FriYAY Five - Volume I

It might be April 6th, but it's cold AF outside. What's the deal, winter? Get a clue and let spring show it's shiny, warm face already.

Anywho, I'm starting this new series where each Friday, I'll offer you a few quick musings and finds to get you through the last 8-5 of the week. Anything you're interested in hearing about or that you've found to be fascinating this week? LEMME KNOW!

  • What do you think about this device? A watch that counts down to your (calculated) demise. Nice. Nothing like a little PRESSURE to really crank life up a notch. Tikker describes their watch as providing a constant reminder that life is truly short and that we should take advantage of the time we have on this planet - Would you or wouldn't you? I mean, tbh, frankly I'm curious about what it would predict for me (living my best life balancing work happy hours with all the avocado and kale at home). Thoughts?
  • Get Sh*T Done: I LOVE an itinerary & I love doodling - so how perfect are these bullet journals on Well + Good? Totally trying this (then forgetting it on my counter) for my next trip.
  • Better Myself: I hate taking my shot of greens in the morning, BUT I need to suck it up and do it (Lord knows I've taken shots of worse things in my life than spirulina and wheatgrass) - Not only do I love the glow greens give, but also, the health benefits are too many to name. I currently use Amazing Grass and mix the Green SuperFood Detox & Digest and the Beauty Elixir mixed together. More is more...right? I also love their chocolate protein powder.
  • NEED TO DO: Kitchari Cleanse... Specifically with this recipe. Kitchari means "mixture", and is used in Ayurveda as a nourishing cleanse and break for your digestive system. Frankly, I'm almost 100% sure I could live on rice anyway (LOVE IT), so this sounds right up my alley. Ayurveda is absolutely fascinating to me - especially since I have a feeling my "dosha" is completely outta whack. Let's balance our doshas and learn more about kitchari here.
  • LOLing: The Bitch Bible podcast. Yesterday I about laughed myself right off the treadmill at 5:45 am BEFORE COFFEE. I know - who laughs that early, sans caffeine? I LOVE Jackie's dry sense of humor and rants and really can't get enough. I found her by listening to The Skinny Confidential's Him & Her podcast the other day - another gem to check out!

    TGIF Y'ALL!!!!! I'm going to relax this weekend and treat myself to a massage after a 9 MILE RUN TOMORROW MORNING..... Telling you so you can hold me accountable. Feel free to pester me about it on Instagram. Peer Pressure works WONDERS on me. Thanks in advance! :)



Bringing Healthy Back - September Slim Down

Hi there! It's been a while since last time we've chatted, and a lot has happened since last time.

Miss USA was May 14th, and really, I've had a very hard time with my health, mentally and physically, ever since. The disappointment of not placing at Miss USA has really been a difficult experience for me, and while that's a story for a different, upcoming blog post, I have really let the experience impact me negatively.

Walking the Miss USA stage

Walking the Miss USA stage


This summer, it has felt like I have been purposefully unhealthy. Self-sabotaging, if you will. Usually, I absolutely love working out and being healthy from the inside out, but right now, it's like I am a different person. I'm not sure if you've ever been in a rut like this, but it isn't easy to dig your way out of.

Full disclosure - I am the most unhealthy I've been in a long time, I don't feel comfortable in my own skin, and, thankfully, I'm ready to take my health back.

Thanks to Amy Miller at Amy Miller Training in Sioux Falls, I have found a love for fitness and working out again. Her classes (especially Hot Yoga Sculpt!) have given me the challenge I need to fuel the fire that I've always had for competition and challenging myself. The fitness component of health has always been easiest to implement for me, so that is the first change I'm making! I will be taking 4 strength-based classes at AMT per week, along with cardio and long distance walking on my own.

The second challenge is overall movement. I am aiming to hit my 10,000 steps each day in September! Along with movement, I am focusing on providing my body with nourishing nutrition, ample amounts of sleep (my average nightly amount this summer has been about 6.5 hours per night, YIKES. I do better with 8), and positive self-talk.

I have always had a difficult relationship with dieting and weight loss, so instead of counting my calories and worrying about every number, I am working on being more mindful, finishing eating with I am satiated, and filling my plate with nourishing ingredients that I know will give me energy and make me feel great!

My goal for September is to get myself to a place where I feel satisfied again - satisfied with the way I feel from the inside out, satisfied that I am making a daily effort toward bettering my personal health, and satisfied with my time and experiences that I've had in the world of pageantry. It isn't easy being your own worst critic, but it's important to silence that voice and to find the positive and silver lining in every situation.

Follow along this September to watch my journey to better health, to find your own motivation, and to, like me, silence those inner critics and become the best version of yourself yet! I give up my crown at the end of the month, so it is perfect timing to take my life back and end this year with a bang. I'm excited to update you with my personal progress, and show that when you put your mind to something, an entire new world of opportunity opens up.

Cheers to ending the cycle of "I'm not good enough" and replacing it with "I am enough, and I deserve to be happy". As my friend Alexis says, "What is meant for you won't pass you", so instead of having lingering sadness and anxiousness over what wasn't meant for me, I'm choosing a new path.

Starting today.

3-ish (okay 4) Ab Exercises because Bikini Season

Hi, all! It's already almost the end of March.. can you believe it? 

This means that summer is right around the corner! If you're from the Midwest like I am, it's easy to put on a littttle winter weight, especially around the midsection, thanks to rich foods and loose sweaters 😃 OOPS. GUILTY. 

With summer, AND MISS USA, looming right around the corner, it's time to get those abs in check. I've included a few of my favorite abdominal exercises and variations to get that 6-pack ready for bikini season!


I've suggested sets, times, and repetitions, but feel free to do more or less depending on your fitness level. I always like the feeling of working hard and being a little sore the next day (Hello, delayed onset muscle soreness! [DOMS]), so I err on the heavier side of repetitions. 


  1. Plank

Ahhh, yes. The ever popular plank. This is a great, full-body hold, and I especially like it for overall ab toning and muscle building. The best advice I heard recently regarding planks is to think of pulling your arms and toes together - this really engages those sexy ab muscles. Try it for yourself! Start with 3 holds of 30 seconds each, and work your way up to 60-90 seconds. This is an easy exercise to do each morning right when you roll out of bed. 

     1.5. Side Plank

This variation of the standard plank can be done with a number of modifications. Feel free to stack your feet like I do for more of a challenge, but also, don't be afraid to put a knee down or split your feet until you build up some strength. Holding this will really engage those obliques! Try to hold for the same times as you did for your standard plank.

  1. Crunch

I know, so many people hate on the crunch. I, for one, just LOVE a standard crunch. The key here is to make sure you're not just pulling on your neck as you lift and crunch, but instead to think of lifting your forehead straight up to the ceiling, only engaging and lifting with those strong abdominal muscles you have! Leave the head and neck out of it, and focus on those abs. Start with 3 sets of 25, and work up to 3 sets of 50 crunches. It seems like a large number, but you'll gain strength in no time with consistency.

  1. Butt Lifts

I find that these really make you focus on those lower ab muscles that plague a lot of people. Think "mind in the muscle" when doing this, and focus on lifting your butt off the floor by activating those lower abdominal muscles. Try 3 sets of 25, and go from there! 

  1. Bicycles

These babies are one of my favorite ab moves of all time, and for good reason. When you use full range of motion and go nice and slow, they really work all of the muscles up and down your core. I find the slower the better, so don't rush through even though they might be difficult! Keeping your shoulders off the ground, think of bringing opposite shoulder to opposite knee. One full rotation through each side counts as 1. Try 3 sets of 15 if you are a beginner, and 3 sets of 25 if you are a little stronger. 

So, that's it! A few simple, do anywhere abdominal moves that will help you get ready for summer. Remember, abs are created in the gym (or in your living room), and revealed in the kitchen. Don't let your hard work go to waste with a bad diet! Check out my post on Green Smoothies for an easy, quick, super-duper healthy meal or snack. 

Happy Crunching!

XO,  Tessa

Miss USA Prep - Quick, At-Home Workout

Working out at home or while traveling is a reality so many of us busy bees have to face. As I prep for Miss USA and the date creeps closer, I can't miss a workout, wherever I may be in this crazy world! 

I have a great at home routine that gets my heart pumping and muscles working. I find that doing circuits at home (or in a hotel room!) is a quick and easy way to get an effective workout in. I use Tabata to formulate my workouts. Tabata is a circuit style that incorporates 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times (4 minutes total). 

XO, Tessa

Photography & Graphics by The Sampson House

How To: Beachy Waves

With spring and summer right around the corner, I'm in constant search of the perfect beachy wave. I have naturally straight, fine hair, so creating a carefree, textured look has always been more difficult for me.

Through the use of different products and techniques, I've finally found what works for me! 


  • Mousse
  • Texture Spray
  • Comb/Brush 
  • Small flat iron
  • Texture pomade (optional for a piecier look)
  • Hair spray


Hopefully this undone, beachy look gets you as excited for summer as I am! This method works for my straight-as-a-stick hair, and I hope it works for you too!! 

XO, Tessa 

Photography & Graphics by The Sampson House