Houston Auto Show

Wow!  Where do I even begin with the awesomeness that was my experience being an Influenster with the Houston Auto Show?  First I guess I could say that I don't know a thing about cars except for what I find aesthetically pleasing (if Dennis had a dollar for every time I exclaimed, "Oh my god, look at that one!!!"), and second, you don't need to know a thing about cars to have one hell of a time while you're there.  I totally had a hella good time while covering this event.  And third, and I think this should be pretty obvious, but this is a sponsored post (and of course all opinions are honest and my own - duh).

Preview Night Gala 

As part of our coverage of the  auto show, the Media Influensters were invited to attend the Preview Night Gala the night before the Houston Auto Show actually opened to the public.  This was a super swanky affair and no detail was overlooked.  The food was delicious (and there were a ton of options), the bar was complimentary (and not just beer and wine - whaaaaat!  Hello gin and tonics....), there was fun live music (Beetle), crowd entertainment (check out this magician), and we got to see (and touch and sit in) all the pretty cars before anyone else.  Also, I got to dress up and wear heels, so the whole night was a huge win.

I would look amazing driving this.

When we first arrived to the NRG Center, we were greeted by an amazing array of the most beautiful vintage cars I think I've ever seen.  I've always wanted to drive a classic car - the 1957 Chevy is at the top of my list (see, I know a little about cars, lol, and enough to know that that's not a '57 Chevy)- but all of those classic cars took my breath away.  

I had to use panorama to get the whole car in one picture

1954 Mercury J

When we were done oogleing all the classic beauties (and trying not to actually get drool on them) in the concourse of the NRG Center, we went into the main exhibit hall to get our first glimpse of the Houston Auto Show and the Gala.  The first two things I noticed were 1) just how many cars are on display at the show (holy crap - so many!), and 2) the dessert bar that was set up for the gala - priorities, right.  In hindsight I really should've started at the dessert bar and worked my way to the appetizers because I really wanted to eat all of the desserts (calories don't count when you're working, right?).  I may have missed this dessert table, but there was one that came to me, so that was cool.

We nommed on some really amazing food and then went exploring all the car exhibitors.  I'm not even going to pretend to get technical with the cars we saw, but they were all sleek and glossy and sexy and innovative and all had that enticing new car smell.  So yummy!!!  We really should've counted how many times I said, "I want that one!"

One of the most fun parts of the Houston Auto Show was getting to cover the event with other local bloggers that I've gotten to know over the past couple of years and meeting other bloggers for the first time.  Things are always more fun with people you know and like!

Also, I found my absolute dream car at the show.  I've wanted the Toyota Tacoma from Back to the Future, AKA the McFly Mobile, for forever.  When I made it over to the Toyota display, I was drooling over this really bad ass 4Runner (also one of my favorite cars ever) when I mentioned to the Toyota brand rep that what I really wanted was the McFly Mobile.  He told me I was in luck and then showed me this:

and I was in love

Houston Auto Show Media Day

The next day started bright and early (actually dark and early - we were up before the sun, lol) for a full day of press conferences (I feel so official saying that - they even gave me a press pass - and fed us a delish breakfast).  Now as for what was said at the press conferences I can't really tell you - there was a lot of technical speak about features and engines and specifications and that meant absolutely nothing to me.  One thing I can tell you is that "infotainment", "performance", and "safety" were the three most used words of the day.  If you want to see what a press conference looks like at an auto show, I Periscoped a couple of them and uploaded the GMC Press Conference and the Alfa Romeo Press Conference to YouTube if you want to see what that was like.  Side note:  My favorite press conference of the day was the first one outlining the new updates to the Chrysler Pacifica.  I'm certainly not a mini-van kinda girl (and would need at least 2 more kids to drive one), but hearing the presenter lovingly detail all the thought and intent that went into the redesign was fascinating.  I should also add that they did a bang up job with the redesign - I've never seen a mini-van that actually looks kinda sexy.

After all the press conferences (there were 9!) we had lunch (such a nice spread of Louisiana Cajun food- I was too hungry to remember to get a pic, lol) and then got to test drive several different electric and hybrid cars.  And ohmygoditwassomuchfun!!!  We test drove the weirdest little all electric car from BMW that made no sound whatsoever and automatically breaked as soon as you took your foot off the gas - er, well - accelerator, I guess.  It was most definitely the most unique car we drove that day and absolutely took some getting used to.  I'm not sure if I liked the way it drove or not.  I didn't feel like I had as much control over the speed of the vehicle, but I'm sure I could get used to the way it accelerates and decelerates with a little more practice.  Dennis drove a Lexus, and then I got to drive a Kia and (drum roll please) a Porsche.  All of them were all electric or hybrid and I've got to say, it was the quietest test drive imaginable!

All of the cars we drove felt so fancy compared to what we're currently driving.  Going from a 1999 and a 2002 vehicle to behind the wheel of 2016 cars was quite a leap in technology, features, comfort, and bells and whistles.  We both really got a kick out of the air conditioned seats (totally necessary in Houston), all of the cars came with touch screen dashboard thingies (so advanced and fancy - these cars felt smarter than me), and they all drove so smoothly!  The Porsche had the navigation map displayed on the driver's console in addition to the dashboard touch screen thingy (so technical, I know).  That's one of the best features I'd seen at the show.  It seems so much safer to glance down at your control panel and then back at the road instead of all the way over to the center dash.  I'm surprised more cars don't offer that.  They all also had back-up cameras which I'd never tried before.  I'm not the best in reverse and still prefer looking over my shoulder, but if I practiced I know that's a feature I would totally embrace!  Seriously - it is comical to see me back down our driveway.

After all the test driving shenanigans, we met back up with all the bloggers to wrap up the day and announce our ticket giveaway winners.  The organizers had some goodies to giveaway to randomly selected bloggers who were using our hashtag during the event on Instagram (check out everyone's pics with the hashtag #HOUAutos).  I was super stoked to win one of the prizes (a super fancy Kate Spade handbag!!!).

After the official event was over, Dennis and I wanted to check off just a couple more things on our Houston Auto Show to-do list.  I got to drive a 2016 Toyota Tacoma double-cab extended bed truck (swoon), and we took a ride in a Jeep at the Camp Jeep dirt course (so fun!!!).  The Toyota was everything I hoped it would be and more.  The dash was even cooler than the Porsche - not only did it have navigation on the driver's console, it also told you what direction you were going, what street you were on, and the freaking speed limit on the street!!!!  Toyota Tacoma, I heart you so hard.

If you're thinking about going to the Houston Auto Show (or any other auto show for that matter), check out Raising Dick and Jane's post about how to enjoy an auto show for first timers.  You can get your tickets for the Houston show here - the show runs through Sunday, January 31st.  I also recommend checking out She Buys Cars and R We There Yet Mom if you're at all interested in things involving cars (like fun road trips or how to apply makeup in the car).  I really did enjoy myself at the Houston Auto Show.  Like, a lot.  I'd never been to an auto show before and not being all that knowledgeable about cars I wasn't sure what to expect, but I can tell you there's something for everyone!!!  

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