Since its BlogFest week (woot woot!), it seemed only appropriate to introduce you to one of my favorite women of the weekend, Melissa Burton. Melissa will not only be at BlogFest getting her sweatworkin’ and blogger learning on, she’ll also be crushing it on the mic as one of this year’s speakers.
So without further adieu, let’s get to know Melissa and why she’s my #WomanCrushWednesday!
JK: First tell everyone who you are, where you live and where you blog?
MB: I’m Melissa Burton, a NY transplant living in the Pasadena, CA area since 2012. My blog is thevalentineRD.com because I’m a Registered Dietitian and I’m born on Valentine’s Day. My tagline sums up my passions pretty well – Dietitian born to love food, fitness, family and Duran Duran.
Editor’s note: Melissa is one of my favorite kind of blends. A lot NY, a little CA. She’s sassy, smart, funny and strong!
JK: Ok, so now tell me why you joined the Sweat Pink community?
MB: I met you and Alyse at FitBloggin’ 2013 and loved the “fitness is fun and accessible” vibe that I got from you both. As a longtime self proclaimed “fitness whore” but new blogger, it was lovely to see a welcoming group of active social media people that shared my passion for fitness but had some soul. I remember that I made a point to tell you that if you’d have me in SweatPink, that it might be the only time I’d be proud to wear the color (I have a lifelong dislike of all things pink).
Editor’s note: Yep, sassy and I like it. She said, I don’t wear pink but I’ll make an exception to Sweat Pink. 🙂 The best.
JK: Be honest, what did you first think of me? I’ll share if you share….:)
MB: Sweet with a very relaxed vibe. I was also floored with how strong you appeared. Upon getting to know you, I loved learning how smart and determined you are and yet, you’re still so relaxed. My level of high strung is annoyingly palpable.
Editor’s note: my turn, I love this silly question for some reason…! But I was immediately in love with Melissa’s good-natured sassy-ness. Like I said, she’s got that perfect blend of NY and CA. All the sass with all the positive vibes. My kind of gal!
JK: We ended up doing a Ragnar Relay together (thanks to Amy) and sharing a van. For me, it was an experience like no other. I feel closer to that group of Sweat Pink women (including Melissa, of course), after only spending a little over 24 hours together. What was that experience like for you? Why did you run it in the first place?
MB: It was an amazing experience for sure. I felt a little outclassed in the running department because I’ve never been a strong or long distance runner but I thought it would be a challenge. After my one 26.2 in 1999, I trained for 4 half marathons and kept getting injured. I was lucky to be given the least amount of total mileage of our entire group (but tried to make up for it in other ways). Ragnar was physically, emotionally and mentally challenging but it was also very empowering. My family got to see me during my last leg and it was glorious! Also, for 6 women to get along so well under such stressful conditions indicated something truly special. I’ve done another relay race since SoCal in 2014 (which was wonderful) but our group was extraordinary.
JK: Since that time in the van, I’ve learned a lot about you. One of the first things I truly learned is that you’re a natural born connector. In fact, you always seem to be making connections — why do you think its important to do that? And have you always been that way?
MB: I’m a helper by nature, it’s one of the reasons I became a dietitian. I also believe that good people should be brought together because as strong as we may be individually, we all can be bettered by the offerings of others. While there are always stellar individuals in the world, we all become better versions of ourselves when linked with others who can help us in our life and work. I’ve always been outgoing and connecting kind of makes me giddy – to me, it seems like a no brainer that like-minded entities should be brought together. If I can be a conduit to make something that should happen actually happen, I figure, why not?
JK: How has connecting with others paid off for you? What are your favorite ways to connect?
Connecting with others has given me a sense of community. I’ve always believed that if you can do something for someone else, then you should. As hokey as it sounds, if I can help someone through a connection, I feel I’ve done something good and the universe will continue to keep positive points on my tab. I’m not looking to cash my points but to have some sort of karmic insurance policy is very appealing to me. I love talking to people but I often feel like a dragonfly in social situations – I’m always buzzing with conversation and often flitter about. I like small groups where I can get to know more about someone (Ragnar vans do keep you captive for awhile, right?). I also like how social media allows people to be bolder with their freak flags. I have no qualms about leaving comments when someone shares something that resonates with me. Twitter used to be great for conversation and relationship building but now it’s conferences/retreats and other forms of social media. I’m bad about reading as many blogs as I’d truly like.
JK: Another thing I learned about you is that you’re an R.D (a Registered Dietitian y’all). And you know an awful lot about nutrition – in fact you asked me what was in a sports drink I was sipping on at FitBloggin’ and I waited for you to go ahead and tell me what was in it. How does being an R.D shape you? How does it influence your own family? Your kitchen? And how you blog?
MB: When I first started blogging, I was hesitant about being promoting myself as an RD and utilizing the nutrition expert vein. There are many RD’s who do it so well that I let the nutrition education POV take a back seat to my fitness, family and Duran Duran/music topics. However, when I see things posted by bloggers about nutrition that are blatantly false, I have no qualms about piping up. My philosophy about nutrition isn’t one that everyone subscribes to – I believe that there is a place for every kind of food in a healthy lifestyle. I believe that healthy eating involves education, empowerment and an understanding of the emotions that are tied into food and our eating behaviors but there are no hard and fast rules (unless you have allergies). I’m not a lover of extremes when it comes to health and nutrition and I believe that many of the messages given in healthy living blogs are polar – which intimidate people. In every aspect of my life, I believe that being healthy involves a blend (vs a balance) of things. I’m far from perfect as a parent, an educator, a health representative and as a member of the human race, so I carry that into the way I talk about food and nutrition in my life, my blog and my nutrition practice.
JK: Another thing I learned about you in the van is that you’re not a huge fan of the Happy song by Pharrell. Understandable. No happy for you but you’ll go to great lengths for a Duran Duran show. How did that start? And how does your love for their music play into your life? ….I ‘d be willing to bet that you have a bunch of secret, amazing connections through your fandom… 😉
MB: I now love the song “Happy” by Pharrell given our Ragnar experience (in fact when I hear it, my face instantly transforms into a huge grin!). Yes, I’ll go through some hoops for a Duran Duran show. I’ve been a Duran Duran fan since my teen years. I’ve always been a big music fan (my entire HS wardrobe consisted of concert t-shirts) and going to live shows just makes me happy. Music plays a great part in my fitness too. I’m one of those people who can’t run without music and if a spin class has lousy music, then the sweat isn’t quite as sweet.
I’ve connected with a lot of people via social media due to my unbridled passion for Duran Duran and all things 80’s New Wave music. One of my closest friends here in LA was due to a Duran Duran connection on Facebook which in a very convoluted way allowed me to meet my teenage crush, Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran just this past April. I still can’t believe that happened. I’m all about being yourself and making sure you let the world know, it will help you connect to the things that you love in work and in life!
Editor’s note: So, so true! It’s important to just do you!
JK: You’re speaking at BlogFest this weekend which is exciting. What can we expect to learn? And are you…nervous, excited, totally zen …or?
MB: The audience can expect to learn about the truth about the Top 5 Nutrition Myths out there right now. The presentation is meant to not only give some nutrition education to the audience but to help these writers learn how to help their readers learn too. Some of the information may be a review to a section of the audience (given their affinity for nutrition information) but my research showed that the general public believes these myths to be truths, so bringing these points to light for bloggers might help them craft future posts that will help them educate their audience while raising their authority profile. I hope that the presentation will also help those who are considering incorporating nutrition counseling as a career to understand the options available.
Editor’s note: I’m getting even more EXCITED.
JK: Besides rockin’ the mic at BlogFest this year, what else are you excited about? What is the one thing you hope to take away?
MB: I’m always excited to see bloggers in real life! Conferences like these have brought some of the most wonderful people I know into my life. There’s something special about getting some face to face time with people you feel that you know something about. A chance to make a personal connection – in person – can’t be compared to anything else. Also, I love the workouts, checking out the tradeshow floor and I can’t lie, I love seeing workout fashion. As someone who used to ONLY wear black, I’ve now developed a penchant for obnoxious workout wear and I LOVE it! I hope to take away more connections, both personal and professional.
Editor’s note: another reason I love Melissa. I too have branched out from an all black wardrobe into the wonderful world of crazy prints and colors.
JK: In general, what inspires you each day to live a healthy and active life?
MB: Most parents would say their children and as much as I love my child, he’s not the daily inspiration for living healthy and being active. Simply put, I like myself (and the world) better when I exercise and eat in a way that makes me happy.
And now for the blogger blitz question round….ready, set go!
JK: What’s your favorite workout currently?
MB: Pilates. I re-injured my back in January and have only been allowed to do Pilates (although I love yoga and spinning – I have a love/hate relationship with running (sorry, J ).
Editor’s note: I forgive you. 😉
JK: Favorite foods?
MB: Fruits – mango and dragonfruit. And in general – challah bread or Indian food.
JK: Favorite workout song?
MB: There are many – I like a wide variety of music but my heart resides in 80’s New Wave. My favorite workout songs right now would probably be “Hold Back The Rain” from Duran Duran’s “Rio” album, “Human” by The Killers and one of Billy Idol’s newest album “Can’t Break Me Down”.
JK: Spirit animal?
MB: Wish I could think of one. I do adore my 10 year old pug, Griffin. He’s adorable but he’s the epitome of lazy.
JK: Fitness crush?
Well known – Chris Freytag. I”ve had the pleasure to meet her and not only is she gorgeous, fit and over 40, she’s ridiculously smart, warm and giving with advice.
I’m also lucky to have some amazing inspirations in my actual universe and they include you, my friend as well as Melissa @MelissaRunningIt, Jill @TreeFitness, Allie@VitaTrain4Life and Christine@LoveLifeSurf.
JK: Aww, shucks, I love all the love that comes out of Woman Crush Wednesdays! Thank you so much Melissa for answering all of my crazy questions and continuing to inspire me, day in and day out. You’re going to rock the mic at BlogFest, I’m so EXCITED for you!
If you’re not already following Melissa online, you should be, she’s pretty awesome: