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How to Prep Your Car for a Hurricane

You never know how much you needed your car until a tree falls on it from strong winds.

Living in an area that is a hurricane prone area, we typically will prep our home ahead of a storm. However, I have never thought about prepping my car because it usually sits safely under our car port. We will occasionally park on the street.

One day in 2014 after a bad thunderstorm on my street and flooding in surrounding areas, a huge tree fell on a car right in front of the owners’ home. That was enough for me to reconsider just how safe my car was.

Even though, I can’t shield my car from every catastrophe, I can take some precautions.

In this sponsored post, by University Motors, I will share a few tips on what you can do to prep your car for a hurricane (or any other disaster that might destroy your car).

Take Pictures.  This will be helpful in providing proof to your insurance company as to what damages were done to your car. Consumer Reports suggests.

Store Important Items. Store copies of your car’s registration and insurance documentation in a safe place like a zip-top plastic bag, Consumer Reports recommends. Make additional copies of this documentation, as well as your car key/fob, and distribute them to all licensed drivers in your family. That way, in the unfortunate event that you are separated from your vehicle or family, your vehicle is ready for use.    

Fill Your Tank. Before a hurricane hits, be sure to fuel up your car to be ready to evacuate if need be. With a full tank of gas, you’ll be more likely to get to where you need to go without having to make a stop for fuel.

Park Safely. Consumer Reports recommends parking your car in a garage if possible. If you don’t have a garage, consider parking your car close to a building, which can offer at least partial protection from high winds. Avoid parking under trees or power lines that can be blown down, says Consumer Reports.

Check Your Vehicle. Once the storm is over and all members of your family are accounted for, check over your car thoroughly to evaluate its condition. If there’s damage, you can take pictures of the car and compare the “before” and “after” version, as advised above

And if you have to drive after a tropical storm or a hurricane has swept across your neighborhood, consider this advice from Ready.gov:

  • Drive only if necessary.
  • Avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Watch for fallen objects, downed power lines and weakened walls, bridges, roads and sidewalks.

Planning ahead can help give you some peace of mind about your car so you can focus on staying safe.

Resource: Allstate.com

** This post is sponsored by University Motor Company. University Motor Company located in Columbia, SC offers nice used car options and uses CarFax for vehicle history reports. They sell a variety of pre-owned vehicles that range from high end cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-class to enthusiast cars such as the Jeep Wrangler. This post is sponsored by University Motor Company.

How to Really Plan the Perfect Road Trip

At some point in your life, a road trip must and will happen. Maybe you had an emergency trip back to your home town (which is 4 hours away) because of a family health crisis or funeral. Or maybe you love the idea of the long drive with your friends, family or spouse.

I’ve always loved a good road trip. My first long trip (that I can remember) was with my grandparents when I was a little kid. Flying wasn’t an option at the time because it seemed too expensive. So driving was the preferred mode of traveling back and forth to NYC to visit family.

As I’ve gotten older, although I have the option of flying (thanks to decreased rates), I still like the idea of being on the road. I like the idea of seeing seeing parts of America that I don’t usually see in my everyday.

However, every road trip isn’t created equal. While in my teens, I dreaded the 12-hour drive from SC to NY with my grandparents simply because they didn’t play any music during the trip. I was a teenager. But the time did allow me time to write in my journal, so the trip wasn’t all bad.

As, I’ve gotten older, I realized that I could set the rules of my own road trips and really enjoy them. There were certain elements of the trip that I loved and that really make for an enjoyable trip. Here are a few…

Get your car ready for the drive (unless you are getting a rental). Here are a few steps to get your car road trip ready (via Wikihow.com)

  1. Check the fluids in your car.
  2. Check your air pressure.
  3. Get the oil changed before you leave if it’s almost time for a change.
  4. Check your tire wear by using a penny or tread gauge.
  5. Check your car’s air filter.
  6. Wash your car.
  7. Check to be certain that all lights and signals are functional on your car.

Ride with people you can have fun with.

Because who wants to be in a car with someone they can’t along with or have fun with? My husband is my best friend road trip buddy (along with a few other friends whom I adore). We laugh, talk and just enjoy the silence of being together. We even work out little ‘issues’ that were weighing on our minds, while on our trip. I like to think of it as driving therapy. I feel like we get to know each other just a little bit more while driving together.

If you have kids, try keeping them amused with games. Pinterest has an abundance of ideas.

(Ok, I don’t have kids, so I’m not the expert here. However, I used to be a kid and I know what I didn’t like. So I’m pulling from those experiences. LOL.)

Plan your route.

Planning your route will help you know where you are going. Everyone knowing the route plan will help decrease the likelihood of getting lost if your spouse is asleep. You might laugh at this statement, but we’ve gotten ‘lost’ and wasted time when the wrong exit was taken to get on a highway that was NOT on the planned route. Wasted time and getting lost can be stressful on a road trip. I like to keep this down to a minimum. So, yeah, talk about the plan before getting on the road. Unless you decide to go old school and have a paper map handy, Google Maps is very useful for planning the details of your route.

Google Maps app

Make a playlist that everyone will enjoy. 

Music can affect our mood. On a recent drive up from South Carolina to New York, my husband and listened to a Destiny’s Childs playlist that he created via Spotify (while I was driving). The upbeat tempo from Destiny’s Child songs helped me drive another few hours before our next break. All was well. We were well into our 5 hour of the drive.

However, the playlist of the first few hours of our drive included my husband playing his Aaliyah CD collection. After the 10th song, I needed a break and asked him to change the CD. (Side note: Her album just didn’t pump me up while driving.)

So realize that your drive music might be different from everyone else in the car.  There has to be a compromise. Perhaps the one driving can choose the playlist. However, thanks to having headphones, this might be an easy fix.

BTW, did you know, Spotify has several Travel playlists for everyone!

Classic Road Trip Songs

Be quiet.

I love to talk. I’m a talker, but there are times when I just want to do something else like listen to a podcast, read, sleep or just ponder in deep thought about stuff. A long road trip provides ample opportunity to do all of that. So don’t force everyone to talk all the time. Sometimes quiet time is OK. Allow everyone to listen to their own music, podcasts (via their headphones of course) or even sleep. If your trip is more than four hours, it’s quite natural that you might want to do something else. It’s ok.

Savor the moment.

Realized that everything doesn’t have to be tightly planned. Mistakes and mishaps will happen. Have the goal of keeping calm and going with the flow and you will enjoy your road trip 🙂

** This post is sponsored by University Motor Company. University Motor Company located in Columbia, SC offers nice used car options and uses CarFax for vehicle history reports. They sell a variety of pre-owned vehicles that range from high end cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-class to enthusiast cars such as the Jeep Wrangler. This post is sponsored by University Motor Company.

 

Five Ways to Save Money on a New Car For Your Business

We all want to have a nice car for our business because it is an extension of our brand.

Most of us spend quite a bit of time in our cars conducting business, delivering product (if you’re in direct sales), driving to meetings, running errands and handling family appointments. So our cars can wear down over time. We can continue to pour money into repairs or opt for a new one.

This was a decision my husband and I was faced with a year ago, when we owned our 2005 Volkswagen Jetta. I really liked that car, but I didn’t want to spend all my earnings into car repairs.

Working with my client University Motor Company, I was reminded that there are ways save money when purchasing a new car. This post is sponsored by them. I’ll include examples of what I’ve learned along with tips from their sales staff.

Five Ways to Save Money on a New Car For Your Business

1. Consider your car-buying budget. Knowing what you can and are willing to spend will help you stay in your ‘financial lane’. However, if you make a decision purely on emotion, you are likely to spend more than you can afford.

2. What add-ons do you really need? Add-ons can add up and push you over your budget. Decide before going into the dealership, what you REALLY need to have in a car. Will you use the car mostly for business? Then having wi-fi or bluetooth features might be important since you will be conducting business mostly from your car. However, consider if you really need that sunroom and all leather interior.

3. It’s ok to compare and shop online. You most likely know the major dealerships in your area. Consider researching the local used car dealerships in your area as well. Doing your research and letting them know that you have done your research will help you in the car buying process.

For example, University Motor Company located in Columbia, SC offers nice used car options and uses CarFax for vehicle history reports. They sell a variety of pre-owned vehicles that range from high end cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-class to enthusiast cars such as the Jeep Wrangler.

University Motor Company lists their cars and prices online. You can even schedule a test drive before going to the dealership.

4. Check for rebates, cash-back programs and low interest rates. The car company offers them as an incentive to buy. Use this to your advantage to help you save money.

5. Know what your insurance premiums look like. This process might be a little tedious, but you will be happy knowing what the ‘extra’ costs of purchasing your vehicle are.

6. Decide if you want to trade in your car.  You can research the value of your car by visiting CarFax.com or the Kelley Blue Book website. We decided to sell our Volkswagen Jetta online to a VW enthusiast.

In Conclusion.

No matter what you decide, understand that you don’t have to feel rushed during the process. At the end of the day, you know what your needs are for a car for your business, family and self.

 

** This post is sponsored by University Motor Company. University Motor Company located in Columbia, SC offers nice used car options and uses CarFax for vehicle history reports. They sell a variety of pre-owned vehicles that range from high end cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-class to enthusiast cars such as the Jeep Wrangler. This post is sponsored by University Motor Company.

How to Take Photos of Your Car with Your iPhone


This post is sponsored by University Motor Company.

In the age of Instagram, image has become increasingly important. We live in a society that loves to like and ‘double tap’ the hearts on photos from our phone. If the image isn’t beautiful, we tend to think something is wrong with the subject of the photos. While this might not be the case, first impressions do matter, especially if we are trying to sell something.

Let’s be honest, we are attracted to beautiful things. I know I am. When I was shopping for a new car, I first researched cars online and decided from there the cars that interest me. The cars that appealed to me looked nice and was photographed well.

This is important to keep in mind when you are selling your car. It needs to look like someone’s dream car, if you want to get top dollar for it.

Here’s a 6-minute video on how to take great pics using your phone.

So you can feel

This post is sponsored by University Motor Company. University Motor Company located in Columbia, SC offers nice used car options and uses CarFax for vehicle history reports. They sell a variety of pre-owned vehicles that range from high end cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-class to enthusiast cars such as the Jeep Wrangler.

If you are looking for a place to sell your car, while in the Columbia, SC area consider taking it to University Motor Company.

How to Change a Tire

This post is sponsored by University Motor Company (located at 633 S. Assembly Street in Columbia, South Carolina). They sell a variety of pre-owned vehicles that range from high end cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-class to enthusiast cars such as the Jeep Wrangler.

Even if you have AAA, or a reliable husband/boyfriend/daddy/guy-you-know around, there are the occasional times when they are not available or  near you. What would  happen if you are in an area where there is no cell signal or your phone battery has died?

Sisters we have options. We can change the tire ourselves.

The video from Amy’s Poehler’s Smart Girls breaks down changing a flat tire in fun and quirky way. I like fun and quirky.

Are You Taking Too Long to Complete Projects?

My friend Shanika and I chat about a project I took too long to finish. She gave me some tips to move on it. Enjoy. This was fun because we filmed it while test-driving a 2007 Chevy Tahoe from University Motor Company.

This post is sponsored by University Motor Company, located in Columbia, SC. They sell a variety of pre-owned vehicles that range from high end cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-class to enthusiast cars such as the Jeep Wrangler.

All test drives can be scheduled thru their website (http://www.usedcarcolumbiasc.com/inventory.php). Find the car you are interested in, the click the “Schedule Test Drive” button to schedule your appointment. University Motor Company and their sister dealership Bluff Road Auto Sales carry Chevrolets (Camaros), Buicks, Hondas, BMWs, SUV’s, Crossovers, Toyotas, Cadillacs, Mercedez, Acuras, Infinity’s, Fords (Fusions & Mustangs) and Infiniti’s.

Test Driving Used Cars

This post is sponsored by University Motor Company. They sell a variety of pre-owned vehicles that range from high end cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-class to enthusiast cars such as the Jeep Wrangler. While getting to know them I thought it would be fun to test-drive a few cars from their lot and bring along my friends for the ride.

Kaela, a PR consultant, and I wonder if we are still cool as we test drive a 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. 

Chatting with blogger Shanika Pichey (shanikapichey.com, about how long it should take to crochet a baby’s blanket for a friend.

All test drives can be scheduled thru their website (http://www.usedcarcolumbiasc.com/inventory.php). Find the car you are interested in, the click the “Schedule Test Drive” button to schedule your appointment. University Motor Company and their sister dealership Bluff Road Auto Sales carry Chevrolets (Camaros), Buicks, Hondas, BMWs, SUV’s, Crossovers, Toyotas, Cadillacs, Mercedez, Acuras, Infinity’s, Fords (Fusions & Mustangs) and Infiniti’s.

 

What I Learned from Shopping for Another Car

shopping-for-another-car-post
This is a sponsored post. In November, I started filming a new video series with my client University Motor Company (located at 633 S. Assembly Street in Columbia, SC). They sell a variety of pre-owned vehicles that range from high end cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-class to enthusiast cars such as the Jeep Wrangler.

So being who I am, I just had to take my hubby with me to test drive a few cars because why not?! I test drove their 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class from their lot (which I think they sold a few days after I left). Driving a Mercedes is completely different from driving my current car, the Ford Focus (with a hatchback). I felt like a mature woman in that Benz.

Philip test-drove their 2007 Jeep Wrangler. His current car, a 1999 Saturn SL, has seen better days. He’s driven it for 17 years. So he thinks it might be time to get his ‘dream car’ – a Jeep. I’m not a huge fan of the Jeep because it’s not my style, however, being in it, inspired me to plan another camping adventure! I could see us going ‘off road’ on an adventure just like they do in those commercials.

ebony-and-phil-test-drive-a-jeep2

There’s a lot to consider when you are making a car purchase. Philip and I generally make a decision based on price and practicality.Yeah, I know any car can get me to my destinations, but is it the really the right vehicle for me? If I’m going to be in the car every day, it must be a good fit for me and my lifestyle. There’s a lot of decisions that go into making a car purchase. These questions generally come to mind for me:

Can we fit it into our budget?

Is it going to suitable for me when I need to transport my supplies when I’m a vendor at the next Natural Hair Show?

Is it comfortable enough for a road trip?

How cool will I look in the car?

So if you have this many questions like I do, it will make sense to test drive more than two cars. Thankfully, University Motor Company has a variety of cars to choose from just from their website. You can search for a car that you might want. They usually carry Chevrolets (Camaros), Buicks, Hondas, BMWs, SUV’s, Crossovers, Toyotas, Cadillacs, Mercedez, Acuras, Infinity’s, Fords (Fusions & Mustangs) and Infiniti’s. You can search the thru the Vehicle Locator or directly on their inventory page http://www.usedcarcolumbiasc.com/inventory.php.

University Car Vehicle Locator

Check out the features. 2011-bmw-3-series 2007-chevrolet-tahoeThen schedule a test drive of the car you are interested in.

university-motor-schedule-a-test-drive

But I digress. The whole experience had me thinking about my business. As I get older, having a car that works with my lifestyle includes my career. So here’s what I learned (or really was reminded of) from shopping for another car:

Beauty Tip: Own a car that reflects your personal style.

Branding Tip: Any car can get you where you need to go, but does it really represent who you are, where you are or where you want to be? Is it practical for you? As a business owner, how you show up can make a statement of who you are and what you are about. What statement do you want it to make for you?

Tweet: As a business owner, how you show up can make a statement of who you are and what you are about. @makemeoverebAs a business owner, how you show up can make a statement of who you are and what you are about. @makemeovereb

Business Tip: At the end of the day, you must go thru the necessary process of buying the car that is practical for your bottom line. So, don’t rush the process. Take your time making a decision on a purchase that can affect your life and business.

For more information about University Motor Company visit their website at universitycars.com