Tuesday, January 17, 2017

TOO Cute Tuesday: Linky Par-Tay! #320

Do you watch Sherlock on Masterpiece? So good! It drives me
crazy that there are only three episodes per season. I would love
for it to be on year round, but alas, no dice. So, I guess I will
have to rewatch all four seasons on Netflix!

Now onto TOO Cute Tuesday!

What did you make this week that is TOO Cute??
Come link up!

  • Must be made by you.
  • Link up to the specific post - not your main blog.
  • No Etsy shops or giveaways please :)
  • Please post the button or link back here so more people can join in the fun.
  • Visit some of the other participants and leave them some LOVE!
TOO Cute Tuesday will be open Tuesday-Saturday.
On Saturday or Monday I'll highlight some of my favorites
and then we'll start over on Tuesday!

This post brought to you by:

I changed the linky party so that the most recently uploaded project will show up as number one. This way everyone gets a chance on top. So, look in the first spot for your project, not at the end. Thanks!!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Orange You Glad I'm 8: Isabella's Baptism

Over the holidays my little Isabella celebrated her 8th birthday and had her baptism.
She loves all things orange and so we used orange balloons in the pictures she had taken
by my good friend Syl Galloway. They matched the orange ends of her hair very nicely.
So, when we were deciding what to do for her baptism, we thought it would be fun to
use the theme "Orange You Glad I'm 8".

I made her invitations in Photoshop using the pictures that Syl took of her in November.
It was fun to use the accents of orange to match the balloons. It was fun to see her
spunky personality come out in the photos and on the invitation.

On her baptism day she wore the same white dress that my youngest sister wore
on her baptism day. It's a beautiful Hawaiian dress and I loved that she got
to share in the tradition of using the same dress just like my niece did. And I
love it so much more than the jumpsuits that are usually worn.

Her hair was my favorite! I wanted something that we could do before and it
would survive the dunk of the baptism. I didn't want her to look like a drowned rat
after, but I also didn't want to spend the time drying and styling it. When I found
perfect. It took me about 45 minutes to do. The CGH lady said like 15 minutes,
but she's more adept with hair twisting than I am!

I love how the orange peaks out every once in a while and adds a little bit of her
orange-loving personality to her hairstyle. It weathered the baptism perfectly and her
hair looked quite lovely the entire rest of the day.

It's tradition for my parents to give a white baptism towel as a gift, but she was so busy
with the amazing quilt she was making, I ordered one on Etsy this time. I was pleased
to find HuckleberryStew! She had quick turn around time and I could choose an
orange CTR shield the towel in addition to her name and baptism date.

I also made her a guest book for friends and family to write her a note so she could have
a record of all the wonderful people that came to celebrate with her. I used the photos
that Syl took and had the book printed by Shutterfly. It was a good way to also let
Isabella have her pictures from shoot with Sylvia all together and be able to look at
them whenever she wants to remember her special day.

We served light refreshments after the baptism - or course with an orange theme!
I made number eight sugar cookies and my sister and I frosted them with orange
buttercream frosting. I was going to frost them with royal frosting, but Isabella informed
me that it wasn't her favorite and so we changed plans. We also had orange lollipops,
orange Airheads, orange licorice, Cuties and white powdered donuts. I made cute
wraps for the water bottles that said "Orange You Glad I'm 8!"

And do you see the quilt?! I asked my mom 3 years ago when JT got baptized if she 
would make Isabella a baptism quilt. When she came to visit this summer we worked
together to make a rough sketch of what I was thinking and what Isabella would like.
It turned out even more beautiful that I could have imagined. I will share more pictures
of it later along with more pictures of her dress!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Home for the Holidays: The 2017 Mazda 6 GT #DriveMazda

Isn't the 2017 Mazda 6 GT beautiful!?! It has been a long time since I've driven 
anything that doesn't carry a small army of people and it was so fun! I love that it was 
easy to park in small spaces, I love the smooth drive thanks to the  
Skyactiv Technology and I LOVED the Soul Red Metallic paint job and the 
19-inch alloy wheels. It was the perfect vehicle for me to zip around town to get 
ready for Christmas and my daughter's 8th birthday and all the family the that came to 
town for her big day.

Like the other Mazda vehicles that I've had the chance to test drive, the Mazda 6 GT 
also has the advance keyless entry system that unlocks when the key is in 
proximity and you put your hand on the handle. I appreciate the easy of opening the 
door when  you have a wiggly toddler, groceries and diaper bag in hand. It's so nice 
not to have to fish the key out of my purse. I just get close, put my hand in the handle, 
pull and POOF! it's open! I couldn't believe all the rear trunk space in the Mazda 6 GT
My 11-year-old climbed in and was like - "Look, Mom! I can fit in here!" He really could! 
And he's not a small child. I had no trouble loading the stroller, groceries, last minute 
Christmas gifts and umbrellas and jackets for all the rain we've had this last month.

Since we're a family of five that used to driving a minivan and having plenty of space for
the "don't touch me"s that happen with kids, I was worried that a four-door car would
have my older two belly-aching. However, the Mazda 6 GT was so nice and roomy 
inside. My husband is even picky about the front passenger leg room and he got in and
said, "Wow, this has really great space." And it really does! That's my not-your-average
11-year-old behind the driver's side seat and look at all his leg room! My seat is all the
way back and the seat isn't smashing his knees.

Here's the back seat with no on inside so you can see how roomy it looks. The leather
trimmed sport seats were nice and cushy and I loved the parchment color. In the GT
model you even get heated seats in the back! It was chilly over the holidays and my
middle child really appreciated that she could have a heated seat too! The control for
the heated seat is in the middle drop down console. 

During the holiday break there were SO MANY MORE people on the road and in the
parking lots doing their last minute shopping and preparation. So I really appreciated
Smart City Brake Support that helps detect objects ahead of you when traveling 
between about 2 and 18 mph. It prepares your vehicle by adjusting the brake pads 
closer to the disc and if you don't take action, then the brakes are automatically applied.

When we took one last visit to Knott's Berry Farm before our annual passes expired, I
appreciated the Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring that helps detect objects in your 
blind spot and alerts you with a chime and a light. The Mazda 6 GT's 184 
horsepower 4-cylinder engine had great acceleration and pick-up I did found the 
engine noise loud at start up, but it seemed to settled down once it was all warmed up. 

The Active Driving Display is still my favorite feature that Mazda offers for the
Mazda 6 GT.  Just like in the 2016 Mazda CX-9 It displays out in front of you as you 
drive  and lets you keep your eyes on the road. It gives all your safety warnings, your 
speed, the speed limit, and you navigation directions. I would love to see all makes and 
models have this option in the future. It really feels like a Jetsons kind of technology and
I think it helps keep your focus on what matters, driving! 

I also have to admit the heated steering wheel was pretty fantastic! I know that I
don't have many days of the year when it's needed here in Orange County, but I used
it every day during my test drive and it was so cozy and such a nice touch to the luxury
of the Mazda 6 GT. I thought the dashboard display and console were beautiful. The
7-inch color touch-screen display has been present in each of the other 
Mazdas that we've test driven for Drive Shop and I think its crystal clear picture is 
easy to use.

We took the Mazda 6 GT to our favorite neighborhood for Christmas lights and we got
a lot of "oohs and ahs" for it's gorgeous exterior. The LED headlights with 
auto on/off  were bright and made it easy to see when driving at night. We even 
opened up the power moon roof to make the experience all that more exciting and 
fun. And of course we blasted the Christmas music thanks to the  
Sirius Satellite Radio and amazing Bose sound system to keep get us in the mood.

The 2017 Mazda 6 GT has an MSRP of $34,530. It was a pleasure to drive and I think
it would be perfect as the primary vehicle for a family of five or smaller that isn't
interested in driving an SUV or a minivan. It would also make a great second vehicle
for commuting with its 30 MPG city and 35 MPG highway fuel economy
The one thing I did miss was an audible alert when your are backing up and get too 
close to an object. There is a back-up camera and the picture is beautiful in the 
7-inch monitor, but it's missing the warning sound that I would expect a vehicle of 
this caliber to have.

Be sure to check out my video review on my YouTube Channel and let me know what
your favorite thing is about the 2017 Mazda 6 GT


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