Getaway to McKinney, Texas : Where to Stay, Play, & Dine

My annual birthday celebrations never arrive quietly or without including a good deal of planning and travel. I believe birthdays should always include a person’s favorite things and people and as you may already know, exploring new places is one of my most favorite things. For this birthday weekend celebration, I partnered with Visit McKinney and Texas Travel Talk to bring you a weekend itinerary full inspiration and a weekend you can easily replicate for a visit of your own.

Where to Stay in McKinney, Texas

Mckinney Bed and Breakfast

McKinney Bed and BreakfastWhen planning a weekend getaway in a new city, it’s easy to default to the most familiar hotel chain. Let me encourage you to HIGHLY consider a bed and breakfast when visiting McKinney, Texas. If you are shocked to hear this recommendation coming from me, I’m honestly a little surprised myself. It is no secret that I enjoy luxury accommodations. For my first stay in bed and breakfast ever, the accommodations at McKinney Bed and Breakfast were top notch. It’s not a hotel and it’s not a home but for a Mckinney getaway, it is better than both. I would be so happy to stay here with the hosts Vicki and Wayne Hill anytime. They took such good care of us with coffee and gourmet biscotti delivered right outside our door. Breakfast was several delightful courses. I had no idea how lovely a bed and breakfast stay could be. I look forward to coming back for another visit with them soon.

McKinney Bed and Breakfast room

McKinney Bed and Breakfast meal

Where to Eat in McKinney, Texas

As if breakfast at Mckinney Bed and Breakfast wasn’t enough there are plenty of places to tempt your taste buds. There are plenty of options to satisfy your inner foodie in Mckinney. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations from the weekend.

  • SugarBacon Proper Kitchen – Seasonal approach to American cuisine
  • Cadillac Pizza Pub – Pizza, Music, Beer
  • Hugs Cafe – Non-Profit employing adults with special needs
  • Patina Green Home and Market – Daily lunches served in an edgy antique shop
  • Paciugo Gelato Cafe – Italian ice cream and coffee
  • The Yard- McKinney’s backyard hangout with great food, cold drinks, games, and awesome vibes
  • Harvest Seasonal Kitchen-Farm to Table Restaurant
  • Frios Gourmet Pops- Fresh, Frozen, Gourmet Popsicles

What to Do in Mckinney, Texas

Beyond food and relaxation, there is a ton to keep you busy from morning to night on your visit.

Shopping on the Square

While I’m not typically a hardcore shopper when traveling, I was completely taken with the shops surrounding the Downtown Mckinney Historic Square. These are not your aunties boutiques and stereotypical antique shops. The shop owners here are in tune with today’s customers and have curated interesting and original selections of goods that cannot be found elsewhere. I was also happy to find that the personalities of the owners and staff were just as original as the goods they market. Every great travel experience is about the people and the people I met inside the shops of McKinney Texas will have me driving back to shop again and again.

Get Ready to Laugh

One unique entertainment offering in Mckinney is The Comedy Arena. If you are up for a night of laughs, you might want to give this a try for date night. The Comedy Arena is in downtown McKinney, TX just a little off the Square at 305 E. Virginia and is one of the few options that is supplying comedic entertainment every weekend of the year. There is a family-friendly show in the early evening and a more adult show just following later in the evening.

Enjoy Live Music

If you enjoy live music and visit on a weekend, you will be hard pressed not to find live music playing somewhere on McKinney’s downtown square. Almost every shop and restaurant has commissioned a musical act to perform. It’s clear that art and culture are valued by residents and visitors alike.

Unique Ideas and Insider Tips We Love about McKinney Texas

McKinney Farmers Market

Food Walks Of Texas Tours Food Walks of Texas offers guided, walking food tours of historic downtown McKinney. Perfect for visitors or locals, you’ll learn about our city’s fascinating history while enjoying its best eats. In addition to delicious food tastings, you’ll learn interesting tidbits about the backgrounds and inspiration of the chefs/owners behind the eateries, as well as plenty of historical, cultural, and architectural information relevant to the historic downtown McKinney Square.

Mckinney Door on the Square

Look for the tiny door on the Downtown Square This tiny door is one of my favorite insider secrets on the Downtown Mckinney Square! If you keep your eyes open on one of the corners you’ll see a small door with stained glass just at the height of your shoes. An artist installed this artwork to remind those who were looking that there is always something to see if we’ll just pay attention. Let me know if you find this door when you walk the square here okay?

Get a UNIQUE picture taken The UNIQUE letters are currently located in Mitchell Park and make a perfect photo to commemorate your visit. The City of McKinney launched the #IAMUNIQUEBYNATURE campaign to define the city’s image for our residents, businesses, and visitors. It speaks to the inherent uniqueness and embodies the spirit of community in Mckinney, Texas.

Learn How to Bake French Macarons Learn to bake French macarons like a pro in one of Savor’s hands-on baking classes. Each person takes home a gift box of macarons and tote bag from the class.

There is so much more to explore I HIGHLY encourage you to bring a friend or your family and come to find your favorite spots in McKinney, Texas. Be sure to come back and tell me what you loved most, won’t you?

Connecting with Your Teens at Six Flags Over Texas

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Six Flags Over Texas Mr Freeze

At least once a season we make a family outing to Six Flags Over Texas. This is always such a fun outing because there is something for everyone to enjoy no matter your level of adventure. We’ve been making a concentrated effort to spend time connecting with our teens this summer as much as possible. This time our whole family was invited to visit and share everything that’s new for summer 2018 at Six Flags Over Texas. As part of our experience, we were provided with tickets, flash passes, and meals so we could experience as much as possible.

There really is a TON to do at Six Flags Over Texas even if you have one or two in your group that aren’t extreme thrill-seekers. Pro-Tip: grab preferred parking and flash passes before you arrive at the park. They are an excellent value and make for an even better experience.

Connecting with Your Teens at Six Flags Over Texas this Summer

Our most recent visit was an exceptionally great time with our teens for a number of reasons. This visit Sebastian made a leap to try his first ever thrill ride- the brand new for 2018 Harley Quinn Spinsanity! They are growing up but definitely still include us in their fun. We enjoy every opportunity to see them grow.

Six Flags Over Texas Teens

On this day, it was obvious our teenagers had grown leaps and bounds since our last visit. Not just because all worries of qualifying for a height requirement were long removed. It was more to do with the way they walked up to the park gates with confidence, keenly aware of exactly where they wanted to go.  It’s clear they are becoming more and more independent with every passing summer.

Six Flags Over Texas Connecting with Teenagers

We saw a lot of them from the back as they walked ahead enjoying each other’s company and finding their own way. Almost like clockwork, they would come rushing back to us excited to share what they just learned, saw, or experienced. It’s so similar to when they were smaller, running ahead but turning back for a certain amount of reassurance.  I love seeing that the world is still full of wonder. Parenting will always be a good deal of experiencing the world through their eyes like everything is brand new. I imagine it will always feel like this no matter how grown up they become.

Six Flags Over Texas Selfie with the Teens

And then, he rode his first thrill ride!!

The Newest Thrill Ride at Six Flags Over Texas- HARLEY QUINN Spinsanity

What came next was a complete surprise to everyone in our group. We have always had a mix of extreme thrill seekers and easier-going personalities. Kaitlyn has always been a major thrill seeker looking for the highest and fastest, while Sebastian has always insisted “life is enough of a rollercoaster” for him. Even if he didn’t want to ride, he always walks through the line with us telling jokes. When it’s time for our group to board the ride, he passes over and waits on the other side. Most rides aren’t more than a couple of minutes. Surprisingly, this time he said he really wanted to take the ride.

Six Flags Over Texas Harley Quinn Spinsanity

We were shocked. The newest ride, just introduced to the park that week, Harley Quinn Spinsanity, was quite the ride to attempt for a first-ever thrill-ride.

This first-of-its-kind thrill-ride was inspired by the movement of a gyroscope and delivers unpredictable, gravity-defying flips, twists and turns. Harley Quinn Spinsanity features a unique futuristic triple box design that allows the gondola to spin around three separate axes while rotating forward, backward and sideways simultaneously at up to 70 feet in the air!

We took a video interview to capture the before and after reactions he had. The video is priceless. I have the whole thing featured on a highlight reel on our Instagram account – you can see that and all the behind-the-scenes of our summer visit here.

What if someone in our group doesn’t enjoy thrill-rides? No Problem! There is still SO much to enjoy!

A larger family always means knowing there will be a lot of preferences to accommodate for. Until this recent visit, we’ve always had to plan for how we would handle those that lived for thrill-rides and those that would rather sit it out while still maintaining an enjoyable experience for all. We’ve got a few different strategies and suggestions for this.

Here’s a list of several activities you can enjoy at Six Flags Over Texas that ensures everyone has a great time!

6 Ways to Enjoy Six Flags Over Texas Even If You Don’t Like Thrill Rides

  • Special Events- from educational events to special celebrations of the arts there is always something being showcased to look for and enjoy. For a current calendar of events at Six Flags Over Texas click here.
  • Shopping – Love shopping at the park and plan to visit a lot? Did you know there is a Season Shopping Pass?! Right now for just $19.99 this add-on to your Season Pass will give you a 20% discount on almost all in-park merchandise through the end of the 2018 season — no minimum purchase required!
  • Holiday Festivals – Depending on the season you will often find the park decorated for the holiday and full holiday spirit during Holiday in the Park- or full of spooky Spirits if you visit during Fright Fest.
  • Games – You won’t have to look far to find a game that suits your skill level. All throughout the park, you’ll find various midway games to compete in for prizes.
  • Food-  No matter what type of food is your favorite, you’ll find it at Six Flags Over Texas. In between coasters, get ready to enjoy every goodie you can imagine, from pretzels and popcorn to funnel cakes and brisket nachos. We were also pleased that the vegetarians in our group could find a healthy salad or other option at several locations at the park with no trouble.
  • Live Performances- All year long there are live performance and concerts to enjoy that will keep you singing and vibing as you stroll along. During our visit, we enjoyed a free live concert and danced for over an hour near the concert stage inside the park.

We had such a great time this visit and stayed until the very minute the park closed. On the way home, the backseat was filled with chatter of how much fun they had. The next day, I even received a couple of text messages thanking me for spending the day with them. Texting is true teen appreciation.

I want to say once again how much we appreciate Six Flags over Texas sponsoring this post. These moments of connection with our teens will last a lifetime.

Become Part of the Art at Museum of Illusions in Los Angeles

Museum of Illusions Bubble BlowingI’m in Los Angeles this week for a pretty impressive global lifestyle event but it would be a total missed opportunity if I didn’t share about my fun, albeit VERY impromptu visit to the Museum of Illusions last night. After dinner a couple of ladies on the trip with me extended an invite. I was feeling a bit sleepy but knowing it was near the hotel we are staying at and I am typically ALWAYS up for an adventure I decided to risk it. OMG! I am so glad I did. In just a few pictures you will see why the Museum of Illusions is such a great time. If you decide to go I highly recommend organizing a group to join you.

Museum of Illusions falling building

A visitor to the Museum of Illusions is not a passive observer but a full-fledged participant of the paintings created by the best artists. This is a place where photography is not just encouraged – it is part and parcel of the exhibition. The museum of optical illusions is intended to fill visitors’ photo albums with vivid and unusual photographs. Everyone finds something to their liking here because we tried to cover every topic of interest for the humankind. The Museum of optical illusions opens its doors for the viewers of all ages, without restrictions, and guarantees – no one will feel bored!

Museum of Illusions Space Room

Museum of Illusions Hamburger

Ready to plan your visit to the Museum of Illusions ?

Museum of Illusions front desk

Here’s what to know before you go: 

Tickets may be purchased at the door for $25 depending on availability. Get your tickets HERE.

FREE admission for children 5 years old and younger. Strollers permitted. $10 for Children’s tickets (6-12 years old)

No food, drinks, dogs, rollerblades, skateboards, or aliens allowed.

$20 Parking: 1724 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90028

30+ artworks.

Expect to spend an hour at the museum.

Photography permitted.

VIP tickets include parking, bypassing the line/individualized schedule, personal photo shooting & a special gift.

Museum is open 10AM – 12AM daily. Last Entry 11PM.

A Little Bit of Kindness Can Go A Long Way in a Kia Niro PHEV

They say little bit of kindness can go a long way.  As it turns out if you are driving a 2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) you can go even further on less. Right before we shut things down for the holidays Kia Motors America invited Jillian from Hello Splendid and I to take a “Choose Your Own Adventure” road trip from L.A. to San Francisco and we had the most amazing time spreading kindness all over California together.

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Solvang CA

As exciting as this adventurous opportunity was on its own, this would also be a very meaningful trip for the two of us to take together. Just 39 weeks prior Jillian received some very life changing news.  Before this, we had been talking about “one day soon” taking a road trip together. I’ll tell you that I leave a lot less for “one day soon” now. Our plans for the trip and so many more things would be put on hold as all concentration had to be forth to fight this new diagnosis in the months following. It felt like the world was simultaneously spinning and standing still for everyone. When we talked 36 weeks ago, it was decided as soon as it was possible we would ABSOLUTELY be taking that road trip we had talked about. It was a promise of something to hold on to, something to hope for. So much happened in the weeks that followed but on December 13 we finally were able to set out on that road trip together.

Day Made. (Ps I love you @hellosplendidblog )#thenewkia

A post shared by Lifestyle Blogger ?Alice Chase (@alicechase) on

As it is with a choose your own adventure type trip we got to choose the adventure!! We had a starting time/location, a generous budget at our disposal and an ending time/location- that was it! There were a few other teams traversing the roads with us and given the same parameters. A list of bonus points would be granted and tallied once we reached the predetermined destination. Before we arrived, Jillian and I had talked about how we would structure this adventure. One of the biggest themes we wanted to incorporate was kindness. Kindness is something we both feel strongly about making time for no matter the day or agenda. Countless times we have both given and received kindness in different forms the last year and it was the best way we could imagine to theme our trip.

kindness kit Collage

As we prepped for the trip, Jillian shopped for supplies to include in our “kindness kits” and I started planning our route. Trip planning and finding unique destinations is one of my favorite things to do. I especially enjoy catering each trip to the interests and likes of those taking it. Jillian let me keep the itineraries a secret until literally the moment we were on the road. I love surprises but I’d totally be lying if I said I didn’t have butterflies in my tummy wondering if she would like what I had chosen.

After a brief product presentation and run down on the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid, charging stations, and lunch, we had a fantastic send of from Charles Phoenix a master of road trip Americana! His energy totally set the stage for road trip excitement! We didn’t have to worry about where we would be recharging on the road as there were plenty of level 1 and 2 charging stations in between our starting point and end destination. Whether you’re at home or on the road, rest assured you’ll find a power source anywhere you can plug into the electric grid. And with Kia’s UVO eco App, you can schedule charge times at home and find public charging stations.

But first…. Target! We needed a few more supplies for a very important stop that would come later. On our way in and out of the store we made it a mission to return all the stray carts in the parking lot. It’s such a simple thing to do and costs nothing. It made at least one employee’s job easier that day and the organized side of my heart was fulfilled. Kindness mission #1 : CHECK!

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid roadtrip Target

It was time to get on the road before we hit too much of L.A. traffic. Even with the best of planning, we definitely saw our fair share of traffic but we had plenty of great conversation and music to keep us going. Every road trip needs its soundtrack and  the Harman/Kardon Premium Sound System delivered crisp sound for all our playlist favorites. The Clari-Fi™ technology restores compressed tracks for noticeable clarity. The music wasn’t fading but after a few hours on the road we were . We made one stop for coffee and hustled towards our evening resting stop. We drove over mountains and watched the sun set. When it became dark we could smell the smoke from the California fires inside the Niro. Our conversations became more serious as we thought about those who had lost so much. We traveled a bit further the smell of smoke dissipated as we entered the Danish streets of Solvang, California, a location that has since become one of my favorite locations in the U.S.

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Solvang CA

We were in love with the town right away. We arrived to our hotel, The Landsby, about 7PM. The hotel staff was lovely and made a ton of recommendations for places to eat and visit during our stay. They were kind and welcomed us genuinely. We took our things to the room and were in love with every detail, from the llama artwork on the walls to the tiny lavender sachets reading “good night” placed on each of our beds. We were so enamored with every detail here. I promise to do a full post just on the Landsby itself soon.

The Landsby hotel Solvang CA

One challenge we had arriving to Solvang later in the evening was that the town begins to close down around 8-9 pm. This left us with just a few options for dining but those that were open were welcoming and warm. We walked to dinner at a location nearby our hotel thinking we might enjoy a little stroll after. When we stepped out after dinner the temperature had dropped dramatically. Instead of walking, we hopped back into our Kia Niro PHEV and toured this adorable storybook city listening to Christmas music just in awe and grateful for this time together.

Solvang CA flag

As we were driving and noticing the adorable shops and just FALLING IN LOVE with every shop and street in the city we noticed something else. There were a record number of fire trucks also parked along the road and completely filling one parking lot adjacent to our hotel. Many of the men and women helping to keep the residents and landscape secure during this time were also making Solvang their safe space for the evening. This gave us another moment of kindness inspiration.

delivering kindness kits on our roadtrip

We didn’t know exactly when or where our Kindness Kits would come into play during our trip but we knew that if you prepare the opportunity will present itself. The next morning we left a few items of support to those serving all year long.

Delivering Kindness to firemen in California

After that we were off in search of a traditional Danish breakfast. It’s funny to be a transitioning vegetarian in a Danish community- sausage or some form of meat is offered always. There were definitely options but we in search of the traditional æbleskiver.

Danish æbleskiver in Solvang

Aebleskiver are round pastries, like pancakes formed in a sphere.  In Denmark, æbleskiver are common at Christmas and over the days leading up to it. In December, they are often served with gløgg, Scandinavian mulled wine. In Norway, warm waffles have much of the same function as æbleskiver in Denmark.

Shoe store in Solvang CA

We walked by a few shops and so many that we wanted to visit. We decided at breakfast that we would scrap a few other things on the agenda in order to stay as long as possible in Solvang. We were already planning a trip back. Before we left we did a little photo shoot with our matching Dinosaur costumes because when you have a friend that has a matching costume the only question is “Will it fit in my carry on?” (more Dinosaur photos coming soon!)

dinosaur costume at the Landsby

The staff at the Landsby had been so nice to us that we made sure to leave them a handwritten note of thanks. I can’t wait for my next stay here!

Thank you notes hotel

We had several more hours of driving ahead of us so it was time to get on the road. Our next stop was one we were both very excited about. The last several months had given us plenty to catch up on and as with most road trips there were several stretches of highway for miles.

Kia Niro PHEV

Due to the route we chose to save time we didn’t have a ton of ocean front views but we waved as we drove by. Jillian lives just steps away from the ocean in CA so we were most excited about seeing parts of California that neither of us had discovered.  We definitely did make note of several places we want to stop on our next trip.

Our next stop took us to Oakland, right across the bridge from San Francisco. We both have a friend who is near and dear to our heart, Brandi from Mama Knows It All.  Even though it was moving week for her she was able to get away and meet up for a quick visit. Little did she know that we had a surprise for her too. (Remember that Target run we took ?)

Gifts for a friend

These items may seem like an unusual combination but have a meaning. Together they represent trusted friends who: travel through life with you even when the outcome is uncertain, genuinely celebrate your wins, believe in your gifting, show up at just the right times, and offer their gifts to you making life even sweeter. Simple gifts and time together, no matter how short, are treasured.

2018 Niro Plug-In Hybrid

We attempted to recharge the Kia Niro PHEV while we refueled on donuts and coffee and found it so easy to locate charging stations anywhere on your route. You can check for available charging stations right from the dashboard in your car or from the Chargepoint app. We weren’t far from our next stop in San Francisco. This night we would be staying at Hotel Zeppelin.

Hotel Zeppelin The Den

Hotel Zeppelin gameroom

It wasn’t long before all the teams had arrived together at the hotel. It was such a fun reunion with all the other road trip teams who has been out traveling as well. We got to see pictures of the different roadside attractions, share stories of adventures and ways that kindness was shared. It was an amazing thing to see that although we have lots of choices in the route we take there is joy in every journey and the people who share it with you.

The next morning Clarissa, Jillian, and I loaded our suitcases back into a Kia Niro PHEV and headed out to the airport to return to our homes spread literally across the nation. We all agreed what a wonderful experience it had been and we started planning for our next trip(s) together in 2018.

Airport friends

What were some of the best trips you took this year? Any special road trips planned for 2018?

*As is common, all travel, accommodations, and budget for this trip was provided for by our host, Kia Motors America. All opinions and storytelling are the sole expression of the author. 

The Kia Stinger GT is a Lot More Than Just a Pretty Fascia – It’s Fearless. #StingerIsHere

kia Stinger highway

The Kia Stinger is a lot more than just a Pretty Fascia

No one will disagree that the all new Stinger is a remarkably appealing vehicle. Even at its lowest trim level without custom add ons now available at time of purchase or upgrades, it is undeniably striking. Cars are built for a lot more than sitting still and looking pretty though. The 2018 Kia Stinger GT is so much more than its exterior. It’s precise and powerful and at a price accessible to everyone. What I love most about this addition to the Kia line up is that they aren’t attempting to create a new story but additional chapters to the existing one. The thing is where you’ve been ALWAYS plays a part in who you are today. For many of us that means we’re stronger, wiser, and more capable than in previous years. It gives us confidence. It makes us fearless. The Kia Stinger doesn’t negate the road that Kia traveled in the years preceding. It just offers a new layer of depth and makes the miles ahead a lot more exciting.

2018 Kia Stinger

What happens on the inside is just as important, if not more so, than what is shown on the outside. During the course of a few days in California, hosted by Kia Motors North America, I had the opportunity to really get to know the Stinger and put its capabilities to the test. After being thoroughly impressed getting to drift at SEMA a few weeks ago, I kinda already knew what I was getting into but this time I would get to drive distance as well.


We were hosted at The Garland hotel which if you have the opportunity to visit, you’ll find bathed in hues of orange, warm woods, and plenty of retro vibes. If you are looking to do a little Hollywood sightseeing, you definitely don’t have to go far from property. Located only a couple blocks away is the exterior of the famed Brady Bunch house. I took a short walk with friends before dinner to catch a quick glimpse myself and of course, take a selfie or 7.

Brady Bunch House

That evening we dined under the stars in the courtyard at The Garland with a menu theme based on the movies and stars of yesteryear. The Godfather offered an Italian selection while Jaws encircled the seafood, The French Connection… well you get the idea. After dinner, we played a few groovy games in the hospitality suite and listened to vinyls on record players courtesy of Harmon Kardon.

From the moment of its unveiling in Detroit, early this January, the Kia Stinger has been turning heads. All over the internet and in print people have commented on how well designed it is. Those within the company have held an air of confidence from the very beginning knowing how well it would perform. The thing is, Kia has been designing more than just “pretty cars” for quite some time now. The K900, the Cadenza, and the Optima all hold their own in the line up and in recognition. J.D Power has ranked Kia #1 in initial quality for two straight years. Consumer Reports lists them as top 3 in reliability and in the top 6 best car brands in the market. They have been the ONLY non-premium brand to earn three APEAL awards( J.D.Power).

What’s wrong with being “pretty”?

Nothing is wrong with being “pretty”, “hot”, or “sexy”. To me, it’s just not the most meaningful part about well, anything or anyone. Reducing something to mere aesthetics alone will always initially overlook the more powerful capabilities, potential, and personal story. Looking beyond the surface will ensure you get the whole picture and Kia is no exception. Their story has been one with plenty of ups and downs. It has been thrilling one to follow and personally be part of for the past several years. The way the Stinger GT plays into their story is perhaps the most intriguing part of all for me.

So, what’s the story?

Kia Stinger GT Magic Mountain

In a few sentences or less, The Kia Motors story holds all the elements of a classic heroic story-line. A brand underdog that with time and determination has risen to the top, quite literally. Knowing it takes a team to win, they carefully curated a dynamic team, leading in design, performance, and engineering. From concept to showroom, they were able to develop something that nobody could say no to.

The Kia Stinger GT doesn’t negate the road that Kia traveled in the years preceding. It just offers a new layer of depth and makes the miles ahead a lot more exciting.

Kia Stinger GT

It’s Fearless

There was once a time in my life where I cared what other people said. I carefully considered who was watching and behaved according to what I though their perceptions might be. The problem with this is that you limit yourself and your potential to your past accomplishments or mistakes. One day all that faded away. I began to move forward not even thinking about who may be watching. I don’t know that there was this defining moment that shifted things either. Shifts like that typically happen in a series of events or over time. It didn’t mean I behaved in ways that were reckless or less than thoughtful- I was just finally free to be who I was. I’ve never considered “fearless” an attribute I posses but actually that’s exactly what I’m describing here and I think it’s the place Kia has arrived at too.

During our last laps on the auto-cross course Kia had set up, JB, Eden and I took the Stinger out for a little “Confidence Training”. There was a smoke, squealing tires and a lot of laughter after holding our breath for 30-40 seconds at a time while we trusted the driving abilities of each other behind the wheel. This is something I would never have attempted without permission but I am so glad we did it! In those moments, it wasn’t about showing off, as most of the group had already left for the rest of the scenic drive portion. It wasn’t about proving anything. It was just a drive experience where you could be confident in the skills and capabilities you already have access to in a vehicle that was equally as capable. It was about experiencing life without holding back and living to your fullest potential.

It was about living life fearlessly.

What’s next? Where do we go from here?

As exciting as it was to experience the Stinger in this way, the majority of us don’t have time for drifting and smoking tires during our daily commute. Most of us just want to escape the daily grind. This is the beauty of the gran turismo. An authentic gran turismo means long distance, high-speed, safe driving, and high-speed stability. The Stinger is designed for all of that and more.

2018 Stinger

“A true gran turismo, a car for spirited long-distance driving, is not about outright power, hard-edged dynamics and brutal styling, all at the expense of luxury, comfort and grace,” notes Gregory Guillaume, chief designer, Kia Motors Europe. “The Stinger has nothing to do with being the first to arrive at the destination – this car is all about the journey.  It’s about passion.”

Have you ever wanted to just pack a bag, get in the car and drive? This is the car for that. It’s designed for miles and miles of road and scenery. We’ve all said “one day I’d like to go…..” Don’t wait for one day. Make one day today. Find that place and take in something new. Find the places that feel right and once you get there consider staying an extra day or two. Bring a friend. There is plenty of room for their luggage too (or drone equipment depending on who you bring…. looking at you Yarby).

But wait…. what will this cost?

If I’ve sold you on performance, design and dreams, you’ve probably still got questions. I mean, we’ve all got day jobs and grocery runs after all. What exactly is this going to cost? Probably a lot less than you may be thinking.

This is where the Kia Stinger still shines and makes the most sense. An area where Kia has always excelled: affordability. Offered in five trim levels – Stinger, Stinger Premium, GT, GT1, and GT2:

  • Stinger starts at $31,900
  • Stinger Premium starts at $37,100
  • GT starts at $38,350
  • GT1 starts at $43,250
  • GT2 starts at $49,200
  • All-wheel drive:  $2,200
  • Destination: $900

“The Stinger is a prime example of Kia’s commitment to surpassing consumers’ expectations in everything we do,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, KMA. “Although the Stinger is unlike any other Kia that has come before it in terms of pure driving enjoyment, it is still very much a traditional Kia in that it offers consumers a very compelling value proposition, providing excellent performance and handling, premium features and functionality when compared to its much higher-priced competitors.”

All in all this is definitely a car worth taking a look at and taking a long drive in. Stop into your local dealership and see for yourself. Fair warning, you are going to want to take this one home.