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THE ROCK FATHER Magazine

Test Drive: Rockin' the Road - Across Florida in the 2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo

Brand unity is something that the folks at Kia Motors USA have really nailed over the past few years. Whether you're driving an entry-level model, or a fully-loaded luxury vehicle, the experience is distinctly Kia, and there's a comfort level in that feeling that's hard to surpass - no matter if you're in a car, crossover or minivan. When I last found myself behind the wheel of their best-selling nameplate, the Kia Optima, it was the 2014 Hybrid model. While we enjoyed that car, the 2016 Optima has been redesigned, and I recently had the opportunity to do a little roadtripping in Florida at the helm of the SX Turbo Edition - the perfect family ride for rockin' the road.

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Coffee & Rock - Folgers: The Weekend (A Rock Father HQ Adventure)

Folgers Brand AmbassadorAh, the weekend! A time to relax after a hard and honest week's work... to sit back and enjoy some quality time with the family. Or not. I don't know about you, but around here, there really isn't any down time. Family time, yes - but down time is non-existent. My wife is at her office Monday-Friday (and sometimes Saturday); I'm either working from home here in Illinois, or out on some crazy adventure (usually in Los Angeles); The Rock Daughters™ have school and preschool, respectively; and sometimes I have to tend to the band that I manage (in fact, a tour starts later this month, and I will join them on the road for a few dates). So the weekend... a time for even more activities, like ballet and tap. Sometimes there's theatre... or baseball... or gymnastics. My point? There is no end to the running, and it's a coffee-fueled affair (Folgers Ambassador - disclosure and all) - with the weekend being a week-ending wrap-up to my normal morning and mid-day routines. When I do relax, it's a prime example of some #CoffeeAndRock.

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The Great American Road Trip: 5 Essentials to Rock the Road in 2016

THE ROCK FATHER Magazine is a #ShellCrowd #FuelRewards Brand Ambassador, taking part in a special content series with SocialStars and Shell.

The Great American Road Trip. It's a time-honored tradition to load up the family and hit the highways in search of fun and adventure. We've done a few of them in recent years, highlighting them right here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine. In 2014 we hit the road and headed east toward Philadelphia, visiting the birthplace of America before hitting some other locales. In 2015 we headed northwest toward Minneapolis, visiting the Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe, making some fun stops along the way as we chronicled the whole thing across my social networks. For 2016, I'm not entirely sure where the road will take us, but a few different smaller runs look likely, with Wisconsin Dells in the mix, and perhaps a jaunt across Florida. No matter where you happen to go, it's always best to be prepared, and that's why I'm serving up Five Essentials to Rock the Road!

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Rides: Fuel Rewards and the "Little Things" that make Life Better...

THE ROCK FATHER Magazine is a #ShellCrowd #FuelRewards Brand Ambassador, taking part in a special content series with SocialStars and Shell.

There's certain things you occasionally come across that are just worth sharing (regardless of whether you're getting paid for it, #RockFatherStyle). Fuel Rewards is one such thing, and when I first shared some information on it, I focused on how easy it is to sign-up (for free!), and to start earning rewards that convert into legit savings at the pump. Easy steps like linking a credit card to your account (MasterCard preferred) earn bonuses, and new members get a 25¢ per gallon bonus on their 2nd fill-up. You use that same card for daily purchases and dining, and the points add up. Prime example - I took the Equniox to Shell the other night for a fill-up, and saved 30¢ per gallon. Check out the picture below... if you can see it, the pump says $1.39, while the sign at the road says $1.69. Fuel Rewards turned into real savings. But what do you do with the money that you save?

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Stepping Back in Time at the 1928 Chicago Motor Club... Reborn as a Hampton Inn

It wouldn't be out-of-place if one where to arrive at 68 E. Wacker Place in a DeLorean. In fact, if I had access to one, that's just how I would've liked to roll-up to the Hampton Inn Chicago - one of the Windy City's newest downtown hotels, and one that fits perfectly with the high-octane spirit of adventure that I like to maintain. When you think of a Hampton Inn, you're probably not thinking of a boutique hotel - nor one steeped in history, but that's just what we have here - a property located just off of Michigan Ave., where classic-meets-modern in an impressive salute to Chicago's long history of motoring tradition.

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Turkish Airlines Now Offering Flights to both Gotham City and Metropolis...

I must say, with all the travel that I do, one airline I have not yet had a chance to fly is Turkish Airlines. That might change soon, as they've just announced that in addition to "flying to more countries than any other airline," they're also now offering flights to both Gotham City and Metropolis. As many are aware, both of those cities have endured a series of struggles in recent years, but now due to substantial contributions by Wayne Enterprises in Gotham, and LexCorp in Metropolis, both are hoping to be reinvented as destinations for travelers far and wide. Check out the new television spots starring Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor below, and let me know - would you rather #FlyToGotham or #FlyToMetropolis?

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Rides: Rockin' the Road with Fuel Rewards from Shell...

THE ROCK FATHER Magazine is a #ShellCrowd #FuelRewards Brand Ambassador, taking part in a special content series with SocialStars and Shell.

We drive a lot. And when I say "a lot," I mean it. Our cars log some serious miles each year, with my wife putting at least 80 miles a day on her Chevy, five days-a-week. My adventures are a lot more unexpected and open-ended, but even my daily driver (my little Scion workhorse) has nearly 200,000 miles on it, and even though much of what I do these days involves cruising around town with The Rock Daughters™, we go through a lot of fuel. That's where Shell's Fuel Rewards program comes in - it's a real rewards program that provides real savings on something you actually use... fuel! And you can earn those rewards just by living your life, and doing the things that you're already doing. It's very simple.

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Ye Olde Family Fun: Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament

In a not-so-distant land called Schaumburg, nestled just minutes west of Chicago proper, there lies a grand castle - an 11th century relic that actually first appeared one foggy night in 1991. For nearly a quarter-century, visitors to this legendary kingdom have taken delight in a spectacle of sportsmanship that until this month, our family had not yet experienced - despite passing beneath the shadow of the castle tower on more than a few occasions. Last week, we answered the invitation of the King himself (or marketers working on his behalf) to attend Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament to witness the action first-hand, and for I to bring forth a tale of our family's experience in the realm of "steel and steed."

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Fall Fun is Coming to HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD...

Last year, we had a sweet adventure at HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD in Pennsylvania. If we lived closer, we'd certainly be back for this - their latest round of seasonal fun, which just so happens to be for my favorite season of all: Fall. Hershey's Chocolate World is launching a full assortment of festive activities for Fall and Halloween, and the details just rolled into Rock Father HQ. Check 'em out below...

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Where the Toys Come From: A New Look at Step2 & their American Made Toys...

Step2 Brand AmbassadorI love toys. It's a simple statement of fact - but my passion for plastic has certainly been fed by the fact that my wife and I are the parents of two little girls... little ones whose interests are broad and diverse. Kinda like that of their parents. When I launched this website (now in year five), I had every intention of covering the toy industry through news, reviews and features - but had no idea that I'd eventually wind-up cashing checks from some of our favorite toymakers. One of my longest-standing relationships has been with The Step2 Company, for whom I've served as a toy tester and paid Brand Ambassador for the past few years. Now, as I've reached the mid-way part of my third (and final) year in this position, the curtain has been pulled back on the future of the company and the exciting new product line-up for the rest of 2015 and well beyond. Along with my fellow Ambassadors, I recently returned to Ohio to provide feedback and consultation on upcoming offerings in meetings with the marketing and development staff, and sat down with new President and CEO Chris Quinn. Step2 is a company that I believe in, and my latest adventure proved that they have some BIG surprises yet to come...

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