2016 Mazda MX-5 Top Down and Fun Up!

It’s hard to believe that 25years have blown by since the first Mazda MX-5 Miata rolled off of the assembly line. The little two-seater convertible from Mazda ignited years of fun for some and unlike many roadsters that are locked in the garage in preparation of the next sunny weekend mid-day drive, the MX-5 became a multi-use vehicle from work to the windy roads. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Mazda completely re-engineered and redesigned the MX-5.alive-media-magazine-december-2016-mazda-mx-5-passing-lane-charles-donaldson

For 2016, Mazda has improved the Miata to include some modern safety and technology expectations while preserving its uniqueness that has run true with all MX-5’s keeping it different from anything else on the market. Measuring in at about 154-inches, the new Miata is a bit shorter than last year’s model, while growing wider to about 68-inches. Plus, it has an extended the wheelbase to 91.1 inches.

The MX-5 was designed around its driver and is lightweight, nimble and fun to drive. It was a blast to cruise around the curved roads in the Dublin hills. On the freeway, if the road wasn’t smooth, you felt every bump…typical of low-to-the-ground cars. Nevertheless, it was the most fun MX-5 that I have driven to-date.

Now in its 4thgeneration, the 2016 MX-5 carves a path that is thoroughly modern, packed with high-tech features and has a strikingly-designed based on the KODO-Soul of Motion which is defined by a long hood, short overhangs, a cropped cabin pushed far back on the body and large wheels moved as far as possible towards all four corners. The new look produces a lower and sleeker profile.alive-media-magazine-december-2016-mazda-mx-5-passing-lane-charles-donaldson-interior

The 2016 MX-5 comes in four trim levels, Sport ($24,915), Club ($28,600), Grand Touring ($30,065) and a Limited Launch Edition. Standard on all MX-5 models are air conditioning, push-button start, a manual cloth convertible top, power door locks, USB input, Bluetooth® wireless phone pairing and audio streaming, leather shift knob and CD player. Entry MX-5 Sport and upper trims MX-5 Club and MX-5 Grand Touring all come with the option of a SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The 2016 MX-5 Launch Edition comes in Soul Red with a Sport Tan leather interior — an exclusive color combination for the 2016 model year in the U.S.

The interior is clean and comfortable with red stitching. The info-screen at the top of the center dash houses your navigation, radio and other operations. The control knob is next to the shifter and if you aren’t careful while you are shifting you can accidentally change the radio station. There wasn’t a backup camera on my test model.

The SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine powering the MX-5 delivers 155 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 148 ft-lb. of torque at 4,600 RPM. It comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission that has a city EPA-estimated 27 mpg. Also available is a 6-speed automatic transmission for $1075.

Cool Features:

  • Bose speakers in the headrest
  • Push button start

Safety on the 2016 Mazda MZ-5 includes the following: dual front airbags, side impact airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning system.

In Summary –The 2016 MX-5 Miata is a blast to drive and the redesign is absolutely beautiful. The lines flow throughout the body and give the feel of motion. The portions are balanced and the MX-5 looks great with the top up or down. Raising and dropping the convertible top can be maneuvered with one hand.Mazda did an incredible job inside and out with its little roadster. If you take it for a test drive, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up in your garage.


2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club


Base price:                 $28,600 as driven: $32,820 (including destination & optional

Engine:                       2.0 Liter 4-cylinder SKYACTIV-G

Horsepower:             155 @ 6,000 RPM

Torque:                      148 @ 4,600 RPM

Transmission:           6-Speedmanual

Drive:                          RWD Drive

Seating:                      2-passenger

Turning circle:          30.8 feet

Cargo space:              4.59 cubic feet

Curb weight:              2,332 pounds

Fuel capacity:            11.9 gallons  

EPA mileage:             City 27/Hwy 34

Wheel Base:               90.9 inches

Warranty:                   3 years/36,000-miles powertrain limited

Also, consider:           Audi TT Roadster, BMW Z4, Mini Roadster, and Nissan 370Z  Roadster 


He Said/She Said with Robin and Shawn

Dear HSSS,

With the holidays in full swing, I find myself exhausted already. What used to be fun has now turned into a cacophony thanks to too many relations.  Would it be awful to just have my immediate family over to celebrate the peace of the season rather than all the aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews?

                                                                                    ~Sticky Sitch, Walnut Creek

Portrait of little boy with a funny face at christmas dinner at home in the living roomShe Said: Well, I know I don’t have to tell you to be grateful that you have family when there are those who have no one, right?  Of course you love them all, but you bring up a legitimate problem: the obligations of the holidays. Hosting a party for 24 is not for everyone although we all know people who move the furniture around and turn the living room into a dining hall. Let them. You can speak up and say, “Extended Family, this year we’ve decided to keep it small, and focus on our nuclear family for a change, because we never get to see each other any more, does anybody mind?”  Do not comment on the look of relief on their faces.  But let’s remember the basic rules of etiquette. 

  • You cannot exclude your children’s spouses.
  • Make sure nobody in the extended family will be alone.
  • Don’t invite best friends now that you have room at the table—that’s what New Year’s Eve is for.

Good luck navigating the most wonderful time of the year, everyone, and be kind to each other. Exceedingly kind.

He Said: There’s nothing awful about downsizing your holiday plans as long as you are still spending time around those you love. Some people loath the holidays because of the chaos that comes with them. But if your intentions are to reduce the stress and try to take a more enjoyable approach to this holiday season, then I think you should be commended for that. Every year the holidays become more commercialized than the year before, and as a society we have lost the true meaning of celebration and love. Expectations of big parties and gifts have come to dominate the season when we should really be focusing on what’s important….love and peace. It sounds like the idea of a BIG family gathering is weighing on you, and if that’s the case, you won’t have the energy or time to enjoy what is supposed to be a reflective and peaceful time of year. Robin has given some good pointers on whom to include in the festivities. I suggest you follow her guidelines and keep things simple and joyful.

Robin and Shawn are hanging up their advisor hats to take on some exciting, new challenges. You’ll find Robin living it up as the new Director of Marketing and Communications for VisitTriValley.com and Shawn focusing on his passion for helping improve the lives of those around him.They wish to thank you for your questions and for not taking life too seriously. Happy Holidays everyone!


Holiday Ups and Downs

Notwithstanding the commercialism, most people experience joy and a greater sense of emotional connection to one another during the holidays. Even so, there are some who tend to feel depressed this time of year, too. Of course it’s not one hundred percent in either direction—certainly no one is happy all the time, and I hope no one is gloomy 24/7 between Thanksgiving and New Years. The question is: Is there a way to make sure we tilt toward the “joy” side of the balance sheet?    smdepositphotos_16919033_original-1        

Many years ago, a good friend and mentor told me, “The person you become in life will primarily be determined by two things: the books you read and the people you associate with.” He also said that, “You don’t attract in life what you want but who you are.” Better than thirty years later, I’d say both of these statements are largely true.

The essential message in this advice is to be careful in choosing what we allow to influence us. Input from media—books, movies, TV, social media, magazines and the like—as well as the people we choose to spend time with, influence our attitudes and decisions to such a degree that they shape our character, the direction we take in life, and ultimately where we end up and who we become. Oh yes, and how we feel much of the time, too.

The ideas one has, as well as how someone feels about just about everything and everyone will be vastly different for the person who reads more classic literature, scripture, and books on personal development, than the person whose reading is dominated by Twitter feeds, romance novels and People (or Hustler) Magazine. And when we choose to surround ourselves with thoughtful, positive, edifying peers, we will speak, act and feel differently, from those whose associations are primarily with dour, petty, angry or otherwise negative people.

With the holidays upon us, I highly recommend some of my friends’ advice. Feeling down or depressed? Turn off the Computer or TV and pick up a book by Og Mandino, Stephen Covey, John Maxwell, Denis Waitley or Robert Schuller. Want to smile more during the holidays? Look for people who tend to smile and get around those people. And when it comes to interactions with others, decide to be a builder rather than a demolition expert.  

On behalf of everyone here at ALIVE, we wish you all the best in happiness, health, and prosperity for this holiday season and beyond.   














Holiday Trivia 2016

Among all the things we get used to at the holidays is the proliferation of Holiday Television shows. Some of these, if not all of them, were made 50 years or more ago. A new generation comes along to enjoy them, so I guess we should too. So, let’s…

  1. The Charlie Brown Christmas Special plays every year. What celebrated San Francisco Jazz artist is responsible for the music in all the Charlie Brown specials?
  1. He owned a Major League Baseball team and was one of the first singing cowboys, but he is probably most famous for singing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Who is he?
  1. He played Patton in the movies, but he also played a memorable Scrooge in a very good TV version of “Christmas Carol.” Who is he?
  1. “Miracle on 34th Street” still delights families at Christmastime, although it was filmed 69 years ago. In the movie, Kris Kringle surprises the shoppers at Macy’s by telling them they can find a better deal at famous competitor’s store down the street. No longer in business, who was that competitor?
  1. It think everyone’s favorite movie at Yuletide is still “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I know my kids watched it repeatedly as kids and I watched it with my grownup daughter last year. What were the names of the cop and the cabdriver in that movie?
  1. In that movie, who played Mr. Potter, the town miser, who always tried to upset George Bailey’s plans to make Bedford Falls a more livable community?


Jingle Bell Rock: 10 Exciting Holiday Gifts!

1. Fragonard Parfums are here at The Rouge and just in time for the Holidays! French perfumes are one of the most luxurious scents in the world and they are all organic. Come visit us during the holidays and discover how utterly divine, modern and beautiful French perfumes are. There are many to choose from, with extraordinary and delicious scents for everyone!

2. Ring in the holidays and give her the gift of comfy lounge-wear. The Rouge carries fabulous sets of lounge wear by PJ Salvage. She will love slipping into the most beautiful, softest tops and pants, along with super cute robes and matching slippers. Pure happiness!

3. Ted Baker travel accessories are so beautiful from gorgeous journals to matching pens and travel pillows for long trips. Come in and see the huge selection of Ted Baker accessories for that special someone on your Christmas list. Exclusively at The Rouge.

4. This holiday season you may want to choose to give her a beautiful Michael Stars scarf. They are so gorgeous and soft you may want to get more than one. A scarf makes a great holiday gift because anyone can wear them; no size to fuss about, and they make a great looking outfit look sensational. Sure To Please.

5. Chill Body Treatments. With the fresh scent of a famed Zen sanctuary the Chill Line at The Rouge is one of the favorites among locals. Organic and purely heavenly, the Chill Body Line includes a marvelous scrub, body lotion, body wash and organic sunscreen. Love! Exclusively at The Rouge.

6. Vrai from Fragonard. Vrai (Meaning “True”) is a pure organic body line from France, that makes your body oh-so-soft and smooth. The French love their natural products, including pure cotton oil, shea butter, grape-seed oil and anti-oxidants, to treat dryness to give the body a more youthful appearance than ever before.

7. Ongrien Organic Multi-Active Mud Masque. While the holidays can be very tiring, revive your complexion with our Organic Multi-Active smoothing facial masque, to help brighten, smooth and restore the appearance of the skin. You will love the reparative effects, leaving the skin as supple as a newborn baby’s cheeks.

8. Fleur Visage Vitamin E and Vitamin C Lip Treatment with a tint. You’ve heard of chapstick, right? Now meet Vibran C, The Rouge Cosmetics exclusive intelligent lip treatments that are designed to heal and repair dry chapped lips instantly. Great for the beauty junkie!

9. Holiday Make-overs. If you’re scrolling through Pinterest just waiting for inspiration to strike your beauty fashionista-vibe, book a make-over at The Rouge for your next holiday extravaganza, where make-up designers are eager to create the perfect glam, glamour or naturalistic glow. Gift Cards available for Beauty Make-Overs.

10. Custom Foundations. Need a fabulous and most perfected foundation? Look no further; the pros at this quaint downtown beauty boutique will have you looking fabulous, working amid loads of natural light to craft the salon’s signature custom blended foundations, creating a flawless, gorgeously matched second skin look, just for you. Come in this holiday season to get one for yourself or purchase a custom foundation gift certificate for that special someone. She will absolutely love her skin.

Discover The Rouge Cosmetics for the best holiday pick-me-up ever!

He Said/She Said with Robin and Shawn

Dear SSHS,

I have guests in my home quite regularly, and I’m getting fed up with all the dietary restrictions out there. From gluten and dairy-free to Vegans and Atkins, I feel like I’m running a restaurant when people come to stay. Any suggestions?                                             Juan Menu, Lafayette

concept of dietary restrictionsShe Said: Real food allergies and Celiac disease aside, it is not your obligation to check in with everyone coming to your lovely B&B to see what they will and will not eat. People are constantly jumping in and out of fad diets or eliminating food groups entirely, making it very difficult on hosts. I knew someone who went from Atkins to vegetarian in the same week, and expected everyone to oblige. That’s just bad manners. Do not cater to picky eaters. Issue your invitation and let all know what will be on the menu and that they are welcome to supplement their diets with items brought from home.

He Said: There’s nothing worse than taking the time and effort to host guests in your home then hearing them say they can’t eat this or that. It just makes you want to never have another guest in your house again. You can’t be expected to cater to everyone’s finicky food habits or needs so I suggest you politely ask ahead of time if they have any preferences. If any requests are unreasonable, then simply ask that they bring their own food that meets their needs or point them in the direction of the nearest store that has what they want. You’re providing the shelter and basic food, if they want more than that, that’s on them.

Dear HSSS,

A friend of a friend recently moved to the area, and I’ve been asked to show her around a bit and help her get acquainted with the area. I have a hectic work schedule and family life and really don’t have the time. Plus I don’t care for this person much. How can I get out of this?                         Janice, Danville


He Said: It’s always nice when a local can show a transplant around, but it’s not fair for a friend to expect this of you. First I would explain to your friend that you have other priorities and that you just can’t spare the time. Then, I would definitely let the friend know that you’re not fond of this person. If you don’t, this won’t be the last time this newbie reaches out to you. You can ask your friend to keep this info confidential or not, it’s really up to you. Also, there are literally a million social apps and websites where people can reach out and get info or meet people from an area when they move. Let the technology be their friend, not you.

She Said:  It’s time to just say no, and you will be amazed at how great that feels. You have little enough time as it is for your real obligations, and people will always ask, so it’s your job to protect your limited time. But, I do want to play devil’s advocate here a bit. You say you don’t care for this person, but how about inviting her to coffee when she arrives, telling her where some of your favorite hotspots are and giving her a second chance to be someone you do care for. Some of the best friendships start with two people not liking each other that much.  Her moving to the area could be a real game changer.


Robin Fahr is a communications specialist and host ofConversations seen daily on Tri-Valley TV, Channel 30 and online at trivalleytv.org. Shawn and Robin also host He Said/She Said on       TheTalk Pod.com.  Send your questions to AskHeSaidSheSaid.com.