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Save 15% Off Full Day Salt River Rafting Now! [REVIEW]

My name is Idena Garrett and my huband and I did the full day Upper Salt River trip as a bucket list adventure to celebrate my husbands upcoming birthday.We had the privilege of going salt water rafting with Wilderness aware rafting company and it was amazing! I’ve never been rafting before but I always wanted to so I did and I will deffinetly go again!

Upon arriving, the crew at Wilderness Aware was incredibly well organized, immediately getting us started on filling out paperwork/forms and helping us with rental gear we needed. I was very impressed that they provide everything you need for your trip and even things you may have forgotten to bring, you could purchase.

It was beautiful and very clean in the river and at the meeting place. It was my first time but it wasn’t that difficult as long as you follow directions and listen to your guide. The safety lecture was thorough and comprehensive and you’ll know everything that you need to know.   Make sure to pay attention and respect the guides time explaining things.  

Halfway threw the rafting trip we stopped and had lunch. The guides provided a nutricious food and beverages for refueling, and even extra clothing for those who got a bit cold on the trip. This gave us the energy and motivation to go the whole way.  I was honestly expecting hot dogs or pizza because that’s easy to make or buy but instead they made us chicken/steak fajitas. They were delicious! The thing I loved the most about this experience was the staff. The staff was very nice and made sure that everyone was having a good time on and off the water.

My guide was name Matt Brown, he was very knowledgeable and informative. He made the half day rafting trip fun, exciting, and low anxiety for everyone. Matt was very passionate and thorough in explaining our plan for the day and safety precautions.

There were 5 people  (including me and my husband) so it wasn’t full or crowded in the raft like I expected. I just loved my experience and I REALLY recommend this to everyone in fact I’m booking another trip asap. It’s 3 hours away from where I live and it’s deffinetly worth the drive.

They took  pictures of us available on CD for $60.  A tad bit steep, but it’s a nice feature to have if you did not bring a camera.

My husband and I were incredibly impressed by the organization, professionalism, humor, and skill of the staff.  Thank you so much for this memorable experience. Our only regret is only rafting for one day.  Next year we want to do a longer trip!  You can view all of the available trips and book yours here to save 15% Off Full Day Salt River Rafting – March through May season!


15% Off Full Day Salt River Rafting – March through May season


Arizona’s Salt River is absolutely beautiful! The snowpack is promising! Arizona’s Salt River descends from the White Mountains east of Phoenix. You will find yourself tackling world class whitewater rafting – no flat water tubing trips here! This upper stretch of the Salt River offers challenging rapids and the inspiring beauty of truly unique setting.

Take a short and exciting half or full day Salt River rafting trip or experience what it is like to truly get away on a three or four day adventure. A trip on the Salt River in Arizona is wild, isolated with extreme beauty and fantastic rafting.

How fun is this! Join Wilderness Aware Rafting  for the white water rafting trip of a lifetime! Check out the YouTube Video for live action shots!

Get your 15% Off Full Day Salt River Rafting – March through May season HERE!

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tile Slim { GIVEAWAY}


Tile Slim is a Bluetooth tracker that can be attached to anything. Whether it be your phone (my biggest problem), wallet/purse, laptop, baby bag, literally anything can be found with the Tile Slim (Adhesives sold separately).

The Tile Slim is as thin as two credit cards and easily slides into your wallet, purse or pocket, no problem.

Use your smartphone to make your Tile Slim ring when it’s nearby but out of sight. This is the FREE Tile app that can be downloaded after you receive your Tile. The Map on the Tile app will show you where your Tile is at all times.

Can’t find your phone? Simply double press the button on your Tile Slim to make your phone ring – even on silent! The easy-to-use, free Tile app remembers the last time and place it saw your Tile, so if you left it somewhere, you’ll always know where to look. It even allows you to choose your own ringtone and customize it. 

We own several Tile Slim’s and I mostly use mine for my cell phone and purse. You can get creative with Tile, I have kept mine in my car to find it after the baseball game we attended and I even have put it in my son’s pocket when we went to Disneyland last time just in case he happened to wander off. The app allows you to track the tile wherever you are and so there are so many ways it can be used.

There is even a Tile Community! If your Tile isn’t where you left it, you can anonymously enlist the help of the Tile community in your search. It will notify you as soon as someone with the Tile app goes near your lost item. Pretty awesome! You can purchase one Tile Slim for $25 and a 4 pack for $70 if you want to share! If you do not win our giveaway you can purchase your own Tile Slim here


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Tile sent me the Tile Slim for review & giveaway. All thoughts are 100% my own

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2016 Mazda CX-9 | Family Review

My family of 5 recently got our hands on the 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature for the week, a 7-passenger midsize crossover SUV that we are pretty excited about! We really enjoyed this family friendly vehicle and everything that it has to offer. The MSRP for this vehicle comes to $45,215, without any options, because everything comes standard at this price point.


At first, look we were extremely impressed by the exterior styling and interior design of the 2016 Mazda CX-9 and is definitely in my top favorite vehicles we have tested out. We reviewed the vehicle in Machine Gray and we really enjoy the modern design and upscale appearance it has for a family friendly vehicle. The powered Moonroof is probably one of our favorite features that can be seen at first glance.



The slick Auburn-colored premium Nappa leather trim has a very luxurious clean look to it and is soft to the touch. You can feel the quality difference in this vehicle and it really stands out throughout the entire SUV. While Mazda does not offer heated steering wheel option with the CX-9, one of my favorite features, they do offer heated front seats which are a must when you have leather seats on a wintery cold day.

The power window, power door locks, and power mirror controls are located right where you would expect them to be. The second row has built in window sunshades which we used the entire time we had the vehicle. Automatic lights and wipers come automatic with the Signature as well as large cup holders, USB’s and sliding sun visors to name a few.

Infotainment System

The Mazda Connect definitely takes a little getting used to. It is much different than the navigation in our current vehicle. The touch screen display is only accessible when the vehicle is not moving, there is not currently an option to choose passenger so that you can make adjustments once on the road. This was probably the only aspect of the vehicle that I was not a fan of. I do understand Mazda wants to be safe and to make sure there are no distractions when driving.

For the most part, I did use the center Commander knob to navigate through the screen which I found very useful. The screen is a bit of a distance from the driver’s seat and I do not have very long arms. I really did like having this option and that it was very “mom” friendly. I mean, we already have enough distractions driving with kiddos, we really do not need any others. I also noticed there was not an option for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which was kind of a bummer.

Space & Storage

The Mazda CX-9 does have space with the 3rd-row seat to accommodate up to 7 passengers. This is great if you have that many people riding with you, the only problem you may run into is the cargo space you will have to give up in return. With that many people in the vehicle, I would assume that you do need storage room for your belongings. I personally think the 2016 CX-9 is best for families of 5 at max so that you can still utilize the third-row seating for cargo space. You would still have room to use the third row if you are going to have visitors, family or even your children’s friends for an afternoon, I just do not see it being a great fit for a long term family of 7.

BubbleBum seats are our go to for convenient travel boosters!

Mazda 2016 CX-9 passed the Costco test!

Besides the third row seating, the Mazda CX-9 is very spacious. I would expect, though as in most vehicles that the third row to be much smaller than the first and second. While we did test out the third row with a total of 7 passengers at one point, I did find it difficult to maneuver the seats so that the kids could get to the back row. It was much easier for the kids to crawl through the back of the vehicle to the third-row vs, moving car seats around in the second row so that we could fold down the seats. This, however, may not be an issue for smaller families, we just noticed that since we had two car seats on each of the passenger sides in the second row, it is not easy to recline the seats to reach the third row.

A wonderful feature the second row does have besides being very spacious is the additional cup holders that also have USB charging ports in the cubby. Perfect for long trips when your children bring their video games and iPads.

Safety & Visibility

Some of Mazda’s driving assistance technology’s are Large side mirrors, camera, and a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert. I found all of these to be very helpful when I was driving. Safety is the most important and especially when you are driving with children most of the time. The front seat did not adjust as high as I would have liked it being that I am on the shorter side, 5’1. So, having the reversing camera and blind spot warning was very useful to me and something I appreciated. If you are not familiar with the blind spot warning system, this is in many newer vehicles and what it does is lights up the review mirror when a vehicle is in your blind spot. I know personally that being a parent means endless distractions and so even some of the smallest safety features can be so very helpful when driving.

Fuel Economy

The Mazda CX-9 Signature has an average of 23 mpg. The annual fuel cost is estimated at $1950 and the city average is 21 mpg with 27 mpg being the average for a highway. I have heard of some owners complain about the fuel economy on the CX-9 but I am currently used to getting even less on my current family vehicle, so I expected this range. We did use the car for a full week and still had a little under a quarter tank left when we returned the vehicle, which I didn’t think was too bad.

Driving The CX-9

As far as being behind the wheel of the CX-9, I absolutely love how effortlessly it steers. The steering wheel is very comfortable with a nice grip and I was impressed with how clearly and smooth the vehicle moved when coming in contact with uneven pavements and old roads. The suspension definitely sailed smoothly over any bumps in the road and never at anytime veered away from the destination. The pickup is outstanding when merging onto the freeway and the suspension did a wonderful job maintaining a comfortable ride the entire time. Let me end by saying that the cabin is SO quiet, I was so amazed by how quiet the vehicle actually was once my son fell asleep and I could really take notice.

Final Impressions

Overall the 2016 Mazda CX-9 is an impressive family friendly vehicle. Once you see for yourself how spacious, quiet and powerful the vehicle is I am sure you will fall in love like I did. Mazda has really built a good SUV with many family friendly upgrades that are very appealing to all.


Mazda also provided use with a $25 gift card to donate to a charity of our choice, apart of Mazda’s Drive for good campaign. We were so excited to donate to a local charity Heart of A Hero. 


Check out the 2016 Mazda CX-9 in action!


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2017 Mazda3 Review


This week we are reviewing the 2017 Mazda3.  When the Mazda3 was dropped off I was super excited, I have never driven a manual vehicle and was excited to learn. Keep in mind all of my reviews are geared a little more toward family, being we are a family of 5.

Mazda has a reputation of designing vehicles that people love to drive. At first look we really like the exterior style of the Mazda3. The color, sleek look and vehicle size were the first things we noticed right away.


I will start off saying the Mazda3 is a fun car! It is very energetic with amazing handling and the interior is fantastic. The steering wheel is the same as the Mazda CX-9, we also recently reviewed. It has the same ergonomic option which I am a huge fan of being just over 5ft tall, I find this a necessity. The interior is beautiful and honestly looks much more expensive than what the vehicle actually costs.

The infotainment system is controlled by the joystick controller which I really love because it is located right in the center, easily to access for driver and passenger. It also keeps from getting finger prints on the screen. It is very easy to use, but I noticed it is not Apple friendly, though it did sync up with my husbands Samsung. For example, it would read out his texts but not mine. You can adjust almost everything, even set up voice commands, maintenance reminders, and control lighting.

I am a huge fan of the heads up display. It shows everything from speed, navigation route, cruise control information and even if people are in your blind spots.  As a parent, it is very easy to get distracted while driving and I find the heads up display is a very helpful feature.

The leather and touchpoints are very soft in the interior. The seating not only looks nice but is very comfortable. The seats are power and move very easily without a problem. It was raining most of the time we had the vehicle and I am happy to say that it is also very easy to clean. With kids, this is a must as the seats and flooring can get dirty very easily.

Sunroof is one of our favorite features which came with this model. We were unable to keep it open due to the weather but my kids enjoy watching the rain while driving. Not pictured is the wind deflectors that is pretty awesome to keep the cabin quiet while driving.

Bubble Bum Car Seat

The back seat is not as large as what we would typically use for a family of 5, but with our booster seat and Bubble Bum, we were able to still fit 3 car seats in the back. I was okay with the infant car seat on the driver’s side, but if my husband was to drive, it would need to be switched to the opposite side so that he could adjust his seat back with enough room. As you can see in the photo the car seat does hit the back of the driver’s seat. Not an issue for me, but if you are taller you would want to rearrange the seating arrangements.

The leather seating and soft touch is continued throughout the back as it was in the front of the vehicle. The back seats have the anchors for the car seats and I would say is an average size, as far as cabin space goes.  It works good for our family of 5, with three of the passengers being children, though if you have more than two adults you may find the back is not as spacious as you may need.

As I mentioned earlier this was my first time driving a manual vehicle. While it was much different than driving an automatic, I felt like I had so much more control over the vehicle once I got it down. I was very impressed by the handling and am extremely happy how easy the Mazda3 was to drive, especially with it being my first time. The transmission is very smooth and the handling was exciting to drive which is due to the G-Vectoring control.

The trunk space actually goes pretty deep. We were able to fit the stroller in without a problem, but not too much more than that. It did work well for our short trips without needing too much luggage.

One thing I cannot say enough about Mazda is they are all about safety. The endless amount options that come standard in their vehicles and at the affordable price points are impressive. My personal favorite features in the Mazda3 during our test drive were the traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, and enhanced smart break support. If you are in the market for a compact car with amazing handling then the Mazda3 is definitely a vehicle worth test driving and looking into. The MSRP on the Grand Touring model we reviewed is at $27,730.

Thanks to Mazda’s Drive For Good campaign we were able to donate once again to one of our favorite local charities, Heart of Heroic, helping children with Cancer. Thank you again, Mazda for an incredible vehicle, yet again!

You can view and read more about the Mazda3 on their website for more information.