Never Get Lost with TomTom!

photo-5.JPGI don’t know about you, but I am a slave to my navigation system. In fact, even when I’m in my own neighborhood, you can find me programming a random address into my TomTom because trust me, without a GPS device, I could be lost for hours. And truth be told, I’ve even lost my way just a mere 10 minutes from my home.
While I’ve become quite dependent on my GPS, with that dependence comes freedom too. If left to my own devices, I would never be able to find any of the baseball fields my son plays on throughout the spring and summer without the help of a navigation system. Recently, I was given the chance to review the new TomTom GO 500/600 and discovered how easy it was to navigate the streets of New Rochelle, Mt. Vernon, Yonkers and more — hitting one remote baseball field after another without getting lost. Now, instead of making it my son’s game by the 3rd inning, with my TomTom, I’m finally getting to the bleachers on time.
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With the TomTom GO 500/600, I can now get places faster and safer with these incredible new advancements:
•  TomTom uses real-time traffic data to inform me where there may excessive traffic, or a road block, and suggests an alternate route to expedite the trip.   
•  TomTom makes it easier map my route with new MyDrive technology. I can actually plan a route on my phone while at the office or out running errands, send it to my TomTom GO 500/600, and be ready to hit the road as soon as I get in the car.
Honestly, it’s really a no brainer – if you don’t have built in GPS in your car or if you rent a car for vacation or business trip, then the TomTom is a perfect solution to help you find your way to your final destination while avoiding those annoying traffic pitfalls along the way.
A 2013 study said that the average mom drives her children around for 1,248 miles per year, or the equivalent of two weeks … and that’s not counting the added hours spent in traffic. How much time do you spend on the road and what would you do with the time you would save not stuck in traffic? Share your thoughts in our comments section or on our Facebook page for a chance to win a TomTom GO 500/600!
For more information please visit Follow TomTom on Twitter @TomTomUSA and use the hashtag: #GetHomeFaster

Disclosure: The is a sponsored post. However, all opinions and the fact that I am directionally challenged are 100% my own.

Blog in Your Voice and Be Your Brand

Blogging Goals and Storytelling

This post is one-stop in the month-long Blogger Babes blog tour which began here. To read this post in-context, we recommend starting at the beginning–then hop along with us for the full journey.

I’ve known Beth for many years now, and some of my fondest memories blogging are because of her and/or her role as the owner of Role Mommy. And yet she’s another virtual friend who I have yet to meet in person.

While I attended many exclusive live events and gained from online opportunities, Beth and I connected more deeply because we both have PR (public relations) background and we’re writers (authors) at heart. Beth was actually instrumental in my getting featured on Fox News during the first months transitioning out of business blogging and into mom blogging.

Anyway, it’s these kinds of relationships that I built through blogging that has made me who I am and solidifies who Beth is to me. Beth and I knew each other while I was a woman entrepreneur and self-help blogger, then a mom blogger, and now a “blogging” business blogger.

We’ve maintained our relationship through the years and continue to help each other out whenever the opportunity comes up. The thing about Beth is that she’s always been a “role mommy” to me, raising her family and work by going “beyond” the typical acts of PR. So her company names–Role Mommy and Beyond PR— have always stuck with me. Now, that’s branding!

Blogging is All About Storytelling

It’s funny. In searching her archives for her last “blogging” post, I found her Blog Resolutions in 2013 and smirked at her modesty. To think that her #1 resolution was to “Be committed to Storytelling”! To me, Beth has always told stories. But this kind of resolution shows to her readers (and me) the importance she places on wanting to improve herself and her craft in blogging.

This art of storytelling is exactly what Heidi and I teach in our debut Blogger Monthly Tutorials. We delve deeply in finding Your Voice, Your Blog, Your Brand…and achieving this by telling stories. We offer brainstorming worksheets to explore what it is you really want or should be blogging about.

So while Beth has put a stake in her voice and brands, it’s possible to do it my way, too. Whether you’re sticking with you one blog for a lifetime (like Beth), or change niches every 4-6 years (like me) the key is about telling YOUR story. This blog tour is me
just telling one continuous story across various blogs.

Need some help learning how to tell stories while blogging?


I spent the last six months writing what I believe to be the first and only female bloggers learning library for female bloggers from female bloggers. My partner Heidi and I poured ourselves in the development of our monthly tutorials and we’re committed to doing it for the long-haul.

So let’s start telling your story by investing in our comprehensive blogging ekits–there’s a new release every single month for only $5 per month. Invest in yourself and your blog today!

Click here to sign up for the Early Bird special release of $5 per month!

Win Two-Hours of Blog Coaching with Heidi and Ponn ($298 value)

We’re crowdsourcing the name of our Monthly Training tutorials. Creating the eKits is one-thing, and publicizing it through a 25-blog blog-tour is another… and trying to tackle a creative training title is something my poor brain cannot handle alone.

So, we need your help!

Grand Prize: Two-Hours of Blog Coaching by Blogger Babes Co-Founders (Value $298)

  • Two one-hour blog coaching sessions, one with Heidi and one with Ponn. Coaching will be conducted separately on the phone (domestic), Skype, or our recorded webinar room (international).

How to Enter:

  1. Make one comment below for each monthly subscription title you create. Make sure you use your primary email, so it’s easy for us to reach you if you win!


  1. Any age, any country. Minors with guardian’s permission.

  2. Unlimited number of entries across any/all guest blog posts from now until Monday, April 20, 2015.

  3. Deadline date: Monday, April 20, 2015 11:59 pm Pacific Time. [After all, we need time to design the covers. 😉 ]

  4. Winner selection: Heidi and I will select one winner and announce it Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

You can even champion your title by letting us know on Twitter @TheBloggerBabes or Facebook @TheBloggerBabes.

[Note: these actions do not serve as contest entries. Official entries must be made on this blogpost…but, we’d love to connect with you nonetheless.]

Next Steps:

  • Check out our draft sales page now, take some time, and share your proposed title below in the comments area on or before April 20th 11:59 pm Pacific time. While you’re there, sign up for our Early Bird release special!

Can’t wait to read your replies!

Ponn Sabra is a best-selling author and homeschool mom of three tween and teen daughters, also bestselling authors and probloggers []. The Managing Partner of Blogger Babes, Ponn loves her daily yoga routines to wind down, what’s your #1 relaxation ritual?

Making the Switch to Teami Teas

I’m not quite a coffee junkie, but there are times when I think I’m pretty close to crossing that line. While there’s no chance I’m going to give up my addiction, I have found myself expanding a bit more into the world of tea. It’s hard to say what pushed me to try something new, but there is definitely a soothing factor associated with tea that coffee rarely offers. Whether it’s accurate or not, I definitely associate tea as being something to drink when you are looking to decompress and relieve yourself of stress as opposed to coffee which “keeps me going” for the day.
Coffee is a staple in our house and we have strong allegiance to our favorite brands including Dunkin Donuts and New England Breakfast Blend. I haven’t gotten to that point yet with tea, but I can see it moving in that direction as I try out different brands and experiment with new flavors. One of the brands that I could see eventually making it to that list is a company called Teami. I had the opportunity to try out Teami Skinny and I have to say it was really good. When I was given the choice of which of the five different teas to choose from by Teami, I figured that trying to lose a few pounds before my son’s Bar Mitzvah wouldn’t be a bad idea and their product could definitely assist. And while weight loss might be one of the ancillary benefits of using their tea, I like the fact that I have slept a little bit better at night since drinking it and don’t feel as hungry as I normally am. It’s hard to say if that is really attributed to the tea or not, but the fact that it has a nice taste and does relax me, I view the possible weight loss just as an added benefit.
If you drink tea for other reasons besides weight management, Teami has other products, plans and packages to choose from including Teami Colon , Teami Profit, Teami, Relax and Teami Energy. Each of the teas is intended to have a different therapeutic purpose and can be good for almost any type of lifestyle from the very physically active to the more couch bound television watchers. The prices range from $25 to $139, depending on the type of tea and plan you choose. While $139 optically looks high, it’s fairly inexpensive for a 4 month detox plan. It works out to about $1.16 per day which I know if far less than what I spend on coffee per day. In addition to the various tea packages, Teami sells these very cool tea infusers that come in different colors and sell for about $8.45. And its also very cool that the shipping for everything is free with orders for $20 or more.
So while I’m not ready to abandon my cups of java quite yet, I do know that the word of tea also has a lot to offer. I appreciate Teami helping me come to that realization.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Teami Teas

A Very Special Date Night at the Carlton Hotel

Truth be told – my husband and I have not had a romantic weekend without our kids in a very long time. Between work, our kids, school, finances and our dog, we don’t get away much anymore. So when the PR team from the Carlton offered me the chance to take my hubby with me for a special night out on the town, I jumped at the chance.
One week after Valentine’s Day, we were primed and ready to head into the city while our nearly sixteen year old daughter took on the responsibility of watching her younger brother and all our pets. As we headed into the city, it started to snow…for what seemed like the bazillionith time, but that was okay. We were going on a 24 hour adventure and I couldn’t wait.
We arrived at the hotel about an hour later and when we got to the front desk, we were surprised to find out that we had been upgraded to the Diva Suite. Take a look….
The cool thing about the Diva Suite is that it feels like you’ve stepped into an episode of “Mad Men.” The decor has a 1960’s retro feel and the elegant couch and armchairs reminded me of the furniture my parents owned when I was growing up (they bought their living room set in the early 1960’s). Plus, the bedroom had a king sized canopy bed and a vanity that you’d find backstage at a Broadway Show. The walls were adorned with pictures of some of the most memorable Broadway divas on the planet including Liza Minelli, Patti Lupone and Bernadette Peters.
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While my hubby brought a bottle of wine from home we were surprised by room service when they arrived with a complimentary bottle of prosecco. The night so far was absolutely phenomenal.

We decided to opt for a quick dinner at the hotel because we were planning to see “Honeymoon in Vegas” that night on Broadway. Millesime is a seafood brasserie that boasts a two star Michelin chef – the food is simply superb and the wait service was also top notch. All I can say is make sure you order the warm cesar salad – it’s like eating french onion soup…but it’s a salad. Beyond delicious!
Once we finished our meal (the snapper special for two was phenomenal), we raced out of the hotel to make the show. Once we arrived, I picked up our tickets and we only had a few minutes to spare. While Darin hit the bathroom, I proceeded to head to my seat and to my surprise, I was greeted by Jason Alexander who had to move out of the row so I could make my way towards the middle of the aisle. When he stood up, Alexander quipped, “That’s what happens when you arrive 10 minutes before the show.” I couldn’t tell if he was joking or annoyed at me – either way, I was kind of honored to be insulted by George Costanza and then quickly grabbed my phone and texted my hubby to tell him to enter our row from the other side so that we didn’t bug Jason again. Luckily, he got the message and before we knew it, the show started.
HMV-New-Trio-w-Elvis-emailable.jpgWe really enjoyed the show and I have to say, I was quite impressed by Tony Danza’s performance. Who knew the former “Who’s the Boss” star could tap dance and sing like a former member of the rat pack? Plus, Rob McClure was terrific as Jack, the fiancé who’s convinced his mom has put a curse on him forbidding him to ever get married. Meanwhile, Brynn O’Malley portrays Betsy – a gorgeous blonde haired, blue eyed teacher who’s determined to get Jack to finally commit even after he sells her for a weekend in a poker game gone bad.
After the show was over, the crowd poured out into the streets where we all battled an incredibly messy wintry mix of freezing rain and snow. With the weather wreaking havoc on the sidewalks and the streets of the Big Apple, there was no way we were going to find a cab. Once I saw an entrance to the N&R trains out of the corner of my eye, my street smart subway instincts took over, I grabbed Darin’s hand and we zipped downstairs, hopped on the R train and were back at the hotel within 15 minutes.
By the time we returned, the hotel was hopping – while the DJ was playing great dance music, we decided to return to the suite where we could unwind without any distractions. Before we knew it, our night in the city had passed us by and it was time to head back to reality. Despite the fact that our night away from the kids was quick, we were relieved to find out the house was still in one piece and our kids survived. So much so that they can’t wait until we spend the night away from home again!
If you’re in the mood for a fabulous getaway in the Big Apple, definitely check out the Carlton Hotel. They are offering an amazing Honeymoon in Vegas package until February 28 complete with free show tickets and an executive king room. Trust me when I tell you, it’s totally worth it to spend a night away to reconnect with your partner. If you are lucky enough to enjoy the evening in a hotel suite at the Carlton, make sure you tell them Role Mommy sent you!

The Carlton Hotel Offers Special “Honeymoon in Vegas” Package


The historic Carlton hotel, nestled in the heart of Manhattan’s NoMad District, has entered into a partnership with Broadway’s newest hit show, “Honeymoon in Vegas,” to offer exclusive hotel packages for hotel guests. The partnership will feature a transformation of the hotel’s Broadway Diva specialty suite into a themed “Honeymoon in Vegas” suite complete with one-of-a-kind items from the show, as well as a Get Lucky in New York romance package complete with overnight accommodations, a special romance welcome amenity and tickets to the hilarious new Broadway musical starring Tony Danza. 

Officially opening on Jan. 15, 2015, “Honeymoon in Vegas” tells the story of Jack Singer (Tony Award nominee, Rob McClure), a regular guy with an extraordinary fear of marriage, who finally asks his girlfriend Betsy (Brynn O’Malley) to marry him. The show follows Jack and Betsy on a wild adventure, beginning at their home in Brooklyn, NY, and carrying through to Las Vegas and ultimately Hawaii. The show takes place at the Nederlander Theater, located at 208 West 41st Street in Manhattan’s Theater District.

The Broadway Diva Suite at the Carlton Hotel will be transformed into the “Honeymoon in Vegas” suite from Jan. 15 through Feb. 28, 2015. Guests booking the Broadway Diva Suite package  during this time will enter a room resplendent with “Honeymoon in Vegas”-themed décor including framed production photos, signed Playbills, branded playing cards and props from the show including an oversized Champagne bottle as used in the play, fake cocktails, poker accessories and more. Package elements additionally include two tickets to “Honeymoon in Vegas” on Broadway, dinner for two at the hotel’s on-site restaurant Millesime, and a welcome amenity inclusive of one bottle of Prosecco, Lucky Lovers Message Dice and “Honeymoon in Vegas” branded playing cards. Those guests booking the branded suite over Valentine’s Day weekend, Feb. 12-15, will additionally receive a special opportunity to propose onstage at the conclusion of the Broadway show. 

Guests booking a stay at the Carlton hotel between Jan. 15 and Feb. 28, 2015 will have the option to book the Get Lucky in New York romance package which includes overnight accommodations in an Executive King Room, two tickets to “Honeymoon in Vegas,” and dinner at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Millesime. Additionally, guests booking this package will receive a special romance-themed welcome amenity inclusive of one bottle of Prosecco, Lucky Lovers Message Dice and “Honeymoon in Vegas” branded playing cards. 

Rates for Carlton’s “Honeymoon in Vegas” suite during this time period start at $899 plus tax available for booking Thursday through Sunday only. Rates for the Get Lucky in New York romance package begin at $650 plus tax. For more information or to book, please visit

The Girlfriend Getaway

There is nothing that quite compares to seeing your friends from high school. In my case, I’ve had a group of girlfriends that I’ve been close with since I was 15 years old. Sure, over the years, we’ve moved to different cities and there have been times where we don’t get to talk or see one another, but no matter what, the moment we are together, it’s like time has never passed.
This past year, one of my close girlfriends lost her father when he passed away suddenly from a heart attack. When we reconnected at his funeral, we all realized how precious life truly is and how important it is to make time for one another no matter how many commitments keep us from spending time with the people we love. We decided we would all meet in New York City in February. I found a great deal on Broadway show tickets for “Beautiful,” tracked down a Groupon for the Hotel Edison and made a reservation at Bobby Flay’s famed midtown restaurant, Bar Americain.
My friends from out of town began booking their flights and at the same time, I was contacted by the folks at Toyota to see if I wanted to try out the brand new 2015 Camry and I gladly accepted the invitation — as long as I could have the car for my girlfriend’s getaway.
The car arrived a few days before my friends, so we spent a few days tooling around our neighborhood in the Camry and what we discovered – especially in light of the fact that our area is completely covered in snow and ice, was that the car handled really well in bad weather conditions. The gas mileage was also fantastic. While the car isn’t a hybrid, I managed to travel to Northern Westchester, New Jersey, Manhattan and back to Westchester without going through a tank of gas. Plus, the car has a rear camera so when you are backing up, you can see if anything is behind you and it even senses if your car is too close to the car next to you — ensuring that you protect your car doors from nicks and scratches.
When my girlfriend arrived from Miami (after a torturous six hour delay), we picked her up from the airport and proceeded to turn on Sirius XM radio and instantly switched to 80’s on 8 so that we could get inspired for our long awaited girlfriend reunion.
The next day, we left my house to pick my friend up in New Jersey. While the car didn’t come equipped with a Nav system, I decided to use the Waze app on my phone and somehow, we still managed to get lost. I truly am GPS challenged when it comes to the Garden State so instead of making it to Ridgewood, New Jersey, we overshot the exit and wound up in Woodbury Commons. I have to admit though, despite the fact we were forced to take a 40 minute detour, the car handled beautifully and eventually, we arrived at our destination.
From there, we hit Manhattan and valet parked our car for the night. Before we knew it, the rest of my friends arrived and we spent the night catching up on lost time. It was as if time had never passed. We were the same group of 15 year olds all looking for a great time. We all agreed we couldn’t wait to see “Beautiful on Broadway” (it was absolutely fabulous), a few of the girls wanted to go dancing while my mission was to find a great dessert or brunch place afterwards. The rest of the group really didn’t care what we did as long as we were all together.
Before we knew it, the night that we had been planning for months, passed in what seemed an instant but not before we made a pact to plan another getaway real soon. Hopefully next time, it’s going to be in a warm weather climate. Maybe I’ll even get to score another Camry the next time around but this time, I’ll get to open the sunroof and blast our favorite 80’s songs again so we can sing at the top of our lungs while catching up on lost time.
For now, I’m just going to reflect on the fun that we had – even if it was just for 24 hours. There is something to be said about having friends who knew you before you knew yourself. What this year has taught me is that life is too short not to spend it with your oldest and dearest friends. And something tells me that we’re going to be seeing a lot more of each other from here on out.

PADDINGTON is in theaters NOW!

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I loved the books and even had the Paddington stuffed bear when I was little. Now in theatres, from the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, and Nicole Kidman.
Visit the Official Website
Check out this new exclusive video right HERE!

Kitchen Quandaries: Which Countertop Is Right for You?

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Remodeling a kitchen or designing one for a brand new home is an exciting task. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to create a space that perfectly suits your taste, your design aesthetic, and the functionality that you need in a kitchen space. Choosing colors, patterns, fixtures, and appliances is an incredibly fun way to ensure that you have exactly the space that you want. 

However, a kitchen remodel is not without its drawbacks, namely in the form of decisions. With so many options in countertops, backsplashes, flooring, windows, and more, it can feel incredibly daunting when you’re up against a wall and you need to make a choice. In fact, most contractors could tell personal horror stories that have arisen from homeowners’ inability to choose between one brand, color, or style. 

One of the most difficult and most important choices comes when it’s time to select the material for a new countertop. Gone are the days when a homeowner simply needed to shuffle through the samples of laminate color chips attached to a loop; nowadays the most popular choices are natural stone products, and there is a great deal of information one needs before making a decision. 

If you’re trying to determine which stone countertop will work best for your needs, read on to learn more about the most popular types of stone, and which one will work best for you and your family’s needs. 

1. Granite

Granite is easily the most popular choice when it comes to natural stone countertops, and for many people it is their first and only choice, whether they’re remodeling a kitchen or buying a home. Granite is durable, occurs in many natural and attractive colors and patterns, and its popularity is not likely to wane, which makes it a good investment if you think one day you’ll sell your home. 

Granite does require regular maintenance, which includes sealing to protect the porous stone from spills and stains. Additionally, as the colors and patterns are natural it can be difficult to match the slabs perfectly, but many homeowners feel that adds to the overall effect of natural stone. 

Granite countertops come in a range of styles, and the prices can vary widely as well. Be sure to check a local company for the best deal, such as Superior Stone and Cabinet, one of the largest cabinet companies in Arizona

2. Marble 

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Marble is an elegant material that simply exudes class and style, and marble slabs work wonderfully in a kitchen of any style. The timeless look of Italian marble elevates any kitchen to a higher level, and could make your home more attractive to potential buyers if you ever decide to put it up for sale. 

Like granite, marble is a porous material and requires regular sealing to maintain its flawless look. This material is also very susceptible to staining, especially from acidic substances like wine or vinegar. Be certain that you check with your salesperson to determine appropriate care and a maintenance schedule. 

Some marble is comparable in cost to granite, while other variations cost far more. If you decide that marble is the material that you’d prefer for your countertops, simply shop around for the best deal on the style and pattern that you prefer. 

3. Quartz 

Also referred to as engineered stone, quartz countertops typically only contain about 90 percent of the mineral; the rest is made up of a resin compound. The result is a durable countertop that retains the look of natural stone, but since the resin seals it from within, quartz counters require no external sealing and are much more stain resistant than their marble and granite countertops. 

Another plus to the engineered stone choice is the fact that these countertops come in a wide range of colors and styles, many of which mimic their more expensive natural stone counterparts. This allows homeowners or designers to select a countertop that complements most types of kitchen decor or design. Quartz counters are also tough and durable, and can stand up to the needs of a busy, modern family. 

Natural stone and quartz countertops are a great choice for any type of kitchen. These materials combine great looks with a tough and durable design. Just remember that natural stone needs regular sealing to ensure that cracks and chips do not occur, and marble can stain relatively easily. Otherwise, any of these would be an excellent choice when redoing a kitchen or building a new home.

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored guest post.

My Lexus Staycation

IMG_2669-2.jpgRecently, I had an exciting opportunity sent my way. The team at Lexus offered my family the chance to try out their new hybrid SUV, the Lexus RX 450 and I have to say, it was a huge hit with all of us. While we didn’t get to take a major road trip this time around, we did manage to hit a few New York City hotspots and what blew me away was the fact that I was able to drive back and forth from Manhattan to New Rochelle and my gas tank was nearly full when I got home.
That’s the beauty of a hybrid car – it really does make a huge difference and while a luxury vehicle like a Lexus can be pricey, you wind up saving money at the gas pump by going hybrid. But wait, there’s more than just the energy saving option that wowed my brood. Let’s start with the bells and whistles. The car comes equipped with a Nav system, Internet capabilities and a virtual assistant who you can actually contact if you are having trouble with your car and they help you out while you are driving. We got assistance with the navigation system since we were having a little trouble figuring it out and the virtual Lexus representative managed to plug in where we needed to go and then the car’s internal system took over. In a word, amazing.

There’s also my favorite option — heated seats and the option to control the temperature of your section of the car with the press of a button. You see, my husband likes the car to be chilly and I’m all about it being toasty so we had the best of both worlds while we drove. There’s also tons of places to plug in your iPhone, laptop or iPad and it came complete with Sirius radio too (welcome back 80’s on 8).
IMG_2711.JPGThe trunk of the car opened with the press of a button and there’s a rear camera so you can perfect your parking abilities. Honestly, the folks at Lexus thought of everything – including all those great cup holders that keep snacks and drinks organized whether you’re on a road trip or heading to the gym.
What bummed us out most about our little Lexus Staycation was the day we had to give the car back. When my kids were little, we leased a Lexus for a few years and I have to admit, nothing compares to their cars. The drive is as smooth as butter. The technology is unmatched. The navigation assistance is first class. And best of all, you save money on gas when you lease or buy a hybrid vehicle. And the prices to lease and finance are pretty affordable so why not give luxury a try? Now that it’s a new year, you know what that means…time to start off 2015 with a luxury car that’ll not only turn heads, but will keep your entire family happy no matter where your journeys lead!
For more information on the Lexus RX450 and any other Lexus vehicle, visit their website to find the dealer nearest you.

Five Easy Ways to Be a Secret Santa This Holiday Season

santa-clip-art-3.gifReceiving and giving gifts around the holidays to friends and family is insanely routine. It’s a pleasure for many, and a dreaded chore for others. For me, its definitely the latter. But think about how different you feel when you get a gift from someone totally unexpected during the most random time of year. I know that I am more likely to remember when a friend bought me lunch for $20 in April than when I get a new $100 sweater from someone in December. If you are like me, there is fun in finding ways to make memorable moments for people even if you don’t know them. Since the holiday season is supposed to be about fun and giving, I have identified a few ways that you can accomplish both by being a Secret Santa to the public without breaking the bank.
1) Pay the toll for the car behind you when you are traveling assuming that you are in the cash only lane. I mean it really sucks to have to deal with traffic during the holiday season. Can you imagine how happy you made that person behind by forking over $5 for the toll. (may not want to do this on the George Washington Bridge where its like $17 to $100 now to get over)
2) Pay for a large cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts (or Starbucks or Coffee Bean or McDonalds or wherever you get your caffeine fix) for someone when you leave. Don’t worry, the person behind the counter won’t think you are crazy and more often than not they will follow your instructions. If they don’t, then shame on them.
3) Pay for two drinks (alcoholic or non) next time you are sitting down at a restaurant. Make sure the server does not identify you to the recipient of the drinks and do not stare at them while they are consuming them!
4) Pay for two tickets to the movies next time you are standing in line at one of the mega movie complexes. Hopefully you can find an independent small movie theater but sadly, those seem to exist anymore. You can accomplish the same thing by buying two bags of popcorn which will cost you less. (probably not a lot less) But I find the food concession lines at these theaters to be unbearably long and slow so you may not want to put yourself through the aggravation. Again, don’t stand around waiting to see if the recipient of the tickets knows its you that bought them.
5) Pay for someone’s breakfast at the diner. (best to take a look at the prices on the menu first just to make sure the diner doesn’t think Emeril Lagasse is working in the back) But is there a better way to start off someone’s day than having them be told that their meal is free?
If for some reason these Secret Santa suggestions don’t fit your style, then go and find a way to make a difference in someone’s life where it really counts. Donate to a food bank, visit a soup kitchen, give away some toys or buy a meal for a homeless person on the street. Make the holiday season mean something more than just a routine gift exchange. Only corporate America benefits from that.