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How to wrap your present perfectly: it’s all about the bow – My How To video with 2.2 MILLION views!

December 14th, 2015 2 Comments

Christmas present wrapping by Mary Rambin Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 10.07.00 AM

 

‘Tis the season to wrap my friends, so below are my two How-To videos.  I would make new ones, but since millions of people have found them useful, I’m keeping these guys alive.  I’m so glad to know you find them helpful!

I love getting pics of your pretty packages, so when you’re done send me some.  They always make me smile :)

Mary@MoreThanMary.com

WRAPPING THE BOX PROPERLY

MAKING THE BIG BOW

 

In order to make this bow, it’s crucial you buy the right ribbon:

 

I buy C&G ribbon from the Container Store.  The seem to sell it in TONS of colors online now, but the brand isn’t marked.  I would call customer service first just to make sure you’re getting the right one.  Either in the store or online, you’ll notice it’s pricey, but the spool goes a long way.

Another source for ribbon is Costco.  Buy the thicker ribbon with wire in it and you can make the same bows.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me: mary@morethanmary.com.  I’d also LOVE to see how it goes for you.  Send me pics of your pretty packages!

 

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Make the best guac ever

June 25th, 2015 No Comments

  Coming from Texas, I hold a very high standard for fresh guacamole.  At this point, I think I’ve perfected my recipe.  Honestly it’s not much of a recipe, but each component is important.

1.  Ripe Avocados

Since avocados ripen from the inside out, you’ll know it’s ready to go when the point farthest from the core is soft.

At home, cut them down the center and cut into cubes.  Do not stir the guac at all until every component is in the bowl.

2.  Cherry Tomatos

Small tomatoes have a lot more flesh and  less liquid and seeds that you would have to clean out of larger tomatoes.

3.  Sweet Onions

Most people use white onions and they dominate the dip.  A milder onion has proven to keep the bite but not distract you from the avocado.

Chop them up small and remember less is more.

4.  Garlic

You don’t need much, just a clove or two depending on how much you’re making.

5.  Cilantro and Lime

Yes, you need them both.  I cut the leaves of the cilantro in half.  Cut the lime in half and just squeeze half.  Add more to taste from there.

4.  Make Your Own Chips

This might be the most important step!

In a large pan, heat up canola or EVOO, to the point that if you splash water on it, the oil sizzles.  While it’s heating, cut up flour and corn tortillas into strips or triangles. Lay out some paper towels and put some sea salt in a bowl.

Fry up the chips, turning them only once so they’re brown on both sides.  Remove from oil and lay them in a single layer on the towels.  Sprinkle with sea salt. Test out one chip from your first batch to make sure they’re fully cooked and not chewy.  When they’re cool, place in separate bowls if you’re doing corn and flour.

Here’s a shot of the last batch I made for fight night at Kitty’s house. Six people ate the whole bowl!

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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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Pandora-like playlists based on your mood: Songza

November 20th, 2013 No Comments

Songza homepage

When I go to Pandora, without fail I draw a blank on what artist I want to choose to represent the kind of music I want to hear.  Songza takes the burden off my shoulders and simply asks what I’m in the mood for.

Songza mixes

Songza playlists

Within three clicks you’ve launched a playlist WITHOUT commercials and have several others to choose from if you want to make a switch.

Songza Indie playlist

Great for parties and music discovery. Thanks for the rec Georgie!

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6 ways to lighten your load for Thanksgiving

November 14th, 2013 No Comments

For those of you who host family and friends at your house, you must be getting stressed already.  So much to do!  As much as I’m sure you love it (I would), it doesn’t hurt to be efficient and take some of the angst out of the event.

Here are 5 suggestions to hopefully help lift some of the weight off your shoulders:

1.  DELEGATE THE DISHES

People are always asking what they can make or bring.  This year take them up on their offer.  Make a list so everyone brings one dish.  Be prepared to offer a recipe so they don’t feel intimidated by having to hunt for a credible one online.

Here is a list of links to healthy basic recipes I think you’ll love.  Also consider this Whole Wheat Dressing.  Click here to get my recipe for pumpkin pie from scratch.

2.  USE FRESH VEG

Substitue the calorie-killing baked dishes with salads or grilled veg.  People might actually find the greens refreshing combined with the heavier dishes.

Try these hearty salads you can make ahead of time.

3.  ORDER THE BEST PECAN PIES EVER

Even though I’m totally against bringing purchased food to holiday parties, I make an exception for Goode Company Pecan Pies.  Admittedly, they are better than mine.  One bite into it and people’s jaws will be dropping begging for the link to order for Christmas.  Order them NOW so you save on shipping.

4.  LIMIT YOUR PLATES, GLASSES, AND SILVERWARE

People are notorious for just grabbing plates and glasses like they’re disposable.  Inform guests there is one plate and glass per person, and they’re welcome to fill it up as many times as they’d like.  Stick to it!  For dessert, maybe you use nice paper plates.

Also, before the feast begins, make sure the dishwasher is completely empty so you can load it to the brim as people finish eating.

5.  EAT BREAKFAST

If you’re starving yourself to “save room” for the feast, let me fill you in on why that’s a bad idea.  First of all, if you don’t eat breakfast, your metabolism won’t be raring to go when it’s time to dig in.  If you’re hungry, you’ll snack while you wait or double down when you fill your plate. Finally, without a meal, your blood sugar will be low which means you’ll be cranky and irritable.  Thanksgiving is stressful enough without your body working against you.

6.  DO YOUR FLOWERS 2 DAYS AHEAD

When you buy fresh flowers, they need a couple days to open.  If you do them a couple days before the feast, you’ll get the task checked off your list and the arrangements will have time to come to life.

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Big beats for your music library

November 13th, 2013 No Comments

The music we use for our SoulCycle playlists is NOT easy to find or download. All the more reason to share, right?!

I’ve directed you to my SoundCloud and HypeMachine profiles where I “like” remixes I find.  You can also follow my Rdio SOULCYCLE Selection playlist, where I add new songs regularly.

If none of that works for you, I’ve compiled a few of my rider favorites here.  You can’t download them, so just email me what you love and I’ll send you the song!

Mary@MoreThanMary.com

Any songs you’re into right now, please share it in the comments below.

If you’re in LA, come ride! My regular schedule:

  • Monday – BVHL 6am, 7am
  • Tuesday – BVHL 7am
  • Wednesday – SAMO 1pm
  • Thursday – BVHL 7am
  • Saturday – SAMO 4pm
  • Sunday – BVHL 1pm

 

The unanimous rider and instructor favorite: Suit and Tie Remix

A very close second fave: Augustana – On the Other Side

Linkin Park x Steve Aoki – A light that never comes

Eagles – Hotel California Remix

WALRU5 Hunter – Workin on My Tan Bitch Remix

Jay Z – Dirt Off Your Shoulder Brillz and ZTrip Remix

2 Chainz & Diplo – A Different Butters Theme

The Neighbourhood – How

Hate Street Dialogue – Thomas Jack Remix

Grace Potter – Oh La La Paris remix

Avicii – Addicted to You

Stateless – Bloodstream

The Weekend – Wicked Games HugLife DJ Slink Remix

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Are you a big dipper?

October 17th, 2013 No Comments

20131017-093828.jpg

 

I love nothing more than throwing parties: for dinner, football, birthdays, swimming, or just because.

To kick off, I’ve found I really can’t go wrong with homemade chips and fresh veggies to snack on with an array of dips.  I can make make the dips a day ahead and don’t demand attention.

Here’s a list of my favorites.  You’ll find they’re easy to make and satisfying to mingling friends.

Fresh Guacamole

  • 3 avocados, diced
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tomatoes diced with the seeds scooped out
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • chopped cilantro
  • salt, pepper, squeeze of fresh lime juice

Ranch Dressing

  • 2 cups non-fat greek yogurt
  • package of ranch seasoning (use sparingly to taste)

Pineapple salsa

  • 1 pineapple, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup chopped scallion, green part only
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced fresh jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Ultimate Cheese Dip

  • 6-8 slices of bacon, diced and cooked crispy
  • 2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, soft
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 4-6 jalapeno’s, chopped and deseeded.  The seeds will make it fiery hot.
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • 1 cup of crushed crackers
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter, melted

Prehead oven to 350. Combine all ingredients except last 3 in a baking dish so your dip is about an inch thick. Combine last three ingredients and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 20-30 min until bubbling. (Recipe via Simply Gourmet)

White bean hummus

  • 1 can canneleni beans
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil plus 4 TBSP
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed garlic
  • salt, pepper, dried oregano

Pulse in a food processor until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Homemade Chips

  • Fresh tortillas (wheat, flour, corn, your choice)
  • Canola Oil
  • Paper towels
  • Sea salt

In a large skillet, heat about 1/2 in of oil until hot. Test by wetting your hand and dropping water into the oil.  If it pops, it’s ready.  Cut tortillas in quarters or in eights.  Gently place first batch in oil.  Wait for underside to brown and then flip.  Take one out, let it cool, and test to make sure it’s not chewy.  Remove chips and lay out on paper towels to cool.  Put int a bowl and sprinkle salt.  You have to watch the chips AT ALL TIMES.

 

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Home-made whipped cream for summer fruit desserts

September 5th, 2013 1 Comment

Fruit cobbler

 

 

Now class, what’s my cobbler missing in this picture?  Nope, not ice cream.  Whipped cream!  Better for you and easier to make.

Whether you eat the delicious fruits of summer raw or roasted, a dollop of whipped cream completes the dish by cutting the sweetness.  And why not make it when it’s SOOOO easy?!

In this How-To video I share my two secrets to delicious whipped creme.

As for what you make to go underneath it, I love simply roasted fruits.  This summer I’ve been crazy for peaches so that’s usually what makes it into the pan.

Roasted Peaches

All you need to do to the fruit you’re roasting:

Coat with a little melted butter, sugar of your choice (I use sucanot), cinnamon, vanilla, and a squeeze of fresh lemon if you have it.  Put it into an oven set at 450 and wait until the fruit softens to your liking.  The smaller you cut the fruit, the quicker it will cook.  I cut mine in all different sizes so they have different textures.  (Above, before picture.)

If you want to make an official cobbler, like the one I have above, or a pot de chocolat, to go with your whipped cream, check out my recipes here. 

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