Photo: Courtesy of The Clothes Make the Girl
How would you describe your style?
Imagine Audrey Hepburn decided to win the heart of a cute punk rock boy. I have an affection for sparkly things, leopard print, little black dresses and stompy boots. And eyeliner! Always black eyeliner.
In what ways do you believe that personal style and healthy living go hand in hand?
My blog, The Clothes Make the Girl, was originally intended to be a fashion blog. When I started it, I was on the tail end of losing about 40 pounds, and I was very excited about the whole new world of fashion opportunities presented by being smaller. Then I started doing CrossFit and really focusing on nutrition to fuel my workouts. As I invested more time in my health, the writing on my blog morphed into sharing my workouts and what I was eating.
Physical activity—CrossFit, yoga, running, meditation, strength training—and making good food choices (for me, it's the Paleo diet) make me feel like a badass. And confidence makes every woman beautiful. At this point, my desire to be as fit and healthy as possible is equal to my desire to look as good as possible. My fashion sense and commitment to fitness really come together when I wear all black and pretend to be a spy who might need to outrun a bad guy.
What inspired you to write your cookbook, Well Fed?
I'm 44 years old, and I've spent about 30 of those years on a diet with food as my enemy. That is not a nice way to live. When I started eating Paleo three years ago, I learned how to "just eat." By chowing down on high-quality protein, fruits, vegetables and high-quality fats, my cravings for starchy, salty, sugary and fatty treats went away. I still occasionally like to indulge in a bowl of popcorn or an end-of-summer ice cream cone, but 90% of the time, I eat healthy, real, whole foods... and it's comfortable, easy and satisfying.
Once I learned how to eat, food became a friend instead of a source of anxiety, and I started playing in the kitchen to adapt family recipes to fit my new Paleo lifestyle. Those recipes became some of the most popular pages on my blog and eventually grew to be our cookbook Well Fed. It was definitely a labor of love. My husband Dave shot the photographs, and I wrote all of the recipes and did the food styling. Everything in the book is straight from our home kitchen — no sneaky ingredients or food photography tricks. In fact, after our photo shoots every weekend, we ate the "models" from the food photos.
What do you love most about blogging?
Writing is how I figure out my feelings and the world around me, so it's a true gift to have an outlet to share stories and publicly gnaw on topics that make me curious, confused, outraged or delighted. And the cherry on top of the (non-dairy, sugar-free) coconut milk ice cream sundae is that I've slowly built up a community of people who read my blog and contribute to the conversation. I feel like I have lots of friends "out there," and it makes me quite grateful.
What are your three most prized possessions?
Since it says "possessions," I don't feel like I can include my kickass husband and my ridiculously cute cat Smudge. Strictly speaking about inanimate objects, the three things I prize the most are:
1) Black ankle boots. They're from France and sort of moto style with a buckle strap around the ankle. When I tried them on, I was worried they'd be too big, and I was prepared to have my heart broken because I needed them so desperately. They fit like a dream. Every fall I have them re-soled for another year of kicking butt.
2) A stuffed panda that my dad gave me on my first Christmas. I slept with it every night for about 16 years, so all of the fur is worn off, and Teddy survived a fire in my dorm room in college. He's a survivor, and it shows.
3) A faux pearl bracelet that belonged to my grandmother. It's a three-strand, '50s style and some of the pearly coating is wearing off the beads, but I always wear it when I need good luck for events like a job interview or a public presentation.
Check out Melissa’s blog here!
Find Melissa on Twitter @melicious11
“This tote bag is just the right size for a journal, a camera and a makeup bag.”
“Perfect for getting lost in Prague (my fave city).”
“These boots toughen up a girly skirt.”
"It's leopard print! What else do you need?"
“A go-with-everything basic with a touch of pizzazz.”