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Last Minute Luxury Hotel Rooms + Discount Code

February 28th, 2014 No Comments

Banyan Tree Bangkok

I wrote about the Hotel Tonight app a while ago.  Have you used it yet?  I check in on it every now and find tons of luxury hotel rome available for a steal! I’m dying to try it for my next trip.

Here’s how HT works.  At 12pm on the day you’re looking to stay, you go on the HotelTonight app and find the a list of the best possible deals on hotels (because they’re last minutes).  It’s a bit risky, but the reward is big:  you can stay in a beautiful place for a fraction of the cost.  They index all of the major hotel chains in countless cities across the globe.

I think this is a great idea for someone traveling on business who has a budget to stick to for their room rate.  Or a Vegas trip where you don’t stay in your room that often.  I instantly thought of my time in Bangkok when we stayed at the Banyan Tree (above).  We wouldn’t have cared about the hotel as long as the room was nice.

Book before March 31 and use my discount code: Mary25 for $25 off your stay.

Safe travels!

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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.

#Burn

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Some serious hustle on hotels (even the nice ones)

January 24th, 2014 No Comments

TripBam.com

 

Right now I think most of us use the usual suspects to search for hotel deals.  Well, there are a few new players in town who are making the play for your business in a big way.  Two of the websites below will stay on the hunt for the best deal even AFTER you’ve booked your room!  The last site helps you find the best deals on luxury hotels.

All three of these websites I’m about to share with you are new, which those in the tech world call “beta.”  In our terms, “not perfect.”  However, they make big promises that are worth a shot.

TRIPBAM.com

TRIPbam allows you to pick a hotel or neighborhood you want to stay in and then create a cluster of hotels around it that you’d also consider.  Book the room at the place you want and then it will continue to search for better deals in your cluster.  If something comes up, they will alert you and offer to rebook your room.

A warning, the user experience of this website is not pleasant due to the branding.  But, if it delivers on its promise, you won’t care!

TripRebel.com

I’m not sure what this has to do with their business other than the fact that the guys who built TripRebel know good branding.  There is only one function of this site.  Honestly I appreciate the simplicity.  You book your room THROUGH THEIR WEBSITE (very important). If the price of the room drops before you check in, they refund you the difference. Done!

Couple of things to watch out for.  When you input your city on the homepage, an error message pops up. Just click passed it.  When you get your rates, you’ll notice they’re in Euros.  In the top right hand corner, you can change the currency to dollars.

Like I said, these sites are new so give them a chance :)

TheSuitest.com

TheSuitest.com

 

TheSuitest is more my speed.  It helps you find deals on luxury hotels and filters them by the deal you’re getting.  They grade deals like homework: A, B, C, D, etc.  You can also search by price of course.

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Less searching and more saving on airfare

January 17th, 2014 No Comments

20140117-095127.jpg

I’m more of an airline loyalist because I like to earn the miles.  But I ALWAYS check to see if other airlines are considerably cheaper.

Recently I just discovered two new ways to do that.

WhichAirline.com

WhichAirline.com

This website and app allows you to see the airlines, duration, layovers, and price all in one graph. The feature that makes this site truly unique is that they will show you how you can use layovers and multiple airlines to reduce the cost of your total fare.   As someone who has traveled around Europe and can never remember all of their “domestic” options, I love that they index those airlines  as well.

Google.com/Flights/Explore

Google.com/flights/explore

I’m not sure how long Google has offered this search.  You enter your cities and trip length and then it shows you a graph of each day for a duration of time.  If you’re dates are flexible, you can opt to travel on one of the lower cost days.  When you scroll over the graph, it will show you which airlines have the lowest fare on that day.  Pretty nifty!  I’ve been dying to get to NYC to see friends and go to Otto’s new taco shop.

With this search I can see when is the most affordable time for me to do that.

(Photo credit: my always traveling GF Caroline)

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Get rid of the guilt before you chow down

November 25th, 2013 1 Comment

Mary Rambin tummy

Thinking about Thanksgiving, we all get concerned with the consequences of the feast.  Where will those extra calories will end up? As much as I wish my backside received the benefit of the extra inches, alas it’s my midsection, pictured above as I type this post.

However, I have a safety net for such occasions.  Since I exercise often, my metabolism can handle a big cheat day like Thanksgiving.  (These days, I’ve put it to the test on more than one occasion for Sunday brunch at Gjelina.)

Is your body prepared and trained for the big day, or should I say, the holiday season?

Exercise revs up your metabolism for 24 hours. So before your body is charged with dealing with turkey, gravy, stuffing, pies, and whatever else is part of your tradition, shift it into overdrive.

Some of you have the luxury of your gym, SoulCycle, or your favorite studio near by.  Others of you don’t.

If you’re in a major city, click here and find a group fitness class near you.

If you’re in the boonies while visiting family, click here and get a workout you can do anywhere.

Start ASAP and then eat to your tummy’s content!

Since you’ve started exercising, you might as well keep it up through the holiday season. Right?! :)

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How to get more luxury out of your vacation without spending a lot: Part 6 of 6 from Gary Leff

October 25th, 2013 No Comments

Gary’s Tip #6: The Citi Bank Hilton Reserve Card 

“Hotel chains treat their frequent guests much better than someone they don’t know well.  The top stayers get suites, late checkout, free breakfast, free internet, and even services like dedicated reservations representatives (I have one with Hyatt, Starwood offers them to members who stay 100 nights per year), and lots of bonus points.  But you don’t have to be an uber-regular to get some of the better treatment.  The big hotel chains have relationships with big banks, and they extend some of the benefits they offer their own elite members to guests who sign up for the credit cards that their best friend banks offer.

The very best deal comes from Hilton and Citibank. The Citi Hilton Reserve Card has a $95 annual fee but gives you Gold status in the HHonors program just for carrying the card.  That means free club lounge access (evening snacks, daily breakfast, at many hotels free cocktails), free internet, and upgrades — probably not to suites, but often to a bigger room or a better room..  As a signup bonus, they’ll give you two free weekend nights at nearly any Hilton family property in the world after you put $2500 of spending on the card.  That’s certainly worth more than the annual fee.”

———

Many thanks to Gary for sharing 6 great tricks on getting the biggest bang for your buck so we can travel in style!  To read the entire series, click here.  If you travel often, follow his blog for regular tips and current deals.  The man is an expert at discovering loopholes, online mistakes the airlines and hotels have to honor, and how to manipulate the fine print. You can feel free to tweet him questions @GaryLeff.  He’s super sweet so don’t be shy.

(Photo is room at Hilton Waldorf-Astoria Orlando resort via.)

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Since I’m not cool enough to give you a guide to Williamsburg (Brooklyn)….

October 18th, 2013 No Comments

I‘m going to let someone who is do the talking :)

Kym and I go way back to my original days at SoulCycle.  She’s now a Master instructor teaching all over NYC.  I love love love watching her perform on the bike.  If the hair doesn’t scream it, I’ll tell you, she’s a true rock star.

If were venturing to Brooklyn, she’d be my first call to get me through hipster customs and into the cool kid hang outs. Now we all have a nice little video to hold our hand  through her favorite borough.

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Eat, drink, and be Mary in Atlanta: a solid guide to Buckhead

October 4th, 2013 No Comments

leaves turning in autumn - atlanta, ga

 

Before my friend Becky went to Atlanta for work this week, she asked me for recommendations of places to eat, drink, and be…well, Mary, while in Buckhead.  My response: of course I can whip up a list for you!  Find it below pretty much cut and pasted from the email I sent her.

A day later it hit me it’s Autumn in Atlanta right now.  My favorite time of year there.  The heat has subsided; the kids are back in school; and the city is painted in red, orange, and yellow.  The trees above line my old street…Seems like a world away now.

Mostly I miss my girls: Susan, Libby, Renee, Margaret Ellen, Prentiss, Erin, and Missi.  A big hug to y’all.

My favorite places to sit at the bar and eat dinner:

 
– Cibo e Beve: This was my local hangout. Casual and fun Italian.  Tell Justin the bartender I say hello.
Local Three:  Farm to table.  Considered one of the best restaurants in ATL.
– Seven Lamps:  In the Shops Around Lenox.  Same chef as One Midtown Kitchen. Has a late night menu.
Bones: Best steak in ATL, older crowd, great wine by the glass.
– Houston’s on Peachtree or the one near Lenox Mall. always fun people sitting at the bar.
LPC: Upscale Italian and worth the $$.
10 Degrees South: go for the good time, not necessarily the food, sit on the back patio
St. Regis Bar: just drinks, quite a scene
Tin Lizzy’s: on Roswell and Piedmont: great chips and salsa, good mexican, super casual
– Aria:  for a nicer dining experience.
– Canoe: a Buckhead classic when you want to sit outside and just relax by the creek
 

During the day:

 
Cafe Jonah:  casual and healthy, cute cafe in an old house.
Dtox Juice : fresh juices. the kale salad and green smoothie is to die for.  Tell the owner Shannon I sent you!
Cafe at Pharr: quick and easy. get the chicken salad.
Super Jenny: best turkey chili EVER! you might have to wait in a line for it.
– Anis: if you’re looking for wine at lunch :)
Blue Moon Pizza: fresh, quick, and easy. you can order small pies or even by the slice.
– Farm Burger:  best burger in my opinion. they have turkey and veggie as well, soooo good.
Arden’s Garden – juice and salads to go.  kale Salad is amazing.
 

If you’re willing to go downtown:

 
– JCT Kitchen or Bar: a solid choice for great food and people
Bacchanalia: the best restaurant in ATL, hands down, Italian will blow your mind)
One Midtown Kitchen: Another ATL classic. one of the first farm-to-table spots.
Barcelona:  One of my favorite places for a fun dinner. great crowd! awesome food and wine.
– Lureupscale and trendy seafood in a lovely space.
– Ecco: only go and sit at the bar or outside.
Empire State South: farm to table, one of the best of ATL.  Known for it’s cocktails as well.
 

In Decatur:

 
No. 246 (my fave) or Iberian Pig for dinner.
 

Other stuff you need to know:

 
 BLAST900 - Tell Missi you’re a friend of Mary Rambin, she’ll squeal :) Give her a big hug for me and then get ready for the workout OF YOUR LIFE!
– Chastain park, 3 miles around, a beautiful way to end the day
Atlanta Hot Yoga:  If you dare, go to one of Jason or Octavia’s power classes!
– Mani/Pedi: Trina Nails - call ahead for Tracy.  Tell Tracy and Trish I say hi.

 

**Please note I haven’t been in ATL for a while and new places open up monthly.  For a current Top 10 list, go here.

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