Top 3 Pilates Moves for Toned Abs

Ah, Pilates, my first fitness addiction. I began practicing almost 5 years ago and teaching just over 4 months now. Today I’m sharing 3 classical Pilates moves that never fail to work. It takes 5 minutes to do this routine, so find a small spot on the floor and enjoy! single leg stretch.jpgimg_9840img_9841

  1. Start by lying on your back. Knees pulled into your chest.
  2. Lift head and shoulders off the mat
  3. Grab right shin with both hands stacked one on top of the other
  4. Extend left leg to a high diagonal
  5. Inhale as you switch legs
  6. Exhale as you pull left knee in towards chest
  7. Continue to switch. Do 10 on each leg.

Modification: head and shoulders rest on the mat. Continue to switch your legs.

Challenge: lower that extended leg closer towards the mat and/or lift another inch off your shoulder blades
single leg stretch-2.jpgimg_9842img_9843

  1. Start by lying on your back. Knees pulled into your chest
  2. Lift head and shoulders off the mat
  3. Inhale as you extend arms and legs go to a high diagonal
  4. Exhale as you circle arms around grabbing your shins while hugging knees into chest
  5. Do 8-10 reps

Modification: arms and legs are at a 90º angle instead of a 45º angle

Challenge: Lower your extended legs closer towards the mat while keeping that lower back on the mat


  1. Start by lying on your back. Knees pulled into your chest
  2. Lift head and shoulders off the mat.
  3. Hands go behind your neck and extend legs straight to the ceiling at 90º
  4. Bring your feet into Pilates stance – heels together, toes apart
  5. Inhale as you lower legs to a place where your lower back remains on the mat
  6. Exhale as you lift your legs back to 90
  7. Do 8 reps

Modification: Create a triangle with your hands (index fingers and thumbs connect) and place it under tailbone to support your lower back

Challenge: Lower your legs closer towards the mat while keeping your lower back pressed on the mat to prevent injury.

Do this routine every day for a week and you’ll definitely feel your abs tightening.


Let me know if you want to see any other Pilates-related posts! Would love to share.

Why I Yoga

When I was first introduced to yoga at the beginning of college, I saw it as a way to workout and nothing more. I left my first class feeling achey, confused (like who thought it was a good idea to balance on their triceps..?), and not “zen” as everyone makes it out to be. Even though I didn’t really enjoy it, I kept on taking classes off and on because I always heard about how “good” it was for us. With a more consistent practice in the past 10 months, I’ve grasped something invaluable: to live with mindfulness.


With each conscious and deliberate inhale and exhale, we become that much more mindful and in control. I’ve learned to become present by matching movement to breath.

There tends to be two type of people in this world: one who is running around like a chicken with its head cut off or one who is living out a mundane routine everyday. I fall more on the latter. It can suck to be a creature of habit because you start to look at life through dull eyes. But yoga has taught me to be still, acknowledge, and appreciate. Even if it’s for a second, stop to genuinely enjoy the beautiful crisp autumn air. Stop to watch the squirrels playfully chase each other around a tree. Stop mindlessly scrolling through your phone while waiting in line and compliment the stranger behind you. Continuously be in awe of the seemingly “little” things in life because only then will you begin to see the “bigger” blessings appear.

We are often focused on figuring out the future or dwelling on the past that we don’t recognize the precious blessings in front of us at this very moment.

Just remember – What’s in the past has passed. What’s in the future is written. Let go of things you can’t control. Have unwavering faith that the universe will always be there to support and guide you through this crazy ride called life, as long as you call onto it. As Paulo Coelho said, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

So many jumbled thoughts that I have in my head, so apologies if this post sounds like nonsense. If you liked this post, make sure to check out my 30 Days of Yoga: What I’ve Learned post!

Happy Sunday! Hope we all have a productive yet mindful week ahead.

Skincare Routine for Acne-Prone Skin

I will forever be in pursuit of beautiful skin. Our skin is truly the foundation of our entire face. Without a great base, all the makeup in the world can’t help us look beautiful AND feel comfortable & confident. I have combo and acne-prone skin, so I can definitely empathize with skin struggles. I’ve used so many products throughout the years that I want to share my current routine using my absolute favorite products. By no means is my skin perfect or this will work for everyone, but just sharing my experience 🙂

Before I share the products, I want to talk about the foods we put in our mouths. Without a balanced diet, we can’t have beautiful skin. Eat more foods rich in alkaline like greens and fruits and less acidic foods like meat and alcohol. And most importantly – increase your water intake! It flushes our system and leaves our skin glowing. It’s recommended to drink at least 2.5-3 liters a day. I personally drink about 4-5 since I’m apparently a walking fish. Now onto the products –

I’ve used Purity off and on for many years now. It is super gentle (perfect for sensitive skin) and takes off every inch of makeup. There’s not a single bad thing I can say about this cleanser. It also has a nice, subtle herbal-ish scent. You can buy Purity at most beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta.






I have acne-prone skin so when it’s “that time of the month”, my skin totally freaks out. Every single month. I use this AcneFree Purifying Cleanser with benzoyl peroxide to control my acne. This product WORKS. I can see a clear difference within 24 hours and it prevents future pimples from coming since it has slow releasing benzoyl peroxide.

This cleanser is apart of a 3-step system, but I don’t use the toner and moisturizer since it’s too drying for me. Next time I’ll buy just the cleanser. You can find AcneFree at most drugstores including Target and CVS.


I’ve been using coconut oil religiously all day, err day for the past 4+ years. I’m convinced I have coco oil running through my veins by now. Right after I wash my face, I lather this on my skin for a good 30 seconds. I then give a quick rinse and gently pat my skin dry. I like to keep a thin layer of the oil on my skin to act as my moisturizer. I do this every morning and night. Coconut oil is perfect for any skin type since it’s so gentle and incredibly moisturizing. You can find coconut oil just about anywhere nowadays. Try and pick up an extra virgin and organic one if possible.


After I have a nice thin layer of coco oil on my skin, I use a pump or two of this Aura Cacia Rosehip Oil. You can Google the benefits of rosehip oil, but I’ve personally seen my skin tone appear more even. I was sold when I read that Miranda Kerr promised by this oil. I use this every night. This little bottle is about $8 and lasts 4-6 months. You can find them at most health food stores including Whole Foods.




Colder weather = drier skin, so I’ve been reaching for products super rich and moisturizing. Weleda White Mallow Face Cream is perfect. I bought this product on a whim last year after my skin turned into leather from using an incredibly harsh product that completely dried my face out. Although this is geared towards people with eczema, I haven’t found any issues since it’s so gentle and made with 97% organic products. So if you battle with eczema, this is perfect for you. If you don’t battle with eczema but want baby soft skin, this is also perfect you. I apply this at night before bed and in the morning under my makeup. It comes out thick, but so easy to blend in and doesn’t feel thick on your skin. This is about $14 and I found mine at a local health food store (Mom’s Organic Market). You can also order online.


Masks are so important! They’re basically nutrient-densed food for your skin. I’ve been using Algenist Algae Brightening Mask since May and love it. It leaves my skin appear more radiant and glowing while leaving it baby soft. It completely improves my overall complexion and texture. I use this mask about once a week. Although it’s a little pricy ($62), a little goes a long way. I bought it almost 6 months ago and only used half the product. Way more bang for your buck than buying individual sheet masks for $8. I picked this up at Sephora.


Spot Treatment
I want to sneak this guy in here, too. Tea Tree Oil is great for acne since it basically dries the pimple out. I use this oil as a spot treatment at night and my pimple is usually improved by the next morning. I picked this up from Trader Joe’s for like $3 or something super cheap.







Cleansing Brush
I think anyone who appreciates good skin considers the Clarisonic a must-have. I mean, what was life like before we discovered this? I’ve been using my Clarisonic for about 5+ years now and never looking back. This guy thoroughly cleanses the skin far better than our hands can do. It scrubs away dead skin cells revealing better complexion and texture. Your skincare products will also absorb better for more efficiency. I use my Clarisonic about every 2 days since I don’t want to over exfoliate, but find what works for you!


Now awkward selfies –

Hashtag no filter so you can see the imperfections, too!

Comment below any skincare products you recommend 🙂 I love hearing what people are raving about.


`September 2016 Favorites

One of my absolute favorite things to read/watch is when bloggers share their favorite products from the previous month. Here are 5 products I was loving in September.

  1. Living Proof Prime Style Extender


I received a sample of this product at Sephora and got hooked. Prime Style Extender is perfect for hair that can’t hold a curl for more than 15 minutes (classic thick asian hair problem).  Its purpose is to extend any hair style you create up to twice as long. I apply this creme product throughout my damp hair and proceed to style with my hot tool. I see a clear difference in the longevity of my hair style when I use and don’t use this product.


2. Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25


I use this product year round, but I especially reach for it during the fall and winter. It’s been my go-to balm for 3 years now. I like to apply it at night before bed and wake up to pillowy soft lips in the morning. You can really feel it penetrating into the skin rather than just resting on the surface. The best part is it doesn’t have that gross waxy feeling. I also love how it has SPF because my lips tend to get tan in the summer. Resist picking up Chapstick at the CVS checkout and “splurge” on this balm for $7.50 USD instead. Love love love!

3BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector

Ah in love with this blush! I have it in the shade Camellia. I like to apply it to the apple of my cheeks and it instantly makes me look more alive and put together. Although it’s super sparkly in the pan, it’s very subtle on the skin. This blush doesn’t sink into your pores which is a big big bonus! It’s pretty pigmented so it shows up well on all skin tones, but I especially like it when I’m tan. Although a bit pricy ($26 USD), a little goes a long way. Note – don’t tap your brush against the pan to get the excess powder off. Your blush will break as mine did in the photo. Oops..

4. CLEAN Reserve Warm Cotton Spray


I’m not big on perfume since I don’t typically like artificial smelling things but I love this light, fresh, and natural scent. I spray this perfume in the morning and the smell lingers all day. It reminds me of fresh laundry which I personally love 🙂 They have many other scents like “Rain” and “Skin”. Definitely check them out if you’re into more “clean” smells.

5.  It’s A 10 Miracle Leave In Productimg_9609

This is an oldie but goodie. I used this in high school and just picked it back up last month. This product promises to deliver 10 things that I can’t even remember, but it basically makes your hair super soft and healthy feeling. Once I towel dry my hair after a shower, I apply this product throughout my hair and let it air dry. It leaves my hair so smooth that it’s almost a miracle 😉 I especially like it because it repairs/prevents split ends!



Have you used any of these products? Lets me know your thoughts on them!

The Little Things #10

  1. September sunsets. The absolute best all year.
  2. Hearing someone you love pull into the driveway knowing they made it home safely
  3. Feeling like a new person with freshly threaded eyebrows
  4. The free and daily gift of sunrises
  5. Re-discovering old hobbies and enjoying them again. Like this blog!
  6. Sweater weather. Actually more like hoodie weather.
  7. Friends to laugh with and learn from ❤

I was lucky enough to catch the sun do its magic so of course I snapped a picture.