Best Cars for Snow 2018

best cars for snow

Ready for winter in Colorado?

We have plenty to love about our home state. From its abundance of national parks and gorgeous mountain ranges to its notoriously laid-back cities and lifestyle, there’s almost nowhere else you can get beautiful summers and ski-worthy winters, craft beer, and of course, a giant amphitheater hewn from rock.

Though ski fanatics are likely itching at the prospect of making the move to Colorado, ski-weather comes with its challenges — namely, driving in snowy and mountainous terrain. Fortunately, there are plenty of vehicles that can handle snowy rough rides, mountain slopes, and trips to the grocery store alike. These six cars are reliable, maneuverable, and some of the best cars for snow. 

The Ol’ Reliable: Subaru Forester

It’s hard to argue with a Subaru Forester, one of the best small cars for snow and ice. This vehicle is a local favorite in most Colorado towns due to its overall reliability in a multitude of conditions, and of course, its mix of essential features (such as the all-important AWD) and exciting entertainment upgrades.

The All-Purpose Vehicle: Honda HR-V

If you’re looking for an affordable, family-friendly vehicle to drive in harsher winter weather, the Honda HR-V is the best SUV for driving in snow and ice. It’s a smaller SUV than the standard but it boasts a versatile and remarkably spacious trunk with a second row that readily flips down to provide even more space for cargo. The HR-V offers AWD and an impressive fuel economy of 29 miles per gallon. For families, or for those who need a little extra space for their camping gear or their skis, the Honda HR-V will make you a compelling case.

The Rugged Explorer: Jeep Compass

If you want to hit the dusty, or in this case sometimes snowy, trails, a Jeep Compass may be the ride for you. The Compass offers a more compact version of the traditional Jeep, but it is just as capable of cutting the trail as any other off-road vehicle. The Jeep Compass is a perfect middle-ground for those who are outdoorsmen on the weekends, but city dwellers during the week, with a comfortable interior and plenty of trunk space.

For the City Drivers: Nissan Versa

Maybe you’re not much for long-haul drives over mountainous terrain and you’d prefer a car that handles well in the city with a slicker body. The Nissan Versa is a very affordable option for these drivers. The Versa can handle Colorado weather while providing a fuel efficiency of 39 miles per gallon. This small and compact vehicle doesn’t break the bank, and it will get you from Denver hot spots to local shows in no time.

The Long-Hauler: Honda Ridgeline

Keep on truckin’ with the Honda Ridgeline, a more fuel-efficient crossover vehicle for the Rockies and beyond. The Ridgeline touts a comfortable design for families and individuals alike. Don’t let the cozy cab and infotainment system fool you, though. The Ridgeline’s bed can haul 1,580 pounds, maxing out at 5,000 pounds, with models providing multiple terrain modes in the 4WD system. The Ridgeline also leaves 8 inches of ground clearance for anyone interested in a little off-road adventure.

The Family Operator: Honda Odyssey

Sleek, stylish, and incredibly reliable, the Honda Odyssey has it all. If you’re looking to blend luxury with top-level performance and efficiency in a minivan, the Honda Odyssey offers dynamic family-hauling class and a smooth ride. Whether you’re driving in snowy conditions or on city streets, an Odyssey will handily deal with the challenges of Colorado terrain, and it’ll do it in style. A major perk of the Odyssey is its plentiful amenities and upgrades, from a top-notch infotainment system to interior finishes. You won’t believe it’s a minivan.

 

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Green Energy Takes Over Britain

The UK is turning green! Greenhouse gas emissions are falling and more renewable energy sources are being used than ever before.  For the first time in history, 2017 marked the year where green energy power sources out-produced all eight nuclear power stations combined in the UK.

This is a monumental achievement in Britain’s history and sets the bar for the rest of Europe and the world. So, does this spell the end for nuclear power?

First off, what can be considered renewable energy resources?

Renewable energy is simply electricity generated from power sources that are not depleted when utilized. These include wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass sources.  Wind and hydropower generate electricity by rotating turbines that are kept in motion by air and water currents. Solar and geothermal power sources operate natural heat sources (i.e. the sun, and the earth’s natural heat), and biomass energy utilizes replenishable organic material from plants and animals to release stored chemical energy by either burning directly or converting to liquid biofuels.

The main difference between traditional and renewable energy sources is whether there is a finite amount of source material available or an infinite amount.  Fossil fuels, for example, are a non-renewable energy source since the earth only has so much. Basically, there is only so much oil to be pumped.  Coal is another example of a finite resource as when one piece of coal is burned, it’s gone forever.  Renewable resources like wind and solar power have no limit to the amount of times they can be used to generate power, and as an added bonus, produce zero greenhouse gas emissions.  As long as the sun rises and the currents of the air and sea flow, there is an unlimited amount of energy that can be harnessed with little ill effects.

How is the UK Going Green?

Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions overall dropped by 3% last year continuing an encouraging trend since 2004, with energy production sectors reporting 8% drops in CO2 emissions as coal use declines in favor of renewable energy resources. Air pollutants from the transportation sector and medium-large transport companies stayed steady, however, which suggests the adoption of electric vehicles and smaller-scale renewables still has a lot of room to grow.

A UK Power study states, “…for the first time ever, the UK’s network of wind farms and solar panels generated more energy than the combined efforts of the UK’s eight nuclear power stations.” Green Party leader Caroline Lucas is suggesting that “this could be the beginning of the end for nuclear power.”

But declaring a death sentence for nuclear power could be a little premature.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reports “…renewables generated 18.33 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy to nuclear’s 16.69TWh in 2017…”, but new solar and hydropower installations, optimal wind conditions, and low nuclear power output towards the end of last year all played a large part in renewable energy generation edging out nuclear.

UK Power continues, “Gas also saw a slight drop in its share of generation but is still far and away the UK’s number one source of electricity production at 36.12 TWh.”

Greenpeace commented on the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy figures by stating that “…the [UK] government should capitalise on its lead in renewables” and to “stop wasting time and money propping up nuclear power” – which references to the Conservative-backed project developments like Hinckley Point C and increasing small module reactors (SMRs) funding, while government subsidies end for onshore wind farms.

How can I contribute to the Green Energy movement?

Switching to renewable energy sources will benefit everyone in the long run.  Despite cheaper and more efficient green energy equipment becoming increasingly available – the problem right now is the initial cost of investment to go green on an individual consumer level. The cost varies greatly depending on whether you want to generate your own electricity at home, or if prefer to sign up for a green energy tariff program.

Solar panel installation costs vary and often depend upon both the size and output of the panels themselves and the total amount of electricity you are looking to generate. The average household will find that a 3.5kWp system will be more than enough, which will cost around £6,500 to install, but smaller systems are available starting around £2,500, while larger systems can cost well over £15,000.

Some power companies do have free solar panel installation programs, however, so it’s always worth researching before you agree to pay the whole install amount.

Once your solar pv system is installed, depending on its size, expect a reduction of 50% or more off your annual power bills. Plus, you could even come out ahead by selling any unused power back to National Grid through a feed-in tariff plan that could earn you as much as 4.5p per kWh cash back.

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Green energy in the UK is booming and is expected to only increase in the years to come, so take advantage of the government subsidies while they last!  Even if investing in renewable energy isn’t an option for you, the UK as a whole is becoming more and more green, which will help all of us in the long run.

The Dawn of Electric Cars

 

Electric cars may seem to be the latest line of trendy vehicles, but their concept and design date back nearly two centuries and are actually older than gas-powered automobiles. It wasn’t until gasoline became more readily available that people shifted away from the electric model. As we begin to face climate change, electric cars are on the rise again and may become the future of transportation.

The Original Design

In the mid-1800s, electric cars were developed with on-board acid batteries. The design was nearly impossible because the batteries were huge. The size shift in these new batteries allows them to power regular-sized vehicles we use today. In the 1880s, electric vehicles were beginning to see use in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Personal use was uncommon early on. Many electric vehicles were used inside mines for coal transport. They are powered without consuming oxygen, which is much safer for miners. The biggest limitation for personal and commercial use was poor infrastructure. Most roads were made for horse and buggy and therefore were not easily maneuverable for motorized vehicles.

At the tail end of the 1800s, electric cars became more widespread in Europe. Electric taxis showed up in London before the turn of the century. Gasoline-powered vehicles with internal combustion engines also appeared on the market but were quickly associated with the bitter smell of gasoline so they weren’t as popular as electric vehicles. As electricity became more widely available, particularly in America, electric cars were also more accessible and grew as a commodity. Early electric cars suffered from lower speeds, in comparison to their gasoline and steam-powered counterparts. They were marketed as cars for women because they were so simple to operate.

Outpaced by Gas Cars

Electric vehicles fell out of style and behind in affordability in the 1900s, when gasoline became more easily accessible worldwide. Gasoline-powered engines were more economical to use and had greater range and speed. This made them a better option than electric vehicles. Now the reality of our climate crisis is receiving attention, leading engineers to rethink how we can efficiently power cars with a renewable resource.

When Henry Ford began mass-production of his vehicles, gasoline-powered cars were exceptionally cheaper and electric cars quickly fell out of widespread use. Roads were being developed with motorized vehicles in mind, so the limited range and slow speed of electric vehicles became a liability for the increasingly mobile public.

The motors that powered these old electric cars saw other application in the 1900s. Plenty of short-range vehicles were products of the electric car decline, including industrial equipment like forklifts and leisure vehicles like golf carts. Eventually, the first vehicle driven on the moon was an electric battery-powered Lunar Rover. On Earth, the electric car was still a niche concept.

Recharging Electric Cars

It wasn’t until the 1990s and early 2000s that the interest and development of electric vehicles restarted. The energy crises in the 70s and 80s paired with various environmentalist movements led to mass criticism. Many started to argue that our heavy reliance on gasoline would be a nightmare in the future. Between the effect of greenhouse gas emissions and the fact that gas will eventually run out, it was time for a new plan.

Larger car companies began developing hybrid electric and gasoline cars to scale back pollution and cut costs on gasoline. There was a push, particularly in California, to shift to cars with zero-emissions, which led car companies back to electric motors. However, public interest is still in the direction of larger, sport-utility vehicles (mostly in America). Which only makes marketing electric and hybrid vehicles even more difficult and costly.

Another energy crisis in the early 2000s brought hybrid and electric vehicles to the forefront of the public again. Models like the Toyota Prius were marketed as energy efficient, and as neighborhood electric vehicles were used as town cars, the concept spread internationally. These are still fairly common outside of the United States as low-speed and low-cost alternatives for city travel.

Modern Electric Cars

The rise of modern electric vehicles started with Tesla in 2004, when they produced the first highway-legal electric vehicle, the Tesla Roadster. Since then, other large auto manufacturers have produced electric vehicles of increasing speed and charge duration. One of the largest limitations electric vehicles face hasn’t changed — they are slower and have less mobility range. However, advances in batteries have improved these restraints, even in affordable models like the Ford Focus.

Finding a place to charge up can be a challenge for these car owners. Charging stations, particularly in the United States, are much more difficult to come by than a good old gas station. Luckily, the popularity of electric vehicles appears to be growing. Especially as green and affordable alternatives to gas-powered vehicles become crucial. Although they suffer from modern equivalents to their 19th-century ancestors, they ride the road to a more sustainable future.

What’s a Bassnectar?

Bassnectar, more commonly known as Lorin Ashton, has greatly impacted my life over the last five or six years. He caught me with a good set but kept me with a strong commitment to fighting for what he believes in. Now we may not always agree politically but the way he presents his mission behind his music is inspiring. Not to mention he puts out banger after banger.

One thing we can both agree on is how unethical the USA Patriot Act is. If you’re interested in learning about how our privacy was stolen, check out my article on the Odyssey.

My dream car?

A Ford Mustang.

Ford’s Mustang is a timeless, American classic. The chic, four-wheeled racer is so flashy drivers continue to love it, old model or new. With horsepower that never quits and a mean grill, it’s no surprise the Mustang is my dream car.

The Ford Mustang is more than a car, it’s an icon. It has been listed on Car and Driver’s esteemed 10 Best Award list ten times and won the J.D power award numerous times. In 1974 and 1994 it was the Motor Trend car of the year – a true testament to its quality.

Even movie directors have noticed potential in the Mustang’s sleek appearance. We all remember Steve McQueen’s car chase in Bullitt, that 1968 390 V8 Ford Mustang GT Fastback burning rubber. That chase was both sexy and dangerous and has been inspirational to those looking to get behind a Mustang of their own.

Aside from the Mustang’s role in American culture as a powerful, horsepower-injected, muscle classic, how does it fare in a more practical scenario. Let’s say, day to day ownership? I’ll start by explaining that the Mustang is more than collector’s item. This is a vehicle you can be proud to bring to the mechanic, and it is easy to affordably maintain. It’s also one of the best cars for your daily commute — not to mention the road trip you’ve been trying to take.

Designed to dominate wide, open roads

I can only imagine the good times and endless roads ahead after I purchase my first Mustang. Whether it’s a 2017 Ford Mustang GT, with the top down, or the Shelby GT 500, zooming along winding paths. As with any vehicle, your Mustang should be in tip-top shape before hitting the road. Check tire pressure, oil level, and remind yourself where the registration and insurance are located. This might be the time to consider purchasing a AAA membership.

Performance boost and price drop

One of the best parts about the Mustang is its affordablity. I mean it’s no Toyota Corolla but compared to other top-line sports cars the Mustang is cheap, doable for middle-class consumers. Plenty of enthusiasts out there like to dream of a Ferrari 575M, hitting 0-60 in about 4.2 seconds, but the chances you can shell out $246,000 for a car are slim. Luckily, the Mustang is, and always has been, a real value when considering cost, resale price, and the respect you get from fellow car fanatics. 

For example, the 2016 Ford Mustang has a suggested retail price of just under $24K (the convertible model is about $6K more). It’s rare to see such a high-performance vehicle at such a reasonable price. Plus, the 2014 Ford Mustang won Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own Award for the sports car category, beating its closest competitor by nearly $1,000. But forget the price for a minute and let’s consider cost of gas. A Mustang beats the majority of its competitors in fuel-efficiency too, especially if you have an EcoBoost model. These machines are getting up to 31 MPG on the highway.

The wide variety of Mustang models brings a plethora of different safety features. The Ecoboost mentioned above comes with tons of helpful safety and entertainment features, like the Ford MyKey system. This allows guardians to limit top speed and stereo volume. 

The Mustang community

Ask any Mustang Club of America member, Mustang enthusiasts are a close group. Ford estimates there are more than 250 Mustang enthusiast clubs in the world. They often host shows and events all over the world, allowing Mustang owners from everywhere to join in and appreciate the classic car’s history. Not only can you find great food and fun prizes, but unlimited networking opportunities too.  Those interested in getting started, I recommend the Lone Star Mustang National show in Texas, the Granite State Mustang Grand National show in New Hampshire, or the Pony Express National event in Nebraska. 

For anyone ready to make moves and start shopping, don’t forget to ask your salesman dozens of important questions. Once you’re a Mustang owner, be sure to set up a plan with a great insurance company. This is something you’ve worked hard for, protect it wisely.

Holistic Ways to Prep Your Pets for Fall

Shoutout to my little Willow for being so photogenic.

As warm days and summer sunshine are replaced with cool breezes, winter skies, and colorful leaves, you’ll be swapping out your shorts for sweaters, breaking out the holiday dishes, and cranking up the temperature. While you’re getting ready for colder weather in your home, be sure you include your pet. Just as people need a little preparation for fall and winter, pets need some prep too. Luckily, there’s plenty of things you can do to keep your dog or cat happy and healthy year-round. Here are a few holistic tips to keep Fido comfy during the colder months.

Switch up feeding times and walks

Colder weather also means less sunlight, which might mean gearing up for a few more night walks with your dog. Consider switching up your pup’s food and walking schedule to catch the last rays of sunshine (and to let you sleep in a little). If you plan on changing her routine, be aware that most pets are sensitive to their feeding and walk schedules. Move your walks up 15 minutes in time to acclimate your dog to the new schedule. If your dog or cat gets lonely with back-to-school, consider buying or switching out toys, or adding a little extra playtime every day. For cats, you might even consider making a few food puzzle toys to keep him occupied while you’re at work.

Beware of chocolate — and add a little extra

Holidays bring along the added risk of your pet eating something they probably shouldn’t have. High-fat foods can cause diarrhea and other more serious stomach problems. Whether you’re bringing back a haul from trick-or-treating or cooking Thanksgiving feast, you’ll want to make sure your pet isn’t also sampling your food. Apples, grapes, chocolate, and garlic are especially toxic.

Some pets may need a little extra in their bowl every day to regulate their body temperature and acclimate to the cooler weather. If your dog is particularly physically active, you might up his kibble just a little to get him through the winter. You can even add a little pumpkin to your pup’s diet for an extra seasonal treat, but be sure to consult your vet for exactly what your dog or cat will need.

Keep your pet well groomed

As temperatures drop, you’ll notice your dog or cat shedding more and more, making way for their seasonal coat. As your pet’s coat sheds, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping up with his grooming, especially if he has long hair. A new coat will help your pet better regulate his body temperature, but you’ll want to make sure you brush him regularly to prevent mats (and with mats, potential skin infections). Don’t let up on your dog or cat’s flea and tick care, either–prevent fleas in the spring by continuing treatment in the fall.

Watch out for mushrooms and other fall plants

You’ll see less fall foliage as the months move from November to December, but be wary of certain plants in bloom in the cold damp months, especially fungi. Keep an eye on your pet when hiking in the woods or even letting her roam around the garden–plants such as chrysanthemums, autumn crocus and clematis are all deadly to pets. Dogs especially should be prevented from consuming mushrooms on their walks. Though your best friend is an ace at sniffing out new smells, she won’t be able to tell the difference between a toxic or non-toxic mushroom or plant.

Build your pet an outdoor shelter, or cozy up their bed

Brr! If you’re saving a little on your heating costs by wearing a sweater or two instead of cranking the heat, don’t exclude your dog or cat. If you’ve got an indoor-outdoor cat, consider buying or building a new outdoor shelter for kitty. An outdoor retreat will help your cat stay cozy even while she’s roaming the wilderness (or just the neighborhood). For dogs and indoor cats, consider switching out their bed and bedding for warmer fabrics and deep insulation to keep them cozy.

Keep an eye out for snakes and snakebites

Snakes go into hibernation in autumn, making much more likely to strike than other times of the year. Because they’re less mobile, it’s more likely a curious cat or dog will nose their way toward a sleepy (and more aggressive) snake. Know what species are in your area and be cautious when walking your pet around areas they’re likely to inhabit.

Upgrade your pet’s wardrobe

Let’s face it, we all could use a wardrobe overhaul by the time winter rolls around. When the only walk is an icy, rainy walk, short hair dogs will often be left shivering. Make him or her a little more comfortable with a new sweater, and a raincoat for sleeting days. Just don’t forget to buy your pet a costume for Halloween (or a Santa sweater for the holidays).

It’s that time of year again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

For as long as I can remember Black Friday has been the ultimate weekend for Christmas shopping. Every year, I refrain from buying anything for myself in November or December so I can focus on family and friends I should be shopping for.

In a few weeks the tradition will be carried out, but with a new wish list in mind, as to be expected. Getting the same gift for someone twice is something you definitely want to avoid. If that’s tricky for you, my method may help with brainstorming new ideas for all the ladies in your life. Between Spiritual Gangster, Walmart and Bare Minerals, shopping for my loved ones will be a breeze.

Spiritual Gangster

High-quality yoga clothing can be costly. Luckily, Spiritual Gangster Black Friday deals are off the chain. Score forty percent off everything, and not just for a single day. Get the same hookup on Spiritual Gangster Cyber Monday too. These are the cheapest prices I see all year. From women and men’s graphic tees, tanks, hoodies and sweatshirts, to accessories and items already on sale, Spiritual Gangster has Black Friday deals everyone can enjoy.

Walmart

We all know Walmart has “doorbust” worthy deals, so why not plan ahead and save big on all your gifts. I recommend using the sale for tech gear. You’ll find up to 60 percent off flat-screen TVs, laptops, phones and more. The best part is, this year you don’t have to wake up early and wait in line all morning to score deals. Walmart will be celebrating Black Friday all weekend, in stores and online.

Bare Minerals

I have three sisters, two moms and lots of girlfriends. Luckily, they all like makeup. Each year I browse the Black Friday Bare Minerals mega-package deals and pick out one with 40 or so pieces. I open it up, split the makeup into ten or so presents, and everyone gets high-quality makeup, but I spend less than 100 bucks.

Following the Black Friday tradition can be done in a selfless manner. Shop for friends and family during the sale and you’ll save hundreds on Christmas gifts — not to mention continue the Thanksgiving spirit. For my fellow shoppers, I hope this guide helps you find the best gifts at the best prices. Good luck!

The Only 5 Blogs You’ll Ever Needs

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m a sucker for a good blog. A consistent writer, with consistently helpful information, is an indisposable resource. I also believe that the more you read, the better you write. So for anyone looking to up their daily reading, here are five of my highly recommended blogs to get you started.

Red Carpet Fashion Awards – Fashion Blog

Well + Away Travel and Destination Guide

Cash The Checks – Finance Blog

The Hustle – Tech Blog

theSkimm – World News Blog

Enjoy!