Friday’s Featured Female – 10 Women You Need To Meet At BlogHer

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Friday's Featured Female | 2 Comments

Welcome to Friday’s Featured Female!  

Today I have 10 Women You Need to Meet at BlogHer.



Ok, so I’m cheating a bit today by not featuring one special female but because BlogHer is such a big deal, I figured that I’d highlight 10 great women who you can meet at this major conference.  I know there are many amazing women to meet  at every conference but these are 10 you should definitely get to know! 



Confessions of a Fat Girl, #MenDay

A screenshot of COAFG complete with a recent #MenDay post.

AJ is a force.  She’s smart, wickedly funny and appreciates pop culture almost as much as I do.  AJ is not only a blogger but she’s a PR maven extraordinaire.  AJ has been a #FFF and with good reason, I adore her.  If you’re looking to meet AJ, you may have some trouble figuring out who she is because she doesn’t use a photo of herself on any of her social media outlets but do what you can to meet this girl.  AJ’s an amazing person and so unbelievably knowledgable about blogging, social media and is fabulously fun human being.


Lindsay, Fit and Awesome, run, surf, snowboard

Lindsay is a recent #FFF and maybe you already know this surfer, snowboarder and runner?  Did you know that she’s also digital marketing professional who knows really knows her stuff?  Lindsay is friendly, knowledgable and should probably be presenting at BlogHer rather than attending.  If you want to get on her good side, discuss gluten free foods or ask about her dog Kona!


Kimberly Brown (formerly Whittaker)@ManifestYourself:


Shamelessly copied from

Kimberly is one of my favorite bloggers and of course, she’s been a #FFF.  FitBloggin’ 2013 brought us together and since then, she has taken off!  Kimberly has co-founded a conference in NYC, was a speaker at FitBloggin’ 2014 and is open and honest about her journey in life, love and fitness.  There’s a good reason Kimberly was voted one of the 60 Must-Read Health, Fitness and Happiness Blogs by Greatist.  Seek this wonderful woman out!




Nellie represents the home in my heart (Brooklyn) with style and sass.  This mother of two is not only a Zumba instructor but she’s got a spirit and a sense of dedication that puts people under her spell instantly.  Nellie is currently training for her first 10K and she’s taking all of her readers along for the ride.  Nellie shared her fitness story on #FFF just a few weeks ago.




I found Lisa on Twitter and a blind lunch date wound up being one of the greatest connections I’ve made since moving to LA.   Lisa is not only gorgeous, smart, funny, appreciates good music and is a great mom but she’s also one fabulous writer.  Lisa is featured in the book Moms Are Nuts and she’ll be reading as one of the 2014 BlogHer Voices of the Year.  Lisa loves Elvis Costello and she’s recently started following a raw vegan diet so if you have a tip for amazing raw vegan food choices, I bet she’d love to know.  If you can sing “Alison” while showcasing said raw vegan foodstuff, she might take you home.


Elizabeth Jayne Liu, Flourish In Progress


Ever judge a book by it’s cover?  When you see this petite and impeccably put together, shy Asian woman, look out and be prepared to be amazed.  She may appear delicate but Elizabeth Jayne Liu is one of the toughest chicks you’ll ever be lucky enough to meet.  She may appreciate the finer things in fashion but she’s deep and thug at her core.  Elizabeth writes (and speaks) like no one you will ever meet.  Whenever I read FIP, I can only hope to ever be half the writer this woman is.  Elizabeth is incredibly shy but you should go and say hello (tell her I sent you).  You won’t be sorry.



Wendy Nielsen


Look at that smile – that is who Wendy Nielsen is when you meet her IRL.  I was introduced to Wendy’s blog via the So Cal Lady Bloggers and her honesty and positive outlook after cancer drew me in immediately.  Wendy is a fabulous writer, mother and lover of good television.  I was thrilled to finally meet (and hug) this lady this past Spring.  Wendy is a breast cancer survivor and is attending BlogHer 2014 as an Ambassador for the Count Us, Know Us, Join Us team educating people about living with Advanced Breast Cancer.  Go and see Wendy and her panel on Friday at BlogHer or visit her very amazing blog.

Roni@Roni’sWeigh and FitBloggin’:

Roni is the creator of the amazing 5 year old FitBloggin’ conference.  There are few people in the world who could put together this unique conference – and get their family in on the action.  I’ve gushed tremendously about how the FitBloggin’ conference and the impact of all of the warm, dedicated and inspirational people of this gathering stay with you long after the sessions have ended.  Roni is calm but determined and able to multitask better than most people I’ve ever met.  Roni just published children’s book and recently finished a manuscript (with friend and fellow amazeballs blogger, Carla Birnberg) based on the #wycwyc (what you can, when you can) principle.  Find Roni at the Healthy Living Mini Con on Saturday.


Alexandra Williams,


Alexandra is a vivacious woman dedicated to keeping the Boomer generation fit and healthy every single day. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both Alexandra and her fabulous sister, Kymberly, at a number of conferences.  Not only do both of these women know how to keep the party going (they can often be seen dancing at any and every event), they are happy and know a ton about writing, creating a community and incorporating the love of fitness into living well.  Alexandra is a community leader and if you’re interested in health, fitness and wellness, you need to know her!


CookThisGetLaid, Mona

Image: CookThisGetLaid

I’ll be honest, it was Jay who discovered Mona from  He sent me her link and I reached out to her via social media because I liked her gumption.  Anyone who starts a blog with the aim of showing men how to cook healthy meals for the ones that they love, is a girl I want to know.  Mona lives in LA and although we’re connected on social media, she is someone I definitely plan to say hello to the next time we’re in the same room so if you happen to be in the same room with her at BlogHer, can you please meet her for me?


If you could pick one social media friend to meet IRL, who would it be?  If you do attend BlogHer and meet any of these people (or anyone else who is especially interesting), let me know!


This post does include an Amazon Affiliate Link, help a girl raise funds for her Duran Duran ticket fund, will ya? 

What’s Your Favorite Piece of Vintage Activewear?

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Fitness | 10 Comments

When you are a fitness enthusiast, you amass a lot of activewear.  Maybe you’re even like me and buy more activewear than any other type of clothing (even if you aren’t a fitness instructor). With all the different kinds of fitness activities available, the clothing options available are plentiful (and some are even reasonably priced) but we all have our favorites, the pieces of activewear that we keep no matter what.  Even if we don’t use them, we have sentimental favorite pieces of activewear and today, I’m going to share mine but I’d really like to know about the one (or two) pieces of activewear that you’ve had the longest and why.


My two vintage pieces of activewear are my IronGirl cap and my Hind Leggings.  Both of these items are over 15 years old.  They were integral to training and completing my first and only 26.2 in 1999 (as you can see below) and I can’t bear to part with them.


Rock n Roll Marathon, Iron Girl, Hind, #oldestpieceofactivewear

Iron Girl hat, Hind Leggings, Iron Girl hat day of the San Diego RnR Marathon 1999 and the medal that reminds me of all the hard work.


I remember buying that Iron Girl hat and feeling like I was finally a runner.  Iron Girl was not the brand it is now but just seeing the name “Iron Girl” made me feel powerful.  Training for a marathon was hard work.  I did it as a bucket list item and rationalized that running a race for charity was a good way to get myself in shape.  My heart was in the right place but my head was not.  I did not love running or training but I was determined to finish what I had started – even if it was 26.2 miles (and all the miles beforehand during training).  I keep my Iron Girl hat to remind myself of the time, energy and effort I put into that marathon.  You really do give up a part of your life when you train for a marathon.  That hat is also a symbol of how far I’ve come not only as runner but as a person.

The Hind leggings were a gift and they were more expensive than I ever would have spent on my 29 year old self.  My very thoughtful friend, however, knew I was training during the winter and she always knew how to buy gifts for the people she loved most.  These cold weather leggings don’t get much use in Los Angeles but they stay in my activewear drawer because they remind me of that very special friend and our friendship.

Like the word “vintage”, the quality of these pieces of activewear have gone beyond their intended lifespan.  Maybe it’s bizarre to allow these pieces of vintage activewear to take up room in my overcrowded drawer but even after a cross-country move (and current clothing purge), they are not going into storage or anywhere else.  I’ll continue to buy more clothes for my #fitnesscloset (PavementRunner did a link-up last year about What’s In Your Fitness Closet and it inspired this post) but these vintage pieces will always have a special place in my heart.


I’d really love to know what your favorite piece of vintage activewear is and why.  Please either let me know in the comments or write a post and maybe I’ll start a link up.



Tunes For Tuesday – The 70′s With The Cars

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Music | 4 Comments

Welcome to Tunes For Tuesday – The 70′s Edition for July!

Music, Tunes For Tuesday

Image: Daisy


The Cars hit it especially big in the 1980′s but their first two albums were actually released in the 1970′s.  I think every nerdy guy in the universe had Ric Ocasek as their hero when he married Paulina Porizkova in 1989.  It’s amazing to think that they are still married today!


Los Angeles radio loves The Cars so I’ve been hearing a lot of their music lately.  It’s distinctive but in my mind still holds up nicely.  Today’s tune is “Just What I Needed” and the clip is from The Midnight Special television show from 1978.  Benjamin Orr looks so stoned – check it out for yourself!




Did you know that Ric Ocasek has produced albums for No Doubt, Nada Surf and three albums with Weezer?

5 Mini Motivational Strategies To Maintain The Mojo

Posted on by Melissa Burton in #14in2014, Fitness | 18 Comments

Oh motivation, why are you so damn fleeting?!

When the conference ends, the race is over, the group workout is finished and/or your phone or computer battery is dead, do you ever feel like your personal cheering section has abandoned you?  When real life sets in with all of the every day obligations, commitments and responsibilities that adults need to master every day, finding motivation to reach a goal is not an easy task.




Keeping consistent motivation has always been difficult for me.  Earlier this year, I came up with my own #optimistflip philosophy about working hard to take the every day negatives and attempting to turn them into positives.   To ensure a departure from the “glass half empty” view of the world, I went as far as to use the lyric from Bastille song “Pompeii” of “How am I going to be an optimist about this?” as my 2014 mantra.  Living in LA, you listen to the radio a lot so it wasn’t unusual to hear my mantra 10 times a day at least.  Lately, however, the mantra lyrics aren’t the one’s that have hit home.  Instead it’s been:


But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?


And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?


The answers were yes and yes.  Being consistently inconsistent was not going to get me to my #14in2014 goals.  The vortex of fear and paralysis is a strong one. Finding ways to motivate oneself are not easy but I’m giving these 5 mini motivators a shot because I don’t want it to be December 31st and have it feel like “nothing changed at all”:


1.  Feed The A.D.D.

I have both professional and fitness A.D.D.  It’s easy to get distracted from work tasks by going down the social media rabbit hole and from fitness by letting the bed (or the NetFlix) win sometimes.  Instead of fighting the A.D.D., I’m feeding it.  I’m planning breaks in my workdays (even if it means writing down what I need to do hour by hour some days).  Fitness-wise, I’m filling my runs with Galloway intervals and trying classes that are tailor made for my short attention span like the Cycle and Shred (25 minutes of Cycling and 25 minutes of Megaformer) at Studio Metamorphosis in Pasadena and the Interval Class (Treadmill and Weights AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) at Sweat Garage in West Hollywood.

Sweat Garage, WeHo, AMRAP

SweatGarage with Jennifer@RealMomofSFV and the amazing Derek Ringold of Sweat Garage.

I’m getting small things done consistently.  The fitness is definitely more successful with this tactic than the professional but it’s a start.


2.  Listen To Your Body

Which voice is louder in your head, the negative or the positive?  Getting sleep, eating healthy and hearing what your body tells you isn’t easy but it’s imperative.  Working through lunch, getting to bed late or pushing too hard in a workout may feel like a victory but the bottom line is that the body suffers.  Especially if you have a chronically injured body.


Twice last week, I had to back off from my workout because my back was aching.  Pushing harder was what my mind wanted to do but my body was talking loud and clear.  I knew if I didn’t listen, I’d be benched for a lot longer than a day or two and the repercussions would be in both the fitness and professional realms.


3.  Reward Yourself

I hate the expression “Don’t reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog”.  IMHO,  if a green tea latte, a prepared salad or even a fabulous piece of chocolate can make you feel good about your accomplishments, go for it!  Small rewards that help reinforce daily healthy behaviors are powerful.  Food nourishes more than just our bodies sometimes.

Brooks Running, Brooks Adrenaline, runner

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Brooks Adrenaline Running Shoes.

I’m rewarding myself weekly:  I bought a new pair of running shoes (way overdue) last week and a Duran Duran tank top this week.  Tangible reminders of positive progress can’t be bad.


4.  Check In With Your Motivators

If you’re lucky, you have a constant support system or friends you can call when you feel the motivation start to wane.  If you’re not so lucky, we all have social media motivators that are only a click away.  There’s a reason that memes are so popular, it’s because they resonate with people!  There are so many people on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and throughout the blogosphere who can right the day’s wrongs with their words, images, stories, recipes, workout photos, motivational sayings or movie quotes who have no idea how much impact they have on others.  Some of my favorite motivators include – Alan@Sweating_It_Off on Instagram, Kimberly@ManifestYourself, Allie@VitaTrainForLife, Elizabeth@FlourishInProgress, Danielle@TRexRunner, Ali@AliOnTheRun, Melissa@MelissaRunningIt and Chris@WhatIRunInto but there are so many!


5.  Chunk Your Goals

The Big Fat Hairy Goal is scary and often intimidating.  Having more than one of these BFHG’s at a time makes someone like me freeze into a panic.  Just identifying a few mini goals or chunking out a path to meet a larger goal has reduced some of the Big Fat Hairiness for now.  A few small victories can start a stream of positive reinforcement for the long haul.

Professionally, the goals are the more intimidating.  This may need to be the week to write those suckers down baby step by baby step.  Summer break (and clearing out 75 boxes from the NYC apartment) is hectic but those goals still need to be clear even if they don’t get checked off the list as quickly as I’d like.

In fitness, despite my achy back and my lousy half marathon history,  the 13.1 taunts me like a most delicious Vosges Black Pearl Truffle (if you have never had one, I can’t say enough good things) so I’m working toward getting the strength and stamina to get me closer.  I did a 4 mile relay race last week, the Awesome 80′s 5K coming up and of course, there’s the 2nd Annual Duran Duran Appreciation Day 10K in the very near future.  Building strength and stamina are of the utmost importance right now to ensure long-term fitness.

marathon, 26.2, Rock n Roll

15 years ago, a marathon was my goal. Who knows what the future will bring?

Here’s hoping that the BFHG will soon seem small and crushable!

What or who keeps you motivated? 

FFF – Alyssa@DoubleChinDiary

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Friday's Featured Female | 12 Comments

Welcome to Friday’s Featured Female!

Friday's Featured Female, #FFF


This weekly series features inspirational stories from admirable women.  IMHO, it’s always good to be reminded of how strength, determination, hard work, heart and ingenuity can impact the quality of one’s life and I’m proud that these women will allow me to share their stories here.

Today, I’m featuring the super cool Alyssa@DoubleChinDiary.  I met Alyssa briefly at FitBloggin’ 2013 but have gotten to know her better via social media.  Alyssa was going to be my plane buddy home from FitBloggin’ 2014 but we realized we were on different planes (flying at the same time) but do you know that this fabulous woman texted me up until take-off to help quell my anxiety about my flight home?  This sweetheart of a person is someone you need to know, if you don’t already so….

Have you met Alyssa?


Hello! I’m Alyssa from the Double Chin Diary, and I’m so excited to be here today! I blog about losing weight without losing my sense of humor. My sister April occasionally blogs for the Double Chin Diary, too. Like many people who struggle with their weight, I’ve always loved food. I grew up in a Midwestern family that considered canned corn a vegetable, and our meat and potatoes diet fluffed me up into a roly-poly teen. Add to that a lack of activity and, later, a habit of stress eating, and I was on my way to obesity.


Alyssa, Double Chin Diary, exercise



While I’m still considered obese and fluctuate between 20 to 30 pounds down depending on what kind of moods my thyroid and polycystic ovaries are in, I’ve made some major changes in the way I view fitness, food, and health. I now exercise regularly (and am even walking 60 miles in November to fight breast cancer), and I know that food can either be my poison or my medication.


Several years ago, I would console myself through rough days with Ben and Jerry’s, movie theatre popcorn, or at my worst, potato chips. Eating was a quick way to make emotional pain go away, and what better way to squash anxiety than to dig a spoon into some Rocky Road? Food was a reliable source of comfort, and I self-medicated with salt, sugar, and fat with alarming frequency. I never had the realization that the pain didn’t go away, it just dissolved briefly in a haze of food coma.


One day, the realization came when I found myself sitting in a parking lot at 6:00 p.m., with tears streaming down my face and potato chip crumbs on my blazer. It was my first year living away from home, and in addition to being a full-time student; I had started my first full-time job. I had been called into the boss’s office earlier in the day and told that my position was being eliminated. I left work and drove immediately to the nearest grocery store, where I bought a huge bag of chips. I sat in my car, ripped the bag open, and proceeded to ugly cry while chomping on salty, greasy Ruffles. It was at that moment I realized no matter how many chips I ate, I’d still be losing my job, and I’d still feel like crap. Then, some strange Ruffles-induced mental clarity rolled in, and I realized the chips would actually make the whole situation worse, because then I’d have a stomach ache, get bloated, and feel guilty for cheating on the non-existent diet I was always supposed to be starting.


I don’t know why it took that moment for me to decide to make a change, but I started seeing a registered dietitian at my school (which is why what Melissa does is so important!), and with her help, began making changes to help conquer my binge eating. While I still struggle with emotional eating, I haven’t binged in over seven years, and when I do emotionally eat, I’ve developed the ability to recognize it and attempt to stop. There are tons of reasons why we use food for emotional release; food is the ultimate communicator, in times of happiness (birthday cake!) and in times of sadness (grief casseroles). In addition, we have advertising constantly selling us the idea of food as a reward or a sexy temptation. I struggle on a daily basis with the idea of deserving junky food as a reward for successfully completing a grown-up day, but then I also think, I deserve to nourish my body with clean, wholesome food.


This relationship with food can be complicated when you also genuinely enjoy food, includes the tastes, textures, smells and preparation of it; especially cooking. I recently scored grand prize in a recipe contest hosted by the California Avocado Commission and Fitbloggin’, and I was so pleased to discover that the creation of the recipe gave me more satisfaction than the eating of it (thought it was delicious, if I do say so myself).


California Avocado, no bake dessert, Alyssa, DoubleChinDiary, California Avocados

No Bake Avocado Cream Tarts – Grand Prize Winner of the California Avocado Recipe Contest at FitBloggin’ 2014.


No matter how small my conquering of binge eating may seem to someone else, knowing that food and emotions don’t have to go hand in hand is a victory I’ll always celebrate. Do you struggle with emotional eating?


To support or further connect with Alyssa, you can find her via the following social media channels:





or donate to her fundraising effort for the 2014 San Diego Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk.


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