Test Drive - 2017 Kia Cadenza

With summer time right around the corner, there is so much to do and see!  As many of you may know, I love to travel.  If I'm not flying to an exotic island or freezing my tail off in Iceland, I'm always down for a road trip! 

In partnership with Kia Motors, I had the chance to experience an exclusive at-home test drive in the all-new 2017 Kia Cadenza and let me tell you, I was immediately impressed!

Our driver Joseph arrived at my place at 3pm, ready to start our trip around Washington, DC. I was greeted with a friendly smile and the opening of my car door.  But I have to admit, I was distracted.   The sleek exterior with chrome details was the last thing I expected from a Kia!  

Ok now on to the ride.  The interior was just as chic as the exterior.  The black quilted Nappa leather seating provided so much comfort and all the more reasons to go for a drive. Throughout the ride, I learned so much about the functionality and features of the car.  One of the features that stood out to me was the Smart Blind-Spot Detection (SBSD). It's function is to help locate vehicles in your blind spot. It also warns you when it detects your vehicle switching lanes unintentionally, and, in some cases, will apply localized braking pressure to help guide your vehicle back into its lane.  How cool is that?!!

During the entire ride, I listened to my favorite tunes with the windows rolled down and the lofty panoramic sunroof open that offered a full sunny sky view.  Needless to say, I was not ready for this test drive to end.

Check out some of the highlights below...


The wide, wraparound dash and clean interior lines give the cabin an open, inviting atmosphere. There is great deal of space for both the front and rear passengers to have their own room to relax.

RockYoRizos-KiaCadenza 2

Another one of my favorite features of the 2017 Kia Cadenza is the Apple CarPlay.  You can make calls, use Siri, send and receive text messages, and listen to your own playlists while staying focused on the road.  


Sleek aerodynamic shape, LED lighting and a freshly-sculpted grille, it’s no wonder why Motor Trend calls this year's Kia Cadenza “still the best-looking car in its class."


Test driving this sedan completely surpassed my expectations. The 2017 Kia Cadenza provided an overall sophisticated and exceptional driving experience.  From the smart technology to it's superior control,  I would recommend anyone to test drive it.

But guess what?! You get a chance to have the same experience too! 

Sign up for your own at-home test drive HERE!  It's a complete one-on-one experience where you can sign up to have the vehicle delivered to your home or office, learn about the vehicle and take it for a short drive. 

You also get a sweet prize for participating! It’s something a little more than you think – Kia Motors is all about lux life.

Participating cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas , Houston, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC

A huge thanks to Kia Motors for such a wonderful driving experience!



Disclaimer: This post is sponsored; however, all thoughts an opinions expressed are my own.

Photography: MalekNaz Freidouni Sedehi

Sterna Tours - Iceland

I was super excited to take a tour. Yes, our rental car gave us the freedom to come and go but I was looking forward to the full experience of each location and the history. Sterna travel offers a variety of tours around Iceland.  We decided to tour “The Beautiful South Coast.” Our trip started with an 8:30am pick up at our hotel and about an hour ride to our first location.

The first stop was massive Skógafoss said by many to be one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls.

Second stop: Lunch! We ate in the small village of Vík.  FYI: Hot dogs are a huge deal out here.  Kind of like what pizza is to NY.


Reynisfjara beach: I had the chance to walk along this beautiful black sand beach. It was full of columnar basalt formations and ocean carved caves. It was breathtaking!!


My favorite part of the tour was being up close to the fast melting Sólheimajökull glacier...


Last stop: The Seljalandsfoss waterfall where you can walk behind in mild weather.  I decided to be brave because YOLO and I got about half way because the spray of the water was frigid, LOL!

My hat and jacket were SOAKED but so worth it!

I wanted share some info with you all that will be useful when planning your trip to Iceland.


  • Bring an extra set of clothing (including underwear and socks). While I was on this tour, it rained the ENTIRE time.  So needless to say, I was soaked throughout the whole trip.  But besides that, like I’ve mentioned before the weather in Iceland is very unpredictable so you have to be prepared.
  • You can drink the water out of the tap!  It’s good *think Smart Water*. Just bring an empty water bottle and fill it up in the bathroom.  And no need the worry about the cleanliness of the bathrooms, they are all super clean.
  • Pack snacks!  There was at least 45 minutes to an hour to reach a destination and the worst feeling is to be hungry on the road. I would suggest bringing something easy like trail mix or dried fruit.

To sum up, I was able to stand in front of two waterfalls, touch a glacier and walk on a black sand beach. And you can too! For more pricing and info on other tours, click here.

THANKS to Sterna Travel for such a wonderful experience!

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Sterna Travel however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Travel: Laugarvatn Fontana pools

During our visit, we arrived at Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths around 2:00 pm.  Just in time to catch the tour of their traditional Icelandic geothermal bakery, which goes on every day at 11.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.  We experienced it first hand and I was blown away!  Our tour guide explained to us the history of the bakery and what the process entailed. Honestly, I don’t remember all of details because I was so hungry and I wanted to just try whatever was cooking. Our tour guide proceeded to dig out a pot of fresh rye bread from the hot black sand that was buried underground and baked for 24 hours.  Check it out!

As a guest, you are offered to taste the bread, served hot from the ground with some butter. FYI: It was sooo delicious! Even though the tour is not free (it costs 1500 ISK which is about $14.00) per person, it's definitely worth it.

So after I indulged in several pieces of buttered bread, it was time to relax. I went around the various pools testing out each of them before settling on the Viska, the hot tub.  It is positioned at a higher level than the rest of the pools so it provided such an amazing panoramic view of the mountains and beautiful landscape.


All of that relaxation definitely put me in the mood to eat.  The restaurant at Laugarvatn Fontana offers a selection of healthy and locally produced dishes and refreshments (including beer).

They offer a soup of the day, a lunch and dinner buffet that is served daily. I was really ecstatic that the buffets offers a variety of fresh and healthy options.  The line up consists of fish, meat (beef and pork), chicken, salads, and vegetarian options. 


  • Soup of the day 1.200 ISK (about $11.00)
  • Lunch buffet 2.950 ISK (about $26.50)
  • Dinner buffet 4.500 ISK (about $40.00)
Coconut, carrot and ginger soup with a side of rye bread.

Coconut, carrot and ginger soup with a side of rye bread.

The food was just as delicious as it looks!

Before I forget, I want to offer you all this tip.  ** Bring your own towels, bathing suits and bathrobes. Even though they are all available for rent, you can save quite a bit of money by bringing your own.


My experience at Laugarvatn Fontana pools was delightful.  I really enjoyed my moments of solitude and being surrounded by such breathtaking views was definitely a treat on its own.  

Many thanks to Laugarvatn Fontana pools for the lovely accommodations!

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Laugarvatn Fontana pools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Travel: Driving in Iceland with Lagoon Car Rental

I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to drive all over the world but I honestly had no idea what to expect in Iceland. I just imagined being surrounded by glaciers lol, just kidding. From what I researched, I knew Iceland was cold and had some breathtaking landscapes but had no idea how my friend Carla and I were going to get around.  Thankfully, we partnered up with Lagoon Car Rental to make getting around the island easier.  I chose the Mitsubishi Outlander because it’s a great car for traveling out of the city in all road conditions. Like I mentioned before, the weather in Iceland is very unpredictable and this car had four wheel drive and great ground clearance which definitely came in handy during the winter weather conditions we experienced. 


So here are some tips you should know about renting a car and driving in Iceland:

1.  To rent/drive a car from Lagoon Car rental, the driver needs to be at least 20 years old. The driver also needs to have held a driver license for at least one year.

2. If you are picking up a car in Keflavik Airport, a representative from Lagoon Car Rental will be waiting in the arrivals for you with a sign with the Lagoon Car Rental logo and your name.  This was a life saver for us and THANK GOD the airport has great wifi.

3.  When you pick up your car, you will be required to provide your normal driving license, issued by your country of residence and your passport.


Ok, let me explain. The rental fee includes mandatory vehicle insurance, including liability insurance and accident insurance for the driver and the owner as well as a collision damage waiver. The self risk cost is 2980€ (about $3,200), self risk meaning what you would pay in cost for an accident on top of other damages. 

Additional insurance that can be added:

  • Super collision damage waiver (SCDW) lowers the deductible of the standard collision damages waiver from 2980€ (about $3,200) down to 600€ (about $635) Cost : 13€ a day. 

This was confusing for me because in the US if you purchase full coverage insurance for a rental car, you are covered but in Iceland it just lowers the deductible. So if you were to get into a wreck and did not purchase this insurance, you would have to pay the full amount of 2980€ plus the cost of any additional damages.

Other additional insurance for purchase:

  • The Gravel protection (GP) covers the windscreen, headlights and the body of the car from damages resulting from gravel or stones that can hit the vehicle by another car. The self risk is 98€ (about $103). Cost 11€ (about $12) a day.
  • Theft protection (TP) covers the theft of rental vehicle. The self risk is 0€. Cost 5€ (about $5) a day.
  • Sand and ash protection (SAAP) offers insurance against damage due to ash and sandstorm damages to the paint of the car, windows, lights and plastic. The self risk is 600€ (about $633). Cost 9€ ($9.50) a day.
  • Insurance bundle:  includes all the insurance coverage offered at a discount. It includes the SCDW, SAAP, GP and TP for the cost of 32€ (about $34) per day.

** We went with the most common issues and purchased the super collision damage waiver and the gravel protection.

5.  If you have a great data plan on your phone, use you Google maps to for directions.  We ended up getting an Icelandic GPS but it was kind of confusing for me to understand and to type in certain Icelandic letters.

6. Beware of speed traps!  I could not understand what some of the signs said but if you see a blue sign with a white camera – follow the speed limit!  Speeding tickets are extremely expensive and the last thing you would want to spend your money on is a ticket.


During our road trip, we came across an Icelandic horse farm!  They totally look like ponies but they are just that small.  


We took full advantage of the beautiful landscapes to take some pictures like most bloggers do :-)


All in all, I’m so glad we were able to drive around Iceland and just explore.  It gave us the freedom to enjoy everything at our own pace without an itinerary.  A HUGE thanks to Lagoon Car Rental for providing us with such a great vehicle to make this road trip worthwhile and special.

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Lagoon Car Rental however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Travel: Hotel Reykjavik Natura - Iceland

If you have followed me on Instagram, I'm sure you noticed that I LOVE to travel.  I really enjoy just getting on a plane and waking up somewhere sunny and warm but I decided to do something different this year and check Iceland off my bucket list.

I had the wonderful opportunity to stay at the Hotel Reykjavik Natura located in central Reykjavik. After driving for about an hour from the airport, I was excited to see what the hotel had to offer. The first thing that stood out to me was how clean it was! I have to admit, I am very particular about this.  We had a little bit of a wait to check into our room since we arrived three hours earlier than check-in time but that was fine because the lobby was cozy enough to relax until our room was ready.

A cool detail about the hotel is that it's dedicated to Icelandic artists.  The lobby displays sculptures by native Adalheidur S. Eysteinsdóttir in all of their properties.  Each sculpture tells a different story on what they represent about Iceland and its culture.

Sculptures made by Adalheidur S. Eysteinsdótti

Sculptures made by Adalheidur S. Eysteinsdótti


Now on to the important part - the Room!  You will notice upon check-in that the rooms here are small but that was the intention.  They were specifically designed so visitors would go out and explore and not stay in the room. I was fine with that since we only had six hours of daylight.


Flora Deluxe Rooms (pictured above) are more spacious.  Guests staying in Flora Deluxe Rooms get access to Lounge on the 4th floor between 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm, with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. They also enjoy free admission to the Soley Natura Spa.

Pictured: 4th floor Lounge with a view of Icelandic Air private jet airport where celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber have landed.

Pictured: 4th floor Lounge with a view of Icelandic Air private jet airport where celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber have landed.

Speaking of the Soley Natura Spa, this was the highlight during my stay at the Hotel Reykjavik Natura hotel.  Even though we had a short amount of time to enjoy it (since we were exploring and taking pictures all day), I made sure to maximize every second.  It was definitely the perfect way to unwind and it's conveniently located on the ground floor.


There is an entrance fee. The regular price for one time access to the spa is ISK 4.900 (about $43.00) but for hotel guests the price is ISK 3.000 (about $26.00)

Here are the list of services offered at Sóley Natura Spa:

  • Massages
  • Facials
  • Body Scrubs
  • Spa with a relaxing warm pool, steam bath, sauna and hot tub

The spa is open from:

10:00am - 8:00pm (Mon - Friday) , 10:00 AM - 9:00pm (Sat) , and 12:00pm - 5:00pm (Sun)

NOTE: If you forget your swimsuit, you can rent one at the Spa for ISK 500 (about $4.40).

To book your appointment, click here .


On our last night, we decided to just have dinner at Satt Restaurant which was also conveniently located at the hotel. From the menu, I noticed the food is locally sourced from the best available farmers and fishermen. The meals are all prepared from scratch which is common in a lot of the restaurants in Iceland but to my surprise they are known for their PIZZA!!  I ordered the Shellfish pizza which was absolutely delicious.  Now this pizza cost me about 2690 Kr (about $30.00).  Yes, I know it's pretty expensive but everything in Iceland is. (I'll talk more about that in upcoming posts)

Pictured: Shellfish Pizza (Marinated shellfish, avocado, and herb salad)

Pictured: Shellfish Pizza (Marinated shellfish, avocado, and herb salad)

Pictured: Buffet Breakfast.  Cost: ISK 3000 per person = about $26.00

Pictured: Buffet Breakfast.  Cost: ISK 3000 per person = about $26.00

I really enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Reykjavik Natura.   I would highly recommend during your trip to Iceland staying here. The staff was very helpful and friendly, it is conveniently located to local cultural attractions, and the food/bar scene were well worth every penny.  Stay tuned for more posts about tips on how to get around Iceland.  

Góða ferð! (Safe travels)




Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Hotel Reykjavik Natura; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


Tourist in my own city

Ok so, how many of you have been born and raised or lived in a state/country for a long time and have yet to visit any of the known tourist attractions?  I know, I'm guilty too.  I mean I am originally from New York City (The Bronx to be specific) and I haven't been to the Statue of Liberty yet! *insert surprised emoji face* 

So I started this ritual of taking myself on dates to the Smithsonian museums here in Washington, DC.  Not only because they are free (yes, free!) but I've lived here for almost five years and if someone asked me about them, I couldn't even respond without googling. So I wanted to learn more about my city than just the restaurants and bars.  

Here is what I found out during my visit to The National Gallery of Art:

  • The museum has an East and West building.
  • The National Gallery of Art owns the only painting by Leonardo Da Vinci in the Western Hemisphere.
  • They have a sculpture garden and the garden's centered on a circular pool, which is transformed into an ice skating rink during the winter.


Photos: Malek Naz Freidouni

    Coat and scarf: Zara

    Boots: Rag and Bone

    My Staycation at the Marriott Marquis Washington,DC

    As an avid traveller, I always look for my lodging to be comfortable as my home. But there are some trips that I just and want to feel special and experience ALL of the amenities a hotel has to offer.  

    As the #StayDC Marriott brand influencer, I had the wonderful opportunity to explore and stay at the beautiful Marriott Marquis located in downtown DC and I got the chance to experience the perfect mix of being home but feeling like a queen.  

    Being a native New York, I love culture, history, and of course- shopping!   DC is such a great city to explore from our monuments and museums to the huge variety of culinary destinations.  I mean a girl has gotta eat!  

    Check out my experience as I explored the hotel's cool amenities and unique neighborhood all with arm's reach of public transportation and up and coming areas.

    Hotel Clerk David who checked me in

    Hotel Clerk David who checked me in

    You can also download the Marriott Mobile app.  You can have access to Mobile Check-In and Out, mobile guest services (where available) and free Wi-Fi!

    You can also download the Marriott Mobile app.  You can have access to Mobile Check-In and Out, mobile guest services (where available) and free Wi-Fi!

    Living room in my room!

    Living room in my room!

    This bathroom was incredibly beautiful.

    This bathroom was incredibly beautiful.

    The M Club Lounge

    The M Club Lounge

    The food was obviously very tasty...

    The food was obviously very tasty...

    The sweetest server award goes to Abrehet.

    The sweetest server award goes to Abrehet.

    The Dignitary Whisky Bar

    The Dignitary Whisky Bar

    Goose Flash  Vodka, Peach Schnapps with pineapple and cranberry juice

    Goose Flash

    Vodka, Peach Schnapps with pineapple and cranberry juice



    The coolest bellhops ever.

    The coolest bellhops ever.

    50-foot high sculpture "The Birth of the American Flag"

    50-foot high sculpture "The Birth of the American Flag"

    Guess what?  You guys are are in luck!

    The Marriott Marquis turns the big ONE this year!  Enjoy this weekend offer: The Park, Dine and Connect Package.

    Great weekend package includes: 

    • Complimentary valet parking (definitely a plus)
    • Breakfast for two in the hotel restaurant
    • Complimentary in-room access

    Feel free to click on the link http://bit.ly/1OTDmko  & use Promo Code: PSF for your stay!

    You will definitely enjoy our nation's capitol in true style!



    PS- Stay tuned! There is more to come from my experience at the Marriott Marquis in DC.

    Solid Gold - Dubai and Abu Dhabi

    I love jewelry so if I see anything gold it catches my eye.  While waiting for our coach from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, I wandered off and bumped into The Gold ATM.  Oh yeah, you read it right.  I was immediately intimidated by how much the prices were so I didn't even look and just took a picture.  Then I turned to walk back to my friends and saw a gold car in the same lobby.  I immediately thought to myself "I don't think I brought enough spending money."  To my surprise, I was ok!  The conversion at the time I went was 3.67 Dirham to 1 USD.  Phew!  

    I was a little nervous because on my "must see" list was the Gold Souk in Deira which is known for beautiful gold jewelry.  Prior to visiting the souk. I asked some of the locals what they thought of it and where I should go to buy certain pieces and I was told ANYWHERE! I didn't understand until they explained that you can haggle at the gold shops and it's cheaper than the US.  It was like music to my ears.  I was able to score three pairs of 18K gold earrings and a custom made bracelet with "Mel" in Arabic for an equivalent of $390.  Not bad!

    For those who would like to visit:

    Gold Souk in Deira (Dubai)

    Gold Souk  (Abu Dhabi)

    This was the first thing I saw leaving the airport!

    This was the first thing I saw leaving the airport!

    24k gold Porsche

    24k gold Porsche

    Travel: Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center

    I was so lucky to have scored the best travel deal thanks to Travel Noire .  Ok, to bring you up to speed, there was a fare glitch with Etihad Airways on Christmas Day 2014 and I just so happened to be on twitter and saw the deal.   I totally thought this was a joke but when I finalized my purchase online, my non-stop round trip ticket from JFK to Abu Dhabi was $221. including taxes, fees, and travel insurance. Crazy, right!?!!  Which brings me to why I visited this beautiful Muslim country.

    I had a list of sites that I wanted to visit but this by far was at the top.  To be honest, I did not have much knowledge about the Muslim culture except from what I learned in school.  I am so grateful that I was able to experience the culture first hand and practice some of the customs.  I left Grand Mosque with the deepest appreciation.

    This was the most beautiful part of the visit....


    Toro Toro Restaurant in Dubai

    I have anticipated visiting Toro Toro in DC for quite some time but had the pleasure of doing so in Dubai! Funny, huh. Well, thank God for my 20/20 vision because I actually saw the sign from the other side of the Dubai Marina and just knew that I had to make reservations for my friends and I to eat there.  

    Toro Toro  (which means bull in Spanish) is a Pan Latin restaurant that offers a delectable variety of dishes with influences from across South America.  They are known for their interpretation of the Churrasco which is a Portuguese and Spanish term for grilled meat.  It was really cool to have the skilled passadors come to our table and perfectly (and I mean perfectly) slice the meat for them to enjoy.  Now to be honest with you all, I don't eat red meat or pork so I am unable to recommend certain dishes but I will say from the looks of my friends empty plates, it must have been delicious.  

    We ordered several different hot and cold plates as the food is served tapas style for everyone to share.  I have to tell you that after my first bite of the tuna takaki, I was just hoping they didn't want to try it.  It was absolutely deeeeelicious!  I could taste the savory citrus-based marinade of traditional South American flavors that are reminiscent of foods that I was raised eating.  Don't even let me describe the sautéed scallops! I'll just say I could have eaten two more orders by myself (no judgement please).  

     S auté  ed  scallops &  Tuna tataki 

     Sautéed scallops & Tuna tataki 

    This is what I ordered (to share of course):

    - Churrasco Skewer – serves 2

    • Brazilian-style Picanha steak 
    • Waygu rib eye steak
    • Australian lamb chop
    • Achiote marinated chicken

    - Steamed asparagus seasoned with truffled hollandaise

    - Tuna tataki seasoned with rocoto sauce/ leche de tigre / avocado

    - Chicken anticucho seasoned with aji mirasol/ red miso paste / garlic ginger/ sweet potato purée / cucumber

    - Sautéed scallops seasoned with lomo saltado sauce/ potato huancaina sauce

    - Roasted potato seasoned with truffle/ chimichurri / parmesan

    and for DESSERT....

    - Chocolate espresso cake !

    After the delicious meal,  we got a tour of the restaurant and I was in awe.  I mean the decor was to die for.  

    Private dining area

    Private dining area

    These high back chairs are simply divine.

    These high back chairs are simply divine.

    The bathroom doors were FUR!!! I loved this detail in the decor.

    The bathroom doors were FUR!!! I loved this detail in the decor.

    If you are traveling to Dubai, Toro Toro  is the place to visit to experience delicious Latin cuisine and fabulous ambiance! 

    For reservations:

    Located in the Grosvenor House Dubai | Phone + 971 4 317 6000 | Email: resbook.grosvenorhouse@luxurycollection.com

    If you are interested in visiting in the United States:

    1300 I st NW | Washington, DC 20005 | Phone (202) 682-9500


    Dubai: Wildlife drive & breakfast

    I was so excited to to go on this tour!  

    My friends and I booked the wildlife drive and Bedouin breakfast with Platinum Heritage .  Our day started pretty early, six in the morning to be exact. We were picked up at our apartment (transportation is part of the package) and drove for about an hour to the Desert Conversation Center where we swapped our SUV and rode to the Bedouin camp in a beautiful vintage Land Rover along the desert.  Once we arrived to the camp, we were greeted by the locals with fresh rosewater to rinse our hands and were offered freshly brewed coffee and tea.  We sat around and socialized with fellow visitors and prepared to ride our camels.  The highlight for me was hearing stories from the local Bedouin and how things have rapidly developed in the UAE. To my surprise, he appreciates it because he feels that everyday tasks are so much easier to accomplish.  We ended the tour with a drive around the pristine Dubai desert and took so many pics.  I TOTALLY suggest booking a tour with Platinum Heritage  if you plan on visiting Dubai.  There are other great options to choose from and for a little over $100.00, you will have a blast!

    Vintage Land Rovers

    Vintage Land Rovers

    Breakfast preparation

    Breakfast preparation

    My friends Jarvis and Ryan

    My friends Jarvis and Ryan

    Can you tell I was scared? 

    Can you tell I was scared? 

    Traditional Emirati breakfast

    Traditional Emirati breakfast

    Local Bedouin

    Local Bedouin