Travel

2017 Hyundai Elantra

As I mentioned in my previous, post the family and I went away to the beautiful Kalahari.  This trip was about 2 hours from our house, and traveling with kids you want comfort in a vehicle.  I had the opportunity to take the 2017 Hyundai Elantra on the road for this trip. It’s a small compact car, but was actually comfortable. The passenger space in the back was small but comfortable and standard.  This car is perfect for a couple that is just starting out or maybe for a college graduate. 

Pros: 
  • Quiet, comfortable cabin, especially at highway speeds
  • Lots of available technology and safety features
  • Classy and thoughtfully laid-out interior design
Cons:
  • Underwhelming performance from base engine
  • Dual-clutch transmission feels clunky during slow-speed acceleration 
  • More steering effort required than in most cars in this class
  • Limited cabin space 

Luxury car technology

Elantra is the compact sedan with just about every popular luxury and technology feature. Available features include: Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay™, navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen with segment-first Clari-Fi™ Music Restoration Technology and rearview camera, plus Smart Cruise Control, just to name a few.

Safety is key, especially being a parent of 2 little ones. The Elantra has Seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag. The list of advanced safety features is long and impressive, and includes available Blind Spot Detection and Automatic Emergency Braking with segment-first Pedestrian Detection—a feature not offered on most compact class sedans.

Thanks at Driveshop for providing me with the opportunity. Visit https://www.hyundaiusa.com/ for more information.  

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Travel

2017 Lexus RX 350

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Lexus has been on my list of different car brands to try.  I have always been in love with the style of the car. They have sleek looks on all their models. When I got this opportunity to be able to try the Lexus RX I was excited. This car is just beautiful, providing you with so much.

RX 350 is a pleasant place to spend a long road trip. It has comfy seats with available intelligent heating and cooling.  The cabin is quiet and relaxing, and the ride smooth.
The rear seats have plenty of room for passengers and they recline, which my kids were super excited about.
The 2017 Lexus RX 350 comes with a generous list of standard features, including automatic dual-zone climate control, satellite radio with real-time traffic information, a nine-speaker sound system, a liftgate, a rearview camera, proximity key entry, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch display, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. The 2017 RX has the standard Lexus Safety System, which includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, and lane keep assist.
Available features include rear cross traffic braking, a panoramic moonroof, blind spot monitoring, a multi-angle camera, smartphone integration, navigation, park assist, a hands-free power liftgate, a dual-screen DVD entertainment system, a 12- or 15-speaker audio system, and sport-tuned suspension.

2017 Lexus RX 350 Safety Features

  • Driver Air Bag
  • Passenger Air Bag On/Off Switch
  • Passenger Air Bag
  • Rear Air Bag
  • Side Head Air Bag
  • Rear Head Air Bag
  • Side Air Bag
  • Rear Body Air Bag
  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • ABS
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • 4-Wheel Drum Brakes
  • Front Disc/Rear Drum Brakes
  • Brake Assist
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Auto-On Headlights
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Child Safety Locks
  • Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors
  • Night Vision
  • Adjustable Pedals
  • Rollover Protection System
  • Front Tow Hooks
  • Rear Tow Hooks
  • Traction Control
  • Emergency Trunk Release
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Auto-Leveling Headlights
  • Lane Departure Warning
It gets above-average fuel economy for its class. 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive. Fuel economy drops just a bit to 19/26 mpg city/highway with all-wheel-drive models.
All in all I give this car a 9 out of 10. I’m just in love with what Lexus has to offer and I can’t wait to tryout other models and maybe even do a video for you.
Visit http://www.lexus.com/models/RX for more information.
Travel

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

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December has been such a busy month from holiday shopping to TV segments and events.  While doing all this running around, I had the opportunity to try out the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.  My opinion on this car before I go into the break down, is it’s a great little inexpensive vehicle with many uses.

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has a four-cylinder base engine, and a five-speed manual and automatic transmission is standard.  The acceleration on this is not on the strong side, and perhaps that’s my real complaint.  It’s a 24/31 mpg city/highway with the CVT. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. The Outlander Sport’s ride is smooth and comfortable.

The cabin design I thought could use some updating, but both rows of seats are supportive and somewhat roomy.   The infotainment system is generally easy to use, although the one I drove did not have navigation which made things a little harder.  The Outlander Sport has good cargo capacity for the class.

 Available features include push-button start, a panoramic sunroof, automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and a navigation system with a 7-inch touch screen and voice recognition.
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The 2016 Outlander Sport has 21.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 49.5 with them folded. The available panoramic sunroof was pretty cool, and one of the biggest ones I have seen; although it does not open. The trunk was perfect for all the shopping or traveling that some of us have to do. 
All in all I give this a 6 out of 10.

Travel

Six Flags Great Adventure

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Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the biggest amusement parks in the world; with one of the largest roller coaster collections in the world.  It’s a place where Looney Tunes meet DC superheroes in a park filled with exhilarating rides.  If you’re a die-hard roller coaster enthusiast you will love six flags.  I love the fact that it does have a great selection of kiddie rides as well, but the rides are not all that it has to offer.   

My kids had such a great time but hands down their favorite parts were the animals.  We had the opportunity to have a private meet and greet with some adorable animals like Asian otters, sea lions (which were my favorite) and even got close to a male lion cub which was behind a cage, but we still got closer than you would in a zoo. 

Rocco the cub was abandon by his parents so the park took him in and cared for him.  After our meet and greets we went over to the safari ride.  I love that the park staff takes us through the safari giving us details on pretty much all the animals, on a mini tour around the world.  We even got to feed the giraffes, which is always an amazing experience.  

In the warmer months the waterpark opens, and at the holidays the fun doesn’t stop.  For more information visit  https://www.sixflags.com/greatadventure

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Food!! · Travel

Key West Largo

Key West

A favorite destination for Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Buffett, and many more, Key West

is known for its palm lined streets and fish that is fresh enough to draw any committed

culinary traveler. With a distinct mixture of cultures, the island is not only home to a

strong seafood scene, but a tantalizing fusion of cuisines. At night, the street a lit up

with vibrant sidewalk cafes that lure in passersby with delicious scents of their

specialties. Live music and hopping bars are the perfect pairings to watch the sunset

into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Florida Keys is home to five districts, each with their own personality and

attractions that make visitors feel like they are a world away. The southernmost

paradise, Key West, is just miles from Cuba and is home to an enviably temperate

climate and a delicious array of fresh seafood set to a beautiful backdrop. Bringing

together a multitude of cultures that have made Key West home during its history, Key

West’s food scene has delicious flavors, like African and Cuban, that are difficult to find

anywhere else in the US.

As a guide to the restaurant and seafood landscape, Paul Menta of Three Hands Fish

gave us the lowdown. A professional chef and community advocate, with long locks and

a chill attitude that makes him seem more like a pro kite surfer, which he also is, Paul is

the perfect person to talk to to find out the secret dining spots of Key West. The Philly

native began his culinary career in Spain and France and eventually came to Key West

to continue his love for competitive kite surfing. An athlete, distiller, chef, and

entrepreneur, Paul has made it his mission to tap into all Key West has to offer.

His most recent venture, Three Hands Fish is a community supported fish market in Key

West. Its members, chefs and homecooks,

have access to the freshest fish, shrimp,

stone crabs, and lobster that come in on the docks. As Paul describes it, the first hand

is the hand of the fisherman, the second the market, and the third is when the fish

makes it into the hands of the individual or restaurant. Paul is proud of his market as it

brings local, traceable seafood to the people with plenty of variety to avoid over fishing a

specific species.

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Key West has seafood unlike anywhere in the world and the crucial ingredient is the

water. The Gulf of Mexico mixes with the Atlantic ocean making a perfect nursery for a

plethora of fish, crab, and lobster. Not to mention, the fishermen of the region have

come together to create a sustainable plan for the future of their industry, naturally

controlling overproducing

populations that threaten to take over the ecosystem.

“Not only are visitors able to jump on the boat for themselves and go fishing in some of

the clearest waters, but they are able to sit back and relax, knowing they can find the

same fresh fish in local restaurants,” says Paul.

If you are looking for a taste of the freshest seafood right on the dock, Paul suggests

visiting The Stoned Crab restaurant. This restaurant serves up some of the best of what

Key West is known for, the stone crab, but they also do it in a stunning setting with an

unbeatable view of the water. The moment you set foot in the restaurant you will feel as

if you have traveled back in time to the 1950s. Housed in a resort built in 1956, the

restaurant keeps alive the tradition of the fishermen bringing their catches straight to

their dock, something that is no longer happening in other areas. And if you are looking

for a place to stay, Paul recommends Ibis Bay Resort, which is home to The Stoned

Crab and also has a retro feel. Stop in for fun cocktails and great seafood the restaurant

catches themselves. Head here for stone crab, lobster, Key West shrimp, and more

local fish. Be ready for a good time at The Stoned Crab!

For the diehard

cooks, go for a ride on a private charter to catch the freshest fish for

yourself. Paul recommends Lucky Fleet, chartered by Captain Moe, to take you on this

adventure and help guide you in hooking the best seasonable seafood. Moe has been

fishing the waters around Key West for over 30 years and knows his way around.

Whether you are an avid deep sea fisher or this is your first time, Captain Moe will take

you on a great adventure not just a boat ride. From sailfish to tuna or grouper, they will

lead you to the right spot.

To learn how to prepare the seafood you just caught, take a class at Isle Cook where

Paul himself will teach you how to cook local recipes and healthy meals with seafood.

“Being a chef and commercial fisherman I can tell you there is no better teacher of how

to use, care for, store, cook and eat a product than a fishermen. They have ideas and

techniques that most chefs would die for….but they have to ask…..so we spread the

word to them,” says Paul.

When visiting Key West, be sure to try fish you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Considered local to Key West are the Hogfish, Mangrove Snapper, and as of late the

Lion Fish. Paul’s favorite? The Hogfish. This fish is caught by spear fishing, which is a

fun challenge to try. Speared yourself or not, Paul suggests serving the fish whole and

affectionately calls it the Key West Turkey, stuffed with lobster, onions, and herbs.

While you may have heard of Key West’s conch fritters, which is fried conch meat that

actually native to the Caribbean, Paul prefers to make grouper fritters. Fisherman of Key

West are able to catch the grouper right off the coast, so this is a true local specialty.

Similar to the conch fritter, the grouper is mixed with onions carrots and a traditional Key

West seafood seasoning by Key West Spice Company that is made of celery seed, salt,

paprika, and red pepper. It is simple, but fresh grouper doesn’t need an overpowering of

flavors. Once the batter is made, Paul fries the fish balls until golden and enjoys them

inside of a sandwich or as an appetizer by the water.

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Grouper Fritters

Author: Paul Menta

Ingredients

● 1 pound Grouper

● ½cup Onions

● ½cup Carrots

● 1½Tablespoons Key West seafood seasoning

● 1 Egg yolk

● 2 Tablespoons Key lime juice

● ½cup Flour

● Coconut oil, for frying

Instructions

1. Chop up, or use food processor, grouper.

2. Fine dice, onions, carrots and mix with grouper.

3. Add key west seafood seasoning, about 1½ tablespoon

4. Mix all together with 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of key lime juice.

5. Add ½ cup of flour until mixture starts to form a batter.

6. Use a spoon to make balls, fry in coconut oil till brown or bake in the oven

on sheet tray.

7. As a sandwich filling instead of an appetizer, make the rounds larger.

 

Food!! · Travel

The Woodlands Resort

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This past weekend my husband and I celebrated out 10 year wedding anniversary and 15 years of togetherness. We had the pleasure of visiting The Woodlands Resort in Wilkes barre PA.  Upon arriving we didn’t know what to expect, but once we walked inside it was like stepping into another world.  It was like a 4 star hotel with beautiful and contemporary decor.  The staff was super friendly.  

We stayed in one of the stream side suites with a beautiful view of the stream, and what Mother Nature has to offer. We wanted to explore the resort immediately, so we headed over to Crescenzo’s pizza and bar restaurant for a drink.  Afterwards we saw that there was a night club in the resort along with a live band down stairs.  Woodlands also offers a big jacuzzi and pool for guests, as well as a fitness center. That night we decide to go back to Crescenzo’s for dinner.   We ordered a bottle of wine and had some salad, pizza and chocolate cake.  The food was delicious.  Afterwards we decided to head to the club and checkout the band. 

This resort was so much fun.  I can’t wait to come back with friends.  For more information or to book a fun getaway visit http://thewoodlandsresort.com/

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Travel

Crystal Springs Resort Grand Cascades Lodge

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I had the pleasure of taking my family to Crystal Springs resort’s the Grand Cascades lodge. Upon arrival to the resort you traverse a beautiful road up to the top of a mountain, but this is after passing fields of Sunflowers and arriving in the town of Hamburg, New Jersey. This place is huge with views all around that are breath taking. I can only imagine the scenery in the fall with all the beautiful trees around.  Check in was pretty quick.  The bellmen and valet service were super friendly and ready to take your belongings to your room.

We arrived at our 1 bedroom suite. This looked more like an apartment with everything that you need from a full functional kitchen to a washer and dryer all in your room. My favorite part of this room would have to be the tempurpedic mattress. It was like sleeping on clouds. We also had a private balcony with a table and chairs. The bathroom was huge with a jet bath tub and a walk in shower. There were 2 sinks which makes it very convenient; especially while getting ready.

After check in we headed out to explore the beautiful pools: Biosphere Pool Complex With 2 exotic free-form heated pools, spacious hot tub, water slide & sunken tropical aquarium; and the Vortex pool with sauna & heated outdoor pool. After all the fun in the pools we went back to freshen up. We made reservations to dinner at Springs bistro. The hostess greeted us and sat us outside with a beautiful view of ten sunset. Our waitress (Breanne) was super helpful and very attentive. Dinner was absolutely amazing hats off to the chef. Springs bistro has an amazing wine list. Which we found out that grand cascades has a wine cellar and offers tours. Which I can’t wait to come back and tour. After dinner we headed over to do some night putt putt glow in the dark golf. The kids loved it. They also offer s’mores on the patio at night. Then we went for another walk around the resort before retiring for the evening. This place is filled with activities and things to do and see.
The following day we headed over to Crystal Tavern and enjoyed a delicious breakfast including truffle scrambled eggs, fresh squeezed juice and baked eggs with chorizo and avocado. After breakfast we checked out and headed over to our “mountain top experience” package. The shuttle picked us up and took us over to Minerals Resort. Another shuttle arrived and took us up the mountain from there. We arrived at this little paradise on the lake. We did some archery, paddle boat, canoeing, fishing, and just enjoyed the little lake beach area. All and all this was an amazing experience one that I want to return to. There is so much more I want to see and do there. For all the golf players and lovers out there this is the 3rd largest golf resort in the world. This is a must visit with or without kids. A fun family getaway or a romantic experience. For more information visitwww.crystalgolfresort.com

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