Friday’s Featured Female – Heather Reese @ It’s A Lovely Life

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Friday's Featured Female | 19 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.

I’m exceptionally thrilled to have Heather@It’s A Lovely Life here today.  Heather and I met briefly at my first Bloggy Boot Camp in Las Vegas  in 2012 and even though we only spent a short time together, we hit it off instantly.  Through social media, we’ve become friends and have discovered we both share passion for all things 80′s (as all smart people in the world seem to do).  Heather is not only sweet, smart and dedicated, she’s got a great heart.  She even asked me to appear on her blog today so after you read this post, pop over to It’s A Lovely Life and see what 80′s song has been one of my motivating forces (hint: It is NOT a Duran Duran song) and on that note, I ask….

Sooo, have you met Heather?

Hello! I’m Heather Reese from It’s a Lovely Life! I’m so excited that Melissa invited me to be a part of Friday’s Featured Female. I’ve been following along on all the awesome women that she has featured and I’m totally honored that she asked me to participate! So cool!


Melissa and I share a love of 80′s music and I pretty much knew I wanted her as a friend within seconds of meeting way back at a blogging conference in 2012! We were only talking for a few minutes when she made a reference to an 80′s song and we’ve been friends since then! I’m always super inspired and motivated by Melissa’s dedication to healthy eating and exercise!  She makes it all look easy and she reminds me that no matter how busy you are {she is one of the busiest people I know} there is always time to take care of yourself.

I love how Melissa is sharing A-ha moments. I had a pretty big one myself a few years ago and I love to talk about how life changing it was. It’s not only changed my outlook on life, it’s also shaped me into the person that I am today and motivates me to help others. 

Back in 2009 I was in a pretty sad place emotionally. We had been trying to have a third child for over 3 years and after many rounds of IVF and too many miscarriages to mention I was slowly dying on the inside. My spirit and my body were both tired and broken. I was watching the world through eyes that could only see pain and not joy. I was not the mother to my surviving children that I needed to be and I had stopped caring about my physical wellness. I had accepted that my body was damaged and I didn’t make getting healthy a priority. 

One day I looked in the mirror and decided I was done being sad. I wanted to find joy again. I wanted to be the mother and wife that my family deserved. Life is for the living and I intended to start living again.


I had to train my mind to focus on the good. I had to stop stressing about all that can go wrong and I had to celebrate all that can and did go right. Three months after I changed my attitude my life changed in a way I could have never imagined. We were able to grow our family and add that third baby of our dreams via domestic adoption. I was there the second our daughter was born and I’ve been her Momma ever since.


This never would have happened with a bad attitude. It just wouldn’t have.


I understand my journey now. I appreciate all that I had to go through to get to this point. It was all worth it. It’s still a daily battle to keep positive, but it gets easier everyday. All I have to do when I start to go down a path of negativity is to remember all the good that has come from staying positive. I also remember that negativity never helps a situation. It just steals joy from today.


I now spend my days motivating others to be the best they can be. To never give up and to stay positive. I surround myself with others that are happy and I remember how far I’ve come…

I’d love to connect with you more! You can find me all over the internet… but my favorite places are:

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest

Healthy Snack Preparation from Raquel@OrganizedIsland

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Food & Nutrition | 11 Comments

The Walk A Mile In Another Blogger’s Shoes #BlogSwap continues!  Monday I was at AJ’s blog with my view on the Top 10 80′s Movie Geek Guys and today I get the chance to feature, Raquel@OrganizedIsland. 

I could really use a permanent Raquel in my life since time management and organization are not my strong suits, here’s hoping Raquel can help some of you (and me) with healthy snack preparation.

Organized Island, healthy eating

Raquel from


Thank you Melissa for having me on your blog! The theme of our swap is “Walk a Mile in Another Bloggers Shoes”. A few of us are swapping blogs that may be out of our comfort zone. I was assigned to Melissa, I was a little intimidated at first, because while I do not mind exercising, I have never enjoyed running or jogging because I am not very coordinated. I tried roller blading and just could not do it, so I sold my blades. I tried tennis and could not master that either.

But I do love cycling and swimming and walking. I also do want to maintain a healthier lifestyle since I truly believe you are as old as you feel. I also love to organize which I talk about on my blog, Organized Island. So today, I am sharing a few tips on how a little organizing and planning can help head toward this goal for anyone else that is might be trying to achieve this.

Healthy snack preparation, healthy eating

When it comes to snacks, it is not always easy to choose the healthy ones. We are so mobile these days, that it has become simpler to grab a bag of chips or cookies, or drive through somewhere for a quick meal. This is fine once in a while, but with a little pre-planning, it is easy to make healthier snack choices.

Cutting vegetables, portable snacks, healthy eating



I love vegetable snacks, but I rarely buy them pre-cut. Sometimes preservatives are added to keep carrot and celery sticks fresh and they just do not taste right to me. What I do is, when I get home from the grocery store, I wash the vegetables and store a few in small plastic bags. I do this with bell peppers, cucumbers and edamame. If I do it before putting the vegetables in the refrigerator, I do not have to think about it anymore.



Almonds, pistachios and peanuts are great sources of protein. If you buy the portion-sized packages, while they are convenient, you can be spending up to 200 percent more than if you prepackage them yourself. It just takes a few minutes to divide the can or jar into serving sizes, ready to go. I find it helpful to place these bags next to granola bars in the pantry. Also, move those Girl Scout cookies out of there….


fruit, portable healthy snacks


Similar to vegetables, cut and prepare a day in advance. It takes a few minutes but is so worth it. It also is much cheaper. Have you seen what they charge for pre-cut melon these days? It is ridiculous. I tend to pick apples, pears and bananas so I do not have to cut them up. Grapes are a great choice and I will store some in little containers and place them in the refrigerator.


Cheese is a great choice but it is unlikely that we will eat it unless they are in portion-sized pieces. String cheese is great because they are already packaged this way however, cottage cheese and softer cheeses will need to be moved to smaller containers. I find that repurposing take out containers (you know, the small ones for sauces) are perfect for soft cheeses and hummus. Also, by cutting a block of cheese into bite-sized portions, makes it a more convenient snack.

healthy portable snacks


Now that all the snacks are prepared, I recommend placing them on a plate or tray. Then place the tray in a visual shelf in your fridge or cupboard. By placing a variety of items, it will allow you to switch up the snacks from day to day, so it doesn’t get boring.


Then you can just grab and go. Once it becomes a habit, you will be on your way to a healthier you. Thanks again to Melissa for allowing me to visit here.




Visit Raquel at all of the following places:





Google+:, AJ Feuerman, Walk A Mile in Another Blogger's Shoes

Find my post over on

Tunes For Tuesday – Spandau Ballet

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

Welcome to Tunes For Tuesday!

Music, Tunes For Tuesday

Image: Daisy


Today’s Tunes For Tuesday is Spandau Ballet’s “Gold”.  Not only has “gold” been on my mind since Wild Boy won 1st place in his elementary school Jog-A-Thon this week (he ran the equivalent of a 10K – - – he’s isn’t even 7 yet) but Spandau’s been in the news recently.

Spandau Ballet, SXSW

Image: supa_pedro

Spandau Ballet just appeared at SXSW with a film premiere and concert and the very lucky Lori Majewski (co-author of the eagerly awaited 1980′s New Wave book and blog “Mad World”) got the chance to interview them (she had some great photos on Instagram) and it reminded me of three things:

1.  I’ve always said that Jon Hamm as Don Draper is just a cheap imitation of Tony Hadley in his Spandau hey day.

2.  I will always have a special place in my heart for Gary Kemp.  He was the first person to ever ask me for my business card (during my brief time working in the music business) and I, of course, didn’t have one but man, I wish I did!

3.  It makes me think of Melissa@MizMeliz who loves Spandau like I love Duran Duran.  This is for you Melissa!




What do you think of my Don Draper/Tony Hadley comparison?


I Walked A Mile In Another Blogger’s Shoes

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy Monday!  Guess what, you’re not going to find my post here today.  Nope, instead I’m going to direct you to the blog of  AJ@ConfessionsofAFatGirl because I’m participating in a Blog Swap called  “I Walked A Mile In Another Blogger’s Shoes“.  Today, I get to pretend to be the fabulous AJ, a self-proclaimed “Publicist, Blogger, Pop Culture Addict and Social Media Junkie” over on her blog., AJ Feuerman, Walk A Mile in Another Blogger's Shoes

Find me today at


This Blog Swap “Mile” allowed me the opportunity to write about a subject outside of food, fitness, family and Duran Duran, it was still fun.  While I’ll never have the writing chops that AJ does (the girl has writing and communication degrees – yes, plural) we do share a passion for pop culture, so when she asked me to post for her weekly #MENday feature, I did my best to do her and our mutual love proud.

Since you know I couldn’t write about Duran Duran and who my vote for #MENday would be every time (yes, Simon Le Bon, that’s you – because I know you read my blog, right?), instead I channeled my love for other 1980′s men to compile the following post (which can be accessed through the below link).

The Top 10 80′s Movie Geek Guys – A #MENday Special

Top 10 80's Movies Geek Guys


Once you read the post, let me know if you think I forgot anyone.  Also, if you do not agree with who reigns at #1 spot, I’m not sure we can or should ever be friends.

Watch this space because I’ll be introducing you to the blogger who “walks a mile” in my shoes very, very soon.

Friday’s Featured Female: Tammy

Posted on by Melissa Burton in Friday's Featured Female | 7 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 have one of the most motivating bloggers around, Tammy (Tambra) Means from guest posting. Tammy and I were both at FitBloggin’ 2013 but we never actually met.  I checked out her site after the conference and I’ve been hooked on Tammy’s upbeat attitude toward life, running (she did 10 half marathons in 2013) and healthy living ever since.  Tammy recently turned 40 and I’m exceptionally proud to call her a member of the 40′s and Fabulous Club so…


Haaaave you met Tammy?

 Gingermantra, Tammy Means, 40


What was your “A-HA” moment?

Several years ago I found myself going through the motions of workouts.  In high school I was an avid athlete playing multiple sports and loving every second of it. In my 20s I found myself longing to be back in prime shape and spent countless hours in the gym. I was slim and fit, but still longed for purpose and burned out.

Entering my 30s I began working out again because I knew that was what made me the happiest but I couldn’t find my mojo to keep me interested. Turning 37 I knew I had just a few short years to get my fitness where I longed to be before turning 40. I reconnected with a longtime friend that had recently found passion in running and I started participating in a few 5k races with her.

For the first year my distance racing mileage was low and I was hooked on being fast. But for me that wasn’t where my passion was. Embarking on my second year I found my stride in quality of running and for longer distances. I ran several 10k races and began training for my first half marathon which I completed in February 2013. I was hooked on the half. In 2013 I committed and ran 10 half marathons and loved every second of it. In February 2014, just a few weeks shy of my 40th birthday I attempted my first full marathon but was stopped at mile 24 due to impending weather and a tornado warning. For me running was my A-HA moment and my sport had shown me that this is so much bigger than each of us.   Running gives us purpose, passion and heart.

Tammy Means, Ginger Mantra, half marathon


What is your favorite way to workout/exercise?

My favorite workout, by far, is running.  But one cannot count on running alone to stay fit and healthy.  I also love to cross-train with my husband in the mornings as well as hiking and biking.  Living with an avid outdoorsman, I have to keep up which means staying in shape.


What is your #1 cheat food?

I have changed my diet over the past 6 months to eliminate dairy and most all processed foods and meat.  But for me after a long race or intense workout week, there is nothing like a great slice of pizza!  I love mine with veggies and light or no cheese cooked a little longer so that it is thin and crispy.  But after a long run like a half marathon, I love to celebrate with a cheeseburger.  I feel like I have burned enough calories to earn it.  It is a ritual that my running partner and I have after long races that we run together.


What advice do you have for those starting on a fitness journey?

“Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” is one of my favorite quotes.  It is so true and it is sometimes hard to stick with something when you want immediate gratification, which if you are working towards a goal the healthy way, just takes time.  I have been on my fitness journey for a little over a year and I’m seeing results slow and easy.  I have setbacks, but I face them head on and realize that I’m only human and we just have to pick ourselves back up and keep moving forward.  Never give up on yourself and never give in to criticism.  YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Moms Run, Tammy Means,


Favorite Motivational motto/quote:

I shared this above in my advice to newbie’s beginning their journey but I will share again.  My favorite motivational quote right now is “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”


What is one thing that most people do not know about you?

I am an extremely shy person until you get to know me.  It comes from growing up being picked on for having red hair.  My Mom always said, one day they will be sorry they ever picked on you, you are beautiful and they will be sorry.  Though it was tough, I always hung onto that little joy that she brought me with those words.  Words hurt, but they can also be very inspiring and comforting in our darkest hours.

Tammy Means,


MB note – If you’re not connected with Tammy, get on it now.  She’ll help you see yourself and the outside world differently (and that’s a good thing).  PS – She also makes and sells her own vegan friendly Ginger Jams, Jellies and Butters made from seasonal ingredients that sound delicious.

Social Media Links 







What’s your life philosophy/mantra and where did you get it from?

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