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!!

Universal Studios Orlando – Staying at Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Loews Royal Pacific Resort Universal OrlandoI love giving  travel recommendations, especially ones that were as amazing as this! I was a guest of Loews Royal Pacific Resort during our recent Girls Getaway trip to Universal Studios Orlando and it is a location that I can highly recommend for couples, families, or even just a relaxing retreat for one! Sometimes knowing where to stay on vacation can be tricky. I always have a million questions. How are the beds? Should I pack a blow dryer? What are the food options like? What’s the pool like?  Loews Royal Pacific Resort had everything I was looking for and more!

First here are some “insider tips” : If you are looking for a great pace to stay near Universal Studios Orlando, there are some benefits to staying at an on-site hotel that you  can’t get anywhere else!! By staying on-site you have access to FREE Universal Express unlimited ride passes allowing you to skip the regular lines in both parks, Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens, complimentary water taxi rides, and priority seating at select restaurants at the resort.

Loews Collage 1

From the moment I arrived at the resort I found myself encompassed in an entirely relaxing place. When you enter the hotel after crossing a bamboo like walkway over lush foliage that encompasses every exterior view, you immediately are greeted by the relaxing interior of the South Seas. From the elephants playing in the fountains, to the distinct statutes and art work throughout the hotel and grounds, every detail made you feel like you were in another world.

Loews Royal south seas Collage

It felt this way every single day we returned to the resort! It is exactly the relaxing atmosphere I want to come back to after a fun filled day of thrill rides and adventure. Guest room Collage

The guest rooms were both luxurious and practical. They were beautifully decorated with a royal orchid design behind the beds, full length mirrors across from the closet and in the bathroom.The rooms were also equipped with several outlets with usb connections that made it easy to recharge personally and electronically.guest room 2

One of my favorite parts of the guest rooms was the lighting in the bathroom. It was The beautiful mirror and perfect lighting made it easy to get ready for the day with a flawless face. I would take permanent residence here just for this lighting alone!

Poolside Collage

The girls and I spent a lot of our free time soaking up the sun and relaxing by the pool while we were away as well. The staff at Loews Royal Pacific were amazing. We enjoyed ordering our lunch by the pool while we chatted and listened to the Australian DJ who came to play every afternoon. I had a great chat with the photographer who will capture great candid shots at no charge of you and the family as you all play together. You can also schedule a photo session on the beach area (with no sitting fee to hotel guests) if you’ve been putting off that family photo. In addition to the relaxing view the poolside staff also plan a variety of fun games each afternoon and on select evenings “dive -in” movies are shown.

Wondering about food options? There are a wide variety of dining options available at the hotel no matter what time of day you your tummy starts to rumble. I ate at the amazing Islands Dining Room for breakfast every morning and my lunch served at the pool came from Bula’s Bar & Grille. Here is a list of all the amazing food options you have  without ever having to leave property!

Wantilan Luau – live music and authentic Polynesian cuisine (reservations required)
Emeril’s Tchoup Chop – Emeril Lagasse’s take on Asian/Polynesian cuisine
Islands Dining Room – offering breakfast and dinner
Jake’s American Bar – featuring live entertainment on select nights
Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar – inventive sushi and South Seas martinis
Bula Bar & Grille – poolside eatery
Room service – available 24 hours a day!!!

It’s easy to indulge while on vacation. To help keep you on track with your fitness routine during your stay, you will find a beautifully designed fitness center near the pool. A very accommodating locker room is available help you freshen up without having to go back to your room.Fitness CollageGetting to and from Loews Royal Pacific is a breeze with many transportation options available at no cost. We took the water taxi many times during our stay and laughed the jokes told by our favorite driver. There is also a walking path that is just a short walk with plenty of shade. If you get tired along the route, there are pedicab drivers that accept tips for payment only. It’s a fun experience for those that have never done it. On the way back to the airport, I utilized the private towncar from the resort. It was reasonably priced ( only $5 more than a taxi) and immediately available.Transportation CollageIt really is such a great place to stay. For more information on making reservations for your next getaway visit the Loews Hotels site for all the info. Thanks so much to the folks at Universal for providing these amazing accommodations, meals and entertainment for review during our #UORGirlsGetaway. If you missed it, be sure to check out all the fun we had during the Universal Studios Mardi Gras Celebration.