Cruising in luxury with the Mazda CX-9

Sponsored post 04_mazda_cx9_1608.ts.1608050646444530You zoom zoom? We zoom zoomed this past month in a fancy-schmancy new Mazda CX-9 crossover SUV with seating for 7. After reading about and hearing from friends for so long how fun and engaging Mazdas are to drive, we had high expectations, and the CX-9 didn’t disappoint. It was quiet, big {but not too big}, and powerful enough that it was super fun to cruise in, whether it was around town or on long trips. Maxda CX9 sideHere’s what we learned from our week of zoom zooming in luxury:

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Britax Frontier ClickTight Harness to Booster Seat review

Sponsored post Britaax ClickTight smile
It’s a big time in our house! Baby girl has finally reached a really big milestone: she outgrew her infant seat and it’s now time to switch her to a rear facing convertible seat.

But, the problem is that we have three young children in car seats and we own a compact sedan. Knowing what a tight fit the infant car seat had been, I was dreading moving her to an even bigger seat because it was clear it just wasn’t going to work. We looked into numerous convertible seats to transition her to, but they were all just too big.

It began to look like we had two options: 1) buy a new car, or 2) switch my almost 6 year old to a booster seat. Obviously, neither option appealed to me. So, I began to research anything and everything to fit three across in our compact sedan.

When I found the Britax Frontier ClickTight, I realized that it just might be the best of all worlds – a 5 point harness that converts to a booster seat and is slim enough to fit in a compact car easily. With the dimensions of 19" W x 36" H x 21" D at its maximum and only 28” H at minimum, it’s one of the slimmer car seats we found anywhere, and by far the slimmest with the features we were looking for. Add in the fact that it converts and can be used by my son until he no longer needs a seat and it’s the clear choice.

As soon it arrived, the kids went crazy celebrating their “big switch”.Britax Frontier ClickTightSorry, baby girl. This is your brother’s seat. Your new-to-you Britax convertible seat will hopefully be just as exciting.


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Experience the drive with the Kia Optima

Sponsored postBy Tyler, editor and reviewer

Any sedan fans out there? I love a good sedan for cruising around town, parking in the city, and for their amazing gas mileage that can’t be beat. And, one of my favorite sedans has to be the new 2016 Kia Optima. I absolutely loved the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid we reviewed years ago, and my love only grew with the newest Optima.

This time, we didn’t go for a Hybrid, but we traded that for some crazy good cornering and a whole lotta power in the new Optima SX Turbo. Surprisingly, even with 245 horsepower on tap it wasn’t a huge bill at the pump and it was a car I could see myself and my family in.

Every time I get in a newer Kia I’m blown away by how impressive their interior quality is and how much technology they pack in as well. In the Optima I felt like I was in a car that should cost much more than it does, and that is definitely something to look for in a new car. Kia Optima front endHere’s what we loved about our week in a race car:

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Out and about in the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

Sponsored postYou may want to sit down for this announcement, it’s a big one. Here it goes:

If I were buying a new automobile {which I’m not… yet}, I would put the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander at the top of my list.Mitsubishi Outlander 1Whoa, right?

Remember when we borrowed the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and the consensus was that this was the type of vehicle everyone thought we should own? At the time, I agreed and thought we might eventually purchase the Outlander Sport, but that’s before I got a chance to drive the Mitsubishi Outlander and enjoyed all the luxuries of the bigger model. Completely redesigned with over 100 improvements, the new 2016 Outlander offers more style, better comfort and greater capability.

So, why am I so certain I found my potential next vehicle? Naturally, there are lots of considerations, but for me, the biggest selling point is the CUV size with a versatile design.

Here’s what we love about the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander:

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For the DIY master: Craftsman Extreme GRIP tools

Sponsored postDo you have a handy man/woman on your list? If so, you will want to head into a Sears store to see their awesome deals on Craftsman tools just in time for holiday gifting.

When picking tools, I’m always thinking of our next DIY projects. We always have a few projects we’d like to complete, and 2016 is shaping up to have a pretty long to-do list, so I thought new tools would make the prospect of house repairs a little bit more exciting. Craftsman Extreme Grip 5pc socket set

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Prepare for anything with The Beast from Rayovac

Sponsored post Be ready for anything with RayovacWant to know what can ruin a productive day in mere seconds? The answer is the power going out. When I was a kid, the power going out was kind of fun. It was pretty rare of an occurrence, and I think that added to the excitement of home camping.

But, now that I'm an adult, the power going out is just one big pain after another, as well as being costly for someone that is under deadlines and who has a stocked fridge of food that will go bad without proper cooling.

Even though I like to think that we're prepped for most disasters, that does not mean that it’s fun going without modern conveniences, especially during my work week. And, once the sun goes down and your house is plunged into the kind of dark you almost never experience in a city where you literally cannot see a foot in front of you, the power outage gets old really quick.

So, when a fall storm knocked out our power nearly all day last week, I wasn't a happy blogger or mom. Ask anyone who has ever changed a diaper by candlelight and they will tell you how amazing electricity really is.

Thankfully, I was ready with this little Beast of a flashlight. Rayovac The Beast flashlight

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Looking to buy a new car? 2016 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award winners announced

This post is sponsored by iConnect Influencer Management and Kelley Blue Book. While travel expenses were provided, all opinions remain my own.KBB Ride n DriveThis past week I've been asked my opinion on what car someone should buy more times than I have in my entire life leading up to this point. This could be in part because friends, family, and readers know that last week I took a quick press trip to Irvine, California to learn all about the Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards and got to test drive a fleet of cars that were named as finalists. KBB Best Buy awardsAt this point I should clarify that I had absolutely nothing to do with the actual awards, I just got to meet the team behind the reviews and get a quick rundown of what all goes into their vehicle testing before they announced their winners.

And, I'm pretty sure it’s for the best that no one is relying on me for hard data because I somehow got my teammate, Missi from Life Is Poppin’, horribly lost on the first leg of the journey through Newport Beach. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm pretty good at navigating, so I think this goes to show my attention to detail, or lack thereof.

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Kelley Blue Book Ride-N-Drive event

This post is sponsored by iConnect Influencer Management and Kelley Blue Book. While travel expenses were provided, all opinions remain my own.   Do you love cars as much as we do? If so, you're going to want to be following us on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #KBBBestBuy and #KBBConnect this week.   … Read more

Connected cars of the future with AT&T – and a Wi-Fi device for the rest of us

Sponsored postBy Tyler, editor and reviewer

I’m going to date myself here, but I remember when the coolest new thing in car technology was automatic windows. Now cars are just a series of connected computers that have built in screens and navigation, satellite radios, safety features to protect you from dangers you can’t even see, and cameras everywhere. It makes logical sense that the next step would be making these integrated computers connected so you could have Wi-Fi on the road, and that’s definitely the way things are headed.

Last week we checked out the latest and greatest in car tech as AT&T’s guest to the Seattle Auto show and what stands out the most is the connected car of the future. We got to take a spin in the 2016 Volvo XC90 and got to experience the awesomeness of a connected car firsthand. I’ve always been a Volvo fan, and this new model definitely did not disappoint. IMG_2694With a modern stylish exterior, gorgeous interior, comfortable seats and excellent visibilty, I was immediately impressed. Then after driving it and being surprised with the power delivery from the 2.0 liter 4 cylinder that runs on regular unleaded, and seeing how well all the connected features work, I decided I absolutely need to see about getting some extra time behind the wheel. IMG_2692


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Taking the scenic route with the Mitsubishi Lancer

Sponsored postBy Tyler, editor and reviewerMitsubishi Lancer in drivewayMy wife says I can’t buy a race car. Something about how it’s not practical and we have three kids, blah blah blah. But after spending time in the 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer, I think I might just be able to sneak this one by her.

It may not have a roll cage or nitrous, but the Mitsubishi Lancer with the optional 2.4L engine does satisfy my desire for a compact car to cruise in that really feels like I’m driving. Anyone out there that has ever wanted to race knows what I’m talking about. There’s driving, and then there’s really feeling like you’re driving. Mitsubishi Lancer at hotelSo, how does the Mitsubishi Lancer enhance the driving experience? For me it was through the steering and suspension set up that was unlike the other family mobiles that are “practical” and “kid-friendly”. The funny thing is, the Lancer is actually both of those as well. It may not scream “family”, but you wouldn’t believe how much fun we all had zipping up and down hills along the Oregon and Washington coast as we hugged each curve in the road.

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