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My week with a 2015 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring 4-door sedan

 

2015 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring 4-door sedan

I drive around town in a 96′ Mazda 626. I’ve had the car for many years. We purchased it used but it had low miles and it was in great shape.

My husband’s car is “younger” than my car (his is an 03′) yet his car always seems to have more problems then mine.

Even though my Mazda has seen better days it’s still running and gets me from “point A to point B”.

Recently I had the opportunity to try out a brand new Mazda – a 2015 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring (4 door) Sedan.

I enjoy reviewing new cars. My car doesn’t have all the “bells and whistles” like new cars do – especially things that are standard these days. My car doesn’t even have a CD player! I still have to listen to cassette tapes (I have a lot of them too).

First let me tell you about my first impression of the 2015 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring. I LOVE the look of this car. It has a sporty appearance to it, which I like. It’s not a very big car. It’s a compact size but not too compact where your passengers feel like they are driving around in a sardine can.

Frontseat

Frontseat

I’m a “plus size” woman. Sometimes I don’t feel very comfortable in cars because of the way the seats are made. When I drive my husband’s car, for example, the piece where you snap the seat belt into always digs into my hip. I also don’t like the shape of his car seats. My car however fits me fine.

The seats in the 2015 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring are very comfy. I even like the support on my back. When you are driving a car you want to be comfortable.

I was also the passenger in the car and I was equally as comfortable with the passenger side seat.

Backseat

Backseat

The backseat is a bit snug for people with long legs. My son is tall and has long legs. Thankfully I’m short so I was able to push the passenger seat up more to give him more leg room (he had to sit behind me in the passenger side of the car). You may want to keep that in mind if you have a child with long legs and/or who is tall. My daughter is petite and she was fine in the backseat. My son fit fine in the front passenger seat too. It was just the backseat he found a bit snug.

The 2015 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring is not without it’s “bells and whistles”.

The car comes with a display screen on top of the dashboard, not built into the dashboard like some cars. The display helps you to control many aspects of the car. It’s very “user friendly” and you can navigate through the options with a swipe of your finger and pressing areas on the screen with your finger.

2015 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring 4-door sedan display

You can connect with various apps with the press of the screen (apps like Pandora and even Yelp). You can also control navigation (GPS) so you know where you are and how to get to your destination.

The car is set up for Bluetooth so you are able to connect your smartphone to the car to play music and talk on the phone.

My favorite feature is the music. The sound system in the 2015 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring is AWESOME! Whether you are listening to the radio or music from your smartphone the sound quality is crystal clear. It has great base too. I like a little “thump, thump” when I am listening to music in the car by myself (I wouldn’t have music too loud with others in the car).

It did take me a bit to get used to the display being “on” the dashboard rather than built in but after a few days I didn’t notice it anymore.

You can also control some of the features with buttons and a dial found on the part between the front passengers (for the life of me I can’t remember the technical name for that space). The controls can also be found on the steering wheel.

Your speed is projected on the clear plastic-like piece on top of the dashboard

Your speed is projected on the clear plastic-like piece on top of the dashboard

One feature that I have never experienced before is the “above” the dashboard MPH display. Instead of glancing down at your dashboard to see how fast you are going you can keep your eyes straight ahead (and one the road) because your speed is displayed more at “eye level” with your view of the road (for lack of a better description).

There is a small, clear, plastic-like screen that pops up when you turn the car on. You speed is digitally displayed on it when you are driving.

This feature took me the longest to get used to. I’ve been driving for nearly 30 years and I’m so used to looking down on my dashboard to see how fast I am going. I think if I had the car longer then a week I’d eventually get used to it. Thankfully your speed is also displayed on your dashboard the “old fashioned” way.

Alternate ways to control the car's features - most found on the car's steering wheel too.

Alternate ways to control the car’s features – most found on the car’s steering wheel too.

This car had a sunroof too. I love sunroofs! I wish my current card had one.  And it had a key-less start up option (just press a button and your car starts – I love it!).

I liked how this car drove. It has GREAT pick up. When merging into traffic the car rides so smooth. You don’t even notice it when you have to accelerate a bit (to mere into traffic to make sure you are going to appropriate speed). There is no hesitation or “bucking”.

I drove this car both on town roads and highway roads. The car feels right at home in either driving situation. The ride is smooth and quiet. It’s a great ride.

2015 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring 4-door sedan 3

 

My husband was impressed with the car’s performance too. He took the car to work with him one day. He has a lot of steep mountain roads to deal with and he liked how the car handled all the “ups and downs” of the mountain roads. He didn’t notice any hesitation in the car or “bucking” either. Just a nice, smooth ride.

It did well with gas consumption too. With my car I have to fill up almost once a week – and I barely go anywhere. This car seemed to get better gas mileage. It’s estimated that the car gets 28 MPG city and 38 MPG highway miles. My job is about 14 miles (round trip) so you can see how long I can go with this car before having to fill up again.

I am NOT a car aficionado. I don’t know about the techie stuff like horsepower, engines and mechanical stuff like that. I can only explain things in “layman’s terms”. If you want to mechanical details for this car you can visit the Mazda website, Mazda.com. The brand is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Overall I really like the car. It has a great, sporty look to it. I love how smoothly it drives and all the wonderful features it comes with. The only thing I would ask for is a bit more leg room for backseat passengers and maybe a wee bit bigger trunk.

Believe it or not this beauty STARTS at under $20,000. In this day and age it’s hard to find quality cars with a starting point under $20,000 these days. Of course the more features you add the more the costs. The car I had was fully stocked with features so it cost a lot more.

As a current Mazda driver I am very impressed by the 2015 Mazda Mazda3 s Grand Touring 4-door sedan.

Mazda Logo

Kimberly

*I received a loaner for free. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

 

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A fun new app for children – Little Luna – Big Talent

 

Children - Technology

It’s amazing how much technology has changed in just a few short years. When my kids were little we had cellphones but not smartphones. You could make phone calls on your cellphone but that was it. Kids could not play games on their parent’s phones back then.

These days there is a wonderful array of kid-friendly, parent-approved educational applications available that children can enjoy on their parents smartphone or a tablet.

I’m a bit jealous in a way. I wish we had these amazing things when I was younger. I would still opt to play outside or with my cousins, but on those rainy or snowy days when I was stuck inside I would have loved to have some fun games to play by myself.

There is a new app from Bastei Entertainment called Little Luna, Big Talent that is worth checking out.

Little Luna Big Talent App

Little Luna, Big Talent is an adorable, interactive game geared towards little ones (3-8). It’s about a little Bombardier Beetle named Luna.

I have never heard of a Bombardier Beetle before so I looked it up. These little beetles have an interesting defense mecchanisim – when they feel threatened their bodies products a noxious gas that they aim towards the predator. In a nutshell they omit a foul-smelling gas from their bodies to defend themselves against enemies. I’m guessing the smell must be pretty bad if it would make a predator flee.

So Little Luna is a beetle that has a foul smelling “gas”. Most parents might be grossed out by the idea, but let’s face it, kids LOVE farts. They find them funny. Admit it, chances are you thought they were funny too when you were little. We’re only human. Except in Luna’s case – she’s a Bombardier Beetle.

Check out this trailer for the Little Luna, Big Talent app from Bastei Entertainment.

 

I love the graphics. What you see in the trailer is just like what you see in the app.

I think Luna and her family are adorable. I know it sounds odd but I would love to see Little Luna books. I think her character and her family could make for a lot of darling children’s books.

The Little Luna – Big Talent application includes:

- Interactive storybook with games and more!

-Simple navigation for a smooth-running interface.

-Beautifully designed with delightful music to match.

-Timer for parents to monitor a child’s screen time.

-Designed for preschoolers and elementary school aged children.

-Narration in English, Mandarin Chinese, and German.

-No in-app purchases.

As a parent I appreciate that there are no “in-app” purchases. I just had a discussion with my son recently about that. He wanted to make an in-app purchase for a game he enjoys playing and I refuse to spend the extra money on it. I also worry about my kids accidentally clicking on in-app purchases and charge money to our card unknown to us. I wish they didn’t have in-app purchases. That is a feature I really like about this cute game.

As I mentioned before the illustrations/animations are adorable. Even if there are a lot of references to “farts” I didn’t mind. I still found the games to be really cute.

Bastei Entertainment Little Luna

Even though the games are geared towards little children, I found some of them fun as an adult.

There are several mini-games within the application that will keep your child entertained for a long time.

Even though this is considered a “storybook” it’s not one in the true sense of the word. There is no real story. You child can create their own story as they make their way around the app. It’s more about exploring Luna’s world then it is an actual story.

I like the parental control option too. You can control how long your child can play the game. I wouldn’t think this would be needed for very young children, but I guess some do need something like this set up so they don’t spend their entire day on the game.

I’m very impressed by the app. I love the graphics, music, ease of use and parental control. Plus it’s a fun app with a lot of things to see and do in Luna’s world which is sure to keep the little ones fully entertained.

Little Luna – Big Talent is available on iTunes for $2.99.

For more information about  Bastei Entertainment visit BasteiEntertainment.com.

What do you think about Little Luna – Big Talent? Does it look like a game your child or grandchild would enjoy? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Little Luna Big Talent

Kimberly

*I received a free code to download the game for review. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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The Blobbits are here!

 

blobwpackages

The Blobbits are here! The Blobbits are here!

What in the world are Blobbits?

That is a great question. Blobbits look like they are not “of” this world. In fact, they look like blob-like aliens.

According to the makers of Blobbits…

Blobbits are intergalactic stretchable, glow-in-the-dark, moldable, silicone-based compound that is ideal for kids who thrive on being hands-on with their creativity and imagination.

Blobbits are non-toxic, heat-resistant, and non-allergic. Each Blobbits comes with its very own stackable reusable Blobbits container so it won’t dry out and never leave a mess. It is ideal for kids of all ages.

Blobbits remind me of Silly Putty in a way. You can stretch them out, roll them up and create whatever shape you’d like with them. You can then add eyes, arms and other pieces to create your one of a kind alien monster. You best appreciate your creation quickly because Blobbits don’t keep their shape for long. After a few minutes your Blobbit creation will “melt” and all you have left is a puddle of “goo” and the eyes and accessories.

BLobwaccessories

I received some Blobbits to review with my family. My kids are older then the demographics, however as an adult I actually had fun creating with Blobbits. I find molding the clay-like material to be very relaxing. It’s like a “stress ball” in a way.

These also glow in the dark which is a really cool feature. It adds to their alien/monster like appearance.

It’s fun to give the Blobbit creation it’s own personality. If you purchase more than one set you can mix and match and create a different alien being each time.

Blobbits are great for traveling too. Each comes in it’s own plastic case. They are small in size and very portable. The material stays together so you don’t have to worry about little pieces getting all over the place like what happens when your child plays with another popular brand of “doh”.

These would make for great stocking stuffers and “Secret Santa” gifts. You can also give a set to an adult to keep on their desk at work (great for those “down times”).

Blobbits

Blobbits are not available in stores and can be purchased at http://www.Blobbits.com or by calling 1-800-372-6040.

Each complete Blobbits Creation Kit comes with enough Blobbits to make two monsters and cost $9.99 plus $6.99 processing and handling.

You can also check out Blobbits on Social Media.

What do you think about Blobbits? Do they look like something your child, grandchild (or even yourself) would enjoy? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Check out the Blobbits commercial (below).

 

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Introducing the Adventure Blanket by Tribe Provisions

 

Photo Source: Adventure Blanket

Photo Source: Adventure Blanket

The weather might be turning colder for many parts of the country, but that doesn’t mean that we’re ready to give up being outdoors. Many people still like to take advantage of the fresh air before the weather. This would include football games, tail gating parties and even camping (some campers still camp even in the bitter cold!).

During the warm weather months my family does enjoy going outside whether it’s picnics, barbecues at the local park, sporting events or just a quick hike through the woods.

We keep a lot of essentials in our car trucks so that we always have what we need, when we need it, when we are out and about. We’ve added a new piece of gear to our cars (currently it’s in my husband’s car trunk since we use his car more as a family). It’s called the Adventure Blanket. It’s by a company called Tribe Provisions.

The Adventure Blanket was made with outdoor fun in mind. The blanket is HUGE. It’s 66″ long by 55″ wide. The blanket is bigger than me! I’m only 63″ tall. That means there is plenty of room for more than one person to use this blanket.

Sport event

Photo Source: Adventure Blanket

There is two sides to this blanket. The inside of the blanket is made of a durable, weather-resistant Hollow Fiber polyester. It’s very nice and comfortable to lie on (or wrap yourself in). The polyester filling also helps to seal in your body heat allowing you to keep warm when it’s wrapped around you.

The other side of the Adventure Blanket is made with a rip-stop nylon (the same kind of material parachutes are made from). The nylon makes the blanket waterproof on that side. It also doubles as a windbreaker. It reminds me of a windbreaker jacket too (the way it looks and feels on the outside).

The blanket might be huge in size, it’s very lightweight and portable. It comes with an ATTACHED pouch with allows you to put the whole blanket back inside and tucked away until the next time you need it.

AB Gif

Photo Source: Adventure Blanket

I have several blankets in the trunk of both cars and none of the compare to the Adventure Blanket. I have large blankets but they get wet and dirty when you put them on the ground. Or they are big and bulky to carry around. None of the blankets we have come with a special pouch. We just fold the up and toss them back in the trunk again but they end up getting dirty from all the other stuff we throw in the trunk. Plus they take up a lot of room. Not the Adventure Blanket. When it’s in it’s pouch is takes up very little room. The pouch is also made from the same nylon material to help protect the blanket from dirt and wetness in the trunk of your car.

This blanket is also machine washable so if it does end up getting dirty you can easily wash it.

This great blanket is ideal for people on the go and families. I can see my family sitting on this blanket for picnics, at the beach (or the lake), at high school football games, sitting around a campfire and other uses.

This blanket would be ideal to keep in your car for safety reasons too. In the winter some drivers find themselves stranded in their cars. Having a blanket like this in the car would be a “must”. It can help keep you warm and shield you from the elements until help arrives or you are able to move your car.

This blanket is NOT meant to take place of a sleeping bag or as an overnight solution in harsh, extreme weather, but it will help keep you warm in cold weather. Another words if you are stuck in a blizzard this might not keep you warm enough. It’s always a good idea to think about these things and keep survival supplies in your car at all times.

I can see hikers using this blanket too. It’s small enough to tuck inside a backpack or hang off the backpack. It wouldn’t weight the hiker down.

Adventure Blanket

It’s a really nice blanket. So nice that both times I attempted to lie it open on the living room floor to snap pictures our dog and cats are all over it. Apparently they like the blanket too. So for now I was only able to snap a photo of it in it’s portable pouch.

Believe it or not the Adventure Blanket is in it’s beginning phase. It has a Kickstarter campaign. The deadline is November 15th! Those who donate $35 or more will receive the Adventure Blanket as a thank you for helping to move this project forward. Personally I think this blanket is worth every penny and $35 is a very reasonable price for this. I would expect to see that price tag on it when it’s sold in stores.

HURRY! The campaign ends on the 15th so there is still time.

To learn more, or to join their campaign, visit their Kickstarter page – Go-anywhere Blanket for Sports, Camping, Hanging Out

I’m giving this blanket a “two thumbs up”. I know my family is going to get many uses out of this beautiful (and comfy!) blanket.

What do you think about the Adventure Blanket? Is it something you and your family could use?

Adventure Blanket GIF

PHOTO SOURCE: Adventure Blanket

Kimberly

*I received a free product to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

 

 

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Ancient Aliens: The Complete Series now available on DVD

 

Ancient Aliens Complete Series

I have always been fascinated by the mysteries that surround us. Even as a young girl I would sit in total “awe” watching the television series In Search Of. The show explored things like the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot, UFOs and other unexplained things.

My husband jokes with me all the time that I should have been a lawyer because I ask a lot of questions and I am not fully satisfy with the answers.

I’m a curious person by nature. I think that is why I am so drawn to the History Channel series Ancient Aliens.

Have you seen the series before? It’s on often. Now it appears on the H2 Channel.

The series began in 2010 and is not on season 7.

Today (November 11, 2014) the entire six seasons are now available in one set – Ancient Aliens: The Complete Series from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

From over 10,000 years of the most credible evidence unearthed, we’ll explore the ancient and mysterious, from sacred relics, artifacts and wall carvings to technologies, places and lore, all in a search for the humankind’s origins and even the secrets of the universe. New interpretations of ancient texts reveal new historical possibilities: Were ancient gods really aliens? Was Satan really humanity’s ally in the Bible? This groundbreaking HISTORY® series on H2® also uncovers the alien dimension within secret codes, deadly cults, mega-disasters and plagues; alien connections to dinosaurs, NASA and even the Third Reich; and considers time travel, underwater UFO activity, ancient martian civilizations, the possibility that some children have alien DNA — and if you can believe it, much more. Experience the trip of a lifetime (or many) in this mother of all gift sets.

The six series are spread out over 23 discs which include 12 episodes from season six that have not been seen on DVD before. In all there are 82 episodes with a run time just over 68 hours.

I have the set. I was super excited when it was sent to me to review.

I missed the first couple of seasons of the series. I never watched the History Channel so I never knew the series even existed. If I did I would have watched it from it’s inception.

I just started watching the series from the beginning. It’s going to take a long time to watch all 68+ hours of the DVD collection. Right now I have been watching 1-2 episodes at a time. Eventually I will make my way through every disc.

I have seen repeats of Ancient Aliens on television. Its great to see episodes I have never seen before.

It was fun to see the original episode (episode one from season one). It touched up something that has always fascinated me – the giant statues on Easter Island. The episode also explored the Nazca lines and drawings in Peru and the great pyramids.

AA

Visiting the Great Pyramids is on my “Bucket List”. There are actually a few episodes that visit the pyramids and explore alien connections. I don’t recall the title of the episode but there is one that suggests electricity was used to light the tunnels in the pyramids based on drawings and evidence that was found there. How fascinating is that?

The second episode explores ancient text that suggests “flying machines” (space crafts?) and examines theories that could explain how megaliths (giant rocks – like the kind found Stonehenge) could be cut with such precision when only (supposedly) simple tools were available to the people at that time.

With each episode I a left scratching my head. It makes me think about things and question my beliefs.

The series features different scientist and others from around the world who share their thoughts, experiences and findings. These people are professors in Archaeology, Anthropology, Art History, Astronomy, Religious Studies, Engineering, History and others. These are well educated people who are respected in their fields and among their peers. These are not a bunch of theorists who get together on the weekend to make up wild and crazy stories.

Even my cynical husband who doesn’t believe in the possibility of extra terrestrial life on other planets is often heard going “humm…” (in a questionable tone of voice) when he watches the show with me. You can tell that the show touches upon something that even he questions.

I think anyone, even those who truly don’t believe there is a possibility of life on other planets, might find themselves a bit fascinated by the things the show finds – possible evidence from around the world.

Puma Punku - PHOTO SOURCE: Wiki Commons

Puma Punku – PHOTO SOURCE: Wiki Commons

Seriously… how can you look at the structures found at Puma Punku? If you are not familiar with that place, Google it. Or even just Google images from Puma Punku. There are stones there that weigh over 100 TONS that were from quarries 60 miles a way. How did primitive get those massive stones up a mountain to Puma Punku. And how were people using nothing more than rocks to chisel with cut out such intricate designs that rival that work a laser would do?

It blows my mind!

If you are a fan of the show you’ll want to pick up this collection so that you can catch up on episodes you missed and enjoy your favorite episodes over and over again.

If you have someone on your holiday shopping list who enjoys the show, or who is fascinated by the “unknown”, this collection would make a fantastic gift.

Look for Ancient Aliens: The Complete Series where ever DVDs are sold.

Are you a fan of the show? Do you believe in the possibility of life on other planets? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Puma Punku PHOTO SOURCE: Wiki Commons

Puma Punku PHOTO SOURCE: Wiki Commons

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Great gift idea for Hello Kitty fans – Dancing Water Speakers!

 

Hello Kitty Water Speakers

Do you have a Hello Kitty fan in your life? Hello Kitty is not just for little ones. I know plenty of adults who absolutely adore that sweet little kitty.

My daughter loves Hello Kitty. She has a few Hello Kitty branded items such as plush toys and a bedside lamp.

One of the things my daughter has had on her “wish list” for the past year is water speakers. If you are not familiar with what water speakers are they are speakers, filled with water, that change colors and “dance” to the beat of the music being played through them.

I think it’s a super cool idea but once I started to price them I knew that it would be a long time before she could get a set. Water speakers are NOT cheap. Not only that most of the ones I looked into are rather large and there is very little available space in her room.

Thankfully I was sent to review something that is the best of both worlds – water speakers from Hello Kitty! They are appropriately called Hello Kitty Dancing Water Speakers. These speakers are USB powered which makes them very portable and easy to set up just about any where you go.

The Hello Kitty Dancing Water Speakers feature;

  • Multicolor LED lights that change color in response to the music being played
  • Speakers that can be powered by any USB port (a connection cable is included)
  • The ability to be used with just about any device with a headphone jack (smartphone, tablet, hand held gaming device)
  • 3W x 2 output power
  • 2.0 channel stereo speakers

Hello Kitty Speakers

Set up was a breeze. My daughter (17 1/2) set them up by herself. Within minutes she was up and running.

Once they are set up sit back and enjoy the colorful show.

I was rather impressed with how well these work. As far as speakers are concerned the music is crisp and clear and the volume works very well. We live in a condo so we don’t blast our music for obvious reasons.

I have some expensive stereo speakers and I was impressed with how well the sound quality is with these adorable speakers.

The “dancing water” and colorful lights are really cool. Now I can see why my daughter has been asking for water speakers. They are really cool and fun to watch. We purposely change the type of music we play through them just to see how the water/colors react to it. We’ve played heavy metal, pop, slow songs and even Vivaldi (classical). Watching them with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is awesome!

We get a lot of light during the day. It’s not easy to see the colorful lights that much with sunlight filling the room. For us it’s best to use these in the evening or at night if you want to catch the light show. If you just want to listen to the music then they are fine to use any time of day.

These are super cute speakers that would make an ideal gift for a young girl, teen or even an adult.

If you would like to check out other available Hello Kitty products visit www.SparkleBee.com. You can also find SparkleBee on Facebook and Twitter (@SparkleBee).

You can find these cute speakers at  www.ToysRUs.com and Target. You can find a great video that shows you how well they work on the Toys R Us product page.

What do you think about these fun speakers? Do you know anyone on your holiday shopping list that would enjoy these?

Sparkle Bee Logo

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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