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I had a lively week of events, and all of them happily transported by the 2016 KIA Sedona SXL that I test drove for a week. This is the top-of-the-line model of this series. I have to admit, I had no idea what the Sedona model was, I always like to be surprised when the review vehicle is delivered. My first impression – a van? Whoa! I haven’t driven a van since the kids were in car seats and Patrick had a music gig three nights a week and had to haul a hecka lot of equipment. All I can say is that vans sure have come a long way! This was the ultimate rockstar van, lol! It had more features than we even had time to try out!

I’ll go into my week’s events and then at the end I’ll give my review.

1. Video shoot with author, Lesley Tellez (Eat Mexico cookbook)This was my first experience with the Sedona. We drove all the way from west Phoenix to Chandler and loaded up all our video equipment. At first we thought we had a big amount, but once we put it in the back of the van, it didn’t look like much at all. The Sedona is mega roomy. So, the first thing I had to get used to was that it beeps every time you are close to anything: passing someone, a curb, anything near the sensors. This is a feature I really grew to appreciate as the week went on! 

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Me with Lesley Tellez!

Here’s our finished video!

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Click to watch video!

2. DeSoto Central Market: This is a new venue that opened on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix. It’s an old building that has been redesigned to hold a varieties of eateries. It’s a cool place to hang out, lots of open seating, strong wi-fi and an array of goodies to choose from.

Photo credit: AzCentral.com

Photo credit: AzCentral.com

I recommend the Nutella Toast from Tea and Toast! But share it with someone, it’s mega decadent – too much for one person. It is like a chewy, crusty slice of sourdough bread toasted and slathered with Nutella. When we finished up, we walked outside to notice the parking lot full and tight. This place has become a hot spot in town! At first I worried about getting my precious set of wheels out in one piece, but the Sedona not only has a back rear camera, but also side views – plus the beeping sensors! There is no way to mess this up! Mission accomplished.

(BTW: This is a picture from Maya’s Instagram, don’t mind the goofy comments.)

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Then we took advantage of the van’s space and hit IKEA. We wanted to score a new desk, but didn’t find one we liked, so we opted for all the small stuff! Eee gads, more clutter to contend with! See that back area? Under all our junk are seats that pop up to hold three more people. I told you it was roomy!

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3. A Weekend in Sedona: You can read all about our trip next week. But this getaway is where I was able to embrace all the experience. I really liked the cruise control, it recalibrates if you need to change lanes or suddenly slow down.

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This story coming next week, so be sure to check back!

The long drive is where the space came in handy. The back seats don’t only recline, they also have a foot rest so you can lie back and take a nap! Maya happily volunteered to test out this feature! She reports that the side windows also come with pull down shades, and there are plenty of outlets to charge your phone.

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Here is when we pulled into our cabin at Briar Patch Inn. Beautiful place! See the door? That was something to get used to – the side doors open and close on their own, same with the back door. And they move slooow, I guess for moms who might leave a sippy cup on the seat, they still have time to grab it. Or perhaps an artist like myself who realizes they left the sales book behind and need to jump in and snatch it! Equal opportunity automatic doors!  But those of us who are always hustling, there was a couple times when I was like, “Hurry up, door, close!” If that is the worst thing, things are pretty awesome, right?

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Majestic!

4. Arizona Storytellers: We returned home on a Sunday and two days later I had to tell go on stage at the Crescent Ballroom to share a whopper of a story about the time I got kicked out the chocolate club. If anyone you bought my Crafty Chica’s Art de la Soul book, you might remember that story in there!

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This was the line to get into the Az Storytellers night at the Crescent Ballroom – sold out!

If not, here is a wrap up of the night!

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5. And then we had to prep for the Phoenix Frida celebration! This is an annual event that my art collective, The Phoenix Fridas, put together every year. There are nine of us and we coordinate an art exhibit, a mercado to sell our art, local dancers and singers and a community show as well. We had about 1,600 people come out to celebrate the life and art of Frida Kahlo!

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Here are the plates I made for the show, each one has a Frida quote!

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6. Barrio Urbano. Lastly, we ended the week with the KIA Sedona with a trip to Barrio Urbano at The Yard. My family is a long time fan of Silvana and Barrio Cafe, so we frequent BU too. From street tacos to elote dishes and churros, aw, man, there is a lot of indulge in here! Go with a friend and order a little bit of everything. Artful Mexican cuisine in Chicano-chic setting.

 

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See? It’s pretty happening there!

Photo credit: Barrio Urbano

Photo credit: Barrio Urbano

Well, that wrapped up an very entertaining week! I was pleasantly surprised with the KIA Sedona, I loved driving this van around, even if it was a tad bigger than I’m used to. It’s smooth, easy to figure out the navigation and dashboard. It’s great for a busy, active family or working artist or school teacher/coach who alway has cargo to carry around. I would appreciate it even more during art season when we have to load up crates of art, signs, chairs and a tent for our local shows. It’s also great for long distance travel, lots of convenient features like the sensors and cameras. As far as gas, it got about 20-21 miles per gallon, and lasted much longer when we went to Sedona.

Thank you so much to KIA and DriveShop for allowing me to have this vehicle for the week! Again, check back for my Sedona round-up in a few days!

RELATED: My week with a Toyota Prius

Love & light,