The Impact of the DIY Blueprint Cleanse

I’ve been getting a ton of questions about the impact of the DIY Blueprint Cleanse I did over two years ago so I thought I’d follow up.

In case you haven’t read my previous posts about this, basically, I struggled with irregular menstrual periods for many years but never questioned it because I was young and had no plans on becoming pregnant any time soon. However, after ST and I were married, I diagnosed myself with PCOS based on research I’d come by on the Internet. My gynecologist listened to my concerns and referred me to do blood work that eventually confirmed my suspicions. Not only that, I was also diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Yay.

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In the summer of 2012, I decided to do something drastic. I wanted to make a lifestyle change that would help me lose weight and manage my PCOS. I did the cleanse in June and went carb-free and then low carb after that. By September, I was down over ten pounds and normal periods had resumed without any help from medication. I felt amazing and my body hadn’t been that lean since… ever, I think. And by April 2013, we found out I was 6 weeks pregnant.

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Baby Taco was a little carb eating machine in utero so I was concerned about my blood sugar when it came time to test for gestational diabetes. Well, not only did I pass that test with flying colors, my midwife also told me that I was no longer even considered pre-diabetic.

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In short, being carb-free for several months changed my life. I truly believe its responsible for putting my health back on track and giving us our baby girl. And it all started with the Blueprint cleanse. Prior to that, I’d tried going carb-free but it was nearly impossible. Doing the cleanse made me stop everything cold turkey and, in a way, recalibrate my system. If you’re thinking about trying the cleanse out and going the DIY route like I did, DO IT!

Baby Taco’s First Birthday Party

I’ve been trying to finish this post for two weeks! Every time I sat down to write it, I had to get up again. I have no idea how parents manage to blog! I can barely keep up because we are now parents of a ONE YEAR OLD! I can’t believe it’s been one year since we met and fell in love with Baby Taco.

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She really is the best: funny, silly, sweet, compassionate, and loving. ST and I are so in love with our girl. :-)

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I started planning Baby Taco’s first birthday very early on. Parenting was a tough gig from the get-go and I knew we would need ample time to prep. We wanted to do something kid-friendly and fun in Brooklyn. After a lot of researching, we booked Twinkle Playspace. This place is pure joy for kids! It’s an amazing venue run by amazing people. Read my Yelp review here.

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Inspired by a pink, purple, and blue theme, I created an invitation using Photoshop and inexpensive clip art from Etsy. The fonts are free: KG Eyes Wide Open and DJB Coffee Shop Espresso.

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Once we nailed down the venue and the theme, everything else came together.

Decor and favors. Oriental Trading, Amazon, and the Dollar Store were my main sources of supplies for decor and favors. We went to a local party store and ordered balloons that spelled out Baby Taco’s name and two other bunches. I made a banner using Photoshop and Kim printed it and strung it. The upside of paying for an awesome venue is that it needs little decor.

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Table runners were just pieces of glittery silver tulle. The Instragam prints were reused from her 100 day celebration.

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Grub. My uncle owns a restaurant that dishes up the best Chinese take out in NYC so they provided a large spread of food for adults and kiddos. I bought sodas, juice boxes, and water from my local BJs and Mel bought stuff for a hot cocoa bar from Whole Foods. I ordered her fabulous cake from La Gran Via, a bakery in Sunset Park. ST and I are not so good at taking pictures, but you can kind of see the spread and banner in the background.

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This kid loves cake!

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Schedule. We didn’t have one! The lovely ladies at Twinkle helped guide us by reminding me of the time, asking when we should start eating, cut the cake, making announcements. It was mostly a free-for-all for the kids while the adults played with them and chatted. It really seemed like Baby Taco knew it was her party and she was all smiles and giggles the whole time! That made all the blood, sweat, and tears we put into it worth it.

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baby taco first birthday party6There are buttons in the space station exhibit that release bubbles when pressed! What a cool detail!

baby taco first birthday party3My mom’s expression in this picture is priceless.

Happy birthday, sweet girl. Everyday, you teach us how to be the best version of ourselves. You are the absolute best and we love you to the moon and back.

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The Beginning of Family Traditions

From the time Baby Taco was born, I’ve been on a mission to start holiday traditions for her to look forward to each year. We’ve already taken Baby Taco apple picking at the start of the Fall. We drove out to Pennings Orchard one weekend and had a blast!

pennings orchard ny apple pickingBaby Taco and her little friend checking out apples.

pennings orchard ny apple picking2 pennings orchard ny apple picking3ST realized his love for Jona Gold apples on this trip. We’ve never even seen this type of apple in stores!

Pennings Orchard also had a small farm where children could feed the chickens and goats. Super cute.pennings orchard ny apple picking4 pennings orchard ny apple picking5

Baby Taco was too young to interact with the animals, but she liked seeing the apple trees and coincidentally, apples are currently her favorite food! We went about a month ago and have just finished our huge sack of apples. Kim made apple sauce in the crock pot and it was the best I’d ever had! We want to go one more time just for the apples – they’re crisp and deliciously sweet.

We were planning on pumpkin picking too, but the crappy weather  put a damper on those plans.

Anyway, this year, we’re headed to El Paso to spend Thanksgiving with ST’s family. So I’m already researching and planning Christmas traditions. :-)

One thing in particular that I’ve been excited to make for Baby Taco is an Advent calendar. Growing up, we never celebrated the Advent, at least, not in a way that I could understand. A couple years ago, ST and I started attending a new church that focuses on Advent season as much as Christmastime itself. That got me thinking about how I could get Baby Taco into the holiday season.

I spent a ridiculous mount of time on Pinterest researching Advent calendars. I found a bunch of beautiful but very expensive fabric ones. Even Starbucks makes an Advent calendar each year. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to make one for Baby Taco each year and I plan to copy Mindy Pitcher’s amazing idea using toilet paper tubes!

diy advent calendarMindy Pitcher’s awesome upcycled Advent calendar

Each night in December, ST and I will read Bible stories to Baby Taco and we’ll open one of the tubes to uncover a little treat. I’m thinking about buying hair clips, onesies, and other small items to stuff in the tubes. Kim has also gotten into crocheting, so I’ll ask her to make some mittens for her. I plan on using my favorite flash sale sites to hunt down the cutest bargains: Frugaa, Tanga, and Jane. My craft stash includes a ton of tissue paper and I have already massed quite a collection toilet paper tubes! I will of course make one for Leela too and fill it with all her favorite treats!

Well, hello there.

Let’s Be Friends.

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