Thank you to our friends at Kia for sponsoring my trip for the New Kia Ride & Drive event. 

Recently I got to jet off to sunny California for a few days of fun courtesy of Kia for the 2018 Ride and Drive event in San Diego. Needless to say this was an exciting opportunity that I had been looking forward to from the moment I got the invite. It's not every day that I get to hop on a plane to the west coast to hang out at the Hard Rock Hotel with a bunch of awesome people. And test drive some seriously cool cars. So this girl was wide eyed and full of wanderlust from the moment we went wheels up!

Kia even gave us cool carry on bags so we could travel in style, how awesome is that! Also made it easy to make out the other influencers traveling to the event at the airport. Our matching bags made for great ice breakers.

A few fun facts you might not know about Kia from a mom who loves to do her research. First, Kia took the top spot for the second year in a row for J.D. Power and Associates’ Initial Quality Study. They also rank in the top 3 for reliability by Consumer Reports.

Kia has come a long way and the brand has truly made impressive moves when it comes to creating quality vehicles that are stylish and affordable. And they've recently added to that list with the sleek new 2018 Kia Stinger. But more on that in a minute…..

Let's get back on track so I can tell you all about my trip. After arriving in San Diego I headed to the Hard Rock hotel to check-in and get the party started. I was excited to meet up with a few old friends and make new ones, so after dropping my bag in the room I made my way to the Kia lounge.

Everyone told me that Kia goes all out for events and it was evident from the start. I mean, my suite at the Hard Rock was just the beginning of the rockstar treatment. The Kia Hospitality Suite was filled with all the things! Food to nibble on, desserts and sweets, cocktails and cool spots to just relax and chill. I spotted a few friendly faces and made my way over to say hello.

Later on we kicked off the first part of our Kia experience at an awesome restaurant in downtown San Diego called the Rustic Root. While we dined on delicious tapas reps from Kia made their introductions. I loved that the vibe was so laid back and un-stuffy, very unexpected for a big brand event. It was my first taste of what makes this brand different.

Keri Lyn, SheSaved – Amber, GlobalMunchkins – Nicole, TheJetSetFamily

My sweet friend and blogger I adore, Clarissa — Clarissa Explains It All 

After a great nights sleep in my cozy bed I woke up excited to explore more of what the Kia brand is all about. We kicked off the day with a great breakfast and then made our way over to the conference room to hear all about Kia's background, their vision and what sets them apart.

Honestly, this is where I learned so much more about the brand and where my thoughts on car companies, this one especially, changed. Before this trip I was somewhat intimidated by the idea of meeting with an auto group and discussing thoughts on the industry. I work with a ton of big brands but this was my first venture into the auto world and blogging. I assumed it would be very important people in power suits with power point presentations tossing around numbers and data that went over my head.

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Kia Cars + Influencers & Bloggers Take Over San Diego for the #TheNewKia Ride and Drive 2018 Event -- Misty Nelson, frostedblog, @frostedevents This was so not that deal. Kia told their story in a way that made perfect sense and connected with my consumer side as well as me personally. Their passion, their persistence in getting it right and making cars that people not only could afford, but loved and could rely on for years to come.

They touched on all the things that I consider when it comes to choosing a car— safety, style, comfort, convenience and affordability. And they told stories I could relate to that were inspiring and made me excited to get behind the wheel. Kia is committed to being innovative, exceeding expectations and celebrating how cars bring people together.

After learning a little more about what drives Kia we got to take the newest Kia vehicles out for a test drive. Not your average around the block kind of test drive, though. Instead we teamed up to take the new Kia Stinger out for an afternoon adventure. Our rockin' road trip challenge gave us the chance to turn up the volume and check out the Stinger's Harmon Kardon sound system and get a little creative making our own music video.

The Stinger is Kia's first all-wheel drive sedan. On the outside it's sleek and sporty with a sexy vibe that you can't help but stare at. Get behind the wheel and you'll understand what really makes this car an impressive competitor. It's moves with precision and quickness, going 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. The steering is tight and the brakes are very responsive, making it easy to maneuver sharp turns and stop on a dime. It's fast and fun, everything you want in a sports sedan. Even sweeter, it comes at a price that makes it very attractive and affordable.

Honestly, your hardest decision with buying this car may be choosing which color. That cherry red is a heart stealer but there's something about the blue that makes it hard to forget…..

So where all did we take our sexy Stinger? Well, for a coffee run first of course! Coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. What's hotter than a shiny red sports car? A shiny red sports car filled with beautiful ladies and a box of hot doughnuts.

I had so much fun exploring San Diego with these gals! One I've actually known for a bit, and the other two I had the pleasure of getting to know. It's so awesome to get to spend time with women that are smart, creative and super funny. I could go on and on about these three but really you should just scroll over their Instagram feeds and I promise you'll fall in love with them too!

And let me just tell you, Kia really knows how to throw a party! Our trip ended with a rockstar bash back at the Hard Rock hotel. With a karaoke band to keep the crowd on their feet, all the food and drink you could dream of, and a photo booth to snap pics of all the fun.

Sipping cocktails, eating sushi and tacos while watching brave souls take the stage to sing their heart out. I mean, what could be a better way to end the show. It was so awesome, the only sad part was saying goodbye.

I left San Diego with a heart so full of love for all my new friends, one incredible experience and a car company that knows how to make you feel like family. This blogging thing has been a journey that's brought opportunities I would never have imagined. This one brought a whole new level of inspiration and excitement. I love that Kia has a vision for connecting and collaborating with storytellers and I'm excited to be a part of all of that.

And I'm excited to trade my car in for a new Kia Sorento soon! After testing out the Stinger I took the Sorento for a spin,and ya'll  I love it. It's the ultimate mommy SUV, has all the latest features for convenience and safety…… and pull-up third row seating that takes two seconds. I'm sold!

You know how sometimes you leave a place and you feel like a little bit of your heart is still there. A little piece of my heart will always be in San Diego…