Category Archives: The good life

Road trip movie list

Many have asked me how Julian and I kept our sanity driving West coast to East coast this summer and back.

I know everybody thinks being stuck in a car with kids for hours on end is terrible but I thought that was the easiest part. Finding decent food on highways is much harder then spending time with family on them. Of course I could tell you that I discussed answer to life, the Universe, and Everything ( which we all know is 42 ) with my kid for hours but I did enlist some electronic help occasionally. Not to say we didn’t have some fantastic conversations, punch countless bugs and other fun activities. But I also gave Julian my iPad and found some great things for him to watch while we drove through less exciting landscapes. Kansas for example is a 3 movie drive in itself!

Although I mostly let Julian wear my fancy wireless headsets while watching movies I admit to asking him to stream Despicable me through car stereo because it’s too much fun not to. You know the jokes are good when you are not seeing the story yet laugh listening to it.

Another huge winner was Planet Earth: The Complete Collection. I grew up watching Mr. Attenborough’s documentaries so I found listening to his narration really soothing. We pulled over at a rest stop once just so I could watch a beetle in Sahara desert struggle with his new acquired camel dung. Netflix also suggested to us Moonrise Kingdom ( I am convinced they follow me on Twitter and must know we are obsessed with Wes Anderson ) which although Julian saw last summer he loved seeing again. It’s not until you listen to Anderson’s movies without watching them that you realize he is not only a visual genius but his music choices and impeccable silence pauses are perfectly combined in movies too! Another fantastic film we found was ‘On the way to school’ – a must see for any school aged child! Also ‘Living on one dollar’. Honestly if you have your child’s attention for a couple of hours it is the best time to show them the real world. Both these were inspiring and humbling and truly a must see.

I had no problem however with Julian wearing headsets when watching LEGO movies. Who knew there were that many of them? And yes, I absolutely let him catch up on all the episodes of Clone Wars. Sometimes a girl just needs a little peace and quiet while driving to daydream and decorate my little cabin in the woods concentrate on the road.

All and all there was never a moment I hated being in the car with my family during this road trip. Some stretches were boring to drive but never was there boredom in the car. Bruce napped, Julian and I talked, Max looked out the window and trucks kept passing me ( because apparently I am one of the few people on Earth who actually drives only 10 miles over the speed limit ). Sure, I love to fly but sometimes it really is all about the journey. And having the right apps.

Volvo V60 Cross Country in Utah

I remember when I was my son Julian’s age, my friends and I spent lots of time imagining what our lives would be like when we grew up. It was a game we spent hours at. Even then, we had ideas of what we wanted. A house, a family, cars, jobs.

While my friends had no trouble choosing where they wanted to live, who to marry, and how many children to have, I always struggled. As far as my imagination could take me, I had a Newfoundland dog, the best skis money could buy, and a job that took me places. I couldn’t really commit to marriage and family, and I certainly couldn’t have a fancy sports car because I had my big, imaginary dog. And my skis! Maybe that’s where my love for station wagons was born. Because ever since then, I’ve imagined myself in a family vehicle going up the mountain in the snow.

It didn’t turn out quite like I imagined—at least, not at first. I spent my twenties traveling the world single, so I drove smaller, sporty cars dealers always pushed on me. One time I took a big family van for a test drive, and the car salesman wouldn’t stop chatting about my family, so I had to invent a husband, three kids, and a nanny. Yep. Things I did for my dream car…

So when Volvo asked me to take their new ( V60 Cross Country for a spin last week I said yes before they finished their invitation. Not sure if they took my neighbor for lunch and asked her everything about me, but when they delivered the car it was

a) White – my favorite color (with a pearly shine!!)
b) Had a beautiful Volvo kid’s car seat – which Julian said was super comfy
c) Came with dog equipment in the trunk so you can secure your canine during travels
d) Has all wheel drive

Pretty much my childhood dream car except it was very handsome with curves in all the right places.

We had to do this beauty justice and take it for a proper spin. Utah’s slogan these days is “Life Elevated,” so that’s where we explored. Because remember: ALL WHEEL DRIVE!!

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As soon as I sat in the car, it asked me if it could please connect to my iPhone. The rest was history. (I love my iPhone.) Anyone who makes friends with my favorite accessory—or as Julian calls it, “mommy’s brain”—is a friend of mine. My V60 Cross Country picked up my music playlist, my phone calls, and directions. All that on a beautiful, clear screen that wasn’t distracting at all when I drove.

The interior is fancy, sleek, and comfortable. The air-conditioning, which is a must for my dogs, is fast and pleasant. Further, I felt like I could see everywhere I needed to—no dreaded blind spots us moms hate so much in bigger and higher family vehicles. If you ever had to back out of your kid-friendly suburban driveway, you know exactly what a blind spot anxiety attack feels like.

Speaking of backing up, the camera that kicks in when you reverse is amazing and so detailed. Just look at these pretty flowers that popped up on my screen when I was doing a three point turn on the dirt road.

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Volvo also told me about every movement on my side of the car, which I appreciate since I get taken over by trucks a lot. Don’t judge.

We drove up dirt roads in search of Utah’s ghost towns. The car handles well, and even on gravel and in fields it doesn’t lose its sportiness, even while it give you that warm and fuzzy feeling that you got this. I would love to take this car skiing. It seems perfectly unfazed by the challenges of the mountains.

Despite my well known affinity to drive the speed limit all the time, which my son likes to reinforce from the backseat, I couldn’t resist going to the Salt Flats. I mean, a little slice of heaven with the most perfect scenery and no speed limit? It had to be done!

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I could tell you I am pretty confident we broke the world speed record in best family car category. I could admit to some donuts and rooster tails. I might even show you photographic proof. But bragging is not my thing. Let’s just say I allowed my dogs to stick their head out the window for the first time ever in their lives and experience the wind blowing away their slobber. And they loved it.

After all this adventuring, with tons of salt and dirt on everyone’s feet and the car what impressed me the most is that the Volvo stayed so pretty. Seriously, this is after driving all day both on dirt roads, highway, and Bonneville speedway:

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The leather seats wiped off all the salt easily and we were good to go back to Salt Lake City. I started running out of gas, and Volvo found me a gas station. I had a go at parallel parking, and it was easy peasy. Every time I returned to the vehicle it picked up my Pandora station and played it. Julian had no trouble putting on his seat belt, puling down the table, organizing his books and drinks and snacks. It’s like first class on SAS back there I tell you.

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My only regret is that my husband is gone to Japan already because he would have loved this car. It’s not easy to find a vehicle that is functional and family friendly yet exciting to drive. Sporty, comfortable, spacious. A little too big to fit into my suitcase and take to Japan otherwise I would never have returned it for sure.

On our drive back Julian and I were chatting and he told me that he changed his mind ( again ) and when he grows up he wants to be an engineer. He will live in the cabin in the mountains and drive a Volvo. I guess it’s in our blood.

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Rugs are my drugs

I totally stole that from Nez’s Instagram feed.

Here’s why. I have exactly 77 hours left until huge moving trucks park in front of my house and start packing my life away. Today I was meant to organize everything because tomorrow Julian is playing violin at his end of school year recital and that really leaves me less then 48 hours to get everything sorted. Clearly I am running out of time.

Naturally what I chose to do today instead is get a new rug. I love rugs. I am obsessed with rugs. I would cover my floors with them and then cover rugs with more rugs. In fact if it was up to me my whole house would be full of nothing but rugs, art, chocolate and cheese. I was introduced to Nez’s beautiful online store via Instagram and I have officially clocked one full 8 hour shift staring at the rugs, trying to decide which one to order.

Finally I thought, how about I ask you? Clearly I am nowhere closer to choosing and I must go to bed so here are my favorites:

Also this pillow:

Am I right??? Stunning.

Before you ask this is me narrowing down to favorites. Because really I could just have them all. I hope Mrs. Kaya doesn’t mind me displaying her Instagram pictures. It is for the sole purpose of you helping me choose my new carpet. I need to know by Monday so it can arrive here on time for the movers to load it on the truck!!! Help!

Vote here:

Which rug should I get?