My First Week on The Big Island: Food, Tennis, & Relaxation.

Kayas Coffee, organic food, the big island, Kailua Kona, hawaii, where to eat in hawaii, hawaii travels, big island healthy, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, cafe, weekend recap post, travel, what to do in Hawaii, paddle board, surf

I can’t believe my three weeks in Hawaii is coming to an end soon. It feels like I just got here. I’ve enjoyed spending time with friends and family out here on the Big Island, and it’s always hard to leave.

I am looking forward to seeing my dogs and putting up the Christmas lights when I get home. I’ve seen all of the holiday spirit all over social media, but it’s nearly impossible to feel festive when palm trees and sunshine surround you on the Island. I’m hoping those festive warm, and fuzzy feelings hit me when I land.

I have three weeks’ worth of blog posts to share with you + some from months ago. I hope you’re ready for all the new blogs in December. Today’s recap is from the week I landed in Hawaii. I spent most of my time catching up on work, playing tennis and relaxing. Once the friends and family arrived, we were in full exploration-mode.
Building your first home, building a home, the design studio, how to build a house, steps to build a home, how to build a house, tips, Charlotte nc, masons bend, fielding homes, builders, how to build a house, buying a house, buying a home, building a home
A couple of days before I left for Hawaii, we had another builders meeting. We went over all of our design features and talked about the timeline of the house. I’m excited to get back home because things are going to look a lot different. Once the ground has been broken, they move pretty fast.ย It’s crazy to think that we are going to be living in our new home in the Spring! I cannot wait for this new chapter.
recap blogger, lifestyle, simply taralynn, matcha tea, gluten free, dairy freeLeo and Grumples had their shave downs last month, and they look so funny. I usually keep up with their haircuts by giving them trims in between, but we like to send them to the groomer to do all the extra cleaning treatments. They hate it, but they are a lot easier to keep clean when their hair is short.

Something I’ve been missing since coming to Hawaii? My afternoon matcha lattes! I’m excited to get back to these. I add my matcha powder, marine collagen, and almond milk to the frother for the perfect consistency.
salmon, potatoes, healthy dinner, simply taralynn, broccoli, foodTwo other things I’ve missed? My air fryer and Tessamae’s Habenero ranch! I’ll be diving straight into that when I get home.

This was such a delicious and simple meal. I had air-fried potatoes with everything but the bagel seasoning (also really miss!!), air-fried salmon, and steamed broccoli with garlic.

Since I was leaving for a few weeks, I refused to buy groceries that would go to waste. I spent the week before Hawaii throwing together the most random meals. Eventually, I ran out of options and had to resort to Chipotle, but I wasn’t mad about it. I always get the same salad bowl with brown rice, black beans, guacamole, chicken, lettuce, pico, salsa, and the dressing. It’s soooo good.

Instead of my go-to morning egg scramble, I ended up having a delicious combo! I made the Pumpkin Spice paleo pancakes with a fried egg on top. I’m not kidding; it tasted just like cinnamon french toast! It was amazing. I will be having this as soon as I get home!
travelA very long travel day!

Last year, I made the mistake of booking a 22 hour travel day just to save a few hundred bucks. It was not worth it! I decided to spend extra and book a 12-hour travel day to Hawaii this time, and it was WAY better.

I left Charlotte at 5 am, headed to Denver, and then straight to the Big Island. I didn’t want to bother with airport food or rushing to make my connection, so I ended up packing grapes, bananas, Rxbars, and a turkey sandwich. I used Applegate turkey, Udi’s gluten-free bread, mustard, and lettuce! I’m glad I packed food because the plane ride from Denver to Hawaii was seven and a half hours without meals being served on the plane (but also I hate airplane food.)
When I landed in Hawaii, it was 2:30 pm which was 7:30 pm Charlotte time. I was exhausted but ready to stay up as long as I could to get on Hawaii time. My good friends and I headed to Jackie Rey’s for Happy hour! I ordered the Mahi fish tacos, and they were delicious! There’s nothing like fresh fish tacos from Hawaii and not a bad way to kick off the trip.

I couldn’t make it past 8 pm, so after the sunset and I cleaned off from my travel day, I was out!

I tried my best to sleep in as long as I could, but that 4 am hour was my body’s sweet spot. I was up nearly every morning for the first week at 4 am. I didn’t mind it because it gave me some time to relax with my coffee and catch up on work before the sun came up.
I ended up heading to the grocery store on the first day so that I could get my food for the week. I didn’t want to dine out too much because I knew that’s what I’d be doing once my friends and family arrived.

I decided to stick to my go-to meals. I had my morning eggs with kale, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. Since I didn’t have my Tessamae dressing, I had supremely spicy hummus mixed in.

I did end up finishing the blog post from Becca’s wedding, so make sure to check that out and look at all the photos!
I was most excited about my walks with Kona! I missed him so much ๐Ÿ˜Š His family headed off to Vietnam, so I was lucky enough to spend the Hawaii days with him. It’s crazy to think that he’s almost five! I remember when he was just a little puppy living in D.C.

After our morning walks, I packed my water and tennis gear for a morning of tennis! It was so fun to get back with my tennis group here in Hawaii. I played with them for several weeks last year. Tonight and tomorrow will be my last time playing with them.
I tried to stick to healthier dinners the first week. I roasted a ton of Brussel sprouts and ate them with sweet potatoes and ground turkey. I really liked this combo and will probably whip up some more when I get home. Not going to lie, I “feel” like I’ve put on 100000 pounds since my brother got here. There’s a cafe we kept going to that had gluten-free and dairy-free desserts, and we just kept snacking on them. I need to get back on track! ๐Ÿ˜‚ And don’t get me wrong, I have zero regrets. I may go there today and grab lunch again.

The next few days were filled with the same routine. I woke up early and worked on the computer, walked Kona a mile, and then headed to tennis! After tennis, I worked more, went on a long walk, walked Kona another mile before dinner, and then made a meal before dozing off at 7 pm.ย 
We need to sit here and chat about this granola recipe real quick.

My brother said I need to delete the recipe of my blog and start selling it. He said it’s “crack.” When he was here, I made him a big batch, and then had to make him three more batches for him to take back to L.A. He said he’s obsessed with it. I’ll most likely end up sending him granola in the mail every month ๐Ÿ˜† I ate the granola with my plain dairy-free Kite Hill yogurt mixed with cinnamon, honey, vanilla, and mango! Here’s the granola recipe if you’d like to try it. Now worries, I did not delete it!ย 
On Saturday morning, I headed to Kona Haven for a cup of coffee and walked around the downtown for a bit. I picked up a bag of coffee for the house, and I love being able to support the local business here instead of buying popular brand coffee from the grocery store.
After tennis and a good lunch on Sunday, I picked up my friend, Emily, from the airport! She also works from home, so it was awesome she was able to come to spend some time with me in Hawaii.
Before making my way to the airport, I stopped at Kona Mountain Coffee for some pick-me-ups! They had excellent iced coffee.

And of course, you can’t let your friend land in Hawaii without being laid. ย 
The first stop was Don’s Mai Tai bar to watch the sunset. It’s a must on the Big Island!

I can’t wait to fill you all in on everything else that happened on the Big Island! ๐Ÿ˜Š
hawaii, simply taralynn blogQuestions for you!

  1. Are you in full-on Christmas mode?
  2. I have so many blogs on my Big Island travels from the past years. Should I create a separate travel guide blog for everything on the Big Island?



  • Kelly

    Hi Taralynn!

    So so jealous you got to be in Hawaii for 3 weeks!! I still have never been but want to go SO BAD!
    I refuse to be in Christmas mode until after Thanksgiving, I just want to slow down and take life one day (and holiday) at a time ๐Ÿ˜‰
    YES VLOGMAS!!! Can’t wait!

    Reply to Kelly
  • Konaโ€™s Momma

    We are so grateful for you! Kona is so sad without you and is positive that I can maintain his morning walks and busy vacation life! I love how beautiful the backyard looks in your photos! Next time, it will be complete with lanterns from Hoi On! Thank you againโค๏ธ

    Love you so much!

    Reply to Konaโ€™s Momma
  • Mary

    I can’t wait to see your surfing photos since you didn’t go surfing

    Reply to Mary
  • Kristina

    Pretty lady!

    I hope you have a safe trip home!

    Reply to Kristina
  • Leila

    Love this!! Where is your white top from in the picture collage on the bottom?! and the adorable pink hat?! please share! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Leila
  • Katie Meshko

    These pictures are making me really want to visit Hawaii right now!! Looks like you’re having an awesome time, girl. I love the Brussels, sweet potatoes and ground turkey combo too. It’s easy yet delicious! I am NOT in full Christmas mode yet, time is going by way too fast lol. I went shopping a few nights ago and looked at all the decor and listened to the Christmas music they had playing and I have to say it’s starting to hit me. Def do a separate guide for the Big Island and yesss pumped for Vlogmas!!!

    XO, Katie |

    Reply to Katie Meshko
    • Taralynn McNitt

      It’s been such a great visit!

      Hopefully I’ll get into that Christmas spirit as soon as I get home! It’s so hard here with all the sunshine and shorts๐Ÿ˜‚

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Susie

    Enjoy your last days in Hawaii. Kyle and your doggys must be missing you something fierce! I’ve never visited the Big Island. Have you ever been to Oahu? I’m planning a trip there next year. I would LOVE to see a travel guide blog (for anyplace you visit really). You always seem to have the perfect balance of fun/relaxation and healthy eats/treats.

    I don’t put up my Christmas tree until the day after Thanksgiving, but my December calendar is already full of festive Christmas delights! Can’t wait for your Vlogmas! I think you missed your calling as an actress. Not that you seem phony – not AT ALL, but you are so good behind the camera. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply to Susie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Susie!

      I lived in Hawaii for a little over four years as a kid. I don’t think I could give any tips for that one, but I do know Pinterest is filled with all the cool Oauh spots. I will say snorkeling in Hanauma bay and visiting the north shore is a must! And if you can maybe do some island hopping.

      HAHAHAHA that is so funny. I feel like I’m awful behind the camera, but thank you!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Katie

    Looks like you’re having a great time!! That’s so exciting that you got to spend so long there! I’m in full blown Christmas mode lol. Normally I don’t decorate until after Thanksgiving, but I moved to Pittsburgh this year and it’s my first time getting to experience cold winter weather. In Texas it’s always in the 80s or 70s if we’re lucky in November and December. So I decorated a couple of weeks ago to really live it up haha no regrets!

    Reply to Katie
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Still jealous of your sunny holiday in Hawaii! I’m in Korea now (on holiday, but still haha) and it’s absolutely freezing here! โค๏ธโœจ

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Harriet

    wow, sounds like you are having an amazing time Hawaii. please do a separate travel guide /blog post about Hawaii. I am totally not in Christmas mode yet, I’m currently in Australia, and still in vacation mode for another 4 days. I am so ready for vlogmas, last years was so awesome. I hope you have a great last few days on the island.

    Reply to Harriet
  • Jay

    What island are you on/?

    Reply to Jay
  • Marjan

    Sooo ready for vlogmas!! Also loved the intro song you used last year.
    Beautiful pictures from Hawai! I’m a bit… well, it starts with a J and it ends with ealous ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply to Marjan
  • Ashley

    Love this post, Taralynn!! It looks like you’ve had an amazing time in Hawaii! ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, super exciting about your house, it seems like the process is moving really quickly!

    Reply to Ashley
  • Brittany

    Oh how I would love to be in Hawaii right now! It has been gloomy every day here in Portland but I guess there isn’t anything to abnormal about that! I will just keep living vicariously through you for the time being ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for Christmas/Holiday feels, I am not quite there yet. I used to have a hard time as a kid not getting festive before Thanksgiving but this year has been pretty easy for me to put off the festivities. Perhaps it is because I am about to embark on a cross-country move? Who knows! I do like waiting until after Thanksgiving before listening to Christmas music or decorating though ๐Ÿ™‚

    However, this Friday I am probably going to be watching Frozen and making a gingerbread house with my niece.. so I guess I am getting festive a little earlier than I had planned to ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hope this week is going well for you! <3

    Reply to Brittany
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Brittany!

      Hopefully that gloomy weather is putting you in the holiday spirit!

      I totally feel ya on the Christmasy/festive feeling, especially when stressful things are going on around me! Deep breathes. I ended up moving into my new house a week before Christmas and I was too stressed to get into it!

      I love that you’re going to have a fun weekend with your niece! xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lauren

    Hi Taralynn!

    Everyone is in full on Christmas mode back here on the mainland lol I think the second you land you are going to feel it!!

    How do you manage to keep the food you pack on the plane fresh? freezer packs?

    You and your brother both look like models!

    I am BEYOND excited for your Vlogmas! Your vlogmas has been one of my favorites – I even rewatched it early November to get in the holiday spirit lol

    Safe travels home!

    Reply to Lauren
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Lauren!

      I really hope so! ๐Ÿ˜Š

      The food I bring usually doesn’t have to be refrigerated. But I think there are some TSA-friendly ice packs you can get online.

      AHHHHH that’s so sweet of you!!


      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Katie

    It looks like youโ€™re having so much fun, good for you girl! I am full-on In Christmas mode and having trouble between wanting to put up all the Christmas things and waiting until after thanksgiving. I always enjoy all of your travel guides, so of course we need one for the big islands! And YES! I am sooo ready for Vlogmas!! I enjoyed them so much last year and was even watching them in the summer. I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip. Are getting in the Christmas mood over there?

    Reply to Katie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Katie!

      Thanks so much ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

      I love that you’ve been watching my vlogmas!!! I’m in ZERO christmas mode here on the island because it’s soooo hard when it’s warm and sunny, but hopefully soon!!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post

Homemade Cinnamon Cranberry Granola (vegan & gluten-free)

Next post

Keeping my Skin Refreshed from the Inside and Out + Giveaway

Site Maintained by Victor Font Consulting Group, LLC.