2017 Mazda Miata

We were pulling into the Auto Mall intent on checking out a Nissan Leaf or some other family-mobile when we noticed that our daughter was sleeping.  At about that same moment I saw a guy taking a Miata out for a test drive and I immediately knew that I had to drive one.

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I didn’t care which trim level the car was, or whether it was a targa top or convertible, as long as it had the 6-speed manual gearbox.  The car I ended up driving was a red soft top with cloth seats.  It had the premium audio system with the larger screen, but I didn’t bother turning it on.

The first thing I noticed was the low seating position.  Similar to a Boxter or BRZ.  The gear changes were nicely weighted.  Short throws.  Just chunky enough to be satisfying.  Pedal position was good.

Some cars just feel right when you drive them.  You’ll sit in them and it feels like you’re putting them on instead of sitting on top of them.  Getting them to do what you want is effortless — a smooth start from a standstill, a snappy effortless downshift or two, settling into a corner just right and accelerating out while rotating from the torque at the rear.  The Miata was one of these.  Now I know why they never stopped making them.

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The Miata isn’t fast with a 0-60 of about 6 seconds, and the electric-assist steering actually didn’t feel particularly communicative.  The suspension was a bit on the soft side, soaking up bumps nicely, but also feeling less sporty than I had anticipated.  But somehow, via some magic combination of light weight, suspension geometry, weight distribution, and other voodoo, the Miata was nothing less than an absolute blast to drive.

On-center steering feel is a bit vague, but as soon as you turn-in the rear tucks in and wants to rotate around you.  The engine is responsive and smooth.  Not frantic, but still pulling you along at a nice clip without seeming strained.  It’s not razor sharp but incredibly poised.

I kind of wanted one as I left the dealership.

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Best Baby Wrap and Carrier

Like sunscreen and strollers, I became obsessed with finding the best and most comfortable baby wrap and carrier when baby girl was younger.  I tried the original ergo carrier and found it to be uncomfortable and too much material for it to be breathable or cool for the baby.

This was when eBay was our best friend.  We sold that carrier and after much research purchased a Lillebaby carrier.  It had a mesh material that would hopefully keep baby and mom cool in the stifling heat, and an ergonomic shoulder/back strap.  This carrier, however, was as uncomfortable as the original ergo.  The torso length was far too long and the ergonomic strap was pretty pointless and silly-looking with my outfits.  It was also difficult to carry baby for long periods of time as she got heavier and the mesh material felt rough and scratchy against baby girl’s skin.  In paparazzi photos though, Liam Helmsworth and Ryan Reynolds were both seen wearing a Lillebaby.  I think if you have a similar body frame as those guys, it might be more comfortable, than on someone as short (5’4″) as myself.  It is designed by a Scandinavian company, isn’t it?

Anyway, after much persuasion and arm-twisting on my part, we then sold the Lillebaby and got the ergo 360.  Although this was an improvement on the original ergo and the Lillebaby, it didn’t take more than 40 minutes before my hips, shoulders, and back would start aching.  If baby girl finally fell asleep when I wore it around the house, and I wanted to put her down to bed, I’d leave the room and then undo the giant Velcro waist strap as to not wake her.  The Velcro strap was pretty annoying too because you couldn’t make minor adjustments easily once you had the baby in the carrier.  This is a a major dealbreaker.  I am able to change the waist and shoulder straps throughout the time that I am wearing my toddler now with my Tula.   How tight or loose we want the straps changes depending on if she’s sleepy, how long I’ve been carrying her, and the activity.

In the end, I found two amazing carriers, one of which I still use to carry my 30 pound 2.5 year old toddler for more than an hour at a time, with hardly any discomfort:

Baby Tula Ergonomic Carrier – Urbanista – Baby:  I have no idea how, but all of the slight differences in various carriers, make a huge difference on your pain and stamina when wearing them.  I found the Tula carrier, after poring over countless blogs and forums about babywearing.  This carrier is the only one you will ever need to buy.  Don’t waste your money on the other ones.  We got the toddler size on Amazon.  She was around 18-19 pounds when we got it, and I was debating whether or not to get one, since she was already much older (almost 13 months), was walking, etc..  I regret a lot of stuff that we purchased when we had the baby, but this is not one of them.  I only wish I had gotten it from the beginning.  I am constantly using it.  Even now, when she is 2.5 years old, I bring it with me, when we take the train, go to the zoo, museum, on the plane, on vacation, etc..  I can easily carry her for an hour, without being uncomfortable or have any back, shoulder, or hip pain.  She weighs 30 pounds too and was a big baby from the start.  The Tula has so many cute designs too.

Solly Baby Wrap:  I follow them on Instagram and they honestly seem like really nice people and I love their story.  They are living the dream.  That’s reason enough to want to support their business.  However, their wrap is also pretty awesome.


I had a hard time picking one, especially when comparing it to the Moby wrap or the Boba, on Amazon, which have thousands of reviews, but I chose the Solly for a couple of reasons.

I read that the other ones are made of thicker material, and, in the dry heat of southern California, it’s important to pick one that is breathable and cool.  The Solly wrap is thinner, but stretchy.  They also focus on making ones with really cute colors and prints.  I also read that the Solly is much shorter in length, in comparison to the Moby, and that for more petite women, the Solly was much better suited.  We babysat one of my friend’s four month old a couple of months ago, and I was able to bust out my Solly wrap again, after not using it once our baby got much bigger, and it helped the baby fall asleep right away and kept him calm, despite being in a new environment.  I credit his unusually long naps that day to the Solly wrap.

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His mom had given me a clipboard to rigorously mark how long his naps were and details about his feedings.  She told me afterwards that his naps are usually much shorter, and was shocked to hear how long he had napped for that day.  When I dropped him off later that day, I lent her my wrap just in case.

It really is so freeing to be able to put your baby in a secure wrap, and to have your hands and arms free.  I couldn’t even get my own drink from the refrigerator pre-Wrap era.  I felt my independence come back that day my Solly wrap came in the mail.

Wearing a regular baby carrier is not as comfortable as a wrap in certain situations.  If you’re at home, doing housework, or walking around on the plane, you want to stay comfortable and as light as possible, and the Solly wrap is perfect for that.  I can thank my Solly wrap for not completely losing my sanity, when it became clear that the baby wanted to be held almost non-stop.

On vacation, I traveled with both the Solly and the Tula.  If the weather was more humid and sticky, I wanted to have the Solly and wear it instead of wearing a heavier carrier.  The Tula is great for when you want to put the baby down easily.  I recommend both brands though to all of my friends.

Indoor Play / Exercise Area for Kids by Gorilla Gym

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The Gorilla Gym Kids Deluxe with Indoor Swing, Plastic Rings, Trapeze Bar, Climbing Ladder, and Swinging Rope is a genius idea.

Everybody has had the over the door pull up bar before.  This is an adaptation of that except its secured with different hooks and made so that it’s screwed in and stable.

It’s perfect for burning off unexpended energy on those rainy or sunny days when you can’t get out of the house.

OC Fight Doc II

Went back to OC Fight Doc today to get my shoulder worked on.  Today would be the first time that I would receive the normal treatment protocol.  Last time I just wanted to find out about my shoulder, and I was such a mess that I didn’t want to be touched.

First thing I noticed this time that I failed to notice last time was the Acai Republic freezer in the waiting room.  I have no idea how I missed it.  But it’s right smack dab in the middle of the room, and it’s filled with delicious Acai bowls.  Different varieties from “the Brazilian” or “True Brazilian” to “Tahiti” or something or other.  No way I could pass one up.  I think I’m going to end up getting one every single time I visit the doc.


They lead me to the back and sit me in front of this wall, applying a heat pack to my chest/shoulder.

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Finally, a doctor’s office with something worth watching on TV (UFC Fight Pass).  After the heat pack I was treated to a session of the Tecar machine (which, no b.s., actually helped), a session of massage therapy, an instructional and personal training on some shoulder strengthening exercises, and a few minutes going over next steps with the doc.  I’ve had physical therapy a number of times in the past and this was the best experience I’ve had thus far.  I’m looking forward to my next session.

A Chick-fil-a Franchise Costs $10,000

Unlike other franchises, it doesn’t cost millions of dollars in the bank to operate a Chick-fil-a franchise, like McDonald’s or even a Jollibee’s.  The competition is stiff and they only pick maybe 1 in 20,000 applicants, I vaguely remember reading.  They interview your family, friends and associates.  You don’t have ownership over it either, but rather operate it.  If you passed away, it goes back to Chick-fil-a, not down to your heirs.

We tried a Jollibee’s for the first time on the way home from Anaheim.  I get all the hoopla for it though.  My cousin waited for two hours outside when it opened near Chicago.  I’m glad we didn’t have to wait that long and got to try it.

Lee’s sandwiches in Sunnyvale, CA was awesome too.  The bread was always delicious and the banh mi was cheap, fresh, and tasty.  Their coffees were so good too.  I saw one in socal one time, as we drove past it on the freeway, but haven’t gotten to go yet.  I haven’t had a good banh mi sandwich in a long time.