Bella Vida by Letty

road trip

Best Gift Ideas for Travelers a Gift Guide

Shopping for the holidays can be extremely overwhelming. Here is a thoughtfully curated holiday gift guide for all of the travel lovers in your life.

cases-collage

Travel cases and accessory organizers are a must for trips.  Packing organizers allow you to fit more into your bag and stay organized when traveling.  You can fit more into your bag and your belongings are better protected. Minimize and organize with these travel packing aids.

Travel Gear Electronics Accessories Organizer 

2 in 1 Trunk Organizer & Cooler Set

Makeup Artist Clear PVC Set Bag

Travel Black Leather Jewelry Box Lockable 

Lingerie Travel Bag

maps-collage

Prints, posters and canvas Maps of their favorite places.  Art just makes you feel good especially pieces with a strong connection to good memories.  There is an aesthetic emotional response to art and it is the qualities in an object that evoke this emotion.  

Massimo Vignelli New York Subway Map

 

Chicago Railroad Blueprint Map

Monuments of Paris Map

Central London Neighborhoods Map

Washington DC Street Map

Old Map Art

glasses-collage

I drink coffee and tea everyday.  I cannot have to many because they end up broken or missing.   A cool cup, mug or glass is a great reminder of good times.

Washington DC Subway lines Map mug 

Wine Glass Washington DC State Runner

Starbucks Chicago Dot Collection 2015 Ceramic Double Wall Traveler Tumbler 

Boston Sport Water Bottle

Paris coffee mug

French Lilacs Ceramic Travel Mug 

games-collageThere are many benefits to playing boardgames such as; spending time with family and friends. Engaging in activities that do not involve staring at a computer screen or a smartphone. Exercise your brain by learning something new.Improve your memory by keeping track of what is happening in the game.  Revive your creativity and problem solving skills.  And mostly just having fun.  Here are some cool fun games for the travel lovers in your life.

Monopoly Here and Now World

Scrabble 3D World Edition

Talicor Where In The World

Brainbox All Around The World

Passport To Culture

Sequence States and Capitals

Map of the World Jigsaw Puzzle

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Florida Road Trip in the Chevy Suburban 2016

s6 Collage

This summer has been a blast.  I love when my family comes down to visit and I get to show them some of the places I love and share what makes Florida so special.  Some of our stops you will recognize as popular and others are gems that are off the beaten path.  The Chevy Suburban comfortably accommodated seven passengers as we explored some of the fun unique places Florida has to offer.  With our extended family in tow, cooler with water, picnic and beach supplies in the trunk, we caught up while we hit the road.  We didn’t have to split up.  We were able to enjoy each others company the entire trip.  The Suburban is perfect for large families.

Florida is a state where it is warm year round.   If you are not used to the heat, summers can be uncomfortable.  One of my favorite features of the Suburban are cooled seats.  Not only are the driver and front passenger seats cooled but so are the second row seats.  Another feature that saved us from the blaring heat is the fact each person can adjust the air conditioning to their liking.  I know some of my family members disagree on how cold it should be.  With the ability for each person to adjust the a/c to their liking made everyone happy and we were able to cool off much quicker than other vehicles.

South Florida

Florida makes is fun and easy to plan road trips.  There are wonderful highways that will take you all across the state.  When you are in Miami be prepared for traffic.  Especially on the weekends.  The first place I wanted to share with my family was the art district of Wynwood Walls in midtown Miami.  This entire place is a canvas for artists.  Everywhere you look you will find images and secret messages.  It is a very special place with a vibe you will not find anywhere else in the world.  I come away inspired every time I visit.  My family was blown away.

The Suburban drives so smoothly and the rearview camera with image outline made parking a breeze.  If you get nervous driving in traffic the Suburban has many safety features to put you at ease; the forward collision alert, the lane keep assist, lance changer alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, rear vision camera and tire pressure monitor system.  You and your family can enjoy yourselves without worry.

s4 Collage

Beaches

Florida has no scarcity of beautiful beaches.  Take your pick from North to South and East or West coast.  There are beaches to be on the look out for celebrities like South Beach, or spend some quiet family time on the Hollywood Broadwalk or enjoy more quiet beaches where the locals hang out.  We love to picnic at the beach on weekends.

s5 Collage

Florida Springs

An off the beaten road trip you might not know about would be visiting a Florida Spring.   There are many beautiful, clean, clear water Springs throughout central and north Florida.  I chose to visit Wekiwa Springs in central Florida.  Only a 40 minute drive from Orlando it was the best way to cool off after visiting packed theme parks.  For only $6.00 per car we spent the entire day canoeing, picnicking and swimming.

s2 Collage

Everglades

Every time friends and family visit I make sure to take them to experience an Everglades sunset.  No where else in the world will you get a spectacular view like this.  As the sun begins to go down you’ll probably see a gator or five.  Hundreds of thousands of birds flock to the flora for a safe nights rest.  The adventurous will get on boat rides to explore the Everglades, the river of grass.  The night I drove my family to see an Everglades sunset we bumped into a group of people going bow fishing.  That’s were you use a bow and arrow to catch your fish.  I’m always come away learning something new on every road trip.

s1 Collage

So here are my must do and see when visiting Florida:

Experience art like you’ve never experienced art before at Wynwood Walls in midtown Miami.

Splash and play on one of many Florida’s clean soft sand beaches.

Cool off at one of Florida’s most beautiful natural wonders, the springs.

And finally try not to leave without viewing an Everglades sunset.  Beware and stay away from the gators.

Have you experienced a Florida sunset?

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How to Start a Travel Inspiration Journal

How to Create a Travel Inspiration Journal

How to Start a Travel Inspiration Journal

An inspiration journal is central place where you can jot down ideas and other things that will inspire you to achieve your goals. It can help you get started, unstuck, or maybe lead you into a completely different direction but mainly motivates you into action.

You can create an entire journal of strictly inspiration or like me have a combination of places I’ve enjoyed and would love to revisit along with bucket lists of things I’d like to do and places I’d like to see.

When we travel the experience is usually over far too quickly. By journaling we get to explore how we felt about the places we went to and the activities we participated in. We get to know ourselves better by clarifying our thoughts.

Journals also serve as records. We can record our progress or expound on the places we’ve been. Sometimes it’s helpful to look back so we can realize all that we’ve accomplished.

 

These books will get your creativity started.
An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers

travel journal

When we travel, we don’t want to follow the same itinerary as everyone who’s come before us. We want to feel like explorers, adventurers in undiscovered territory. And that’s exactly what sketching can bring to the travel experience.

The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World

travel sketching

The book, Art of Urban Sketching by Gariel Campanario, takes you around the world by showing you the stylings of urban sketchers spanning every continent and into 30 countries. Filled with more than 500 full colored illustrations drawn on location by artists within their own cities, you will hear their stories while learning expert tips and ideas for tools to use for sketching, as well as how to participate through social networking and online activity.

An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers

travel journal

An artist’s journal is packed with sketches and captions; some rough, some polished. The margins sometimes spill over with hurriedly scrawled shopping lists and phone numbers. The cover may be travel-worn and the pages warped from watercolors. Open the book, and raw creativity seeps from each color and line. The intimacy and freedom on its pages are almost like being inside the artist’s mind: You get a direct window into risks, lessons, mistakes, and dreams.

A World of Artist Journal Pages: 1000+ Artworks – 230 Artists – 30 Countries

travel journal

By nature, art journaling is a private activity. But when Dawn Sokol’s first book, 1000 Artist Journal Pages, broke the fourth wall and shared the work of artists all over North America and parts of Europe, it created a ripple of inspiration throughout the art journaling community. In this much-anticipated follow-up, Sokol features more than 1,000 new, captivating pages, this time—by popular demand—from artists across the globe. Lists of techniques and materials used for each page, plus behind-the-scenes interviews, give readers a glimpse inside the minds of new and established artists, making this a stimulating compilation sure to inspire beginners and seasoned art journalers alike.
Books for  traveling writing inspiration.

Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler (Travelers’ Tales)

travel writing

Two major trends have recently swept the travel world: the first, an overwhelming desire (thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller, Eat, Pray, Love) to write one’s own memoir; the second, an explosion of social media, blogs, twitter and texts, which allow travelers to document and share their experiences instantaneously. Thus, the act of chronicling one’s journey has never been more popular, nor the urge stronger.

Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler, will inspire budding memoirists and jetsetting scribes alike. But Writing Away doesn’t stop there—author Lavinia Spalding spins the romantic tradition of keeping a travelogue into a modern, witty adventure in awareness, introducing the traditional handwritten journal as a profoundly valuable tool for self-discovery, artistic expression, and spiritual growth.

Writing Away teaches you to embrace mishaps in order to enrich your travel experience, recognize in advance what you want to remember, tap into all your senses, and connect with the physical world in an increasingly technological age. It helps you overcome writer’s block and procrastination; tackle the discipline, routine, structure, and momentum that are crucial to the creative process; and it demonstrates how traveling—while keeping a journal along the way—is the world’s most valuable writing exercise.

Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!)

travel writing

Most travel diaries fizzle. By day six of a big trip, people are struggling to recall what happened on days three, four, and five. They return home with mostly empty journals, or bland writing that fails to capture the full spirit of their journeys. Award-winning travel humorist Dave Fox comes to the rescue in this book that’s both informative and irreverently funny. You’ll learn to: Bring destinations to life with bold details.Splash those details quickly onto your pages so journaling doesn’t gobble up your precious vacation time.Elude your Inner Censor and write with confidence.Weave together your outer and inner journeys, using unfamiliar places as a backdrop for self-discovery.

Dave shares his favorite journaling techniques, shows how to find time to write in the middle of an exciting trip, and infuses it all with a generous dose of his off-the-wall humor. Whether your journeys are weekend road trips or excursions around the world, this book will help transform you into a travel journaling superhero!

 

Once you’ve found some inspiration to get you started choose the type of sketchbook, binder or journal you would like to use.

journals binders

Carolina Pad Studio C Zip-it Notebook with Zipper Pouch Cover 

Pocket Leather Journal with Owl Handmade Blank Craft Paper Brown  with Gift Box 

or binder

Kate’s Paperie Binder with Set of 3 Journals, The Art of Travel 

Genuine Leather Journal Notebook Refillable with Cool Lock 6-ring Loose Leaf Binder

UniKeep Travel Binder – Ocean

I’m inspired by colors, textures, mixed media, positive quotes, photos, places, travel, sewing, fashion,jewelry, music, art, painting, movies, stories . . .

travel journal entry ideas

Ideas to get you going.

Top ten list
Bucket list
Favorite travel quotes
Favorite places
Start with a map
Start with a ticket stub
Start with a postcard
Cut out magazine photos
Start with a photo you took
Favorite thing you ate
Describe the smells
Describe the texture
Describe the taste
Most exciting
Least exciting
I’ll never do that again

 

Do you have a travel inspiration journal?

 

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Road Trip Emergency Essentials Checklist

Get ready for your next trip with this list of road trip emergency  essentials.

Road Trip Emergency Essentials Checklist

Taking road trips is one of the most common ways to vacation.  It’s more affordable and a great way to explore new places, relax and have some fun making new memories.  Make sure your car is ready to go with this checklist.

1. Spare tire
2. Tire jack
3. Tire iron
4. Tire inflator and sealer
5. Jumper cables
6. Your car’s manual
7. Car emergency kit
8. Tire pressure gauge
9. Duct tape
10. WD-40
11. First aid kit
12. Flashlight
13. Multi-tool
14. Matches or other fire starter
15. Energy bars
16. Water bottles
17. Weather radio
18. Seat belt cutter
19. Window breaker
20. Flares
21. Maps / Atlas
22. Ice scraper
23. Mylar space blanket
24. Paper towels
25. Tissues
26. Toilet paper
27. Wet wipes
28. Pencil and paper
29. Umbrella
30. Spare change/emergency money
31. Blanket
32. Change of clothes
33. USB mobile device charger

 

Are you prepared for your next road trip?

Do you have any suggestions to add?

 

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Travel Tips Round Up From Flying to Packing and More

I’m going through my travel tips articles getting ready to start planning my summer vacation.  I enjoy researching new places and going on new adventures.  Sometimes planning can be fun but sometimes it can be tedious since there are so many things to do before we get to leave and have fun.  Here’s my round up of travel tips articles to help you out.

 


 

Long List of Things to do Before You Leave on Your Trip

There are lots of details to be wrapped up before leaving on your next trip.  Here’s a long list you can use to check things off and not worry you’ve missed something.

What You Need to Know Before Flying

We do a lot of road tripping and sometimes we fly out to do even more road tripping.  Here are some tips to get you ready for your flight.

inside my carry on bag

Packing is actually fun for me.  I enjoy finding all the perfect little items that will make me and my family feel comfortable during our commute.  Here’s what I have inside my carry on.

9 Best Ways to Prepare Your Cell Phone Before Traveling

I never leave the house without my phone.  These tips will help when you’re out on the road.

 

World's Most Helpful Types of Travel Apps

Continuing on the phone theme here are some very useful travel apps.

 

Where will you be vacationing this summer?

 

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Roadtrip to Plimoth Plantation

Pilgrim Village Collage

Last summer I took an amazing road trip through the state of Massachusetts and one of the towns I visited was the famous historical town of Plymouth where the Mayflower landed and the first pilgrims settled. Plymouth is a small coastal town and it’s super easy to get around. Everything is close by and lovely views of the waterfront can be enjoyed from just about everywhere.

When visiting Plymouth a great way to spend the day is a visit to Plimoth Plantation. Located on several acres near the waterfront it’s a living indoor-outdoor museum. It’s the recreation of a 17th century Wampanoag village and Pilgrim settlement. The place is huge and with self-guided tours you can walk as little or as much as you like. We spent an entire fun filled morning and could easily have spent the day.

The place is large with a visitor’s center, cinema, gift shop, craft center and tons of grounds to cover. If you like strolling among lush green vegetation you’ll love exploring the paths, which take you to an authentic Wampanoag village and Pilgrim settlement.

Pilgrim Village

 

The attraction does a good job of demonstrating how life was for these two settlements and how important it was for their survival that they find a way to live and work together.  The staff is dresses, live, speak and act as the citizens and Native Americans did during that period. Wonderful structures have been recreated to take you back in time. They encourage you to interact and ask tons of questions. I was very impressed with their knowledge and the stories they shared. It was very entertaining.

I started through the bright green paths leading to the Wampanoag village where there was lots going on. There were people tending to the crops, women cooking, children playing and men building. I stopped at a lovely display of indigenous toys from that era. There were huts you could enter to see how it was built and another large one where I sat and listened to what life was like. At every station you are free to ask any questions.

Settlement Collage

After the village a beautiful path winding up the hillside leads you to the Pilgrim settlement. That was my favorite path. You have beautiful views of the Eel River and even a nice view of the Pilgrim Sands on Long Beach where I stayed. As the paths turn you can even see the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Pilgrim Village has many structures to explore. The staff dressed in period costumes attending the crops and animals as they did in the 17th century.

Settlement

If you go Tips

–  The earlier you go the better parking you will get.

–  Wear comfortable walking shoes.

–  Bring sunblock and water.

–  Ask lots of questions.  The more you interact the more fun you’ll have.

 

 Have you been to Plymouth?  What did you do during your visit?

 

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Taking a Road Trip in the New 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe #Spons

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

This summer in mid July I took a road trip all around the state of Massachusetts.  It was a really fun first visit to the state.  I have so many wonderful memories from this trip.  I was able to drive to a different town on each day of the trip.  I felt safe and happy especially on the first day.  Summer means rain and we were lucky to have just one day of rain and boy did it pour.  At times there was barely visibility.  I knew we would be safe in the Chevrolet Tahoe because it is high above the ground meaning we would have no problem getting through the puddles that sometimes accumulate on old back roads.  I felt at ease driving through the bad weather with my family in the car because of the many safety features.

Onstar directions and automatic response.

Forward collision alert.

Side blind zone alert.  This is one of my favorite features for sure.  An orange light would appear in the sideview mirror whenever a car or truck was anywhere near.

Tire pressure monitor.

Lane departure and safety seat alert.  Yes the seat would vibrate to alert me.

Front fog lamps.

Rain sensing windshield wipers.

20 inch polished aluminum wheels.

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

Since it was my first time visiting Massachusetts I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as the driving terrain.  It turned out to be mountainous and hilly.   While exploring the Cape we stopped in quaint little towns and villages.  One of the things I wanted to do was climb the Scarborough tower for the view.  Getting up there was tricky but luckily the Tahoe has a built in GPS system which has different displays of the map and even the weather.  I felt powerful driving up the steep bends behind the wheel of this V8 engine with four by four wheel drive.  The scenery was quite beautiful.  Even with the gray sky there was so much lush green flora, large leafy trees and lovely manicured gardens.

 

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

 

  “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

The weather improved and we drove on highways, up hills, down mountains, through quaint small towns, past the shore, above the trees, through the mountains, over bridges in the rain and the sunshine, in the city, in traffic, on the turnpike, on state roads, on paved roads and brick roads, through puddles, over potholes and dirt roads.

I drove from Boston to Cape Cod to Plymouth to Boston to Springfield to Salem and Boston again.  Another reason I would recommend driving a Chevrolet Tahoe on your next road trip is how fuel efficient it is.  I drove to a new town every single day and barely had to stop for gas.  On extended trips on the highway I was able to use the adaptive cruise control which allowed me to set the speed and distance.   I enjoy driving with the sunroof open to let the sun shine on me and to gaze at the stars at night.  I have wonderful memories of my family oohing and awing at the site of a clear starry night.  It was an amazing feeling.  It was humbling and made me feel connected to the universe.

 

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

The Chevrolet Tahoe has many features to keep you comfortable on your next road trip.  It’s one of the most comfortable cars I’ve ever driven.  Everything can be adjusted to your liking.  The seats are big and soft and have both cooling and heating, a feature I discovered while driving the 2014 Chevrolet Impala on a road trip from South Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana.   The entertainment system kept us entertained on particularly long drives or if when we were stuck in traffic.  XM Radio has a channel for every taste.  The rear seat entertainment center even comes with headphones.

 

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

 I value experiences more than material things.  I prefer driving while vacationing because it makes me feel connected to the places I visit and the people around me.   I can stop if I see something curious or take a photo of an amazing view.  I get to hang out and crack jokes with friends, family and new acquaintances.  I get to hear stories and tips from the locals.  I’ve been welcomed into many places on this trip.  I’ve explored, discovered and grown.  I get to re live them each time I edit a photo or write a new paragraph.

What are some of your wonderful vacation memories of your family road trips?

 

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Having a Sandwich in Sandwich MA

One of the places I was curious to explore in Massachusetts is Cape Cod.  Shaped like an arm, Cape Cod is actually made of up of many quaint villages and towns.  During my research I discovered one little town in particular which peaked my curiosity on the Cape named Sandwich.  If you know me well, you know I could live off sandwiches.  I probably eat at least one a day.  So when I found out about this town named Sandwich it became my goal to eat a sandwich in Sandwich.

Sandwich MA

It was a gray rainy day when we landed at BOS sometime around noon but nothing was going to deter me from road tripping in Massachusetts.  After picking up my Chevy Tahoe we headed south toward Cape Cod taking I-93 South and MA-3 to the Mid Cape connector in Bourne.  Although it was raining all I could see was an abundance of lush green trees, bushes and flora enveloping the long stretches of concrete highway.  At times there were large rocks and boulders revealing its mountainous terrain.  It was really coming down hard by the time we reached the bridge entering Cape Cod which was covered in plastic as it was being repaired.

Thankfully by the time we reached Sandwich although the sky remained gray there was barely a sprinkle of rain in the oldest town on the Cape.  Sandwich is named for the town of Sandwich Kent in England.  Now you know what I’m thinking?  Yep new goal.

We parked at Sandwich Village which is the historical part of town.  Beautiful cottage and Victorian homes have been converted to hotels, restaurants and shops.  There are souvenir and antique shops displaying funky wares.   Sandwich is a charming town and very pretty.  Large houses with knotty pine paneling remind me of an old movie.  Victorian houses are the color of ice cream.  Large cottages abound with some of the loveliest manicured gardens I’ve ever seen blooming with color.

a sandwich in Sandwich MA

Every year the town celebrates SandwichFest, a street fair featuring the Best Sandwich in Sandwich competition.  Wanting to taste an award winning sandwich in Sandwich I headed to last year’s winner, Beth’s Bakery and Cafe.  The place looks like a converted cottage home with a welcoming front porch.  If not for the weather I would’ve enjoyed watching the street go by.  The interior is warm, cozy sweet smelling bakery.  Large enough for many tables the place was half full even on this midweek rainy day.  The display cabinet was packed full of yummy looking freshly baked deserts, cakes and pastries.

I tried their grilled cheese sandwich and the Vermouth made with turkey, bacon, sliced apple and cheddar.  Each came in a cute basket with Cape Cod chips and a pickle and were very good.  It’s the first time I had a slice of apple in my sandwich.  The sweetness of the green apple went perfectly with the bacon.  I also tried the award winning smoked salmon and pear on white and it was also very delicious.

a sandwich in Sandwich MA

Sandwich is such a cute town with many historic things to see.  Before we left we made a quick stop at Hoxie House which is believed to be one of the oldest houses on Cape Cod.  The brown saltbox house sits on a gorgeous bluff overlooking Shawme Pond.  It’s colonial style of architecture really stands out.  Take a tour to see what life was like for settlers of this area.

Sandwich MA

There’s plenty to do and see.  My time was limited but here’s a short list of other things to do:  Visit the other sandwich award winning restaurant, Cafe Chew.  Stop by the glass museum which is the industry that saved the town way back when.  Stroll the Heritage Gardens and Museum, Visit Dexter Grist Mill and take a walk down the boardwalk to see the marsh and beach area.

Have you eaten a sandwich in Sandwich, MA?

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Photo of the Week: The Gorgeous Wood Sculptures of Paul Baliker

wood sculpture

Life is an adventure and you never really know what’s coming around the next corner.  This is what I saw as we drove down Old A1A.  An interesting wooden sculpture of an old man with a long beard carved from wood.  It was a sight so spectacular we had to turned around and get a better look.  I thought it was amazing and wondered who would take the time to create something so wonderful and so detailed.

It turned out to be an art gallery, however, since it was a holiday the place was closed.  We were able to see some cool sculptures in the front yard of the building.  I learned online that Paul Baliker has sculpting wood and bronze for over 35 years out of his studio in Hammock, Palm Coast Florida.  His passion for nature has inspired pieces which bring attention to the environment.

The wood sculptures are large and made of natural materials.  You must walk around each piece to discover some new detail and look again for more things you might not have seen the first time.  The pieces are not only beautiful but thought provoking.  A reminder that we are caretakers of this planet and it is our shared responsibility to keep it safe and clean for future generations.

sculpture 3

 

sculpture 4

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“You are the masterpiece of your own life. You are the Michelangelo of your own life. The David you are sculpturing is you.”  Rhonda Byrne

 “What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.” Joseph Addison

“Art-making is not about telling the truth but making the truth felt.”  Christian Boltanski

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My Summer Crush the 2014 Chevrolet Impala

I’ve never been one to place importance on material objects but here I am with a major crush. Before the sun set on the first day I was already head over heels.  Even though I was on the verge of feeling such strong emotions I would never give my heart over so easily.  This love would have to be put to the test.

Last month during the conference for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists I was the lucky winner of a weeklong complimentary loan for a brand new  2014 Chevrolet Impala.  While my uncle’s have owned vintage Impalas in Chicago and my grandfather a Nova in Puerto Rico, I myself have never owned this brand.  And as a person who goes on road trips almost every weekend I was very happy with my current auto.  This would be a treat, an adventure into new territory and I was all in.

2014 Chevrolet Impala road trip

A beautiful shiny 2014 Chevrolet Impala with a full tank of gas was delivered promptly to my doorstep.  It was a sharp looking dark blue metallic that sparkled when the light hit a certain way.  The interior was a sexy sleek tan and black leather.  They were not playing around.  This hot ride came fully loaded: power sunroof with second skylight, On Star Service, XM radio, 20 inch tires and rear vision camera to name a few perks.  Growing up I never fell for the pretty boy, I fell for the strong guy who walked the talk.  So while this great looking car had my attention, before I gave any props it would have to be put through the test.  I couldn’t think of any better test than going on one of my famous road trips.  I haven’t even shared my posts about my road trip to New Orleans, Louisiana yet but here I am gushing over my crush.

The first thing I was going to criticize were the leather seats.  I live in South Florida between the Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades swamps where humidity reigns supreme.  The average temperature in August is 95 degrees and any prolonged period in the sun makes it even hotter .  Hello! Do I have your attention?  You are going either flip or become extremely jealous when I tell you what special accessory the 2014 Impala had.  The car comes with seat fans.  Yes, you read that correctly, fans to cool off the front seats!  This car has me feeling so flirty that I would actually kiss the inventor of this most ingenious accessory.

Okay, the car looked really good and came with a great set of options to make me feel pampered but now it was time to put it to the real test and hit the road.  The first expense one considers when putting together a road trip is the price of gas, especially in this fluctuating, barely rebounding economy.  We hit up local cities and ran into rush hour traffic but we didn’t fully realize how fuel efficient this vehicle was until we got on the turnpike.  Heading north we didn’t have to refuel until Orlando and even then it was only half a tank.  I don’t know about you but I’m on a budget and saving any amount of money really counts for something.  I’d certainly rather spend it on fun than bills and gas.  The manufacturer state’s 22 city miles per gallon and 29 highway.  Loving that!

Now second to saving money comes comfort.  My fellow road warriors know how uncomfortable long drives can be.  We drove fifteen hours to New Orleans and back making lots of pit stops.  It was a smooth comfortable ride.  I did not feel every pebble or bump in the road.  The leather seats were very cushy and I even took a nap in the back row.  I enjoyed driving for hours at a time while blasting my favorite XM Radio music stations over the sweet Bose surround sound system.

Another feature I appreciated was the blind zone alerts in the side view mirrors especially while traveling at night for long stretches of unlit highways.  It was a special treat while driving through these dark roads to peer out the sunroof and skylight to view an immense amount of stars and witness the Leonid meteor shower.  It was a magical sight that made my heart leap for joy.  I felt so close to nature and connected to the universe.   That’s what I call living a Bella Vida.

2014 Chevrolet Impala Road trip

It was a very sad day when the 2014 Chevrolet Impala was picked up but I am very happy about the experience.  Thanks for the memories!   I hope to experience it again sometime.

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