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Cee Cee

Kid-Friendly, Reviews, Staycation, Teens, Things To Do, Tweens, Vegas Life

Christmas Town For a Fun Family NightFeatured

We love finding places around the Valley to celebrate Christmas and the end of the year holidays. Following a short break after Halloweenville, Wet N Wild now hosts another off season family fun center – This time, Las Vegas Christmas Town! They are open thru New Year’s Eve and will only be closed 12/24 & 12/25 in observance of Christmas Eve and Day. 

The second you step in, you are immersed in a winter wonderland with festive music, tons of colorful lights and all things that evoke Christmas and the holidays. You can even catch a few of your favorite winter characters like Olaf, elves and even Santa himself! Santa has a cottage so you can visit and take photos with him. There is no charge to use your own phone for photos, but professional photos are available for purchase. Tons of photo opportunities throughout the park with thousands of lights, a 40 person train ride, a 40 foot tree and synchronized lights and music. There is even a life-sized nativity scene! I just wish it was lit properly because it was pretty cool…

A few things to remember before your visit:

The ticket window opens at 5p. If you purchase a Groupon ($15 vs the full $20) You should be able to go straight to the entrance. Bags are subject to security search upon entry.

It is getting colder and colder as the year comes to a close so please dress warmly, including hats and gloves as this entire experience is outdoors.

They have face painting included with your admission and the artist that night did such a great job with my son’s snowman and wreath. I liked it so much I was inspired to tip her.

 

We did not enjoy the skating rink since it is not real ice, it is about the size of half of a basketball court, so it got crowded  and we could not get used to the ill-fitting skates! We tried about three different pairs on my son, including some that looked similar to roller blades. He did not like any of them. We only went around one time, but we enjoyed watching others try it out!

The lines for the rides can take a little while so just be patient, everyone else is here to have fun too, and at least you can look around and appreciate all the decorations and of course, the music!

Frosty’s Snow Ball Fun is a hybrid bounce house-ball pit of all snowballs. So cute…The kids always love the bounce houses and we could have spent the entire night just there, but I am glad we didn’t miss out on a number of other attractions.

The only thing we wanted from the concession stand was hot chocolate and the seasonal funnel cake: mint chocolate chip. The gigantic, drizzled in chocolate marshmallows in my hot chocolate were perfect. Making the kids ice cream and funnel cake induced sugar high was probably not the best idea, but it kept them warm and fueled to run through the obstacle courses for about an hour.

The Jingle Bell Sledding Hill is super steep and extremely fast, which my son does not like, so we did not try it, but the music is always on point there and from all the squealing and giggles, you know everyone is having a blast!

Right beside the inner tube sledding, there is a walk-through 3D experience that was really cute. The little kids liked it so much (or wanted to put the 3D glasses on repeatedly) that we went through several times since there is no line. As you exit the short two-room attraction, you can see the snow falls right by there!

My favorite was Rudolph’s Save Christmas Shoot Out, the paintball gallery. We almost forgot to try it and just before closing, we spent the last 30 min there. This requires purchase of paintballs, the best value being $20 for 200 paintballs. I will gladly buy them the next time we go – I want to shoot too! My son used all 100 paintballs himself and had a blast with every shot. The shooting gallery has Christmas trees lined up with ornaments to shoot and a well-padded (I hope) character creeping and laughing as you attempt to shoot him or her. 

Ornament and cookie decorating requires additional purchase of ornaments and cookies, but all the decorating tools are available on tables beside the concession stand. I did not feel like standing in line for cookies so we tried the ornament decorating ($3). It is so cold out that it was hard to dry the glitter glue so I had to hold them all night – a terrible idea for the beginning of the night! They are cute little wood board ornaments, but we would likely skip that next time. We love the Tiny Tim train that is most suitable for five years and younger, but adults can squeeze in too. 

The wave pool is so pretty and still, like a winter lake view. I loved the cabanas decorated in spooky, horror scenes for Halloweenville and I was really hoping they would have made a little winter wonderland near the pool too. I kept thinking it would be similar to the Macy’s department store windows in NYC. 

As for the price point, I thought $20 per person seemed expensive (depending on how many people in your family) so I was glad to hear Groupon was available for $15. It did sell out that night we went so plan ahead! Overall, it is a great place if you love bounce houses, trains, holiday music and tons of lights. The rest is gravy! 

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Struck Gold with Dr. Silver

I did it… I decided to get “work done” I accept that I am aging… Celebrating another birthday, I thought it was great time to consult a professional about options to help me to transition gracefully into my mid-40s.

I was gifted this procedure in exchange for my honest opinion. Please contact Plastic Surgery Associates 702-822-2100 to book your appointment with Dr. Silver today!

Enter Dr. Andrew Silver… You have heard us rave about Anson, Edwards & Higgins previously, and you know how well respected and admired this practice is… Dr. Silver is their newest addition and he’s wonderful. What do you look for in a plastic surgeon? Someone who is extremely knowledgeable and a perfectionist. You want your doctor to be personable, approachable and someone willing to be patient with you.  Getting work done on your face is a HUGE DEAL. Dr. Silver is extremely cautious and answers all of your concerns. I especially appreciate the fact that he is able to articulate what is happening with your face and give options for resolving those issues. He has a conservative approach and is extremely precise. He also can gently steer you in the right direction when your idea may achieve your desired results. I didn’t know what I needed or wanted, but I knew my face could use “something”…

For the past couple of years, I’ve received Botox for migraines which entails a protocol of more than 30 shots all over the scalp, along the hairline and the trapezius muscle. I am ineligible to receive any additional Botox in between those quarterly appointments. 

I opted for fillers. Yes! I was a little nervous, but super excited. I had Dr. Silver face me towards the mirror and walk me thru what was possible. You can see he has true passion for his craft and it was very reassuring. I get the allure of going to a medispa and saving money, but we are talking about your face, your identity, the first point of contact – Please don’t trust just anyone with your beautiful face! That’s my PSA for the week! Share the knowledge, my friends… I have heard so many horror stories about Botox parties and fillers gone wrong. It is not worth the risk of damage. It could also potentially cost you a lot more both monetary and aesthetically should something go awry. 

The fillers were very, very slight. I had a minor imbalance in my cheeks so Dr. Silver numbed my face a little and let that set for a few minutes. He drew on my face to mark out his proposed area to plump on each side. With the assistance of the lovely Ms. Stacie who rubbed the other cheek with an ice pod, he began his work. Just a few injections with a very thin needle in a handful of points along my cheek bone. It feels like a little pinch and not nearly as bad as I expected or anticipated. I was nervous about getting an injection in my soft cheek, but it was not bad at all! He evaluates his work from multiple angles as perfectionists do and then performed injections in the other cheek. They wiped the marker off of my cheeks and said to check back in a couple of weeks. I asked if there were any adverse affects to look out for and was told I would have a pretty immediate reaction, if anything. I was told swelling would subside completely after two weeks, but may feel soreness and have tiny injection site bruising. I held ice pack pods on my face for about fifteen minutes afterwards to reduce the swelling. Ladies, I did this on my way to work! I did experience maybe one or two bruises that were so tiny, they could pass as freckles. 

20171117_083122The results are beautiful! I’m a bit more plump in my cheeks because, let’s face it, as the years pass, the fat you actually want that gives you a more youthful appearance begins to dissipate… the fillers are a great way to fill out your face even when you have received Botox to smooth lines, there is only so much smoothing of wrinkles that you can have done. The face naturally loses that fullness much like my eye brows are not as full as they once were!

I have to tell you: the fillers did a lot for me, beyond the physical appearance… I received a professional evaluation and a proposed game plan before and after my decision to proceed with fillers. No one could tell I had anything done, but noticed I looked great! I ended up telling a lot of my friends, family and coworkers. They said they couldn’t tell, but just noticed I was doing something right. It actually made me feel more confident knowing I didn’t look hollowed out anymore! I am also more conscious of my resting B face – Ugh… so true that “your face will freeze like that!” Haha…

I am so overjoyed knowing there is a game plan despite the fact the years do not want to be kind, nor does gravity, but rather than defy the aging process, I can mature gracefully! I admit, I think I should have had even more plumping simply because I love how subtle and yet how effective it was. The fillers made a big difference for me. 

Now through the end of 2017, Dr. Silver is offering 20% off his services to all our followers. Please tell him we sent you and enjoy the new you. No one deserves beauty and the gift of time on your side than YOU! Happy Holidays!!!

 Tell me, I want to know:

  • Are you aging gracefully?
  • What do you do to help this goal?
  • If you could get any work done, what would it be?
  • What questions do you have questions for Dr. Silver?

More candid pix approx 1 week post-procedure:

These are unedited, no filters, minimal makeup (nothing on my cheeks)

 

Comfortable enough for pix with teen nieces!

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Macronutrients with Mad Macro {A Review}

Macronutrients with Mad Macro {A Review}
Macronutrients with Mad Macro {A Review}
Macronutrients with Mad Macro {A Review}
Macronutrients with Mad Macro {A Review}
Macronutrients with Mad Macro {A Review}

Over ten years ago, I made the conscious decision to purposely choose cleaner whole foods whenever possible. At times, it can be challenging to always find new, innovative ways to present whole foods. I can barely put forth the effort to mix up my own trail mix let alone prepare something that would take any more time than reaching into my fridge! Who are these moms with extra time to create new whole foods or paleo-approved snacks on the go? Not this mom! I have a great solution to this dilemma:  I was approached by the team over at Mad Macro to give their protein bars a try in exchange for my honest opinion. I am so thrilled they reached out to me! 

Mad Macro makes cereal in addition to their protein bars (which look super delicious, I will definitely be ordering them!) I have tried only their protein bars so far… But I cannot wait to order their protein cereals! Yes! Protein! In a cereal!

About the bars… To me, these protein bars sort of resemble single serving pouches of almond butter ground up with other seeds and nuts with a super thick, solid consistency. It is recommend the bars are stored in the refrigerator and then allowed to sit at room temp for about an hour before eating them. I knew my first meal would be high quality nutrient-dense to set me up for a great day! I like these for an afternoon snack too. Products by Mad Macro are grain-free, dairy-free and paleo-approved. 

As for taste, they have a number of great flavors: Pumpkin Spice, Salted Chocolate Almond, Walananna (walnut + banana), Protein Brownie and Cocomoco (coffee + coconut). They are not really sweet or overly chewy like a lot of the other bars available in stores. I would say the taste grows on you. I like that I can really taste the pumpkin seeds and the salt complemented the chocolate perfectly. It is subtle, but extremely effective. I am a huge fan of coconut oil for the plethora of health benefits, but that flavor is extremely light, if noticeable at all. They do not crunch like a granola bar or taste like a candy bar at all, the way a lot of protein bars taste to me. I would say it is like taking a nutty, seedy trail mix, and making it into a nut butter. Genius! I like them a lot, but it takes a few bites to get used to the taste and the consistency. Since it is all natural and grain free so I felt good knowing it is not processed or chock full of grains. It is dense and has a filling effect since all your nutrient needs are being met. They can be a bit messy though. The natural oils, like what you see at the top of almond or peanut butter can spill out, so have a paper towel wrapped around it if you decide to eat it in the car, especially. On the go means I can eat it wherever I am. These hit the spot for sure: I felt full, satisfied and was really happy to  have a macronutrient balanced breakfast! I felt like my brain functioned better and I didn’t feel the need for more coffee. 

I just know my healthy, fit mom friends will really like these and appreciate their existence! We should all be concious of and concerned with the foods we feed ourselves and our families. Time to take back our health! At 260 calories, they pack in 15 grams of protein and only 10 net carbs! These Mad Macro protein bars also include collagen (grass fed cows, sorry vegans!) so say hello to youthful skin too! What’s more is they are a local company right here in Las Vegas. You need to try Mad Macro! What are you waiting for?!

What is your favorite breakfast on the go?! 20171026_094041Try these bars and let me know what you think!

madmacro.com

Instagram.com/livemadmacro

Thank you to the awesome team at Mad Macro! I am definitely a fan for life! Mad Macro protein bars are a welcome addition to my health and beauty regimen!

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Halloweenville at Wet ‘n’ Wild

Halloweenville at Wet ‘n’ Wild
Halloweenville at Wet ‘n’ Wild
Halloweenville at Wet ‘n’ Wild
Halloweenville at Wet ‘n’ Wild
Halloweenville at Wet ‘n’ Wild
Halloweenville at Wet ‘n’ Wild
Halloweenville at Wet ‘n’ Wild
Halloweenville at Wet ‘n’ Wild

This year, Wet n Wild hosted their first Halloweenville. Set to be an annual event, Halloweenville features dry slides, bounce houses, all of the cabanas decorated with creepy scenes, a dance party, rides, face painting and seasonal food! The admission price includes unlimited rides ($12 per person, under 2 years = Free!) Also, from 10/27-10/31 you can choose to add on the Trick or Treat option for an additional $5. The concession stand is open and there is also a hot chocolate/shave ice tent near paintball. The paintball shooting gallery starts at $10 for 100 paintballs.  For face painting, I believe tips are accepted! I have a 5 yr old & we went with another of his Halloween-loving 5 yr old friends.  They spent almost all of the time at the bounce houses. There is a mini train that was cute & fun for younger kids (adults fit on this ride too). The dry slides would’ve been fun to try, but since I had my son & he’s too little to ride those, I skipped them. I would think the older kids would enjoy those slides for sure. I know this time of year there are so many options and I have not been to the pumpkin patch on Rainbow at Warm Springs because there looks like there are more carnival rides for adults and teens that would be too much for my son. I really enjoyed Halloweenville for their content and price point. There seemed to be a lot to keep older siblings content too. I figure IMAX movies are about $12-13 and that’s only a couple of hours! At Halloweenville, your admission is for 6-9p, until 10p on weekends and from the 27th – 31st, they will be trick or treating available for an additional $5. Not bad! I like that it is an enclosed space. They have dance parties too! The decorations and Halloween music were the right touch too! The green screen photo offering is $10 per print, but you get to choose which pose you want. 

*** *** *** L a s   V e g a s   H a l l o w e e n v i l l e *** *** ***

In comparing Halloweenville to the pumpkin patches around town, I felt like it was the best fit for a solid pumpkin patch evening. Halloween Town at Boca Park has the option to buy individual tickets for each ride or an unlimited rides wristband for $20. It depends on your kids because the rides are definitely for really small kids so my son may be on the verge of out-growing those. The slides however are too high for him. He tried both & didn’t want to go on either a 2nd time. He loved the bounce houses & when we were there (on a Wed) he was by himself. I basically ended up spending about $2 for each attraction. They have carnival games which are a separate fee and a food tent that smelled beyond delicious wafting to you anywhere on the lot! They have a haunted house, but I am not a fan of being frightened and my son is still too young for that. We have been to two Stu Miller pumpkin patches (one next to Ikea & on at Blue Diamond/Rainbow) both require tickets. Slides are 1 ticket each, bounce house is 1 ticket for a set amount of time (I want to say 15 min) & the obstacle course/bouncy slide is 2 tickets which takes a bit longer to go through and it was JJ’s favorite, by far. Tickets are $1 each. So price-wise, basically the same thing. I do like that we could just pop in there at anytime, take pictures at the scarecrow and hay displays and maybe do a ride or 2 and tickets do not expire all month, so I am not knocking those at all. HallOVeen at Opportunity Village is a local staple with lots of rides and the decorations to enjoy despite some longer lines. Admission can be a bit steeper at around $20 for unlimited rides, but there’s also an option to buy admission only with option to purchase ride tickets separately, but every dollar spent there goes to a good cause. Cannot go wrong with any of these seasonal adventures!

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2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}

2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}

What’s in a name? The 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring is in a class called compact crossover or compact SUV. I know, Wait a minute! SUV by definition is a big, gas guzzler, right?! Compact SUV is a bit of an oxymoron, wouldn’t you say? SUV stands for Sports Utility Vehicle. I have to attest – This is a sporty little compact vehicle, for sure! ‘Utility Vehicle’ – Now that’s where I get a bit hung up on terminology. I immediately think Compact means tiny, no room, can’t do much but get from point A to point B. I am not a fan of a small car unless it’s a sexy two-seater roadster car that I just want to put the top down and take on long drives up the coast. But that sexy fantasy is not a day to day commuter vehicle. Why? That’s easy: no backseat for my buddy’s car seat, not cost efficient to require higher octane fuel, I wouldn’t want my buddy to make the sexy, expensive car dirty or for me to waste my energy worrying about dings on the door, etc. Kids can be messy. (Though another of our moms has taught her kids to remove their shoes before getting in there vehicle!). How about a compromise: a smaller vehicle with a cool, sporty style 4-door that is easy to maneuver, is fuel efficient, can parallel park just about anywhere, has plenty trunk space, room in the back seat for a car seat (or 2!) and saves me money with great gas mileage – Enter the Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring

I reviewed the Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD and remarked that it was the coolest thing to have a third row of seating. Well, as awesome as that is, I really didn’t use the 3rd row! It was just nice to have additional seating without being a full on minivan. Although considerably smaller, the Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring is actually a really great ride. It is just the right size for me and my copilot, JJ. (But maybe I need to compare them to the CX-5!)

The first thing I did was sync up my phone using Bluetooth which is so simple: I maybe pressed 5 buttons between the dash tablet & my phone. I love satellite radio and GPS navigation. The mounted dash display is gorgeous, simple to operate and easily accessible. I love that there so many memory spots for the radio too so I can easily switch between stand up comics, Coffee House acoustic guitar and 80s/90s music. I didn’t look into it, but I hear updating navigation for some vehicles can be pricey. In that case, I’d rather use my phone app. It is an awesome app if it is updated and having the navigation projected above the dash means I am not taking my eyes off the road. Safety first! 
                  

I was secured my son’s car seat into the center of the back seat since there are anchors for a car seat to go on either seat. From the driver’s seat, I can easily hand him his water bottle or snacks once he is safely buckled into the harness or to threaten him with discipline since he is in arm’s reach. One caveat if you have a passenger in the back seat: There really isn’t enough room for a medium sized human to sit comfortably on either side. You would need to choose a side for the car seat and a side for the other passenger. The car seat would need to also be on one side rather than in the middle if you plan on folding either seat down. The front seat provides plenty of room and would likely be the best place to put a taller passenger. Upon delivery, I had to adjust my seat a considerable amount because I felt super short in the car, despite how compact it is! The driver who dropped it off must have been a lot taller than me (which isn’t saying much because I’m 5’2″!), but Wow – that’s a wide range of adjustment available! 
As a mom, one of the biggest concerns for most families is safety. Since it’s a smaller vehicle, of course, it makes us big, tall SUV drivers feel a bit vulnerable. Well, Mazda hit it out of the park with 5 star crash ratings for both front and side impacts for the 2017 Mazda CX-3. The rating for a rollover crash was four stars: https://www.edmunds.com/car-news/2017-mazda-cx-3-earns-five-star-safety-rating-from-federal-government.html With all the safety features like sensors to notify you of cross traffic, rear cameras as well as (a safety package that includes) Smart City Brakes and lane change clearance, a lot of collisions can be avoided. Everyone can also exercise more caution when driving (this town can be very dangerous).
Aside from the many features of the Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring, what makes you decide to actually purchase a vehicle?! Are their deal breakers or must-haves that you have in mind to limit your search? I never realized how many options are out there… One friend who is also a part of the DriveShop program has her basic features that she appreciates: seat adjustment memory so she and her husband can switch drivers at the push of a button. Since I’m the only driver right now, this isn’t a necessity for our family. I honestly don’t even think about it! Although, when I valet or get the car washed, it’s nice to go back to my exact seat adjustments! What scores big points for me is the safety ratings/features, the fuel efficiency, its resale value or the longevity of a car. I do care about curb appeal, having a the sun roof/moon roof, and what colors it comes in, but those are secondary thoughts. Having volume controls and tuning right at your finger tips is also very helpful. There are multiple cup holders which is nice, but 2 tall to go cups with straws in them do not sit well under the armrest in the front. There is no vents in the center like other test drives we have had, but the center air vent is strong enough to cool or warm my son in his car seat. I can just angle the vent on the left side of the steering wheel if I need more air flow. There is so much bang for your buck when it comes to the Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring. The fact that they are also priced at almost half of the price of the CX-9 is a bonus too (depending on the options selected, of course). Happy car shopping! Let me know what your must-have features are when you are deciding which vehicle to buy. Are their any deal breakers for you?!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Big Thanks to Mazda for the opportunity to test drive their beautiful vehicles and massive gratitude to DriveShop for the opportunity to be a part of the program! I am really opening my eyes to many brands and so many different models that I did not expect to enjoy driving. I appreciate the subtle differences and yet it makes me realize what is most important! I hope you enjoy what I have presented and I am eager to hear your feedback! 
 
CONNECT WITH MAZDA ONLINE
 
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MAZDA DEALERSHIPS IN THE LAS VEGAS VALLEY
 
6950 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89117
702-637-4746
 
6525 Centennial Center Blvd , Las Vegas 89149
702-784-1100
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2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}

2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}

***Big Thanks to DriveShop for providing this test drive vehicle in exchange for an honest review.***

First of all, I am a sucker for leather. Red leather in particular. I have no idea what this means about me, but I do know, when it comes to vehicles, it is a major plus in my book! The 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD is absolutely stunning – The curb appeal is really outstanding! Honestly, I haven’t thought of Mazdas since the RX7 of the 80s. (So now you know how old I really am! And I apologize Mazda – I’ve missed a ton…sad face emoji) The CX-9 is sporty and classy looking all at once. LED taillights, headlights and signature grille, twenty inch alloy wheels, all-season tires, rear roof spoiler, power lift gate and privacy glass. It has the coveted Angel Eyes LED headlights also found on BMWs. My luxury vehicle aficionado friend was really impressed with this vehicle since he can appreciate the luxury selling points even more when they come without the luxury price point. The suggested price for this specific test drive is above $45K. Granted, this is probably more than what I would like to invest in a vehicle right now, but it only motivates me to research how well it ages. I’m not afraid of purchasing a used car and I’m also not above leasing a car either! 

I think the crossover class of vehicles is really best suited for my family. After driving the Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD for one week, I now find myself wanting to test drive every crossover vehicle available in the Valley just to convince myself that I don’t want to buy a CX-9 for our family! It really blew my mind – Super impressed, Super surprising. Maybe it’s the third row seating, maybe it’s the heated seats, maybe it’s the leather. If you’ve read any of my reviews, I’m all about the leather: the smell, the look, the ease of cleaning (Yes, I find it easier than cloth! Way easier…) 

I was really surprised to see third row seating because in my mind, only a large minivan or a Suburban could seat seven. Two in the first row, three in the second and two in the way, way back. There is, however, a caveat: I installed my son’s car seat in the second row. The CX-9 is a four door vehicle despite having the additional row of seating so getting passengers out of the third row requires the center row to be moved forward and the seat back to be bent forward. This is virtually impossible when a car seat is installed in the center. Since the seat back is split, I can see how entering and exiting would be easier with the car seat installed in one or the other side as opposed to the center. The back row seats would not be comfortable for passengers taller than maybe 5’4″ since leg room is limited. basically the second and third row seats split leg room. The kids will love it though: My sweet friend and CX-9 owner has a 7 year old and 10 year old twins who fight to sit in the way, way back! You can fold the third row of seats down and just increase the ‘trunk’ space. I do like that you cannot see into the back where groceries and other items would be packed away. The button to automatically shut the lift gate lights up so at night, there’s no fumbling around for your keys or feeling around for the button. If you do use the third row for passengers, there are aluminum roof rails available.

Active Driving Display

I love the moon roof especially because my son has limited views being in a car seat so opening up the roof gives him more to look at too! The interior has Nappa-trimmed leather, both front seats are heated and adjustable with driver seat memory and lumbar adjustment. During the winter, heated seats are so necessary! aluminum and rosewood trim makes for such a luxury experience. There is an eight inch display for the rear camera and navigation system. It looks like a space ship cockpit in here! I love the Active Driving Display that projects my speed onto the interior of the windshield = genius! When I set the navigation, it also shows me the next turn of my directions – right there on the windshield = GENIUS!

My mom friend, Janel and I took our sons (ages 4, 5 = 1 car seat, 1 booster in second row plus snow paraphernalia in the trunk) in the Mazda CX-9 for a road trip up to Mt. Charleston to make snowmen and drink hot chocolate. Usually, I sweat the trip as my truck is not AWD and I have to pack as lightly as possible just so I don’t have to be super embarrassed watching cars go around us as we climb slowly up the mountain. This time, we got to take scenic pictures, hear great music on SiriusXM over the crystal clear BOSE speakers and we even felt badly for a number of drivers we saw getting stuck in the snow (Janel even got out to help push one woman’s car out of an embankment with another passerby!) I am not adventurous enough to have tried this loan vehicle in the snow as I am a firm believer there is a reason why snow tires are a thing! 

More than any other vehicle I’ve test driven thus far, this is the one I can see myself owning and driving every day.

Overall, this has been my favorite test drive so far. It has all the wonderful features you would want in a new car with all the bells and whistles: including third row curtain airbags, rear door window shades, key-less entry, push button start, back up sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, smart brake system, lane assist, hands-free Bluetooth pairing, etc. There is a lot of competition since most vehicles will come equipped this way, but for me, this was the vehicle that most fit for my family. More than any other vehicle I’ve test driven thus far, this is the vehicle I can see myself owning and driving every day. I am a strange one since I have been wanting a minivan since I had my son. Yes, I’m a single mom. Yes, I only have one child. I do have 2 dogs though?! I’m also the type of person to basically packs like I’m leaving town when in reality, I’ll be gone for the day. This could mean: a change of clothes for the gym, play clothes for my son after school, a file box of my son’s latest drawings and school correspondence, after gym clothes, hot tub or pool clothes for the gym, random extra change of clothes for emergencies for my son or me because of something my son gets into. Depending on the season you may see: camping chairs, pool noodles, picnic blankets, a collection of recyclables from take out orders or reusable shopping totes. You could say I like my vehicles spacious! I love it! I want it! Someone gift it to me, please! Happy Driving, everyone!

 

      

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The Space Between Us :: {Movie Review}

PicsArt_02-02-11.44.12

“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”

– Karle Wilson Baker, “Courage”

PicsArt_02-02-11.43.29Movies can be an escape. An escape from a ho hum daily grind; an escape to a personal utopia… Simply a couple of uninterrupted hours focusing on the best our planet has to offer.

PicsArt_02-02-11.44.12Living in Las Vegas, we are blessed with endless sunshine, blue skies everyday and clear views of the mountains from just about anywhere in the Valley. In a few short hours, we can drive to a beach, a mountain, or a canyon, or fly to another country to experience different cultures, vastly different food, customs and sights. We are truly blessed, but how often do we appreciate it? 

PicsArt_02-02-11.39.31There were a lot of themes of love in the The Space Between Us: romantic love, friendship, parental love. It ran about 2 hours and I think I liked the concept so much, I went ahead and overlooked a lot of the holes in the story. I like how wide-eyed Gardner is as the first human born on Mars. I had questions such as what did they feed the baby on Mars cuz it’s not like they could ship them formula?! And felt myself wondering about bubble boy type scenarios about all the germs he was being exposed to. I wish there was more character building only because a lot of storyline continuity seems to hinge on one or two sentences for you to figure out how it all links together. 

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But guess what, I still enjoyed the the film. I even teared up at some parts just thinking about what ifs. I wanted to root for first love and I wanted to believe it would be so whirlwind-y for a sixteen year old to visit Earth for the very first time too…(I love Blast from the Past!) Maybe if it was a mini-series or sitcom it would’ve been better received. I didn’t expect this film to change my life or completely convince it was even possible for humans to live on Mars in the not so distant future. I wanted entertainment and a neat story and that’s what I got: A cute movie and a great message about love knowing no bounds. If you want a fun, date night and are not into horror movies or thrillers also debuting this weekend, you’ll really enjoy this film! It’s sweet, light-hearted and simple and sometimes that’s just what you need! Bonus: The soundtrack is PHENOMENAL! That is one of the best parts of the movie, for sure! 

PicsArt_02-02-11.49.54

* * * * * * 

I watched this advanced screening alongside other press and although I’m not a movie critic, I enjoyed the experience of the event itself. I’m not sure why I don’t attend more advanced screenings! I hope we have the opportunity to attend again. It’s a rarity for me to go to the movies on my own so it was also a treat of a night out with just my super over-priced theater snacks! ($18 for a medium soda, tortilla chips, nacho cheese and M & Ms – I guess I should’ve asked specifically for jalapeños?!) AMC Town Square hosted the event and there’s a lot of parking at the entrance to Gameworks so you can even take a shortcut through there and head up the stairs. Yardhouse is a great place to have dinner before shows as the servers are great about timing around a schedule to make your movie on time! Double Helix is a great place for drinks afterwards – Gotta love their firepit on the patio! Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf are around the corner from there too. There’s also a playground at Town Square and Artsy Nanny can also watch your kiddos for you too!

☆☆☆All these pix are from IMDB!☆☆☆

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Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}

Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
Kia Optima Turbo {Vehicle Review :: DriveShop}
What I love about the Kia Optima Turbo… Where do I begin?! Let me just start by saying that I would not have thought to test drive a Kia before this opportunity. You can check all the specs of the Kia Optima online, but here we are going to discuss the look and feel of the car as a day to day driver. These are the details you want to know before you buy! There are a number of well-known car makers that will always be at the forefront of any vehicle search. Of course there is criteria to consider (2-door, 4-door…hybrid, SUV, etc.), but my search would always start off with brands I have known my whole life. Believe it or not, Kia was not one of them… Until now… 
I was really surprised and impressed right from the start! The romance began with that amazing new car smell to draw me right in. Who doesn’t love the smell of new leather?! The car I received for the test drive is a gorgeous pearlized white paired perfectly with the sporty, glam look of merlot leather interior. Yes, that is what struck me first! Despite having a car seat strapped in the center of the back seat, I still felt like I was behind the wheel of a sports car. 
The Kia Optima Turbo is quite the looker with its aerodynamic design, red wheels and panoramic sunroof/moonroof. I was especially surprised about its get up and go. Well, being a Turbo edition should have clued me in! I was very happy with the handling as I have noted even nice, high end cars do not always have the turn radius I think they should. I have owned cars with strong engines including a ’71 Mustang, a BMW, a Chrysler 300, and a Porsche Cayenne, so I’m no stranger to cars with power! I love the innovation of automated deceleration as there are some sharp turns in the Valley! I could feel the output drop when I would be taking a turn like a clover leaf freeway ramp. In addition, while in traffic, if someone were to enter my lane too closely ahead of me, there was instant reaction by the vehicle. So cool! I felt super safe at all times. With my son, safety is the absolute top priority.
Speaking of safety, back up sensors are so key – in addition to notification for stationary objects you may bump into, there is also a sensor to alert you if a car is passing behind you, crossing your path as you back up from a parking space, for example. There are back up cameras too, which I love, but having work in the insurance industry in a former life, I still check every corner and move at a snail’s pace in parking lot situations and especially when in reverse. The center dashboard screen for the back up cameras is a must, especially since we have a neighbor kid who wanders out of the house often. I live in a cul-de-sac and so I have that false sense of security that I am only a few doors from the end of the block so no one should be passing behind the car, right?! Wrong! I have looked back to see a little face standing not too far from the end of our driveway. It is truly a frightening sight! I would never want anyone to be hurt and back up cameras are so helpful as an additional precaution, and at night, it is a no brainer…not to mention the help while backing into a space or illuminating your path at night!
More AWESOME PERKS include that gorgeous panoramic sunroof/moon roof. At night, we could see the stars and the moon while daytime meant watching planes traverse our gorgeous blue skies. I normally drive an SUV and switching to a car may feel like I am downsizing. I did not feel that way at all! In fact, feeling cramped is not an issue when you can practically peel open the entire top of the Kia Optima Turbo! You are wired and ready for Sirius XM radio so you will never have a loss for listening options. The Bluetooth for hands-free dialing was extremely easy to set up and the sound quality on both ends of phone calls was stellar. No problems, no delays in sound, it was a breeze. I like that I could use GPS from my phone or use the GPS navigation. I prefer using my phone’s GPS since I have a lot of saved addresses right at my finger tips, but having both options is really nice. Radio and call options are also easily accessible from the steering wheel so distractions are kept to a minimum. It’s a Harman Kardon too – BTW, for the audio nerds reading this! *insert secret handshake here*
There’s a push button start which is beyond brilliant. You don’t have to worry about losing your key either! I always have a latch for my keys. With the keyless entry system, I just latch my keys onto my purse and as soon as I’m near the car door, it unlocks! I never unlatch my keys! It is a small detail, but if (like me!) you are notorious for misplacing keys or locking yourself out of the car (most recently, the wind shut my car door behind me while I placed my purse on my seat to throw a sweater on!), you will appreciate this detail. 
Cup holders for everyone! Not only are there cup holders in the center console, but in every door – Keep hydrated, my friends! I also love that there is a seat warmer/cooler and a way to save the seat settings so when you valet, or if your honey drives, you don’t have to get in and reset everything. There is a USB connection and multiple charging outlets (does anyone still refer to them as cigarette lighters?!) including a couple in the back of the center console/arm rest so your back seat passengers will not have to share or wait their turn. My son loved having his own ‘personal wind’ for dedicated air flow. two separate vents to aim in different directions. There are also shades on the back windows to keep your toddler from having a complete meltdown because the sun is shining on them. Spoiled, much?!
If anyone is looking into a new car, you absolutely have to try the Kia Optima Turbo. They really did blow me away with this test drive. Like I said, you could still feel like you are driving a sports car with plenty of leg room for multiple passengers and car seats! I took a trip to Costco and even took a friend to the airport so you know there is TONS of trunk space too so load up and take a road trip in your new ride…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*~*~* They have ongoing deals right now!!! *~*~*
 
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Better Breakfast Recap! Our Featured Guests: Umpqua Oats & Coffig

We had a mama meet up in the park this weekend! It was so great to enjoy this gorgeous weather we are having outdoors, with friends, old and new…You know me, all about the food and luckily I surround myself with like-minded moms. We had an opportunity to taste and review COFFIG Fig Coffee and Umpqua Oats for the Better Breakfast Challenge! Thank you, Tryazon! 

***LVMB was not paid to promote these products, but we were provided with samples to taste test!***

COFFIG is a coffee beverage made of fig! The second you open the packet, you are embraced by the delicious roasted scents of fig and coffee. I was unaware that coffee could be made from figs! Figs are delicious, perfectly sweet (and actually, growing in my backyard)! I never thought coffee in a fig flavor was even a possibility or even if it was a good idea so when I heard about this creation from Oregon, I was definitely interested in giving it a try. There is no caffeine, but a natural energy boost was promised. The first question all of the moms thought was, is this going to make me spend the day in the bathroom? The quick answer is No! Since it is made from figs, people think they would have digestive benefits and that maybe too much fruit historically is known for helping you move food through your digestive system. It actually tastes great. I personally like stronger tasting coffee (taste, not necessarily something more caffeinated). I had to try a few times to get the right taste for my preference because too little grounds made it more of a tea than a coffee. It tastes great and especially for moms who are nursing or pregnant, it is a perfect decaf option! You have to try it…I personally did not feel much of a rush of energy the way caffeine in coffee affects me, but I also know that I do prefer to limit my caffeine intake since I get migraines. I know, it is like going against the mom-code of the Starbucks IV Drip Club! Ssshhhh…don’t tell on me! This is a great option on the weekends when I don’t need a caffeine boost or in the evenings when coffee sounds good, but staying up all night jittery doesn’t. I had this the next day over ice and it is just as delicious.

vanilla almond, umpqua oats, umpqua oats review, oatmeal  

Umpqua Oats are a LOCAL BRAND! Yes, my local Las Vegans, you will not only buy the best tasting breakfast for at home or on the go, but this is actually a healthy meal to start off your day AND you are also SUPPORTING LOCAL – That’s a trifecta, my friends! I first found this yummy breakfast about a year ago while at a drive-thru coffee stand (Moment of silence for the missing Human Bean in the Southwest Valley). It is ready made and all you do is shake up the contents a bit & add hot water. Let it sit for three(3) minutes – et voila! Breakfast in your car…Or breakfast at home for a hungry picky eater all of two years old. There are several flavors available for purchase. We got to try Vanilla Almond (a more traditional oatmeal/granola flavor), Sea Salt Caramel (a dessert breakfast!) and Jackpot – which is probably my favorite of the bunch since it includes fruit and nuts…and because it is called “Jackpot” = So Vegas, So Genius! The kids actually like it too! That day, we had babies between the ages of 3 months and 13 years. Fans all around! OK, we didn’t actually feed oatmeal directly to Nicole’s son, but it is safe and healthy (way to go galactogogue, oatmeal!) for nursing moms too…If this isn’t enough, we contact Umpqua and asked them to be a sponsor – that’s how much we love and adore them! Umpqua is also made in the USA, GMO free, whole rain certified, Kosher certified and no gluten ingredients are used. I know all my foodies with sensitivities can now eat a healthy, delicious meal! ***They contain nuts so, as always, please use with extreme caution when allergy sufferers are present!***

Cheers to a Better Breakfast!

Big THANK YOU to Panera Bread(89148) for helping me take this taste test on the road. The tea set up I bought was also delicious! I appreciate the help out to my car too, Mr. Manager, Lucas!

I have coupons up for grabs and a prize pack of Umpqua Oats for a randomly selected reader/commenter – leave your questions or thoughts below!

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