Fallen off the Wagon? Don’t Give Up!

Hello, world!

Life is full steam ahead! I’ve been doing PIIT28 round 2, and I can tell my stamina and strength are improving! I don’t always make it through all 4 rounds (mainly because I’m hungry and want to make dinner, lol) but I can tell some moves are getting easier to do. I’m on day 36 and I did something crazy this morning- I woke up early and went for a run. What?? Who am I? I just felt this urge to start the morning with a run so why not? And thankfully I don’t feel too tired to do my PIIT workout later, so I might start running in the morning on a daily basis.

Again, I stress the “who am I”? I’ve never been a morning person, and I’ve never enjoyed running (when you live in a hot humid place like I do, you wouldn’t like it either!), but I can tell that after over a month of incorporating excercise to my routine, it’s become a craving. I want to be active, I want to push my stamina. I’m telling you, it wasn’t easy getting to this point and it probably won’t be easygoing from here.

I hear it all the time- “I got to day 3 and then life got in the way and I haven’t worked out in like 4 days and I’m so disappointed that I’ll have to start over! How do I get the motivation to do this again?” Well wait, hold up right there. Who said you had to start over? We’re our own worst enemy, and here’s the perfect example of that. I’ll be open and honest- I didn’t complete PIIT28 round 1 in 28 days, and I definitely won’t complete round 2 in 28 days, but does that counteract all the hard work and progress I made? Absolutely Β not! Does getting my favorite dessert a couple times completely destroy the 28 Day Reset? No!

We’re human. We make mistakes. We have cravings, we get sick, unexpected events happen, and therefore we have to change our plans. We’re not robots. No one expects you to be the perfect parent, friend, sibling, fitness nut. Being perfect isn’t possible, and when you keep expecting that of yourself, you end up going crazy. I see it all the time in tv, movies, and my own life. I do have very high expectations of myself, and sometimes I mess up or don’t meet that expectation. It can take a lot to turn your thinking around from beating yourself up to just moving forward.

Keep moving forward.

(That’s what my next tattoo will be- keep moving forward)

The truth is, when we expect perfection from ourselves, we hold ourselves back. We really are our own worst enemy. No one else is yelling at you except yourself in most cases, and ask yourself, does anything productive come from that? 99% of the time the answer is no. So why not try something else- let’s be our own cheerleader. Let’s recognize that on Sunday I had a chicken parm sub for lunch, but today I’m having a turkey, hummus, and spinach pita for lunch. Let’s recognize that I took 2 rest days, but then kicked butt with a double workout. I kept going, and that shows more strength in my opinion.

Go Rachel go!

Let’s celebrate the little things. What did you do recently that made you proud? Did you wake up a little earlier than usual? Did you try something new? Did you start working out again after a hiatus? Let’s celebrate eachother!

Peace and love!

Nutrition, Recipes

5 Favorite Dairy-free Alternatives

Hello, world!

As you may know, I have lots of food allergies, with my biggest one being dairy! That means no milk, butter, cream, etc etc. One distinction I want to make right off the bat though: lactose intolerance and dairy allergies are NOT the same! Lactose intolerance means you can’t properly digest lactose (milk sugar), whereas an allergy means you have an immune response to any part of milk (whether it has lactose or not) and can be a lethal response (anaphylaxis).

I’ve had this allergy my entire life, but some people might develop it later in life, or have decided to cut out dairy for nutritional reasons. Whatever the reason, there are LOTS of alternatives for milk in cooking, baking, and more. Reading labels and ingredients is key here, because there are some very surprising foods that contain milk (such as McDonald’s french fries). Lookout for things like butter, non-fat milk, whey, casein, or the dreaded “may contain milk” or “manufactured in a facility that also processes milk”. The easiest way to know if something is dairy-free? When it’s vegan!

If you’re just getting started on a dairy-free life, or want to find a new alternative, here are my top 5 dairy-free alternatives that are versatile in their uses and fairly easy to find!

  1. Silk milk
    My family always uses Silk for things from cereal to baking. Silk comes in a variety of forms (soy, coconut, almond, cashew) and flavors (unsweetened, original, light, vanilla, etc). It substitutes perfectly in baking/cooking for regular milk and has the best taste from other brands.
  2. Earth Balance butter
    I recently started using Earth Balance instead of other brands, and I’ve fallen in love. Not only does it come in either a tub or a stick, it also doesn’t have as much water in it, therefore it doesn’t sputter and spatter as much when in a hot pan. (I found other brands of milk-free butter have a high water ratio, therefore it spatters a lot as if you’re cooking bacon)
  3. Daiya cheese
    Oh Daiya, there is nothing else like you! My whole life I wanted to eat cheese, but the alternatives always tasted like cheap lipstick. Daiya is the first and only cheese I’ve found that actually melts and stretches, and tastes good! When I make pizza with this, normal cheese-lovers always devour it.
  4. Tofutti sour cream and cream cheese
    Tofutti is another favorite brand of mine. It started with eating their ice cream sandwiches for breakfast as a kid (while my parents were still asleep, lol). They have a great sour cream that makes fajitas and tacos 100% better, and also does well in baking. Their cream cheese + some jam makes the perfect topping for a bagel too!
  5. So Delicious ice cream
    So Delicious is another versatile brand- they have milks, yogurts, ice creams, and more! But here, I’ll focus on their ice cream. They have lots of different formulations (soy, coconut, almond, etc etc) and so many flavors! Not to mention the flavors are so rich and creamy despite not having any cow’s milk. Favorite flavor: mocha fudge!

Of course there are TONS more brands and options out there, but these are my favorites! In the coming weeks, I’ll post some recipes (including my famous pizza) that use the alternatives I mentioned.

What’s your absolute favorite dairy-free food or brand? Tell me in the comments!

Peace and love!


Daily Skincare Routine: Oily/Acne Prone

Hello, world!

With this crazy weather, my skin has been on my mind a lot. The dry air has made my eczema return, BUT my face is still oily as always! If you have oily skin too, you know the struggle. Makeup doesn’t want to stay put, your face feels greasy- it’s no fun. After many years of testing and adapting, I have finally found my holy grail products for keeping my skin balanced! After all, skincare is a huge component with makeup- if you don’t have a good “canvas”, how do you expect the painting to turn out well?

First of all, what does oily skin entail? It means that your skin produces excess sebum. This can either be from your genetics, or because your skin isn’t properly hydrated, and therefore it’s overcompensating. Imagine that! Unfortunately for me, I have my genes to blame. Big pores and lots of oil! Want to know how I over come it? I always follow 3 steps:

Β  Morning Routine

Cleanser: Clarisonic Mia 2 + Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

Toner: The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner

Moisturizer: Murad Oil Control Mattifier

First of all, buy a Clarisonic! It changed my life- it gets every bit of dirt, sweat, oil, and makeup off of my face and gently exfoliates at the same time. After the first couple weeks, my face started to feel so much softer and my breakouts decreased some.

I also completely stopped using your typical acne products that have salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Over time their effectiveness would decrease, and they actually have a short shelf life (for example, benzoyl peroxide products are only good for a couple months!). Instead, I switched to tea tree oil, and it is seriously amazing. It has a nice smell, and stays effective on my skin for a long time. Every day I use the tea tree toner, and occasionally I’ll use straight tea tree oil (also from The Body Shop) to spot treat.

After cleansing and toning, I go to my holy grail of day moisturizers- Murad! It has the best oil control by far, more than any other moisturizer or primer I’ve ever used, plus it has SPF to protect from the sun’s rays. It also sinks into the skin quickly and doesn’t have a lasting smell, which I love. This product is like a 3 in 1 for me- moisturizer, SPF, and primer!

Β  Night routine

*Makeup remover: Ulta Makeup Removing Towel

Cleanser: Clarisonic Mia 2 + Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

Toner: The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner

Moisturizer: Clinique Moisture SurgeΒ or The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Lotion

It is just as important, if not more important to take care of your skin at night too. If I wore makeup during the day, I’ll remove it with the Ulta Removing Towel (or what I call the “baby rabbit”). It is literally as soft as a baby bunny (but with no actual fur! No worries), and with just some water, it removes every bit of makeup from my face. It’s also machine washable, so it’s much more cost effective that buying makeup wipes!

Once again, I’ll use my Clarisonic again, which if there is any slightest bit of makeup left, this guy will get it off! I also follow with my toner, and moisturize. Despite being oily, it is super important to always moisturize because as I mentioned before, sometimes our skin will overcompensate for a lack of moisture! Instead of the Murad, I’ll use either Clinique’s Moisture Surge or The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Night Lotion. This simply depends on my skin’s needs- Moisture Surge is a lovely gel that glides onto the skin for moisture throughout the night, whereas the Tea Tree Night Lotion will help fight breakouts and fade acne marks. Either way, it’s a homerun.

So what are your favorite products to take care of your skin? I would love to hear in the comments! And if you aren’t already, be sure to follow me on social media to keep up with my fitness/nutrition goals daily!

Peace and love!


Guess who’s back?

Hello World!

It’s 2017, and guess who’s back? Me! I know I’ve been a little MIA due to life, but now I’m in a place where I can actually focus balancing work and a healthy lifestyle again (hooray!). Since we last spoke, I have graduated college and work full time in the “adult world”.

The adult world has some caveats though. I never realized how tiring it is to work a regular 9-5 job. One would think that since I don’t have kids (unless you count my fur-child, Munchie) that I would have all of this energy and time to do things, right? Nope. Maybe it’s part of getting older and being in a routine, but I’m exhausted. Because of that, my health did start to go down hill- not working out as much, eating as many chicken fingers as I want, etc etc. As you can probably imagine, those things don’t necessarily help.

Finally, I decided to make a change. My favorite girl who invented POP Pilates, Cassey Ho, came out with something called PIIT28, which is the pilates version of HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training)! I’ve been a follower of her usual calendars, so when I saw PIIT, I was hooked. It’s about 28 minutes of super high energy pilates- you sweat, you burn, you get sore! Along with those lovely things, you feel STRONG. I’ve been doing it for 18 days, and I can already see my abs getting distinct again. Woo hoo!

In addition to PIIT28, I started the 28 Day Reset today! It’s a meal plan that goes hand-in-hand with PIIT28. You completely omit dairy (easy for me since I’m allergic, lol), gluten, sugar, and processed grains for 28 days, then slowly re-introduce these things while keeping up healthy eating. It’s genius! She gives you a weekly calendar of meals and a grocery list, so you literally just print it and go. I also appreciate that the recipes aren’t too complicated in nature, which makes prepping meals in advance easier. Seriously, if you’re looking for a way to kickstart your body for Summer, this is where it’s at.

If you aren’t already, I definitely recommend following me on Instagram @Happy_Body_Blog! You’ll see my progress through PIIT28 and the 28 Day Reset. Also, if you want to see what these programs are all about, follow the affiliate links below!

PIIT 28 + 28 Day Reset Power Pack


28 Day Reset

Now in terms of my site, I am super excited to bring about some changes! I’m creating new designs and logos, along with posting twice a week along the same lines of what I’ve always done: fitness, nutrition, mindfulness, and beauty! Are you ready? I am!

Peace and love!


Influenster XO VoxBox Review!

Hello, world!

I recently received my first VoxBox from Influenster! I was checking the mail anxiously everyday waiting for it to arrive, lol! So what exactly is a VoxBox? Basically, it’s this box of free products to test out and review! Did I mention it was free? Oh yeah, it’s pretty great. They send out a survey, and if your answers match the type of people they are looking for for that particular box, they ship it to you! Therefore, my answers to the survey qualified me to test these items out.

Here’s a video from the unboxing of everything inside:

In total, I received:

  • Colgate Optic White Express White Toothpaste
  • Colgate Optic White Toothbrush + Built-in Whitening Pen
  • John Frieda Beach Blonde Collection
  • John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment
  • Skinfix Hand Repair Cream
  • Tide Pods with Febreze
  • Coupons for Adore Me, Lands End, and John Frieda!

Now for the important part: what did I think? I really really love the Colgate toothbrush + toothpaste combo! The brush does a fantastic job of scrubbing, and the toothpaste is foamy, so it really distributes throughout the mouth. You know you’re getting a deep clean with this combo, and it has a very strong mint flavor, so I feel I don’t need mouthwash afterwards! They also did a great job of removing surface stains and making my teeth look whiter after 1 use, which is fantastic in my book. The gel on the other hand is interesting. I appreciate that you can apply it after brushing and don’t have to worry about rinsing, but it feels a little awkward. You literally have this gel on your teeth which is very obvious, so I don’t suggest immediately seeing people until you swallow/lick it all off lol. It definitely has a MUCH better taste than other whitening gels, so I 100% like that. Although the gel doesn’t give a dramatic whitening effect, I think it does help make my teeth seem a little “brighter” if that makes sense. When I tested going back to my normal toothpaste/toothbrush, my teeth didn’t seem as “bright” anymore.

In regards to the John Frieda Beach Blonde line, I was a little disappointed. Granted, I’ve been using a cleansing conditioner for months now so I’ve had no need for a real shampoo. They smell exactly like a Cool Lime Refresher from Starbucks (pretty nice), and I feel like it did an OK job of moisturizing my hair, which was the main claim it boasted. The real problem came from the Sea Salt Spray. The spray made my hair feel so dry, stuck together, and it didn’t improve the natural waviness of my hair. I feel it was the antithesis of the shampoo+conditioner- why would you use a highly moisturizing product for after going to the beach, just to dry it out with a spray? So I say the spray is a no-go, however the shampoo and conditioner were pretty good!

With the Skinfix hand cream I only had 1 problem- I’m allergic to it! I was unable to test it because it contains sweet almond oil, however I let my friend use it, and she said that it was incredibly creamy, absorbed into her skin well, and really helped moisturize! Sounds good to me!

Finally, the best for last: the Tide Pods! I was very very excited to try these, and they surpassed my expectations! They’re little pods of detergent that you can throw into your washing machine! I tried them with a couple loads of jeans and tops, and it not only did a wonderful job of cleaning, it also didn’t seem to fade any of my colors, AND it made all of my clothes smell fantastic, even after drying! I never have that kind of success with other detergents. This was probably my favorite item from the Vox Box, and I will be buying this product in the future!

So you’ve heard what I had to say, what do you guys think? Have you tried these products, or have you ever gotten a Vox Box? Let me know in the comments below! πŸ™‚

Also, make sure to check out my Spring to Summer Fitness Challenge! It’s never too late to start!

Peace and love!

Health Challenge

Spring to Summer Fitness Challenge! Part 1

Hello, world!

Woo hoo, it is time to start the Spring to Summer Fitness Challenge! I’m super excited for this, and I hope you guys are too! I apologize for the delayed start on this- I’ve had some technical problems unfortunately, but we are finally up and running!

As I mentioned in my previous post, (read it here!) this challenge is meant for those who don’t exercise and want to start, or haven’t done so in awhile and need to ease back into it! It’s meant to make the transition from a sedentary lifestyle to fitness as smooth as possible. Making life long changes is a marathon, not a sprint! That’s why we will be starting small, and working our way up through the next 3 months!

So for Part 1, I have created a calendar with a small daily workout (approximately 10 minutes), and a weekly food challenge since nutrition and fitness go hand in hand! I recommend either waking up just 15 minutes earlier in the morning to kick start your day, or do it in the evening before dinner time! Either way, you want to make sure you eat afterwards to replenish your fuel.

As you progress through the month, I would love to hear from you all on your progress! Use #happybodyblog so I can see how you’re feeling and doing, or comment below!

Click the image below to see the calendar, or download the pdf to print out!

Calendar: Spring to Summer Fitness Challenge Part 1

Spring to Summer Fitness Challenge Part 1

*One note: for the bicep curls, use a full water bottle, large candle, bag or purse, or anything with just a little bit of weight! Or light dumbbells (around 5 lbs), if you happen to have some πŸ˜‰

Remember to breathe, try your best, and HAVE FUN! If you have any questions at all, comment below!

Peace and love!

Health Challenge

Spring to Summer Fitness Challenge!

Hello, world!

With Spring Break and Summer and other swimsuit-needs fast approaching, I came up with a brilliant idea! It’s this time of year that many wish to becoming “swimsuit ready”, and contemplate going to the gym, eating healthy, etc, but often don’t know where to start, or start out at an extreme and burn out really quickly. Even a lot of programs that are “for beginners” are still a little too challenging and daunting for some. This is where my idea for the Spring to Summer Fitness Challenge began!

In order to increase your likelihood for succeeding, whether it be a nutrition or fitness plan, you need to start small and work your way up. Making a whole bunch of changes all at one time can lead to burnout rather than long term change. It’s like learning a new language- you can’t just jump into Advanced French if you don’t even know how to say “hello”; you’ll get overwhelmed! You start at French 101. The same concept applies here!

With that, I’ve devised a 3 part plan that is aimed towards people who do not exercise regularly as the ultimate gateway into fitness and long term change! It is designed for those who may have a hard time getting started on a fitness routine, or are so incredibly busy that there is no time to even think about working out. So if you’re a hardcore fitness fanatic who runs 5 miles every morning just as a warmup, this may not be geared for you, however it can be a great addition to what you already do! This is also wonderful for those who used to work out all the time, but may have fallen off track for awhile (like me, I was sick off and on for a bit) and need to ease back into it.

Are you ready? I know you are! Here’s how the challenge will work:

  • Part 1: March 1-31, quick daily workout (approx. 15 minutes), and a weekly food challenge
  • Part 2: April 1-30, up the intensity/length of the workouts from part 1, plus the weekly food challenge!
  • Part 3: May 1-31, higher intensity/length from part 2, plus the weekly food challenge!

On the day before, I will post the workout calendar and weekly food challenge here to my website so you all can be ready for day 1 to start! So to make sure you don’t miss out, follow my blog so you’ll receive email updates!

With that, I challenge you to 1) follow my blog so you’ll be notified by email when I post those calendars 2) invite a friend to do the challenge with you 3) HAVE FUN! This will be your opening journey towards life long change!

Keep your eyes peeled on February 28 for the Part 1 Calendar!

Peace and love!