Thursday, July 24, 2014

Car Review - Chevrolet Equinox


Happy Thursday!  

So yesterday I told y'all my super exciting announcement.  I talked about my last (and first!) experience with buying a car.  Well, this next experience is going to be better, I’m sure of it.  One reason for that is that for the next few months I will be test driving and writing real, honest, mom-to-mom, woman-to-woman car reviews for a variety of Chevrolet cars.  Jeff Gordon Chevrolet has been so kind to work with me during this process and have offered to work with any of you out there who are looking for a car.  You can go to their website and even purchase a car online.  You can also call their sales team with any questions, concerns or just to say hey!  I have not met someone I didn’t want to hug over there, especially my boy Errington and sweet (now friend!) Leacy. 

So today I’m going to start off those reviews with a little about the Chevy Equinox.  I chose this one first because like y’all already know, Matt and I wanted (still do) a small SUV – something that will fit my baby (one day that will be plural) and all of my stuff, and not to mention I like being off the ground a little bit.  Maybe I have a complex, ha.  Nonetheless, here is what I thought of my weekend with an Equinox
(and be on the lookout early next week for my YouTube Video.  I’ll post a link here, so you can get an actual tour of this gem of car).





Type of car: Small (Compact) SUV

Price Range of car: The average paid for this car is $24,000 - $33,000 and that is according to US News.   The 2014 LTZ that I drove (had only 60ish miles) was about $34,000.

How does it drive: Y’all this car drives so smooth.  I felt like the brakes were somewhere in between my old Lexus SUV (loose) and a Mercedes SUV (tight).  One of my favorite features is that the steering wheel has so many positions.  You can move it up, down, forward and backward.  I SO wish I would’ve had that option when I was pregnant!  As my belly grew, driving became such a pain and so uncomfortable, not to mention the fact that I felt more and more unsafe with my belly so close to the steering wheel.  The Equinox allows you to adjust all of that to make sure you always have a comfortable fit no matter what shape or size you are.  And as a woman I love that even when I’m not preggy!




such a great back-up camera
probably my favorite thing about the car


Safety Review:   One of the most important things to me when potentially buying a car is safety – especially now that my heart and soul are packed carefully in the backseat with cheerios and a sippy cup.  I need to know that if I were in a wreck, my baby angel would be protected as best as possible by the car I’m driving.  I will say that in the Chevy Equinox, I felt just that.  It has all over air bags which is key, but another feature I love is the traction control.  In Wilmington when it rains a lot (aka THIS WEEK), our streets and roads flood easily, leaving the sides of our roads filled with huge puddles that are somewhat unavoidable when driving.  I can’t tell you how many times I have hydroplaned or saw wrecks around these puddles.  Luckily with the Equinox I didn’t have to worry about it.  I felt completely safe when I had to drive in uneasy conditions because of the traction control.  Another one of my favorite features?!?  This may be my most favorite of all – the side view mirrors!  They provide an excellent view of side traffic… And!  And!  They have another tiny mirror in the top corner that allows you to see the blind spot.  I’m not going to lie, there has been a time or two where I may have not seen a car in my blind spot and tried to switch lanes, only to be honked and beeped at and been left with severe heart palpitations!  Well, with this trusty little helper, that is never an issue.  Overall, this car is safe and I would pack up my family in it in a heartbeat. 







Interior Review:   The interior is so comfy y’all.  One of my biggest concerns was the back seat comfort level, because well, since having a baby, I find myself riding back there with her more than usual (I mean hello, who is going to provide and unending supply of Puffs and peek-a-boo on the way to church?!).  So I was so pleased to find that I had plenty of room sitting behind the driver’s seat.  And that is saying a lot considering my 6’4’’ husband was in the driver’s seat and also requires plenty of space up front.  So the interior passed my first test for sure.  A few other things I loved: the dashboard and the center console.  You can clearly see the pictures of the dashboard – so many amazing features.  I love a back-up camera, because again, I may have backed into a parked car… or mailbox… or five.  It happens ya know?  Not with these cameras.  So clear and easy to use.  You can play your Pandora through this car too(G loves the Disney channel so she can sing along to Little Mermaid songs!).  The Bluetooth feature is nice so I’m not fumbling with my phone when someone calls.  And while I’m talking about phones here, you can charge your phone through the USB cord in the center console, so again, you are not tempted to mess with it.  Love that.  One thing I wish it had, and to be honest my last two compact SUV’s did not have this so I’m beginning to think it’s not a thing with this size car, was an overhead AC vent in the back.  It gets hot here and I always hate putting G in the car seat even with the AC on full blast because I feel like she just can’t feel it.  Maybe this is a silly worry of mine, and it has by no means affected whether I purchase a car or not, but just something to note. 

Trunk/Back Compartment Review:  The back compartment is pretty standard to that of a Compact SUV.  It is on the bigger side for sure and I love the grocery/storage net.  The seats can also fold down for more room. 

Exterior Review:  This car looks niiiiiiiiiiiice.  I felt pretty snazzy driving around all weekend in this baby.  I love the rounded front and the color of the one I drove is probably my favorite.  I’m a simple girl when it comes to cars.  I stick to neutrals – whites, blacks, grays and occasionally champagne (I’m crazy I know!).  But this car definitely gives the feel of luxury.  You can get the Equinox in 11 different colors, however (if you want to live on the wild side):
And there are also a bunch of trims and options available so you can customize your car which is so fun.







Specials:  One thing I love about Jeff Gordon is the service guarantee that comes standard with cars purchased or leased that are an eligible, new 2014 Chevrolet, Buick or GMC car, truck or crossover in the U.S.   The car is covered by a new maintenance program that includes certain scheduled services for two years or 24,000 miles, whichever occurs first.  Here’s the link to all the jazz for your further reading:  http://www.chevrolet.com/comprehensive-coverage.html. Also Jeff Gordon has discounts for teachers, military & their spouses, Costco members, college students, and more.  Discounts on cars?  I'll take it!  Here's a link to more incentives offered: http://www.jeffgordonchevy.com/CorporateIncentives

From me to you:  Total honesty friends.  I love this car.  It may be the winner for Matt and I in the end, but only time will tell.  It’s perfect for a slew of people.  A growing family, a mom toting up to 2 kids, a couple who wants a car with some storage, a single parent who needs something bigger but still great on gas (It gets an EPA-estimated 22 MPG city/32 highway).  This is the perfect transition from a sedan to an SUV.  It has four thumbs up from G and I that’s for sure.

Check out the available Equinox SUVs HERE

So that's what I thought.  Any of y'all have an Equinox?  Anything you are curious about that I didn't cover?  Any car you would like me to review in particular?  Maybe one you are interested in?  Comment below or send an email to denise.lopatka@gmail.com and I'll see what I can do!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

that time we bought a car on ebay


just reading up on the safety features....

matt and i have always been extremely blessed in the car situation.  my parents gave me their old car in college and it was in great condition.  matt bought his car from his brother for very little when he was in college and we have never had to worry about car stuff.  no payments or anything.  well both of those events happened years ago.  and both of our cars have started to struggle (although my husband would argue with that).  his car is reaching 200,000 miles (and still kickin!  yay for hondas!) and my car had started to have a lot of problems - more problems than it was worth.  so we took the plunge in December and bought our first car!  such an adult thing to do.  and even crazier than that, we bought it on ebay!  i know i know.  but that's my husband for you.  he finds the best deal possible, does TONS of research - for months and months and months - (I love you babe) and then pulls the trigger.  he's a smart man you know.  one of the many thousand reasons i married him (yay me!).  so that's kinda how this went.  we test drove a similar car in Wilmington before making our purchase. we knew we wanted a small SUV and we love our car.  we really do.  but i'd be lying if i said it didn't come with a few disappointments.  

for starters, the back seat and back storage area are both a little smaller than we had hoped.  that's the main issue for little ole me.  because i ride back there at times now with baby G while Matt drives.  so it can get a little cramped.  also - there is no AC vent in the back on the ceiling leaving our tiny baby lady so sweaty despite the AC being on high.  so matt and i are looking at some options.  we may keep our car, because, like i said, we really do like it.  it's safe and does the job.  but we are also looking again.  and we are starting with chevys.  which leads me to some exciting news and a little secret i've been keeping.  for the next few months (starting NOW!) i will be collaborating with Jeff Gordan Chevrolet.  i'll be test driving some cars and writing honest reviews!  they aren't paying me or anything, just being kind enough to let me drive some cars.  so these reviews are all me yall.  no beating around the bush.  so excited to give yall straight-up opinions.  because buying a car is intense.  and scary.  and as a woman, i sometimes feel so clueless.  well no more!  so with that i will leave ya, but come back tomorrow because i'm reviewing my first car - a Chevrolet Equinox!

Have you had any experience car shopping lately?  Any tips or things I should be aware of?  Anything imparticular you would like for me to mention in the review? 

see yall tomorrow!!

ps - how pumped does gigi look about driving that equinox for the weekend?
she was bit emotional when we had to give it back....

xox


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Georgia lately.... in a lot of really cute outfits












gigi is in to EVERYTHING.  i can't take my eyes off of her for one second.  and oh sevilla.  sevilla we are sorry.  you will never get daytime sleep again.  and i still can't believe that we are one week and one day from g's one year birthday.  cue the tears.  oh but life is fun.  so fun.  and i am so thankful i get to wake up to her face every day.


also - little miss's nursery was featured on Southern Mama and Child yesterday!  oh the honor!  thank you so much britt.  if y'all haven't checked out this new site, it's a must!

and!  and!  voting is almost up!  so keep it up lovely readers!  your support is SO appreciated.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Q & A WITH GYPSY GIRL

Happy Friday!  I'm excited that the lovely ladies of Gyspy Girl are here for a little Q & A Sesh!  Y'all probably remember them from this post when I fell in love with their online shop.  Y'all check them out and remember to use the code GRATEFUL at checkout for 20% off your order!




Names: Melissa & Brooks (Owners)

Hometown:
M: Jacksonville, NC          
B: Chinquapin, NC

Current Town:
M: Jacksonville, NC
B: Wallace, NC

3 words that your family would use to describe you:
M: smart, independent, headstrong
B: fearless, strong-willed, giving

Your style in a few words: 
M: Simple and comfortable. I love pieces that can be changed with the addition of accessories, like jewelry or a scarf.
B: Versatile. I’m a style chameleon! I can go dressy for church, casually chic and bohemian on the weekends. I really love dressing for every occasion.

How did Gypsy Girl come to life?
M: Brooks and I are your typical “9 to 5” gals (though, who works those hours anymore? haha) working for the federal government. We are really grateful for our jobs, but the down side is we spend a lot of time behind a computer and processing lots of paperwork. We both have formal educations in Business Management and always wanted to start a business together, but we needed to find something that we could do while still maintaining our “day jobs.”
B: We spent our lunch breaks perusing shops and boutiques online, looking for great deals on the latest trends. More often than not though, the shopping interface was cumbersome and not as user friendly as it could be. And that’s when we thought, “we can do this!” An e-business was the perfect fit for us, because it enables us to have no overhead (a tremendous bonus for our customers, because we can literally pass the savings on to them).
M: We launched in November 2013.


Where is the name from?
B: I really loved the quote about the Gypsy Spirit which is this:  Someone who possesses a gypsy spirit is a person always in need of change and/or adventure. A gypsy spirit seeks the next best thing in any life situation. They can be very passionate and often inspired by different ideas, attitudes and experiences. Their sense of identity isn’t always sure of what they want out of life, but they are determined to find it.  So we wanted to incorporate the “gypsy” into our boutique name because it reminds us to always be open to what life throws at you.
M: Yes, expect the unexpected! And of course it just naturally rolls off the tongue, too! LOL




Your favorite piece on the site right now:
M: Curvy Peach Tank. It’s so cute with jeans or shorts, too!
B: Peacock dress. I love how you can wear just about any color cardigan to change up the look. It’s a very flattering dress, too.

What inspires you and fires you up?
M: I get inspired by people who take chances.
B: Jesus.

A day in the life:
M: Wake up at 6:30 am, get kids ready for day care/preschool and at work by 8. After work, it’s playtime with my toddlers, dinner, bath, movie time snuggles, and bed. I stay up way too late because the time I have between kids going to sleep and me going to sleep is sacred! It’s really the only time I have to spend on my own and with my hubby.
B: Alarm goes off at 4 am. Get ready for work. I have to stop by Starbucks. Every. Single. Day. I’m at work by 6 am. After my day job, I’m off to fulfill my “pastor’s wife duties,” in some way or another. We usually have a church activity, event, or meeting every night of the week. I’m usually in my pj’s by 11 pm each night.

When you aren’t filling orders and posting fabulous clothes on the Gypsy Girl Website what are you doing?
M:This is going to sound sad, but in my free time, I do things like steam mop the floors, shampoo the carpets in the house, and do laundry! I don’t really mind it though, because I feel so. much. better. when I have a clean house.  I like tending to my flower garden, too.
B: In my free time (ha!), I love to go fishing & kayaking. And of course, loving on my sweet babies, Jalen (a yellow lab) and Healer (a chocolate lab).

Favorite verse or quote:
M: Behind every successful woman is herself.
B: 2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”


What is one goal for Gypsy Girl?
M: Have fun.
B: To make people feel beautiful! And to encourage people to go outside their style comfort zone, try new things and discover their gypsy spirit.

In ten years you will be:
M: Taking a break! My kiddos will be 13 and 12, so hopefully I’ll be able to watch a movie from start to finish or maybe even blow dry my hair all the way through!
B: Preaching.

If you could pack your bags tonight and travel anywhere tomorrow where would you go?
M: I’m a Disney geek, so DISNEY WORLD!
B: Jamaica.


How can you not love these two sweet souls?!?!?!  Now that you know the heart of this shop, y'all go have fun and shop!  And remember to use the code GRATEFUL at checkout for 20% off!!



Thursday, July 17, 2014

life lately





test driving a beautiful Chevrolet Equinox courtesy of Jeff Gordon Chevy  (more to come on that amazing car next week!)  //  mesmerized at Kindermusik  //  soaking up some sun in our mismatched bathing suits #twins  //  
trying on some piggy tails at nanny's!


life lately has been FUN!  so fun.  we have been soaking up the sun, singing some songs, jammin out and just enjoying every drop of this summer before it passes us by.  when i went to making things happen last march, one of my big goals was to be intentional about how i spend every day.  i wanted to limit social media more, and really be present with baby G.  while i will forever be a work in progress, i have loved my first summer as a mom.  seeing everything through her innocent and wondrous eyes - it's magical y'all.  and i've got some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks that i cannot wait to share with you all!  

until then - pleaseeeeeee take a second a vote for me using the link below :)  find my picture (#12) and click on the heart at the top right of my picture!  you're the best!  xox