13512215_1092646100782037_2021498928593440496_nSometimes you have to combine fun with dysfunction and plan a road trip and family reunion. BOOM, done! For this trip I collaborated with Mitsubishi and jumped on the road in the 2016 Outlander S-AWC by myself and drove from Denver to Champaign Illinois.

I’ll admit it, I’m a total baller when it comes to trips so I left at 9pm and drove through straight through the night and half the day to arrive at 11:30am in my hometown. What a magical drive! Yes, I said magical. I fueled myself with my fave new drink (Runa Clean Energy), podcasts, heat lightning storms, 80’s music, open sunroof (more like a moonroof) and more.

Once the sun rose, I was treated to amazing views of Missouri. I’m not sure if it’s just my Midwest roots sneaking into my psyche but really loved the rolling hills, driving across the Mississippi in the early morning and driving into the sunrise to my homestate of Illinois. I wax poetic!

I had plenty of time to get to know the Mitsubishi Outlander. Let’s face it, SUV’s are great for roadtrips! Which also means I overpacked and turned the car into a moveable caravan of shoes and feast of snacks – check out my car review below:

A Few ProTips for Long Summer Road Trips:

  • Ear & Brain Candy: Download a ton of music and podcasts, especially if you don’t have Sirius XM in your car. You do NOT want to be eating up your phone data plan with this.
  • The Big Screen: Don’t like long drives? Just think of the windshield as a giant flat screen, set to National Geographic. With no commercial breaks.
  • Variety is the spice of life: Pack the Car with Snacks. Good and bad snacks – variety helps keep you entertained! Here’s what I love Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, potato chips, apples, turkey slices, crackers. Just have plenty of snacks on hand to break up the monotony.
  • Keep It Clean: Pack baby wipes, paper towels, and Kleenex. Yes, I sound like an old biddy with this one but you definitely want to have these on hand for spills, food residue and more. Once you bust out the Cheetos, you’ll be happy for the baby wipes.
  • Charge! Buy extra chargers and make sure to have a dedicated car charger (not that cheapo shiz from the gas station either), Belkin makes GREAT chargers!
  • Medic! Pack a Car Emergency Kit: include extra water, blanket, towels, (you can order awesome roadside kits from Amazon!) and make sure to include aBecause hey… you never know!
  • Work it: Up Your Workouts before the trip. If you know you are going to lose your mind and buy all the junky stuff at the Gas & Sip, then make sure to up your workout program before the trip so you don’t feel guilty about consuming massive quantities of beef jerky and Bugles (you know the corn snack you put on your fingers & pretend like they are long fingernails – don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about)
  • Go #2 – If you do opt for massive junk, make sure to up your Metamucil too – get rid of that shiz before it hangs out too long! Never underestimate the power of #2.
  • Where In The World ARE You? Make sure your Google Locator is turned on and that someone knows how to sign into your Google account. If you are paranoid or a conspiracy theorist, this make freak you out. BUT, if you want someone to know where you find you (especially if something goes awry!), this is a great way to let someone know where you are AND it’s great for tracking expenses later! Check out my map for this year below:

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Champaign, Illinois

The ultimate in the heart of the Midwest! Yup, it’s tucked right in the middle of the cornfields and it’s where I spent my first 23 years before jetting off to NYC in 1988. I still visit home frequently and every time I do, I get all googly eyed and nostalgic. Champaign/Urbana are Twin Cities nestled up to each other. The crown jewel of the town is the University of Illinois.

What I love LOVE LOVE about my hometown is that it still maintains a small town feel but it also has a ton of new improvements. Great new restaurants, a completely renovated downtown, a new train station, updates to a lot of the landmarks (the famous space ship looking Assembly Hall/State Farm Arena is getting an overhaul!) File Jul 21, 3 51 13 PMand the uber-impressive Research Park, A technology hub for corporate research and development operations and startup companies (including but not limited to Yahoo… helllooo!?).

I collaborated with Visit Champaign County, the local Convention & Visitors Bureau which was beyond helpful – tons of great ideas for restaurants, events and contacts, including Eastland Suites. A big shout out to General Manager Tonia Ribbe and her staff for taking great care of my family! Check out the Facebook Live video moments below!