Author: MsBellaDaniela

Hair Health – Growth

Some of you that may have been joining me for a while now, know that in November 2018, I decided to chop my hair and rock some curly bangs (yep, I went through a phase). I went from curly hair past my shoulder blades to curly hair at my shoulders (and for my non-curly girls that is like waist length to shoulder length). I needed a change and my hair was one of the easiest changes I could make.

But after getting sick and experiencing some more than average stress, my hair decided to fall out and my curl pattern became more of a wave than a ringlet. If you were curious and did not read about it before, I wrote about what happened to me in April 2019 in this post after I started to recover. Let’s just say that 2019 has not been my year for my personal or my family’s health which of course added to the stress and yep, you guessed it, hair loss.

So I started to try and take matters into my own hands and recover my health which led to my healthy journey up-kick and my hair health journey. As I mentioned in this post, I started to take Nutrafol and made sure that my nightly scalp massages were never missed.

I started to make sure deep conditioning was a weekly occurrence too. And while I have to admit that there are still days I want to shave it all off, I am so excited to actually SEE the growth now.

Left – May 2019 || Right – December 2019

That is just about 6-months of hair health and growth. That is just 6-months of taking better care of myself. That is 6-months of stress, a little highlighting, self-care, moving, hard water, testing new products, using brushes, deep conditioning, and…growth. My hair is healthier than it was 6-months ago. It doesn’t shed as much as it used to (though remember that it IS normal to lose 100 strands a day). It doesn’t break like it used to. It is holding the curl pattern better (even though I am WAY overdue for a hair cut). My bangs are at that phase that they are not bangs nor normal length so they are almost always pinned back…

I am so proud and so happy to share with you all and look forward to sharing some new products, new regimens, and new self-care methods in the coming weeks!

As always, inquiring minds want to know…Have you ever had any challenges growing your hair? Have you had any hair challenges at all? What do you do to take care of your hair?

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Welcome to 2020

What a holiday season! It has been such a whirlwind with having my parents in town, living in a new place, starting a new job (which means not having ANY vacation time), hosting, cooking, cleaning, wrapping… It was certainly one for the books as 2019 was able to close on a very heartwarming note.

I have to say that I was not sad to see 2019 go. Many of you know it was a very dramatic year with a lot of health issues in my family and personally. But it was also a year that got me back into writing, got me on my healthy journey where I lost 35 pounds, gave me an opportunity to move to my dream town.

So here we are in 2020 or as I like to call it “the roaring 20’s 2.0”. Get it?? I crack myself up. And before we go ANY further, I want to wish you all a very happy new year.

So with entering a new year, I want to focus on a few very important goals – no, not resolutions, but goals. I want my vision to be clear this year and establish positivity. I want to use the law of attraction AND have a vision board to help me make this year unforgettable. That is exactly why I decided to draft my Top 5 Goals for 2020.

Posted also on my IG

I wanted to make sure my goals were SMART – specific, measurable, attainable/achievable, relevant and time-based. These are all the beginnings of the next chapter in my life ‘FAMILY’. These are all within my control and realistic. These are all going to make me a better me.

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Goals? What are you working on this year?
Comment down below or follow me on Instagram!

Intermittent Fasting

The holidays are upon us and you know what that means… A lot of people are in crunch mode to lose a few pounds before the holidays for a work party, a family gathering, or so they can indulge a bit more during those delicious dinners!

One of the methods I have been using on-and-off for the past few months to help me through my plateaus has been intermittent fasting.

Let me preface this by stating that I do this in small durations and for small cycles. I do not treat this as a diet but rather as an eating pattern. In other words, I do not conscientiously alter the foods I eat when I break my fast nor do I do this for weeks at a time. I am also not a medical professional; this is just personal experience and personal research.

What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a cycle of eating in which there is a period of time that a person does not consume food and other periods of time that they do. Fasting has been a practice throughout time and is still practiced today outside of the health arena. Think about our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors – there were no GrubHub or Postmates or supermarkets, so there were times where eating wasn’t possible. Presently, people who observe Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism all fast at some point for religious reasons.

Why intermittent fasting?
There are several changes to the human body during a fast -some on a cellular level and some even on a molecular level. Many of you may have heard of the diet trend Keto which essentially forces your body to go into ketosis, working on insulin levels and carbohydrate processing. Fasting does something similar without the diet aspect and more.
Hormone levels are altered such as the human growth hormone (HGH) which increases and helps with fat loss and muscle gain; insulin productivity increases which reduce insulin levels and makes stored body fat more accessible (think ketosis); cells throughout the body begin initiate repair which helps process/eliminate protein inside the cells; gene expression occurs which have been linked to longevity and disease protection. Coincidentally, you become more conscientious of what you eat when you stop fasting (or break a fast) which means you opt to make healthier choices overall. Also, I have noticed that I don’t need to eat as much when I am observing a fast in order to feel full.

How do you fast?
There are several different types of fasting cycles. Below are just a few examples, but these can all be customized to fit a person’s needs.

  • Circadian Rhythm – Fasting period starts at sunset and lasts till morning.
  • 16:8 – A fasting period of 16 hours with an 8-hour eating window
  • 18:6 – A fasting period of 18 hours with a 6-hour eating window
  • 20:4 – A fasting period of 20 hours with a 4-hour eating window
  • Monk Fasting – A fasting period of 36 straight hours
  • Eat-Stop-Eat – Fasting for 24 hours, eating for one day, fasting again
  • 5:2 Diet Fast – This combines dieting with fasting in which a person only consumes 500 (plus/minus) calories a 2 times a week and then eat normally the rest of the week.

What is allowed during a fast?
Not much which is why the breaks are so important and why I do this only during short durations.
You are allowed to have water, tea, and black coffee – essentially clear liquids only. So no broth, no milk, no food.

I am fasting but I’m hungry (or don’t feel well). What do I do?
EAT. You have to listen to your body and if you aren’t feeling well or you are hungry – you need to eat. This is not meant to deprive you of nutrients or what your body needs. It isn’t worth getting sick over. This is just an eating style.

I started intermittent fasting with a Circadian Rhythm cycle that I then continued into the late morning. Now I do more of a 12:12 or 16:8 cycle because I stop eating around 8 PM and do not eat again until around noon unless I’m hungry in which I will have a light BREAKFAST (does that make sense now…break…fast) of my regular coffee (with almond milk and monk fruit) and usually an avocado toast for a good dosing of healthy fats.

Again, I do this for a few weeks at a time and then resume normal food consumption. This cycle of off-and-on helps me push through some weight loss hurdles and through mindless snacking/binging.

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you tried intermittent fasting? What cycle have you tried? What has your experience been like? If you haven’t, are you interested in trying it?

And I’m Back!

Some of you that have been following my Instagram, know that I had to take a little bit of a hiatus for a couple of weeks!

Packing. Moving. Ending a chapter. Starting a new chapter. Starting a new job. Unpacking. Learning the lay of the land. Holidays.

It has been a very complicated couple of weeks. And while I had content I wanted to post, I really needed to focus on my family and my health. Please don’t get me wrong – I am NOT complaining in the slightest. I know I am truly blessed. But it has just been a very hectic few weeks so I had to forgo some extra responsibilities.

But have no fear because I am back!

I may be a little slow on the upkeep as I am still acclimating but you will start to see content on here AND IG resume! I truly missed you all and cannot wait to fully return. Thank you all for your patience, messages, and support!

Is Age Just a Number?

Let me preface this by stating this is not a typical post for me. This has been on my mind lately and I really need to express it and to what better audience than my amazing blog family?

It’s November. Yes, I am stating the obvious but that means that next month, amidst all the festivities of the holidays, I will be celebrating my birthday. My 33rd birthday. And yes, I actually had to sit down and think about what age I will be turning on December 31st (and nope, it is not a good day for a birthday but that’s for another rant). I can’t believe I had to sit here and actually think okay 30 years ago was 1989 and then another…

So what am I getting at? I don’t feel my age at all. I don’t feel 32. I don’t have any children yet and I can honestly say that 90% of my friends within the same age group have at least 1 child already -and some have a child that is already in grade school! Honestly, I look in the mirror and I still feel like a child myself so how irresponsible would I be to have a child right now? And yes, I know there is never “the right time” to have a child but bear with me – I am barely keeping myself afloat, how do I bring another life into the world to care for?

Is something wrong with me?

I look in the mirror and I don’t see a 32 year old looking back at me. What does a 32 year old look like? I don’t quite know, exactly. Am I supposed to cut my hair into a bob? Am I supposed to be getting botox? Am I supposed to wear a foundation every day? Am I supposed to take fiber supplements? Am I supposed to rock mom jeans (and not because they are suddenly fashionable)? Am I supposed to drink white wine or spritzers? Am I supposed to have 1+ child and wear athleisure attire?

Is something wrong with me?

Yes, I know I am partially stereotyping, but when I look around me, turn on the TV, talk to my friends and family…all I see and hear about are pregnancies, aging, and all that goes along with it. Instead, I am finishing my doctorate degree and starting my second master; I am moving to my dream city; I am starting a new job at an organization that is amazing; I am booking trips; I am literally working on being my healthiest self…

Am I being selfish?

I don’t know what 33 has in store for me. Maybe I’ll be writing a post in 6 months sharing with you all that my husband and I are starting our family. Maybe I’ll be sharing with you that we are traveling. Maybe we’ll be buying a house. I don’t know. But I can’t help but have this nagging feeling that I am not living up to expectations for someone my age.


I am sorry that this is not my normal content, but this is all a part of the healthy journey. Sometimes we have days that aren’t as strong as others. Sometimes we have bad mental health days. Sometimes we have doubts and want to be introverted. Sometimes we are exuberant and ambitious. Sometimes we just need to express what is weighing on our soul – talk it out and maybe, just maybe, find out we aren’t alone.

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you ever felt this way? How do you deal with societal expectations?

Golden Milk Smoothie

As you may already know, I have been pushing myself to exercise daily this month and am also moving, so I wanted to find a good and healthy way to keep my inflammation down, boost my recovery period, and, as a total bonus, ward off cancer-causing free radicals while reducing any early onsets of arthritis! So what am I talking about? Turmeric!

Golden milk, or golden lattes (if you are going to a fancy cafe), is a blend of turmeric with other boosting ingredients that, combined, are really beneficial for your health! Some of the other benefits of this turmeric-based drink (usually consumed hot) are that it improves memory, improves blood pressure while reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol, and soothes an upset tummy!

So while I was at Target last week and I came across a pre-packaged “golden latte” concentrate that you can add milk and drink at home – for a quarter of the price you’d pay at a cafe. But I still couldn’t bring myself to purchase the concentrate because I literally had all the ingredients at home! So this morning I experimented with my own variation of a “golden latte” smoothie and I am pleasantly surprised!!

The ingredients are simple. Mostly because I had already packed a good portion of my kitchen items, but also because a golden latte is supposed to be a simple concoction that is good for you! So what’s in that shake?

  • 1 small banana
  • 3 cups of coconut milk (or 1:1 of almond milk and coconut water)
  • 4 tablespoons of good quality turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger paste (or 1.5 tablespoons powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • My go-to Combat Protein scoop
  • 1 tablespoon of Maca powder
  • 1 scoop of Collagen powder
    Blend and enjoy!

So you can make this a hot beverage for a nighttime drink (or in lieu of coffee for all you rebels out there) by combining all of the ingredients above (minus the protein, maca, and collagen), blending and then heating them up in a saucepan. You can also add cayenne pepper for a kick that also helps boost metabolism and some honey to make this a sweet treat that is also antimicrobial!

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you tried golden milk or a golden latte yet? Do you normally consume turmeric? What do you take to help you recover faster from a workout??

Online Groceries?

So there has been a recent boom with discussions on online retailors for groceries. While this seems like a great idea, I also have my hesitations. Call me Type A or whatever, but I like to be able to touch, smell, and sometimes squeeze my produce to make sure it is ripe but not too ripe. So the idea of having someone else do that for me??? Okay, yeah, I’m type A.

I wanted to take a quick look at some of the non-produce items between two online retailors as I begin to dip my toe into the ever growing pool. You all know that one of my favorite online stores is none other than Amazon so I wanted to see what it’s competition was doing to stay competitive (wow, be jealous of those English skills). I am a member of Thrive Market, which I was able to get for free due to being a student (graduate students count too). While I do shop at Thrive, I was questioning some of the prices and if it was really saving time and/or money. I wanted to compare the exact same item so it was even, but if I couldn’t get that, I labeled below the closest substitute.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post and I am not in any way affiliated with Thrive Market other than having been a customer on my own journey to healthier food selections.

So without further delay… Thrive Market versus Amazon. Ready?

Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo – 12 oz jar
Thrive Market – $7.45
Amazon – $14.28

Calbee Non-GMO Lightly Salted Snapea Crisps Snacks
Thrive Market – $1.45 (3.3 oz bag)
Amazon – $17.99 (6 x 3.3 oz = $2.99/bag)

Mavuno Harvest Organic Dried Jackfruit
Thrive Market – $6.95 (6 oz bag)
Amazon – $26.45 (6 x 2.0 oz = $13.23/bag)

Lundberg Farms Rice Chips – Fiesta Lime
Thrive Market – $2.45 (6 oz bag)
Amazon – $26.62 (24 x 1.5 oz = ~$4.44/bag)

KETTLE & FIRE GRASS-FED BEEF BONE BROTH
Thrive Market – $8.95 (17.6 oz package)
Amazon – $15.95 (17.6 oz package)

ANNIE’S HOMEGROWN ORGANIC MACARONI AND CHEESE
Thrive Market – $2.25 (6 oz box)
Amazon – $36.34 (12 x 6 oz = ~$3.03/box)

Now keep in mind that Amazon’s prices do change frequently AND they offer 2-day shipping to Prime members so that is important to keep in mind. Also, Amazon is well known for their price-matching should the item you bought change in price within a couple of days. On the other hand, Thrive does offer free shipping and sample products (sometimes full size) over a minimum purchase – usually $49 or more. Thrive usually ships within 2 days and ensures their products are well secured/packed (wrapped with bubble wrap, include an ice pack, etc.).

Thrive Market DOES offer a free 30-day trial period and a free grocery item (mine was a jar of coconut oil).

End result? In this case, Thrive Market is the winner. I have purchased items from them previously and have been very happy with their selection, delivery, and packaging. The key to detail far surpasses other online retailers I have worked with in the past.

However, more of than not, Amazon is usually ahead with the pricing and selection – plus you can also grab that iPhone stand or new pop socket with your order from Amazon. Plus with Amazon’s enhanced Amazon Fresh program, Prime members can get groceries delivered within hours for free as long as you live in an Amazon Fresh area.

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you tried Thrive Market or Amazon Fresh? Do you shop for your groceries online? Have you tried pre-ordering and curbside pick-up?

Packing.

With just a couple of weeks left, packing is what the majority of my day consists of now! I cannot believe how much stuff we accrue over time. I swear I did not have this many boxes when I moved to California just a couple of years ago. This is why I have to stay away from Home Goods.

That used to be my living room…

There are a few things that we have developed during this packing/move experience that we did not previously think of – yep, surprisingly since we considered ourselves experts… I wanted to share with you all those few items that we have recently purchased that have been helping us as we gear up for the big move! These are outside of the normal bubble wrap, packing paper, styrofoam dish separators, boxes, and whatnot; the items below are things we did not think of before which are coming in handy this time around!

  1. Vacuum bags – Sounds silly if you’re only moving a couple of hours away or down the road, but when you have to scramble to pack a closet and don’t want all of those items crumpled up or damaged in boxes along with the 1/2 bottle of perfume or leave-in conditioner…these vacuum bags are amazing! I was able to pack 3-drawers and 2 shelves worth of sweaters into one bag which condensed down nicely and will stay until I can unpack them. As we get closer, I will pack a few of my clothes that I’ll need easy access to as well so they are safe!
  2. Mattress Cover Bags – We have two mattresses, not counting the box springs, that we don’t want stained or damaged, so we opted to purchase these mattress bags that are thick and with a little tape, essentially seal up the mattress entirely so it stays safe, dry, and dirt-free!
  3. Sofa Covers – Kind of like the mattress covers, we want to make sure our sofa (or couch for some) is protected! Because we have an oversized sectional, we bought two since the branches do come apart. Now I just have to find an everyday sofa cover that fits to protect from everyday wear-n-tear.
  4. A hand truck – I bet you are wondering why we bought a hand truck when we could just rent one from U-Haul, but this will actually come in handy for more than just moving! We have a lot of heavier furniture AND regularly shop at Costco, so making it easier for us to haul those items around is always a good choice. This one is great too because it’ll serve as a standard hand truck or lay flat for larger pallet items like cases of water.
  5. TOTES – Okay, so I hear you…where are you going to stick those after the move? Well, we have of fragile items we have acquired through the years and even with all the bubble-wrap in the world, I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting some of those priceless items in a cardboard box. So we opted to purchase a few heavy-duty totes that will be repurposed for off-season clothing and other items we do not use every day. These will be stored in one of the closets and we have a closet outside (but attached our apartment) that we can store items in as well. These will definitely be reused (house-ward bound in the near future) and will protect those precious items just a bit better.

Moving is tough. Moving in a short amount of time is even tougher! But every little trick or hack or tip that we can apply, the better!

So inquiring minds want to know…Do you have any moving tips that we should know about? What is the worst part of moving for you? What is the best part?

Fitness Challenge – Take Two!

So when I say “challenge,” I mean this as a challenge to myself. I want to challenge myself to push a little farther, a little harder, and consistently. I want to make myself number one while still making time for everything I have to complete. I want to be healthier. I want to enjoy the holidays and get myself ready for the next chapter of my life – The Family Chapter.

That means I am challenging myself to pick myself up where I fell in Movetober, dust myself off, and get right back at it. That is why this month will be filled with some intense exercising and healthy meals!

My promise to you is that on October 31st, I will post my measurements, weight, and photos to show where I am starting and effective November 1st, I will be pushing myself to do better! Yes, I will be moving at one point during the month, but I will just simply need to factor that in since now I have a plan and am not surprised by changes…

This month, I am also working on my fitness when and where I know I can – at home. While I love going to my smaller gym, getting there after a long day can seem impossible. Plus, getting in a quality full gym workout is not always 100% possible – there are days where time is not on your side. So in lieu of over-promising and under-delivering, I have opted to join the LSF family!

Change is good.

If you don’t know what LSF is, Katie Dunlop is a Certified Personal Trainer in Orange County, California, that I have been following on YouTube for months now. She also has her own website and app that you can follow with easy but effective workouts even when you’re crunched for time.
I found myself really gravitating to her plan because of her story – she was overweight, unhappy with fads, and with a thyroid condition, she opted to take charge of her life and find her happiness. Sounds familiar…

So I paid the 1-month membership, got 7 days free, and downloaded her app. I have previously participated in some of her free workouts and I have to say that they really drum up a sweat!! So I know that I am in for it with her app workouts but I want to continue my journey and improve my health – NO EXCUSES.

If you want to join me on the journey, follow my Instagram at @msbelladaniela. I will post updates and even chat live! I want you all to be a part of this journey and keep me responsible!

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you tried LSF or another workout routine? How do you make time to stay physically active?

Movetober Challenge – Check-Ins 2 & 3

Yikes. This was NOT the month to start a fitness challenge apparently. Just when I thought it was going to be a smooth month that would allow me the time I needed to focus on school and fitness, one major life-changing moment after another was announced! If you haven’t read my post from last week on my moving announcement, both my husband and I were graciously given opportunities to advance our careers in SoCal. However, that meant we needed to find a place, pack, and move in under a month!

So that being said, my Movetober Challenge was more like a “squeeze exercise in however and whenever possible” challenge. I have been meeting and exceeding my move goal every day (thank you iWatch for keeping me on target) and even made time to actually work out when I could – even if that meant 9 pm at night!

So what is in store for week 04? More of the same! This is crunch time for packing and if you didn’t already know…that IS a work out in and of itself.

But have I seen any improvements to date? YES! So setting my mind to actually work out every day gave me the motivation to meet those daily goals, and even INCREASE them. I took advantage of any opportunity to sneak in a few minutes of exercise whether that was a brisk 15-minute walk during my morning break or doing 7-minute work out challenges at lunch (yep, there is an app for that) or I’ll even sneak in wall-sits for a minute or two when I’m on a conference call!

Yeah, okay so I know you’re saying these are a lot of excuses and what are my results? While the scale hasn’t gone down, it hasn’t gone up either. I have also noticed a lot of non-scale wins like my pants fitting differently or that I was able to finish some workouts (Peloton for the win) without being completely worn out.

I want to still keep pushing myself and working on my physical, mental, and spiritual health. I want to make sure that during this chaotic time, I don’t forget about what is important. I want to make sure I continue to make wise choices and remain positive.

So inquiring minds want to know… What has been your most chaotic time in 2019? How did you overcome those challenges?