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