Lucky 7

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Wild Boy is 7 today – 1/3 of the way to the legal drinking age.Last year, my post about Wild Boy’s birthday was about being 1/3 of the way to being a legal adult so I guess that it’s fitting that this year, I bring drinking into the equation.

This year that I felt the need to drink a little bit more as a parent.  If Wild Boy at 6 years old is any indication of what he’s going to be like as a teenager, I’m in a lot of trouble.  But until that time, I’ll just remember that the days are long but the years are so very short and remember some of the highlights from this year:

Birthday, 7th birthday

  • You are a green belt in Martial Arts and are determined to get to blue before the end of the year.
  • You and your best buddy in class won the Jog-A-Thon for the 1st grade (you did the equivalent of a 10K in an hour – which is faster than I run for sure).
  • The important toys went from Lego to Power Rangers to Ddjaki, Pokemon and Rainbow Loom right now.
  • Kale and broccoli are now foods you enjoy eating (thumbs up for this RD mom) and ice cream is something you don’t like so much.
  • You’re getting exposed to Jewish education twice a month (you’re already ahead of me in this department, kid).
  • Sports became a big deal this year – we even got a wall decal with your name on it and all the sports you like.  Basketball, handball, tetherball and soccer seem to be your favorites.  This is the year that baseball became boring.  We’ll see if you sign up for Little League next year.
  • Skateboarding now has priority over bike riding and the scooter, that’s so 5 years old.
  • You got a chance to stay up late, eat at Bottega restaurant’s private room and be a part of an adult evening.
  • We all got the chance to discover why Californians love camping at Pismo Beach
  • You got the chance to spend some time in the summer and at Thanksgiving in NY and say goodbye to our Brooklyn apartment.
  • According to you, shirts are now optional at home and friend’s houses.
  • Your current favorite song is “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons and you sing it all of the time.
  • Math is still your favorite subject.  You’re doing well but you’ve been told by your teacher that you need to slow down (and “swalllow your comments” in class)
  • Curse words were finally introduced.  I couldn’t help but laugh when you thought “shick” was a curse word.  You laughed when I told you what the true word meant.
  • You’ve instituted a nightly hug time, rarely sleep with Moo anymore (although he’s always on your nightstand) and have started shooing Jay and me away when we drop you off at school.
  • You told your first very big lie and got into a lot of trouble for it.  I’m not sure how deep the long term consequences will go but you’re learning what it’s like to grow up a little bit. – Can I laugh at the name of the site?

I love you my energetic, passionate, sweet, smart, handsome and overly delicious child and although I’d like to keep you small forever, I’m thrilled to be your parent.


Tunes For Tuesday – Social Distortion

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Welcome to Tunes For Tuesday!

Music, Tunes For Tuesday

Image: Daisy


The tune for today is honor of Wild Boy’s birthday tomorrow.  WB’s favorite song is “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash.  He sings it all the time and even got his preschool music teacher to sing it during weekly sessions at school (he still plays it even though WB is long gone from the school).

Although the original version by the Man In Black is classic and wonderful, I happen to love this version by Social Distortion.  Mike Ness has a vocal quality that I think is the epitome of rock and roll.  I have quite a few Social D songs in my regular running playlist.  If you haven’t heard this version, you should and if you have already, you know you need to hear it again.

Play it loud and enjoy!



Cover or original?  You choose.

8 Things About the 80′s New Wave Music book “Mad World”

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Duran Duran, Music | 4 Comments

As a long-time devoted fan of Duran Duran, I’ve often been dismissed as being stuck in the 80′s.  I understand that not everyone was raised on New Wave radio in both Los Angeles (KROQ) and New York (WLIR/WDRE) and chose to spend a large percentage of their high school days either waiting on line (that’s outside on a line for you youngsters, not on a computer) for concert tickets or to get into a venue to see a show.  Lori Majewski (formerly of Us Weekly, Entertainment Weekly and Teen People), might understand though because she and her co-author Jonathan Bernstein (contributor to Spin, Rolling Stone, the Face) are about to release the book, Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980′s  (released April 15, 2014).

Given my very loud social media passion for all things 80′s and Duran Duran, I became connected with Lori and was thrilled to be sent an advance copy of this book to review.  This fun and informative book gives amazing insight into the New Wave artists from the 1980′s straight from the artists themselves.  I was absolutely floored by the amount of knowledge I learned –   I used to pride myself on having a decent 80′s New Wave music trivia base but this book put me to shame.

Mad World Book, New Wave, 80's music

Mad World: Adam Ant, Morrissey and Duran Duran on the cover? Sold!

I don’t want to give it all away but here are 8 Things About the 80′s New Wave Music Book “Mad World” here:


1.   This is NOT a “look at but don’t read” coffee table book:

You’ll definitely want to read this book.  It’s paperback, smaller than you’d expect (7.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches) and is accented by bright colors and photos.  There’s a unique format to this oral history book  - there are short chapters based on 36 songs/artists.  Each chapter begins with an introductory paragraph about the artist/song, followed by commentary by the authors and then insight from the artists themselves.  You’ll also find a “Then and Now” recap about the artist and enclosed within each chapter there is a “mixtape” – a list of songs by other artists that related to the chapter/theme discussed.


cassette player

Image: Alan Klim


2.  4 Major Musical Influences:

Nearly every single artist interviewed in the book either had something to say about or was influenced by David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Nile Rodgers and Disco.  Three of my favorite mentions were when Howard Jones stated that he liked David Bowie but that his lyrics were meaningless, how INXS tried to “throw off” Duran Duran from working with Nile Rodgers after John Taylor showed interest and that Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins) and Nile Rodgers played Scrabble after Live Aid (instead of partying).

David Bowie

Image: dwhartwig


3.  Dazzling Brilliance:

Discovering that the musical artists that I looked up to as a teenager are now educated adults didn’t take the shine off the apple. Many of these artists left art school or never went to college at all but the words, observations, comparisons, quotes and references used were mind blowing. The Foreward of the book written by Nick Rhodes was unbelievably eloquent (and I don’t just say that because he’s in Duran Duran, read it and you’ll understand). A few other stand-outs included:  how Devo contrived to make “Whip It” as version of Chinese propaganda, Adam Ant’s intrigue with the Native American culture, that Spandau Ballet described their band as a blend of Iggy Pop and Edith Piaf and the vast musical knowledge and calculated development as the band as a brand by Martin Fry (ABC) was extraordinary.


4.  Big hair = big ego:  

Big hair was a hallmark of the 80′s but wow, it seems that the guys with the biggest hair certainly had (or still have) the ego to match.  Mike Score (Flock of Seagulls) said one of his songs sounds as good as a song by the Beatles, Ian McCulloch (Echo and The Bunnymen) thinks of one his songs is the greatest song ever written and all I can say about Limahl (Kajagoogoo) is that I have a feeling I know why the rest of his own band gave him the heave-ho back in the day.


5.  Juicy Tidbits:  

Spoiler Alert

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT - I won’t give them all away (because there are many) but here are a few things that floored me to learn (if you’re looking for Duran Duran info go to #6):

  • The rift between Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook of New Order often was taken out via bass presence while recording/mixing their songs.
  • Spandau Ballet was a Nazi guard term about the twitches from Jewish hangings in Spandau prison in Germany. The band did NOT know the significance until after they reached a modicum of fame though.
  • Thomas Dolby is responsible for the synthesizer sound on Foreigner’s “Urgent”, co-wrote Lena Lovich’s “New Toy” and writes his song titles first and lyrics after.
  • Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke only got to know each other on their 2008 reunion tour.  They were not friends during Yaz.
  • Terri Nunn (Berlin) and DJ Richard Blade (KROQ and Sirius Radio) were nearly married.
  • Mike Score (Flock of Seagulls) used 1 can of Aquanet every night on his space-age hairstyle.
  • A-ha called the early version of “Take On Me” “The Juicyfruit Song” because they thought it sounded commercial.
  • Johnny Marr (The Smiths) writes songs in batches of 3 and wrote “William, It Was Really Nothing”, “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” and “How Soon Is Now” over 3 day period.
  • Midge Ure (Ultravox) got the inspiration for “Vienna” after a friend’s mondegreen with the song “Rhiannon”.  Ure had never even been to Vienna when he wrote the song.
  • Daryl Hall was brought in to sing on the chorus of “Original Sin” by INXS by Nile Rodgers (this one was a huge shock to me)


6. Everyone had something to say about Duran Duran…including Duran Duran.

Duran Duran, Mad World Book


Duran Duran were mentioned by nearly every single artist in this book including ABC, Flock Of Seagulls, Soft Cell, The Smiths, Tears For Fears and INXS.  Not only did Duran Duran have their own chapter but many quotes from Simon, John and Nick were included in other chapters.  For example, I knew that Simon Le Bon and Michael Hutchence were friends but it was especially interesting to read the words that Simon said about how and why they were friends felt very intimate.

A few Duran tidbits:

  • Simon takes you through what “Girls On Film” means and talks about his musical influences.
  • John Taylor said he thought that 3 tracks that represented the best of the first few years of the band would be “Rio”, “The Chauffeur” and the “Girls On Film” 12 inch.
  • The video for “Girls On Film” was shot in one day.
  • Simon reveals his penchant for dark haired women (woo hoo!) and his pride at seeing his wife own “Girls On Film” when she walks the runway.
  • Hearing Simon and Sting singing together during “Do They Know It’s Christmas” made Nick Rhodes ask Sting to sing on the Arcadia album.


7.  Is There Something I Should Know?:

Yes, I snuck in another Duran Duran reference but because this book is so chock-full of information and so entertaining that a few things begged the question that could be best asked in the words above:

  • How did all of the songs included make the 36 song cut?  I know you can’t please everyone but with the limited space available and large amount of impactful New Wave artists, I’m unconvinced that either The Waitresses or Animotion needed to be included when so many others were left out (see #8)
  • Why was XTC was considered a “band of weirdos” in the mixtape section?  Apart from Andy Partridge’s stage fright, the term didn’t seem to apply (IMHO).
  • Who decided on the font size and type?  With an audience that’s likely over 35 (or 44 like me), the font size was sometimes very small (quotes and Mixtape sections) and difficult to read at times (white type on a dark background was striking but not easy on the eyes – even with my glasses).


8. Mad World Book 2 Recommendations:  

Mad World, 80's music, New Wave

There’s no doubt (no musical pun intended) that there were artists that could (or should) have been included in this book.  In the hopes that that there will be a follow up book, I’m offering my suggestions for the following artists to be included in  Mad World Book 2:

  • U2/”With Or Without You”: While the song isn’t my favorite on the album, there’s no deny the longevity of this band and the album The Joshua Tree was a seminal album of the 1980′s.
  • The Alarm/”68 Guns”: I’m definitely biased here but this passionate Welsh band had a place in New Wave music.  They opened for U2 and The Police during the 80′s and they still have a cult following.  Mike Peters, a 2 time cancer survivor, not only still tours extensively and he is one of the co-founders of the cancer charity Love Hope Strength.
  • The Cure/”Just Like Heaven”: A super happy song by a band who were “emo”  before emo was emo.
  • Culture Club/”Karma Chameleon” certainly was an anthem in the 80′s, Boy George caused plenty of controversy with his appearance and from what I’ve heard, there was definitely intriguing behind the scenes drama within the band.
  • Pet Shop Boys/“West End Girls” From “Smash Hits” to electronic duo of iconic status.  When an actor on UK’s “Doctor Who” takes his stage name from Neil Tennant, it’s safe to say an impression’s been made.
  • Frankie Goes To Hollywood/”Relax”:  Who didn’t own a “Frankie Says Relax” t-shirt?
  • Paul Young/”Everytime You Go Away” or “Come Back and Stay”:  The man was the main voice in “Do They Know It’s Christmas”.  This blue-eyed soul singer captured quite a lot of the US New Wave audience.
  • More Brits: The English Beat, Wham!, Squeeze, China Crisis, Big Country, Nik Kershaw, Joe Jackson, Kirsty MacColl, Billy Idol and XTC (among others)
  • American Invasion: Oingo Boingo, The Go-Go’s, Wall of Voodoo, The Tubes, R.E.M. and The B-52′s (to name a few).



Overall, I really liked this book.  Much like the MTV VJ book, Mad World gives you behind the scenes insight into the life an times of the era and the artists but this time, it’s from the artists themselves.  Mad World was also a fun, informative and compelling read.  I loved the what I considered the “banter” between Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein at the beginning of each chapter.  Mad World made me laugh at loud and surprised me many times.  I’m looking forward to seeing if my suggestion for Mad World 2 will come to be.

Bottom line, Mad World is a unique book that allows a fan to gain deeper insight into how an artist channels their own environment and experiences into every aspect of how they create music.

For more information about Mad World (including book tour stops and a fabulous blog), connect here:


Facebook: MadWorldTheBook

Twitter: @madworldbook

Disclaimer:  I did receive a complimentary copy of the book to review but all opinions are clearly my own.  There is an affiliate link within the the post.  If you buy Mad World through my affiliate link, you may add a few pennies to my Duran Duran next tour fund and I thank you in advance.


Friday’s Featured Female – Hippie Chick Granola

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Friday's Featured Female | 4 Comments

Friday's Featured Female, #FFF


Today’s Friday’s Featured Female isn’t a true person but it is the company, Hippie Chick Granola, that my blogger friend, Ilene@IleneEvans (aka The Fierce Diva Guide To Life) just launched.



Ilene and I have a mutual friend but through the blogging world (and a shared love of Duran Duran, yoga and running), we found one another.  Once I found Ilene, I found myself constantly checking her blog to see what she had written next.  There’s an honesty, sensitivity and strength that comes through when reading Ilene’s writing that made me feel like she was the high school best friend that I didn’t know I had.


To add to the admiration I have for this woman, this single mother of 3 recently decided to pick up and move herself and her three children from NJ to NC – as someone who has moved across the country, I understand how difficult it can be to shake up your world.  I’m in awe that Ilene decided to do it with 3 children in tow.


As someone who still really needs to get her butt in gear and focus on launching a private practice, I see Ilene and I’m inspired.  Today, I’m celebrating a pretty fabulous female (who will have her own feature post here once her business is up and running) and the ingenuity, strength, determination and entrepreneurial spirit.


Ilene Evans, Fierce Diva Guide To Life

Brazenly lifted from


To find out more about Ilene Evans/The Fierce Diva Guide To Life, check out, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.


To find out more about Hippie Chick Granola Co. and the four blends (Bernice: Peanut Brittle, Fiona: Cranberry Almond, Kimberly: Ginger with Pecans & Cherries and Tamara: Chocolate Pretzel) ranging from $6.99 to $7.99 for a 12 oz bag (shipping additional), go to and/or support this new business on FacebookTwitter and Google+.


Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post by any means.  This is just me supporting someone I admire – a risk taker with a lot of heart - doing something I admire.  Ilene has no idea that I’m writing this post.

BTW, I already ordered one of the blends above.   If you know me at all, you can likely guess which one it is.  Which one would you order?


The 6 Things You Need To Do A Ragnar Relay

Posted on by Melissa Burton in #14in2014, Fitness | 16 Comments

The So Cal Ragnar Relay is done and I know that I’ve shared just about everything I could about this race before it actually took place - from my intended music playlist, introducing all of my team members AND (if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter), you might have seen a few zillion pictures of gorgeous California scenery, many gorgeous sweaty runners and many obnoxious pictures of the So Cal Ragnar Medal but guess what?  I’m not done yet.

Ragnar Finisher, So Cal Ragnar Relay


The Ragnar Relay is a very special breed of running experience.  My teammate Gillian coined Ragnar the “Coachella For Runners” and she’s absolutely right.  When the topic came up at FitBloggin’ last year, I said yes but I was scared to death (I do have 4 half marathon DNS’s in the last 4 years due to injury) but after this fantastic experience, I’m already thinking about Ragnar #2.  I think every runner should think about doing a relay race so that’s why I’ve come up with:

6 Things Ragnar Relay

 (and why you’ll want to do another one as soon as you’re done with your first)

R – Runner Zen

You already know you’ll need to run 3 lengths of differing mileage at 3 different times of day or night but you won’t really know when or what your terrain will really be.    We were stuck for nearly an hour at our first exchange and our runner beat us to the exchange.

There are terrain differences, detours, unexpected weather changes, traffic jams, being woken up from your 45 minutes of sleep with a mini crash into your van (no one was hurt, annoyed but not hurt) but you keep going.  You want and you need to finish what you start.

So Cal Ragnar, Runner Zen

A zillion things could happen.  Hopefully nothing will be life threatening.  It’s good to look the Ragnar Relay as an ultra marathon or an IronMan (not that I’d know from experience) but you need more than just training, power, stamina, mental fortitude, hydration and fuel to reach the finish.

Finding Runner Zen and being able to adjust to change is key in a Ragnar.  If you’re high strung and change isn’t easy for you, count yourself lucky that you may have one of five other teammates that can help guide you.


A  - A List of Essentials

There are many lists of the things you’ll need for a Ragnar Race and a zillion things you think you need but actually don’t.   Here’s what you need:

  • An organized Captain that makes a Race Bible: Leg Maps with distances and designated runner, driving AND running directions, emergency contact information, social media information for all members of the team, details of the 3 major van exchange locations including restaurant information.
  • A backpack or easily accessible reasonably sized duffel bag - You do not have a ton of room in a van with 5 other people.


  • Required Night Gear: Ragnar approved night vest, head lamp and attachable light (your entire van will need to show these before being issued bibs to begin the race).
  • Electronic Accessories:  Phones, iPod, camera, car chargers and plugs (for music accompaniment while running, navigation, social media updates and communication).
  • Cash/Credit Card:  You will see gear/jewelry at the first major exchange and finish line that you will want to buy to commemorate this event.  Don’t pass up the opportunity.
  • 3 separate running outfits in separate plastic bags: Weather and day/night time appropriate top (l/s, s/s, tank, fleece), bottom (capri/tights/shorts/skirt), bra, underwear and socks – the separate sealable plastic bags are key for trapping smells and efficiency.  I also printed out a copy of my leg map and put it in each outfit bag but never needed any printout.
  • In between/sleeping outfit: Comfortable pants, socks, bra, shirt/sweatshirt – also in a separate sealable bag.
  • Appropriate weather gear : Sunglasses, hat/visor/headband, sunscreen, rain jacket, gloves, fleece hat etc.
  • Go-To Running Accessories: Camelback/Fuel Belt/Spi-Belt/ArmBand, phone/iPod, earphones, electrolytes, portable supplement, anti-chafe remedy and/or tape/brace
  • Post-Run Remedies: rehydration (water, Gatorade, electrolyte drinks/powders  - we had some drinks in a cooler with ice), non-perishable refueling components (pretzels, bagels, crackers, nut butter), foam roller/tennis ball/stick, ice-pack/Icy-Hot/Proform, compression gear, slip on but not flip flops (too cold at night)
  • Food and a plan to get real food: Snacks and food components.  I brought along some SexyPop Popcorn since the company was kind enough to send me a huge haul (and since it wasn’t heavy to carry) and it certainly came in handy!  In Van 2, we  only got the chance to stop off for a real dinner and everything else was snack food that was in the van.
SexyPop Popcorn, So Cal Ragnar

Kat with some Sexy Pop Popcorn

  • Blanket/Sleeping bag/Pillow: I learned that a car gets very cold when you turn it off to grab sleep while you can (many people laid sleeping bags out on the ground but I was not one of them).  I used my backpack as a pillow.
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, hair ties (brush optional), pain reliever/anti-inflammatory medication, medications/vitamins you take daily or require in different environments (anti-nausea, allergy meds etc.), deodorant, sanitary products (ain’t nobody got time to go to the drugstore if you unexpectedly get your period) and for me, Action Wipes (I did receive these as a gift from the company but my entire team would agree that they were an absolute godsend!).  People say bring toilet paper (I did) but never needed it.
  • Optional: Window Paint (t0 decorate  your van), costumes, themed t-shirts, Duran Duran pin (oh that might be just me).


G – Gather a Good Group

If your only friend from the 12 person team is NOT in your van, you’ll be lucky to see your friend for about 30 minutes tops so it’s crucial you gather a good group of people for your van.  You will get to know the 5 other people in your group better in 36 hours than you ever thought you possible.  The 5 other people in your van will see you at your best (cheering for others and finishing your runs) and your worst (smelly, tired, cranky, underfed, nauseated etc).

So Cal Ragnar Relay

Debbie, Jamie, Jill, Carrie, Me and Kat – Van 2/Leg 1


I was exceptionally lucky with my van-mates.  I knew Carrie and Jill and had met Jamie but I didn’t know Kat or Debbie.  We were lucky that no one was too annoying, whiny, bitchy or high maintenance because as much as this experience is an amazing one, it’s trying on the nerves.  It’s amazing that we were all respectful of each other’s many needs which ranged from support to silence at any given time.

N- Navigation and Driving Skills

Your phone GPS isn’t going to cut it here.  In order to get through 200 miles, you need a competent driver and a true human navigator.  You will rely on your Race Bible directions and use your GPS but if you don’t have a good driver and navigator team who communicate well with one another and a team that supports the two (by making sure both have food, water and rest when they need), your team will be SOL.

So Cal Ragnar Relay

Kat, our main driver and Carrie, our navigator

We were lucky that our main driver knew the area well and drove our van like a champ, our back-up driver also drove a truck so she was exceptionally comfortable behind the wheel.  Our main navigator was exceptionally adept and rarely took a break.  As a relatively new driver, I would never have been comfortable driving so I was very grateful I didn’t have the job.

A – A Sense Of Humor

You will be in a van for 36  hours, if you can’t find a way to laugh this experience is NOT for you.  Ragnarians have a great sense of humor – from team names, running in costumes and even the van decorations are hilarious.  While at exchanges you might notice that your van gets tagged with window paint or magnets.  It’s all in fun.  You laugh or you’ll realize just how tired you are.

Ragnar Relay So Cal

In our van, we could only listen to the radio so when the same 4 or 5 songs came on the radio (which included yesterday’s Tunes For Tuesday Two-Fer picks), we all wound up finding it funny and making a joke of it.  When you’re punchy, you can either get annoyed or laugh.  I’m very happy my group chose to laugh.

R – Resolve

Finding a group of 12 people that have the firm determination to cover 200 miles in 2 vans over a 2 day period is a little crazy and yet incredibly inspiring.  Even though you are not in the presence of your entire team during the relay, you communicate and try your best to support your entire team (social media certainly helps with this too).

The So Cal Ragnar Relay was comprised of over 700 teams of 12 and no matter where you were during the 200 miles of travel, there was always a sense of community – whether it was honking/cheering for a runner (yours or someone else’s), seeing the bay of decorated vans, passing or being passed by a runner (this is called a “kill” and tallied on vans) or even watching an exchange of the slap bracelet between any two teammates.  As “kumbaya” as it may sound, there’s a buzz of positive energy throughout Ragnar that you can feel throughout the course but the you can’t really feel the true power potential until you’ve had a chance to let it all soak in.  I’m a few days post-Ragnar and only now while preparing for this recap, do I realize how much strength, determination and resolve was present along those 200 miles.

So Cal Ragnar Relay 2014

The entire Dirrty Dozen team at the finish

It’s no secret that I’m exceptionally inspired by stories of strength of spirit, determination and resolve (it’s the heart and soul of why I even have a blog) and being a part of the So Cal Ragnar Relay made me feel all sorts of fabulous but even my medal paled in comparison to this:


So Cal Ragnar, You Are Awesome

My post race drink and message of love from my special boy.

All I can say is that I’m hooked and I’m hoping that my team wants to do another Ragnar Relay sometime very soon.  

My other teammates have some great recaps of this amazing experience.  Please check out:

- Gillian@thatsG:

- Jillienne@ChasingRaspberries:

- Jamie@FitApproach:

- Debbie@LiveFromLaQuinta AND

Have you ever done a relay?  If so, which one would you recommend I try next?

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