When I told someone I was invited to San Diego for an event with Kia, they asked me what Kia had to do with my blog. Fair question. I am not an automative journalist in the traditional sense. I absolutely care about safety ratings, comfort, features, and miles per gallon. However, I am also a mother of 5 girls and let me tell you that often the difficult and important conversations happen in the car. And we are in the car a lot.
We’re a sports and dance family. Not only do all my children play a sport, but my two oldest are now in travel sports which means tournaments in other cities and states. Sometimes the sacrifices to watch them play are great, but being able to see them do what they love from the bleachers make it worth it.
One of the most difficult things about having a large family is finding one-on-one time with each child. It’s often a source of guilt for me. Am I spending enough time with each of my daughters?
Conversations in the Kia Niro
I realized that car time absolutely counts. Since my two oldest children sometimes have tournaments on the same weekends, my husband, and I have to split up and each take one. This is where we get to talk without the ears and opinions of little sisters.
It’s here I find out about crushes, friend issues, homework troubles, favorite teachers, and dreams for the future. My teen can’t avoid me in the car! However, it’s also in this space where it feels like she doesn’t want to avoid me.
I recently fell even more in love with the Kia Niro on a volleyball trip with my oldest daughter and her friend. The Kia Niro is a fun, subcompact crossover vehicle that gets amazing gas mileage (up to 52 mpg in the city!) while also offering enough room for teenagers and their volleyball equipment, bags, and luggage.
When I traveled to San Diego to learn more about #TheNewKia, I was already impressed by a brand that was winning all kinds of awards. However, not only did they impress me further, but I also learned more lessons I can share with my daughters in our car ride conversations.
Choose Good Friends and Put Yourself Out There
As I listened to these two girls giggle in the backseat on our way out of state, my heart smiled. Good friends are so important and can be hard to find. I knew a handful of people going to the Kia event, and I was a little nervous. Sure we chatted online, but how would that translate in person?
Well as soon as I walked in to the Hard Rock Hotel, everyone was so kind and warm. I checked in, and saw Victoria sitting down. I recognized her from online and mutual friends. I could have walked on by and not said anything, but I chose to stop and say hello, and she was equally friendly and receptive. I always tell my kids to smile and say hello. The worst that could happen is the other person snubs you or is rude, and then what? Well their loss, and you know they wouldn’t make a good friend anyway.
The people Kia chose to invite were extraordinary. I made new friends, connected with old ones, and wish I had more time to connect with the incredibly talented people there. When food, fast cars, karaoke, dancing, and photo booths are involved, laughs and memories are a guarantee.
Stay True to Who You Are
I’ve always been a little different – a grown woman who loves Disney, Latina, big family, Mormon, doesn’t drink alcohol, coffee, or tea. Growing up, I wasn’t necessarily proud of all those things. It was a time when I wanted so desperately to fit in and blend in with the crowd.
At our first dinner in San Diego, I remember a friend asking me to come over and have a drink. It was a gesture of inclusion. For a split second I thought, what will happen when I say no? Would people think I was weird or unfriendly? Would they not like me anymore? For a second, I felt what my daughters and their friends feel as they navigate life without the experience and confidence that I have in my almost 40 years of life. Afterwards, people were still kind, were still warm, and still wanted to bust a move with me on the dance floor.
I loved when my friend, Taty from Cool Moms Cool Tips, agreed to come with me on a visit to the San Diego LDS Temple. It was a quick visit, but I couldn’t be in the area and not go. It’s one of my favorite temples and reminds me who I am. And I got to drive the amazing Kia Stinger there! Not gonna lie. I felt pretty hawt.
During a presentation by Kia, I remember them saying to not let anyone change who we are. They appreciate our stories and the way we tell them. So daughters of mine, stay true to who you are. The good ones will love you for it; the ones who don’t aren’t worth having in your circle.
So there was a video challenge. I’m pretty competitive. Not as much as my friend Amy, from As the Bunny Hops, but if I’m gonna commit, I’m gonna commit.
Long story short – groups of 4, make a carpool karaoke type video, 90 seconds, props, stairs, YouTube choreography, Spice Girls, donuts, outfit changes, Amy’s mad editing skills – we won! As James Bell, Director of Corporate Communications at Kia, announced the winning video, he called our video fearless.
And you know what? We were. Yes, we were in it to win it, but more importantly we gave our whole hearts. Fear of embarrassment, ridicule, side eye, or whatever could have stopped us from being absolutely ridiculous. But our support of each other caused us to throw fear to the side.
Here’s the video that won us bragging rights and some awesome Harman Kardon wireless headphones. Our group consisted of me, Taty, Amy, and Amanda.
Kia’s story isn’t so different. They started off with zero media outlets at their first press conference. Beginnings were humble. But they have worked without fear, not giving up and now can boast many awards for quality, safety, and reliability. The more I learn about their story, the more I realize what we have in common.
And I seriously want that Kia Niro.
I look forward to more conversations with my daughters and family in the car and many more miles on the road. Here’s to friendships, working hard, and being proud of who we are.
Thank you to Kia for inviting me to #TheNewKia event, providing airfare and accommodations, and being a kick-butt company. All opinions about lusting over vehicles are my own.