridge Mountains, and drove along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park! Have you ever been?! Looking forward to seeing your Tahoe vlog! xo Kelsey

    Reply to Kelsey W.
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Kelsey!

      I’m NEVER buying dairy-free store-bought ice cream if I’m home. The maker is a game changer and the consistency is the best. Your weekend sounds like a dream!!! I have never gone but my brother used to when he lived in D.C. I’ve heard great things.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Beverly


    First, I loveeeee your blonde hair! It’s so summery and pretty!

    I try to get to the airport at least an hour and a half before my flight but there’s been a handful of times where I have to leave straight from class or work and since it takes two hours to get to the airport I end up getting there like half an hour before my flight leaves. LOL it gives me the worst anxiety but I rarely check a bag and I always check in to my flight 24 hours before so I make it.
    I’ve never tried Purple Carrot but I’ve tried blue apron. It would be awesome if they made meals for a single serving. I am terrible with leftovers and the food they send is sometimes too much.
    As for my weekend, I worked! Working in retail means I don’t usually get a weekend off unless I request it. But it’s okay because I’m going to be traveling for 2ish weeks starting the 6th.
    Can’t wait to read your blog about your Cali trip!

    Reply to Beverly
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks so much, Beverly!!

      Yeah, it’s so much better when you don’t have to check a bag!

      The leftovers are my favorite part if Kyle doesn’t eat the meals, but I totally understand people’s weirdness about leftovers! You’re not alone lol

      I hope you have a great vacation away from work!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Barbara

    Iโ€™ve never even heard of Purple Carrot but that miso sounded delish! I make hand rolls and other maki all the time so it wouldnโ€™t be a stretch if I were to receive that. Your hair btw is super cute blonde! I love California (most parts) and love how the weather is amazing year round. As far as what time I arrive at the airport… I donโ€™t ๐Ÿ˜† I use to be a flight attendant so I only had to be there 45 minutes prior to boarding so bypassing long lines and breezing through security was a godsend. Traveling as a non crew member I would be at my gate waiting at least two hours prior. Airports are fun to me so a little exploring never hurt. My weekend was filled with not a whole lot ๐Ÿ˜‚ Visit from a friend who moved away 6 months ago and church. Thanks for sharing your adventures! Looking forward to your next post. โค๏ธ

    Reply to Barbara
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Barbara!

      Oh, the miso was delicious.

      So cool that you were a flight attendant! I’ve always wanted to see a day in the life of a flight attendant. I feel like it’s such a cool job, but I’m sure stressful at times.

      Sometimes those are the best kind of weekend plans!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Alyssa Nyeholt

        I am so excited to read your packing blog! I have such trouble packing and seem to over pack! Also would love to watch your vlog! Thanks for the recap post went wonderful with my afternoon coffee (while baby is sleeping haha)

        Reply to Alyssa Nyeholt

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