Painting Doors, Pizza & Game Night, Trails + Memorial Day Brunch

Hello & happy Tuesday! I hope you all had an incredible week and Memorial day weekend. 🇺🇸 is finally starting to feel a bit more normal again with restrictions lifted, restaurants opening, and larger groups allowed to gather again (at least in my state.)This dose of normalcy feels good. I know it’s different all over the country, but wherever you are, I hope you’re doing well and staying safe! This was such a fun and productive week. We finished so many projects, spent some time with friends, did several landscaping projects. On top of all of that I attempted a Bootcamp workout, I feel like I got ran over by a bus today 😆 It’s a good day just to sit here and write a blog post, edit some videos, and (maybe) catch up on laundry. The good thing is that it’s raining again today, so I won’t be tempted to go outside. Sometimes I feel like a child living here. I just want to go out and walk the trails, cut flowers, or blow bubbles (for the dogs, of course, 😆)gardening, lifestyle blog, fort mill, sc, backyard, new home, home blog
Monday morning was the last day of dryness before a three-day rain streak. I knew I had to get a sod project done before the thunderstorms coming in the afternoon. I spent about four hours gathering five loads of mulch into the wheelbarrow, dumping it, and then replacing that area with sod. Now, my car is going to need a severe detailing job. I was covered in dirt, and my hands were so swollen from digging the mulch up with them, but it felt amazing to have it done and out of the way. Within twenty minutes of finishing, the storms kicked in. gardening, lifestyle blog, fort mill, sc, backyard, new home, home blog
For lunch, I made my favorite breakfast sandwich and matcha latte! The breakfast sandwich is toasted gluten-free bread with earth balance vegan butter, avocados, everything but the bagel seasoning, Applegate chicken & maple sausage, and fried egg on top! 😋 
Our neighbors had us over for dinner on Monday night! The food was outstanding 😋 We had butter chicken, garlicky green beans, rice, and corn! We are so excited that they’re finally moved in! 😊 
We spent the evening eating tons of candy and chatting. ♥️ gardening, lifestyle blog, fort mill, sc, backyard, new home, home blog
On Tuesday morning, I made a strawberry and pineapple protein shake! It had cashew milk, frozen strawberries, frozen pineapple, and Raw Fusion vanilla protein powder. It’s so good. 😋
gardening, lifestyle blog, fort mill, sc, backyard, new home, home blog
Kyle ordered the boy’s new rain jackets, and I cried for about twenty minutes laughing at how funny they looked. They were running around wrestling with them, and they looked like basketball coaches fighting it out 😂 Grumple’s face says it all. For dinner, I had a quick salad with sunflower seeds, artisan lettuce, honey mustard vinaigrette, tomatoes, avocados, onions, cranberries, crunchy pea crisps, and a fried egg on the side. 
We decided to treat ourselves and break out the ice cream maker for the first time this season! We made ice cream EVERY night last summer 😆 This was INCREDIBLE! I used one can of light coconut milk, 1/4 cup monk fruit granules, 1/2 cup cashew milk, 2 tsp vanilla, a pinch of sea salt, and 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter.
Wednesday was just a cleaning day around the house! I had a bowl of my protein oats, which I haven’t had in a while. It’s 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of water, one scoop of protein powder, blueberries, and peanut butter. I make the oats first, microwave the blueberries in for 15-seconds, then mix in the protein powder and peanut butter.  
For dinner, I had Zoes greek salad. It came with lettuce, grilled chicken, rice, potato salad, tomatoes, onions, and a vinaigrette.
The flowers have been loving all of the rain! 💜

I woke up SUPER early on Thursday morning to take Leo to get groomed. Grumples is getting groomed next week, but it was a bit of a drive since the groomer switched jobs. We LOVE her so much that we took our business to her new place! 😊 She gets them done in an hour, which is practically magic when it comes to matted Goldendoodles.

One thing people ask me a lot is how I keep my light furniture clean with dogs and their muddy backyard paws. Kyle bought these Mudbusters, and they are amazing. I demonstrated it in a new vlog (that hopefully will be up soon), but they have bristles in them, and you fill them with water, and it cleans their paws. Then I use the towel to dry them! I also like using them when bathing the dogs because they hate letting me spray down their feet.

For dinner, I had my leftover chili with gluten-free tortillas mixed in. I’ve been watching Sweet Magnolias this week, and it’s been a relaxing way to wake up and wind down. The show is so cheesy, but I love the aesthetic. 
Friday was dedicated to the door painting project. I have a lot of doors left to paint, but I started with the main ones! I am going to do a separate blog post on all the paint colors in the house once finished since I’ve gotten a ton of questions, and I thin it’s a good idea to have it all in one place. 
Pantry door first! 😍 
Kyle’s been working on building our coffee table. We found a restoration hardware coffee table that we loved, but won’t pay $$$$ for it! Kyle drew out the plans, and it’s looking SO GOOD! It should be finished in a couple of days. 
I took a painting break and had a salad outside while the dogs ran around. It was a hot one on Friday! 
I started on the backdoor and the french doors. I haven’t done the inside of the french doors yet because it took forever to tape them off 😂 Now that kyle is heading back to work this week, we’ll be able to start transforming that into the music room. We have the desk in there right now, but it’s getting the boot! I also started on the backdoor, but that’s going to take a few more coats since that red is so…RED
For dinner, we did the turkey meatloaf, a side salad, and fruit. 
On Saturday morning, I headed to a Bootcamp ran by a phenomenal trainer in our neighborhood. You all know I haven’t been doing Bootcamp classes or regular workouts for a while now, so it was tough! I’m so so so sore still, but I’m going to try my best to get back to it again.

After showering off, I made a matcha latte protein shake. It had a frozen banana, cashew milk, vanilla protein powder, matcha powder, marine collagen, and ice.

Kyle and I ran a few errands early afternoon, and then I spent the rest of the day “finishing” up the doors. They all needed a third coat and some touch-ups.

We had our next-door neighbors over for pizza and game night. Kyle downloaded jackbox games, and it’s seriously the best with a group of people! It’s so fun. We picked up pizza, wings, and salads from Carmellas (the best-hidden gem in Fort Mill, SC for pizza and wings!) I’m so excited because now they make gluten-free pizzas. We had such a blast.

I was up bright and early on Sunday morning with my coffee (paint still all over my nails 😆) and watched another episode of Sweet Magnolia! I relaxed a bit before a few girlfriends came over to hike the neighborhood trails and have brunch. My friend, Emily, just started a YouTube channel for her fitness videos. If you’re looking for some workouts, she has already posted so many, and you should subscribe!
We did three miles on the trails before making our way back to get cleaned off and have brunch. It’s still so crazy to think that these trails are steps away from the house. 
Becca came over, and a few of Kyles friends to play bags, have mimosas, and eat!
I made bacon, fresh fruit, french toast sticks, and a vegan sweet potato and sausage hash! 😋 I also have to show you this bowl I found at Hobby Lobby for chips and salsa! How stinkin’ cute.
Later Sunday evening, we headed to another barbeque. It’s safe to say I was TIRED by the end of the night. 😆 
Another morning with coffee and Sweet Magnolia! 💜 If you want to see more photos of our painted doors, head over to Cottage Story Instagram!

Kyle and I headed back out for more yard projects early morning. We transferred the gardenia trees to the other side of the house and planted the larger camellias trees in their place. It was hard work, but so happy it’s done with. Digging in clay is not fun at all. LIKE AT ALL. I also filled up the planters I bought at the Gibson Mill with potting soil and new plants! gardening, lifestyle blog, fort mill, sc, backyard, new home, home blog
We finally finished up the work around 3 pm.gardening, lifestyle blog, fort mill, sc, backyard, new home, home blog
This is why I haven’t posted many photos of myself lately 😆 80% of the month, I have looked like this. No makeup, covered in mud, mismatched clothes, frizzy hair, and the true definition of a mess. I thought about getting dressed up for an Instagram picture earlier that morning, but when I saw this photo, I was like “this is the happy me.” It’ll do! Getting makeup on and doing my hair is actually a chore for me, and I’m most happy when looking like a mess. So, get ready for more of “me.”

After finishing up in the yard, I showered off and then recorded a few food videos. I had scrambled eggs for dinner with leftover sweet potato hash. We started watching Defending Jabob before going to bed! ♥️

It was honestly one of the best weeks we’ve had in a long time! Tonight, we are heading to our neighbor’s house for burritos, and I can’t wait! xo

Questions for you!

  1. Have restrictions been lifted where you live?
  2. What was the last thing you painted?
  3. What is the #1 thing you’re looking forward to this summer?


  • Pita

    Cute door color!

    Reply to Pita
  • Tara S.

    Do you have the recipe for the vegan hash? It looks so good!

    Reply to Tara S.
  • Amber

    Do you know how that butter chicken was prepared!? It looks delicious!!

    Reply to Amber
  • Jenny


    You guys are doing such a great job working on your new home and your new friendships there. WAY TO GO! You look adorbs covered in mud with your pups outside in the sunshine. LOVE THOSE PHOTOS!

    Restrictions are lifting in phases here but we still limit going out to grocery stores, restaurant takeout and outdoor fun on our own. I did finally see my mom in person this week. I don’t know if our past normal will ever resume. The last thing we painted was the bathroom and it was so painful (took days to get all the little corners perfect and there are still some mistakes I see from time to time) I don’t know when we’ll get the courage to tackle another painting job. You are a very patient person to tape off and paint ALL THOSE DOORS!

    This summer… more reading and walking in the sunshine, more fruits and salads featured in our meals with grilled and air fried proteins, and hopefully settling into our new home more with a few little projects. It’s a little strange to still be doing the firsts in our new house- sometimes its fun but other times I miss things about seasonal changes/holidays etc at my old place so I’m trying to find the positives when I can and enjoy the positive aspects about change and transition even though that is a struggle at times. I think I need to setup some more positive rituals and happy spaces here to fully enjoy it.

    Hope you guys have a fabulous last weekend of May!


    Reply to Jenny
  • Maureen

    Hi Taralynn!

    Your house looks amazing, and I love that you share the process so everyone can see that your beautiful photos come from planning and effort. =) Here in MA we’re still leaving home only for essentials, but more businesses are opening up. Your painting projects are inspiring me to touch up a few of our interior walls that need attention after some electrical work my husband did. The last time I painted was 4 years ago when my husband bought our house!

    Your memorial day weekend post reminds me of all the hiking, reading, and home projects I want to do this summer. My husband and I have prioritized replacing part of our backyard fence, rebuilding a pergola for our grape vines, and rebuilding our front porch!

    Reply to Maureen
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Maureen!

      ♥️ Thank you!

      I bet your painting job looks great!

      I can’t wait to hear all about your projects this summer! Sounds beautiful!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Megan

    Hi Taralynn! Where is the Seas the day mug from? It’s adorable!!

    Reply to Megan
  • Kate

    Have restrictions been lifted where you live?

    Yes, to a degree (our state is doing ‘phases’), but we are still practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and limiting ourselves to one grocery trip per week. We are not gathering with others, and sadly that includes friends and family, all of whom I miss so much! We are not shopping, aside from going for necessities like groceries and home essentials. We recognize that if everyone just returns to their “pre-COVID” normal, there will be a huge uptick in cases. So we are doing our best to be careful and to protect those more vulnerable than us. We have returned to our offices a couple days a week but continue to work from home the other days.

    What was the last thing you painted?

    Oh man, our master bedroom! We did three very light gray walls and one super dark charcoal, which I absolutely LOVE! We still need to decide on decor for our bedroom, but I am loving the wall colors.

    What is the #1 thing you’re looking forward to this summer?

    We WERE looking forward to a big family trip to Italy and Greece in July, but like most everyone’s travel plans, the trip has been sacked until 2021. (BIG SAD!) So, now I think the things I’m looking forward to are getting our new privacy fence put in, finishing our patio expansion, and just overall turning our backyard into more of an oasis for us. Right now it’s just kind of “there,” and we’re ready for a fire pit and a pergola and patio drinks! We just bought our house at the end of last year so we are slowly working to make it ours. Our backyard faces the west and the only thing beyond our yard is a line of mature trees, so we get the most beautiful sunsets in the evening. I’m also looking forward to having company and to having my dad bring his big telescope over so that we can stargaze from our backyard.

    Be well!

    Reply to Kate
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Kate!

      Sounds like you’re making great choices! ♥️

      I bet your room is cozy and warm!

      Sorry to hear about your trip, but the good thing is that you get to look forward to it in 2021, which will come so soon!

      I bet that backyard is going to be so incredible when you’re done!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Miriam Green

    I am loving all of the gardening/landscaping inspiration! Thank you!
    I’m in the Nashville area and places are starting to open again. There are a lot of small businesses around me so I love seeing them be able to get back to work!
    I finished painting a new desk last week!
    We just moved here so I am excited to explore Nashville this summer!

    Reply to Miriam Green
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is great!

      What a crazy time to move, I’d be so ready to get out and explore Nashville if I were you! I’ll be asking you for all the Nashville tips when I visit!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ruth

    Hi, I’m in London and most things are still shut. Shops can open next month in a phased return. We can still only meet one person (outside of our household) at a time and I’m now longing for a family gathering. I’m also longing for a haircut but that’s still a few weeks away – salons can’t open before 4 July (my hairdresser has begun a waiting list – I’m on it but have no idea whereabouts on it I am!).

    I’ve enjoyed seeing how your new house is coming along – it looks amazing!

    What was the last thing I painted? I can’t remember!

    Reply to Ruth
  • Lynnann Rivers

    I just wanted ti say how much I love your name! Taralynn was a name my husband and I had on our ‘List’ of possible baby names! My sister’s name is Tara and Mine is Lynnann. We didnt end up using the name, but my sister named her oldest daughter Talynn….a different variation!

    Reply to Lynnann Rivers
  • Milena

    Hi Taralynn!

    I’m so happy that the restrictions have been lifted in Charlotte and you could meet your friends and neighbors!
    In Barcelona everything is coming back to normal as well, this week some bars and restaurants opened and we are also allowed to move all over the city. On Monday my boyfriend and I went to the beach and visited some of our favorite spots. I was close to the tears! <3

    The first thing I am looking forward to this summer is to go to Costa Brava and also visit my family in Poland! But I'm not sure when we will be able to travel outside the city, so if that won't be possible soon, I will be happy simply enjoying the small things, going to my favorite coffee shops and seeing my friends 🙂

    i've been reading you for so many years and it's amazing how much you grew since then, Everything you've been through, all the places you lived in! I'm very happy for you and this new chapter – engagement and the house! I also love the fact that you are so natural and you never pretend to be someone else or to take perfect pictures for Instagram. Many bloggers stopped blogging and just focused on social media and perfect content and you didn't. So thank you for this! For being you 🙂

    Have a nice rest of the week <3

    Reply to Milena
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Milena!

      So happy to hear things are getting back to normal in Barcelona! 💜 I bet it felt so good to get out and about!

      That sounds like an incredible summer trip! wow! Take tons of photos!!

      Thank you so much for that! Those words mean everything to me!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Madeline

    Have restrictions been lifted where you live? Yes, for the most part, but I think social gatherings are still limited.

    What was the last thing you painted? A table for our front entryway

    What is the #1 thing you’re looking forward to this summer? Sunshine and POOL TIME!

    Reply to Madeline
  • Katie

    I adore you to pieces. Have you been to planning your wedding?

    Reply to Katie
  • Olivia

    Hi Taralynn! I’m really enjoying your recaps and all of your home updates – your gardening photos are definitely inspiring me to get into the garden this weekend!

    I’ve been a long term reader of your blog since 2012. I live in New Zealand and we’ve been very lucky that our numbers of cases have stayed relatively low (only 1-2 new cases per week now!) so we’ve been able to slowly reopen things safely, and now there’s a lot fewer restrictions in place which is great.

    The last thing I painted was the guttering on my house!

    We’re heading into winter down here but I’m looking forward to seeing my daffodils bloom in the spring 😀

    Reply to Olivia
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Seems like you had a great Memorial Day! ❤️✨ It’s not a holiday here in Hong Kong but I’ve been enjoying the great weather all the same – no quarantine here haha, we haven’t had new cases for weeks! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Shelby

    I can’t explain how much I look forward to your posts! Your blog brightens up my day, and although I know this sounds weird, you make me want to get my life together and be better! Have a great week <3

    Reply to Shelby
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Shelby!

      Thank you! Sometimes, I don’t have to motivation to blog or sometimes feel like “who really cares?” and then comments like this remind me! Thank you! 💜

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Nicci

    Sounds like a really fun week and I’m happy that things are getting back to normal for you. The house is looking fab and I love seeing how you’re making it your own 😊

    In the UK restrictions are slowly being lifted, but most stores aren’t re-opening until mid next month and we still can’t meet up with more than 1 person from outside our household, or go visit people at their home. On the plus side, it’s perfect for getting home projects done!

    The last thing I painted was the entry in my brother’s house a few months back. I like painting walls, but doors and trim aren’t my favourite. Your doors are looking great and I love the contrast with the walls.

    This summer we’re finally getting our garden fenced in and a patio laid, so I’m looking forward to actually being able to use the outside space and have a BBQ or two 😊

    Hope you have a great week x

    Reply to Nicci
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Nicci!

      Thanks so much 😃

      You’re so right about getting those home projects done! I think it’s pushed everyone to start lol

      Wow, I bet that the farmhouse looks so good!

      Awwww how exciting! Nothing better than backyard bbqs out there!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Holly

    I love the picture of you covered in dirt! It’s the real “you!” Just shows how much hard work you’re doing, and it looks like you’re enjoying it too! Nothing like some good hard work and that feeling of satisfaction.

    Things are slowly starting to open back up here in Shelton, Washington. We’re in phase 2 of a 3 phase plan, so we’re almost there! Glad to see things are pretty much normal where you are. Have a great week!

    Reply to Holly
  • Chassidy

    Your matcha latte looks so good ! I’ve never tried one before but want to ! How do you make them ?

    Reply to Chassidy
  • Diane

    I just love reading your blog! I was amazed that you have been doing this for 10 years and I believe I have followed you from the beginning! I am so excited to follow you through this new and wonderful chapter in your life. Best of luck to you!

    Reply to Diane
  • Emily

    Hi Taralynn! I hope you never stop blogging! 😀 Reading your recap blogs are one of the things I most look forward to when I’m on my computer! Your posts are just so vibrant and interesting! I’ve been a long-time reader (8+ years) and I almost feel like we’re friends, haha! I would feel like there was something missing if I couldn’t visit your blog! 🙂 Hope you have a great day!

    Reply to Emily
  • Breeanna

    I’m in Chicago and it’s still pretty restricted. I haven’t set foot in a store since March 14. According to our city statistics, we’ve done a good job of flattening the curve, but there was still a significant number of cases and they’re still coming in. .

    My husband and I have gone on drives through the woods while listening to music since we first started dating five years ago. It’s like, “our thing.” For our anniversary, I painted the scene as you would see it from inside the car–the road, the trees on either side, and the night sky up ahead.

    Your weekend looks like so much fun! My friends and I have been playing Jackbox on Zoom and it’s super-fun! There’s something that’s so exciting about hosting get-togethers, and I bet it’s even more fun with a new house!

    I just want to be outside! I have no idea what the summer will look like for us in Chicago. But if it’s possible to have some kind of normalcy, then I would say bringing my dog to the Montrose dog beach. And oh my goodness, I can’t with those dog raincoats! 😀

    Reply to Breeanna
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Breeanna!

      Hopefully things get better there soon!

      I think that’s so cute of you and your husband. I bet the painting was gorgeous!!!

      Yes, it’s so much better! The other spot wasn’t ideal for get-togethers! So much more fun with a backyard!

      I’m sure those days will come soon!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Zoey Moss

    Where are those plants from on the sides of your fireplace?! They are SO cute!!! Obsessed with your home ❤️

    Reply to Zoey Moss
  • Kelsey W.

    Hi Taralynn! The house looks great and I am so happy you have awesome neighbors 🙂 I live in Maryland and we are in Phase 1 of a 3-phase recovery plan, so things are slowly starting to reopen but we still have to wear masks in stores/buildings and at farmers markets. The last thing I painted was an old photo frame with chalk spray paint and then I distressed it for a farmhouse feel. I’m looking forward to spending more time with friends and family this summer now that things are settling down! I hope you have a great week 🙂 xoxo Kelsey

    Reply to Kelsey W.
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Kelsey!

      ♥️ Glad things are starting to get a little normal there!

      & your plans sound amazing! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Jessie blucker

        I live in Ohio things are slowly getting back to “normal” .

        I am planning to repainting our mailbox and you have got me wanting to paint my front door so I think that is in my future as well .

        I am just looking forward to my smokey mountain trip next month for my 40th / 100 lb loss celebration .

        Reply to Jessie blucker

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