20 Awesome Experiences of 2016

As we look out with anticipation towards all the possibilities that 2017 may hold, it’s important we take time to reflect on all that happened the year before it. I do this each year and it always seems likes so much more greatness happens by the end of the year than what I first anticipate. I believe this happens when you leave yourself open to adventure, partner with creative, driven people, and live your life with the purpose of collecting and telling great stories. Thanks to our work with Kia Motors in 2016 we were able to tell a plethora of great stories, with incredible people, and have some really awesome experiences. Here is a recap list of some of our favorite memories from 2016.

20 Awesome Experiences of 2016

Dinner under the Stars ( Mom 2.0 at The Ecology Center)

Enjoying the Suite Life ( Hotel Emma, Salamander Resort & Spa, Hotel Zepplin, Solage)

Solage Calistoga suite

Suite at Solage Calistoga CA #KiaSoulTurbo

Ice Box Hotel Emma San Antonio

Hotel Emma, San Antonio TX #ExperienceNiro

Hotel Zepplin San Francisco CA

Hotel Zepplin San Francisco CA #KiaSoulTurbo

We went back in time in Middleburg VA when we drove the all new 2017 Cadenza ( more here)

Alice Chase and Africa Miranda Kia Cadenza Virgina

and we saw the future and what vehicles we would be driving when we get there during  SEMA 2016.

Kia Sorento Ski Gondola

Soul First Class

Soul First Class photo cred: Kia Motors

And went to some pretty unusual places ( Borrego Springs, Seven Magic Mountians, Bird’s Cafe, Penny’s Cafe, )

Sky Art Sculptures of Borrego Springs

Sky Art Sculptures of Borrego Springs

Alice Jeff Joel Seven Magic Mountians

Birds Cafe, CA #KiaSoul Turbo

And some really beautiful places too.

San Francisco Bridge #KiaSoulTurbo

#KiaSoulTurbo Drive

Vegas Views SEMA Kia

Vegas Views

I even got to make a music video and karaoke with some of my coolest friends

This was just a recap of what made 2016 so special. (Be sure to go back and check out any posts on adventures you missed from 2016!) I’m sure 2017 will have even more in store for us. Some things are already on the books and I’ll share with you in the upcoming weeks. Other adventures are still to come and we’ll both be surprised when them come to pass. The exciting part is that with every new place, adventure, and road traveled we learn more about ourselves and have the opportunity to explore and share these stories. Thanks to every one of you who chose to follow along and take part by reading here, interacting on our social channels and generally being such a support and encouragement. Huge thanks to Kia Motors for both taking me along on these adventures and allowing me to tell part of that story. It’s always an awesome experience!!

A Girlfriends Guide to Car Shopping #GFGuideToCarShopping

Girlfriends Guide to Car Shopping
This post was made possible by iConnect and Autotrader. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.

I spend a lot of time in cars. We’re not just talking morning commute and afternoon carpool lane kind of time either. I’ve had the privilege of adding road trips, auto shows, even off-road and drive events into my ever-growing automotive knowledge base. I’m also pretty lucky to have a small group of girlfriends that like spending time in cars as much as I do. The truth is we really LOVE talking about cars! This makes us a go-to resource whenever someone in our circle is ready to go car shopping too. 

WhatsTrending-Tile_1200x900 (1)

We all know that the first person you go to is your girlfriends when you need help making a decision on, right? Researching and shopping for a new vehicle can be intimidating. There are so many questions that pop up, especially concerning design, technology, and price. There really is no right or wrong answer because we all have different lifestyles and preferences. Although, I do have a few go to pieces of advice I tell everyone who is seriously shopping for a new vehicle.

Be Your Own Expert

BeOwnExpert

No one know better than you what you like and dislike. Spend a little time shopping from your phone. Assess your current vehicle and decide what you really like about it (and what you can’t stand).  Take time to really consider your budget. Know what your ideal payment amount is ahead of shopping.

You MUST Test Drive

MustTestDrive

Very few first dates are love at first sight. The same thing can be said for car shopping. A car purchase is a commitment. You must spend some quality time with it before you decide to buy. If you don’t have to make a decision right away, look and see if there are any upcoming auto shows or test drive events coming up in your area. Events like these often have opportunities to test drive without the pressure to make a purchase.

Everyone I’ve ever talked to always felt more confident and empowered to make their own decisions once they had a little information to help guide them. Knowledge is Power! Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, the most-visited car shopping and information websites, are the ultimate #GFGuideToCarShopping. The car shopping guide includes expert tips including:

  1. How to smartly navigate the car-shopping process
  2. How to negotiate the deal
  3. Everything you need to know when shopping for a used or certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle
  4. Ways you can get new car smart if you’re searching for a brand-new ride

Learn more at GirlfriendsGuidetoCarShopping.com and then go out and confidently get the car that you’ve been looking for.

But Wait! In the comments below, tell me what the #1 thing you look for in a new car is? Performance? Great sound? Safety? Design ? 

Recap of the 2016 Houston Auto Show

Last week I had the most fabulous time attending the 2016 Houston Auto Show with She Buys Cars.  In conjunction with getting to spend a couple of days delving into automotive aesthetics,  mechanics, and technology with leading manufacturers,  I was also able to discuss these topics with other women who love cars as much as I do.

2016 Houston Auto Show

Houston Auto Show She Buys Cars

For those of you who didn’t know this about me, I have a longstanding love of the automotive industry.  I grew up surrounded by it. My grandfather and father  founded a flourishing automotive recovery and repair business. I spent many formative years learning to mix paint colors, discovering why things were built a certain way and the significant advancements that were made in the industry year by year. As an adult, this background continues to serve me well and if you ever need a +1 for an auto show, count me in!

Needless to say, I was more than thrilled when the opportunity to attend the 2016 Houston Auto Show and  road trip down with some other fabulous ladies in the 2016 GMC Denali Acadia was presented.  We traveled from Austin to Houston getting to enjoy all the features the Denali Acadia had to offer. Some of our  favorites being the heads up display, wi-fi (with the ability to connect up to seven devices!), and such interior comfortability that the time on the road flew by.  I will also credit some of that to the great conversations happening with my friend and  co-pilot Kristin, from  Two Cannoli.

Chappell Hill Bakery

We stopped for a quick lunch of Texas BBQ, admiring the rows of freshly baked pies and well, it just wouldn’t be Texas without Blue Bell. 😉

A photo posted by Alice Chase (@alicechase) on

Kristin and I  met up with Traci and headed to our hotel the fabulous Hotel ZaZa to get ready for the opening night gala.

Traci

Great desserts served with style!

Houston Auto Show Gala

The next morning we were up bright and early to attend in-depth presentations about all those we had previewed the evening before.

Lotus Houston Auto Show

There was a LOT to see! The luxury high-end boutique allowed us to spend quality time with the debut of the 2017 Lotus Evora 400, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider and Giulia sports sedan.

alfa romeo spider 4cGiulia

The reveal of the GMC Sierra All Terrain X had everyone ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the possibilities. The 2016 Sierra All Terrain X – a special edition of the All Terrain model, features exclusive premium amenities that enhance off-road capability and an aggressive, monochromatic appearance.

gmc sierra all terrain x

The taste for outdoor adventure in all of us was awakened when we experienced the CAMP JEEP and RAM during the interactive drives. The purple was my favorite.

Jeep

Together we powered over a sampling off-road trails, dared to take on the steepest of inclines with comfort and convenience consumers are looking for when camping or making long trek road trips. These vehicles showed they are well-suited to the active and adventurous drivers. After that experience a few of us are planning for an off-road girls weekend.

Think they’ll let us take this one on our trip??

T-Rex H2

Houston’s Auto Show has stolen my heart. I will definitely be back next time. Hope to see you all there!

@xoxoLizza & @6Chases@travelingmom @austinkvs @6Chases

Travel Tips : Packing Like Pro #travel

Between myself and the hubs, we’re doing an immense amount of traveling this year. What’s awesome about that, besides getting to see some really cool places, is that we have also discovered some pretty cool packing tips too. Since I’m getting all packed up for Mom2.0Summit this week, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite travel tips to help you Pack like a Pro on your future trips.

Packing ProTip No.1  

Pack small jewelry in a PillBox

packing protips  travel tips

 Packing ProTip No.2

Wrap warm styling tools in potholder & secure with hair tie before adding to your suitcase.

packing protips  travel tips

Packing ‪ProTip No.3
Wrap shoes in a showercap to protect clothing in your suitcase.

packing protips  travel tips

 

Aren’t these GENIUS??!? Well, if you thought thses were cool- just wait…. We’ve got a few more tricks in our suitcases but we’ll have to unpack those for you in another post. I’ve got to get some sleep so I can  I catch my plane early in the morning.

For now, Share some of your best travel tips or packing #momhacks with me in the comments below!

MUST SEE Attractions at Universal Studios Orlando & Islands of Adventure

Universal CollageRecently, I had the opportunity to tour both Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure as part of a VIP press tour. Because of our express status we were able to bypass the lines to visit nearly every attraction and ride in both parks ( VIP tours are available during your vacations too! Have you ever considered scheduling one? Totally worth it in my opinion! Get the VIP info here.) If you’re lucky you just might get partnered with one of these lovely ladies they were incredible and had SO MUCH knowledge about the park, movies, attractions. The trivia junkie in me was soaking up every piece of info they were willing to share.

VIP Tour Universal Studios

There seriously are SO MANY incredible rides and  attractions at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure ( Did you realize there are 2 theme parks here?!?!) I have a “MUST SEE” list for you of my favorites.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

This ride is one of the BEST for all ages! It is a 3D motion ride that is just THE most fun! Let me tell you, it outshined all my previous 3D experiences. It IS Universal Studios so expect nothing less than amazing.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit 

HollyWood Rip Ride RockIT
Adrenaline pumping and music thumping, you start climbing straight up. A moment later, you’re screaming at 65 mph, 17 stories over Universal Studios. For not being a Thrill Ride girl  I absolutely LOVED this ride and would do it all over again. It was one of the first “big” rides we did and while the height from the ground looked intimidating, being able to only hear your music as you go up, over, and around was my favorite part. Your teens and adreneline junkies will love this one!

HARRY POTTER AND THE ESCAPE FROM GRINGOTTS

Escape from Gringotts
At the far end of Diagon Alley™ stands Gringotts™, the goblin-run bank. Inside, you’ll experience a pulse-pounding adventure on the groundbreaking, multi-dimensional thrill ride that puts you right in the middle of the action as you navigate your way through the perils of the Gringotts vaults – encountering Harry, Ron, and Hermione along the way!

Hogwarts Express – Platform 9 3/4

Hogwarts Express

While this is not technically a “ride ” , it is an experience that will make you believe you are attending Hogwarts yourself.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the most spectacular themed environment ever created! The excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter films have truly come to life here. The expansive 20-acre area includes the village of Hogsmeade featuring Zonko’s joke shop, Honeydukes, the Three Broomsticks, the Hog’s Head pub, the Owlery and Owl Post, Ollivanders and Dervish and Banges.

Just beyond Hogsmeade is Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods and three attractions that place guests right in the middle of Harry’s world: Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff and, located within Hogwarts castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

19_Hogwarts Castle

Interactive Wands
Wand Collage
Be sure to pick up an interactive wand while you are here! With this special wand you will receive a map to show you where to fins special location to cast a spell just like Harry Potter. You do have to move the wand in just the right way so this may be something suited for older kids or those willing to try more than once.

Seuss Landing
seuss landing
If you are a Dr Seuss lover like me you will not want to miss Seuss Landing! Keep your eyes open Universal Studios Orlando had let no small detail to be missed.
Seuss Collage

I LOVED this trip and am looking forward to taking my family with me next time! Have you visited Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure before? Tell me what your favorite part was! Or if you’ve never been what part would you most look forward to visiting?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Thanks again to Universal Studios Orlando for providing accommodations, park tickets, and meals for this press trip. All experiences and opinions are my own.

%d bloggers like this: