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It’s worth the effort to get a good deal on a new car

February 6th, 2014 No Comments

Mercedes Benz CLA 2014 Mary Rambin

 

I’m sure it’s not a shock for you to read I’m a little snobby about my cars.  I like something that drives well and feels luxurious inside.  As far as brands go, I have no loyalty there.  I started with a Jeep Grand Cherokee, then hit BMW, Lexus, Audi, and now Mercedes.  At the time of purchase or lease contract signing, I loved them all. And I had to go through hell and high water to get them all.  But you know what…it was worth it!

I’m not going to bore you with how I secured each car.  What I will share is what I’ve learned:

1.  Call in the favor.

You know people in the car industry and they know a lot more than you do.  Figure out EXACTLY what car you want and then call in a favor to get it for a steal.  Be respectful and know exactly what you want before you make the call.

Other people who are helpful: loyalists.  If you have a friend who consistently buys the brand you want, take them with you to the dealership.  The salesman values that persona and you will get better treatment.

2.  Use a broker.

For three of my cars, I’ve used a broker to get the best deal possible and even  get rid of a lease.  On this Mercedes, Fadi was able to get $9200 off the MSRP and the monthly payment I was looking for (cheap!).  Plus, he delivered the car to my house!  On my Lexus, I had to give it up when I moved to NYC.  My broker convinced the dealership to take it back without any penalty.

3.  Figure out what you can live without.

I’m a “fully loaded” girl, but I’ve always had to make compromises.  On this Mercedes, I have a huge sunroof, but no back-up camera, a feature I loved on my Audi.

4.  Ask about custom orders.

Often dealers are waiting on custom ordered cars then their buyer declines it.  It has been my experience these cars are loaded, yet the dealers want to move the cars ASAP.  So ask if anything is on its way.

Mary Rambin Audi 2011

CASE AND POINT: STORY OF MY AUDI

Many of you continue to ask about how I ended up with my Audi.  I had no idea you were so interested!

Long story short: Through a broker, I leased a basic A4 because it was less expensive than the Lexus I wanted and was a popular car amongst consumers.  My car turned out to be lemon.  I turned it into the Audi in Houston where my long-time friend is the GM. He had a fully loaded custom order A4 Quatro that a customer didn’t want.  He made a sweet deal and I leased the bigger and better car.

One last point I need to make: if you’re going to get an Audi, don’t get the base models.  It’s a big boy car and you need a bigger budget to really be able to appreciate an Audi.

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5 Tips for sugar detox – my article in JEZEBEL!

March 3rd, 2013 No Comments

Sugar article JEZEBEL March 2013

Click the image to enlarge!

After a 3 day juice cleanse, eating vegan 2 days before and after, and abstaining from bread, dairy, coffee, and sweets for the duration, I feel great! Apples taste as sweet a cake now.

I’m going to ride the clean eating, nothing processed, sugar-free wave a long as I can. Cutting out dairy is hard because I rely on yogurt for protein often….and I miss the taste of a cappuccino but thankfully not the caffeine. It was a pleasant surprise to discover I’m not addicted to caffeine. I will admit I splurged on wedding cake last night and it was DELICIOUS, but I don’t feel like I need more. The only thing processed I’ll ingest is in my wine glass. Unfortunately white wine tastes too sweet so I opt for red, a healthier choice anyway. A this point, one glass is enough to get me tipsy so I’ll be a cheap date for a while.

After practicing what I preach in the article regarding water, I’m also fully hydrated for the first time in my life. I can’t say it makes me feel any different overall, but the water is very filling and surprisingly satisfying after a meal.

More on the cleanse, sugar, and my new coffee substitute when I return.

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How to make your presents look like these

December 12th, 2012 No Comments

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In the first video, I show you how to put the paper on the package properly.  You’ll see how to make two different bows in the second video.  Hope this is helpful!

Then this to make the big, beautiful bow:

I use C & G Satin ribbon in two sizes.  You can order it online here, but it takes up to five weeks to ship. I always buy it at The Container Store.

 

And thank @terryattootsies for passing down her master skills!

I’m a huge believer in presentation. A nice package shows you care, no matter what’s inside.

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Get up off your knees woman!

October 8th, 2012 No Comments

I used to do pushups on my knees simply because I didn’t think I was strong enough to do a real one.  Then one day my trainer told me I was.  Hmm, ok….  Before I knew it, I did 5 real push ups.  Soon I was up to 10, then 20.  Now I can do about 40 (50 on a good day) before I need a rest.

So now I’m passing on the confidence to you.  

YOU CAN DO A REAL PUSHUP.  

In this video, Stephen shows you a technique to help you make the transition from your knees to your toes.  There is a middle ground where you can build the strength and confidence!

Changing your body is all about challenging it in a new way.  If we do the same exercises we’re going to look the same.

This is one of the reasons I LOVE BLAST900 and why I keep using their workouts as an example.  That, and you always want to know how I stay in shape.  I’ve never done the same workout twice and I learn new exercises every time I walk in the door.  So when I’m at the gym or traveling, I can add in some of their moves to keep my workout challenging and, more importantly, interesting.

For more fitness how-to’s and nutrition advice, you know you can always come here and search the archives (use the navigation above).  I’m also now helping the BLAST900 team on their blog.  Go there, follow them @BLAST900 on twitter and like them facebook for tips.  I post one for them EVERYDAY!

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More creative gift wrapping ideas

May 23rd, 2012 No Comments


As I always say, if the package is pretty and the gift is thoughtful, the cost of the gift doesn’t matter.  Due to your effort and the beautiful presentation, the person will love it!

I’ve done several videos on gift-wrapping, the “how to make the perfect bow” being the fan favorite, and now I have one more to add to the mix.

In this particular video I was presented with the challenge of going to a wedding shower that required the gifts to be viewable.  Um, what?!  Come to find out later Lauren, the bride, had asked the hostess to tell people not to wrap gifts to spare all of the waste!  Not knowing this at the time AND being fully aware of the affluent company I would presenting this gift in, I went all out on wrapping these washcloths (quite pricey little pieces of terrycloth at Restoration Hardware).  My washcloths ended up being notable amongst the rest of serving platters and crystal, so I considered my extra efforts a win.

Obviously the gift being viewable was a unique scenario, but you can still use the concepts to make your package special.  Here are the ideas and a few more:

  1. Use a glass or crystal vase, lamp, or bowl to put the gift in and decorate around it.
  2. Adorn a package with fresh or silk flowers.
  3. Fill parts of a chocolate box with little gifts. 
  4. Wrap gifts in interesting paper:  their favorite magazine, newspaper, etc.

This is a birthday gift I wrapped for Kitty to give you an idea.  I tore pages out of Elle and wrapped each thing in a different piece.  You can’t really tell, but there are three packages here.  The black and white Chanel ad is the base, and the two pictures of shoes are little gifts  I stuck on top.  Cute, right?!

If you have any creative ideas for wrapping please share them below.  Also, send me a pic if you try out one of my tips.  I’d love to see what you come up with.

 

 

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DIY at its finest

April 18th, 2012 No Comments

Have you see then the Craft of the Day feature on Stylist.com/Home?  Great ideas you can do to spruce up the house so easily! Also consider them for great gifts and afternoon activities for the kids.

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DIY Cheese?!

February 2nd, 2012 No Comments

 

I’ve never considered making cheese at home…I didn’t know I could….According to this WSJ article, DIY cheese is the latest craze. Seeing the headline my first thought was that the process seems tedious and intimidating.  Kinda how I think about pickling (which I  have yet to try).

The article led me to Claudia Lucero, the founder of Urban Cheesecraft kits in Portland (shocker).  In this video produced by Etsy, she makes the process look so easy!  She goes on to explain about how she started her business and sources the local milk.

You can buy her kits on Etsy and at Whole Foods to make fresh cheese in your kitchen in less than an hour.

Check out her blog UrbanCheeseCraft.  It’s an entertaining read and she makes the concept seem not so intimidating.

 

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How to set up your spin bike

January 9th, 2012 No Comments

Anyone decide to take up spinning for the new year??

Whether or not your a beginner or a seasoned rider, you should know how to set up your indoor spinning bike so that you can utilize it safely and efficiently.

In this video I give you the basics on how to maximize an INDOOR bike.  You’ll notice I don’t set Becky up to train for an outdoor ride.  My philosophy is that you can maneuver on an indoor bike in so many ways to strengthen your muscles and condition your body that you cannot on an outdoor bike.  TAKE ADVANTAGE.  Use a full range of motion to stand tall to isolate your quads, ride long and low to turn on your guts and hamstrings, and keep your chest high to keep your core engaged.  Video on this to come.  For now, just set yourself up comfortably!

Beginners read more here on how to get started.

Once you realize how much you enjoy riding, please invest the $100 in pair of cycling shoes. It makes a world of difference in the ride, your efficiency and strength, and most importantly on your body mechanics.

As you may or may not know, I’ve been teaching “spinning” (indoor cycling is more appropriate as I don’t teach Jonny G) for 5 years and riding for 10.  My style is that of Soul Cycle in NYC, where I taught for 3 as a means to earn much needed cash while living on the little island.  The problem is when I left New York and LA, I was left without a group of riders who have the same energy and enthusiasm (and rhythm) so I continue to teach in Houston to carry on my coastal style.

I’m not going to lie, finding a good teaching is probably the hardest part about spinning.  Hopefully you’ll find someone you click with and gives you more than just a means to burn calories. The catharsis in the exercise is so much more rewarding.

If you’re in NYC or LA, try to ride with one of these instructors.  Worth every penny for the physical and mental challenge!

  • Stacy, Laurie, Melanie at Soul Cycle in NYC (multiple locations)
  • Colin Kim teaches at both Equinox Weho and Updog Fitness
  • Reilly (above with a huge smile after kicking my butt) is at both locations as well
  • Keith Irace and Eileen O’Connell only teach at Equinox Weho

** Equinox classes require advance sign up online

*** I am LOVING the super soft sweat pants I bought at Updog last time I was there.

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