Legion of Honor, Cycling in Santa Cruz, & Rich Hills of Saratoga

Header-Kia-SorentoUsually when I have a vehicle for review, I often take it to different places I’ve never been before, and simply go out and explore.

Alfie-SelfieI’m ready. Alfie’s ready. We’re off to explore!


Saratoga-SorentoLike always, the first day that I had it, I went exploring the rich homes in the hills of Saratoga with Alfie (see my video) to take some photos of it while it was still sparkly and shiny. A few days after that I packed up my specialized bike in the Sorento and drove to Santa Cruz to bike around for the day, solo. It was grand!

Cycle-gearMy little Mazda (I’m so proud of it. It’s my first car and I paid it off in no time because of my hatred for being in debt), but for the past year or so it’s been giving us troubles. Not enough to sell it or to let it go, but enough to where my husband doesn’t want me driving it such long distances, in case anything happens. Like, the suspension busting off on a highway or something. Joking!!!

Bike-Start-Bike-FinishIt’s been a while since I trekked down to Santa Cruz. Not a far drive, but a curvy one down Highway 9, so I like to go super early to beat any traffic. I went solo this time because I wanted to park the crossover, and go cycling a bit down there.


Bike-routeYou know, have a bit of “me time” even though I’m constantly exploring independently on my own, it’s still fun to dedicate a morning or a day to it, ya hear me?


Kia-Sorento-trunkSo, I didn’t bring Alfie. He missed out on this adventure, but I’m sure soon enough he’ll be in the passenger seat going down the road with me, with his smiling face like this one.

Alfie-SorentoWhen I think of Kia vehicles, I honestly don’t think anything but an affordable, and not-super luxurious. But ba-bam, it may look boring from the outside but it’s all bells and whistles on the inside. The last time I was in a Kia was probably the late 90’s! This Sorento was fully-loaded and I have to tell you, it’s really impressive and I”m surprised to say that myself. This Sorento with all the bells and whistles MRSPs at $46,495.00.

Front-Camera-Kia-SorentoThe things that impressed me regarding the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL V6 AWD:

  • a SEVEN seater
  • huge ol’ moonroof on ‘er
  • the trunk opens up on its own when you stand next to it!! (ie: with a cart full of groceries)
  • that front view mirror when you’re in drive going < 5mph
  • heated steering wheel, cooling seats, heated seats
  • dual temp control

Like, seriously if you’re not into brand names of cars, you’ll definitely get a lot for your money with this one. I can tell you one thing, that I cannot believe I’m saying this, but it’s honestly one of the fanciest cars I’ve ever driven. The interior could’ve easily fooled me for a Lexus. It’s super nice and fancy inside. And while I’ve said in the past, I’m not a car reviewer by any means (I know little about vehicles if we’re being honest). It’s a bit difficult to drive given the fact it feels like a monster truck from the inside (and from the outside it simply looks like a 5 seater regular sized crossover/suv/truck. It definitely helps that the Kia Sorento has an overhead view when you’re in drive to see where you’re going if you want to fit into a parking space, or making a tight turn. The moonroof is just gorgeous and I had it open every single time I went for a drive.

LegionOfHonorSo enough about the car! Let’s talk about more fun adventures Mr. Spiffykerms and I did this weekend.

The-ThinkerWe checked out the Legion of Honor museum for the first time, and saw a ton of Rodin bronze sculptures (the Thinker!!), some van Gogh, and even Monet was on display there.

Selfie-and-The-ThinkerSelfie time with Thinker! Lol. Do you like my lightweight sweatshirt? I love it, it’s from Chaser!

Legion-of-HonorThe building itself is absolutely stunning.

Cali-sweaterI could have easily stayed here most of the day and just sit outside to people watch in this gigantic entryway. Have you been there? I can’t believe how gorgeous it is.

Delores-Park-SanFranI’m not sure my husband had ever been to Dolores Park in San Francisco before, so after the Legion of Honor museum, I drove us over there but first with a quick stop to one of my acai bowl places for a snack. It’s packed on the weekends in the park! Guess that’s city life for you.

Alfie-ignoringWell that’s it folks, a lot of fun touring around last week. And I’ll leave you with one last photo to show you that Alfie doesn’t always cooperate with me taking photos. He’s clearly ignoring me here, ha!

Thanks to Kia for letting me 2016 Kia Sorento SXL V6 AWD for a week which led me to all these adventures!

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Exploring new cities + Toyota Rav 4

2015 Toyota Rav 4I’m pretty independent when it comes to exploring around our new home, here in California. Often times I go out on weekly excursions with Alfie and check out new-to-us places considering a lot of the areas around here are dog friendly, and he’s just as happy to join along.

I mean, look at that smile. Alfie in 2015 Toyota Rav 4

Exploring around California has been put on hold for close to two months. If we’re getting honest here, the hives had put me in a negative self-concious mood and I wouldn’t dare step outside of the house if my face was swollen, or my hives were popping up. I felt down, and generally just pissed off at the fact I couldn’t pinpoint what I am “allergic” to. Some of my blood results have come back and shows no signs of allergies there. Waiting on a few more.

So, I assume I just have chronic hives out of the blue. Luckily I can tame them for the most part during the day time with over the counter allergy pills, which can often cause me to feel drowsy.

However, for the most part they work well, and I’ve been ITCHING (ha, no pun intended) to get out on the road and explore more, when I’m feeling up to it (and not drowsy!).

Alfie and I went back to the little town of Saratoga (see our previous two trips to Saratoga here, and here) to explore and just wander around, window shopping especially since I had the Toyota Rav 4 for a week. Although, many parts of California is dog friendly, including Saratoga Village, we didn’t go inside any stores. But I did end up filming a bit when I was there! Check it out on my YouTube channel.

2015 Toyota Rav 4

2015 Toyota Rav 4 dashboard

I’m pretty sure I’m going to be one of those women whose next car is going to be a little higher up. It might sound silly, but I feel safe when I’m higher up in a vehicle. Like I won’t get sucked into an 18 wheeler on the highway. My mind is wild.

2015 Toyota Rav 4 XM RadioAny time I get a car to review and they have XM radio available, I automatically tune into channel 53 Chill. It’s basically the perfect driving music, although sometimes my husband says it’s often too relaxing. But I’m totally diggin’ it you guys.

ToyotaRav4-4picsI was in the limited edition, all wheel drive model. So given that, it was a great drive, with all the features. The seating was the most comfortable I’ve had in the last few cars I’ve driven — love the cushiony feel to a drivers seat, rather than stiff — the car I own has stiff seats, leaving your butt numb if you’re driving for a few hours on end.

2015 Toyota Rav 4What I did notice though, is although a comfortable ride overall, the suspension in the 2015 Toyota Rav 4 was stiff, and quite noticeable to me, especially going slowly over speed bumps in parking lots. Oof!

Looking at the Rav 4, it’s a 4 cylinder car, and the steering is nice as it’s easy to drive. It’s not sporty at all like my car but remember, it’s not supposed to have that sporty feeling.

Rav-4-wheelThe cabin itself felt a lot larger than other SUV’s I’ve sat in, but parking it was no issue, especially with that helpful backup mirror. It looks really good inside, and imagine it in beige leather — hooboy. See the buttons near the center console? Those are some heated seats for warming up my toosh. Oh man, so nice – and yes I definitely use heated seats in the fall and winter time here in California, as crazy as that sounds! I think my favourite feature on any new car has to be the dual control for both front seat passengers.

2015-Toyota-Rav-4There’s a button you can press on the side of the steering wheel for extra traction, say if you are going from pavement to grass (which is something my husband and I often do when we go to many of his triathlons) so your wheels don’t slip and slide all over the place.

I know the Rav 4 is a popular model of vehicle, so I’d be interested in hearing how many of my readers have bought one of these?

Also don’t forget to check out my video I filmed of the inside of the Toyota, and visiting Saratoga!



There are more inexpensive versions of this 2015 Toyota Rav 4, however this limited edition version sells for $33,600. More information on Toyota.com.

Disclaimer: The 2015 Toyota Rav 4 Limited Edition was loaned to me for a week to review. All opinions are my own

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Explore California: Fremont Older Open Space Preserve


Prepare yourself folks, this twelfth edition of  POM Friday is going to be photo heavy today.

I’ve been meaning to check out Fremont Older Open Space Preserve for a while, and finally I decided to drive there with Alfie earlier this week. If I was more technical savvy, I’d insert the Instagram video I took of Alfie on the hike, with some beauty views. But you can see that on my instagram feed :)

We only went for a quick jaunt which was a 3km round trip, but I’d love to come back on a weekend with my husband and Alfie again as there were many trails to explore. I just didn’t want to get lost. Trust me, it happens.

Side note if you do take your dogs, note that they do not have garbage cans on site. Of course Alfie decided to take the biggest stinker of his life moments before we got on the trail and stupid me bagged it up AND PUT IT IN MY CAR. You know darn well on the drive home all windows and sunroof was cranked open. Next time it’s sitting beside my car until we were ready to leave.

I brought my bright green nerd pack and tossed in a granola bar, water, and dog bags — then Alfie and I were on our way up the (somewhat) steep trail until we got to Hunters Point. It wasn’t too far from the public parking, and you can choose various lengths of trails, as there were a lot of forks-in-the-road. I love how diverse these trails were, Alfie had a field day barking and saying hello to all the mountain bikers, we walked past a couple of other dogs and their owners and some seasoned hikers with their hiking poles. I’m fairly certain this was a horse riding trail too, so many hoof marks and droppings. Ha!

Now I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking. Enjoy your weekend!




















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