Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Archive for July, 2016

Lightlife Smart Dogs Review

Recently I became a blogger for Moms Meet! This means I receive products for free to try and share as well as review on my blog. The first sample I received to review was from Light Life Smart Dogs


These are similar to hot dogs except they are completely plant-based, which means not one stitch of meat. Great for vegan hot dog lovers as well as those who are looking for a healthier alternative to a summertime favorite. One great thing I like about Lightlife is that they are easy to find in your local grocery store by searching the online Store Locator. You just enter your zip and a list of stores carrying the product will pop up! Keep in mind, vegan items are usually stocked in the produce section so don’t be surprised if you don’t see them sitting next to their meat-filled companions. They also run about $4-$5 (Southern California pricing) depending on the location.

I decided to prepare my hot dogs on a hot dog roller machine (think food court/gas station)…I also cooked them along with some regular beef hot dog. Can you spot the Lightlife hot dogs?


As you can see, there is a bit of a difference in appearance compared to beef dogs, but I cooked them both for the same amount of time with no issue. They also rolled just fine. 😉 

So then it was the moment of truth!


Once you add some toppings, you could barely tell you were eating a veggie hot dog. They were less plump than regular hot dogs and also had more of a smoky taste to them. I would say they weren’t as juicy as regular hot dogs as well, but the taste overall was not much different. Interestingly enough, the kids had opposite opinions. My 3-year-old daughter was not a huge fan and only took one bite. My 18-month-old son finished the whole thing no problem. So I’ll have to work on the 3-year-old a bit more as she is quite picky. 

I did ask a few vegetarian/vegan friends how they felt about veggie hot dogs and their overall opinion was that they did not like the taste of hot dogs in general, therefore, they had no interest in trying plant-based hot dogs. I have tried other brands of vegan hot dogs and I will honestly say that Lightlife is the best brand so far! Check them out and let me know what you think!

They also pair well with Mac-and-cheese!


*I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

~SM

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The Color Run (All-Star 5k)

I recently ran The Color Run a.k.a the happiest 5k on the planet and it was a blast!  I will start off by saying that I ran this race for free (more on that later) and it was held in a much more scenic location than last year – at the Waterfront Downtown!  It was also held a little bit earlier this year so that it could be in conjunction with the MLB All Star Weekend events.  The only downfall to all of this was parking.  Parking downtown is usually a drag and this day was no different.  It took me almost 20 minutes to find a spot, but I found a free one fairly close. And I even parallel-parked…like.a.boss. Holla!

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So on to the race.  Since I spent a little extra time looking for parking, I ended up running in the 8:00 am wave, which wasn’t so bad cause everyone seemed fun and I also ran with a fellow Stroller Warrior as well as my mini.  There was a DJ close to the start line getting everyone pumped and throwing out t-shirts and whatnot.  He couldn’t throw very well so I suggest he obtains one of those tshirt canister gun things for next year.  It would also make him look a whole lot cooler.  The race pretty much started on time and we were off!

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The course was a big loop through the Embarcadero and downtown.  It started off a little crowded as we were navigating through narrow pathways along Seaport Village, but it eventually widened up and I was able to pass others pretty easily.  The first stop was blue, then green with a water station and very enthusiastic volunteers.  The water stations also played heart-pumping music which really made the race feel like a party.

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I didn’t get too blasted at these stations although one of the blue volunteers did pelt me in the face and ear pretty good.  They also were very cautious not to throw any in my daughter’s face and she loved going through all of the color stations.  The next stop was orange and then we finished with pink before crossing the finish line.

We were greeted at the finish line with medals and extra color packets to throw around and directed towards a water/Gatorade station.  Then it was party time!  There was a large stage with a DJ (one that I actually liked) keeping the energy flowing with dance music and extra swag opportunities. There were also lots of photo ops with various props and signs as well as food trucks and even a cell phone charging station!  It was definitely a nice touch!  The Runicorn made an appearance along with the Anthony Sullivan – The OxiClean guy!

The event wrapped up around 11am and then it was time for the party to end. 😦 Overall, I really enjoyed this race much better than last year’s.  The location was much more scenic compared to last year’s race in the Qualcomm stadium parking lot.  There also seemed to be a lot more photo props and food choices.   I snagged a gourmet chocolate popsicle for $3 from Steel City Pops and it was delightful!

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Also, the race course was actually 3.1 miles which is great because last year it was less than 2.5.  The only bummers were the parking issues and there were more color stations at least year’s event.  I’m not much for gimmick runs, but I have fallen in love with the Color Run and will definitely do it again in the future!  It’s a great event for the whole family and a good excuse to get messy and go to a party at 8am!

*So, how did I run the race for free?  I volunteered at packet pick-up the day before the race!  It actually was a lot of fun as it felt more like a pre-party since everyone picking up their packets was super excited about the event and I really just felt positive vibes all around.  Packet pick-up was at The Headquarters in Seaport Village and I took a 4 hour afternoon shift.  Things got pretty hectic as it seemed like everyone came at once, but it was a well organized event and the craziness made the time go by super fast.  We were rewarded with water, snack bars, and a free race entry!  You can even volunteer with your kids so I recommend it if you are trying to save some money on race fees!  It’s also a great way to help out with an awesome event or obtain some volunteer hours even if you don’t plan to run in the race.

Now, what was the SWAG?!

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I will say, last year’s swag was a bit more exciting…but I still prefer this year’s event.

~A clear bag to protect your valuables from the color during the race

~A sweet headband

~A soft, stretchy tshirt (they are one of the few shirts I actually like to wear)

~Color Packets

~Tattoos

~Water cups – okay this isn’t really swag, but I thought these were the most adorable water cups!

~Sunglasses – Note: I paid $5 for these but I decided to splurge a little since I wasn’t paying for the race.

~A beautiful medal

~Amazing weather and awesome scenery!

And running with friends makes the Color Run that much sweeter!  Especially running with another Stroller Warrior!

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“Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof…” (Pharrell Williams)  Now that song can be stuck in your head, too. 😉  You’re welcome.

See you at the next event!

~SM

 

Imperial Beach 5k

Last month I participated in the inaugural Imperial Beach 5k Beach Run.  I was little hesitant to register since it’s the organization’s first race and I prefer all of the kinks to be worked out before I participate in a race.  But they offered a promo code and a military discount so I only paid about $25 after the fees (darn you Active.com!)…and I always enjoy a nice run on the beach.  So I decided to go ahead and run this one along with a couple of friends.

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If you’re wondering how close Imperial Beach is to Mexico, it’s this close:

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I found free street parking fairly easy (the race started at 8:00 am) and I only had to wait a few minutes in the line to pick-up my packet.  The race was held on the actual packed sand of the beach and there were probably about 250-300 participants.  There was also a 1 mile fun run option for those not quite ready to tackle a 5k which meant there were two separate race courses.  The 5k race route was a bit odd to me – it was an out-and-back followed by another out-and-back.  We will get to the details on that later.  The terrain was sand (obviously) but there was an added hurdle that I did not take into account for this run – rocks.  There were rocks buried all throughout the sand, which made for an obstacle course that I was unprepared for.  It wasn’t too crazy, but since the beach was also kind of slanted, I had to pay attention a little more to my footing so that I wouldn’t trip or roll an ankle.  My friend pushed a stroller during this race, so it wasn’t an impossible feat – just a challenging one.  There was also a water station about halfway in and some volunteers directing the runners along the course.

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Note the rocks in the last pic and in case you’re wondering…no, I did not fall.  After the run there was a big expo with lots of activities for kids, including a bounce house and face painting.  There were also fitness demos, a band and free pancakes!  I would say the free pancake breakfast – which included, pancakes, syrup, sausage and juice – was one of the best parts of the event.  I have no pictures of this delicious ensemble because I consumed the whole meal in about six and a half minutes.  You’ll just have to use your imagination on this one.  I also thought the band was pretty great.  Since this event was held to benefit the Calvary Training Center in Mexico, the band played worship music but with a Mexican flare…and I totally dug it.  I didn’t bring my kiddos to this event so I can’t say I participated in any of the activities – but they looked fun and the bounce house seemed pretty rad.  There was also a raffle, but they weren’t doing the giveaways until two hours later.  In the words of the great Sweet Brown – “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.

Participation medals were not given out at this race, but they were given to those who placed in the top three of each age group.  I ran with a fellow Stroller Warrior and placed first in her age group so I did hang around for the medal ceremony.

Now, back to the course.  There was a big issue that I had with the race course and that was the fact that it was NOT A TRUE 5K, which drives me crazy when races are not the length that they are advertised.  This one ended up being around 2.38 miles so there was obviously some miscommunication or miscalculation when the course was originally created.  I will give them a little bit of a slide since this was the inaugural race and like I said, I expected some things to not go as smoothly as they would in other established races.  However, since I did pay $25 for a 5k, I expect a true 5k.  Other than that, the views were beautiful and everyone was friendly; although I feel like all those people who placed 4th or 5th in their age group kind of got screwed since they would have had at least half a mile to pass the people in front of them.  Anywho, besides that hiccup I enjoyed the event and although I didn’t bring my kids this time I like that it was a fun event for the whole family to enjoy in beautiful Imperial Beach.

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So what was the SWAG?!

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Aloe Gloe is a refreshing drink that comes in a few tasty flavors!

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~ A cotton tshirt – I love the design, but it runs fairly large so I’m not sure I will be wearing this one very often.

~Clif bar trail mix bar

~Kashi Go Lean granola bar

~Larabar

~Homemade cookie

~Beachside FroYo keychain

~D’ames Day Spa tube of something (not sure what this is as there were no instructions, perhaps a face scrub?  But it smells divine!)

~Suicide prevention pin

~Various coupons and pamphlets

~And Scenery, of course!

See you at the next event!

~SM

 

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