My Birthday Weekend with the 2017 Mazda 6 Grand touring

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This past week was my 31st birthday and we did our annual tradition casino trip. This time we decided to go to the Sands Casino in Bethelhem, PA instead of our usual trip to Atlantic City. We had an amazing meal at Emrils’s Chophouse Burger and gambled a little bit (and lost).

We didn’t wind up staying at the casino hotels because they were extremely over priced with their rates and has no promotions. If you’re looking for an alternative, cheaper place to stay, we stayed at the Comfort Suites which is only 5 minutes away and they offer a free shuttle to the casino up until midnight.

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Lucky for me I was able to drive in style with the all knew 2017 Mazda 6 Grand Touring.

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The interior made the vehicle feel so luxurious, ivory leather with black trim. Having two boys, I don’t think I could ever have this choice as my day-to-day car since it would be dirty in a matter of days, but we managed to keep it nice and clean for the week, even in the rain and mud.

I mean, look at this. Who wouldn’t want to jump in this car and go for a ride? At only $21k starting MSRP, anyone can afford to drive in style (and Safety!).

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The exterior reminds me alot of a BMW, just the curviness and sleek front end. The headlights are just like any new 2017 vehicle, hologen, very bright and have feature to be automatic so that you don’t ever need to remember to turn them on and off.

That’s something I used to whole time as I currently use it in my Ford.

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One thing that stands out to me is the number of safety features it has right off the bat. Similar to the 2016 model, which was a top rated safety vehicle of 2016, the 2017 model has the windshield display that is projected and only the driver can see it.

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It’s customizable and shows stop signs, vehicle distance and speed limit. It alerts you if you are tailgating too close, or trying to get over when another vehicle is in your blind spot. The navigation also links to this display so that you do not have to take your eyes off of forward view and look at the console. I really liked how the display looks and the subtle alerts are a big help, especially when driving with kids can be distracting (did I mention 2 boys yelling at their tablet games in the back?).

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As a compact vehicle, you really do not give up much space with this one. The trunk is huge and can be folded down to the back seat to allow for deeper cargo to be transported. I was able to fit a weeks worth of groceries in the trunk with no  problem.

Gas mileage is WONDERFUL, avg is 32hmpg. I had it for an entire week, with a filled tank i drove out of state to the casino, to and from work daily, which is 25 minutes away, and misc other errands and did not need to put gas on it once.

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One of the things we did this week is go to Benihana with the kids. It was my 4 year olds first time there and he enjoyed the flames coming from the hibatchi grill maybe as much as he enjoyed the chopsticks. This is one of my favorite places to eat, the chicken fried rice is to die for! Luckily I’m part of the birthday club so every year I get a $30 certificate to use to cover my meal. If you haven’t been, I suggest you go.

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We had a great weekend overall thanks to Mazda for giving us this ride for the week to make it happen!

Last but not least, I want to touch on Mazda’s amazing donation program “drive for good”.  Mazda established the Mazda Drive for Good charitable program as a way to give back to the communities in which it does business. Since it’s launch in 2013, the Mazda program has donated more than $12.9 million, has pledged not than 192,000 charitable service hours, and continues to provide monetary donations and community service throughout the year

I used my card to donate to St. Jude’s Cancer hospital for children as it is something that is very important to me.

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Drive Mazda, Drive for Good.

Here are some additional images of the Mazda6;

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2016 Hyundai Tucson, Blizzard of 2016, & The Melting Pot

2016 Hyundai Tucson ECO – Cute, Affordable, & Efficient

There was so much going on this week. This is one day that will go down in history, and not just because it was my 30th Birthday (!!!!!) January 23rd 2016, but it was the biggest recorded blizzard on the East Coast in years. The last I remember was actually 20 years ago – the Blizzard of 96′ we all refer to it as.

My plans to go to Atlantic City with my husband for a long weekend were not ruined because I had just gotten the 2016 Hyundai Tucson to review. This made it easier to get out of town (literally!) and make the 1 hour and 30 minute hike to Atlantic City NJ. We wound up having to wait until Sunday to go, but the Tucson made it a smooth ride.

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It definitely has a slick exterior an some flashy 17″ Alloy wheels. I thought the fact that it is a keyed entry was a little outdated, but then again, this is the standard model. For this model, it’ll run you only $25K which is amazing for a CUV of this sort. The inside seats 5, but the trunk space is huge! You can fold down the back seats to make it even larger, and the front seat down you can fit something straight from front to back easily.

I also thought about the fact that this CUV is ECO model and gets 29 MPG on avg which again, is a win when you’re talking about a family vehicle that you’ll be driving a lot. The interior felt a little basic to me to, but it works. It’s especially good for those who may not be ready to take the leap into all of the modernized technology around these days. Hyundai is known for their outstaning warranties and this behicle will not disappoint. It comes with a 50,000 Mile New Vehicle Warranty, and 100,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty.

The standard features it does come with is;

  • The touch screen – 3.5″ LCD Display
  • Sirius Radio compatible (with 6 mo free trial subscription)
  • Blue Tooth
  • ECO Option
  • Teether bars for child car seats (3 of them)
  • 17″ Alloy Wheels

This one was FWD, so although it did not do well navigating the unplowed roads, it did handle the slushy, icy, salted roads well. This color is Ruby Wine and there is something about the deep red color that is so attractive, especially with the beige interior.

Check out the video review for footage of the vehicle and how we used it for our weekend getaway even in the 2 feet of snow!

We stayed at Bally’s in Atlantic City and unfortunately we didn’t get to go out to the boardwalk because of the snow. I didn’t get an ocean view room this time but the room was huge and so nice.

Luckily, Bally’s Casino was just 2 blocks from the Melting Pot fondue restaurant that we made reservations at so we were able to walk there. What a nice place for a date night! It took about 2 hours for us to cook and eat all 4 courses (Cheese, Salad, Entree, & Dessert) but that was the best part. We weren’t in a rush, and the atmosphere was just perfect. I got the chicken/shrimp/& Beef terryaki. I have to say, I would never go there just for the entree. It is what it is, you boil the meat to cook it. I prefer it cooked other ways to preserve flavor and have a better texture, but overall we enjoyed the experience and would go back.

I got free chocolate covered strawberries for free for my birthday to take home too!

*Disclosure: I received this vehicle to drive for a week in exchange for my honest opinion and review. All of the opinions and photos are my own.

 

“I See Me” Personalized Books for Children – ***GIVEAWAY!***

Enter to WIN your own personalized book from Iseeme.com by clicking – – – HERE – – –

Its a Jersey Thing Blog

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It’s the holidays. Perfect time for this review of I See Me personalized books for children.

I have been wanting to do this review for a long time. If you need something for a Christmas gift, a birthday, a baby shower or congratulatory gift, or even just a special memory from mom and dad, I suggest you check out http://www.ISeeMe.com.

My son received a personalized book from my late great aunt when he was born in 2008. I was unfamiliar with the company, and was so excited to see his personalized “My very own name” book. Unfortunately, she had misspelled his first name, as there are multiple spellings of it. They had great, no, excellent customer service. She had called to explain the misspelling of the name on her part, and without any issues, they re-sent a new book with the correct spelling and said to keep the other book…

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10 Tips to a Successful Birthday Party

Planning a child’s birthday party doesn’t have to be stressful. It can actually be fun if you follow my “10 Steps to a successful Birthday Party” tips! These tips will help make it a memorable, stress-free(ish) party.

#1. Plan ahead! The expense is far less when you plan ahead and buy things a little at a time. My kids change their minds on what their favorite game or character is so often it’s hard to do things too far in advance, but I try to stick with things I know they’ll love no matter what.

#2. Make your own goody bags. It feels good to put your own special touch on stuff, and the main attraction, the goody bags, are no exception! This is the part of the party everyone gets to take home with them. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart and get that creative, I like to, but it isn’t necessary. Just try to remember that it’s a chance to practice and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Any failed attempts can be used as lunch bags! Magnets can be added to almost anything and are a fun addition to the party or the goody bags depending on your venue.We made our own Minecraft magnets to add to the fridge as well as a little baggie of home made magnets in each goody bag for kids to use on their own fridge.

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#3. Think outside the box. You don’t have to have everything a traditional birthday party would have. You can add things that are tailored to your child. We had a Karaoke machine at my sons 2nd birthday party outdoors because he loved to sing a specific song. I figured while playing the children’s music, kids can feel free to grab  the microphone whenever they wanted and go to town! It was a blast and took no effort on my part.

#4. You can do it! Why pay for a Character to come to your child’s birthday party when you can be the Character? Ebay has a ton of great looking costumes for a great price, We got a Mickey mouse costume and asked my brother to dress up in it toward the end of the party after cake so the children could take pictures. We let each child’s parent get a picture with Mickey Mouse alone, and then we did a group picture of all the children together. I did buy the backdrop from a store because it was bright and had “Happy Birthday” from all the Mickey Mouse clubhouse characters, but it’s not needed if you want to save money. The BEST part about this, is that after gently using the mascot costume, I resold it for just about the price I paid for it, so that was just about FREE!The kids enjoyed it as did the parents.

#5. Make a mix CD. As stated above, get creative with your goody bags! There are tons of free parody songs on you tube these says that kids can sing over and over again, As part of my sons “Minecraft” themed party, I found 15 Minecraft themed parodies he listens to and used this nifty MP3 converter site (http://www.youtube-mp3.org/) to DL the songs and burn them to a CD. I also went the extra step and made 3 versions. One of Minecraft Parodies, and 2 others mixed with other songs that smaller children would enjoy. I knew there would be siblings and didn’t want them getting 3 of the same CD’s. I made the covers of the CD’s to go along with theme. These were a big hit and all of the children still talk about these to this day!

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#6. Don’t forget you can resell almost anything these days on Ebay or Facebook. For my sons Mickey Mouse party, I also made my own “Happy Birthday” banner and decor (along with the cake, but that got devoured!). I was able to post the banner and sign up on Ebay and it sold almost immediately, so that technically was also “free” and fun to make!

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#7. Props. They always come in handy. If there is one thing people love to do with their children, it’s take pictures. Every opportunity, they will snap a shot. Give them some props that they can include in their photos and remember the party they enjoyed! For my sons Mario themed birthday party, we did Mustache props. Each child got a fun Mustache they can hold up  and on the stick is printed “Jayden’s 7th Birthday”. These were part of the “Goody bags” items to take home. For my other sons 2nd birthday, I carved a #2 out of cardboard, and painted it like Mickey Mouse’s outfit and took pictures of him holding it so we can always cherish that time. It is much easier then it sounds. Again, practice – no one is critiquing the stuff you make!

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#8. Always over-invite. If there is one thing I found to be true, it’s that only 75% of the invitees will actually show up. You want to be sure that if you’re having the party at a venue, and pre-paying for a certain amount of heads, that you get what you paid for. Most places will charge you the full price regardless. You want to have enough children there to make the party nice and loud! Loud noises – fun and tired kids! Just be sure to have enough supplies for everyone on stand by.

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#9. Include the adults! Little kid birthday parties are always filled with much excitement, but usually just for the children. Include the adults with photo ops, and snacks to much on to make it fun for all.

#10. Do presents later on. I find it’s much better to do the presents later on in the comfort of your own home. This way, people aren’t comparing gifts, and smaller children aren’t crying to rip open presents. It also allows the birthday child to enjoy their new stuff without having to share. Yes, this is the one time they shouldn’t be told to share!

I find that birthday parties are more fun and less stressful when you do all the “prep” work and can finally see the finished products in action! These are all items I personally hand made. I did not have any special tools and I hand cut everything, so it is possible (and fun!). I hope you like these ideas and have as much fun as we did!