Monday, October 11, 2021

Steer Me! Standouts For 2021!

Check out this 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4XE!

Regardless of a few challenges, 2021 has been an awesome year for automobiles. Let’s continue to spotlight those cars that deserve a little extra shine from various price brackets and styles. Lifestyle writer Andrea Janise is also contributing to this roundup of what’s impressive on the road. See some of these cars and other reviews on my Whips column for
Photography courtesy of the automakers

2021 Mustang Mach-E First Edition eAWD

Admittedly, a compact electric SUV is not super sexy when mentioned, but a five-passenger Mustang Mach-E surely is. This highly anticipated head turner raises the bar for this car segment and will surely bring conversation wherever its driven; this is especially true with its optimal handling, athletic frame, optional signature Rapid Red Metallic exterior, and 19-inch wheels adorned with black accents and red-painted calipers. Under the hood, there’s impressive power regardless of the Select, California Route 1, Premium and GT trims; specs start at 266 horsepower and 6.1 seconds from 0-60 miles per hour all the way to 480 horsepower and 0-60 at 3.8 seconds in the GT. Battery life also has options from 210 to 305 miles on one full charge. (The reviewed model included an 88-kWh extended-range battery and AWD for optimal handling.) 

Note that besides charging stations throughout the US, you can power up the Mach-E with a standard 120-volt outlet, a 240-volt outlet, or an available Ford charging station for the home. Saving money on gas, eliminating emissions, and getting a tax credit up to $7500 while wowing onlookers certainly doesn’t hurt either.

What the sticker says: Starts at $42,895 (MSRP); reviewed with eAWD and Extended Battery is $58,300

For more information, visit

2021 KIA K5 GT  

Entering the market in grand fashion, the all-new K5 line has heads turning for numerous reasons. Shelving the Optima sedan, KIA flexes a lot more muscle with this more sleek, muscular and powerful four-door variation. This GT version reviewed comes stacked with a 2.5-liter, turbo 4-cylinder engine topping out at 290 horsepower, an 8-speed dual clutch transmission, and a panoramic sunroof sitting on 19-inch sport alloy wheels. The special GT 1 Package adds 10.25-inch touchscreen, a BOSE premium sound system, LED projection headlights, the signature UVO link and numerous safety features ideal for this kind of car. Looking stunning especially in Sapphire Blue and incredibly value, KIA did a great job with this addition to the family.

$35,705 MSRP including the GT 1 package costing $4000

For more information, visit


Jeep carries a legion of loyalists for more than half a century and this top-of-the-line Rubicon got more looks than a supermodel. While maintaining the virtually limitless off-road capability this automaker is renowned for, Jeep gets environmentally responsible with this all-new, highly anticipated 4XE plug-in-hybrid version coming in three trims; it blesses drivers with an impressive, combined city/highway 49 miles per gallon-equivalent performance. 
The soft top and doors are removeable after using its custom tool kit for those gorgeous days in the sun, plus a user-friendly infotainment system (Uconnect), spacious “Unlimited” four-door cabin with leather-trimmed seats, push-button start, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, two additional USB ports, an Alpine premium sound system with satellite radio on an 8.4-inch screen, and a plethora of safety features to name a few standouts. As for the heart, it’s a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (plus two electric motors) with an eight-speed automatic transmission yielding 375 horsepower, 470 pound-feet of torque, and a 370-mile driving range sitting on rugged 17-inch x 7.5-inch black-painted wheels. Already garnering environmental awards left and right, this Jeep is going to kill it in the second half of 2021 and beyond.

Starts at $51,695 (MSRP); reviewed with optional features in the Customer Preferred Package, it’s $62,660.
For more information, visit

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer AWD RS

This all-new SUV provides drivers with both style and durability in this head-turning vehicle. The 2021 version has upgraded its exterior from its previous Chevrolet model so the body is more attractively sculpted. The Trailblazer’s numerous amenities consist of keyless entry and start; 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity; 10-way power seat adjustment with lumbar control; roof rack and side rails for mounting bikes (or any personal outdoor equipment); Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability; wireless charging; and Bose Premium 7-speaker system. The Trailblazer does not disappoint when it comes to safety with the automatic emergency breaking, lane departure warning and forward collision alert coming standard in every vehicle. We also appreciated the combined 28 MPG for short and long trips. This value and style combined make the Trailblazer a great option for those wanting a vehicle that will fit a busy and ever-changing lifestyle.

$30,580 MSRP as reviewed
For more information,

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport

If you are looking for safety coupled with reliability and performance, the upgraded Subaru Crosstrek will fit certainly the bill. Consistently providing the dependability we have come to love from the Subaru name, the 2021 Sport model comes standard with the 2.5 liter 4-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine—making it the most powerful of the line—and a new exterior trim element giving it a more rugged look, while maintaining a combined 29 MPG. Standard features include keyless entry with push button start, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with smartphone integration and Bluetooth connectivity, a 6-speaker audio system, dual USB charging ports in both front and rear consoles, roof rails and a power moonroof. The adventurous motorists will appreciate the water-repellant StarTex upholstery beautified by yellow contrast stitching, and durable floormats made from recycled materials. 
Regarding safety, the Crosstrek’s advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering, tire pressure monitoring system with individual wheel display, blind spot detection and rear seat reminder will steadily give you peace of mind. Base prices starting as low as $22,245 MSRP, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek combines affordability and appeal for a truly multi-functional and worry-free vehicle.

$26,495 MSRP as reviewed
For more information,

There are a good number of redesigned vehicles that hit the market this year, and the Buick Envision is one of the more welcomed alterations in 2021. The standout change is the muscle under hood; the engine is now a four-cylinder turbo version powered by 228 horses, while the ride remains smooth with AWD maneuverability. Justifying its luxury compact SUV designation, standards include 4G LTE WiFi; 18-inch aluminum wheels with a charcoal metallic finish; remote start; handsfree liftgate; dual-zone climate control; a user-friendly infotainment system with a 10-inch touch screen; various drive modes; numerous driver assistance features via the Buick Driver Confidence Plus (lane change alert, departure warning, rear parking assist, front pedestrian braking); plus the beloved OnStar service GM provides. The Technology Package is a highly recommended option thanks to the HD Surround Vision; a Bose nine-speaker premium audio system; wireless charging; wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; head-up display; and front park assist. Promising reliability and a competitive price tag compared to the Envision’s classmates also ease the mind when considering a long-term buy. Nice job, Buick!

Starts at $37,600 (MSRP); reviewed with optional features in the Technology Package, it’s $41,790.
For more information, visit

Future Shock!

Check out what the future has in store for us in 2022!


2021 Hyundai Veloster N + 2022 Veloster N M/T

Let’s be frank: Hyundai is killing it. One of the reasons for such a successful boom is their aggressive approach to design, quality upgrades and increased power allotment; the 2021 Veloster N is a perfect example coming in both automatic (8-speed Wet Dual Clutch Transmission with paddle shifters) and the 2022 close-ratio 6-speed manual (M/T).

Hyundai is showing racing enthusiasts major love with its N series, named after the research and development center for high-performance automobiles based in Namyang, South Korea, and world-famous test track in Nürburgring, Germany. Racing means muscle, and the Veloster gets an aggressive jolt—a 2.0-liter turbo engine packing 275 horses and 260 lb.-ft. of torque—in both trims. The N Grin Control System provides five driving modes, plus electronic controlled suspension with 5 G-Force sensors, and sport exhaust for extra roar. This series also has its exclusive embellishments to please the eye from the glowing “N” on the racing seats, to the 19-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli tires, two-stage rear spoiler, custom “N” floor mats, glossy black side mirrors, and leather-wrapped steering wheel to help terrorize the roads. Coming with a plethora of standard safety features, high-tech amenities, and generous free maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles (whatever comes first), there is virtually nothing negative to say about the Veloster N and M/T. (See what I did there?)

Look for other models of the Hyundai legion to be presented in the N version soon as well.

The 2021 N is $34,745 (MSRP); The 2022 N M/T is $33,525.

For more information, visit




Thursday, July 29, 2021

Peep My New Article in Thrillist!


You know I love my IPAs!

Thrillist has always been a fun media resource to write for and when it comes to brews, it's icing on the cake! Make sure you check out the 34 Hottest IPAs, my favorite style, and see if you agree. Some of my brewery shout outs include Creature Comforts, Crowns & Hops, Dogfish, Good Word, and many others. I want to shout out fellow scribes Kate Barnot, Zach Mack, and Ezra Johnson-Greenough for adding their dope picks as well!
Enjoy this article everyone.
Happy Sippin'!


Friday, June 18, 2021

The 2021 Last-Minute Father’s Day Gift Guide

If you're balling, why not this Escalade?!

Hook Pops Up!

After doing a lot of digging, I discovered some standouts that would make that special dad, husband, uncle, brother or whoever grin ear-to-ear for my annual Last-Minute Father’s Day Gift Guide. Besides my two cents, I include the descriptions shared directly from the providers for additional information when applicable. And if you still need more options, be sure to check out last year’s Ultimate Gift Guide for even more great choices, including colognes, hats, watches, and cars… I got ya covered!

Photography provided.


Take pops ‘clubbing’!

After such a successful concept excelling overseas, the high-tech Puttshack folks have made Atlanta’s newest West Midtown multi-use complex, The Interlock, their first US location. From the golf balls having actual microchips in them to keep score while playing on their innovative courses throughout the 25,000-square foot venue, there’s beats, eats and sips to seal the deal. It’s like a club with, well, clubs. Note that it’s family friendly most of the time; just check the hours online for when the carding happens. It’s dope!

They Say: On Sunday, June 20th, treat Dad to his ideal activity, hitting a hole in one! Any king of the green will enjoy a day or evening at Puttshack, the newest tech-infused mini golf spot in Atlanta and first in the US. Located at The Interlock in West Midtown, this 25,000-square foot venue is the complete Father’s Day experience and ideal activity for the entire family.  With competitive mini-golf courses, creative cocktails, and a wide variety of decadent dishes, Puttshack is sure to be a Father’s Day he can’t “fore-get”.  Puttshack is located at 1115 Howell Mill Rd, Atlanta, GA 30318.


Book It.

I had the amazing experience in partaking in a beer-pairing dinner hosted by the multi-talented, nationally renowned Chef Matthew Raiford who passionately shared his life’s learnings which formed the backbone of his amazing cookbook, Bress ‘n’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes From A Sixth-Generation Farmer. The stories and numerous recipes in this hardback will help any dad not only step out of his culinary boundaries, but also get an invaluable understanding of the Gullah Geechee culture.

They Say: Heirloom recipes, ancestral land, and a landmark cultural exploration, Bress ‘n’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes is the breakthrough cookbook from Chef Matthew Raiford. Here, Chef Matthew, with collaborator Amy Paige Condon, explores the ancestral recipes of Gullah Geechee cuisine and the story of a community brought together by food. The phrase “Bress ‘n’ Nyam,” Gullah for “Bless and Eat,” captures the essential spirit of this important cultural and culinary exploration into Gullah Geechee tradition. Filled with delicious food, endearing stories, and important history, Bress ‘n’ Nyam is as nourishing for the mind as it is for the appetite. Chef Matthew’s exploration into his family history, the roots of Southern cuisine, and his place as the custodian of his great-great-great grandfather’s legacy is a vital study into an essential American cuisine. Bress ‘n’ Nyam is poised to be as culturally impactful as it is culinarily enlightening. As Chef Matthew says, “The legacy is in the soil.”


If you haven’t been to West Midtown Atlanta’s award-winning Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours, get your late pass and head over there to treat yourself to delectable comfort food of the South with, hey, a twist! Restauranteur and celebrity Chef Deborah VanTrece’s debut cookbook The Twisted Soul Cookbook: Modern Soul Food with Global Flavors compiles nearly 100 recipes, stunning photography and chapters of storytelling which will collectively bring every reader along VanTrece’s amazing journey starting with her Kansas City upbringing. This vibrant book is sold both online and at her Twisted Soul restaurant.

They Say: Deborah VanTrece's Kansas City roots, wide travel, and celebrated career in Atlanta have gifted her with a uniquely rich way with food--keeping soulful recipes fresh and fun while honoring cultures, ingredients, and tradition. In her first cookbook, the Twisted Soul chef makes clear that soul cooking has always been as seasonally driven as la cucina povera, as versatile as California cuisine, and as impressive as French technique. The Twisted Soul Cookbook offers almost 100 fresh salads and side dishes, generous main courses, exciting seafood, rich desserts, and brilliant pantry staples to enhance everyday cooking, including dressings, relishes, and sauces. VanTrece is an able teacher and storyteller, guiding the reader through techniques both simple and sophisticated.


Hot Wheels!

Dads have to roll in style, right? Ball out and consider rolling off the lot with the 2021 Cadillac Escalade 4WD Premium Luxury which is exactly that: Luxury. This three-rowed vessel comes with a 6.2-liter, V8 engine; 4G LTE WiFi; a rear-seat entertainment system including wireless headphones; and a banging 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference sound system while sitting on 22-inch wheels. The four-wheel drive capability makes it a lot easier on the maneuvering as well. The “Super Cruise” option drives the Escalade by itself on certain highways, plus there is the 16.9-inch infotainment screen with HD surround vision, and the panoramic sunroof to list just a few of the numerous highlights. This opulent SUV starts at $85,995, but there is a plethora of customization options for pops to choose from.



Dad, put your ‘Big Boi’ pants on!

Already considered one of the best music venues in the South (let alone Atlanta), Terminal West now has a highly anticipated sibling is about to make its debut in a BIG way. I’m talking about Outkast co-member, actor and entrepreneur Big Boi kicking in the doors of the Reynoldstown-based complex, The Eastern, with his crew on September 1st!  Have pops be a part of history, grab him a couple tickets, and kick it with “Daddy Fat Sax.” It promises to be an unforgettable evening. Get your tickets here before they’re gone! Oh, and maybe make sure he pregames at the phenomenal Three Taverns Imaginarium adjacent to The Eastern for a brew or three.

They Say: The Eastern venue boasts a multi-tiered floorplan which offers unrivaled sight lines, top of the line sound and lights, spacious floorplan, and rooftop which includes a covered performance space, bar, restaurant and open-air seating.




No father would turn down something to truly help him relax and get his “wooooosah” on. Sign him up for Utopia Foot & Shoulder Massage’s Father’s Day Package between Friday, June 18th and Sunday, June 20th in Grant Park. For a mere $70, he will get a 60-minute foot and shoulder massage, 15-minute scalp massage, foot detox salt and Mary’s essential oils. Book here and instantly become his favorite. Gift cards are also available for future appoints as well.


Styling for a cause.

I came across this awesome concept developed by fellow Cornellian Jordan Ar and had to show love. Jordan’s ArtistsUntold, LLC is a Black-owned online retail platform that showcases the apparel and fine art of Black and other underrepresented artists for monetization at no cost to them. Hit up the website and find product that will truly have pops stand out while supporting burgeoning talents who could use the love. 

They Say: ArtistsUntold is a Black-owned online retail platform that provides up-and-coming Black and underrepresented artists with the opportunity to promote and monetize their artwork through apparel and fine art sales. Creating art is expensive enough, so we provide our platform at no cost, leaving the artist with an income stream that allows them to buy that new paint brush set, 64-inch canvas, or camera lens. ArtistsUntold’s collection of elevated streetwear features art by up-and-coming Black and underrepresented artists to promote and monetize their work. Artists receive a direct portion of each sale.



Now listen here!

Want to keep dad active? I found the answer with these lightweight, fast charging MPOW Flame Solo True Wireless Earbuds which not only comfortably hug the ear, but also provide a stylish look in matte black. With noise-cancellation capabilities and high-quality sound plus some bass boost, pops can customize his listening experience with the “twin” or “mono” mode capabilities; basically, you can go full noise-cancellation or keep one ear open. With one-step pairing, these waterproof and sweatproof MPOW earbuds will keep a 7-hour battery life, and you can get 28 hours of battery life in total with the portable USB-C charging case for non-stop listening for a day in change.


Be sure to hit up my Ultimate Gift Guide for more ideas on guaranteeing a happy Father’s Day, birthday, or whatever the occasion is.







Friday, March 12, 2021

These Piano Keys Hoodies Are Fire!

Hey Beer Lovers and Fashion Aficionados!

I had a blast designing these soft, lightweight hoodies so that my Piano Keys Chocolate and Vanilla Imperial Stout collaboration with New Belgium had some gangster merch. Perfect for now all the way through the summer on cool nights, I love these coming in red and black. Get you one of each color, hook a fellow beer-loving friend up, or simply rock it because it's dope. I appreciate you in advance. 

Here is the official description:

Piano Keys Imperial Stout is a collaboration brew by New Belgium Brewing x Atlanta Craft beer ambassador, Ale Sharpton, with a goal to uplift the importance of diversity and inclusion in craft beer.  Rock this lightweight hoodie to celebrate economic empowerment for underrepresented communities in the beer industry.  Much like the stout, this Piano Keys hoodie will keep you relaxed and relevant. 

Here is the link

Look for the actual beer coming back in mid-March. 



Friday, March 5, 2021

March 6th is Georgia Beer Day!


One of the most burgeoning states for craft beer, Georgia, is celebrating the beautiful beverage during its annual Georgia Beer Day! Along with the list below of more than 50 breweries throughout the state officially celebrating it, these Georgia Craft Beer Guild members, they also have the dope glass designed by Larry Choskey brandishing the state bird, flower, insect and tree which you get when you buy a pint at their locations.

Below is the updated list of participating breweries. Hope to see you at a few of these. Be safe, get your sip on, and enjoy! 

To learn more about the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, check out


The Breweries:

Anderby Brewing
Arches Brewing
Athentic Brewing
Atlanta Brewing Co
Barrier Island Brewing
Best End Brewing
Bold Monk Brewing
Cherry Street Brewing
Creature Comforts
Dry County Brewing
Eagle Creek Brewing
Fire Maker
From the Earth Brewing
Gate City
Halfway Crooks
Horned Owl Brewing
Indio Brewing
Kettlerock Brewing
Left Nut
Line Creek
Monday Night Brewing
Monkey Wrench Brewing
New Realm
NoFo Brew Co
Pendley Creek
Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen
Pontoon Brewing
Pretoria Fields
Red Hare
Reformation Brewery
Round Trip
Sceptre Brewing Arts
Schoolhouse Beer
Second Self Beer Co
Service Brewing
Six Bridges Brewing
Social Fox Brewing
Steady Hand
Tantrum Brewing Co
The Dahlonega Brewery
The Georgia Beer Co
Three Taverns
Torched Hop Brewing
Tucker Brewing Company
Two Tides Brewing
Variant Brewing
Wrecking Bar


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Steer Me! Two cool ways to go big in 2021!

 The Mazda CX-9 Signature and Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD RST captivate in numerous ways.

Photos courtesy of Mazda and Chevrolet

Whoever said having a vehicle to host five or more passengers is uncool will be eating crow thanks to the 2021 editions of the sexy Mazda CX-9 and Tahoe 4WD RST.

2021 Tahoe 4WD RST

The Tahoe line has always been popular due to its rugged-meets-hip persona in the auto industry. In 2021, I reviewed the RST version equipped with generous standards such as the remote vehicle start, wireless charging, LED lighting combinations, hands-free power liftgate, and 9-speaker Bose sound system,  loaded with three game-changing options—Luxury (HD Surround Vision, numerous seating enhancements, driver alerts); Rear Media and Nav Package (Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Premium with navigation, 10.2-inch HD color touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, high-tech rear seat media system including dual 12.6-inch HD screens); and Max Trailering Package featuring the handy transfer case 2-speed and fascinating Hitch Guidance with “hitch view” for phenomenal rear visibility when carrying big loads. 

Dressed in Cherry Red Tintcoat coupled with 22-inch black wheels brandishing the respected RST designation, this SUV turned more heads than a lot of the exotic sports cars I have maneuvered in the past year. Packing the powerful 5.3-liter ECOTEC3 V8 pushing 355 horses, a 10-speed auto transmission, and all-wheel drive mobility, virtually any task will be a fun one. Equally important, you will look good doing it.

Fuel Economy: 16 city/20 highway/18 combined

Price: $68,135 (Including the three packages totaling $6,740)

For more information, visit


2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature

For such a gorgeous, well-equipped, three-row SUV to start at $34,160, the Mazda CX-9 line is one of the best values to pamper up to seven passengers. Coming in trims, the Signature edition is the most luxurious. This brand continues to ascend when it comes to quality, reasonable price points, consistent 5-star safety ratings, and captivating style.

For power and pleasurable driving performance, I applaud the signature SKYACTIV-G 2.5 Dynamic Pressure Turbo engine powered by 227 horsepower and 6-speed sport mode, alongside the nimble-enhancing I-ACTIV all-wheel drive.

Inside, the first and second rows come Nappa leather-trimmed; great visibility with the 10.25-inch color center display; a 360-degree view monitor; second row captain’s chairs with a center console; and the 12-speaker Bose Centerpoint 2 Surround Sound System with AudioPilot 2 adds to the pampering.

Ultimately, driving the family around is cool again; this is especially true in the reviewed “Machine Gray Metallic” exterior, titanium metallic front grille, and 20-inch alloy wheels. With all the generous standard equipment and maneuvering that rivals virtually every competitor, this large SUV is a winner.

Fuel Economy: 20 city/26 highway/23 combined

Price: $46,605 (Signature price)

For more information, visit





Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Steer Me! KIA thrives with their new K5!


Coming in five trims, I reviewed the LXS version of this all-new sedan and loved it!

Photos courtesy of KIA

There is no mystery to my enjoyment of sporty sedans, and KIA blew me away when they had debuted the four-door Stinger a few years ago as you see here. Well, the time has come to be wowed again thanks to the launch of the all-new 2021 K5 series. Replacing the already popular Optima, KIA promises this version to be an upgrade in numerous ways with a plethora of modifications in all the right places. Coming in five different trims—LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX and GT—the K5 makes some subtle, yet appreciated physical enhancements resulting in a more welcomely aggressive, stealthy look. It’s about an inch lower, the taillights extend across the entire back of the rear for a wider perception, and the front grille is leaner with lights extended a bit horizontally wrapping around the corners with a sort of thunder-bolt finish sitting on 16-inch wheels.

I received the K5 LXS dressed in a captivating “Everlasting Silver” boasting all-wheel drive, a smart key, remote start, blind-spot collision and a smart trunk as some of its many standouts while maintaining a wallet-friendly $25,455 total. The value is astounding.

As I hoped, the driving experience matched the look. Thanks to a 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine peaking at 180 horsepower with a complementing 8-speed automatic transmission and multiple drive modes, my driving experience was smooth, responsive and more corner-embracing with the AWD feature for optimal maneuverability. 

Addressing the interior, the layout is high quality with comfortable seating for up to five with the split-folding capability in the rear, while a rear-view camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity come with the 8-inch screen. Along with the aforementioned safety features, the Forward Collision-Avoidance, Lane Keep Assist, Driver Attention Warning, and the growingly popular Leading Vehicle Departure Alert certainly boost the driver’s confidence on the road.

I am looking forward to reviewing the other K5 models including the muscle-flexing GT versions in my Driver’s Notebook City Lifestyle columns in the very near future. In the meantime, make the K5 LXS one of your serious considerations in the KIA family of vehicles. Nice job, KIA!

KIA K5 LXS specs:

Fuel Economy: 27 city/37 highway/31 combined

Price: $25,455

For more information, visit


Friday, January 8, 2021

Steer Me!

The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye has
the loudest roar in the world!

American Muscle!

This duo of American-born automobiles flexes serious muscle to not only turn the heads of bystanders, but invigorate every passenger with a mind-blowing experience. Of course, the driver lucks out the most being behind the wheel.

 Photos provided by automakers

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

The Corvette Stingray (or “Sting Ray” of yesteryear) began its mysticism since its conceptualization became a reality in 1963. And now, for the first time, the rear mid-engine platform for today’s C8 version shakes things up in stunning fashion powered by a 6.2-liter, 495-horsepower V8 engine with 8-speed dual clutch transmission.

Boasting a curvaceous shell that will leave even the most exotic sports car in envy, the power-retractable hardtop review version (also a first for a Corvette which can be activated remotely) was dressed in a classy Long Beach Red Metallic exterior sitting on 19-inch wheels in the front and 20-inch in the rear. The cockpit also impresses with highly recommended enhancements including the GT2 bucket seats (carbon-fiber trim and genuine Napa leather); 2LT Package (Infotainment 3 Premium System, BOSE Series 14 sound system, HD front curb camera, numerous traffic alerts, head-up display); temperature-controlled seats, wireless charging, etc.); and user-friendly controls complete with a high-definition rearview camera mirror. The Z51 Performance Package (racing-inspired embellishments including upgraded Z51 brakes, spoiler, exhaust, rear-axel ratio, suspension) further contributed to an exhilarating driving experience. 2021 boasts new interior and exterior color options such as Driver Mode Selector Visualization; FE2 suspension, and wireless phone projection. Highly recommended and reasonably priced starting at just over $66K, this Stingray should be considered one of the best cars the US has ever produced.

Price: $66,400 (MSRP); $83,875 as reviewed with multiple packages

For more information, visit

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

The word “Hellcat” perks the ear of virtually every car enthusiast, In fact, its now legendary power will immediately have muscle-car fanatics drool at the mere mention of “Redeye” attached, signifying numerous enhancements taking the Charger to another level in 2021. Dodge justly labels it a “Demon possessed” vehicle, this year’s introduction of the Redeye comes with specs that are simply jaw dropping; the 6.2-Liter HEMI engine's 797 horsepower, 707 lb.-feet of torque and a top speed of 203 mph will certainly boost the numbers of the growing legion of devotees. The fender flares get 3.5 inches of more width to the widebody platform along with the award-winning SRT Power Chiller also accompany this trim. Everything from the transmission shift speeds, to the paddle shifters, steering, traction and suspension settings can be controlled by the 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, plus three SRT Drive Modes: Street (Auto), Sport and Track. The generously standard Brembo brake system keeps up to five passengers confident to offset the Hellcat’s roar.

A membership to a nearby track comes highly recommended for the future owner in order to truly experience what the Hellcat has to offer. In fact, there’s a Bondurant High Performance Driving School based in Chandler, Arizona, which Dodge sponsors to truly assist in training this animal. Whatever is considered, make it habitual to kindly decline offers to race at stoplights from disbelievers of what this four-door rocket is renowned for. Just keep them wondering as you drive off smiling.

Price: $69,995 (MSRP); $86,865 with all options listed above. 

For more information, visit


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Ale's Ultimate Gift Guide for Men!

 Treat 'Em Right!
You know how I get down. As a lifestyle writer, auto journalist and beverage expert, it took all year for me to round up these dope gifts and save you the time. And truly, anyone will enjoy these gifts. I just love writing about what I would dig and wanted to theme it. Enjoy!

Wear It Out!

Michoud & Irish Timepieces

Michoud & Irish has addressed a necessary niche: creating high-quality, classy and stunning wristwatches that are still affordable for everyone ranging from those starting their collection to the most dedicated timepiece enthusiast. Their latest addition to the family, LE COMMANDANT, welcomes stylish gents to take a dive into luxury with this gorgeous, sport-ready, fully functional gift to the wrist.

 BM Franklin & Co. Custom Hats 

Like their many celebrity clients, consider yourself royalty and wear a customized crown handcrafted at BM Franklin & Co. Originally based in New York City, this renowned trendsetter of haberdashery has a new location in Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead District. Set up a custom fitting appointment and standout from the rest in style. Trust, these hats are dope!

 Kalarô Wrist Straps

Renowned for her stellar work in various industries, Filipino-American photographer Kat Goduco was inspired in 2020 to create Kalarô out of need and practicality fused with styling reflective of the artistry she has been emersed in during her globetrotting assignments. Both professional and novice photographers will appreciate these funky, multi-purpose camera wrist straps which can also be used for a clutch, flashlights, drone controllers and gimbals to name a few. The Sentinel is Kalarô’s flagship product that comes in eight color varieties.

Bring It Home!

SawyerTwain Luxury Gaming Furniture

If you want to step up and make your game room simply incredible, Sawyer Twain has the perfect solution with their upscale furnishings focused around fun. Everything from luxurious handmade pool tables to table tennis, shuffleboard, card tables and luxurious furniture for everyday use, SawyerTwain’s got your back.

BDI Furniture Milo Aluminum Laptop Stand

Make your working from home situation more functional with this stylish and durable laptop table. Lightweight and crafted by the award-winning designer Louis A. Lara, it can be moved around the room to accommodate your different needs whether you are working from home on your laptop, reading a book or just need a place to set your cup of coffee. It’s the right size with a modern design that will certainly upgrade any space with modern style.

 Methane Studios 21st Century Schizoid Brand Book

Owners of the award-winning Methane Studios specializing in illustration and design—Mark McDevitt and Robert Lee—deliver their first book, 21st Century Schizoid Brand. This 508-page hardback flaunts 1000 limited-edition posters and print designs they created for numerous music acts during their 22-year experience including Dave Matthews Band, Jack White and the Black Keys to name a few. Anecdotes, sketches and other details behind the process are also featured. It’s perfect page turning for art and music lovers! Signed copies are also available.

SaltWorks Gourmet Salt Gift Set with Recipe Box

Now being “salty” is a cool thing thanks to SaltWorks’ Gourmet Salt Gift Set. Coming with six salt-fusion variations—Wild Porcini Mushroom, Vintage Merlot, Espresso Brava, Lime Fresca, Black Truffle Sea Salt, and Spanish Rosemary—your culinary skills will certainly elevate. With six different recipes included in this limited-edition box, any aspiring chef or established kitchen wizard will consider this THE GIFT! I also used the Smoked Salt Collection and let me tell you, my salmon is already renowned, but the El Dorado Mesquite made it 5-star restaurant level. Whatever the flavor, this company knows their salts! They even have bath versions.

Hot Wheels!

Dodge Charger Scat Pack Plus

Ball out and treat yourself or make a loved one, well, truly feel loved with this monster on wheels packing a 6.4-liter V8 HEMI engine powered by 485 mean horses. Terrorizing streets and turning heads especially in Dodge’s signature “Go Mango” paint, the very reasonable price tag starting under $40K will have you entering 2021 without looking back.

Honda Civic Type R Touring

Honda flexes serious muscle with the 2020 Civic Type R Touring. Already eye catching with the Fast & Furious-type embellishments like the rear wing spoiler, Brembo brake calipers, and 20-inch alloy wheels, the engine matches it with power; all 302 horses coming from the peppy, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine to be exact. The six-speed manual adds to the invigorating driving experience, plus fantastic handling and a wallet-friendly price at 37K which includes the new Honda Sensing safety package. This one is a winner!

 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport

Enter the upcoming year with power, luxury, quality ride and a gorgeous design all in one thanks to Lexus revered ES 350 sedan complete with the F-Sport upgrade. The 2021 version comes with a few upgrades as well including blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive variable suspension, and Lexus’ signature Enform Safety Connect Suite with Wi-Fi to serve the demand for high-tech amenities. Look out for the “Black Line” package as well for an even more stealthy impression.

Hip Sips!

Motu Viget Brut

Produced by the prestigious Saint Julian Winery in West Michigan, the Motu Viget Brut (Mo-To Vi-Jay) has made a big impression among sparkling wine lovers. Boasting notes of fresh pear and apple with a slightly sweet finish of honey encased in a gorgeous foil-crowned bottle, this libation is perfect for classy functions, cellars, crafting cocktails or simply pleasing palates craving for a delectable adult beverage at 13 percent ABV. Order online without breaking the bank at a very reasonable $15.99 retail. Perfect for New Year’s Eve!

 Red Hazel Whiskey

Enterprising siblings Ty and TK Burtin have adventurously addressed the crowded whiskey market with this cinnamon-flavored variety aimed to please everyone from the novice drinkers to the most particular sippers. This libation delivers a subtle edge of spiciness to make every session a sophisticated, yet extraordinary sipping experience whether it’s presented as a traditional Old Fashioned, on the rocks or even neat. Of course, you can make up your own concoction to wow the palate as well.

Uncle Nearest Whiskey

The Uncle Nearest brand dutifully—in a posthumous effort—pays homage to the first African-American master distiller Nearest Green with a revered line of premium whiskey crafted in Tennessee. Choose from three varieties—1820 Single Barrel Edition, 100-proof 1856 and 1884 Small Batch—paired with perhaps a Cohiba stick featured below. For the whiskey enthusiast and libation historian, consider making a trip to the Nearest Green Distillery built on a 270-acre property with attractions continuously opening throughout the next few years.

 Drinks by the Dram’s Bourbon & American Whiskey Advent Calendar

Add some fun to your typical advent calendar with Drinks by the Dram’s version that pairs a variety of 12 mini styles of bourbons and whiskies to sample each day. Each mini bottle is wax sealed and delivered in a cool, yet sturdy cardboard box that converts into an advent calendar to help you count down the days of libation enjoyment.

El Guapo Craft Cocktail Gift Set

Hone your craft cocktail knowledge and mixology skills with a set of five popular mixers— Mojito, Salted Paloma, Hurricane, Lemon Drop and Bloody Mary. The perfect gift for the cocktail connoisseur in your life. Simply pour the contents of one bottle over ice, add a shot of desired spirit (or not if you prefer a zero proof), and fill to the brim with club soda (or tomato juice for the Bloody Mary). Recipes for each flavor are printed on the box. This site even has fun ways to create cards and personal message options to make this set even more special.

ORCA Walker Tote

Win cool points by being the coolest person walking up to any event with the coolest cooler filled with cooled drinks everyone can enjoy. The ORCA Walker Tote makers pound their chest providing imbibers with this slick container able to hold up to 18 cans or multiple wine bottles while keeping ice solid for up to three days. Magnetic carry handles, padded shoulder straps, a leak-proof interior, and a waterproof pocket for all the items that usually stuff your pockets seals the deal.


Man Up!

Ovation for Men

Ovation for Men owner Shawn Crenshaw proudly boasts his fragrance’s ability to balance a variety of notes including cardamom, leather, tobacco, vanilla, vetiver and amber into every application. Although this Eau De Parfum aims to crown particularly Black men with an olfactory aura of power and excellence, everyone is invited to experience an Ovation.

 Savoir Faire Soul Cafe Eau de Parfum

How many fragrances on the market are blended, bottled and boxed by hand? Musician, influencer and entrepreneur Chris Classic makes it a prerogative to take time out from his stacked itinerary to perform all of those duties in order to provide the personal touch to his Savoir Faire Soul Cafe Eau de Parfum. Nose-pleasing scent blends of blood orange, black pepper, tobacco, lavender, firewood and Arabic coffee set the stage for a lifestyle of authority-meets-finesse. Visit the site for other scents, cigar clutches, earrings and eyewear as well.

 Cohiba Cigars

Purposely placed as the closing gift, how about a cigar from the world-renowned Cohiba brand to light up and say goodbye to 2020 in style? Here’s an opportunity to bless an aficionado, occasional smoker or introduce a newcomer to a quality cigar experience. Add on one of Cohiba’s branded lighters, cigar cutters and ashtrays and you are sure to have the perfect holiday gift. The Royale—consisting of a three-country blend—is one of the newest additions to the family.

Happy Holidays!


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