Ricart Auto Mall Blogger Event

A Fun Visit at Ricart Columbus Auto Mall

By Amy Trauntvein

I was compensated for my time to visit to the Ricart Columbus Auto Mall. All photos and opinions are my own.

Ricart Auto
The Original Ford car is still displayed as it was back in the 1960′s.

Ricart Automotive Group sponsored a blogger event at their Ricart Mega Mall located in Columbus Ohio for us local “bloggers” to come and tour their space and get to know their company a bit more.  I have to admit, I’d never been to their Mega Mall before and I was very impressed!

First we had guest blogger, Lisa Woodruff from Organize365.com come and speak to us about different ways to organize our vehicles.  She was fun and engaging and I learned all kinds of ways to keep things in check in my minivan.  Thanks Lisa!

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

Our next speaker was Rick Ricart himself!  You know the “We’re Dealin!” guy from all the commercials.  He took time out of his busy day to meet us and tell us a little bit about the Ricart company.

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

Rick Ricart told us that the Ricart Company is a family business. Rick’s Grandfather, Paul started the company in the mid 1950′s and has been growing strong ever since.  Their first philosophy is to treat their employees like family.  When you have happy employees, you get happy customers!  One way is by building a Subway and an employee Fitness Center right on their property. The Subway will be open to the public later this month.

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

Another high priority of the Ricart Automotive Group is customer service.  They want to make it a Fast, Easy and Fun experience to buy a car.  It even says it right on their license plate covers!

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

One unique way to provide high customer service is by having their own 360 degree car photo booth, the only one in the entire country!  They take a picture of every car they are selling so when you look at their cars online and find one you like, it is NOT a general factory picture, it is the actual picture of the car you are looking at!  No other car company has that to offer.

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

Also, if you purchase a car with Ricart you get a free car wash whenever you want!  As long as it says Ricart somewhere on the car, you just pull up to their car wash, and Bam!  Clean car!  Now THAT is pretty awesome!

Ricart Auto Blogger Event

Ricart Automotive’s Philosphy – No in your face selling, no gimmicks, no balloons and crazy signs on every car.  Just good honest business at a good honest price.

I liked this one particularly well…

Ricart Automotive

And this one too…  Probably a bit more practical for the carpool.

Ricart Automotive

 

Ricart recently teamed up with the Ronald McDonald House Charities for their newest commercial.  These are all Ronald McDonald House volunteers, not actors.  Perfect for the upcoming Halloween season I might add.  Take a look at their fun and spooky Revive Your Drive Commercial.

You can also check out Ricart on their website at Ricart.com , Facebook and Twitter

Thank you Ricart for the Fun and informative afternoon! I know where I’m heading next time we need a new car!

Love To All! ~Amy

 

 

 

 

I have been married for 23 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep me young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening, yoga, walking and saving money! I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Great Stay and Awesome Calamari at Sawmill Creek Resort

We Had An Enjoyable Stay At Sawmill Creek Resort

Dave and I were invited to visit Put-in-Bay Island and stay at the Sawmill Creek Resort, for a review. The resort was about 1/2 hour away from Catawba, where we got off the ferry. It’s situated on Lake Erie, although you can’t see Lake Erie from the room we were staying in. a

sawmill creek resort

As we drove into this golf resort, Dave realized he had stayed here several years ago, when he was on a company outing. My Dad also recalls staying at the Sawmill Creek Resort. My Dad recalls wonderful meals, great golf and a very nice resort. Dave went on a fishing expedition when he stayed, and was pleased when he realized it was the same place he had stayed before.

The decor is very outdoor, western comfortable feel. I love this atmosphere, and I know Dave would much rather have this style of decorating rather than “hotsy-totsy” fancy.

Sawmill Creek Resort

resort

We went to our room and it was an instant.. “Oh, this is NICE!”.  You know,  that initial impression you get when you first open the door to a new hotel. Nice, light colors, very clean and inviting.  I loved the fireplace we had in the room, and the couch that you could sit on to relax.  The king size bed had the most comfortable pillows!  I will say that the mattress itself was ok. There was some kind of harder ridging on the edge of it, that kind of hurt the back of my legs when I first got in. Dave thought that maybe it was some kind of handles to move the mattress?? But once you were in, it was pretty comfortable.  I would have loved a balcony to sit out on. I felt like the room should have one. But we did have a nice big window to look out of.

sawmill creek resort

We went back to the front desk and were given a ride on a golf cart to see the beach area and go to the restaurant.  It was a nice little ride down to this area. I’m not sure if you have to always ask for a ride, or if you are able to take your own golf cart.. but it would be a bit of a walk without one. Cars can’t fit on the path.

sawmill creek resort

They have recently laid sod, and will soon be able to host weddings here.  What a beautiful setting!

huron

The beach is just beyond this grassy area.  It was kind of a wet, cool, rainy afternoon when we were there, so no one was on the beach – but it looks like it would really be nice.  I love that it’s secluded. To have your own beach front is always nice.

PIB 35

The manager then dropped us off at one of the restaurants at the resort, Mariner’s at the Mariner’s Village Marina. It was a fine dining restaurant and it was nice to have the owner there to greet us. We chose to eat out on the screened in porch, overlooking the marina. They have plastic chairs and tables out there, but still have them dressed up to look very nice.

mariners restaurant

 

I took up the waitress’s suggestion for a mint patty drink (and it was ok, but I should have just stuck with a glass of wine).  They brought out some bread that I thought Dave was going to die over! I think I had two small pieces and he finished the rest of this.  Butter galore, but it had a bit of a crisp edge to it. I’m not sure how it was prepared, but it was great.

Mariner's Restuarant

I love Calamari, but so often it’s a little rubbery or tough, so I’m always a little apprehensive when I order it.  We did get it.. and I have to say – to this date, this is the BEST calamari that I have ever had. OMG…  I didn’t know it could be this tender. I think Dave had just a couple and I ate most all of this. I had it with the pesto sauce. Just writing about this, I have a craving for it again!

calamari

Dave ordered the Seared Duck that was one of their specials, from the advice of the owner. He loved it. I had a bite of it too, and it was really good. I’ve not had that much duck to compare it to, but I know it was good.

seared duck

I had the Lake Erie Perch for my meal.  It was good, I don’t know that it stood out from other perch I’ve eaten, but I enjoyed it.  We walked back to our place. We weren’t real sure how to go, but took a path that lead through the golf course and made our way back.

I would recommend staying at the Sawmill Creek Resort, without hesitation.. but you know what I’m also going to suggest too.. right?  If you go, you have to eat at the Mariner’s Restaurant and order Calamari!

Our stay at the hotel was taken care of, but we paid for our own meal at The Mariner’s Restaurant. The thoughts, opinions and pictures are all my own.

You can find more information on the Sawmill Creek Resort Facebook page.

 

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My First Trip & Review of Put-In-Bay #Travel #Ohio

Put-In-Bay, Ohio is an island in Lake Erie

It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived in Ohio all my life and have never been to Put-in-Bay. I’ve heard about it forever, but I never really had the opportunity to go or big desire. I had this offer to do a review of the island, and was told I could bring my family. I’ve always heard that Put-in-Bay was a “party” island, so I immediately said that I didn’t want the kids to come. But I was curious myself.  Dave and I set off for the island on a Saturday morning.

Put -in-Bay

It took us just under three hours to get there from the Columbus area. We met up with Ryan, who owns Green Door Mediaworks  at the Miller Boat Line to catch the ferry over to Put-in-Bay.  The day seemed a little questionable weather -wise.. but we lucked out. A few threats of rain, but everything bypassed us.

Miller Boat Line

 

Ryan was an awesome tour guide on our way to the island. He was pointing out all the little islands and explaining where things were, etc. He really knows the island and history.

With Miller’s Ferry you are able to take your car over to the island if you’d like to, but it isn’t nearly as much fun. We went up to the top to sit, where there were plenty of seats to enjoy the ride over.

Millers ferry

 

To me… part of the charm and the “feel” of the island was using the golf carts. It was so fun to just tool around in them. Of course, we could have gotten bikes (but thank goodness Ryan planned for us to get the carts and not bikes! I would have been dying with bikes!) instead of golf carts, but you can cover a lot more of the island in an afternoon with a cart.

bike rental

We all went to lunch at a cute place called Goat Soup & Whisky Tavern.  There was a darling outdoor patio, and a few tables with umbrellas that were outside of that. Although I didn’t try and soup or whisky, I really enjoyed it.  I did try two new things, walleye fries and a perch taco. The Walleye Fries were just pieces of Walleye that were cut in long narrow strips and deep fried, with some dipping sauce. Yum! I have heard my friends talk about fish taco’s for years, but have never tried one.  I decided to go for it. These were fried perch taco’s. Oh… so good! I had one, but wish I had ordered two. I will for sure get these again when I come back to visit the island the next time.

Goat Soup & Whisky Tavern

After lunch, Dave and I took off on our own and explored the island. It would have been fun to have been able to have eaten a few more meals on the island. There were several places I would have loved to have tried.

I think The Keys, sitting out on the water looks so fun! I love the way it looks, with the bright beachy colors. One thing I love to do when I go to a beach, or lake, or somewhere with water; is to sit and drink a nice glass of wine. Yes.. next visit for sure.

the keys

The Board Walk also has that water view and feel. It looks like a little finer dining. Maybe The Keys for lunch and then the Board Walk for dinner?

Board Walk Put in Bay

I love the outdoor seating at Hooligans Irish Pub, it just looked very comfortable.  It’s not over looking the water, but it is right in the center of town where you can see all the activity.

Put in bay

It was pirates weekend when we were there. There were cannon’s going off, a pirates market/craft show in the middle of the square and men,woman,kids and animals all dressed up as pirates.

put in bay

put in bay

newfie pirate

The square and feel of the island town was charming. I loved it. Everything was clean and well taken care of.  I had always envisioned this row of old bars, when I thought of Put-in-Bay. Not that I’d ever been here to see… but my entire thought of the island is different now.  There were plenty of places for people to drink, and there were plenty of people eating and drinking in them – but the atmosphere was fresh, clean and very island feeling. You tend to forget you are in Ohio.

Put in bay

put in bay

PIB

PIB

PIB

There are some sights to see on the island and things to do. We went to visit the Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center and did a few activities there.

perrys cave

We went to visit the Butterfly House. There was a really nice gift shop inside and the actual butterflies are in a greenhouse style structure in the back.

The butterfly house

Going into the butterfly house, someone came up to us and gave us some information about the butterfly house. That was really nice. They were there to answer any questions, and to let you know how to be careful with the butterflies, so as not to harm them.

PIB

butterfly

We then went on the Perrys Cave tour. I have to explain that I’ve been in several caves and really enjoy going on cave tours, before I give my honest opinion on this cave tour.  This was a 20 minute tour.  We walked down a flight of steps to go down into the cave. You have to bend down part of the way, going down the step and small steps to a depth of only about 50 feet below ground.  This was a wet cave. Puddles of water to walk around, and water dripping off the ceiling. I know some caves can be wet, and others aren’t. Our guide did a great job of explaining things in the cave.  I can not however recommend this cave tour.  Maybe if you’ve never been in a cave, you’d find it worth the cost.  A good explanation for me would be, too much talk and not enough cave.  I felt like they tried to drag out the tour to make it at least 20 minutes. You walk, only about 150 feet into the cave and stop every few feet for a 5 minute talk. I heard a couple people saying, “Is this it?” and one little boy said, “Where is the rest of the cave, where does that go?”.   I felt very disappointed. Had Dave and I had to pay the $8 each to go into the cave (rather than it being part of my review), I would have really been disappointed.

perrys cave

There was a really nice putt-putt course. We always love a good game of putt-putt!

PIB putt putt

Driving around the island and seeing the sites, stopping for some ice cream and just wandering around was so relaxing. I really wish we could have stayed a few days.

put in bay

PIB

PIB

I can certainly recommend Put-in-Bay to anyone! If you love a beautiful, active and fun island, then you’ll love it here. I feel like we made a mistake in not bringing the kids with us. I would have no problem bringing them here.  I might not plan to have them in town on a weekend night, as I’m sure things liven up quite a bit – hence the party atmosphere.  But it’s not something you wouldn’t see in Florida or any other vacation zone that has bars and water.  I think they would have loved it here.

I’ll be sure to come back, but I want to plan on spending a little more time here… and of course – I’ll be sure to get a golf cart to get around!

golf carts on Put in bay

 

You can follow these handles to find out a bit more about the island.

@Put_in_Bay
@MillerBoatLine
@ShoresIslandsOH
@DiscoverOhio

Our ferry rides, golf cart, lunch, Perry’s Cave, Butterfly House, Putt-Putt and our night stay (review to come soon) were all paid for.  My photos, thoughts and opinions are all my own.

 

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Wicked on Broadway

My First Broadway Play was Wicked

I have been to plays before, but never a Broadway play in NYC, let alone it being Wicked! How cool is that?

wicked

I was in NYC for the Blogher 12 conference and had no intention of going to see a Broadway play. We got to NYC around 2:30, after an eight hour Megabus ride and dragging our suitcases through the subway to get to our hotel around 3:30, I was exhausted, hot and tired!  But I was with a couple die-hard NYC lovers! Kim and Mel were dying to go right out and see all the sights. I was ready for a nap.  This was only my 2nd time in NYC and although I was really excited to see everyone and go to Blogher, I wasn’t overly excited it was in NYC. I’m not a big city kind of girl.

We took a little time and rested up in our room. I agreed to go with Kim and Mel to do a ticket lottery to try and get tickets for Wicked. I agreed that if I won them, I’d give them to Kim and Mel (you would get 2 tickets) because they both wanted to see this play so bad… and it wasn’t important to me.  If two of us won, then I’d be happy to go.  We didn’t win any. Kim and Mel were both pretty bummed.

Skip forward to the next day ( I think… or maybe 2 days). We are all sitting in our rooms (adjoining) and Courtney and Kim walk in and Courtney announces that she has a surprise for us. She pulls out 4 tickets to go see Wicked! OMG… now I am rested and it sounds like so much fun!

Wicked

Courtney and Kim had seats right in front of Mel and I.  I think Kim and Mel were SO excited.. they were ready to burst! Kim had seen it three times prior, but Mel, Courtney and I had never seen it.

It was really cool as we waited for it to start. Of course I couldn’t take any pictures during it… but I did get this one of the set up before it started and you can see some on the Wicked site.  I was amazed at how the entire theater was designed for this one play. When I’ve seen plays before in Columbus, Ohio… they are only there for a few shows, so of course you don’t have anything permanent in the theater like they did for Wicked.

Wicked

The play was amazing!!  I LOVED it and can now understand why Kim was excited to see it again. I’d love to see it again.  It put this whole new perspective on The Wizard of Oz. Of course that was a favorite of mine growing up in the 60′s.  It used to be on TV once a year and was a big deal when it came on.  This left you with such a feel good feeling…. the kind I love to walk out of a theater or show with.

Thank you SO much Courtney for the wonderful surprise and chance to see my first (but not last!) Broadway play!   I am really glad that I this experience and really thankful that Courtney was kind enough to treat me to something so cool.  The four of us had an awesome adventure together.

If you get a chance to go see it… then be sure you do!

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The MegaBus

The Megabus – What an Experience!

Riding the megabus to New York was an experience and thankfully we didn’t have any accidents, like the megabus did in Chicago!

megabus

I undertook the adventure of going with two of my best blogging friends and co-workers to ride the megabus from Pittsburgh, PA to NYC for the Blogher 12 conference.

Why in the World Did we Take the Megabus?

Because the tickets we got were only $10 each way!  Yes.. really!  My round trip bus fare from PA to NYC was $20.50.  lol!   I know I didn’t want to drive  or park in New York City, and airfare was pretty hefty.

I was very concerned about getting sick on the bus, because I suffer from that lovely affection called motion sickness. That pain in the butt thing that keeps me from trying a cruise, doesn’t let me ride in the back seat of a car, and often people try to tell me is only in my head.

Kim has ridden the megabus several times back and forth from NYC… because she LOVES NYC and she is able to sleep the whole way.  Because she was the seasoned megabus pro, I listened to her guidance (not that I didn’t grip about it… right Kim? lol)

We did get to sit in the front, on top.. both ways – so that pretty much solved that problem and I was ok.  You can see Kim @CraftyMamaof4 and Mel @MamaBzz up in the front seats we had.  We made it there at 5:30am so that we were the first in line for our 6:40am bus trip.  Kim and I got on in Pittsburgh and we picked up Mel about 3 hours into our trip in another part of PA.

megabus

I drove to Pittsburgh the day before from my home in Ohio and spent the night at a hotel, since we had such an early bus.

The ride was very bouncy…. especially on the way home. (Different bus… different bounce).  As we were coming into NYC, we hit a bump and the bottom of the bus evidently hit the ground. It was SO loud and scary… everyone on the bus screamed and you just waited for that moment that you knew the bus was going to lose control…. or pull over because we had a flat tire.  Neither of those happened and we continued on our way…. a little more frazzled than we had before.
It took 8 hours from PA to get to NYC.  I was not able to sleep at all. Even though we had a little more room in those front seats, I was not able to get comfortable enough to go to sleep.  It was a LONG ride.

It was the funniest/scariest thing.. once we hit New York City, our bus driver turned into a NYC driver! We were laughing & screeching  so hard!  We were sure that we were going to either hit a car or run down people!  Keep in mind the front of the bus is flat and we were looking straight down from the 2nd story of it. Our bus driver was beeping his horn like crazy… and was bound and determined that everyone should get out of his way!

Once we got to NYC…. you should have seen me (so pathetic) trying to lug my big suitcase and heavy backpack from the bus stop to the subway…. down all the stairs… maneuvering through the turn styles (thank you Kim for helping with that) … onto the packed, standing room subway…. then back up all the stairs (one … at…. a…. time…. lol) and to the hotel.  OMG… I was dripping wet with sweat and bright red.  I think it took me about 45 minutes to cool down once we hit the air conditioned lobby of our hotel.  Now granted… if I was in better shape… it would not have been such a sorry sight!

Mel and I were bound and determined we were going to rent a car and drive home, rather than repeat the performance.  It also didn’t help that we had just heard about a deadly megabus crash that  happened in IL on August 2, while we were at Blogher. From one report I heard, the woman who was killed, when the bus blew out a tire and hit a bridge embunkment had been sitting in the top front seats (where we sat).  But we soon learned, after multiple calls that you can not rent a car from a local company and drop it off at another local company going just one way.  I think we could have done from airport to airport, but that wasn’t workable for us. So we finally gave in to the fact that we were going to have to return on the megabus to get home. As I looked for the article on the August 2nd bus crash in IL, I found this article from the Chicago Tribune that there was another accident and a pedestrian was killed by a megabus in Chicago. omg! That is so horrible… and yet, after experiencing our driver in NYC, I can very easily see that happening!

Plus, one of our good friends Beth, @plussizemommy and her family came in the day after we did on the megabus… from Pittsburgh to NYC. They were supposed to get in at 2:30 pm like we did… only their bus kept over heating. It finally broke down 2 1/2 hours out of Pittsburgh and they had to wait inside the hot bus (no air) and did not get to NYC until 11:30 pm that night!!! We felt so terrible for her!!

One of my requirements was that we were going to take a taxi from the hotel to the bus stop (not station .. remember). I paid for it… and it was NO big deal. $9 including the tip. I wish we would have done that one the way to the hotel!

Here we are…. at 5:30 in the morning, waiting on a “not so nice” street, near the Hudson river.. for the megabus. I took this picture and Kim said… “Put that camera away Sandy… we are NOT in a good area and I don’t want someone mugging us for your camera!” oops!

megabus

We were first in line again, and rewarded with the front top seats.  We were praying we didn’t have a tire blow out! The return bus was a little newer, and somewhat nicer… but much more bouncy.  Considering in 2010  there was another megabus accident (one of several in the last couple years) on it’s way to (or from… not sure) NYC.. where the bus driver went under a bridge that was not tall enough… and 4 people were killed in that bus accident….  we were just a little leery when we went under the bridges… and there were bumps.. and the bus would bounce!

We were able to get a few pictures (most of them were blurry because we were literally bouncing that much!) since we were in the “good seats”.  It was a really cloudy, rainy day when we went home.

megabus

Going through the tunnels was a little scary, we just had to remind ourselves that the buses took this route every day…. and we would fit just fine.

megabus

We had a lot of rain on the way home…. and just like the bus driver on the bottom….. we had wind shield wipers on our window too!

megabus

I was SO excited to see the Pittsburgh skyline …. here is my tweet!

megabus

It is an experience that Kim, Mel and I will share….. laugh at and enjoy (now that it’s over)… and one that I don’t foresee ever having again!

 

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Chevy Cruze Eco Review

My Review of the Chevy Cruze Eco while in Florida!

Elise and I were excited to review the Chevy Cruze Eco during our week in Kissimmee, Florida last week.

Chevy Cruze

Of course one of the things we both were wondering was what color it would be.  It was a really nice blue tone.  It was a sharp looking car.  I tend to not look at all the info on cars that I look at because I want to tell you my thoughts on the Chevy Cruze Eco… off the top of my head. So please excuse me if I don’t describe something properly.

I’m not sure what size they consider this car.  To me it is inbetween a compact car and a mid size car.  Larger than what I consider a compact car, but probably not quite large enough to be called a mid size car.

chevy

Chevy Cruze

chevy cruze

The trunk was a decent size.  We were able to fit my mega suitcase, Elise’s medium suitcase and my rolling computer bag.  When we went to Cocoa beach we rented a beach umbrella, beach chair and a boogie board.   We were not able to fit the umbrella, the pole was too long, but it was close.  We were able to fit it in the back seat at an angle. Everything else fit fine.

Now I will admit that as I look at this picture I took, it appears that there is a split seat (that I didn’t realize before). I bet we could have pushed down on at least the smaller section and fit the umbrella much easier.  I didn’t think to take a picture when I had the trunk full, but you can tell we had already gone to the beach… see the sand? lol

chevy

We drove the Chevy Cruze Eco ALL over! We went to Cocoa Beach from Kissimmee twice (an hour & 15 minute drive one way).  We drove to Disney, Universal, Seaworld, Gatorland, out to dinner etc.

The car ran great and I was very thankful for the GPS.  Without looking at the manual (did I say that?) we managed to get it working pretty well. I’ve dealt with other GPS’s that are so confusing that you have to get out that 2 inch thick manual to use it.  It took a little bit of pressing the wrong buttons, and because the GPS is set in just a little bit, you don’t want to have long finger nails to use it.

In the picture it shows 1-4 East and I really think that was the only road that it announced the actual name of the road.  That was my biggest frustration with it, it didn’t announce which road we were going to turn on. It would just say, “Turn right in 500 yards”, “next right”. There were times that I wasn’t sure if a small road before was the “right” turn or not and we took a few incorrect turns.

But it was much more of a help than that frustration, and to be honest, if I had read the manual, I might have found an adjustment for that.

Chevy Cruze GPS

Elise loved the key! It folded in and would pop out like a little knife when you clicked the button.

chevy cruze

I was REALLY thankful for the 32 mile per gallon that we got driving it.  Who doesn’t love that when gas prices are over $3 per gallon!!  It was nice to see the display letting you know what kind of gas milage you are getting at any point.

chevy cruze

There were two cup holders in the center console, there was also enough room for a closed bottle of water or pop (but it would lean, so you couldn’t have it open).  There were no cup holders in the back seat, according to Elise.

chevy cruze

I liked the over all look of the inside of the Chevy Cruze Eco.  It gave you the feel of a much larger, more expensive car.

chevy cruze

chevy cruze

chevy cruze

I’m 5’10″ tall and I had plenty of room in this car.  It drove every nice. I didn’t have any issues at all with all the driving we did all week long.  I was thinking, “Darn, Dave just bought a little truck and isn’t happy with the gas milage with that, too bad I hadn’t reviewed this prior, I would recommend this for him.”.

I don’t know if in the winter with high snow or if there was high water, if it would be a problem or not, but it seemed like there wasn’t a lot of ground clearance.  It just seemed like it sat low.

chevy cruze

If you are looking for a nice size car that gets great gas milage… I would definitely recommend you look into the Chevy Cruze Eco.

Thank you to Chevy Florida for allowing me to drive this car for our week while in Florida.  You can find them on Facebook here. The pictures and opinions are all my own.

 

 

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Ford Explorer Review

The 2012 Ford Explorer

ford explorerDave and I got to take this Ford Explorer beauty on our trip to Corydon, Indiana.   We started off on a Friday late afternoon to drive the 5.5 hour drive to IN.  I wanted to drive (Dave did too.. but I won! lol) and Dave decided to set up the built in GPS.

The first thing we learned was that there is evidently a safety feature set on the GPS. You can not drive and set the GPS at the same time. We had to pull over to set it.  Dave wasn’t too happy about that, thinking that if there is a passenger in the passenger seat it should over ride  it.  But he did think it was easier to set up than the GPS we had on the Lincoln MKT we reviewed.

The ride was great, loved how it drove.  One of the things that I loved on this car was the cruise control.

It has the radar cruise – when you have your speed set, but you are coming up on a car that is going slower than you are.. the cruise automatically slows you down.  So you are not having to constantly manually speed up or slow down. It does it for you.  Love that!!

The interior was a two tone leather and looked sharp.  I think Dave took the kids for a drive in it before I got back from a trip and they all thought it was roomy, and liked it.

There were enough cup holders, and they were large enough for my larger bottle of water.

We had dual air conditioning and satellite radio. It is so nice to have radio that doesn’t come and go when you go out of towns.  Dave really liked listening to the comedy channel.

This is one feature that I REALLY miss in my present car.  I would love to see this be a requirement on all cars some days.  It gives you such a piece of mind to back up and know for sure nothing is behind you.

 We made it to Corydon, Indiana and had a very enjoyable weekend.  Driving a comfortable car made it that much nicer!!

Thank you to the MI Ford Fleet for the use of this Ford Explorer for the week.

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Lincoln MKT

Review of the Lincoln MKT Cross-Over

Lincoln MKTOur family had fun getting to review the Lincoln MKT crossover vehicle. We went on our family vacation around Ohio and to Kentucky.

lincoln MKTI can’t even tell you how many times I heard the kids say, “This is the nicest car I’ve ever been in!”

We first went down to Hocking Hills in Ohio and went on the zipline.

ziplineThen we drove further south and went to Mammoth Caves in KY.

mammoth cavesThe kids loved the sunroof. We didn’t have it opened all the time, but they enjoyed it when we did. We did learn that you do not open it too soon after it has stopped raining! (Yes, we got some drips down on us! lol)

lincoln mktThe car was very comfortable.  It was leather and looked very nice inside.

lincoln mkt

I think it would be perfect for a family of four.  The only real complaint I had was the amount of storage space for packing.  There was no roof rack, so we weren’t able to use our car top carrier.  We put one of the seats down in the back to provide enough space (and we used every bit of it). So the child who had the back seat was a little crowded. But the kids rotated seats.
lincoln mkt

Loved several things:

The dual heat/air controls
The heated and cooling seats!
The Navigation system
The backing up video (loved that and really miss it… such a great safety feature)
The little frig/freezer
The sunroof
The looks of the car (I thought it was sharp)
The little hidden space behind the front console
The steering wheel controls for radio and cruise
The satellite radio
The auto back hatch lift and button just inside the back to close it.

One of the things the kids all wanted to do was to hit the button to make the middle seats go up automatically.  That was a really nice feature

lincoln mkt

After Mammoth Caves we came back into Ohio and went on a three day Roar and Explore package which consisted of staying at Drury Inn and Suites for two nights.

Drury Inn and Suites We also got to enjoy a day at the Columbus Zoo, a day at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) and  would have had a day at Zoombezi Bay if it hadn’t rained.

We had a great time and really enjoyed the Lincoln MKT.

I think overall it might be a little too small for us.  There are seven of us who are home now. Although it is rare anymore for us all to go together in one car, we still want to have the ability to.

It was awesome for our trip with just the triplets.  If we had a luggage rack on top… it would be perfect (oh…and maybe the DVD  players… )then it would be really perfect!

 

The Ford Fleet out of MI asked if I would like to review this car.  We had the car to use for about a week, without cost.  We purchased the gasoline ourselves. The pictures, video and thoughts are my own.

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Dog Harness

Adjusting the Bergan Auto Harness

I got this dog seat belt so that Gizzy can be safe when we go on our trip.  I’ve never used one before….so you can join me as I put this on her for the first time.



Collective Bias sponsored my Holiday Roads adventure.

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e.l.f. Cosmetic Travel Organizer Review

e.l.f. stands for Eyes Lips Face. What is better for the name of a cosmetic company?  There are so many wonderful products that you will have to see, everything from lip glosses for teenagers to organizing travel cosmetic bags.
016The e.l.f. travel cosmetic organizer is perfect for a weekend getaway.  It is a soft washable leatherette. There is a magnetic closure. The size is 9.5″ L x 2″ W x 4.5″ H

017There is a mirror and 4 slots that fit mascara and brushes perfectly.  In the middle is a pouch to hold your bigger items. This is held in with a magnet and will come out if needed.

019On the right is a zipper pocket that has a netting over it.

018This was a great size for packing.  It fit wonderfully into my suitcase. I do have to admit that since I was going to be gone for 5 days I did have to bring another cosmetic case for some bigger items. (Hair spray, suntan lotion). But I really did like this and WILL use it on all my trips I am sure.

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I love this compact. At Blog World Expo I was given this by e.l.f. I thought it would be perfect to share with you. I put the pencil in the picture to show the size. It is a small, PERFECT for TRAVEL or PURSE and has everything you need – all in one.
006See how it pulls out in tiers? The colors are also all really nice. You know how sometimes with compacts they throw in some colors that you would never use? These all look like nice colors that coordinate.  This also comes in 2 bigger sizes…great place to have all your cosmetics in one without all the separate containers etc.

Purchase – You can purchase these online but soon Target is going to be carrying select e.l.f. cosmetics!! (These 2 items will not be available this holiday season at Target store..but you can get them online.) You can  get the this mini makeup collection for $15.00  or you can get one FREE with a purchase if you use the coupon code “LOYAL”

To Win a Cosmetic Organizer AND a compact – Go to E.L.F. cosmetics and tell me what 2 products you would like to see available for sale at Target stores. Then come back here and comment on the 2 items. Be SURE to leave your e-mail address on your entry.

For Extra chances to Win:**Each of these HAS to have a separate comment written please. (I know its a pain, but otherwise you won’t have as many chances if you don’t)

1) Subscribe to my blog with the feeder or by e-mail. 5 extra chances.
2) Blog about this giveaway for 5 extra chances.
3) Follow me on Twitter
4) Follow me on Facebook
5) Follow me on Linked In
6) Fav me on Technorati
7) Stumble Upon me Either add me to your favorites, or write a review.
8) Tweet out this giveaway up to 3 times per day. Write a comment for
each time you do with the link.
9) Add any of my 3 buttons to your sidebar and come back to let me know. Separate
entry for each one you add.

See….lots of ways to enter to win!
This contest will run until 11:59pm est on Tuesday Nov. 3rd, 2009 THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. ANY COMMENTS THAT CAME IN AFTER 11:59PM 11/3/2009 WILL NOT BE COUNTED.

This is open to US mailing addresses only. One person per mailing address only.
You will have 48 hours to reply to my e-mail if you win to be eligible. If I don’t hear back then I will go to the next winner.

Full disclosure policy 
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Space Saver Bags

pre bagThis is a follow up post to the I did just a few days ago pre-conference.  I told you I was scared to use these bags before I went because I was concerned about wrinkles. So I decided to test it on my way home.  So here is a picture of my jacket (the sleeves are crunched per design…not already wrinkled)

2 jacketsI put two jackets into the large Space Saver bag this time instead of three and it rolled much better.  You roll it to get all the air out of it.

wrinkled shirt from space bag (2)This is the jacket once I got home and upacked it from the Space Saver Bag……Hello….I am SO glad that I did not use these on the way to the conference. I would not have been able to wear this.  Here is my shirt that I also packed to come home to see how it would do.  I put this in with 2 other thin shirts into the small bag.

wrinkled shirt from space bagThink you would wear this when you got to location? Not me.  So here are my thoughts on these bags.  I think they might be worth the purchase if you want to use them to compress your dirty laundry on the way home.  If there were items that wrinkling was not a factor or you do not mind steaming clothes once you get there….then they might be worth it to use on the way there.  Otherwise….I can not recommend these to use with your clean clothes going on a trip.

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Space-Saver Bags Review

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I saw these space saving bags that are meant for travel. I have used the others and like them…these do not have to be sucked out by a vacuum. You seal your clothes in and then just roll. The air comes out a valve on the other end.

I am traveling to Blog World Exp and will be there for 5 days. Trying to fit everything into one suitcase can be a challenge.  With the cost involved with just your suitcases….you want to only take one of them.  It is $20 for the first bag and $30 for a 2nd bag..that would be $100 just in luggage round trip. That is crazy!!

006The finished product…..

007The side view.  There are 3 blazers in here.

012Here are my shirts…

013Sucked up shirts.

So here is what I think.  I think these could be a big benefit.  My main concern was if the clothes were going to be wrinkled much worse than they would be from normal packing.  Looking down into the finished sucked up bags….all I could see were these wrinkled looking clothes. It was hard for me to believe that they wouldn’t come out that way. Not that I didn’t want to give a full testing for all of you….but I didn’t want to have completely wrinkled clothes. Maybe…..they don’t wrinkle…but I didn’t want to be walking around BWE in terrible looking clothes and have to say…ooops….

So I didn’t use them other than on my jeans.  Those did not roll very well either.  I did pack the empty bags in my suitcase because I think they will be awesome to put my dirty clothes in to come home.

The gold sweater already had some wrinkles after just 5 minutes in the bag.  The other issue I had was that I roll as many of my clothes as I can to fit down in the sides…with these I couldn’t roll as much.

But I do think these could be of good use in several cases.  So I am not giving these a bad review…but I think you have to just be careful with what you use them with.

Full disclosure – I purchased these myself at Meijers for $14.99 (2 small and 2 large bags).  I was not asked to review…just thought I would let you know.

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Ford Invited Bloggers to the Columbus Auto Show


I was among 7 bloggers who were invited to the Columbus Auto Show to see their new cars and be educated about them. My invite came from Christina whom I would like to thank for thinking of me. You can read my post on my review site Organize with Sandy Reviews.
Please also visit the blogs of the other 6 attendees.

1) Christina – A Mommy Story
2)Ellen – Thrifty Chic Mom
3)Lisa – Condo Blues
4)Cheryl – Being Cheryl
5)Dan – Dan On It
6)Tara – Deal Seeking Mom
Ellen is on the left and Christina on right


From left: Lisa, Cheryl, Dan and Tara


Then onto the Hyatt for a lovely lunch.


Click on my Review button to read my full review on Ford.

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