Blueprint Cleanse Review

A little history on why I decided to do a cleanse, and how I ended up with Blueprint:

In no way shape or form was I doing this to lose weight. If that happened, wonderful, but honestly I did this to challenge myself and detox my body for a few days. I knew 3 days would be too much for me, so when a friend accidentally ordered a 3-day Blueprint Cleanse from Gilt, I offered to buy 2 days off of her. Worked perfectly!

I started out doing a detailed recap for each day, but it basically became a repetitive list of how hungry I was for 48 hours. I thought you would all appreciate this general overview, instead :)

{Day One}

I woke up excited and ready to start this little challenge o'mine. I had planned two things in advance: that I would be able to drink 1/2 a cup of coffee each morning (there was no way I was going to have a headache for two whole days), and a rough schedule of when I would have each drink. 7:30/9:30/12:30/2:30/5:30/7:00. I know my body, and know that I'm hungriest late morning/early afternoon, so I intentionally kept those drinks 2 hours apart.

I had my coffee, mixed with some of Drink #6 in it, instead of half-and-half. After I was finished, I started with drink #1 (Green Juice)... it was decent, but pretty acidic, and left me with a parsley taste that I didn't particularly care for. Drink #2 (PAM) was much better, and helped me over my mid-morning hunger pains. Drink #3 is the same as Drink #1 (Green Juice), and was definitely easier to drink at 12:30. I was still pretty hungry though, and definitely felt the urge to munch on something (as the cleanse warns you ahead of time).

My day got very busy, and I almost forgot that I had another juice at 2:30, and ran to grab it before my meeting started. Drink #4 is a spicy lemonade, and was my favorite thus far. Again, a little acidic for an empty stomach, but was still pretty tasty. On the train ride home I drank #5 (Berries), which was slightly thick and tasted like a smoothie. Once I got home and it was time to feed A, I started to feel a little weak and tired. I'm never tired at 6:30 so I knew it was from not eating, and decided to have a banana with Drink #6. Drink #6 is the heaviest of them all - a mix of coconut and agave nectar. Everyone said this one was the best, but honestly, it was a little heavy and too creamy for me. But that drink and the banana tied me over until the next morning.

All day I drank as much water as I could, mainly to distract myself from feeling hungry.

{Day Two}

I woke up feeling much much better than I did when I went to bed. I felt energized and totally capable and going all day without eating. I also felt much less bloated and considerably thinner, which is to be expected. Had my 1/2 cup of coffee and Drink #1 without a problem. I stuck to my schedule today and had drinks #2 and #3 right on time. We had our first "Summer Friday" at work, so I got a little thrown off with having drink #4. Once I made it home I immediately had drink #4, which seemed to really upset my stomach. I think because I waited too long between drinks (over 3 hours) and Drink #4 happens to be especially acidic. I decided to cheat a bit and have a mini corn muffin, just to get something starchy in my stomach and not feel so sick, and immediately felt better.

By this time I pretty much knew I was going eat dinner. I saw no reason not to eat, and it was Friday, and I also wanted to relax on the couch with my hubby and a glass of wine while we watched a movie. I had drink #5 on time, and then for dinner had 1 egg scrambled with mozzarella cheese on a whole wheat wrap. After that I was totally full and couldn't even manage to have drink #6 or a glass of wine, so just continued with water for the rest of the night. I still felt pretty good despite eating, and noticed when I put on my favorite pajama pants that I had to roll them over once to stay up.

{Day Three}

While Friday was the officially "end" of my cleanse, the day after is meant to be a reintroduction day to food. You are supposed to take it easy, and try to stick to raw fruits and veggies. In the morning I had my coffee with some of Drink #6 that I didn't have the night before, and my regular smoothie that I split with A in the mornings. I felt fine, and pretty much assumed that the whole reintroduction thing was more for people who did a 5-day fast, and that I'd be fine doing whatever the rest of the day.

For lunch I had a tortilla with grilled chicken, avocado and cheese, and felt fine. I tried to have a beer, but felt really really full and could only have half of it. Then we were off to the circus, and of course, had to split a funnel cake with A. And by "split" I mean he had 4 bites and I ate the rest. I had been craving a cheeseburger for two whole days, and we decided to go out to dinner. I ordered a beer with dinner, but could only managed a few sips and half my burger. Again, I thought maybe it was my stomach just adjusting to the food.

By 9:00 that night I felt SO ill. I actually thought I had food poisoning. I went to bed early and managed to sleep all night but ended up getting sick by 5:00 in the morning. Since C and I both had burgers, I figured it wasn't my meal, and after doing a little research figured out that it was my stomach not adjusting properly after the cleanse. They aren't kidding when they say your body needs a reintroduction period! Too many fatty foods the next day means your body feels the need to clean out, and so, that's just what it did!

All in all, I was pretty happy with the cleanse. I would do it again, but probably during a time when C had to travel for business. It is much easier to stick to not eating solid food when I'm the only adult in the house! The last few days I have felt pretty good; I don't think I lost any weight, but that wasn't really my intention to begin with. I'm definitely more aware of food in general, and what I'm choosing to eat everyday. I've also realized that Pinterest is a bad, bad place when you are trying to juice. Just sayin'.

Oh, and not that you would think otherwise, but Blueprint has no idea who I am... this was purchased by me and I all opinions are my own.


A Lil' Weekend Recap

If there has ever been a perfect weekend, this was it. 
Here's a not-so-little recap of our busy busy weekend, via phone pictures, of course!

Friday was the last day of my Blueprint Cleanse, and I was craving a cheeseburger in a major way {stay tuned for a review this week}

Both my office and C's office closed early, so on Friday night we curled up at home as it poured outside, and watched Dumbo with our favorite little man.


Saturday morning we were up bright and early, off to Home Depot and the grocery store, as a family. Usually we run these errands separately, so it was such a nice treat to have C with me (so he could wrangle A while I shopped!).

During nap time, I tackled the playroom and finally cleared out some toys that A has outgrown. Now there's actually space to play. I'll be sharing some progress on the playroom soon!

That afternoon, we were off to the circus! It was so much fun - really, even as an adult - it was fun! I'm still amazed at some of the tricks the magicians perform, and A was in AWE of the animals, the clowns, and especially the canon at the end! Oh, and I rode an elephant. I don't even really know what to say, other than I was certain we would die. The whole time I kept envisioning the elephant tripping on something, and those teeny tiny chains not doing a thing to save us. Thankfully A didn't care that his momma was having a panic attack, and smiled and waved for the camera the whole time!

Saturday night we went out to dinner, but I didn't snap a picture since I spent the entire meal asking A to sit down and eat. This is why we "brunch" and "lunch" with a toddler, and never do dinner. Lesson learned.


Sunday morning was another chilly start, so we were able to be really lazy until nap time. While A was asleep, I made this to bring to our friends' BBQ. I was pretty darn impressed with myself, considering I never, ever, make anything (let alone from scratch!)

Sunday afternoon we were off to visit with friends who have the cutest little girl ever. A happens to think she's pretty cool, and these two had so much fun together!

I tried to convince my little guy to take a picture with me - and this is how that ended. Story of my life.

 A fell asleep on the ride home and actually stayed asleep when I put him in his bed. That might be a first.


Monday morning, C was the best husband EVER and let me sleep in until 9:30. I don't know what was wrong with me but at 7 I couldn't even open my eyes I was so exhausted. I don't think I've slept until 9:30 in over 3 years, so to say that was a treat would be an understatement. Thanks babe!

The rest of Monday was full of fun outside, with this crazy monkey. He cracks me up.

 Hope each and every one of you had a glorious Memorial Day Weekend!


Five on Friday

Since my sweet friend Darci has decided to make her Friday Five a fun little link-up party, this is a regular feature you'll be seeing around here. Five things I'm loving, doing, reading, thinking, pinning, shopping or praying for!

My new Baggu bags. Super cute, super affordable, and super-green. I even brought my lunch to work (which is an accomplishment in of itself) but to bring it in a reusable bag is big for even this green-loving-momma. The big tote was $15 and is the perfect size for all my weekly essentials while commuting to-and-from work... and the navy polka dots are perfect for summer, and for hiding any rogue fingerprints from a certain dirty toddler. Ahem.

My feature on Project Nursery! I may have gasped when I got the email that A's Little Blue Truck party was selected as a finalist in the May Parties competition. If you haven't voted already, here's the link. And if you have, and kind of hate me for talking about this again, I love you and I'm sorry, and I pinkie-swear I'm done talking about it. For reals.

I made it through Nursery School Orientation! And... this kid did awesome! SO incredibly proud of him! He was totally fine being away from me and C while we listened to the orientation. We could see him across the room, and he just smiled and waved, worked on his craft, had a snack and played with the other little kiddos. He didn't want to leave when it was over, and it literally made my heart swell with joy that he felt comfortable there. I now know 100% we made the right decision.

Praying, praying praying for the victims and families from Moore, Oklahoma. I read a few bloggers who either live in OK, grew up there or have family there, and I know how heart wrenching a tragedy like this is, when it hits close to home. It's so easy to feel removed, to feel like that's "so far away", but for these ladies, this is way too close to their hearts. Praying for all those sweet babies and their families, and all the rescue workers who have seen things they will never be able to erase from their minds.

SO excited for this weekend. We are bringing A to the C-I-R-C-U-S! I have my own, personal reservations about the Circus and its treatment of animals, which I won't go into here. BUT, I cannot deny the joy of a circus to my two-year-old son. I'm literally giddy thinking about the look on his face when he sees the elephants walk across the ring. Many many pictures will be taken.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend! 

Linking up with Darci for 5 on Friday!


Bella Carta Intro + Updates

It's been almost 9 months since I launched Bella Carta on Etsy, and to call it a whirlwind would be a huge understatement. I wouldn't change the last 9 months for anything, because all those growing pains were absolutely necessary to help me better understand my business, my customers, and what my goals were for the future.

For those of you who are new here, Bella Carta Boutique officially began with my own wedding, almost 4 years ago. Before that, I had designed a handful of wedding invitations and baby announcements on the side, but dreaming up and executing my own wedding brought out a joy in me I didn't know existed. I poured through magazines for inspiration, tearing out pages for my wedding binder (oh what I would have given for Pinterest back then!), trying to craft each and every element perfectly. I was elated to see it all come together on our wedding day, and knew I didn't want the journey to and there.

I officially launched our business in early 2010, without a website, and back then almost all of my orders came through word of mouth and from family and friends. Last summer, after many many months of procrastination, I had a "now or never" moment, and worked night and day for months to be ready for an August launch. You can see that post here.

So much has changed since that very-late night in August, and all for the better.

I'll be candid and say that launching on Etsy, two months before the holiday-card-madness began, was overwhelming. I wasn't prepared for the amount of orders I would get consecutively, and unfortunately, learned the hard way about doing too much, too fast. Combined with a unreliable printer, it was pretty much a recipe for disaster. None of my clients would ever know what happened behind the scenes: my husband and I spent a lot of late nights fixing problems, packing up orders and designing the next batch of cards. Everyone I heard back from was thrilled with the final result, so when the quiet of January rolled around, I knew I had to implement some changes, quickly.

Orders on Etsy, and privately, have been consistent since our launch, and I feel much more comfortable with the every-day operations. It is still a struggle some days to find time to do it all... be a mom and a wife, work full-time and on Bella Carta, write this blog, find time for myself... find time to sleep... but the overwhelming feeling of pride and accomplishment I feel when I complete and order and a customer is elated, is beyond words. It keeps me going, and pushes me to work harder and dream bigger than I ever have before.

While I can't share all the details, there is a lot of exciting stuff happening for our business right now. A new website is in the works, a partnership that I'm thrilled about, and an entire re-branding strategy that makes my heart happy every time I look at it.

So while I continue to work behind the scenes, I thought I'd share a soon-to-be listing, and my experiment in photographing our projects for listings. I'd love to know what you think!

Really & truly, I am always open to feedback on Etsy, whether you are a customer or not. Are there specific designs or products you would like to see? Are the listings clear & concise? Would you be more drawn to the shop if we listed digital-pricing, only?

You can visit Bella Carta's Etsy Shop here ....
... and see some other posts (and a super sweet feature!) here, here and here!

Thank you friends, for your constant support & enthusiasm about my business. As Emily said to me this week: it's amazing how God puts certain people in your life at just the right time. That is exactly what this crazy blog community has done for me, and I'm so so grateful for all you!

Linking up with Kelly for SUYL!


Last Time, I Promise!

A's Little Blue Truck Party has made it to the top 6 May finalists for "Party of the Month" at Project Nursery!

I'd love if you would head over there one last time to vote... 
follow this link...
and then scroll all the way down to the end of the post where you can choose the party to vote for.
A very big thank you to all of you who have already voted!! :)


Kitchen Updates + A Happy Place

I'm writing this from my happy place: sitting on the couch after the boys have gone to bed, with a big cup of tea and almost all the lights off. My puppy is snoring next to me, I'm sneering at the annoying couple on House Hunters, and if my computer wasn't about to burn a hole in my thighs, this would be a perfect end to the weekend.

Have a I mentioned I need a new computer?

The weather has not been cooperating for me to take pictures of the newly-painted kitchen door. But I'm sharing them anyway.

As a reminder, here was the kitchen after we repainted:

And in this post, I shared some of the color options for the door. I went with Paris Grey, mainly because I was chicken to paint the door a dark color, aaannnd because I was being lazy and already had it on hand. But, it wasn't the right color for the room. 

So during naptime on Mother's Day, I got a sudden rush of bravery and decided ASCP Graphite was the way to go. I love how it turned out (and C even likes it, too!). These pictures don't do justice as to how it changed the room.

Gah! I can't stand how terrible the wall color looks in this picture! Oh well, hopefully you can get an idea of the new color. If we have some sunshine this weekend I'll get some better pictures.

And now I'm keeping an eye out for a fun, colorful doormat and new kitchen rug.
Here are a few I'm considering:

from here

from here

from here
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!


Friday Faves

Completely, 100% stealing this idea from some of my favorite bloggers, but Friday seems like a good day to share some things I'm loving lately.

• A new laptop is in my very near future... if I can finally make up my mind about the freakin' size! You would think this decision would be simple... but for me? Torture. So instead of actually buying a laptop, I've been looking for fun laptop bags & sleeves. Here's my favorite so far:

from here

• Love this DIY project from Bower Power Blog. A giant letter "A" will most definitely be making an appearance in my little guy's big boy room! Katie makes it seem so easy, and come on - how adorable does Weston look in this picture?!

• We're seriously considering a new rug for our living room. I'll spare you the gory details, but with a dog who has the world's most sensitive stomach, I'm pretty certain we need an indoor/outdoor rug. I had just about given up on finding an affordable 8x11, until I saw this post from Thistlewood farms. Oh, and she may have convinced me our stairs need a runner, too!

• Do I need to say anything about this picture? For some reason I feel compelled to make these this weekend. Maybe a little welcome-home surprise for C?

• These boys. My favorite hubby comes home tomorrow after a week away, and I'm so excited! I can't wait to see the look on A's face when he pulls down the driveway. All week he's been telling me daddy's on a plane, and says hi to him each time one flies overhead :)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Olive & Cocoa

A random catalog showed up in the mail last week: Olive & Cocoa. I almost tossed it in recycling, and I'm so glad I didn't. I always love finding a new place to shop for gifts, and this store certainly didn't disappoint.

Here are some of my favorites!

Hope you all are having a great week!