Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 Review

For the last 3 years, I've been zipping all around town in my Mercedes-Benz CLA 250. I said farewell to my sweet little ride yesterday, as my lease has come to its maturity date. Yes, I am a lease-your-car kinda girl. I know some people cringe at the thought of leasing a vehicle, considering you pay & pay only to own nothing in the end. Call me crazy, but, I have no problem with this and love getting into a brand new car every 3 years + I never having to worry about mechanical problems and such.

When I first got my CLA in 2014, there weren't that many on the road. However, over the last few years I've definitely noticed that this cute & compact Mercedes has become pretty popular and I'm constantly seeing them pass me on the road. 

Since this car has become so popular, I thought I'd share my "driver experience" for anyone who may be considering getting into a CLA 250. I feel that these are all things anyone would want to know before financing/leasing any vehicle.
 Before I get started, I just want to repeat that my CLA was a 2014 and I have no idea what improvements have been made to this vehicle over the last 3 years. 

Lets start with the good stuff...

I absolutely LOVED the look & feel of this car -  I got so many compliments on my CLA. I think the sporty, sexy design of this car led people to believe that it was way more expensive than it actually is! With that being said, I did opt for the 'sports package' with 18 inch AMG wheels which definitely enhanced the look of my CLA. I custom ordered my car in 'Cirrus White' with 'nut brown' leather/interior and I could not have been happier with this color combo! I am NOT a fan of black interior whatsoever and, in the past, I've gone with the super light, creamy leather that shows everything. (hello, dark denim!) This is coming from someone who takes really (really) good care of their car! So if your tough on your car and/or have kids, I would definitely go with a darker leather/interior that doesn't show as much wear & tear.

The technology in the CLA 250 was more than fine and right in line with what I think most luxury cars are equipped with in this day & age -- great sound system, bluetooth integration for music & hands-free talking, etc..
 For me, a few things that are non-negotiables for me in every new car I get into:
back up camera, moonroof & heated seats
Another feature that I have absolutely fallen in love with since driving my CLA 250, Active Blind Spot Assist. I have become incredibly spoiled, dependent, even, on this amazing "heads up" feature. Blind Spot Assist can sense other vehicles around you, preventing you from merging/switching lanes when other cars are too close or in the way. If a car is in the way when you put your turn signal on, the car beeps + a red caution signal illuminates in the side mirrors letting you know it is not safe to switch lanes. This feature is invaluable, if ya ask me. I've had a heated steering wheel before and that was pretty amazing! {ha}

now for the not so good stuff...

ECO BUTTON/OPTION
This might be my greatest complaint about my CLA 250.
 This was my first time driving a car with the eco option and I know many automobile makers have gone to this option. Personally, I could not stand this feature! 
I'll do my best to put my frustrations with this feature into words. However, this is definitely one of those things where you just have to experience it yourself to fully understand....
Its as if the eco option had different levels of going into "eco mode" based on how long I was sitting at a traffic light, stop sign, in stop & go traffic in the city, or, bumper-to-bumper traffic on the interstate...
Sometimes it felt as if the car had just shut off! I mean, complete shut down. Like, keys out of the ignition, no engine running, no AC/HEAT blowing - OFF. When this would happen, I legitimately felt as if there were multiple times where I could have gotten into a wreck.
The car would shut down, or feel as if it were stalling, as if I were driving a stick shift and didn't know what the hell I was doing. There was such a delay between me putting my foot on the gas pedal & the car starting back up from "shut down mode". There have been so many times where I'd be trying to turn thru an intersection and I couldn't go when I tried to or the car would stall and God forbid the person behind could have rear-ended me if they were too close/not paying attention. As mentioned above, when the car shuts off, your AC/HEAT stops working as well. I received my CLA in the summer and I'll never forget the first time I experienced the air not working because of eco mode. I was sitting at a stop light in the dead of summer, the car shut down, the air stopped working, the vents started to fog and the car was hot as hell. 
In the end, I pretty much just drove with the eco button turned off unless I was doing highway driving and knew that I wouldn't be in a stop & go situation, where the vehicle is constantly turning on & powering down. I could seriously go on & on about how annoying this eco feature was but I think you can get the point with what I've shared above. {LOL}

TIRES
The tires on the CLA 250 cannot be rotated front to back or left to right.
Rotating your tires helps in preserving the life of your tires + helps the tread wear more evenly.  Rotating your tires also keeps your car balanced, helps with better traction & handling. Something I wasn't aware of when I got my CLA, was that the car came with "run flats". I believe this is because I choose to go with the sports package + AMG wheels. About 2 years ago, while on a road trip to Asheville, Adam and I were complaining how loud the tires sounded and started Googling about "run flats" and evidently, we aren't the only ones to complain about the noise from this particular tire. I've been told that if I didn't get the sports package, the car would have had a smoother, quieter ride. Towards the end of my lease, the back tires were so loud I simply did not enjoy driving the car. So, lesson here...if you are considering the CLA 250 for your next car and wanting a smoother, more luxurious ride you might want to opt out of the sports package. However, the sports package is what makes this car look so sexy. Tough decision...πŸ€”

TIRE PRESSURE + CHECK ENGINE LIGHT
I have never driven a car that had such a sensitive tire pressure gauge. Yes, tires expand/contract due to hot/cold temperatures, however, I felt like every time I turned around my tire pressure sensor would be on again - either the pressure was too high/too low.
 In the summer, the numbers would be so out of whack, the color would switch from yellow (normal) to red, scaring me to death as if my tires were going to explode. I had to bring my car into the dealership to have it adjusted so.many.times (put air in/take some out) and a week later it would turn right back on.

Just like the tire pressure, my check engine light would illuminate very often as well. In fact, when I turned my car in, the salesman checking in my car mentioned my check engine light being on. I responded, "its always on".  I actually just had my final service done on this car about 1.5 months ago and the check engine light had already come back on πŸ™„

MILES UNTIL EMPTY
When the gas light comes on, the car does not tell you how many miles you have left until your stuck on the side of the road. I definitely want to point out that I think the gas light turns on a bit prematurely. When that yellow little gas pump lights up on my dash, the needle is defintely sitting well above the big "E". With that being said, I feel like the car gives plenty of warning to pull in and refill but it still sucks that your not given an approximate milage until your left with nothing in the tank. A girlfriend of mine here in Charlotte has the same car and she actually did run out of gas! Luckily, she found some nice guys to push her to a nearby gas station so she could fill 'er up. 


In the end, I really enjoyed the look of my CLA but the ride....not so much. With all my complaints, I realize and anyone reading should keep in mind that this is an entry-level Mercedes. The CLA Class allows us young 20-30 somethings to get into a Mercedes-Benz without paying an arm & a leg month after month.
 My last 2 cars were a Cadillac ATS Coupe (omg, I LOVED that car!) and before that an Infiniti G35 which is now the Infiniti Q60 - both cars had way more horsepower, pick up and an all around nicer, smoother ride.  
When the lease on my Cadillac was up, I was ready to get out of a coupe and into something with 4 doors but not quite ready for a full-sized sedan, ya know? The CLA is still considered a coupe, if you will - its a cute & compact 4 door!

Thanks for reading! Hope this "ride review" has been helpful if you might be considering a Mercedes CLA 250. Stay tuned for what I'm getting next!! I am SO pumped to get it and can't wait to share with you all!! xx

Much Love,

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LS Lately : No. 1

 a monthly series sharing everything from life, love, style, travel, sale alerts and all the moments in between...  

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Hey there, loves! Welcome to LS Lately! πŸ€— A new, little-bit-of-everything series that I am SO excited to start & share here on LS.com. I have been wanting to start this series for quite some time and I'm happy to finally get it going! I just love the notion of fresh starts, don't you!? With that being said, as summer comes to a close + my favorite season, autumn, is upon us + a new year for moi, {October 3 Birthday} I feel there's no better time to kick off this new series on The Blog!

  With each LS Lately 'journal entry', I hope to inspire you, introduce you to some new things I'm loving - whether it be clothes, music, TV/movies, products, restaurants, travel, whatever it may be - and most of all I wish to connect with you, my readers, as I share more personal details of my life.
So, let's jump into it... 

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First off, Happy September! How was your summer!? Any amazing trips or exciting news to share!? Where did the last few months go, you guys? I say this every year, but this summer seriously flew by. When I turned 21, someone told me, just wait, every year from here on out will go by faster and faster -- those words absolutely ring true. I feel like I blinked and now, its nearly Fall. Oh, and how am I about to turn 34!!? 

This summer was pretty low-key. No big trips or anything crazy, however, this particular Summer was a super special one to me. This was the first summer since Adam and I started dating 3 years ago, that he was home in Charlotte with me. My love has been gone filming every summer since we've been together and this year, it just so happened to work out that he didn't take/have any jobs. He did, however, leave two weeks ago to film a TV Show in New Orleans and other than a quick, 2 week stint home for Christmas, he will be gone until Feb-March next year. Crazy right!? Do any of you have to go thru the pains of a traveling boyfriend/spouse/significant other?? If so, I'd love to hear how you deal with the distance. This will be the longest time A has been gone for work, so I'm curious as to how I'm gong to hold up. The last couple weeks have been quite the adjustment, not having my other half home. Walking back into an empty house after dropping him off at the airport was just...sad. I love to be independent and enjoy my "me time" (a lot, actually) but its just such a different feeling when you know the person you love to share your life with will be gone for so long. 

With all that sad stuff being said and as tough as it is to be apart...I'm strong, surrounded by my friends & family, have a lot to keep me busy and I fly to see my boo every 2-3 weeks. Its so important to always focus on the positive in any situation. Nothing good ever comes from dwelling on something that isn't necessarily the best situation. Adam being gone for 6 months SUCKS! but feeling sad every day definitely is NOT the highest & best use of my time. I definitely have my days where I catch myself feeling sad or lonely, and that's ok, but those are also the times when I need to remind myself to put my big girl pants on and focus on everything I have going on so I continue to learn & grow as an individual. 

Speaking of growing...this summer was filled with a lot of WORK, learning & so much growth. If you've been reading for a while, you know I got my real estate license last year - Feb. 2016 to be exact. I didn't really jump into exploring this new career path right away, mainly out of fear, I suppose. However, at the start of 2017 I decided it was time to actually put my license to use! I've been actively practicing real estate all year and loving it - even when the deal isn't going so smoothly. I have closed several deals, representing buyers & sellers, have had to deal with and go thru the (e)motions of 2 deals falling thru due to circumstances out of my control & have seriously learned SO much about the business & about myself. My mom has been in real estate for over 20 years and she still says there isn't a deal where she doesn't learn something new.

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I just returned from NYC last night, where I attended my very first NYFW! I had such an amazing time running around my favorite city attending shows & events! I had the chance to spend time with a handful of my Charlotte Blogger Babes, getting to know them better, cultivating closer friendships + I had the opportunity to connect with new girls/bloggers from all over the country!

I can't help but mention that today is 9.11. I'm actually sitting with the news on as I write this post with tears in my eyes. New York City is truly one of my favorite places - ever. I have spent so much time in NYC and its just one of those places that give me that happy, inspired feeling inside. I know anyone who adores New York can relate to this special feeling I'm speaking of. 
I took a bunch of pics & quite a bit of video to share the whole experience with you guys! I'll be working on editing all the vlog footage over the next week or so, so wish me luck! {haha} If you have any video editing tips or programs that you love, please share in the comments below!! 

I recently starting using this shea butter shampoo & hydrating conditioner from Maui Moisture. I like to switch between higher end hair care products & great drugstore finds such as this one! I absolutely LOVE the scent, the shampoo is sulfate-free (if that's of importance to you) and it I love how soft & smooth my hair feels when I use it. 

I just popped into Lucky Brand for the first time since Idk...high school!? You guys, I fell in love with the entire store! My go-to Lucky Brand Jean in high school was the 'lil Maggie. Omg, I LOVED those jeans! {LOL} I got the Sasha Super Skinny Jean and I am obsessed! They fit SO good you guys and I love the distressed detail. I've already worn these with my Vince Camuto OTK Boots & Ankle Booties

So, my straightener has been broken for like a year and the funny thing is I've still been using it here & there. I've started to enjoy straightening my hair again instead of always going with the loose waves look. As the humidity flees and fall approaches, I can actually straighten my hair without out it wanting to frizz out since my hair is natural curly! I just bought this Hot Tools Flat Iron and I absolutely LOVE it! It heats up super fast and I really like to size of it. Its only 60 bucks which I think is a steal compared to others! 

While I was in NYC for Fashion Week, I hadn't washed my hair since I had arrived Thursday morning. Come Sunday, the 'do was looking a little dubious. I had a few hours in between my morning and afternoon shows so I decided to pop into drybar to get my hair washed and blown out. I'm a pretty no fuss girl and don't spend much money on services such as this, but I gotta say....I could get use to having my hair blown out! It was such a treat! πŸ’πŸ»Who has jumped on the blow bar bandwagon?! We have a couple 'Blo Bars' here in Charlotte but have yet to check them out -- I might need to pamper myself with a blowout here & there. 

I recently upgraded my iPhone to the 7 plus - obsessed, you guys! To go with my swanky new iPhone, I got an upgraded plan to go with! I've been with AT&T like, since I got my first phone in High School and have been grandfathered into their unlimited plan ever since. AT&T is currently running a new & improved upgraded plan which gave me 10g of mobile hot spot per month + free roaming in Canada & Mexico in addition to my already unlimited call, text & data plan. Another perk of the plan!? DIRECTV NOW (Hello!) Adam and I have never had cable and everything we watch is streamed per episode via Apple TV + a couple apps that we get limited crap TV with. With my upgraded cell phone plan, I qualified for a DIRECTV NOW plan for only $10 a month that usually costs $35 a month on its own. I chose to go with the "Live a Little" Package that gives me 60 channels, which is more than plenty for me, but there are other, larger packages to choose from. Definitely work checking into ;) 

Speaking of TV....over the last couple months, I have become absolutely crazy for Million Dollar Listing New York. I know this show is old news, but as I mentioned above, we have been pretty out of the loop when it comes to TV Shows/ Series. We started watching Season 6, buying episode per episode on iTunes. A few episodes in and we were hooked. We've actually been watching the whole series backwards {haha} 6, 5, 4, and I'm almost done with Season 3. I just love those guys and totally miss Luis on the show! {LOL} Aside from all the laughs I get outta the show, as a real estate agent, the show is pretty damn inspiring. Definitely makes me want to work harder and excel in my real estate career. Not to mention, New York real estate is just UNREAL! Major house goals, right!? πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

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I have gotten away from sharing my Workouts this Week posts, but for good reason. I definitely go thru phases with my workouts and for the last few months - basically the entire summer - I have been hooked on HSM Core - a 40 minute kick-your-ass pilates class on the MegaFormer. I have been taking 2-3 classes a week since June and its definitely my favorite workout at the moment - I just LOVE the results I'm seeing from this full-body burner! Other than a few boxing classes here & there, I haven't lifted any weights, hence the reason for not sharing any type of workout routines/circuits here on The Blog. In addition to my HSM Classes, I get in 3-4 days a week of cardio for 30-45 minutes. I love to mix it up, I do anything from stair master, to sprints, Precore AMT or a long run/walk outside + I make sure I get in at least 1 yoga practice a week to keep everything loosey goosey. 
When's the last time your switched up your workout routine? I love to keep my workouts fresh to prevent that dreaded workout rut and/or plateau. 

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...sweet sale finds to make your wardrobe & your wallet happy!

Anthropologie
Take an Extra 25% Off Sale Items
one of my favorite places to shop = Anthro Sale Room. Even better when their Sale is On Sale πŸ˜‰

Urban Outfitters
20% Off All Bags
UO has some of the cutest, everyday carry-alls from totes, backpacks & clutches, and more...

Neiman Marcus Last Call 
Take an Extra 40% Off Entire Site
one of my go-to's to snag great deals on designer goods
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Thank you so much for reading! Sorry for the long winded post! {lol} I had a lot to catch up guys up on! If there's anything special you'd like for me to share on LS Lately, please let me know in the comments below! xx

Much Love, 

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4 Dresses To Take You From End of Summer Thru Early Fall

Hey guys! Happy Labor Day Weekend! Hope everyone is having a beautiful weekend & soaking up the last of the summer sun! β˜€οΈ I'm having an incredibly low key weekend after a very (very) stressful week! Adam is officially gone to film in New Orleans...I'm missing him SO much and cannot wait to go visit him in the couple weeks! I'm getting ready to head to NYFW next Thursday with a handful of my favorite blogger babes and omg...I am beyond excited! Its my first time attending and I can't wait to take in the whole experience! 

How cute is this stripe ruffle sleeve dress from Abercrombie!? Its currently on sale for $28 πŸ™ŒπŸΌ
& comes in 3 other options : a wide blue/white stipe + solid black and soft blue. So I have a confession you guys... πŸ™Š major #BloggerFail on my part! Adam and I shot these photos while visiting his parents in Raleigh a couple weeks ago and I totally forgot to pack my favorite Slip-On Mules from Sam Edelman for this outfit. I do like this outfit shot as is and have worn it this way, but I had planned and wanted to shoot and share this dress styled with my mules, making it more of a transitional outfit rather than with these sandals which is definitely keeping it on the summer side of things. Any whoo, we're all human, right!? 

As I mentioned in this post, while I'm craving all the fall things - booties, layers, scarves and such - it is still pretty hot & humid so I'll have to pump the breaks on the fall fashion for a bit longer!
You guys, Abercrombie has THEE cutest dresses right now! Between stripes & solids, I literally want about 10-15 -- I'm not even kidding!! I've linked a few favorites below that are so perfect for making the slow transition into cooler days...simply slip on a pair of booties, a cardigan or a denim jacket and voilΓ  you got that fall feeling! πŸ˜š

{SHOP MY FAVORITES} 

I've linked a little something for all of those hard-to-dress-for, weird weather days below. A tank dress (so cute with a denim jacket & booties!), t-shirt dress & a long-sleeve option that I'm planning on wearing with these OTK boots!! 
PS: I've shared my favorite stripe & solid options + 
all of the dresses below are on sale for $28-$35  


Thanks so much for stopping in!! Cheers to the long weekend! xx

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Summer to Fall Style : 5 Pieces to Wear Now & Wear Later

{SHOP MY LOOK}

{SHOP MY LOOK}

Hey there, loves! TGIF!! Hope you all had a great week! I've been keeping myself busy and {not so} patiently waiting for this evening & my babe to arrive from LA. We got home on Monday night after taking a long weekend to visit Adam's family in Raleigh and first thing Tuesday morning, Adam was on a plane out to the West Coast to do some camera tests for a TV show he is getting ready to film in New Orleans. 

Speaking of Raleigh...how cute is this spot!? I knew I wanted to shoot a couple outfits while we were visiting since Adam would be away all week. We were talking about where to go and Momma Stone suggested City Market - the cutest area in Downtown Raleigh with a mix of restaurants, cafes & bars + retails shops, art galleries, food trucks and all kinds of fun things. And...cobblestone streets {duh!} Anyone else obsessed with cobblestone streets as much as me?! They just add such a charming, European feel to a place. 

So I woke up today and there was juuuuust a touch of that fall feeling in the air! Oh, how this makes me happy! While running errands this afternoon, I could actually walk around without sweating. #thelittingthings {haha} According to my Instagram feed your either savoring the last of summer or in full on fall mode like moi! {lol} The temps seem to be moving away from sweltering to the oh-so pleasant, humidity-free 80's and perhaps even a little chill in the air in the morning and/or evening. This transitional time of year, makes it a little tricky when it comes to getting dressed...

Here in Charlotte, Summer likes to stick around well into September, and we even stay pretty warm into October. Which means I'll still be slipping into my cutoff's and sandals during the day but change into jeans & boots at night for a while longer...

As simple as it is, this boat neck tee from Anthropologie just felt like the perfect top to take from summer > fall. Its a little heavier weight than your average t-shirt + the three-quarter sleeves give a little more cozy coverage & I absolutely love the rose color x gold polka dot detail. 

DENIM CUTOFFS
I'm REALLY loving denim shorts with light weight sweaters & booties for a cute & cozy late summer/early fall outfit - this combo is so effortlessly chic.  

BOOTIES
You guys know I am crazy for booties and there seriously are a gazillion to choose from! Open toe, closed toe, flat, chunky heel, slouchy - you name it, there's a bootie for you out there! I've started pairing booties with dresses and absolutely love this look for fall! Don't be afraid to rock some boots with shorts, skirts, a dress and of course, your favorite pair of denim! 

LIGHT LAYERS
A classic denim jacket or a cozy cardigan or duster is the perfect, light layer to throw on for a cozy-cool & effortlessly chic look when you start to feel a little crisp in the air. 

NECK SCARVES
This is hands down one of my favorite accessories. There are so many fun ways to wear neck scarves - depending on the size, you can tie them in a number of ways - and such an easy way to enhance a simple outfit. 
PS: I just bought this Madewell Bandana in 'Vintage Gold' but couldn't get the image for the right color to show up below. So when you click thru, look for that option. Another favorite is 'tropical coral' that I got about a year ago! 

POPS OF FALL
Even something as simple as a T-shirt can lend a 'pop of fall' when wearing the right color. A few of my favorite colors for fall are red, mustard yellow, olives & burgundy. 

Thanks so much for stopping in! Cheers to the weekend! xx

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10 Bell Sleeve Sweatshirts Under $80 for Fall

Hey there, loves! Happy Monday! How was your weekend!? Writing you guys from Raleigh...Adam and I have been here since Friday afternoon visiting his family for a long weekend and driving back to Charlotte later this afternoon. 

How cute is this tiered bell sleeve top!? This is one of my favorite purchases from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! This sweatshirt-like top is SO soft & cozy, yet chic with not 1, not 2, but 3(!!) layers of bell sleeves! πŸ™ŒπŸΌ I fell in love with the grey one, but this top also comes in black and a super soft, pretty pink. 

The bell sleeve trend doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon and I just love how many different ways we are seeing bell sleeves on tops & dresses and on a number of materials like this sweatshirt type top - its such a perfect mix of cozy casual-chic for fall. 

I've linked some of my favorite bell sleeve tops - mostly long sleeve, but a couple short sleeve, too - for Fall below. So many of these fun top come in multiple colors, so I shared a few of my favorite colors from each pick as well! 

Thanks for stopping in!
Wish you guys a wonderful week! xx

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{10 Bell Sleeve Sweatshirts for Fall}