Taking Time to Inventory Life

California Coastal Views #KiaSBEXp

Late last week, I was sitting down with a friend over coffee and the best breakfast tacos Austin has to offer (more on that later) recounting how fast life moves. It seemed impossible that sections of life that felt so lengthy and exhausting at the time were only a mere 24-36 months in total. It felt like a lifetime. In some ways it really was a lifetime ago, depending on how you measure a life cycle.  It was a different life I lived then. I was a different person then.

Just keep swimming. Keep moving forward.

Keep moving forward. Keep swimming. That’s how I lived a good deal of my early life. It wasn’t so much a life plan I was enacting as it was mostly self-preservation but as I retold sections of my life’s timeline, I evaluated just how very much I’ve lived, endured, succeeded and failed in these 30ish years of mine.

So much. Life is SO MUCH sometimes, isn’t it?

This morning as I take stock in this first half of 2017, I realized this year has brought quite a bit to the table by itself. In this first six months we’ve: welcomed a new baby to the family, I became the weekend wife, leaving a place that felt like loosing “my person”, finding a new home, having our entire life packed in a u-haul and then having it stolen from our driveway (for the record, I still can’t believe that happened), a new job, new schools, a two-week road trip, passing of pets that were like family to us, several speaking engagements, and graduations. I’m sure I’m forgetting so many other things in between because life often moves too fast to take inventory.

Kia Optima SXl Coastal Views

This week I’m fortunate to have been invited on a trip where I get to pause and finally do that. Kia Motors America invited a group of us to the Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara, CA to spend the week especially designed to allow us a little time to relax, reflect and take inventory. They paired us with some of their most luxurious vehicles, the Kia Optima SXL and the Kia Cadenza, for a drive up the scenic California coast. During our time here we’ll be treated to extended dining experiences, spa treatments, vineyard tours, kayak adventures, and dinner cruises. There is also a good allowance of time built-in for me give attention and consideration to the details of life that may have been overlooked. After all, the details are often the most meaningful memorable parts.

A lot has happened in this first 6 months of the year. I’d be foolish to think that 2017 has any intention of slowing down for the last half. I’m taking inventory, resetting and getting ready. Good things are on the way, friends. Really good things.

You are Amazing #KiaSBEXP

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!!

Recreating the Cucumber Moscow Mule

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One of the greatest things about traveling is getting to bring a little of each new experience home with you. We were recently gifted with a lovely set of copper mugs and Nambe cheese board as a thank you for attending the launch of the redesigned Kia Cadenza in Middleburg, Virginia. The copper mugs were reminiscent of lovely evenings spent sipping Moscow mules at the Salamander Resort and Spa before sunset and watching the horses over the rich green fields. It was such a relaxing location brimming over with hospitality and charm.

It wasn’t long after their arrival that those copper mugs were begging to be filled. We may have been lacking horses but everything else needed was easily accessible to recreate memories of our Virginia luxury experience. Our local friends were more than happy to join us in recreating the camaraderie, conversation, and of course the cocktails! The Cucumber Moscow Mule is an incredibly refreshing beverage and easy to make requiring only a few simple ingredients.

cucumber Moscow mule

Cucumber Moscow Mule

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber Vodka
  • Ginger Beer
  • fresh limes
  • cucumber
  • ice, crushed or cubed
  • optional: candied ginger for garnish ( I know I said “optional” but it’s realllly worth picking up if you don’t have on hand. It was my favorite addition.)

Directions: 

1. Quarter cut the limes & cut the cucumber into thin wheels
2. Add ice to copper mug ( or glass)
3. Pour 1.5 oz – 2 oz of Cucumber Vodka over ice
4. Squeeze 1 lime quarter over ice in mug and add a 3 cucumber wheels, leave the limes on top of the ice after squeezing
5. Pour ginger beer in to fill mug
6. Stir all ingredients & garnish with cucumber wheel and candied ginger

While I was researching the best recipe for this cocktail I learned a lot about its unique history and about the copper mug itself. Both are wonderful complimentary stories to share as icebreaker conversations or just interesting fun facts. I can’t wait to share them with you in a future post!

 

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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