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Music Run with 24 Hour Fitness

26 Apr

My registration for this event was comped. Because I’m an awesome super athlete. Shut up and let me believe that, okay?

Last weekend a friend and I packed up and headed for Pomona to do the Music Run by 24 Hour Fitness. This is a crazy fun event that I am going to do my best to explain.

First of all, it’s a night run that isn’t timed. That means you don’t get a medal, but it also means you can chill out and have some fun. We got there around 5pm and the place was already pumping. There was a DJ battle!

There were also food trucks, a huge Lite Brite (SO. FREAKING. COOL.), giant Jenga, and an obstacle challenge. I did not do the obstacle challenge. Let’s say it was because the line was too long and not because I was too chicken.

Since the run didn’t start until 7:15, we knew we had to eat before otherwise we would be starving. It would have been great to have some healthy options, but to be fair, no one held a gun to my head and made me order a milkshake. 😉

Then it was time for a warm up with some 24 Hour Fitness instructors. They did such a great job! I’ve really never seen a crowd get so amped up. Everyone was having a great time!

And then away we go!

While we waited, we bounced around a few giant beach balls. I told you, this isn’t like a regular 5K!

A video posted by Anne Hogan (@anne_hogan) on

We started running, but barely even got started before our carb loading for morons caught up to us and we (meaning me) started to cramp. So we walked, which was nice because we got to gab. The course was split up into five different sections, each dedicated to a different genre of music, with live acts interspersed. There were 120 speakers along the course pumping out rock, pop, country, hip hop, and dance. AND you control the playlist by voting in advance.

I was surprised at how fast it went – especially since we were walking!

Of course, there was some Prince on the playlist.

A video posted by Anne Hogan (@anne_hogan) on

And before we knew it, we were at the finish line! Which by the way, was another massive party.

This was such a fun night! And if you don’t live in LA, you’re in luck, because the Music Run is heading cross country. You can check upcoming dates on the website. They’re coming to Denver, Portland, Seattle, Sacramento, New Jersey, Austin, Houston, and Las Vegas. There are two registration options, Regular and Rockstar. With Rockstar registration you’ll get some pretty awesome swag, but either way you’ll get a rockin’ night. (That was lame. I’m really not cool enough to provide coverage for music things.)

Hiking the Hollywood Sign

20 Apr

I had a whirlwind weekend when Brother came to visit me for a few days. Yes, I actually call him Brother. That’s not a blog name. His real name is Dean if you really want to know. (And he wants me to tell my hot friends that he’s single.)

At any rate, he wore me out! I’m so tired I can’t even remember everything we did but I know we went to Porto’s a dozen times. And to burn off those delicious carbs, we decided to hike the Hollywood sign.

I live really close to Griffith Park and can’t believe it took me so long to do this hike! I wanted to bring Teddy in his stroller, but Brother said that was a stupid idea and he wouldn’t let me. It’s a good thing, because I barely made it up that freaking mountain. I never would have been able to push the Bear up.

There are a number of trails to the sign to choose from, and we went with the Canyon Blvd Trail, which is a moderate hike.

What to Expect:

The first part of this trail is the toughest because the elevation climbs up pretty quickly. I’m not used to actually climbing, so this was tough for me. Turns out I’m much better – and faster – on flat land.

You will get to a point where you can choose to go up and hike around to the top of the sign to get the best views of the city, or you can go down to hike around near the front of the sign and get the best pictures. We went for the photo opp.

After that, you’ll turn around and go back the way you came. It took us about half the time to get back down because it’s downhill. But we weren’t in a rush, and we weren’t pushing to go fast. We were savoring the views of nature. Plus it was hot.

What to Bring:

For the two of us on an 85 degree day, we brought three bottles of water. I’d say that’s the minimum you want to pack.

Bring sunscreen. Apply it when you get out of the car, and again at the turnaround point. Trust me.

Wear sneakers. The trail is hard packed but there is still a fair amount of loose gravel/sand/dirt/whatever so you want to have good traction.

And most importantly – have fun! The low route that we took to the front of the sign is a little shorter, about three miles each way, and it took us about three hours to do the full thing.

Best of Expo West

12 Apr

Last month the best natural and organic companies convened in Orange County for Expo West, where they showcased their newest products and old favorites. I love going to this show because I always find great new things! Here are my favorites from this year.

Cracked Nut Butter

This stuff is amazing. Nut butters with decadent dessert flavors that you can eat on a cracker, on a spoon, with ice cream, or baked into a fancy dessert. How good are the flavors? How about brownie batter, cinnamon roll, and cookie dough? So delicious. I mean, plain old peanut butter sandwiches seem kind of boring now.

Homemade Harvey

You know those fruit pouches they make for kids? I’m always stealing them from my nephew because they are yummy. Plus, it’s just a really convenient and non-sticky way to eat fruit on the go. But they are pretty small. So Homemade Harvey has a solution – fruit and veggie pouches for grownups. They’re bigger, and you won’t have to feel bad about stealing them from a child. My favorite flavor is banana strawberry kiwi.

Karma Nuts

I loooove cashews but I feel guilty if I eat too many because they tend to be pretty high in fat. Turns out that’s because of the way they’re cooked. Karma Nuts has “wrapped cashews” that are air roasted and the skins are left on to make them healthier and packed with nut-trition. (See what I did there?) They taste amazing, and they’re good for me. That’s a snacking win.

Vital Proteins

Vital Proteins has a marine collagen powder that I’m in love with. Not only is it a protein powder, but it promotes anti-aging and healthy skin, hair, and nails. But that’s not the best part. The best part is that it’s soluble in hot or cold liquid, and it has NO FLAVOR. This means you can mix it into your coffee! I love a protein powder that can go into my coffee so I don’t have to make a separate drink in the morning.

Moonshine Sweet Tea

I’m Southern, and that means I’m particular about my sweet tea. Especially the ready to drink stuff from a bottle. It’s usually overly sweet with too much artificial flavor. But not Moonshine Sweet Tea. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s all non-alcoholic. I didn’t try all of the flavors, but the original and the mint & honey are both amazing. The peach is also good, and I’m sure the others are great too. Except unsweet. I will never understand why a person would want iced tea unsweet.

So those are my new favorite products – I can’t wait to see what I find next year at Expo West!

Dear Publix, I Love You

17 Feb

I know Valentine’s Day is over, but I want to write a long overdue love letter to Publix, because Publix deserves it. And why do I have so much love for what may appear to be a common grocery store? Let’s take a trip through the store to find out.

First of all, when you walk in you’re greeted by free coffee. That’s right. Free coffee. For your shopping pleasure. Now let’s grab a cart and head to the deli.

This is the home of greatness, for this is where the Publix sub is born. A masterpiece of meat and produce on freshly baked bread, the Publix sub is rightly famous and revered throughout Florida.

The deli is also home to their homemade sweet tea. Buy a gallon or two, especially if they’re buy one get one free. You won’t regret it, because more is never enough when it comes to this sweet tea.

From the deli, we’ll stroll down to the bakery and pick up some fresh rye bread. I know, you would expect that the best rye bread in the nation would come from New York, but no, it’s right here in the Publix bakery. Go in the morning and you can get it fresh from the oven – it’s worth the early morning trip.

Then you’ll want to shuffle over a few feet and take in the glory and wonder of Publix cakes. They’re all so amazing. Red velvet, yellow with buttercream frosting, chocolate, pecan caramel crunch, each one is moist, light, sweet, and delectable. I usually buy three. (Shut up, I get them once a year.)

Before you drool all over the glass, tear your gaze away from the frosted beauties and turn around to take in the space. Look at how wide those aisles are! No bumping and awkward maneuvering to try to get your cart through a tight and cluttered space. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Ralph’s.)

There’s a reason their slogan is “Where shopping is a pleasure” because shopping really is a pleasure at Publix. Their produce section is equally amazing, and their selection of vegan alternatives rivals Whole Foods. But real talk, I was there for a sub and cake. So no produce section photos.

And so in closing, Publix, I love you. Please come to California.

Sweet Pete’s and The Candy Apple Cafe

6 Jan

While I was in Jacksonville for the holidays we went to have lunch at the new Sweet Pete’s / The Candy Apple Cafe downtown. The only thing I knew about this place before getting there was that it was a restaurant inside of a candy store. So naturally, my brother and I expected plates made of pancakes, spaghetti with gum balls, and maple syrup dispensers on all the tables.

Needless to say, we were disappointed when we were faced with a menu full of normal, non-candy foods. I wasn’t willing to give up so easily, and I did order candied bacon with my French toast. It was amazing, and I never want to eat non-candied bacon ever again. Other than that the food was okay, but nothing notable or above average.

After being so bent out of shape about the lack of edible plates at lunch, I had to begrudgingly admit that the rest of Sweet Pete’s is delightfully charming. Seriously, go for the candy store, eat lunch somewhere else.

There are two (or maybe three, now I can’t remember because I’m terrible at things) floors of candy goodness. Downstairs you’ll find their house made specialties and some of the fancier chocolate and caramel offerings.

Then make your way upstairs where you’ll find an ice cream and cupcake bar, a viewing deck to the candy factory below, and dispensers filled with every kind of candy you could imagine.

I don’t know what this place looks like for the rest of the year, but at Christmas it’s like something out of a fairy tale. So be careful not to steal any gum or nibble on any houses.

You can visit Sweet Pete’s and The Candy Apple Cafe in Jacksonville at 400 North Hogan St (no relation).

You can also buy the Sweet Pete’s Sea Salt Caramels online, which I highly recommend, because they are out of this world amazing.