Dreaming of the 2014 Kia Soul

Dreaming of the 2014 Kia Soul

What’s your dream car?  If you are a follower of my site you know that I happen to be in love with the Hyundai Santa Fe.  Until…. I test drove the new Kia Soul. Yes, you read correctly: 2014 Kia Soul.  My buddies at Drive STI asked me if I would reconsider my opinion about the 2013 version and try out the 2014 model.  Needless to say, I wasn’t prepared to love this car.  After all, it’s looks the same on the outside: Boxy and small but I was in for a great surprise when I actually got in the car and drive it.  The inside is totally new—funky, has lots of cool features and an overall  huge improvement over the 2013 iteration.


2014 Kia Soul

2014 Kia Soul

Remember how I said in my last post about the Kia Soul that “I couldn’t help feeling that I was driving a large box”? Well, with the 2014 version, I got over that feeling because as Lulu put it so eloquently: “This car is AWESOME!” The car comes with a standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine but we drove the more powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Unlike last year’s model, this Kia really kicked it on the highway. Remember how I felt like I was struggling to get up to speed when I drove the 2013 model?  Well, that was a feeling of the past.  I loved driving the 2014 Kia Soul on the highways (almost as much as I loved driving it on the Chicago streets.) Maybe I was so pleased because I enjoyed the high-quality, comfortable and supportive seats?  Or maybe I just enjoyed the heated steering wheel?


Great lighting and fun sunroof

Great lighting and fun sunroof

The cabin is roomy and, to be quite honest, I sort of forgot what car I was driving—I really felt like I was driving a luxury car.  There are quite a number of standard features including a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, satellite radio, USB and auxiliary inputs and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. The available UVO infotainment system keeps drivers connected and has an intuitive touch screen, test drivers say. Other available features include a backup camera, an Infinity sound system, navigation, push-button start, automatic climate control and a panoramic sunroof.


Let’s go back to the basic mom question: Is the Kia Soul the next Keats Family Car?

We loved this car. In fact, I practically begged Drive STI to loan it to me for another week.  At one point, Adam and I sort of bickered about who would get to drive the Kia Soul to the gym.  But, the car lacks the one characteristic that we still require: space.  Yes, the back does have ample room for groceries, golf clubs and suitcases but you can’t fit all of them in at the same time even if you fold down the backseats.  We still need a car that can carry all of our “junk” and contain our German Shepherd.  Unfortunately, the 2014 Kia Soul, a car that really was designed with urban dwellers without kids in mind, can’t be magically transformed into the latest iteration of the 1980’s version of the station wagon.  If that’s what you are looking for then this is not the car for your family.

But if you are looking for a reasonably priced, sporty car with tons of cool bonus features and aren’t in need of a lot of cargo room, then I absolutely endorse the 2014 Kia Soul.  Bottom line: We LOVED this car!


The Newer, More Slimmed Down,Sophisticated Kia Soul


Disclosure: I am not a car person; I don’t review cars for a living.  But I am a mom who is concerned about the safety of her family, is budget conscience and also takes pride in have a cool “mom-mobile. ”  All opinions and views with regard to this car review, the company that loaned it to me or the vehicle manufacturer are entirely mine and were not influenced, edited or even reviewed by the companies prior to posting. 

American Girl Exceeds Expectations With Expanded Bitty Baby Line!

American Girl Exceeds Expectations With Expanded Bitty Baby Line!


Well, American Girl has done it again! Introduced a new line of dolls that exceeds expectations! Actually, it’s not a new line, per se, but an expanded one: Bitty Baby®. American Girl has come out with 11 different Bitty Baby dolls with various skin tones and hair- and eye-color combinations. Now your youngest child can have a look alike doll of her own!


Last month, I was invited to a party hosted by Jenny Ingram & Danielle Smith at the flagship store, American Girl Place, in Chicago. The party was held after hours in the café and, as an added bonus, attendees were invited to shop. Realizing that Lulu’s 10th birthday is coming up this month, I decided to pick up a few things for her collection. (By the way, so did Adam!) We may have actually gone a bit overboard with the shopping.

Party Goers Unite: Adam, Jenny, Danielle & Me!

Party Goers Unite: Adam, Jenny, Danielle & Me!

What I bought Lulu:


What Adam bought her:

Saige's Hot Air Balloon!

Saige’s Hot Air Balloon!















What Windy City Momma bought Me:

mollyFine, fine, I’ll admit it! I bought the Molly McIntyre doll. But I have a good reason! The Molly line will be archived at the end of the year. Look, I understand that I am an adult and have NO NEED for American Girl dolls but to my defense, I am still a little heartbroken that I didn’t buy the Samantha doll when I had the chance.



Little did I know that the express purpose of the party was to unveil the updated line of Bitty Babies!

So after I got the shopping spree under control and felt that I could focus on the party, I was immediately distracted by the impressive collection of bitty babies lining the table. “That’s funny,” I thought, “when we bought Lulu’s Bitty Baby few years ago, there weren’t so many choices of dolls.” Seven years ago, we selected the dark haired doll with a light complexion and brown eyes  because that was the doll that most closely resembled our daughter.   Now look at them!

As of TODAY (!) August 27th, 2013, families will have more choices for their younger children (recommended for ages 3 and up). With so many new options to choose from, children can experience that very special moment when he or she selects a Bitty Baby doll that’s just right—no settling for one that’s almost perfect. (I know that the dolls are marketed to girls but, to be quite honest, I don’t see a reason that a little boy can’t love a Bitty Baby as much or more than little girls, can you?) Also, the Bitty Baby doll comes dressed in a signature sleeper and has a special “wishing star” keepsake toy. As an added bonus, the Bitty Baby package also contains a book, “Bitty Baby and Me” the first in a series of five hardcover picture books that inspire fun ways to play.


If you are familiar with the previous line of Bitty Baby books, you may remember that they were really small (perfect for little hands) but not so easy to manage by Moms and Dads. It’s hard to read a story to a toddler when you can barely turn the page! Now, the Bitty Baby line of books has been revamped and includes beautiful illustrations. These larger picture books are filled with heartwarming adventures and are the perfect addition to any young child’s library.


So, did I get a new Bitty Baby? Yes, I did. This one has light brown hair, green eyes and is fair skinned. He looks remarkably like what I imagined Adam looked like when he was a baby. As soon as I saw that doll, I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. Wouldn’t you?

For more information, on the awesome things going on this summer and fall, please visit the American Girl website: americangirl.com

I was not paid for this post. But, I did receive one of the new Bitty Babies as a gift from attending the event.