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Hostesses, meet your new wooden friend.

May 20th, 2015 No Comments

I was introduced to Honey Boards through my longtime childhood friend Julie Soefer, who is one of the most talented photographers I know.  After working with Annie Lebowitz and being a natural behind the lens (as she proved in high school), how could she not be.  Julie shot that amazing picture above, posted it on her Instagram, and this little southern girl who loves to entertain melted into her iPhone.

A little investigation led to learn about the company.



Honey Boards, are made from cypress knees of trees that have been cut down for lumber by a cute couple in Louisiana.  They come in all shapes and sizes and their price point is reasonable.  Unfortunately, since they’re all hand-crafted and one of a kind, they’re often sold out!  See what’s available here.



According to their instagram @honeyboards, VERY SOON, we will be able to find them in West Elm.  However, I’m the kind of girl who likes to go to the source.



What I love most about this serving platter is that I would (and will as soon as I buy one) use it as a decorative piece where I could see it and smile daily.

(Photos via Honey Boards Instagram)

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Cleaning tips for tricky containers

June 18th, 2014 No Comments


BOTTLES + VASES w/small openings:  To clean them, fill with water and drop in a tab of denture cleaner.  Let it sit overnight.  Shake water and rinse.  To dry, roll up  a paper towel and stick it in 3/4 of the way down.  The towel will collect the moisture.

DECANTER: Simply rinse with warm soapy water and then use above paper towel trick.

VOTIVES: When a votive has burned out in its holder, put the holder in the freezer.  The wax should shrink and you can pull it out easily.

GRINDER: Send a hard piece of white bread through to collect and push out old spices.

CAST IRON SKILLET: Soap is a no-no, so use coarse sea salt and a soft sponge to scrub out remaining food and preserve its seasoning.

REGULAR PANS: If you need to remove burned food, fill it with soapy water and add a dryer sheet.  Let it sit overnight then wipe it away easily the next morning.

LABELS: If you want to reuse a jar with a label, let it soak in a warm soap water then use the backside of a knife to easily scrape away the label and glue.

COPPER: All you need is lemon and coarse salt.  Cut the lemon in half, apply salt, scrub away.

(Tips gathered from life experience and the domestic goddess herself, Martha Stewart. All images link back to source.)


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Go go gadget chargers

April 23rd, 2014 No Comments



I’m obsessed with this new website/instagram Photojojo. Technically it’s a website for photographers, but I have found some many useful things I like in their store. When I see their latest post, I actually say to myself, “Wow, what a great idea!” They sell the most handy accessories for all the crap that bunches up in my purse, mainly chargers and anything with a cord.  Here are two of their great solutions to less mess!

All three will be on my gift guide this year.  BRILLIANT!

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Buy the pieces you love from dwell

March 19th, 2014 No Comments

dwell magazine interior


Dwell Magazine

If you’re into modern interior design like me (I just can’t get enough, aspirational living, I’m sure you understand), then you constantly lust after the interiors you see in dwell.  Now, the popular mag has opened an online store so you can buy the pieces you love.  I thought they would just offer accessories, but they seem to have EVERY category for your home.  It’s a lovely way to procrastinate.  Check it out.

Shop dwell


shop dwell 3


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Never lose your list: Wunderlist

February 12th, 2014 No Comments

Mary Rambin Wunderlist


Every time I make a list, I lose it.  With  Wunderlist that’s not humanly possible!  Very simply, it’s your to-do list that never gets lost.  You make as many lists as you want and they sync them across all of your devices.  Everything you could ever want to do with a list (share, print, alerts, etc), the app gives you the ability.

There are three different levels of usage which can be divided out by price:

  • Free: perfect for one person
  • $5/month Pro : if you need to share and communicate with a small group of people
  • $25+/month Business

They paid plans offer deeper organization, like sub-tasks for big projects, storing documents, and secure collaboration.

In my opinion, tt’s so much nicer to look at and easier to use than Google.  So don’t worry, you don’t have to be a techie to work it out.

(Photo by Kelly Fajack)

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BURN100 – my circuit to burn 100 calories in 10 minutes!

February 10th, 2014 1 Comment

Last week SELF magazine launched the SELF video channel online to offer a variety of fitness web series to help you get your burn on.  I shot 4 episodes of BURN100 where I do a circuit of exercises to burn 100 calories in 10 minutes using only equipment you would have at home.  In this first episode, I created a yoga-inspired series:

  • Yoga burpee
  • Crescent lunges
  • Yoga wave (warrior 2 to reverse warrior)
  • Build a bridge

You’ll see as I go I get out of breath.  The constant movement really gets your heart rate up and builds heat in your muscles WITHOUT having to kill yourself.

It’s a great workout to wake up your body and start the day.  The flow is easy to do in a hotel room or when you’re on vacation (and know you need to do SOMETHING physical).

Every Monday I’ll be posting a new killer workout.  There were four other trainers who participated like Brett Hoebel from the Biggest Loser.  So no more excuses to NOT exercise.


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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


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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If we’re gonna turn on the TV…

January 15th, 2014 No Comments

TV shows winter 2014

We have so many options of what to watch this year!

The old shows are getting better:

  • Scandal (ABC)
  • The Following (Fox)
  • The Americans (FX)
  • House of Cards (Netflix)
  • Girls (HBO)
  • Sherlock (PBS)
  • Revenge (ABC)
  • Betrayal (ABC)
  • The Good Wife (ABC)
  • The Walking Dead (AMC)
  • Nashville (ABC)

Ok, I’ve become a sucker for the nighttime dramas Scandal, Betrayal, The Good Wife, and Revenge (thanks for that one Ninja). I watched the entire first season of The Americans simply because I love the two stars, Kerri Russell (Felicity) and Matthew Rhys (Brothers and Sister).  It was middy entertaining, so I’m hoping they become more comfortable with the characters in season 2.  I have no idea about the shows The Following (starring Kevin Bacon as an FBI agent) or Sherlock, but people seem to really love them both.  As for the House of Cards….I’m going to have to start the series over.  I was totally unimpressed with the first four episodes.

On the new shows:

  • True Detective (HBO, Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, need I say more?)
  • Sirens (USA, Denis Leary wrote and produced series about Chicago paramedics)
  • Wahlburgers (A&E, reality series where the 3 Wahlberg brothers open a burger joint in Boston)
  • Rake (Fox, Greg Kinnear starrs in adaption of Aussie show about a lawyer)
  • Black Sails (Starz, Michael Bay directs pirate adventure)
  • Mind Games (ABC, Christian Slater and Steve Zahn use psychology to con their clients)
  • Looking (HBO, should be the next hit like Girls)
  • Bitten (Syfy, female werewolf returns to her pack)
  • Chozen (FX, adult animated show, gay rapper restarts his career after prison)
  • Flowers in the Attic (Lifetime, Heather Graham stars in tv adaption of the book about incest)
  • Those Who Kill (A&E Chloe Sevigny is a detective in serial killer drama)
  • Beaver Brothers (Animal Planet, Canadian brothers wrestle animals)

Anything I missed?  Something you know that will be we should check out?  Share it in the comments below.


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