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Who Wants to Wrangle a Balloon in the Hollywood Christmas Parade?

My son is getting a fun birthday present this week. We are going to be balloon wranglers in the 84th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade as part of a Hollywood Hotel package.

Chinese Theatre, Hollywood
Even though I grew up on a beach in L.A. County, I rarely went to Hollywood. Now I enjoy going to the area, as it has so much activity, energy, architecture, history, people-watching (and there are a LOT of quirky people there, believe me, especially those in costume near the (Grauman) Chinese Theatre), restaurants, nightlife and creativity.

I am going to figure out a way to hold my parade balloon (an elf or candy cane) with one hand while taking pictures and sharing real-time videos on my Periscope account while we march in the parade this Sunday, November 29 at 5pm. Then we’ll stay overnight at the Hollywood Hotel, which is over 100 years old.

Celebrities will be in the parade – Penn and Teller are the Grand Marshals – and celebrities have stayed at the hotel, so my fingers are crossed that Kristen Wiig and I will meet and become BFFs while clutching an inflatable elf (not Will Ferrell, though that would be good too). I wouldn’t say no to Aidan Quinn either.

entrance to Hollywood Hotel

I’d love to say I’m special, but actually anyone who wants can get in on this adventure. Book a room at the Hollywood Hotel for a stay that includes the night of the parade, and you can walk the parade route with us (and the hotel team) for rates as low as $139 for two people. This includes hot buffet breakfast, Wifi, Hollywood Hotel t-shirt and holiday hat to wear in the parade and, of course, walking in the parade. You have to use the promo code XMAS to get the deal. Most hotel chains charge that much just for the Wifi and breakfast.

Hollywood parade floatsWe’ll be walking the world’s longest red carpet – 3.5 miles along Hollywood Blvd, Sunset Blvd, and Vine – all street names that visitors from around the world know and want to visit. So yeah, I’m pretty excited about letting my son know what he’s getting for his birthday. He won’t quite be 21, so we’ll skip the outdoor bar and lounge, but we’ll pack our swimsuits for the pool.

I love history, so maybe you will enjoy this tidbit that caught my eye – the original Hollywood Hotel was owned by H.J. Whitley, the man credited with establishing Hollywood. You know, BEFORE silent pictures were all the rage.

toys for tots hollywood paradeI’m really looking forward to our adventure as parade participants. We’re taking up one of the hotel’s 130 rooms, so if you want one of the other 129, you’d better hustle up. Hollywood glamour. Celebrities. A vintage, yet cosmopolitan vibe. Culture. And that other thing. Oh yeah, the parade!!!!

I’ll make it easy on you: For more information or reservations contact 1-800-800-9733; 323-315-1800 , or visit hollywoodhotel.net or on Facebook. The hotel is located at 1160 Vermont Ave., Hollywood, CA 90029.

photo credits: Hollywood Hotel and Hollywood Christmas Parade

I wasn’t paid to write this post. I was invited to stay at the Hollywood Hotel and participate in the parade, which I am REALLY looking forward to. Since you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, you might as well subscribe right over there ——–>

Alexandra Williams, MA


A Trip to The Past in a Car For the Future: Driving Around Los Angeles in a Chevy Volt

Alexandra Williams, MA

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Chevy.

Trunk space in the Chevy Volt

Either I am giving myself a jolt with the Volt battery, or demonstrating the roominess of the trunk. Or just being dorky!

pic of Hermosa Pier plaque

The Hermosa Beach Plaque at the Pier

I grew up in Hermosa Beach, in Los Angeles County. Over the past 30 years, I’ve probably gone back 5 times, mostly because I had moved far away. Thanks to Chevy, I was offered a Volt to drive around for the weekend anywhere I wanted to go in L.A. Immediately I knew I’d head to Hermosa for day one. For day two, I picked downtown L.A., as I fell in love with the downtown area when I took a tour with the Los Angeles Conservancy a few months ago.



Day One – Hermosa Beach:

When I was growing up, Hermosa was a family beach town. Parking was not really an issue. It is now! First off, I didn’t care how far I had to park from the beach, as I like walking. Secondly, it was a moot point, because I was so excited by the OnStar feature that I called to get locations of charging stations, and was directed to a spot about 2 blocks from the beach, right in front of the local surf shop. Not only was the charging station free, I got to park for as long as I wanted, as opposed to the 2 hour max for everyone else. Score!

collage of Pier Ave. Jr. High

I went here when it was Pier Ave. Jr. High. Shop and Home Ec. were where the museum now is. My friend’s parents are listed on the plaque as supporters of the community center that it became. And I played volleyball (dressed in ugly green stretchy one-piece gym suits) where the skate park now is. As to the art show, it’s worth a visit when they hold it. Truly gorgeous works. Oh, the movie “Carrie” with Sissy Spacek was filmed here.

pictures from the Hermosa Beach Pier

The Hermosa Beach Pier doesn’t have concession stands or rides, so it’s uncrowded and worth a visit. You can see south all the way to Palos Verdes, and north to Santa Monica. A few years ago, city leaders added a Surfer’s Walk of Fame, including a high school cohort of mine. If you like to people-watch, walk, bike ride, play or watch volleyball, surf, swim, paddleboard, stand-up paddle, or build a sand-castle, this is the perfect spot.

picture of lifeguard station at 22nd street in Hermosa Beach

This is my favorite picture from the weekend because it’s the 22nd St. lifeguard station at the beach by my childhood home. We would dig for sand dabs, get sunburned, put sand in our hair, bury each other in the sand, swim in the ocean, and even build July 4th bonfires before they were outlawed. I sat here for a while and teared up, thinking of my childhood. Enjoy the present so that you can have happy memories when it’s the past.

picture of charging station at surf shop in Hermosa Beach

A free charging station in front of the surf shop on Pier Ave. & Monterey in Hermosa Beach. I parked here for 4 hours for free! And the Chevy Volt got fully charged in that time!

After walking around H.B. all day, I called my new BFF at OnStar, and headed off to a party that a high school friend was giving. In the 70s, my mom directed plays, and she encouraged this friend in his love of working with sound. He grew up to own one of the most respected sound companies around, doing many of the concerts you’ve probably been to. You just never know how a seemingly small act of encouragement can grow. He credits my mom for his path. I credit him for throwing a party that had fire-dancers, aerial silk artists, and excellent music, sound and a light show. I wore hot pink shorts for the hot tub and completely ruined my niece’s life. I forgot the Auntie Dress Code for a moment! hahahahah. She’s now scarred for life.

Day Two – Downtown L.A:

After sleeping in till 8:30 (it was a non-alcoholic party, FYI; I was just tired), I drove the Volt downtown. Did you know you can park in Pershing Square on the weekend for just $7 all day?

picture of Pershing Square

Pershing Square. Look for the inlaid river going into the fountain. And the pet walk area. In the winter they convert part of the Square to an ice rink.

We (family tagged along) wandered around looking at whatever caught our fancy, and swore that we’d do a Conservancy Theatre tour soon.

Exterior views in downtown L.A.

When you go downtown, remember to look up, as there’s always a unique detail to catch your eye. Or art. Or the reconstruction of a landmark. And even the grand opening of a quirkily-named shop! Watch out for griffins!

When we were kids our mom took us to lots of museums, including the La Brea Tar Pits, where we all threatened to push each other in (my parents had 5 kids, hoping to eventually strike gold, I guess), but I don’t have memories of going downtown. I love history (my undergrad degree was in medieval history, which my dad said qualified me for government work), so I am that nerd who reads every plaque on every building. Downtown L.A. has a lot of historic buildings, so it will take me years.

picture of interior scenes in L.A.

Did you know you can go inside the Bradbury Building, the Biltmore, and of course, The Last Bookstore.

picture of Angel's flight and farmer's market in downtown L.A.

No trip to downtown L.A. is complete without a visit to Angel’s Flight (you can ride it when it’s working, which is rare, sadly) and the Farmer’s Market.

You got that, Chevy Volt people? I need the car again FOR YEARS, as I finish these trips through history and my memory. I promise to stop yelling, “Charge me up, baby” at all the charging stations!

pic of some oddities seen in downtown L.A.

I decided that I need to wear THIS and decorate the tailpipe of the Chevy Volt with THIS. So L.A.

This trip started and ended with the Chevy Volt, so it’s fitting it should start and end with pictures of it. In my own inimitable style, of course. If you are on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you can see my other photos using the hashtag #ChevyFitTrip. Four other bloggers will be sharing their trips around Los Angeles and New York using this same hashtag, so follow along all summer.IMG_7876

And of course, for more about fitness, fun and active aging, follow Kymberly and me:

1) Follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit.

2) Pick up the phone or email us to book us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.


Take a City Walking Tour: Exercise & History Together!

Alexandra Williams, MA
What movie with Harrison Ford was filmed here?

What movie with Harrison Ford was filmed here?

Many people ask us, “I am not ready to join a gym, yet I know I need to exercise. What can I do?” While there are many answers, one that I find really fun is to take a walking tour. You stop so often, and are focused on the history and design of the local sights, so it’s easy to get in a nice long walk without even realizing it…or sweating!

Downtown Walking Tour

A few weeks ago I was part of an invited group of bloggers who got to participate in a walking tour of downtown Los Angeles, courtesy of the Los Angeles Conservancy. First off, I learned that the Conservancy came into being in order to save the downtown L.A. Central Library from being torn down after an earthquake, then arson, put it on the list for demolition. Can you even imagine the library NOT being there?

Until the 1950s, L.A.’s skyscrapers were limited to 150’ in height in order to let in as much of the Southern California sun as possible. The rule was then changed to a rule called 13:1, which meant you could build a 13-story skyscraper under certain space conditions. So the Conservancy worked a deal where they sold the air space above them to U.S. Bank (aka Library Tower), which wanted to build up higher than 13 stories. Go take the tour, look at the very tall buildings next to the library, and do the math!

History in Pictures

In the past, I walked around downtown L.A simply to get from point A to point B. Little did I know how much beauty and history was lurking all around me! These pictures give a hint:

Time for a walk around downtown L.A.

Time for a walk around downtown L.A.

Entrance to the Pacific Mutual Building - Designed to Impress

Entrance to the Pacific Mutual Building – Designed to Impress

Detail from the Pacific Mutual Building Entrance

Detail from the Pacific Mutual Building Entrance

Built in 1945, one of the last vestiges of Book Row.

Built in 1954, one of the last vestiges of Book Row.

Pool at the L.A. Central Library

Pool at the L.A. Central Library

Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom

Islamic-influenced ceiling in the L.A. Central Library.

Islamic-influenced ceiling in the L.A. Central Library.

Entrance to the Edison Building, aka Torrey Pines Bank

Entrance to the Edison Building, aka Torrey Pines Bank

The elevator lobby in the Edison Building

The elevator lobby in the Edison Building

Art isn't Always Small

Art isn’t Always Small

Angel's Flight - Closed for Repairs

Angel’s Flight – Closed for Repairs

Central Market L.A. - We tasted our way through it!

Central Market L.A. – We tasted our way through it!

Entrance to Grand Central Market in downtown L.A.

Entrance to Grand Central Market in downtown L.A.

Sadly, Harrison Ford isn't listed on this Bradbury Building Directory.

Sadly, Harrison Ford isn’t listed on this Bradbury Building Directory

Look up: The Bradbury Building

Look up: The Bradbury Building

Our Excellent Guide from the L.A. Conservancy

Our Excellent Guide from the L.A. Conservancy

Even though I grew up in L.A. County and went to many museums and events as a kid (my mom was big on getting us all cultured up!!!), I hadn’t really explored downtown before (nor been interested to do so). Strange, considering how many city walking tours I’ve been on around the world. No matter; I’m hooked now, and have already made plans to return. As a matter of fact, the tickets to see “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at the stunning Orpheum Theatre arrived yesterday!

By the time the tour was over, I guessed that we had walked just a few blocks. According to my Charity Miles app, we had actually done 2 miles! All without breaking a sweat. I wholeheartedly recommend a city walking tour as a way to exercise. You’ll enjoy the process and be happy with the benefits. Kind of like having kids! Hahahahahh. And if you are near Los Angeles, try one of the Conservancy tours. Our volunteer guide, David Fitzgerald, was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, friendly and emanated love for Los Angeles and her history.

Join us and Omax3 for a Twitter chat about Omega-3s this Thursday, Nov. 21 at 6pm PST/ 9pm EST. Hashtag #Omax3Omega. You bring the questions; Omax3 will bring the prizes – Boxes of Omega-3 capsules and GNC cards. 

Want to work with a prize team? 

A) Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

B) Subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog.

C) Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.