There’s an epidemic going on, and yet no one has recognized and addressed the elephant in the room. There’s a mass exodus of New Yorkers fleeing the city that never sleeps in search of a better quality of life. Just as quickly as transplants are finding their way to the city that claims “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” There’s a subset of New Yorkers in search of their “anywhere” outside of the five borough vicinity of New York City. People are escaping NYC for something new and it’s a common epidemic that no one seems to talk about, until now.
The irony that I recently participated in Ford’s unique pop-up event in the heart of Manhattan, doesn’t go unnoticed. The Ford Escape NYC experience was a 1-day activation inviting journalists and consumers the chance at problem solving highlighting the new features and benefits of 2017 Ford Escape.
Based on the ever-popular “Escape The Room” event concept, teams of four were challenged to learn about the 2017 Ford Escape and utilize features and benefits absorbed to solve puzzles, riddles and problems in order to escape to the next level of the game. Check out the recap video here.
It’s funny how a simple game can have you analyzing career decisions you’ve made in life. While this may be news to some (if we’re Facebook friends or you follow my shenanigans on Snapchat, you’re already well aware) – I’ve recently taken a career shift and have graduated into the next phase of my multimedia career by accepting an integrated marketing role in network television.
While this amazing experience has afforded me the opportunity to utilize my 10+ year broadcast marketing expertise on a largely valuable scale, it’s also afforded me the moment I’ve waited two years for, an escape from New York. Don’t get me wrong. My 6-year New York experience was an eye-opening and life-altering chapter in which I was forced to grow and become the woman I am today. I’ve traveled the world, made genuine life-long friendships and learned that you never want to intentionally eat a street hot dog. I’ve also learned that while New York offers world-class food and entertainment, it was lacking the quality of life experiences that I was now ready to live out for the remainder of my days.
Early morning commutes with hundreds of people on the subway was one of the leading factors behind my escape from New York. I’m all for building up communities, however my tolerance for roommates, shower sharing, NYC rats and roaches really made me question if I knew there was a better quality of life out there, why am I allowing myself to suffer? For the sake of saying I live in NYC? I don’t think so.
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. LESSONS LEARNED.
So as the Escape The Room concept goes…you identify the problem and use what you’ve learned to find the solution. Once I realized that I my time in NYC was winding down, I made the decision to make the leap into a new career, happier commute and escape the city I called home for years.
Since my escape, I continue to stay connected to my NYC friends and family as well as visit on a monthly basis (for business – and as a friendly reminder as to why I left in the first place.) So what did Ford’s Escape New York experience mean for me? Other than a super cool activation experience / game affording me the opportunity to reconnect with friends, it’s also opened my eyes to the possibilities of stepping outside your comfort zone in order to grow into new levels and new possibilities.
Now that I’ve ‘leveled up” let’s see just where exactly this escape leads me six years from now. It’ll undoubtedly lead to new challenges that require problem-solving skills that I’ve learned throughout my journey, but I’ve never been more excited to use lessons learned to solve puzzles and problems in order to escape to the next level of this game called life.
Disclaimer: I have partnered with Ford Motor Company and have been compensated to share my Ford Fusion and Essence Festival experience. All opinions are my own.
The 2016 Essence Festival has come to a close in New Orleans, ushering with it a vibrant trail of excitement to rival festivals of years past. There was no shortage of amazing performances, celebrity sightings and more. From Oprah, TD Jakes, Puff Daddy, Maxwell, Kenny Lattimore, the cast of “Power” and more – the Big Easy was filled with big fun all weekend long. Fueled by Ford Motor Company, this year makes my fifth Essence Festival Experience and like a fine wine, it only gets better with time.
Kenny Lattimore serenades the Ford fans during Sirius XM interview with Heart & Soul.
In celebration of and pushing entrepreneurs to “Go Further” in business and finances, Ford hosted panel discussions featuring need to know tips from new media trailblazers. I partnered with Tiffany Aliche of The Budgetnista to tackle the conversation of “Financial Preparedness” and getting your money right for business and beyond.
Christen of DivasandDorks, Tiffany Aliche of The Budgetnista and Comedienne Loni Love.
Moderated by Loni Love (The Real), we discussed tips on how to budget for the entrepreneurial leap and the importance of owning your credit blueprint. The forum was not only insightful and informative for guests, I learned applicable tips first hand from The Budgetnista and even shared super easy hacks to jumpstart and automate your money saving dreams starting today. (#AutoMakeThatMoney – more details coming soon.)
Ford Family Fun
For most, Essence Festival is an annual family reunion and the Ford experience is the epicenter of games, giveaways and family fun. It’s a great place for celebrity sightings and entertainment. Ford fans got a special surprise when renown relationship life coach and Ford Spokesperson Tony Gaskins explored the latest Ford vehicles on display. He posed for selfies and answered questions from fans and even checked out the all new 2017 Ford Fusion display. (Are you unstoppable? Check out an interview with Tony Gaskins here.)
Relationship expert Tony Gaskins poses with fans at Ford Essence Festival experience.
My Ford family kept the family reunion fun kept it moving all weekend long. Whether you’re running into old friends from high school or hometowns or getting reacquainted with new friends, the Ford booth was the epicenter and the Essence Festival experience. It was the perfect spot to reconviene after performances or meeting point to gather before heading out for New Orleans fun. Personally, it was a great chance for me to catch up with my dad and show him what this year’s Ford/Essence Festival partnership entailed. (Plus reconnecting in a city that defines our family name is always a huge WIN). Of course, it was only right that we chronicled the moment with plenty of selfies and entered for a chance to win cool prizes like Fitbit fitness trackers, HD cameras and more. (Did I forget to mention that I won this cool HD sticky cam?)
One of the many things I appreciate about Ford is that they fuse a variety of experiences that empower guests of all ages and backgrounds at Essence Fest. From entrepreneurs to retirees and everyone in between aren’t only entertained, but they’re empowered with tools that can impact their families, communities, businesses and more. In addition to Ford’s Warriors in Pink initiative raising money and awareness for cancer research, Ford awarded lucky Essence Fest fans a chance to win the all new 2017 Ford Fusion!
From celebrity guests to community empowerment, Ford is committed to representing for Essence Fest fans and once again I’m proud to be apart of this unforgettable experience. Did you check out Ford at this year’s Essence Festival? What did you think? Share your comments or tweets us at @DivasandDorks using the hashtag #MyFordFam
Want to learn more about my spectacular drive in the 2017 Ford Fusion? Discover what drives the festival fun on the Road To Essence Fest! Looking for pricing? Or details on how to schedule a 2017 Ford Fusion test drive of your own? Discover the all new 2017 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium edition online at Ford.com and get social on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram today!
Disclaimer: I have partnered with Ford Motor Company and have been compensated to share my Ford Fusion and Essence Festival experience. All opinions are my own.
There’s just something sweet and sacred about the city of New Orleans, Lousiana. It’s been four years since I first made my way to NOLA and Ford has been there every step of the way! Remember way back when? I partnered with the Ford Escape and Essence.com to share my discovery of authentic cuisine and Cajun fun in the 4-part “Escape to New Orleans” series.
Since then, year-after-year I’ve experienced epic ESSENCE Fest moments, performances and local NOLA faire. From the shopping, museums and all the magical moments in between, an ESSENCE Festival experience should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s 2016 and we’re back again with the 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid on the Road To Essence Fest!
There’s so much more to New Orleans than Burbon Street and Beignets! There’s a rich history of culture that you can smell, see and taste around every corner. Over the past years, I’ve found a deep love and appreciation for a city that I would have never known if it wasn’t for the Essence Fest experience. Now I’m getting ready to take on my 5th year at ESSENCE Fest and I’m more excited than ever before!
All this week, I’m taking you behind the wheel on an epic ESSENCE Fest journey unlike any other. I’ll be sharing beauty and style tips for easy holiday travel, tips on navigating Essence Fest and NOLA like a pro and more – all powered by the 2017 Ford Fusion!
Check out my first impressions of the all new 2017 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium and see just why this hybrid sets the bar for style and sustainability!
Discover Five Tech Savvy Travel Tips For The Ultimate Road Trip This Season (+ Visa Giftcard Giveaway!)May 24th, 2016 by Christen
It’s the unofficial start of the summer and road trip season! With most planning on driving more than 50 miles in search of summer fun we’ve got the tips you need to make your next road trip a great one!
From how to drive, travel apps and more – we’ve teamed up with Toyota & industry expert Jeff Fortson to help make holiday travel more fuel-efficient and fun! (Plus we’re giving away Visa Giftcards to help fuel your holiday weekend travel!)
“Drivers can take simple steps to help them get the most gas mileage on their trips this Memorial Day weekend,” says Fortson, founder and editor of JeffCars.com, a site dedicated to auto education and car-buying clinics. “Taking heed to these tips will not only lead to fuel savings but will help provide a little extra money once you arrive at your destination.”
Toyota and Fortson offer six fuel-efficiency tips designed to help protect your pocket at the pump before you start a memorable road trip with family and friends.
- Use the cruise control (and the optional radar-activated cruise control system) for holiday road trips. Both systems minimize sudden acceleration and de-acceleration. According to fueleconomy.gov, speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can decrease gas mileage by 33 percent.
- Be sure to check and properly inflate each tire, including the spare before you set out on a trip. Gas mileage can be improved if tires have adequate pressure. Some vehicles are equipped with a tire pressure monitor system which alerts you when it detects tire pressure is critically low. If the car isn’t equipped with this system, a tire gauge can be purchased at the local parts store and the service department can check the air pressure.
- Rent a fuel-efficient vehicle. If you are renting a car, you may want to consider a hybrid vehicle, such as Prius or Prius V.
- Use the factory installed navigation system or a favorite app like Google Maps and Waze from your smartphone to make your drive safer. These navigation systems will alert drivers of traffic congestion and provide you with the shortest route to your destination.
- Always pack smart. Just like flying, you should only take necessary items for a road trip. Avoid using the roof rack, if possible, because it reduces the aerodynamics and decreases fuel efficiency.
- Watch the A/C. It is recommended that you use the air conditioner when driving highway speeds. When driving in stop-and-go traffic, turn the air conditioner off and allow air to circulate through the vehicle.
Are you getting ready for your next road trip? What’s inspiring your upcoming road trips this summer? TWEET US! @DivasAndDorks and share your favorite road trip inspirations on Twitter using #ToyotaMemories for your chance to win a $25 Visa Gift Card today!
It’s always been an experience I’ve wanted to scratch off my bucket list for some time now. Who wouldn’t want to grab their best girlfriend and go on a cross-country road trip in an amazing car?
Over the course of several weeks, Chevrolet’s hosted media influencers and journalists on a drive throughout the 48 US contagious states. Driving behind the wheel of the 2016 Chevy Camaro, we were encouraged to #FindNewRoads and discover points of innovation throughout the country. We visited landmarks and discovered the roads less traveled during our drive from New Orleans, LA to Dallas, TX (with plenty of exhilarating & unforgettable moments to spare!)
Check out a few of my favorite moments from our cross country Camaro drive in search to #FindNewRoads below!
Crescent City Connection
If you’re familiar with the Denzel Washington flick “Deja Vu” chances are, you’ve seen the iconic twin cantilever bridges that carry U.S. Route 90 Business over the Mississippi River in New Orleans before. Formerly known as the Greater New Orleans Bridge (GNO) – it’s the widest and most heavily traveled bridge on the lower Mississippi; instrumental with the Hurricane Katrina evacuations in 2005.
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro and the Crescent City Connection – two iconic symbols of mobility and strength all rolled into one #FindNewRoads moment.
Mardi Gras World
What’s the next best thing to visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras? Taking a trip to one of the happiest places on earth – Mardi Gras World. We were looking for a real, behind-the-scenes look at New Orleans Mardi Gras and boy did we find it!
At Mardi Gras World, guides take the mask off Mardi Gras with an all-access Mardi Gras tour, winding through the massive studio where these magnificent floats are built from the ground up. Guests learn about the history of this unique and festive tradition and go beyond its reputation to get a deeper understanding of the real Mardi Gras.
One monkey don’t stop no show: The massive Mardi Gras World experience is a MUST during your next New Orleans visit. Make sure you bring plenty of camera storage because there are plenty of picture perfect moments you’ll want to capture during your visit.
Bayou Dinning And Aligator Bites
After a 15-mile drive outside of New Orleans, we stumbled upon the beauty and bounty of the Restaurant des Familles. Nestled along the waterway home to alligators, turtles, egrets and other wildlife (Bayou des Familles) – we were in search of authentic Cajun and Creole bites and the Alligator Stuffed Mushrooms with Alligator Sauce Piquant more than delivered.
Good Eats: We enjoyed the best of the best from the Restaurant de Familles including the grilled Shrimp & Grits with jalapeno-cheddar grits with scratch gravy, Caesar Salad and Catfish strips.
The Alligator Stuffed Mushrooms with Alligator Sauce Piquant was amazing – and the views of alligators just a few feet away were even better.
Swamp Tour Through Gator Country
I’ve never been in an airboat before, let alone on a tour through the swamps of the bayou. So of course finding the road less traveled lead us to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Trained guides escorted us into the murky waters of Louisiana swamps where we came face to face with the beauty and beasts of nature.
Driving The 2016 Camaro
The 2016 Camaro more than handled the road, it commanded it. Driving from New Orleans to Dallas as a Camaro road warrior was beyond amazing. As the most efficient and powerful Camaro SS ever it’s equipped with improved handling, performance, technology and kept heads turning throughout the entire drive.
Discover where the 2016 Camaro SS is headed next! Keep up with all the spectacular sights and see how others #FindNewRoads by visiting FindNewRoadsTrip.com
It’s amazing how driving a car can introduce, impact and ignite friendships that can last a lifetime. Driving is one of the rare experiences that highlight shared moments in your life that you’ll never forget. Exciting moments that lead to earning your first driving permit to unforgettable road trips with friends, no matter your age – you can always remember moments that involve your first or favorite car on the road!
This week, I’m revved up with excitement as me and my best friend get ready to take our friendship on the road driving the 2016 Camaro across the U.S., seeking people and places that embody the spirit of Find New Roads by pioneering new solutions in technology, business, education, arts and culture.
My BFF Tiffany and I met years ago as key players for our high school volleyball team. I was a high school senior and she was a wise-cracking freshman who bummed a ride home from volleyball practice. We instantly clicked and became friends by riding home from volleyball practice together. Who knew that months of after school driving would set the foundation for a 17-year friendship?!?
Months later after graduation, I was off to a whole new world – college. We eventually lost contact, but was once again reunited by the same car that drove our friendship into existence. One random afternoon, Tiffany noticed my car-bra-clad sedan (in aftermarket electric blue) parked outside my college dorm. Can you believe she yelled out my name, over and over until I ran outside? I found my best friend and just like that, we were connected at the hip again!
We were the epitome of girls that love their cars! We both had the same make and model and created our very own car club on campus (we were the only two members of the car club, but who cares – we thought we were haute stuff! LOL) We always compared notes on driving/parking tricks on campus and cultivated the foundation of our friendship over cars, wise-cracking jokes and the craziest college co-ed experience ever! Over the years we’ve watched boyfriends, degrees and even random auditions for MTV’s “The Real World” come and go and 17 years later, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
BEST FRIEND (noun): A person who you value above other friends in your life, someone you have fun with, someone you trust and someone in whom you confide.
Meet my best friend… we’re exact opposites and yet exactly the same – and this week we’re going on the road in the all new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro.
From college to a cross-country road trip, where can you find us next? Meet us in the Big Easy this Wednesday, November 4th at the NOLA Motorsports Park! Check out our road tripping hijinks, map track the tour and details at FindNewRoadsTrip.com. #FindNewRoads
Check out the #Drivetastic Giveaway with @DivasDriveHeels and @Autotrader_com on DivasDriveInHeels.comSeptember 17th, 2015 by Christen
Have you checked out DivasDriveinHeels.com lately? Divas Drive In Heels….Haute cars and stylish automotive news, for women – by women! That’s what we’re all about! The newest rides, automotive trends and how they intertwine in entertainment and everyday life.
DivasDriveInHeels.com – the web’s first lifestyle automotive hub online, for women, by women, is a driving source of everything automotive that’s important to women, we are the authority in automotive news, entertainment & more for women interested in purchasing, maintaining or upgrading their vehicles. Finally a fresh spin on what matters to style conscious consumers most…
We’ve partnered with Autotrader to create a #DRIVETASTIC giveaway! Check out DivasDriveInHeels.com to discover how you can enter to win $200 AMEX gift card today!
Want to learn more and get started on your Drivetastic Autotrader experience, get social with Autotrader on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and shop for your next fresh ride on FeelDrivetastic.com and Autotrader.com.
To kick off the summer in style – Essence and Lincoln teamed up to surprise three lucky winners a celebrity-inspired experience of a lifetime! Of course NYC is know for amazing fashions and spectacular street style, so of course it would be the first stop for any aspiring fashionista to get into the industry as a fashion stylist. Check out some of our fun while chauffeured in the all new Lincoln MKX.
Discover the amazing style and fun during the Journey Through The City – NYC below…
Anytime is a good time for a selfie with celebrity stylist & designer June Ambrose.
This was just the beginning of the cross-country fun with Essence and Lincoln Motor Company. Want to see more? Stay tuned to DivasandDorks.com to discover the celebrity fun in DC and ATL soon. For more information on the Lincoln MKX visit Lincoln.com and get connected on social media with @LincolnMotorCo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram today!
Lincoln Motor Company has re-enginered what luxury looks and feels like with the 2015 Lincoln MKC and Lincoln MKC Black Label. As a luxe crossover with a touch of chic technology appeal, driving the 2015 Lincoln MKC this Spring in both Detroit and Dallas was an experience that I’ll never forget!
From the dramatic HID headlamps (which are more visible than conventional headlamps) and the full-length LED tail lamps it’s easy to instantly see how the Lincoln MKC makes beautiful accessories, necessities. Inside, comfort goes beyond just leg room. The spacious interior is streamlined and graceful with controls at your fingertips – like the push-button-shift transmission – seamlessly integrated into the instrument panel (which can often confuse the first time driver, but it’s definitely a welcomed upgrade to your typical push-to-start ignition buttons.)
The journey starts here. With all of your connections made effortlessly. Say a command and stay in touch without taking your hands off the wheel. Or touch the signature 8″ color screen to have your favorite song from the playlist on your MP3 player piped through your vehicle speakers. No matter where you’re going or what you have going on, here, the lines of communication are always open.
There’s re-engineering what luxury looks and drives like and then there’s creating a mark of luxurious distinction – and that’s what the 2015 Lincoln MKC Black Label entails. The Black Label collection of Lincoln vehicles aren’t just an upgraded vehicle with premium leather, wood and other materials – it’s a completely upgrading vehicle owning experience. Including a premium extended warranty, curated at-your-service dining experiences, complementary wash/detailing services and more!
The Lincoln Black Label collection of vehicles (Lincoln MKZ / Lincoln MKC) come in a variety of styles inspired by natural and renewable resources. Drawing their inspiration from scents, sounds, fashion, food performing arts and orchestra, the Lincoln Black Label designers created four distinct design themes. Each style offers a different aesthetic or theme based on colors, textures, patterns and natural woods. Modern Heritage is a contemporary twist on the classic elegance that defines Lincoln. Indulgence exudes the rich allure of luxurious chocolate. Oasis is a retreat to a desert resort, or the sands of a tropical paradise. Center Stage dramatically reflects the excitement of the curtain rising on the opening night of a theatre performance.
During my drive, I selected the Lincoln MKC Center Stage edition during a recent drive in Dallas, Texas and needless to say, the Black Label experience was definitely an upgraded one.
Inspired equally by the fashion world and the theater district, this interior is for those with a flair for the dramatic. The Jet Black leather interior with Foxfire Red Alcantara® accents captures the excitement of standing center stage, while onyx wood (MKZ) and black striped wood (MKC) add a lush texture to this undeniably stylish design.
Equipped with specially selected Venetian leather. (Only 1% of rawhide skins are selected). Known for it’s lightly finished texture, Venetian leathers in ebony are form-fitted to the interior, wrapping the seats, steering wheels and door armrests and also creatively stitched in subtle accent and perforation patterns to complement the overall vehicle theme.
Specialty Black Stripe reconstructed wood infused with layers of veneer, creating dramatic stripes both accent and enhance the design of the Lincoln MKC beyond imagination.
The Lincoln MKC Center Stage is undoubtedly a showstopper. Inspired by the worlds of theatre and fashion, the Lincoln Black Label Center Stage theme is for those with a taste for the dramatic and definitely for those who want a vehicle that is a stylish extension of their personality!
Black Label was designed to offer a specialized customer experience and with an introduction like Black Label at Home across the U.S. I’m sure this is Hello that prospective buyers will never forget. For more information on the 2015 Lincoln MKC and MKC Black Label visit Lincoln.com.
By now, I’m sure you know how much of an automotive enthusiast I really am! From luxury chariots to muscle cars, I love em all! Last week, I was invited to attend a Heels And Wheels media retreat in Malibu, California to test out some of the hottest cars from Jaguar, GMC, Lexus, Mazda and more! [Heels And Wheels invites women automotive journalists from across the country to take part in a 2-day media drive for networking and fun in the sun.]
Discover a sneak peek of my favorite #HeelsAndWheels2015 moments below…
Chief Engineer Allison Rahm shares the phenomenon behind the 2015 Dodge Charger.
The 2016 Mazda6 was a standout surprise – I was absolutely amazed by this drive!
Rene Syler whips around the corner in the 2015 Land Rover Discovery…
The 2015 GMC Canyon SLE is a leading pickup trucks with 17% of owners being women.
Auto journalists, PR reps, brand specialists and we’re all women!
With so many options to drive, you’d be surprised to discover which car was my absolute favorite, which ride was perfect for new parents and which AWD vehicle left more to be desired. That’s why I’ve shared more photos, first impressions and more on our official automotive channel for everything cars, trucks, wheel-related and more, you can find it on DivasDriveInHeels.com.