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A Southern November and All The Cozy Vibes – Simply Taralynn

A Southern November and All The Cozy Vibes – Simply Taralynn

Good morning, everyone. I feel like every time I sit down to write; it’s cold and rainy outside. I guess it’s a blessing in disguise. Before I begin today’s blog post, I want to shout out to all who have served, currently serving, and who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom and keep us safe. Thank you and happy Veterans Day. I know California has been through a lot the past week, so my heart goes out to them! So devastating and my prayers are with you. ❤️
I feel like it’s been a minute since I’ve had a real recap post up on the blog. I debated on posting another Disney travel blog + video today, but I know a lot of you guys enjoy the recaps, so I pushed that to later this week. I love recaps because I get to check in, keep it real, and show you guys what I’ve been up to lately. I always feel like I’m chatting with friends and I never want to steer away from them as I continue to blog. I always promised myself to stick to what I enjoy and never fall under the pressure of too many polished posts.

I was up bright and early on Monday morning. I wanted to get a few things done on the blog before heading to the airport to fly home. Around noon, I went down to grab another a cappuccino, some overnight oats to go, and then headed to the airport. I started to read on my flight, but could not focus on anything. I ended up listening to music and staring out the window for an hour and a half. 
When I left the airport, I stopped at Chopt to pick up some salads and wraps for my family. Kyle was out of town on Monday, so my parent’s watched the boys for us. They stopped by to bring them over, and we hung out chatting about the trip and enjoying our delicious food. I love getting Chopt salads because I can eat them for a couple of days. They are always so big!

After dinner, I unpacked and then got ready for bed. I couldn’t wait to fall asleep with the pups! I love traveling, but there’s nothing like your own bed. 
I spent all day on Tuesday editing the travel video and Disney blog! I still have part 2 and 3 to work on, but I’ll finish those later today. I snacked on random things all day and ate leftovers for dinner. I joined Kyle at the gym on Tuesday evening and did some sprint work. My sprints are usually 8.5 speed, jogs at 6.0, and my walks at 3.5 with a 5.2 incline. The jogs and sprints aren’t inclined at all.
After walking the dogs on Wednesday morning, I decided to pull my Chemex out and make some coffee. I hadn’t used it in a while, and it makes the best coffee. I had an early phone call, so I sat on the porch enjoying my coffee.
After my call, I had another cup of coffee and made some oatmeal for breakfast. I always mix in a scoop of protein powder for a protein source. I ended up adding cinnamon and raisins as well. I always use the Happy Rolled Oats. 
I finally made it to the grocery store later in the afternoon. I picked up ingredients to make salads, chili, and some of my favorite snacks.

I headed to the gym with Kyle on Wednesday evening. I did a three-mile walk on the treadmill but kept it slow because I was sore from the sprints I did on Tuesday.
I thought I’d get extra festive after blogging about the Magic Kingdom, so I made my funfetti pancakes into Micky Mouses. They were a bit of a disaster, but still tasty. I used the Birch Blender paleo pancake mix with water, sprinkles, and my protein powder. I love the “fit” Garden of Life because it has 28g of protein per serving. This is a great recovery meal after the gym!
On Thursday, I did some recipes for the blog (coming soon) and made a batch of chili to eat for the weekend. This is my favorite go-to chili recipe! I’ve had it twice a day for the past four days, and I can’t wait to have it again for dinner. It’s healthy, gluten free, dairy free, and can be made in 30-minutes. You can also make it vegan by leaving out the turkey.
I did a very exciting thing on Friday. I finally bought a new sectional, and I’m so excited for it to get here. I do love “big grey,” but it’s time for it to go. I have a charity group picking it up soon. My new couch is on backorder until December 5th, and I’m counting down the days until it arrives. I’ve wanted a new couch for a year now, and I finally found one that will work. I was looking for a specific style, size, material, color, and found it. That means I’m going to have to change a few things in my living room. I’m thinking the gold mirror, and gold lamps may have to get a makeover…we’ll see!

Once it gets here, I’ll do a big reveal! (probably during Vlogmas!)

After furniture shopping, I had lunch with my parent’s at Hickory Tavern. I ordered a spring mix salad with egg, grilled chicken, walnuts, cranberries, and avocado. I also celebrated my couch purchase with a glass of wine. Is that weird? lol
When I got home, I brought the pups two new toys. They get so excited for toys, and they end up ripping them apart and playing in the stuffing. It’s the weirdest thing, but it makes them happy. These poor little piggies ? I always buy them stuffed animals that are eco-friendly made with all natural materials just in case they eat some of the pieces (which they do.) 
Kyle and I met my parent’s out at the Garden Cafe, one of our favorite places to have dinner. We wanted to treat them to a little Veterans dinner to show them our appreciation. Plus, it was their 32 year anniversary! I’ve blogged about the Garden Cafe several times, but it’s truly a magical place that I love going to. I love the cozy lights, the southern feel, the delicious food, and everything about it. I also love how festive they get around the holidays. If you’re ever in the Charlotte area, you must make the drive out to this place. It’s about 35-minutes from the city, but so worth it! Just make sure to make a reservation. 
I ordered the seared salmon with green beans and rice pilaf. As always, everything tasted perfect. It was such a fun night with them! 

Saturday mornings are for tennis! ? I was excited to get back out and play. Not going to lie, it was freezing. My hands were so frozen, but after a few games I finally warmed up. 
This photo cracked me up. But no way I’m going to let any ball get behind me haha! 
When I got home, I warmed up with one of my favorite drinks right now! I’m a huge fan of the peppermint mocha latte at Starbucks, but I’ve found a way to enjoy it at home. This version is a bit lighter, a whole lot cheaper, and it tastes the same! I froth my oat milk, add two shots of espresso, and three tablespoons of the Califia Farms Dairy-Free Mint Cocoa almond creamer. I’ve actually frothed the creamer with the oat milk several times, which works fine as well. I can’t get enough of this drink! Speaking of my favorite holiday Starbucks drinks, I want to make some healthier versions for Vlogmas!
For lunch, I heated my favorite chili and topped it with Kite-Hill Chive cream “cheese” and Simple Mills Multi-Grain crackers. Ohhhhhhh the deliciousness! 
After lunch, Kyle and I took Grumples for a long walk and then took Leo to Lucky Dog Brewery. He does so well with other dogs, so we wanted to socialize him a bit. I had a strawberry Lenny Boy kombucha while Leo played. I want to take him here more to get him more “social.” He hid behind my legs a lot even though you could tell he wanted to play. He would start to run around with a dog and then come right back seconds later. We’ll work on it ? 
Later in the evening, I had a bowl of strawberries and blueberries topped with my favorite protein fruit dip. The fruit dip is coconut milk yogurt mixed with protein powder and drizzled with honey. This is a delicious combo and perfect for late night snacking. I was still full from my chili, so it was a nice light dinner. 
I could not get warm and had a headache, so I decided to take a hot bubble bath, and it seemed to do the trick. I love to do a mint face mask while I’m in the bath to open up sinus to help with seasonal headaches. 
After my bath, I popped some popcorn and watched Julia Robert’s new show, Homecoming. It’s a good show, but I don’t LOVE it. When I posted it on Instagram, I had a lot of people tell me how much they loved it and how many peopled didn’t care for it. Kyle thought it was decent; my mom was in love with it, so I think it’s one of those shows that you’ll have to judge for yourself! 
I was really excited for Sunday because Becca and I scheduled out the whole day to hang out. It’s so hard now that we live almost an hour away from each other. We had breakfast at Le Peep in the Arboretum. I ordered an egg white omelet with spinach, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. I also had a gluten-free waffle and fresh fruit on the side.

After breakfast, we did some serious thrift shopping. I can’t wait to show you what I found! I also picked up some fun crafts for Christmas at Michaels ? Seriously, when can I decorate? haha!  
After spending hours walking around shops, we stopped at Starbucks for some delicious treats. I ordered a skinny mocha cappuccino with an extra shot of espresso. I usually add peppermint, but I’m going to stick to my homemade peppermint mocha lattes for now! Becca and I were talking about how every time we hang out, it’s either freezing or extremely hot. But to be honest, I’m happy it’s finally sweater weather! I know I’ll be changing my mind by the end of January. 
Fall in the Carolinas! ? 
I left Becca’s around 4 pm and headed back to my house. When I got home, the house was spotless! Kyle went on a power cleaning spree, so I think I’m going to leave more often. He did the same when I came home from Disney. I think I’m getting the hint ? 
I ended my Sunday night with a big bowl of chili by the fireplace. I watched some shows, and then got started on this recap post! Oh, it feels good to be back in the swing of things! ❤️  I hope you all have a fantastic week.

Questions for you!

  1. When do you put up your Christmas (holiday) decorations?
  2. Have any of your family members served? are serving? (Happy Veteran’s day to them!)
  3. What’s your favorite holiday drink?