5 Reasons You Should Never Drive a 2014 Honda Pilot

Continuing my series of Honda failures, today I'm highlighting the serious errors of the 2014 Honda Pilot—their seemingly perfect crossover SUV. In an effort to try and win me over, Ken Garff Honda of Orem invited me to drive one for a month. Well, the big wigs at J.D. Power think it deserved a 5/5 for overall quality, but after driving it for 30 days, I respectfully disagree. This is why.

1. Bluetooth Capability

Driving without distractions is, well, distracting. The bluetooth connection allows me to control my phone with just a few buttons on the steering wheel or dashboard. You'd think I'd love the ease of use, but no. It's taken me years to condition myself to drive without my hands on the wheel or eyes on the road. Now all I see are other vehicles. They're everywhere!

2. Seating for 8

Just when I thought Honda couldn't get worse than the 7-seater Odyssey, they went and put 8 seats in the Pilot. Really? Just what I need are more people to tell me what a "good driver" I am and how much they "love" the cup holder accessibility. Just hold your drink and mind your business.

3. Cargo Space

This puppy has 87 cubic feet of cargo space when you fold down the second- and third-row seats. In case you're not big on math, I'll put it in simpler terms: it's a lot. For starters, when am I ever going to haul around 87 cubes? I don't even think I could fit that many cubes in my living room. Plus, how does one go about finding that many cubes? Ikea? Absurd.

4. Multi-Informational Display

The fancy-pants term for this is I-MID. The I stands for intelligent. It lets me scroll through my phone book, view my music, add a photo of James Franco as wallpaper. Basically, you name it, the Pilot will do it. The problem is, I'm too insecure to drive something smarter than me. Soon Honda will make all their vehicles take a MENSA test and give each driver a dunce cap with purchase.

5. Fuel Economy

The 4WD Pilot boasts 17 miles per gallon city, 24 highway, and 20 combined. Guess what? They lied. I did my darndest to stay in the safe zone for fuel efficiency, but all I got for my trouble was 24 mpg COMBINED. Not 20, like they claimed. How can I trust a car manufacturer that under-exaggerates?

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In conclusion, the 2014 Pilot was a big, fat disappointment. (Emphasis on fat with the 87 cubic feet of cargo space.)

 

Polka on Dot — Dare to Match Patterns

I used to be known as the "Gap Girl" in college. (Basically I wore a lot of khakis and button-ups.) But a few years ago, when I started Being Spiffy, I wanted to branch out and find my own style. Now I'm a huge advocate of publicly displaying your personality through your clothing. One way I show my personality isn't just by mixing patterns (stripes and florals, anyone?), but matching patterns as well. 

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Case in point? Polka dots. I adore polka dots. Small ones, preferably. But when matching patterns, there needs to be a size difference. The polka dots on my skirt are about 1/4 inch, while those on my shirt are 3/4 inch. Over double the size. Because the skirt pattern is so small, it almost becomes a neutral that can be paired with anything.

After size comes color. If you match patterns, don't go cuckoo crazy on the colors. You'll end up looking like Bozo the Clown. Instead, choose a neutral and a bright like one piece in camel and the other in neon pink. Or two extremely complimentary colors like coral and blush.

The key in any outfit is balance, balance, balance. Size and scale combined with coordinating colors will lead to a simply smashing outfit.

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Cracker Jack Father's Day

Father's Day is once again upon us and that means the obligatory gift. Don't sell dad short this year with another striped tie and Gold Toe socks. Break the mold and tell him what a "cracker jack" job he's doing! It's time to celebrate a father that's as All-American as baseball.

To assemble his gift, click on the image below to access the download link. Download the image and print it on cardstock for the best results. Once printed, trim off the white border. Pick up some Cracker Jacks from your local grocery store and adhere the label with double-sided tape or Glue Dots.

To finish, add a personal note letting him know why he's an original in your eyes. Then finish his perfect present off with tickets to a baseball game!

Need some help with that last part? The Salt Lake Bees and I are here for you. One of you lucky folk will win 2 tickets to a Bees baseball game! Just enter using the widget below. Contest ends at 11:59 pm, Friday, June 13.

This giveaway has a quick turnaround, so if you don't win, don't dispair.  You can still get tickets. Visit THIS SITE and use the code VC6919. This will entitle you to the discount ticket price of $10-$13 all season for almost every game (excluding July 4 and July 24). This is a savings of up to $7 per ticket!

Top 5 Tips for a Successful Open House

When a realtor phoned me to see if we were interested in selling our town home, I had no idea what was in store. It's taken me two months to realize just how much goes into selling a home. One huge lesson I learned? The ins and outs of a successful open house.

I'm a fan of alliteration. It's the english nerd in me. So here are my 5 Ls to preparing for and carrying out an open house.

Lather Carpet

Take a good long look at your carpet. YOU might know where each of those stains came from, but a prospective buyer doesn't. They're looking for a place to kick their shoes off and get comfy. The idea of traipsing around your dirty carpet in bare feet is a huge turnoff. Spring for a good, professional carpet cleaning.

The picture on the left is from our actual online listing. I'm so embarrassed that stain is on display, but I made sure that it along with it's cohorts throughout my home were eradicated. If you're in Utah, I wholeheartedly recommend EcoCarpet Cleaning Service. They were kind enough to come out of their typical service area to save my stain-plagued living room carpet.

When we've cleaned our carpet in the past, our stains have never truly left. The residue left from the cleaner would attract dirt right back to the area. With EcoCarpet, that wasn't a problem. The cleaning solutions they use are natural, with no harsh chemicals and NO RESIDUE. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Lingering Scent

Prior to our open house, I asked my new-home-owner friends what scents attracted them in home showings. The answers were all the same: Clean. So I threw out the idea of baking chocolate chip cookies and focused on simple ways to make my home smell fresh without making it feel stark and sanitary. Clorox Wipes to the rescue!

To infuse your home with a clean scent, run a Clorox wipe over every surface you can think of. Countertops, bookshelves, dressers, even the walls. Do this in every room and prospective buyers will NOT notice a smell, which is exactly what you want them to notice.

Less Personal

The person walking through your house is looking for their home, not yours. What does that mean? Well, as much as you love your children, they don't come with the house. So put away their crayon drawings, store your husband's prized baseball trophy, and depersonalize.

This is about as personal as you should get. This image of Idaho sits atop my dresser while Washington sits on my husband's. No names. No family photos. Buyers want to picture themselves moving right in. In order to create a hotel-like atmosphere that is both beautiful and welcoming, your going to have to remove some of yourself from the equation.

Light

Buyers love light, bright homes. So day or night, turn the lights on in every room. If you have blinds, open the slats halfway. Dim rooms are depressing and give the impression you're hiding something. Keep things bright and airy to make people feel at ease.

Last, but not least…

Leave

My goodness, it's strange to be home when people come to walk through. To avoid any awkward run-ins, leave 15-20 minutes before the open house. If you're not using a realtor, think about asking a friend to stay and answer prospective buyers' questions. They're not as sentimental and attached, so it feels more professional.

There you have it! The 5 Ls of a successful open house. Lather carpet, lingering scent, less personal, light, and leave. Simple steps to turn your house in to someone else's home.

Have you held an open house before? What made your's successful?

What Made Me a Mother

In my ideal world, I would give birth to my firstborn, have her laid on my chest, and instantly fall in love. I would look in her eyes and see eternity. Our lives would be one and we'd have a bond that would never be broken.

Or not.

After lying on sandpapery hospital sheets for 14 hours with tubes coming out every orifice of my body except maybe my ears, I was beyond ready to meet my daughter. If not just to relieve the insane amount of pressure placed on my uterus. After pushing for the longest 2 hours of my life, she was here. My perfect, 7 pound, 20 inch little girl was here. They laid her on my chest, I looked in her big, blue eyes, and…nothing.

I had no idea who this person was. I'd never met her before. The individual I had shared my body with for the last 9 months was just a tiny, newfound acquaintance. How was I going to bond with someone who couldn't even talk? What if the only thing we had in common was our DNA? It's like the apron strings were cut before I could even wear the apron. All my ideas of what made me a mother were dashed.

I fed her. Changed her. Swaddled her. Everything a good mother does. But I didn't feel like one. Instead, I felt guilt and anxiety. Fear that I was never meant to be a mother. That I would never be what she needed. I had failed. My vision of ideal motherhood was crumbling before me.

I can't pinpoint the moment when I started ignoring the fear, but it began to recede. So did the guilt. I stopped comparing my worst to someone else's best. And slowly, almost imperceptibly, I became a mother.

It took me a few years, and a few more children, to realize that being a mother isn't about instant, unconditional love. It's about pain, service, and sacrifice. It's about giving your heart to someone who won't fully appreciate it for a long while. It's knowing that you're doing all you can to make a difference in the lives of others.

Click above image for downloadable print

Click above image for downloadable print

In that respect, all of us are mothers—doing what comes naturally to parent not only children, but spouses, parents, friends, and strangers. Fixing the physical and emotional boo-boos of society is in our nature. So women, slap on those aprons, because we have a lot of work to do.

#Alt Summit believes every mother counts

Train Your Kid's Brain with Zaniac

This is a sponsored post by Zaniac via Mom it Forward. All opinions are entirely my own.

My daughter is your typical third grader. She loves chatting…all the time. Her favorite subject in school is lunch. Oh, and she hates math. When I was approached about a fun, unique program that helps students learn math and science concepts, I knew my daughter had to be involved.

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We were able to visit the Zaniac location in Sugar House where they provide after-school camps and activities for children in kindergarten through eighth grade. The children rotated through a few of the classes they offer so we could get an idea of what they do.

My daughter started in the Lego Robotics class. All the kids were enthralled with the Lego car actually driving where they programmed it to go. This class taught them to use math, technology, and the scientific method to bring their ideas to life.

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It's amazing when kids are playing and having fun and don't even realize they're learning.

The next stop for my daughter was Minecraft—the game she would play nonstop if we'd let her.

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She loves the creativity Minecraft provides. I love that it's scientifically educational. It builds critical reasoning while teaching about gravity and biomes. She builds buildings so complex, they rival architect's ideas. It's nice that she can play it with multiple players so her brother can get involved. He loves it as much as she does!

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I'm thrilled that Zaniac is willing to share their classes with a lucky local reader! They're giving away a gift certificate for one free 6-week Zaniac Technology Enrichment Program of your choice. A $299 value! Choose from:

  • Computer Programming
  • Lego Robotics
  • Minecraft Exploration
  • Chess
  • Touch Typing

I know your child will grow to love learning in this environment. Even the parents had fun! Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway ends Friday, April 11.

You can find Zaniac on their website, Facebook, and Twitter.