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My Blueprint Cleanse

In October 2013 I joined a gym… well more of a club.  I can eat, drink, shower, work out, swim, watch TV, shop, get my hair done, get a massage or a wax – even a makeup application.  I can play racquetball or tennis, sit in front of the fire (life is good), take Tango lessons, yoga (among other things), go to one of the many drinking and eating social functions offered and have a gourmet meal in the cafe.

In January 2014 I went back to eating healthy and counting every damn calorie I stick in my mouth.  I lost 11 pounds in January and 3 so far this month.  Not bad, but my goal is 10 pounds per month so I can actually go out in public in a bathing suit.

I gained about 30 pounds in 3 months – I am an expert gainer.

So the other day I was in Whole Foods on one of my many visits to the Middletown store, when I discovered a box of juices made to cleanse your body.  Manufactured by Blueprint, the 6 juice cleanse cost $55 for a one-day cleanse.

After researching the product at home Blueprint Cleanse offers a 1, 3 or 6 day cleanse of 6 100% organic, raw juices.  renovation-cleanse-bottles

I didn’t know if I could do a 3-day but I was sure I could juice for 1 full day.  I chose the Renovation Cleanse.

I started out and ended the day with a hot water and lemon.

For breakfast I had to consume 1 GREEN JUICE containing 110 calories of juice from organic romaine, organic apple, organic celery, organic cucumber, organic spinach, organic kale, organic parsley, organic lemon.

First impressions:

Color:  Bile

Smell:  Celery

Taste:  Celery and lettuce

Opinion:  I hate the taste and smell of celery and the taste of the green juice was hard to get down.  It took me from 8 am to 9:30 am to finish the 16 oz bottle.  I’ve had worse things in my mouth, but I eat for enjoyment not necessity.  If I can do it, anyone can.

Next my mid-morning snack called P.A.M.  was 210 calories of juice from organic pineapple, organic apple, organic mint, filtered water.

This was yummy!  What a lovely taste!


Color:  Bright yellow or the color of strong pee

Smell:  Pineapple

Taste:  Sweet and easy going down

Opinion:  This was a great juice!  It was a must-need after nursing that vile green bile juice.

Lunch.  Dammit!  Another green juice!  No explanation needed.  But by this time I couldn’t get it all down and left 1/3 of the bottle in its coagulated mess.

My afternoon snack was Spicy Lemonade.  Its 120 calories of filtered water, juice from organic lemon, organic agave nectar, cayenne extract (Mexican Habanero, jalapeño, African, Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Japanese peppers) was pretty good.


Color:  Light-colored Lemonade

Smell:  Lemony

Taste:  Lemonade with a hint of spice

Opinion: This was a good juice.  It felt clean and fresh.  I wish there was a little more spice but I guess it has to appeal to a broader audience and not just a spice-addict like myself.  The hotter the better.

Dinner.  Ugh!  Little did I know that I had to drink beets!  I hate beets!  I hate the texture, the color, the taste.  C.A.B. is 190 calories of juice from organic apple, organic carrot, organic beet, filtered water, organic lemon and organic ginger.


Color:  Deep Red

What's left...

What’s left…

Smell:  Earthy

Taste:  Beets and dirt

Opinion:  This wasn’t as bad as the green juice but because of my massive dislike of beets, I couldn’t drink the whole thing and left about 1/2 inch in the bottle.

Dessert.  My last juice was 300 calories of Cashew Milk (they have alternatives for people with nut allergies) including filtered water, organic cashew, organic agave nectar, organic cinnamon, organic vanilla extract and organic vanilla specks.


Color:  Thick Whitish Almond Milk

Smell:  Nutty Vanilla

Taste:  Nutty but light

Opinion: I thought it would taste better but it was pretty good.  Filling.  I could taste the cashew and vanilla flavors.

Is it worth it?

Yes.  I thinks so.

I felt clean.  My urine was completely clear and healthy looking.  I lost 1 pound but I didn’t expect to really lose any because the calorie count was my normal intake.

I was not hungry at all.  Psychologically I craved food – especially when my husband brought home KFC for himself – but I really had no desire for solid food.

I did have a headache but I think it was a sinus headache and not a food headache.

I felt light-headed in the morning and then throughout the day but was still able to function normally.

I didn’t go to the gym because I felt weak – probably NOT from the cleanse since I woke up in the middle of the night with my period (usually makes me weak – damn 40’s).  Fun stuff.

In any case, it’s worth a try.  I felt really good the next day.  There was no pooping involved – in case any of you are worried about that but I did pee a lot.

I think I might be ready for a 3-day cleanse.  I bought a juicer – we’ll see how that works out.  I may try Suja Fresh Start as well.  It’s worth a shot.

I will add that I was miserable all day – cranky, irritable… but I had other things going on.  As the night progressed I did feel less grumpy… but it was my first cleanse!  I think that might be normal.

Well, I’ll be ready for another – many next month… I’ll keep you posted.

If you have tried Blueprint or another brand – or even your own – I’d like to hear about it.

Good luck and happy cleansing!

© 2014 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010


I know, I know… it’s been a while

I know, I know… it’s been a while.  I’ve been sick – damn sinuses.  I’ve been depressed – damn Hurricane Sandy.  I’ve been extremely busy – damn job.

I can never seem to just sit down and write anymore.

My husband is needy.  I have 3 of the neediest cats on the planet – with all their meowing, and following me around incessantly – you would think I had kids!

Well, tonight is my attempt to get back into the swing of things – a.k.a. BLOGGING.

I’m on yet another diet – or should I say… healthy eating regime… and all I can think about is food.  Healthy and unhealthy.  I lost 16 pounds so far and I started January 15th but I have a bit to go.

Yesterday, I was driving by the diner and had a sudden urge for French Fries and Gravy – known as “Disco Fries” sans fromage to some.  It was hard to keep driving, but I did.

Then I thought about the meal I made Saturday night.  It was so yummy!  So good that my husband and I ate an entire pound of spaghetti.  Yes, you heard that right.  The whole pound!

That was a cheat if I do say.

So since that damn Pasta al Pomodoro taunted me with its goodness, I figured I would share the Bon Appétit recipe with all of you – hoping my weight loss group will read this, cook it and gain weight so I will win the challenge yet again!  LOL!




Pasta al Pomodoro – via Bon Appétit



  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes, puréed in a food processor
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large fresh basil sprigs
  • 12 oz. bucatini or spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp. cubed unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino


  • Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-low heat. Add minced onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2-4 minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute more. Increase heat to medium, add puréed tomatoes and season lightly with kosher salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and the flavors meld, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in basil sprigs, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add spaghetti or bucatini and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
  • Discard basil and heat skillet over high heat. Stir in reserved pasta water to loosen sauce; bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add butter and cheese; toss until cheese melts. Transfer to warm bowls; serve with more cheese, if desired.
serves 4
  • Nutritional Information

    One serving contains: 
    Calories (kcal) 560.4 
    %Calories from Fat 34.5 
    Fat (g) 21.5 
    Saturated Fat (g) 5.8 
    Cholesterol (mg) 15.0 
    Carbohydrates (g) 76.2 
    Dietary Fiber (g) 6.2 
    Total Sugars (g) 8.3 
    Net Carbs (g) 70.0 
    Protein (g) 14.1 
    Sodium (mg) 426.8

By the way, I made a pound of macaroni.  Screw that 12 oz crap!


© 2013 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010

Shoes Shock 166!

My Autobiography – from 6th grade?

Recently I have been redecorating my home office/craft room – looking for painting ideas on the Internet and basically overhauling the whole damn thing.

I have been wanting to change the decor in that room for 12 years!  Twelve years!

Finally, it seems like a reality – but I’m not quite there yet.

Scouring every inch of shit I’ve accumulated has been a real chore but maybe finally I’ll get my ass organized.  I’ve come across bill from 1993 and other crap that I promptly burned in my chiminea – because that damn shredder keeps crapping out!

Anyway, I cam across a lot of sentimental items as well:  pictures, mementos and my 6th grade autobiography.

It’s so funny to see what I thought of the world at 12.  That was 33 years ago!  I can’t believe I’m that old!  Damn!

So I thought I’d share some excerpts with you.  Now keep in mind that after I graduated college I became a translator in New York, the 6 years later a French & Spanish teacher.  Here we go:

Table of Contents (including page numbers of course!)

First Born
Kindergarten to Third
Fourth to Sixth Grade
My Future Plans
My Thanks
To Get This Information

A full 14 pages!!!!!  Remember that this was pre-computer – 1979.  This is not the complete “work”….

… At two years I was potty trained and at four months I used to climb out out of my playpen by putting my toes and fingers in the holes and climbing out.  I couldn’t stand my pacifier or playpen.  I used to climb out of my crib and my parents couldn’t figure out how I did it.

I swam at two years and stopped my bottle at two years old, when my mother threw it in the garbage.  I walked at eight months and was a pain in the foot.

I cried a lot, my mother said I was born with my mouth open.  I never slept, my mother had to play country music mostly “Tiger By The Tail” by George Jones and dance me to sleep, but I still wouldn’t go to sleep…

…When I used to do something wrong I used to hide under my Aunt Mary’s bed.

My mother said I was always quiet and good, and never touched anything when I went out.  I used to sit by my mother all the while, I was very shy like my father…

…I was promoted to first grade when I had Mrs. Romano.  We had a play and I was a sunflower.  For Halloween I was a flower girl with a pink gown.  Mrs. Romano left to have a baby, and that’s when Mrs. Tobie took over.

When I was in second grade I had Mrs. Forstenhausler.  She was a very good teacher.  We had a play and I was an Arabian belly dancer.  I looked exactly like Jeannie on T.V., even my hair and shoes…

…When I was eight years old I made my First Holy Communion

…I was in Brownies from second to third grade.

When I was eight and a half I started twirling at the Masonic Temple in Bloomfield… But then she transferred the Bloomfield girls to Nutley to the Elks Club and we became the “Elkettes”.  Then I was asked to take private lessons…

…Fourth to Sixth Grade.  I went to Mrs. Little’s class and developed many nicknames but one still sticks called “Apollo Creed” because I always put up my fists…

…At nine years of age I started competitive twirling, modeling, strutting, etc…

…I’ll soon be going to North Junior High and I’m a little bit scared about the whole new thing.

My hobbies are:  twirling, swimming, crafts, ceramics, ice and roller skating, biking, modeling, diving, dancing and many more…

…I have been in numerous twirling contests and beauty contests…  All together I have about ninety trophies and medals…

…I will certainly try to get into Miss America when I grow up.

My Future Plans.  For my future I would like to be a Psychiatrist.  I have thought about being an actress but with a hundred to one chance I won’t get to be famous….

It’s so weird to read this.  Lemme see…  I did want to be a doctor but when I realized that I couldn’t stand the sight of blood – that was out.

Miss America?  After Essex County Junior Miss (which I did for MY MOTHER) I was DONE.  D – O – N – E, done.  Pageants weren’t for me.

I can still twirl, and I still consider my hobbies to be crafts, roller skating, swimming and if I was younger and still clubbing my nights away – dancing!

Some things have changed, some haven’t, but I’m still Jacqui.

How different or alike are you all these years later?

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Israeli Couscous Salad

Here’s a great side dish for the summer.  So simple and easy.

Let’s see if I can remember how I made it…

2 cups Israeli Couscous cooked according to package directions – cooled
1 can cannellini beans – drained & rinsed
1 cucumber – chopped into small wedges or chunks
1 garlic clove, minced
approx 2 tablespoons of chopped onion
1-2 cups grape tomatoes
2 mangos cubed
1 handful of fresh herbs, chopped – I used parsley, basil, oregano & mint
1 handful of grated Pecorino Romano
X-Virgin olive oil to moisten – I used only a couple of tablespoons
Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine vegetables, fruit, garlic, onion & herbs in a large bowl.  Add couscous, cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Mix well and adjust seasonings.

Serves 4-6.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it.  Remember season, season, season!

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Culturechoc2010's Blog

So many people in America have parties and BBQs on Memorial Day.  It’s a time of celebration for so many but I think America has forgotten what Memorial Day is all about.

Memorial Day, formerly Decoration Day, is a day when we should remember the brave men and women who died for our country.

That’s what Memorial Day is.  It’s a Memorial Day.

So while everyone is BBQ ing, keep these images in mind and never forget.

The American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy is a must-see at least once in your life.  The emotions that raged through me the day I was there were staggering.

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

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I’m still not rich…. but I’m trying!

Culturechoc2010's Blog

I was born to be rich.  I know how to spend money.  I know how to eat, to act, to dress, to speak and to culture myself – whatever that means.  Let’s just say I have Champagne taste – and not the cheap stuff.

When my Aunt Tootsie lived upstairs from my Nanoo, I would always go visit her because she too appreciated the finer things in life.  We would watch Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous and eat Boursin cheese on fancy crackers.  That’s where I got my first taste “something different”.

When I lived in France I went to a soiree chez Monsieur Proulx where I reluctantly tried caviar for the first time.  The burst of fish eggs in my mouth was torture but I swallowed it politely and refused to eat caviar again.  I eventually developed a very discerning palate but sadly never for caviar.

I love…

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Culturechoc2010's Blog

Ever since I lost my mother my relationship with God has taken a beating.  Frankly, I’m pissed.

I watched her suffer for so many years with cancer.  It weakened her body and her spirit and my faith in God.

I’m sad because she grew up without a dad to watch over her.  He bled to death when she was 18 months old.  I’m annoyed that she was not always treated right by her relatives when she was but a child.  I remember a story she told me:  She asked her grandmother if she could please have a  banana because she was hungry.  Her grandmother said to her in Italian, “You can’t have that banana because you’re not a son of a Grasso.”  What the hell is that all about?   I can’t even imagine my grandparents ever saying that to me.

I’m angry because her childhood was cut short when…

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1 year ago today.

Culturechoc2010's Blog

Death changes everybody.

It changed me.  I’ll never look at the world the same.  I’ll never look at life the same.

When there are more of us in the ground than on the ground, life is depressing.  I’ve been sleeping for days.  I can’t leave the house.  I want to die too.

How do you get through it?  How do you survive the death of your mother or father or child?  You never really know until it happens to you.  I didn’t.

When my mom was really sick, just the thought of her dying made me ill.  The feelings inside me exploded like a volcano.

And then it happened.  Mommy died.  Mommy died 6 years ago today in her hospital bed with all of us there – and right before she closed her eyes for the last time, she managed to look each and every one of us in the…

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Culturechoc2010's Blog

Every time I watch that episode of Sex & The City when Samantha is giving a speech about cancer and rips off her wig to reveal her much shorter mane beneath, I think about the first time I saw my mom with no hair.

Every torn off wig in that episode makes me relive the moment which had to be so much more horrible for her than it was for me – but it didn’t feel like it at the time.

My mom was always so confident and not at all into that vanity shit like I am.  She went out without her boobs, without her wig but with her dignity that she always maintained.

One night we were all sitting around the table bullshitting about this or that.  My mother was notorious for her hot flashes as long as I can remember.  Cancer made them even worse and covering…

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