Thank you, Kia, for inviting me on a sponsored trip to San Diego for the New Kia Ride + Drive event.
It’s not often that I get the chance to get behind the wheel of a vehicle like the 2018 Kia Stinger, but this past week that is exactly what I did. I traded in my #momlife in suburbia and headed south to sunny San Diego to meet up with some incredible folks at Kia + a wonderful group of influencers for the 2018 Kia Ride + Drive event. The entire event was full of epic moments including rooftop parties at the Hard Rock Hotel, carpool karaoke-style video with friends, getting to drive the incredible 2018 Kia Stinger, hilarious photobooth antics, and the whole thing capped off with LIVE BAND karaoke. I mean it was an event to remember for sure!!
Rock N Roll Getaway with the Amazing 2018 Kia Stinger
As you may recall from this post or this post I have a bit of a crush on the Kia brand. I mean how can you beat a stylish vehicle with luxurious features at a super affordable price point? You can’t! And, that is exactly why Kia is kicking butt when it comes to customer satisfaction. In fact, Kia was recently recognized, again, by J.D. Power topping the chart the second year in a row for the 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study. So, looks like I am not the only one in love with the brand. In fact, I even know two really cute Kia owner wannabes- haha!!
As much as I absolutely LOVE hitting the road in the spacious Kia Sedona, or cruising around in the super cool Kia Soul I had yet to experience the one Kia car that I have really had my eyes on. That is until I received an invite for the 2018 Kia Ride + Drive Event in San Diego CA. Wondering which Kia car I am talking about… It’s the gorgeous 2018 Kia Stinger!!!! Isn’t it amazing?
This incredible vehicle can go 0-60 in 4.7 seconds (I tried it- it’s INSANE!!!) and it has a maximum speed of 167 MPH (I did NOT try that). But, it’s not just pretty on the eyes and crazy fast this vehicle is loaded with an incredible sound system, a host of safety options, room for 5 (so it could totally fit a family of four) and it’s sportback design affords plenty of space for all of your stuff. So, pretty much the coolest car evahhhh!!!! And, arriving in San Diego I spotted the beautiful Stinger was EVERYWHERE!!!
I think we all can appreciate transformations. In the case of motherhood, I feel like I am constantly changing/ evolving if you will. This year it has really hit me with my oldest son turning 16 and gearing up to drive himself later this year and the fact that I have no more babies left in the house, Liv is turning 5 in September if you can believe it? Anyhoo, facing those two major family milestones has left me feeling a little uncertain about my role and I was definitely soaking in inspiration from the Kia brand. I mean, holy cow… they completely redefined themselves. It’s absolutely incredible!!!
Arrival into San Diego & Checking In
I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of those gorgeous Kia’s, but I knew that would have to wait. First up I needed to check in to the hotel and go mingle with everyone. I was nervous and excited because I had heard wonderful things about the “Kia Family” but this was my first time experiencing an event like this. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Family is. the perfect word for this incredible group of individuals. They were wonderfully welcoming, super positive, and I felt so lucky to have been included with such amazing humans.
Day One with Kia
Day one was like a big family get together. We gathered on the rooftop of the Hard Rock Hotel in the Kia Hospitality Suite to recoup from long flights and the drive in. We chatted about life and love (and how gorgeous those Stingers were parked down below) as we enjoyed delicious bite-sized eats and soaked up the California sun. There was plenty of catching up to do with old friends and tons of wonderful new faces to get to know too.
In the evening our group headed to the Rustic Root restaurant located in downtown San Diego. We enjoyed delicious tapas-style dishes as we learned a bit more about our itinerary and the Kia representatives as we enjoyed some live music. *Side note- take a look at that ceviche, it was on point!!
Day 2 with Kia
Day two is when we got to work, the morning kicked off with a hearty and delicious meal to fuel us for our ride + drive through San Diego. After we finished our meals we hit the conference room for an exciting presentation showcasing the past, present, and future of the Kia brand. This is where my crush became an obsession, y’all.
I had no idea what an incredible past Kia had. They are totally an underdog, which I love, and their humble beginnings have really helped shape them into the amazing brand they are today. Just like with people their struggles have made them fight hard for what they believed in. Kia could have easily given up at different points along the road, as many other car brands have since then, but instead, they were passionate in their pursuit to greatness and their hard work has really paid off.
I mean Kia just knocks it out of the park when it comes to doing everything you would hope a company would do. They bring in the best of the best like Albert Biermann (former BMW M Division VP) to design, build and perfect their vehicles. Biermann and his talented team are the ones to thank for the Stinger’s smooth ride and excellent handling.
And, I noticed that all of the Kia representatives that I had the pleasure of meeting had been with the company for years, they were super happy with their jobs and incredibly passionate about their work. I think that speaks volumes about Kia as a brand.
As you know, giving back is something that means a lot to me. So, I was very pleased to learn that Kia supports wonderful non-profits like Put on the B.R.A.K.E.S. a teen proactive driving school. I am hoping to help them promote the program when it returns to Southern CA. I want my soon to be driver signed up for a course for sure!
Driving the Kia Stinger
After our education concluded we were given our mission which was to team up into groups of four to test drive incredible Kia vehicles and create a carpool karaoke-style video by the end of the day. I was lucky enough to hit the road with none other than Shuggalippo, 2 Dads with Baggage, and The Jet Set Family and we had an absolute blast!!!
We loaded our massive sportback trunk with costumes & props (so much room!) and headed on our route. The route included some incredible scenic back roads in San Diego that allowed us to test the Stinger’s ride & handling which happens to be pretty amazing!! The Stinger is equipped with a powerful 3.3-liter twin-turbo engine that helps it reach incredible speeds, but it also grips the road which was great around some of the tight turns!
After we had our fun on the back roads we took took our pretty Stinger to visit some of our favorite spots in San Diego including Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and the USS Midway Museum. Check out our route below. Did you notice that one of the main stops was KRISPY KREME– clearly the Kia peeps and I are simpatico! #BestDonutsEver
After filming funny scenes and jamming to Blink 182 all day as we toured through San Diego, Shuggalippo was kind enough to edit our carpool karaoke video. I placed it here for your viewing pleasure. It may not have won any awards but man did we have a ball creating it. Get ready to laugh!!!
After our whirlwind day, we came back to the Hard Rock Hotel for our final farewell party with Kia. I am not going to lie, I was so NOT ready to say goodbye to my wonderful new Kia Family. But, I forced myself to squeeze into my tight fake leather leggings, put on my Aerosmith tank- band shirts the requested attire, and slapped a smile on my face because as one of my new friends reminded me and as Dr. Seuss once said, “don’t be sad because it’s over, be glad ’cause it happened.”
By the way, have I mentioned my love for Steven Tyler? I actually named Liv after Liv Tyler #TrueStory
When I got to the party I was super impressed the room was totally decked out in true Rock N Roll style, there was a delicious spread of tasty eats, plenty of costumes, a photo booth (gosh I love a photo booth), and there was a LIVE BAND setting up for karaoke!!!!
When I saw Live Band Karaoke on the itinerary I wasn’t sure what to expect. Let me tell you Live Band Karaoke is life-changing!!! It is seriously so much fun!! Especially, when you are surrounded by the Kia Family- a super positive and supportive crew. Don’t we look cool- bwahahaha!!!!
It’s amazing what a few days with good friends will do for your soul. It was exactly the change in perspective I needed. Instead of being sad that my babies are growing up I am going to embrace what lies ahead. Like Kia I am going to chase after my wildest dreams and work tirelessly to make them a reality. It’s amazing what a little determination can do.
If you haven’t test drove a Kia lately? If not, I highly suggest you do ASAP!!!
*Disclosure- I was invited to attend the 2018 Kia Ride + Drive Event as an influencer. While my accommodations and meals were covered by Kia all of my thoughts and opinions above are, as always 100% my own.
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