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. 

Five Reasons To Cheat On Your Old Toothbrush

Five Reasons To Cheat On Your Old Toothbrush

Oral B Professional 5000

I am like most women I know when it comes to making the health care decisions in the family: everyone looks to me.   My husband always says it’s because I am the one with the healthcare degree but I think that’s just an excuse.    So, anything related to health (including dental care) immediately becomes a “pink task” and is lobbed into my proverbial court. When Dad Central asked my husband to review Oral B’s new toothbrush, he asked me to give it a try (since I am the one with all of the dental health problems in the family.)

It just so happened, when the box arrived, that I had just  seen  my buddy, the dentist for a cleaning and <gasp> a new filling.  When I I told him about the Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 5000 trial, he was enthusiastic for me to try it because it would definitely keep me on the right track to exceptional oral health and leave me with the feeling of having a professional cleaning every day.  He even suggested that K, my daughter, brush our teeth together so we could take advantage of the fun timer.

So I raced home and immediately opened the package to discover what was inside.  My first thought?  This toothbrush and “gadgetry” is really overwhelming!  There, laying in a beautifully packaged box was the new Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide. I zoned in on the SmartGuide because it was digitally smiling (yes, smiling) at me as if I did something right by opening the box.

First, this is not your mother’s electric or power toothbrush.  The Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 5000 has all of the accouterments needed to maintain exceptional oral health.  It has multiple brush heads and a “state of the art ergonomic design.”  It has a really funky portable charger, travel toothbrush case, charging station, SmartGuide, and a rechargeable battery so it’s pretty easy with which to travel.  Still, I am not so convinced that I will take all of it to Africa with me this summer, despite its portability.

I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed with the huge  and extremely detailed manual that accompanies my new oral care “friend.”  Perhaps because I am truly a “Type A” personality, I sort of skimmed the manual and focused in on the highlights like the wireless SmartGuide which keeps you brushing for the mandatory 2 minutes by displaying a timer and a guide to help you brush the different quadrants of your mouth effectively.  Like most electric toothbrushes every 30 seconds you will feel a pulse indicating that you are supposed to change quadrants of your mouth.  But what we (K and I) really enjoyed was testing how the SmartGuide changed if I altered the pressure that I was applying to the brush.  If I pressed too hard, a “frowney” face would appear on the guide as a reminder to lighten up on the pressure.  And, when we finished brushing the 4 quadrants, the SmartGuide displayed a smiley face.  Yes, that type of positive reinforcement does impact my willingness to hang in there for the full 2 minutes of brushing.

Love the Happy Face!

Some other reasons for my newly acquired love of a toothbrush?

1.) So easy to set up and break down.  It took K and me two minutes to pull everything out of the box and start charging the toothbrush.  After a few hours, we were raring to go.

2.) A variety of choices in brushing modes: the user can choose whether or not she wants a regular daily clean, a sensitive one, whitening, massage and deep clean.  I have to admit, I stuck with the sensitive mode given my recent dental work.  Now that I have recovered, I think I will opt for the deep clean and try to avoid future work at the dentist’s office.

3) An o overwhelming number of pulsations and oscillations per minute: 40,000 pulsations and 8,800 oscillations per minute.  My face cleaner doesn’t even oscillate that much!

4) You feel like your teeth really got clean!  Yes, I still floss and rinse with mouthwash but at least when I am done committing the 2 minutes morning and night, I feel like I accomplished something!

5) Despite the fact that I am not taking my  new tooth brush to Africa with me, it is made for traveling.  The travel case is cool (so my room mates at the different conferences I attend won’t be able to make nasty comments about my toothbrush) and it has a great (and compact) portable charger.

Thanks to my husband and to Dad Central, K and my teeth are cleaner than ever. I have benefited from the whole  Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 5000 package, my teeth and gums are healthier than ever and she has fallen in love with the SmartGuide and can’t wait to use it with me.

Are you interested in trying the  Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 5000?  Oral-B is offering a $10 mail-in rebate on select power toothbrushes April 29th through June 16, 2012.   Please visit OralB.com for more information)



Just A Quick Note: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Dad Central Consulting on behalf of Oral-B and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.