Healthy Habits


Now that the prime “New Years Resolutions” time has passed, I wanted to briefly reflect on one of my goals for the new year: strengthening my core. As I mentioned before, I have a lot of back pain and know that committing to strengthening exercises and a more disciplined workout routine will help alleviate a lot of the aches that bother me on a daily basis. It’s such a copout to use the phrase “I don’t have time,” and I hate that that’s been my reason for not working out as diligently over the past few weeks. barre3 has 20 minute workout videos that can be done in the comfort of your own home, and sometimes even getting to those seems “inconvenient.” I feel ridiculous even putting this into writing right now, because we all lead busy lives and still find ways to make time for the things that are important to us.


boohoo Top (c/o; so many good workout options!)
boohoo Leggings (c/o)
boohoo Sports Bra (c/o)
ASICS Sneakers (newer version here)
Fitbit Flex



Another obvious aspect of being healthy is consuming good, wholesome food. I’ve alluded to this before, but eating well is something I’ve always struggled with – I’ll blame it on the insane sweet tooth I inherited from my dad (is “fried food tooth” a thing, too?). My doctor has told me to make a conscious effort to cut down on crappy food because it was showing in my cholesterol levels, and – newsflash, Mons: eating a ton of fruit and working out doesn’t exactly “cancel things out.”

Luckily, my tastebuds have matured over the past couple of years and I finally crave [certain] vegetables. Eating them still feels like more like a rarity than it should (I need to stop being impressed with myself when I eat a huge bowl of vegetables…this should be the norm!) and this is something I’m currently trying to work on. Of course, balance is going to be key, but it should look more like 70–30 and not the 50–50 I currently abide by. If you follow me on Instagram or saw me much in the month of January, you likely know that I was doing JRINK’s 30 Day Challenge, which ended about a week ago. A more detailed post to follow, but it really helped me appreciate how good your body can feel when you sub out an unhealthy snack for a good one.

If any of you have struggled with this, I’d love to know how you a) strengthened your core and body (why can’t this happen overnight?) and b) how you turned your eating habits around. I’m also entertaining the idea of trying Kayla Itsine’s workout, which sounds both exhilarating and terrifying. All tips are welcome!

Healthy Habits

Photos by Katie Urban

Friday Things


As you may have seen, I’m currently in Nashville for a couple of days of eating my way through exploring the city that everyone can’t stop raving about. This week was a blur of trying to get things done before leaving DC, and I’m hoping things slow down a little next week…anyone else going to use the rest of winter as an excuse to stay indoors and squeeze in some R&R?

COOKING: In an effort to eat somewhat healthy to prepare for the combination of Nashville + the Super Bowl, I made cauliflower pasta (inspired by Merritt) and was pleasantly surprised! It definitely doesn’t taste like “real” pasta, but it tastes really good and doesn’t leave you uncomfortably full. I’d sort of view it like comparing a veggie burger to a beef burger when you aren’t a vegetarian…don’t think of it as a substitute, but rather a separate entity!

EYEING: J.Crew’s new arrivals– perhaps some redemption for the past couple of years? I’m eyeing these pointed toe ballet flats, this white ruffled button down (NEED), this cable knit sweater in navy, and these flats.



Bad news for us seltzer drinkers…I’m just going to assume this is an exaggeration and remind myself why I should continue limiting myself to two bottles a week (#selfcontrolx100)

– I really want to try Lindsay’s fourless banana & peanut butter muffins.

How to care for wool and cashmere…pin/bookmark this! While I dry clean mine once or twice a season, this confirms for me that I’m going to try hand washing next.

– Has anyone else been equally obsessed with Longchamp for as long as they can remember? An interesting read on how the brand got started and has maintained its popularity via the Le Pliage tote.

– Don’t know much about the Super Bowl? The main things you need to know for Sunday’s big game (via Vogue, so very digestible for those of us lacking knowledge in this area!)

Jess has been posting some great career advice– this time, 7 surprising interview mistakes you may have made if you didn’t get the job.

ICYMI: A healthy(ish) spinach and artichoke dip for the Super Bowl, some budget-friendly décor to revamp your space, one of my favorite memorials in DC, and … Nashville!

Image via a pair & a spare with text added by me

Lighter Garlic Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Light Garlic Spinach & Artichoke Dip

While I’m not usually one to sacrifice flavor and richness for calories, I’ve started trying to look for healthier alternatives to some of my favorite indulgences. With this Nashville trip (headed there today!) and the Super Bowl on Sunday, there was no chance of me giving up my fried food, but a very good chance I’d feel sick by the time Monday rolled around.

Luckily, spinach and artichoke dip is a magical concoction that can be made a little lighter than the full fat iteration we all know and love. I won’t lie…the taste is slightly different…but not in a bad way– it’s just slightly more tart with the Greek yogurt. The “garlic” was somewhat of an accident, as it ended up being a little more overpowering than I’d originally intended. But my coworkers and I agreed (I took it to an office Super Bowl potluck) that it actually totally worked! Bonus for this recipe: no oven needed…I just stuck it in the microwave to reheat!

Lighter Garlic Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen; serves 10-12

– 8oz reduced fat cream cheese
– 16oz Greek yogurt (I used 2% fat)
– 10oz frozen spinach (ideally thawed with all water squeezed out, but it’s okay if not)
– 14oz artichoke hearts, chopped (the canned kind)
– 1 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a medium white cheddar)
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a large nonstick pot, heat butter, yogurt, shredded cheese, and cream cheese over medium heat. Stir periodically and heat until it starts to bubble.

Add spinach, chopped artichokes, and black pepper. Stir until well-combined and add your minced garlic. Continue stirring until dip is heated through. Serve warm with crackers, bread, or chips.

Light Garlic Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Photos by Monica Dutia for Cake & Lilies