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!!

Being in the Right Seat can Make all the Difference : the 2017 Kia Niro #ExperienceNiro

My San Antonio adventure with Kia  was a welcome getaway before our personal marathon of holidays, wedding planning and welcoming a baby into the family began in the weeks to come. Truthfully, I was looking forward to the luxury travel experience the Hotel Emma and a few new experiences as well.

My previous experience with sports can be best summed up with the phrase… “I don’t sport”. I enjoy the competitiveness but just have never pledged an allegiance to one team over another. I’ve gotten by generically rooting “Go Team! Yay Sport!” This method typically works well for every sporting event. Needless to say, I felt a bit out my league attending a NBA game, Spurs vs Celtics, during our trip.

NBA San Antonio Spurs

We were transported from Hotel Emma to the AT&T arena in a spirited party bus and escorted up to a suite catered with an array of delicious food and drinks to pregame. Soon, a few of us would take our seats court-side to watch the game. Have you ever watched a game from the floor ? Oh my goodness, courtside is the MOST FUN EVER!! Here’s a few pics from my seat:

I even made a couple of new friends while I was down there and we took selfies, because of course,  we did! We also talked about what influencer marketing is and how great Kia is.

So, as it turns out I DO LIKE SPORTS! Who knew? A good seat can make all the difference.

Hotel Emma San Antonio Texas

As I walked through the hotel lobby the following morning, I couldn’t help but notice the elaborately decorated Christmas trees, holiday music playing in the background, and fireplaces roaring. My thoughts wandered toward the list of presents still to be purchased and wrapped, cookies to be baked, and errands to run back at home. I tried to reconcile time versus tasks and finally just pushed those thoughts aside as I walked into the morning presentation. After all, I really was so looking forward to hearing more on the 2017 Kia Niro and getting my first chance to get behind the wheel myself.

Hotel Emma Kia Niro Event

The Niro is the first hybrid crossover of its kind. It is stylish, aerodynamic and offers plenty of interior space you wouldn’t typically expect from a hybrid.

2017 Kia Niro

It also delivers on the exceptional fuel economy you do expect to see thanks to the hybrid-optimizing powertrain. The Niro touring model I drove, outfitted with top-level accommodations and trim, will manage 46 city, 40 highway, and 43 overall. If you’re willing to trade out a few of the comforts the touring offers, the FE base model will deliver impressive fuel economy ratings of 52 mpg in the city, 49 on the highway, and 50 combined.

2017 Niro fuel economy

After previously driving other a hybrids, there were a few things I just expected to have to overlook because of what I attributed to the nature of driving a hybrid. My biggest surprise was finding that those things I expected to overlook just didn’t exist in this car. On the road, the Kia Niro was extremely responsive and unexpectedly, simply felt like driving a high performing crossover. I highly recommend going for a test drive but be sure to leave anything you previously thought you new about hybrids at home.

In the Kia Niro San Antonio

Dare I say the Kia Niro was even fun to drive. It feels a little strange saying that a hybrid was “fun”. Can you be really be both fun and responsible? Does this mean we’ve grown up? Is this “adulting”? The answer is : Probably.

Luckily, the Kia Niro still looks really cool, so no one will know we’re adulting now.

Kia wasn’t about to let us get too serious though. This was the perfect opportunity to prove that the Kia Niro really is the perfect vehicle for any situation, especially spreading magic and cheer. Remember, I mentioned the increased interior cargo space?

Kia Niro trunk space

When we went out to get behind the wheel, we were delighted to find two Santa hats and every inch of cargo space filled with newly purchased toys to deliver to the Toys for Tots location on our route.

Kia Niro toys for tots

It didn’t take us long to quickly slip into our Santa hats and off we went with the 2017 Kia Niro as our sleigh for the day!

We drove through the city route until we arrived at the Toys for Tots donation center and unloaded the toys to deliver inside. Outside a line of Marines stood at attention.

toys for tots Kia niro

It didn’t take long for my long list of to-do’s, to-get’s and worries from earlier in the morning to be far removed. My concerns now seemed insignificant in comparison. My perceptions were shifted as I was enabled to give and serve. I was humbled to offer something that cost me nothing in front of those that would be willing to give their everything. I thought about the military spouses and children who will be separated from their loved ones this season. I wondered about the families receiving the toys and hope that on Christmas morning their homes are filled with laughter and that joy shines as brightly as the glow of Christmas lights.

My experience with the 2017 Kia Niro was completely different from what I originally expected. Originally, I was simply really excited to drive the Niro on familiar roads in my home state of Texas. What I came to learn was that  if you are open to something new,even in the very place you feel most at home, you can identify what is truly important. You may even discover you DO like sports, you DO love driving a hybrid, you’ve just got to be in the right seat.

HUGE thanks to Kia for allowing me the opportunity to get a first look at the 2017 Kia Niro and for being amazing hosts during my stay at Hotel Emma, including all transportation and expenses during my time in San Antonio. 

San Antonio Adventures with Kia Niro #ExperienceNiro

Exciting News! My Christmas wish came early this year. I was granted one last travel adventure before the year ends. I’m off to San Antonio to check out the 2017 Kia Niro! Be sure to watch instagram, twitter, and facebook for real time updates Dec 14th- 16th!

Kia Niro #ExperienceNiro

If you’ve been following our story for very long, you’ve seen we have regular routine of traveling throughout the year. We had scheduled to end our travels mid November through the new year intentionally so we could be home for a variety of family events and holidays. After a few weeks without a trip however, I was getting rather restless. So when presented with the opportunity to come and check out the brand new 2017 Kia Niro in San Antonio, I jumped at the chance. It was a Christmas miracle! 😉

Living in Texas, I’ve visited San Antonio several times before but this trip will give me the chance to experience the city in a whole new way. I’m really excited to share this adventure with you all as well! Since Kia is an official NBA automotive sponsor we couldn’t miss the opportunity to attend a Spurs game. That will actually be new for me too.

NBA San Antonio Spurs Kia Niro #experienceniro

I’m sure there will be fabulous food! Our family has always found great places to dine in San Antonio. I’ll be staying at the Hotel Emma with its rich history and divine details. Take a peek at their website and you’ll see why I am SO excited to be a guest there.

Hotel Emma San Antonio Texas

I’ll also be able to give you first hand information on the Kia Niro. It’s a vehicle I’ve been checking out as I’ve shopped this season. If you’ve seen my IG posts, it’s been featured in malls across the country this holiday season. Our family had the opportunity to look it over and now I’m looking forward to driving before the year is out. Thanks Santa!!

Not only does this fit the bill for the welcome travel opportunity I’d told Santa about but it also combined an automotive brand I love in my very favorite state in the US #texasforever. I’ll do a full recap after I get back but for now you all can follow along live on IG, facebook and Twitter.

Thanks so much to Kia for covering all travel and accommodations on this adventure! 

Looking into the Autonomous Future at SEMA 2016 #KiaSEMA

As a young girl, I remember watching movies about the future and being enamored at the possibilities of what would one day be. Handheld video games, hoverboards, being able to call one another through video conferencing, dehydrated foods, touch screens everywhere and even the Cubs winning the world series…

These were all once far off ideas, mere creative fantasies captured in film, that now are our commonplace reality. They have been produced, manufactured, and some have even been around long enough for a recall. Perhaps the only thing we haven’t obtained in full measure from those futuristic films is flying cars. It looks like we may not be waiting too much longer for those either or perhaps something even better!

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Last week during SEMA  2016, Kia rolled out four unique concepts of what  autonomous living might look like for us in the not too distant future. In fact, they anticipate producing fully autonomous vehicles occupying our roads as soon as 2030. I was invited as a guest of Kia to get a first look and share my experience.

Not only were these four Kia concepts designed as fully autonomous, they were also tailored to align with the lifestyles and goals we are each trying to achieve. What if everything in your life was working with you to make your dreams possible? Just imagine what you could accomplish. Take a look into the future with me…..

Kia Soul First Class

Soul First Class

Soul First Class photo cred: Kia Motors

Seeing white and gray diamond stitched leather surrounding upscale travelers with only first class comforts, you recognize instantly how the Soul First Class got its name. Soon business travelers can simultaneously prep for meetings and relax on the road. For those just along for the ride, passengers will enjoy the 40-inch Samsung LED TV connected to a Mac mini computer system and premium audio speakers. Designed by LUX Motorwerks , this self driving concept has two rear-facing seats and no steering wheel( because you no longer need one!). Instead a motorized center console opens like a butterfly to reveal two touchscreen tablets that ultimately control this Kia vehicle. The Soul First Class is ultimate nirvana in both luxury living and executive work/life balance.

Kia Niro Triathlon

Niro Triathlon

Niro Triathlon photo cred: Kia Motors

This is where all my ultra-marathon and high endurance athlete friends will perk up. Night runs, bike rides for miles upon miles and swimming make training an isolating experience. Kia’s Niro Triathlon is here to be the ultimate training partner. Its interior is designed to be a cabin to relax and recharge while also providing top-notch training and safety equipment. “With no reason to drive, the athlete is cosseted in an ultra-comfortable Human Touch zero gravity ergonomic reclining chair. Numerous custom cabinets hold essential supplies, attire and parts, and a portable shower allows for a quick post-race clean-up

Kia Sorento Ski Gondola

Kia Sorento Ski Gondola

Sorento Ski Gondola photo cred: Kia Motors

All of a sudden the lyrics “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” start playing when the Kia Sorento Ski Gondola enters. Instantly notable are the dominator rubber tracks powercoated orange to take this Kia Sorento turned gondola anywhere. This is the ultimate in sport-utility vehicles. Built by LUX Motorwerks to tackle snow and ice as it gets you and your fellow skiers up to the top of the mountain for another run. The luxurious and self-driving Sorento Ski Gondola is all about climbing to higher ground in style, comfort and warmth.

Kia School of Rock Sedona

Kia School of Rock Sedona

School of Rock Sedona photo cred: Kia Motors

One of the most intriguing aspects of the autonomous life is the safety aspects associated with removing the possibility of human error when behind the wheel. This is especially true when children are involved and Kia imagines a world when vehicles will someday autonomously transport our young ones to accommodate their busy lives.

Partnering with School of Rock, this rolling recording studio features everything aspiring musicians crave: a studio, a place to chill and a completely hands-free way of transporting the band to the next gig. The stunning hand-painted School of Rock imagery hides the strong bones of the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and NHTSA 5-Star rated Sedona so parents can be assured their kids will make it to the show safely and with more than 180 locations, School of Rock plans to hit the road in style to perform at various shows with their talented musicians.

A digital mixing board and dual flat-screen monitors to record tracks. Front-mounted near-field speakers pump out the tunes and when a track is being laid down, the RECORDING light mounted to the roof illuminates. Vocalists will appreciate the boom mic that hangs from the ceiling. Sound-studio-quality acoustic foam panels line the interior to reduce exterior noise during an intense recording session. Should the band decide to host an impromptu roadside show, the Sedona’s lift gate flips open to reveal an imposing stack of amps. There is also storage on the roof for guitars, bass guitars and a myriad other instruments. Fun and comfortable custom bean bags allow the band members to relax or jam in style.

I was invited to experience SEMA 2016 in Las Vegas as a Brand Ambassador on behalf of Kia and share my experiences. This post,including my travel and accommodations were sponsored as part of the experience. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.  Be sure to check out www.Kia.com for the most current news, designs and offers. 

The 2017 Kia Cadenza : The Perfect Gentleman’s Vehicle

2017 Cadenza SXL

Some cars just evoke a distinct personality. By addressing the 2017 Kia Cadenza as a “gentleman’s vehicle” I am not in any way suggesting that women drivers should look elsewhere. Perhaps, quite the contrary. I simply believe that many attributes comprising a remarkable gentleman are qualities often found in the ideal car as well. Think reliability, resilience, responsiveness, strength, confidence paired with approachability, sophistication, and impeccable style. Generations past and present may disagree on lots of things but almost all agree on certain marks of a perfect gentleman from any era. They are the ones that evoke an atmosphere of elegance yet makes sure everyone feels at ease.  After spending hours driving the winding, tree-lined roads of Virginia last month in the 2017 Kia Cadenza, I am confident claiming that this vehicle does exactly that.

Alice Chase with the 2017 Kia Cadenza

Just like the shoes and accessories we wear, the cars we drive can say a lot about us. It can hint at a level of taste and be somewhat an extension of our lifestyle and image. Before we dive deep into the specifics that the Cadenza projects, it’s important to take note that the quality Kia presents is authentic. Earlier this year J.D. Power ranked Kia Motors #1 in initial quality, taking the top spot above Porsche. It’s one thing for  a manufacturer to tout of their greatness but when it’s validated by the most reliable source of the industry, you simply can’t argue.

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Kia selected the perfect setting for us to enjoy, the beautiful Salamander Resort and spa in Middleburg,Virginia.  From the very first moment on property it was clear that the bar had been raised with this redesign. We would also get to experience some of the rich history of the local landscape told by those who were most familiar with it : Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Don’t believe me… see for yourself. They were excellent dinner companions.

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The next morning was our official drive day. One of the most special moments for me was having the opportunity to hear from the one of the designers personally during the morning product briefing.  Having that type of opportunity is similar to having an artist explain the inspiration behind their painting or sculpture. I have a lot of respect for both the creative process and the steep competition that precedes production.

 Kia Cadenza product briefing

“Every great design begins with an even better story”

Our presentation opened with the quote “Every great design begins with an even better story”. This simple statement during that day’s presentation shifted the way I look at every vehicle now. Have you ever wondered “Who designed the tail lights?” “What story inspired that stitching?” Once you’ve put a face to the design you can’t help but want to know more of the story. If you are like me, you want to know literally everything. Here are a few elements of the redesigned 2017 Kia Cadenza storyline that captured our attention and provided a luxurious, relaxing drive day.

2017 Kia Cadenza 

The drive route was truly memorable. With this being my first time in the area, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The landscape was stunning and the roads were so fun to drive. We followed a historic drive route along tree-lined winding hills and along our drive we were able to stop for some incredible pictures of the landscape and even quick photo shoot that I’ll write more about in a future post.

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2017-cadenza-photo-shoot

Interested in having a luxury experience with this car for yourself? The 2017 Kia Cadenza is not only something to aspire to it is set at a price that makes it obtainable as well. The official price point will roll out when the vehicle is available sometime this fall, starting under $32, 000. It has been said that “Virginia is for Lovers” but I’d venture to say that you’ll fall in love with the 2017 Kia Cadenza wherever it may take you.

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