Road Trip! We Took a 2014 Toyota 4Runner on a Road Trip to Mt. Bachelor for Spring Break

Mt. Bachelor Panaramic by Joe Kennedy
This winter was the year that my daughter Jacqueline, girlfriend Stacia and my girlfriend’s son Makaya all started enjoying snow sports.  Ten year old Jackie and twelve year old Makaya took some snowboarding lessons and Stacia started up skiing.  A long time avid skier, I was excited for them to all learn their desired modes of making it down snow covered mountains.  So I could be in learning mode too, I actually started learning how to snowboard, which is something I never thought I would do.

As a nice end to what turned out to be a good snow season, I decided to plan a spring break trip to Mount Bachelor Resort, just outside of Bend, Oregon.  Mt. Bachelor has an excellent reputation as a fantastic, family friendly resort, with great snow conditions and excellent terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders.  It surpassed all expectations.

2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited over Bend Oregon

2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited at Pilot Butte Park overlooking Bend Oregon with Mount Bachelor in the Background

We were very fortunate to be able to drive one of the best ski vehicles on the market – a 2014 Toyota 4Runner.  The model we took to Oregon was a Limited 4×4 V6, which was super comfortable, well-appointed (I especially liked the heated and leather trimmed seats) and has a great design for a road trip.  It comes standard with a JBL Audio touch screen system with navigation and apps, and includes Bluetooth, USB and HD radio capabilities.  Although we did not make the opportunity to use them, another cool feature was that the 4Runner Limited had both 12 volt and 120 volt power outlets in the back.  Super convenient and well thought out.

A few days before we left, Jacqueline got sick and was unable to go, but the rest of us were all very much looking forward to going and were excited for a great trip.

On the morning we were to leave, Stacia, Makaya and I packed all our gear in the 4Runner.  Within moments, I had synched up my iPhone to the navigation system via Bluetooth technology and we were DTR (down the road).  The drive to Bend from Bellevue is usually between five and six hours depending on which way you go, how fast you drive and of course traffic.

Since we weren’t due to check into the beautiful Oxford Hotel in Bend until 3pm, we weren’t in a real hurry and decided to drive east on I-90 to Yakima before heading south on US 97 into Bend.  We timed it right so that we could experience Yakima’s Miner’s Drive-In for lunch.  It was pretty tasty – with super huge portions.  Both Stacia and Makaya had to take to go bags with leftovers that served as mid-afternoon snacks.

Once we got to Bend, we drove around town a bit to try to get our bearings and enjoy the scenery.  We then made our way to downtown Bend to check into The Oxford Hotel.  Once at the hotel, we were greeted by a very friendly concierge, and got to meet Sales Manager Ali Ward and General Manager Gregg Harper.  They were all very kind and wanted to make sure that we got checked in quickly and enjoyed our stay.  It was readily apparent that the entire staff at The Oxford Hotel is very friendly and attentive.

The Oxford Hotel in Bend at NightThe Oxford Hotel in Bend is a boutique hotel and offers 59 large and luxurious suites.  Besides providing luxury accommodations and first rate service in the heart of downtown Bend, The Oxford also takes great pride in being an Eco-Friendly Hotel.  They used sustainable building materials during construction of the property and have an ongoing commitment to reducing their carbon footprint through the use of a long list of environmentally friendly operation practices.

The Oxford King Suite at The Oxford Hotel Bend

The Oxford King Suite at The Oxford Hotel in Bend Oregon

After check-in, we went up to our room, which was a very nice King Suite, with kitchen and a balcony looking out over Minnesota Avenue.  Our room also had two flat screen tvs – one in the bedroom area and another in the kitchen / living area.  The king sized bed was a Natura green mattress and there was a super comfortable Tempur-Pedia sofa sleeper in the living area.  One thing I had never seen at any other property was a full menu of specialty pillows!  The Oxford Hotel obviously wants their guests to be extremely comfortable – and indeed we were.

During our stay in Bend, we were able to choose from a wide variety of dining options – including the 10below Restaurant & Lounge, which is located right in the lower level of The Oxford Hotel.  10below serves “Urban Organic” cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and guests at The Oxford Hotel can enjoy dining in their own rooms if desired, although the ambiance in the restaurant is very inviting and comfortable.  10below Executive Chef Ingrid Rohrer-Downer uses local and northwest suppliers and provides a menu that changes seasonally.  I fully recommend trying the Oregon Ribeye Steak, or the Fish of the Day – they are both always delicious!

After a great dinner, we took a walk around town and found that we were just a few short blocks from the Deschutes River, Drake Park and Mirror Pond (namesake of the Deschutes Brewery’s Mirror Pond Pale Ale).  We walked along the river for a bit, before heading back to turn in early in anticipation of enjoying the slopes of Mt. Bachelor in the morning.

Stacia and Makaya Loo at Mt. Bachelor

Stacia and Makaya Loo at Mt. Bachelor

Waking the next morning, well rested and anxious to ski and board, we packed up the Toyota 4Runner early and headed towards Mount Bachelor.  Bachelor is just about a 30 minute drive from downtown Bend.  The road the days we were there was bare and dry, the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed the scenic drive in the 4Runner (but didn’t get the opportunity to use the 4Runner’s 4 wheel drive).

We got up to the resort just as it was opening for the day, got our lift tickets and then headed over to the Mount Bachelor Demo Shop to pick up some gear.  Many ski resorts I’ve been to have some sort of shop to pick up gear and souvenirs, but most pale in comparison to what is offered at Mt. Bachelor.  There was a vast array of clothing and equipment available – with great selection and decent prices.  The gear offered at both the rental and demo shops covered the spectrum, but what sets them apart is the people working in these shops.  They were all so very knowledgable and kind.  It was obvious that they really cared about the people they were serving and wanted us to have a completely enjoyable time on the slopes.  This really set the tone for a couple of days of excellent skiing and snowboarding!

After Stacia and I got outfitted with skis, poles and boots and Makaya got his snowboard gear, we stepped outside to figure out where to go.  Just next door to the rental and demo shops was a large lodge with the Pine Marten Express lift directly out front.  Because Stacia and Makaya were still beginners and we wanted to get comfortable with our demo gear, we ventured off to the left towards the Sunshine Accelerator that took us up an easier slope.

One of the best things about Mount Bachelor is that they have a widely varied terrain that people of all skill levels can enjoy.  They really cater to families like us, who are in different stages of skiing and snowboarding.  Later in the day, after I switched to snowboard gear, we were able to explore more lifts and trails, and a lot more of the mountain.

The next day I was able venture to the top of the mountain on the Summit Express a couple of times – even as a new snowboarder.  Mount Bachelor Ski Resort makes it possible for even an intermediate skier or snowboarder to enjoy the amazing views from the Summit – and then choose an easy or more challenging course down the hill.

Both days on the slopes of Mt. Bachelor, we enjoyed nearly perfect spring conditions – sunny, warm and lots of perfectly groomed runs.  One thing we learned on our first day at the resort, is that we initially dressed too warmly.  We didn’t need to wear our ski jackets with a bunch of layers and before the first hour was up …  The next day we dressed much smarter and more comfortable.

We also learned that many people move to Bend or nearby Sunriver so that they can enjoy the excellent skiing and snowboarding offered at Mt. Bachelor for six plus months each season.  Thousands of others visit Bend, Sunriver and Mt. Bachelor and Central Oregon in the spring and summer to take advantage of great weather, fantastic scenery and fun events, like concerts, festivals and wine tastings.

Bachelor or “Batch” as many locals call it, is also a great place for skiers and snowboarders of all ages to learn.  An unique attribute we have for kids/beginners is that fact that the resort operates off the top of a dormant volcano; where the steeper/advanced terrain is located off the summit with the ability to ski/ride 360 degrees in any direction, with the lower lifts and slopes benching out as you decrease in elevation, which lends to a very consistent pitch and lends to an ideal learning experience.  They also have a lot cool, family friendly events to enjoy while you are up there.

Mt. Bachelor Resort is currently in the middle of their Springtacular, in which they sell a super discounted Spring Season Pass that is good from March 31st through the last day of the season (tentatively set for May 25th this year).  You’ll save money on the daily ticket rate if you plan to ski or ride just 3 days before the end of the season, so it is a real good deal.

I’d fully recommend taking your family or significant other to Bend and Mt. Bachelor for a great ski / snowboard vacation during spring break, winter time fun or anytime you can get away.  To ensure it is an epic trip, book your stay at The Oxford Hotel – and get there in comfort and style in your 2014 Toyota 4Runner.

Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort
13000 SW Century Drive
Bend, OR 97702

(800) 829-2442
The Oxford Hotel
10 NW Minnesota Avenue
Bend, OR  97701

(877) 440-8436


Find a Dealer at:

2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited at Mt. Bachelor

2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited at Mt. Bachelor


2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $43,400.  The model we drove was listed at $47,350 with upgrades, delivery processing and handling fee.

 The EPA Fuel Economy is rated at 18 miles per gallon overall, with 17mpg in the city and 21mph on the highway.




Joe “The Connector” Kennedy is a travel enthusiast and freelance writer who can easily be found online or at



How to Dress For Success



Trust good old Mark Twain to come with the best: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.” However, these days of unisex ideas and when CEOs arrive in faded jeans to interview sober-looking young people, you can’t really be sure about what dress constitutes success anymore. Going by tradition still has an upper hand in many matters including official wear. Continue reading


Montblanc Celebrates 90 Years of the Meisterstück

MontblancOn Thursday, April 3rd at Guastavino’s, Montblanc celebrated 90 years of their Meisterstück, the timeless fountain pen, at an intimate reception and dinner with Jérôme Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of Montblanc International. Guests including Edward Norton, Rosario Dawson, Penn Badgely, Olivia Palermo, Johannes Huebl, Chanel Iman, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Alex WekMadalina Ghenea and Stephen Baldwin were invited to discover the new Meisterstück 90th Anniversary Collection, featuring four new writing instruments. Continue reading

Land Rover

Land Rover To Reveal New Age Of Discovery In New York

Land RoverLand Rover will reveal its design vision for a new family of premium leisure SUVs at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.
The Discovery Vision Concept car will showcase the essence of a future family of SUVs built on Land Rover’s key principles of emotive design, unrivalled capability and ultimate versatility, taken to new levels using new customer-focused advanced technologies.
Gerry McGovern, Design Director and Chief Creative Officer for Land Rover commented: 
“Discovery has been pivotal in helping to build the foundations of the Land Rover brand.  It is admired all over the world and loved by its strong customer base. We have created the Vision Concept to share the essence of Land Rover’s new age of Discovery and to debut a new, compelling, relevant design direction that connects on an emotional level with customers of today and tomorrow.”
Follow the excitement as the story continues to unfold over the next two weeks on Land Rover’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and join the conversation using #ReadyToDiscover.

Smile Brilliant with Laser Teeth Whitening With LED Accelerator Light

This is a review of Smile Brilliant’s LED Teeth Whitening system.

Pro-Teeth-WhiteningI’ve been wanting to try a LED light teeth whitening product for some time, but was not sure how they worked.  Smile Brilliant’s product is on sale for only $39.95 (normally $69.95), so it wasn’t a huge investment and worth trying out.

There’s no doubt that the LED Teeth Whitening system is simple to use, but I found it very trying.  It doesn’t seem like having a light in your mouth for 20-45 minutes would take much effort, but I found that LED-TW-Contentsit really did.  It was actually hard to hold in my mouth at first (and later) and I seemed to get slightly more used to it as time went on, but ultimately gave up after about 15 minutes as my mouth was too tired from holding the light with my lips.

Not sure I’m going to get any desired results from only a 15 minute session, but I will try again tomorrow and see if I can make 20 minutes.

Best North American Resorts Ratings Named by for March 2014

The independent authority on luxurious living,, has announced the 10 best North American resorts for March 2014.

(PRWEB) March 27, 2014

The 10 best North American hotels have been named by for the month of March 2014. Each month the independent evaluation team spends time identifying and reporting the best affluent living hotels around the world to assist businesses in selecting the best North American hotel to meet their specific needs. The first goal of is to assist customers of affluent living hotels in hunting for impressive hotels based on established standards created by researchers and industry analysts. The resulting standards are used to establish which resorts produce the best experience for customers with updates on a monthly basis.

To most adequately help purchasers of luxurious living hotels the independent research team at performs a veracious evaluation of experienced and prominent North American resorts. The evaluation involves the use of a set of evaluation criteria consisting of five criteria of evaluation to benchmark and compare contesting North American resorts based on their core competencies. The five areas of evaluation include transportation, community, safety, climate, and appeal.

To view the ratings of the top North American resortsclick here.

ABOUT is a purveyor of luxurious living ratings. The leading ambition of is to decide and publish those individuals or resorts supplying best luxurious living resorts available. North American resorts are put through a veracious analysis to ensure the ratings contain the absolute best resorts the luxurious living industry has to offer.

North American hotels interested in being evaluated can visit:

Man and Woman Fitness

The First two Steps Towards Fitness For Men And Women

Man and Woman FitnessFitness is big business. And, a big employer too. Millions of dollars are spent by people in order to achieve fitness. Thousands of fitness professionals guide others to attain fitness by espousing many different ways to achieve fitness. How effective are these? At least some of them must be good, we concede. We do not know for sure but here is a two-step procedure, nothing complicated, to start with. Once get into the groove, we are sure you will graduate on to more complicated and effective exercises.

The First Step

Weight training should always start with barbells. Not only will the four exercises namely, deadlifts, bench presses, back squats and overhead presses give you enough strength to carry out your daily tasks but will prepare you for the fitness regime you Continue reading

Luxury Fashion Designer Yumi Kim

Last spring I went to New York with my best friend for my birthday. We had a great time and she introduced me to a fabulous designer Yumi Kim.

We visited Yumi Kim’s boutique and tried on a few things. I was a little hesitant to try things on but It was super fun and the staff was great at helping me put belts and shoes things together.

Yumi Kim Dresses


Enjoy 15% off your first order at Yumi Kim! Use code: YK15. Shop now!

Yumi Kim Online Dress

After I posted a few Instagram Photos I was surprised to have received a comment back from @YumiKim, freaking awesome! I love social media.

You can follow her on Instagram too @YumiKim

I’m super excited about Yumi Kim that I found a discount for you here Enjoy 15% off your first order at Yumi Kim! Use code: YK15. Shop now!

If you are just learning about Yumi Kim, let me share with you a little about her…

Yumi Kim is New York-based luxury lifestyle brand featuring vintage-inspired dresses, jumpers, skirts and tops with an urban feminine mystique.

Since opening its flagship store in 2008, Yumi Kim has grown to become a household name amidst the young, fun, and savvy. A flower-child at heart, founder Kim Phan incorporates floral patterns into her chic designs in an effort to bring out the lightheartedness present in every woman.

No matter what the occasion, Yumi Kim strives to encourage the brilliance and vivacity that is intrinsic to every woman. We create styles that are feminine and flirty, blending those elements with a professional elegance that can carry a woman from day to night effortlessly.

I love the flowery style and her designs have been on my mind since spring is here! Check out Yumi Kim’s Online store —> Shop designer fashion from Yumi Kim – Click Here!


Bellevue Luxury Real Estate A New Day Real Estate

A New Day Real Estate logoIf you are looking to buy or sell luxury real estate in Bellevue Washington or on the Eastside of Lake Washington, you will want to call A New Day Real Estate.

The real estate business is not easy, especially when trying to build or buy a house, the process gets fierce and intense. Changing trends in real estate business has complicated the market in a sense that when you go into the business blindly, chances are; you will never find the good home you have always coveted. For people seeking to buy homes, it is always wise to find qualified real estate firms or agents to help go through the rigorous business. Going into the business on your own is so dangerous, since the process entails so many procedures and documentation, which require qualified personnel to deal with.

Hiring the exceptional services of a luxury real estate agent would be a great way to kick-start your journey to start-of-the-art home, a home that will leave happiness in your heart for decades to come. People who hire mediocre real estate agents suffer a lot of disappointment. Barely after a few months of staying in their new homes, regrets knock hard on their doors; they wish they had not approached the realty firm or the real estate agent they hired. Advisably, you need exceptional real estate agent when planning to buy a home or a house, something you can only find in the services of luxury real estate agent.

Time is a limited resource and need to be saved at all cost. With a luxury real estate agent, it becomes easy to free up some of your limited time to attend to other important matters. The agent can help handle most of the tasks involved in real estate business. For instance, when planning to buy a house, it is likely that you don’t understand step by step procedures of going through the venture. But with a luxury real estate agent, it is easy, as the agent can help you with important information and interpretation of various realty terms, which you obviously don’t understand.

Honesty, transparency, and competence are some of the things that you can be sure of when dealing with luxury real estate agent. Many real estate agents today lack ethical principles when dealing with their clients, something that makes luxury real estate agent unique and exceptional. Here, business is run professionally and in good faith. The aim is not extorting money clients, but to help them find good homes; homes that will provide conducive places for the entire family, with easy access to social amenities such as schools, hospital, and shopping centers.

Therefore, avoid disappointments and regrets and hire luxury real estate agent for a chance to get the good home you deserve.

A New Day Real Estate
14404 NE 31st Street Suite K105
Bellevue, WA 98007
(425) 409-9982


Vanity Fair, Leon Max and Benedikt Taschen honored Annie Leibovitz for the launch of her new, Sumo-size Taschen book

Vanity Fair, Leon Max and Benedikt Taschen honored Annie Leibovitz for the launch of her new, Sumo-size Taschen book

Vanity Fair and Leon Max, along with Taschen Books’s Benedikt Taschen, hosted a party last night in honor of Annie Leibovitz’s new limited-edition, SUMO-size Taschen book, Annie Leibovitz. Held at the Chateau Marmont, the event benefited the nonprofit organization Donors Choose. Guests enjoyed Grey Goose cocktails throughout the night, while listening to the tunes of D.J. Ms. Nix.