Desperate for a Reliable USB Car Charger [review]

Meago USB Car Charger Dual Port

MEAGO DUAL USB CAR CHAGER [review]

For years I’ve relied on promotional swag USB car chargers and, can you believe it, they are a disappointment! I’m desperate for not only a reliable car charger but one with dual USB ports.

I am SO excited for the Meago to arrive at my doorstep. I’ve had to wait a bit longer than expected due to the long weekend but when it arrives I will give it a proper review and rating. Stay tuned.

I received this product in exchange for my honest review.

#meago

Misleading Advertisements [maybe I should wait till I had my coffee to read emails]

Only 40 Days of Summer Left

Just like everyone else I wake each morning and spend a few groggy minutes flipping through the emails accrued overnight.

Usually it’s blah blah blah

But the other morning this one caught my eye.

Only 40 days left of summer!

What now?

My half-asleep brain yelled IT’S NOT EVEN SUMMER YET and I’m being told there’s only 40 days left!

Harumph. Aren’t misleading advertisements the worst?

I stewed on this all day long. Stewed! And then I thought, I’m going to write about this and talk about how easy it is to go wrong in your advertising.

So I prepared my blog in a self-satisfied way (why is it always like this!?) and after…a few moments…I noticed I hadn’t quite read the advertisement right. Can you blame me? It’s so blasted confusing to begin with, using “only” and “left” and “until” in close succession.

It’s funny. I spent all day stewing about an advertisement’s message only to later learn I misunderstood completely.

But still! It could have been written better. Like, way better.

Quick! Hurry! Only 40 days until summer!

OK, now that I have the words sorted out let’s talk about the message.

I believe the goal of the ad is to point out the short time till summer’s approach and encourage vacation-starved email recipients to book now or forever hold their peace. But did it work?

For me, no. There is no way I appreciate being reminded of how short summer is, even if I misunderstood the (entire) message in my groggy early-morning state.

How could they have got my business?

Well, I’m not sure. I’m not planning a summer vacation so I’m maybe not the target market. But if I was I would be prompted into action not by the short time until summer begins but by the short time I have to save a ton of money on the raddest vacation EVER.

Yeah, I think the dollars push my buttons a bit more than a pressure push tactic.

Anyway, just one of those things I was thinking about.

Narrowing Down Travel Rewards Credit Cards

points cards overwhelm

Points Cards Overwhelm

I have a lot of points cards. A lot. I have so many I don’t even remember which clubs I belong to anymore. And I don’t know how many points I have, what I can do with them, or when/if they expire.

It’s a problem.

For a while now I’ve wanted to slim down my points memberships and choose a few I understand and will actually use. But how do you know which ones you’ll use and which ones give you the best value for your time and energy?

I’m overwhelmed to say the least.

Canada's top rewards cards

Canada’s Top Rewards Cards from 2013 via Rewards Canada

As I’ve waded through the different points options I’ve found ranking sites helpful, they do all the work and I can read the results. Thanks! My husband and I went through our options and decided for us travel rewards were the most important and since he charges a lot of expenses for work…a travel credit card was a good option.

In fact we were even able to narrow down to Aeroplan Canada, which feels so good. I went ahead and unsubscribed from all my other points emails and began looking for ways to optimize our points collecting.

Mileage balance: 7,219

I received my monthly newsletter the other night and was pumped to see all the different ways I could collect points. And then I went to check if I had enough points to, like, go anywhere.

Not with 7,219 points I can’t. But not to worry! The newsletter gave me lots of ways to pump up my points STAT.

aeroplan-options-galore

Whoa. Lots of options. Feeling overwhelmed…which option is best for me…

I’ve noticed a lot of television advertising lately about travel rewards credit cards. There are so many options and while it is overwhelming I’m happy there is competition. In my mind the more companies there are competing for my loyalty then the better the rewards will be. Right? That’s logical, right? Anybody?

Well, we’ll see. I’m setting a goal of taking a springtime trip completely on points. I think that’s enough time to go from 7,219 to…how many points do you need for two round-trip tickets around the world anyway?

This post was compensated but don’t worry, the story is original (and mine! And also true!)

Driving a Rolls-Royce Wraith [Review]

Rolls-Royce Wraith test drive

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would have the opportunity to drive a Rolls-Royce Wraith. Or be near one.

And yet, now I have photo proof.

As part of the North American launch the lovely and generous team from Rolls-Royce flew me to Phoenix, AZ for a test drive.

Pause for effect

Wraith launch in Phoenix

As this was my first press-junket I wasn’t sure how to act. So I decided to play it safe and act cool. You know, be myself. Except for the parts of myself that are afraid to drive my husband’s sports car in fear of breaking it. Must. Be. Cool.

However, my coolness evaporated when my greeter said “Hi Robyn!” My eyes widened as I exclaimed “You’re amazing!” My greeter led me outside where a Rolls-Royce Phantom (with extended wheelbase of course) waited. For me.

Still pretending I was playing cool I resisted the urge to pull my camera out. So you understand how grateful I was when a fellow member of the press asked the greeter to take a couple shots of us with the car.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

Still trying to be cool I took sneaky shots of my airport ride.

The event was held at The Canyon Suites at the Phonecian Resort. Everything about my day was luxurious. Well except for lunch when the person in front of me spilled ALL the beans and I was caught in the crossfire. Oh, and after when a lady helped me get the beans off my backside with napkins and club soda. But that was more about me not being fancy. Or cool.

Man, that’s a sexy car

Coming into this experience I held the same misconceptions about the Rolls empire as the next uneducated non-rich guy.

My Misconceptions

  • Rolls-Royce motorcars aren’t meant to be driven—only driven around in. Not true. While some models are intended to be chauffeured the Wraith is a two-door four-seater, with a V12 engine allowing 0-100 kph in five seconds
  • It’s an old-fashioned brand. Well, it’s an old brand but the car certainly didn’t look old fashioned to me. The Wraith is downright sexy
  • Rolls-Royce motorcars are only for the really, really, ridiculously good looking super rich…mmm actually that one’s true. This is not a car you save up for. It’s more of a reward you give yourself…for being you. Sure there’s a price attached to the car and each bespoke customization and unique feature adds to that price, but it doesn’t really come up
  • The brand is only for old people. Nope, it’s for rich people

Rolls-Royce Wraith

But let’s talk about the drive

I was seated in the Wraith with another journalist and we were given detailed instructions on our 70 mile driving route. We were to follow the built-in GPS (whose voice was Englishy and polite and calming) through the city and into the mountains where we would stop halfway to switch drivers, have a snack, and take photographs.

Seemed straightforward enough. We were also handed a paper map, should anything go wrong, and a cell phone with one number in it. Should anything go wrong.

Setting off with great enthusiasm we tested features, pressed interesting-looking buttons, and followed the directions until…

“Hey, the GPS isn’t saying the same directions as the paper map&#8230”

“And where are the mountains?”

Oh crap we got lost.

The main tipoff was when the GPS told us we had reached our halfway point. And we were on the freeway. With nothing anywhere, just desert. Since I was being cool I didn’t panic. And since my driving buddy didn’t seem bothered it gave me even more confidence. So we pulled over in an empty lot, switched drivers, and drove back the way we came.

Did we see the mountains or the photo spots? No. Did we drive those famous winding Arizona roads? Nah, we were in city traffic the whole time. But did we DRIVE A ROLLS-ROYCE? Heck yes! And it was AWESOME!

The car is beautiful to look at, comfortable to sit in, and exciting to drive. The car is big but not too big. It’s powerful but you never feel out of control. And it is so smoooooooth.

Rolls-Royce Wraith Launch Vancouver BC

Unveiling of the Rolls-Royce Wraith in Vancouver BC, August 2013

I fear I may be ruined for regular cars for the rest of my life. The other day I happened upon my plain-old regular car with a flat tire and my first instinct was to walk away. Until I remembered I didn’t have a chauffeured Phantom waiting for me around the corner.

Do I Dare Go All-Inclusive?

Before you judge me about all-inclusive vacations, remember I’m the girl who has really only ever travelled on a shoestring. And I prefer second-hand clothes to new ones. And I’m not above dumpster diving. So this is a big step.

All-Inclusive

Perks of all-inclusive vacations

What I’m trying to say is I’m not completely sure I’d be comfortable at an all-inclusive where your every need is met and all you have to do is enjoy yourself. And yet…I’m tempted.

I’m willing to plead ignorance. This commercial actually sums up my knowledge on the whole thing. And yes, I know it’s from 1983 but that’s what comes to mind when I think of all inclusive.

So to ease my 1980s nightmare I asked around a bit. It wasn’t difficult to find support for the all-inclusive thing. Enthusiastic support. And really it does sound pretty swank. Especially if you’re looking for a gorgeous getaway in the sun, an open bar, and not a care in the world.

Actually that sounds extremely tempting

And now I’ve discovered a way to combine my crippling frugality with my passion to travel and my newfound desire to do nothing: booking last-minute vacations.

I like the whole idea of travelling standby and I’ve tried a few times to convince my husband to embark on a last-minute adventure to parts unknown (he’s on the fence, but I think he’ll see it my way eventually), or at least a last-minute hotel room, but I never really considered booking a last-minute vacation package.

In my wildest imaginings I’ve only got as far as booking a $20 flight and ending up somewhere in the mid-western States needing to figure it out from there. This option seems much more comfortable.

So I searched around a bit and here is my pick. You know, if I was leaving tomorrow.

My dream vacation

For my dream vacation I chose a place called Buccaneer’s Creek, which I’ve never heard of but I think my husband would like because it sounds piratey. As well it has one of those pools where it looks like you’re falling off the edge of the world. You know what I mean? Love those photos. I’ve never experienced it for myself though.

But now that I look closer I see this resort isn’t on the last-minute deal list. But the Bahamas are and that place looks awesome!

I “pretended” (secretly hoping I’d accidentally book it) to sign us up but unfortunately since the package includes airfare, the website wants you to try out a whole bunch of dates and airports and I think it would just be easier to call the 888 number. But far less spontaneous.

And it’s a heck of a lot harder to convince your husband you accidentally gave your credit card number to the travel agent than claiming “the Internet did it.”

I like the whole idea of travelling standby but I never really considered booking a last-minute vacation package. And if I do, do I dare go all-inclusive?

Other travels