Recently, the fun folks at Toyota reached out to inform me that the iconic Toyota Corolla had just turned the big Five-O.  They then informed me that they were ready to celebrate this momentous event and they wanted to know if I would like to come along for the ride.  Wait … did someone say party?

So, I responded with a resounding YES and the next thing I knew I watched a brand-new MY17 Corolla arrive in my driveway … and when I say new, I mean NEW ~ my Corolla only had 4 miles on it.  Toyota, apparently, wanted me to experience the Corolla for myself while I joined in on their festivities.

[ cute driving attire:  sweater c/o | similar sunnies | similar denim | similar OTK boots | my own jewelry ]

It turns out I was not the only influencer invited to the party, as 15 other influencers from around the Southwest all drove their new Corollas to New Mexico to be part of the fun.

Everyone slowly trickled into the beautiful Hotel Santa Fe, Hacienda and Spa where Toyota put us up for the next 2 days

[ image via Trip Advisor ]

 

We were all treated to a fab dinner at the Amaya restaurant and were instructed to get a good night’s sleep because the next morning we were all going to caravan to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  

If you’ve never attended the world-renowned Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta you should know that nearly 700 balloons take flight and guests come from all over the world to Albuquerque to experience this attraction.  It is the largest ballooning event in the world, the most photographed event in the world and the largest annual international event held in the United States.

And, so … all this being said … those of us in the know KNOW that you must arrive early ~ we left at 3:30 AM.  Wish I had heeded that sound advice about getting a good night’s sleep. I blame my “plus 1” and dear friend, Dara, for keeping me up giggling all night.  #GirlsTrip  

We arrived at Balloon Fiesta Park around 4:30 AM and we all strolled, shopped and ate our way through Main Street which is packed with amazing food, beverages and fantastic artisan stands.  I may, or may not, have had more than one breakfast burrito … as well as something fried with Cap’n Crunch on top of it.

Sometime between 6:30-7:00 AM the sun started to rise.

Now, the main reason you come to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is to see the AWESOME balloons … and maybe even partake in a balloon ride yourself.

Did I mention that you also come here to eat?  Ughhh.  It took all I had to heave myself up onto this trailer. 

 

Part of the Corolla’s 50th celebration was for those of us who wanted to ride in a balloon, Toyota would make that happen.  Both Dara and I have been on balloon rides so we remained on the ground, however many of our new friends decided to go for it.  Frankly I was fearful that my multiple breakfasts would have maxed out the weight capacity. 

Many people come to the Balloon Fiesta to see the Special Shapes balloons.  They usually fly 2 out of the 9 days the fiesta is held.  On our day, the weather changed dramatically after many of the balloons were up and the Special Shapes did not actually get to launch … and those that had, needed to come down.  #SadFace

After the Balloon Fiesta, we were let loose to spend the day exploring New Mexico.  I actually went home and took a nap because I knew that later that evening we were going to be treated to a delish meal at one of my MOST favorite restaurants in Santa Fe, Restaurant Martín.

We were also treated to fun gifts and, of course,

dessert!

I had such a great time with the folks from Toyota and made many new friends.  I’m so thrilled that I was invited to this party ~ one that I will never forget.

 

*** Thank you to Toyota for sponsoring this celebration.  Did you all know that over 43 million Corollas have been sold since Toyota began building them in 1966?  That makes the Corolla the best-selling nameplate of all time and totally worth a test drive!

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