Cleanse Virgin

Cleanse Virgin - Under the Monkey Bars blog

I’ve watched many friends go through cleanses. Not once have I been interested in jumping on the bandwagon — until now. I’m happy to report that I’m longer a cleanse virgin!

My body has gone through a lot fighting Lyme over the past 6 months. I’ve taken more medicine and supplements than I ever thought I would at age 38. I started looking for a way to detoxify my body without depriving it.

Cleanses clear out toxins from your body, like pesticides on produce and automobile fumes. They often involve limiting your food intake to different concoctions of pressed juice that can remove these harmful toxins from your body so it can focus on healing. A typical juice only cleanse helps shift your intestines away from digestion and absorption and towards ridding the body of toxins.

This makes sense to me, but I’m a firm believer in feeding your body and soul. In my mind, traditional juice cleanses do just the opposite. I don’t have time to sit around feeling exhausted and hungry all day. These two monkeys need their Mama! So I assumed cleanses just weren’t for me.

But what about a cleanse that’s more than just juice? As soon as I heard about Jubali’s nourishing cleanse, I knew it was just what I needed. Have you heard of Jubali? It’s is a certified organic juice, dairy-free smoothie, and herbal tea company based in Boston. They use only whole food ingredients, mostly sourced locally, with no added sugars or preservatives. All products are gluten free and vegan — my kind of company! I’ve been drinking their yummy smoothies for a while now but never realized I could use them as a cleanse.

Jubali’s whole foods smoothies keep fiber, healthy fats, protein, and sugar together. With this nourishing cleanse, you won’t get the massive sugar spikes and hunger pains of a mainstream juice cleanse. Plus, their super herb infusion teas help balance and heal throughout the cleanse process. 

I was able to really customize my cleanse, and I loved that flexibility. I kept a dairy so you could see what the cleanse was really like, minus what happened in the bathroom of course. I’m not ready to talk about poop on the blog yet, guys!

Cleanse Diary :: Day 1
6:30am :: 14 ounces of water
7:30am :: 10 ounce bowl of raw chocolate buckwheat parfait with berries
9:00am :: 14 ounces of water
11:00am :: Jubali Greena Colada smoothie: great flavor combination. Didn’t waste a drop – licked the cap!
12:30pm :: 16 ounces of Jubali Reishi Revive super-herb infusion tea, cold.
2:20pm :: Jubali LaLa Berry smoothie: loved the raspberry seeds. Didn’t need to chew them but I was happy to chew something!
3:30pm :: 14 ounces of water. Feeling a little cranky. Craving black tea.
5:15pm :: 14 ounces of water. I’m normal hungry for dinner. Not going to fall over surprisingly.
5:45pm :: Homemade potato leek soup with a small bowl of kale salad.
6:15pm :: I actually feel really good! Thought I’d be dragging.
6:30pm :: 14 ounces of water
8:00pm :: 4 ounces Jubali almond milk with 1/4 cup of homemade applesauce (apples + lemon). Feeling less tired than usual with balanced energy.

Cleanse Virgin - Under the Monkey Bars

Cleanse Diary :: Day 2
6:00am :: 14 ounces of water. Woke up feeling great. Not hungry at all.
7:30am :: 8 ounces of hot Jubali Clover Cleanse tea. This tea flavor was tough to get used to.
9:00am :: 16 ounces of homemade dinosaur smoothie
9:15am :: Gentle yoga. Felt so great to move slowly and massage my organs with twists and stretching. Not dizzy.
10:30am :: 14 ounces of water after yoga
11:15am :: 10 ounces of hot Jubali Deep Mineral tea: my favorite!
12:00pm :: Orange Jubali smoothie: made with bee pollen, which is apparently the single richest source of vitamins found in nature. Delicious flavor and great texture. Yum!
1:30pm :: 14 ounces of water
2:00pm :: Small sweet potato with avocado oil and salt
2:30pm :: 8 ounces of hot Jubali Clover Cleanse tea
3:00pm :: Slight headache.
4:00pm :: Jubali Mocha Bliss smoothie: totally cleared my headache.
4:45pm :: 14 ounces of water. Feeling zen. Would be a good time to curl up with a good book! Finished mine yesterday 🙁
5:15pm :: 14 ounces of water
6:00pm :: Homemade carrot soup with a small bowl of roasted cabbage.
7:15pm :: 6 ounces of hot Jubali Deep Mineral tea
8:00pm :: 4 ounces of Jubali almond milk with 1/4 cup of homemade applesauce. More energy than usual again at this time of night.

Now that I’ve done a cleanse, I can definitely see myself doing something similar seasonally. Besides detoxing, it’s a great way to give your body a kick start and change your habits. I was a little cold the first day. I realized on day 2 of the cleanse that I could warm the tea, which was a total game changer.

After the cleanse, I didn’t have a sip of caffeine for almost 2 weeks. I have more energy. I’m not craving sugar. I’m not as hungry. I truly feel more balanced. Next time I cleanse, I’ll clear my calendar and treat myself to a few days off with gentle yoga classes, a good book, and maybe get a massage. We all need more self care. A cleanse is a great way to start.

Every body is different. It’s really important to listen to your body, which is the number one way you can evaluate whether or not a cleanse would work for you. You can’t do a cleanse and expect to be healthy. Health is a journey. It needs to be a part of your daily life — not just a few days where you starve yourself. For me, this nourishing cleanse helped my body heal. It removed toxins from my body and gave me a fresh start for 2016.

If you’d like to check out Jubali’s products, head over to the Natural Grocer in Newburyport or look for them at Whole Foods Market. Jubali delivers in Boston by bike!

This and That…

This and That - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

Happy 2016! How were your holidays? We had a blast skiing and sledding over winter vacation despite the lack of snow in New England. We found a balance between time with family and friends, as well as special time with just the four of us. Cuddling up by the fire with my monkeys was the best!

Who else is having trouble getting back in the swing? I’ve been busy restocking the house, catching up on laundry, and digging out of email. It was wonderful to disconnect for a week and a half, but boy does everything pile up!

January is one of my absolute favorite months. I feel the urge to purge and I have to go with it because most of the time I want to keep my stuff. I’m only a few chapters into Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I’m dying to dig my hands in. No shopping until I get this house in ship-shape! How’s that for motivation? 

Warning: this this glossary of Boston slang will cause fits of laughter whether you live in Massachusetts or not. I was shocked that Don didn’t know that “wiffle” is a boy’s short haircut, which is how we found this gem. Thank you Google!

Find out what kind of calls cops in ski towns receive in the Best of Stowe’s 2015 police blotter. More laughs, guaranteed.

What were your favorite holiday gifts? I’m in love with the little wool lamb that Bean made me (it looks nothing like the picture, which is why I love it more). Sweet Pea made us a glittery snowman plaque that we’ll hang proudly all winter. Also loving this clean eating cookbook, cozy slippers, and this tote

Turns Out Monkey Bars And Kickball Might Be Good For The Brain. Love this NPR story. Hopefully more school districts and states will jump on board. 

“A horse, a bachelorette and a unicorn walk into a mansion…” The Bachelor is back! Lots of interesting ladies, and plenty of characters. Another entertaining season ahead. I can feel my brain cells evaporating while I’m watching but I can’t look away (#addicted). Please tell me I’m not alone!

Boston Day Trip


One of our favorite days last week during April staycation was a day trip to Boston. I love the hustle and bustle of the city — the sights, smells, architecture, history, museums. I think these two monkeys of mine may grow up to be city girls too.


In the spirit of Earth Day, we saved gas and rode the commuter train from Newburyport. Riding the train definitely added a sense of excitement to the day trip and gave us more time together. Bean and Sweet Pea got ready faster than ever and we somehow made the 7:55 a.m. train (interesting that we can barely make it to school by 8:25…hmmmm). We walked just under a mile from North Station to the New England Aquarium, timing our walk and tracking our steps.


We arrived at the Aquarium at 9:20; it’s true that the early bird gets the worm! The Aquarium didn’t start filling up until after 10. What a treat to have so much time to explore. Both girls favorite exhibit was the Shark and Ray Touch Tank!  They loved when the bamboo shark slithered through their hands. My hands stayed dry and clean, and of course I sanitized theirs after.



At the top of the Giant Ocean Tank, Sweet Pea walked up to a volunteer and asked lots of questions. She is typically shy and will ask me to ask questions for her…such a proud mamma moment. We found out the turtles names: Carolina, Retread, and the biggest turtle is Myrtle. We learned what the fish like to eat, how the divers feed them, and why they don’t eat each other in that huge tank.

We hadn’t visited the Aquarium since the renovation and it really looks amazing. I was impressed by all of the new interactive exhibits, like the touch screen for the penguins. You can identify a penguin based on its colored band and find out the penguin’s name, parents, and other fun facts. The girls really enjoyed it.


Our bellies were rumbling around 11:30 so we headed over to Legal Seafoods across the street for lunch. When we don’t pack a picnic, Legal’s is our go-to spot because they are great with food allergies. Unfortunately the fryer was contaminated so we couldn’t have french fries. The girls had been looking forward to fries for weeks. It’s hard to imagine being a kid and only eating french fries a handful of times a year. These girls are tough as nails, but even a grown up would have been disappointed — especially when you’re starving. Mashed potatoes just had to do! We brushed the tears off and pretended we were in Paris as we dined outside with a cool breeze blowing though our hair.

After lunch, we hit the playground near the waterfront for some monkey bar time. The sun was warm with a cool breeze — just gorgeous weather! After some cartwheels and races, the monkeys were super excited to ride the new Greenway Carousel. It’s really whimsical with owls, foxes, bunnies, and squirrels instead of the typical carousel horses. Then the monkeys zig zagged their way through the labyrinth. It’s incredible to see how Boston has transformed as a result of the Big Dig. Did you know that the Greenway is an organic park? Love that!


It was just about tea time so we headed to the North End to our favorite tea shop: The Thinking Cup. We felt like we were walking into the streets of Italy with brightly colored flower boxes, restaurant windows open, people everywhere — how the North End should feel. We got our usual order: English Breakfast lattes for the girls and a chai tea for me. We talked about our favorite parts of the day while we sipped our tea and people watched at the open window. 

On our train ride back to Newburyport, Bean and I played hangman on her boogie board (light as a feather and awesome for travel!) while Sweet Pea read her book. Our day trip was just the right amount of time to have fun, explore, learn, and relax.

Day Trip Tips
– MBTA commuter train from Newburyport to Boston round trip is $21 for an adult. Kids 11 and under are free! Check your local train schedule.
– Request library passes up to 3 months in advance. The New England Aquarium pass admits 4 people at $10 per person. Call your local library to find out what passes are available. 
– Greenway Carousel costs $3 per person or $25 for 10 rides.
– Pack a backpack: jackets, tissues, epi-pen, snacks, water, books, and notebooks. I was planning to buy this backpack in grey before our day trip, but in the spirit of Earth Day, I used my old pack and it worked just fine (hint, hint: my birthday is next month).

Thompson Island


Have you heard of Thompson Island? I hadn’t until we were invited to their annual gala. The last time we went to a gala was when the only monkeys in our lives were the ones we met on the rock of Gibraltar (which was before there were digital cameras or I would totally include a picture of me with a monkey on my head).

First things first: I needed a dress. I love an excuse to go shopping, but with only a week’s notice there was no time to get to the mall. T.J. Maxx to the rescue! While the girls were at yoga, I found this Clover Canyon blue baroque dress. I picked up some earrings while I was at the salon for my blow out. Curly girls feel fancy with straight hair, and I’m sure vice versa!  The grass is always greener, right? 

So, last Thursday when we arrived at the Seaport Hotel in Boston for the gala, Don and I were escorted by program participants who told us about what an incredible, life changing experience they had at the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center. As the night went on, we were able to chat with more kids about their experiences, which sound similar better than my summer camp experiences. But the difference here is that these kids wouldn’t typically go to summer camp or after school activities or tutoring. Economically disadvantaged urban youth are an estimated 6,000 hours behind, and a program like this makes all the difference. The money raised at the gala provides scholarships for these kids to learn, discover, and grow at Thompson Island — an opportunity that would otherwise never come their way.

The Outward Bound program at Thompson Island calls itself Boston’s Island Classroom. Problem solving, teamwork, and emotional learning are some of the skills these kids pick up while measuring the salinity in the salt marsh or going on a challenging sailing adventure. Arthur Pearson, President and CEO of Thompson Island, said during his speech at the event, “What happens at Thompson Island does not stay at Thompson Island.” These kids success at school completely turns around after attending a three day or week long program at Thompson Island.


The speakers at the event really painted a vivid picture in my mind of their experiences and how the program has changed the direction of their lives. I even got goosebumps! And then the live auction began, and although we were supposed to be silent, my cheeks hurt by the end of the night. The Auctioneer Paul Zekos was beyond entertaining! Have you seen him in action? Wow. To up the bid on the Taylor Swift concert tickets, Zekos said “This comes down to one thing: {long silent pause} Who is the best parent.” Signs went flying and he brought the winning bid up a few grand to $5500!


Thompson Island is privately owned but you can visit on summer weekends by ferry from Drydock in South Boston. It’s only a 25 minute ferry ride. When you arrive at Thompson Island, you can hike, explore salt marshes, or relax on the beach. The view of Boston is supposedly outstanding. And there’s even a family learning zone on the island! For us, one of the best parts is that there’s no food for sale. Everyone packs a picnic, which means my monkeys won’t feel sad that they can’t have what other kids are eating. We love a picnic!

I’m excited to head over to Thompson Island with the monkeys this summer. There’s just something about going to an island. I’m already wearing a maxi dress and a straw hat, and kissing my monkeys sun kissed, salty foreheads.

Photography credit: Jon Fischer Photography

Saturday in the City


Our vacation got a bit de-railed with Knight’s donut (appointment on Wednesday thankfully).  The girls really wanted to spend a day in Boston so we headed in early on Saturday morning with a stop at Longleaf Lumber in Cambridge to pick out reclaimed wood flooring and a countertop for our currently under construction pantry.  What a cool place!  Bean was super interested, obviously with her nose in a book.  Sweet Pea danced around the shop with a nickel she found.  We hemmed and hawed, ultimately choosing chestnut floors and white oak counters…check!

Next stop: Back Bay for a little shopping and lunch.  Newbury Street wasn’t too busy and there were so many sales!  I haven’t been shopping since the holidays (gasp!).  Who knew blogging would save me money?!?  We always stop at Zara, one of my favorite tiendas from my days in Madrid (translation: stores).   The monkeys love Zara’s kids line but they weren’t in the mood to shop.  We agreed to head back for a girls’ shopping day when the snow melts.


I managed to squeeze in a quick swoop through the Zara sale section.  I found a simple charcoal sweater dress for our upcoming Stowe trip.  It was $19 marked down from $79.  Score!  Don replaced his lost merino hat at Ibex.  And then I finally picked out my leather high tops at Frye.  I’ve been crushing on them since the Fall…completely in love with the soft leather and style of these sneakers.  Looking forward to cruising around Newburyport in the new kicks when the snow melts.

And then little tummies started rumbling.  We always pack tons of snacks when we go out for the day.  But we eat A LOT so unless I pack a huge cooler and a picnic — which is not happening in this weather — we have to find somewhere to eat lunch.  As much as we plan ahead, sometimes things don’t work out.  Like lunch on Saturday, for example.

We went to a new place that was recommended by a friend.  The menu looked healthy with lots of gluten free options and no peanuts.  We walked in and walked right out.  Contamination city.  Bean can’t eat even a crumb of wheat/gluten, which many restaurants just can’t handle and many people don’t understand.

Most restaurants in the city serve brunch on the weekends.  Eating breakfast and brunch out is really tough for us.  The meats are usually not gluten free.  We obviously can’t have pancakes or french toast.  It’s hard for the girls if we say, you can order a burger with no bun.  That’s it.  Literally the only safe option at two restaurants.  It’s just not fair.


If you don’t have allergies, you can’t imagine how hard it is when your kids are hungry for lunch and you can’t find anywhere to eat.  After stopping at three places, we gave up and went to our safety: Legal Seafoods.  They consistently excel with allergies and the girls can order french fries, a rarity since most restaurants fry breaded foods in with the french fries (ah, contamination).  Don is not a fish lover, so as you can imagine, Legals isn’t his favorite.  But it’s safe; and it works.

After lunch we had a beautiful moment on Newbury Street.  Sweet Pea walked by a man asking for change.  She stopped, fished around in her pockets, and gave him the nickel she found earlier in the day.   The nickel that she played with for an hour at the flooring store.  Her one and only nickel.  She dropped it in his cup without a second thought.  Pure generosity.  It’s hard for little ones to understand why this man was asking for money.  We did what we could and we helped him.


It started to snow, because the snow was getting dirty and we needed a fresh coat, right?  Before heading home, we grabbed some toasty warm drinks at our absolute favorite coffee shop: the Thinking Cup.  Decaf English Breakfast lattes for the monkeys, chai latte with almond milk for me (I dream of its frothy earthiness), and a double espresso for Don.  What’s your favorite cup of happy?

Until next time, Boston.  When you’re a little greener, and we can have a picnic in the gahden.