Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Weather Driving Tips

It's supposed to get icky out for the next several days so I asked Whitney Binski, Service Manager at Performance Lexus, if she could give me some good winter weather driving tips. I've been known to hit a parked car during perfectly clear weather, so I really need the help when Mother Nature isn't on my side! :)

So, here are Whitney's Winter-Wise Driving Tips
•    Become familiar with your vehicle’s winter weather operating characteristics. Front-wheel-drive vehicles generally handle better than rear-wheel vehicles on slippery roads because the weight of the engine is on the drive wheels, improving traction.
•    Remember to clean head, tail and brake lights before you start driving.
•    If you need to turn on your wipers, turn on your headlights. Effective January 1, 2010, Ohio law requires drivers to turn on vehicle headlights whenever windshield wipers are in operation due to any precipitation.
•    To prevent fuel line freeze-up, keep your gas tank at least half full. Fill your gas tank before your vehicle is parked for lengthy periods.
•    Leave ample stopping time between you and the driver in front of you. Braking distance can be up to nine times greater on snowy, icy surfaces than on dry roads.
•    If your vehicle is equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), be sure to: STOMP - firmly depress the brake pedal. STAY on the brakes - do not pump the brakes. STEER where you want the vehicle to go.
•    Gently pump non-ABS brakes to stop the vehicle. Take any corrective action gradually. You need to maintain full control of the vehicle. Refer to the vehicle operations manual for proper methods to correct skids.
•    Lock your vehicle, even in bad weather. If locks freeze, heat the key. Do not pour hot water on the locks - they will refreeze.
•    Drive with extreme caution on bridges and overpasses during freezing temperatures. Because bridge temperatures can be 5-6 degrees colder than roadways, they can become slick and icy before roads.
•    Stay with your vehicle while warming it up. An unattended, running car invites theft.

I also just read this helpful article about the damage the salt can do on your vehicle frame, tires and windshield wipers. I definitely suggest you read that article too for more tips!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Darker Side of Green

We have a Go Green Fashion Show coming up at Lexus RiverCenter on March 25. So, I asked Lisa (GM at LRC) if they had any hybrids they wanted to feature at the event. Her eyes got super big and told me that Lexus has a brand new car that would be PERFECT to feature at our event: The 2011 Lexus CT 200h. I wanted to see it, but they don't even have one on the lot yet! But they will next week!

This is the newest hybrid – which starts at $29,120 – to join the Lexus lineup. And it's the fifth hybrid model Lexus offers. I love my little sports car for now, but when we start our family, this would be perfect (Pete and I made a pact that we'll never get a minivan).

Both the Lexus RiverCenter and Performance Lexus locations are having events to unveil the CT. Check them out!

Lexus River Center
633 W. 3rd Street
Covington, KY 41011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

RSVP by Monday, January 31, 2011
(859) 547-5300

(Click here to learn about a promotion we're doing on Cincy Chic to win a $100 Apple Store gift card for sharing this event)
Performance Lexus
4328 Kings Water Drive
Cincinnati, OH, 45249

Thursday, February 3, 2011
5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Please RSVP by Thursday, January, 27, 2011
(513) 677-0177 or email

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cincy Chic's 4th Birthday Recap

my brother, me and my mom and dad (who came up from TN
for the party!) Photo by Thomas E. Smith for the Enquirer
We had such an amazing event at Lexus RiverCenter this past Saturday. Check out the slideshow below that I made with some of the pics from our Cincy Chic 4th birthday party. Click here to see an album of all the pics I took.

I really appreciate how receptive Lisa, the GM at LRC, was of us having our event there. Let's face it - a car dealership isn't the first place people envision having a chic soiree. But I love the space with its floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city, and huge space for a dancefloor.

Lisa was so sweet when we were coordinating details. She even told me at one point "our house is your house" ... and so I took her literally and showed up in my PJs to decorate! haha! No, but honestly, she couldn't have been better to work with on this event.

Bar Louie did our drinks and gave 100% of the proceeds to Emerald Miles Run/Walk. And Sweet Petit Desserts did our cupcakes. They were a huge hit! So much so that I didn't even get one! But I took that as a sign from the diet gods that I need to stick to my New Year's Resolution. :)

It was a fab way to celebrate four amazing years doing what I love: making Cincy "chic"!

Create your own video slideshow at

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Review: Lexus RX 350

Lexus RX 350 from Lexus RiverCenter
Pete, my husband, is a new year's baby. So, we always go on a little getaway for his birthday and New Year's. This year, we decided to go somewhere warm and we went to Panama City Beach.

Of course, we made these plans last minute, so flights were outrageous. I asked Lisa, the GM at Lexus RiverCenter, if we could borrow a car and do a review of it on my new blog. She loved the idea and set us up with a 2010 RX 350 to take on the trip.

I was excited to have a spacious car with lots of storage because Pete and I both have little cars as our daily drivers. Not nearly enough room for a long road trip -- or all the shoes I planned to bring for the trip!

Here are the things we loved, and didn't love, about the RX 350.

"I felt like the queen of the road, and this car was my throne"
Didn't love:
  • Pete said it looked like a "grocery getter." Sure, it's no sports car, but I actually think it's the perfect alternative to a mini-van (I solemnly swear to never ever be a mad mom in a mini-van!!). It's soooo much more aesthetically pleasing than a mini-van, but has a lot of the same luxuries of one, like an automatic hatch door, storage, extra cup holders, etc.
  • No GPS. Luckily we had our own GPS we brought with us to navigate our trip, but now I'm spoiled and like it in the dash. My OCD was kicking in a little with all the cords - I didn't like them. So, if I were buying this RX 350, I would've sprung for the upgrade and gotten the GPS.
  • Pete says he likes off-road capabilities in any SUV, which this didn't have. But the realist in me knows he'd never use that. It just makes him feel more manly to know he could take his car off road if he wanted to. Boys and their toys, I swear! :)
We loved the automatic hatch door
What we loved:
  • Heated seats (came in handy coming back from Florida to Ohio). At least my bum felt like it was back on the beach!
  • All the multimedia inputs. Pete completely freaked out when he opened up the console and saw all the power sources, USB ports, and auxiliary hook ups. It could accommodate every single gadget he brought with him. And believe me, that's a difficult feat. We brought a GPS, radar detector, iPod, iPod charger, phone, and camcorder - and the RS 350 handled it all beautifully. 
  • Bluetooth. We set Pete's phone up through Bluetooth, so when anyone called, we could see the caller on the dash screen and it piped the audio through the stereo.
  • Automatic hatch door. It was super handy to press a button from afar and have the hatch open on the back and we could load in our luggage, groceries or purchases we got when we went shopping at Pier Park (we highly recommend going there if you go to PCB!). Then, you can close it with another push of a button.
  • Seat/steering wheel memory. Not only could you program your seat/steering wheel placement preference for multiple drivers (which came in handy when we were switching drivers on the trip). But Pete also loved that every time you turned the car off, the seat automatically moved back and the steering wheel lifted up a few inches to give you extra room to get in and out. Then, when you turned the car on, it automatically moved back to the setting you set when the car was last running. Just a little touch we really liked.
  • Sunroof. We loved this to let in extra sunshine and ocean air when we were at the beach. It was nice and big so it helped us pretend like we were in a convertible and not in an SUV. :)
  • Lots of cupholders. On long trips, the lack of cupholders is always an issue for me. In my car, I only have two. In the RX 350, I counted six cupholders. It was great! We had plenty of cupholders for our water, Gatorade, Red Bull and coffee for our long trip. Unfortunately, this meant lots of bathroom breaks! haha!
  • The spacious RX 350 was great for a road trip
  • Wide spectrum lights. I really loved how well the RX 350 lit up the roads at night. We were driving through the backroads of Alabama at midnight. I've watched waaay too many scary movies and I was fully expecting some demented good ol boy to pop out of some dark wooded area. But with the brights on, it felt like daylight and I wasn't so scared anymore. :)
  • Ride height. I didn't think I would like sitting so high up on the road, because I've always been behind the wheel of road-hugging sports cars. But I loved driving the RX 350. I felt like the queen of the road, and this car was my throne. It set up nice and high, but not too high, and with all the windows, I felt like I had great visibility.
Obviously, there are more "loves" than "don't loves," so it's pretty clear we were huge fans of the RX 350. When we decide to expand our family, I could see us driving this.

Check out the video below as Pete and I give you a tour of the car and what we loved most about it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cincy Chic’s 4th Birthday Party

Here's a fun event Cincy Chic is doing at Lexus RiverCenter on Jan. 22. Hope you can make it!

Join us as Cincy Chic celebrates four fabulous years. Enjoy live music, dancing, birthday cake and cocktails.

Saturday, January 22 2011, 7-10pm

Lexus RiverCenter, 633 West 3rd St., Covington, KY

Cocktail attire... and of course some stylish shoes!

Please RSVP by January 21 to

I decided to treat myself to a new pair of shoes to wear to the event, so I did a little shopping online... here are some of my favs I found! Enjoy! :)


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why Did I Start This Blog?

Never in a million years did I think I'd be writing an automotive blog. A car was always just something that helped me get to Point A to Point B.

My first car was a hand-me-down Pontiac Grand AM from my mom and my second car was "Tibby" the car I bought in college. But things changed when I was ready for my third car.

Pete, my husband, is a car fanatic. He uses words like "GTO," "torque," and "hemi" in his everyday vocab (they sounded like terminal illnesses to me). He would have been great to take along car shopping, but we have opposite schedules (and I was too proud/independent to admit I wanted help shopping) so I went alone to shop for my next car.

They could have told me these cars popped magical golden popcorn in the glove box and I would have believed them. So many too-good-to-be-true offers, act-now deals and confusing figures and stats. I was so dazed and confused - and honestly scared. I hated feeling that way, so I decided - whether I liked it or not - it was time I learned more about cars.

Instead of acting like I had better things to do, I started to go to car events and watch car shows on TV with Pete. We now go to the Ault Park Concours d'Elegance every year, we watch the Discovery Channel's Mecum Auto Auctions live, we've seen just about every episode of Wayne Carini's "Chasing Classic Cars" show, and we've traveled to various cities to view private car collections.

I was starting to feel a lot more confident about cars. 

Then, about a year and a half ago, I attended a Bacchanalian Society event and Lexus RiverCenter was the main sponsor. I got to talking with one of the sales reps there, and he said their General Manager, Lisa Bernstein, is one of the only female GMs in the nation. I had to meet her.

She was super nice and we chatted for quite a while... about cars (yes, cars!), food, wine, travel... did I mention I carried a meaningful conversation about cars? I was so proud of myself!

Long story short, this blossomed into a great friendship. I actually ended up buying "Lexi" my car, an IS350, from Lisa. It was an empowering accomplishment for me. I researched, found the car I liked, found it pre-owned on their website, I stalked it until the price decreased to where I needed it to be and I pounced! I came home with it and completely shocked Pete!

Lisa ended up sponsoring Cincy Chic events, which is what I do for a living, to target the niche of women who would relate well with a female-run dealership.

Lisa and I worked on about 10 Cincy Chic events together and when things came up for renewal, she suggested we expand the relationship and bring in Performance Lexus. I thought it was a great idea because that dealership has a female service manager, Whitney Binski.

I love seeing our Cincy Chic readers at events when they talk with these car-savvy women. You can tell they feel at ease and more confident when they hear information about cars from another woman. I got to thinking... what if I did this on a larger scale without geographical or physical boundaries... reaching women where ever and when ever they might be looking for helpful automotive info.

Whitney and Lisa loved the idea and asked Lexus corporate to fund the blog to compensate for my time. But the objective of this blog isn't to be a big ad for Lexus. Sure, I'll review new cars when they get to the dealerships, but they'll be objective reviews. They'll be what I genuinely think of the car, in a language you'll understand.

Lisa and Whitney will also chime in and provide helpful info you can use no matter what car you drive, like "What to know before you buy?" , "How do you know if buying or leasing is right for you" ,  "winter weather driving tips" , "how to inexpensively enhance the value of your car" ... things like that that'll give you good-to-know woman-to-woman automotive info.

If you have a question you'd like answered, contact me and I'll be sure to find an answer for you!