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Buying a Used Car

The search for a car has contributed immensely to decline in posts lately, my apologies.  However, I am pleased with my purchase and  I am loving my "new-to-me" 2009 Volkswagon Rabbit, pictured above.  I learned a great deal through this process and thought that I would share with you.

1.  Do your research! I am not a huge car person but you must be familiar with the following when purchasing a used car:

- Searching multiple sites, eg. Craigslist, AutoTrader,

- Appraising using Kelley's Blue Book or Edmunds

- Checking the Carfax report

- Getting cars checked out by a mechanic

- Financing (if you plan to get a loan)

- Certified Used Cars Additionally, I found a lot of information on to extremely helpful during the search, from articles, to reviews, to car listings, so start there!

2.  Know what you want! I decided to purchase a Volkswagen early on as I have always wanted a Jetta or a Golf (a.k.a. Rabbit). Focusing on these models made things easier as I looked for cars through private parties and dealers.

3.   Determine a budget and stick to it! As you begin looking at cars, it is surprisingly easy to lose sight of your budget.  And especially, don't let a dealer or anyone lead you astray.  If you finance, pay attention to residual value so that you don't wind up upside down on your loan - or owing more than the car is worth.

4.  Take your time! Avoid making  decisions on the spot.  I found great value in taking a night to think every time I came close to purchasing something.

5.  Go with your gut! Buying a used car involves risk so if your gut is telling you something is off - something is off!  I was considering purchasing a Jetta (pictured above) at one dealership and the manager was very brash and aggressive, all the while not explaining the fees assessed.  I just felt uncomfortable and despite the low price on the car.   I just got a real sleezy vibe and started questioning everything.  So, I left the dealership.  Best thing I could have ever done. Because....

I had a wonderful experience purchasing my car from the first salesperson I saw during my search.  We negotiated pricing and I feel that I received a great deal on this car.  He was exceptionally knowledgeable and never pressured me to buy.  In fact, he followed up with me the day before the shenanigans at the dealership mentioned above.  I just had to get back in touch with him because I felt more comfortable working with him.

So special thanks to Charles at Volkswagen Alexandria.  DC readers, if you are interested in a new/used VW, give him a shout.

IMAGE CREDITS:  2 from Edmunds


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Factory 20: Stylishly Vintage

Factory 20 is a design collective located in Sterling, VA focuses on providing an eclectic mix of art, furniture, lighting, and beyond.   I love the attention to detail in their styling and the consistency and sophistication of their photography.  The following are some of my favorites items in their current inventory.  Above, the 1950s Scolari Vintage Brass Chandelier is stunning! No wonder it is sold!

Custom Early Century Shop Desk

USA, 1920s, Custom Early Century Shopkeepers Writing Desk and Storage. Custom made for a bookseller's shop in Boston. This piece was created to display rare books and for bookkeeping. Solid old growth oak. Open-backed for wall placement. One of a kind.

Victorian Eastlake Pier Mirror Cabinet

USA, c.1880s. Impressive High Victorian Pier Mirror Foyer Cabinet, Solid Walnut Construction. Designed in the fashionable Eastlake style.

Paul Laszlo Brown Saltman Desk

USA, c.1940. Paul Laszlo (attr.) for Brown-Saltman. Bleached Mahogany Students Desk. Very Good Condition. Early Modernist Form.

Artist Atelier Modular Steel Drawer Unit

USA, c.1940. Artist Modular Storage Wall Units. Atelier Organization, Infinite Drawers. Two Units Pictured, Two Units Available.

Vintage Spun Aluminum Beehive Lamps

USA, 1940s, Vintage Beehive Spun Aluminum Tripod Floor Lamps. Fully Adjustable. All Aluminum Construction. Newly rewired with vintage braided cloth wire.

Images and Product Descriptions by Factory 20

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The Sketchbook Project 2011

Anyone else love to sketch as much as I do? Now you can showcase your work in a gallery.  The Art House Co-Op presents, The Sketchbook Project 2011. According to the site:

Thousands of sketchbooks will be exhibited at galleries and museums as they make their way on tour across the country.  After the tour, all sketchbooks will enter into the permanent collection of The Brooklyn Art Library, where they will be barcoded and available for the public to view.  Anyone - from anywhere in the world - can be a part of the project. To participate and have us send you a sketchbook that will go on tour, start by choosing a theme to the right.

The cost to participate is $25 but you choose a theme from the list.  Some of my favorites are: "This is not a Sketchbook", "I am a scavenger" and "Things found on a restaurant napkin".  You can also pay an additional charge to have your sketchbook digitized or create an 11x17 poster.  Check out the Art House Co-Op website for more details by clicking here.

IMAGE from Crew Design



Carnival of Dreams Gala

For the Boston readers, check out this event.  The Room to Dream Foundation is having it's annual gala on April 1st and you don't want to miss this fabulous event for a great cause.  The foundation does room makeovers for chronically ill children from low income families.  I first became involved with Room to Dream when designing a room for Ethan, who has severe cerebal palsy.  The experience changed my life and I realized that design can really change people's lives.

The event will be spectacular as four local designers will be creating rooms to be on display at the event.  So, become a kid again for a night by attending this carnival themed event.  For more information, check out the Room to Dream site by clicking here.



Saints Win Super Bowl XLIV!

I am still beaming from last night's win.  In their first Super Bowl ever, the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31 to 17 in Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints played consistently well despite a rocky beginning. Perhaps it was the vibe of the performance by The Who at half time or some inspired speech by head coach, Sean Payton because they came out in true Black and Gold form the 3rd quarter. The onside kick surprised us all but set the tone. I felt them saying to themselves, who dat said they gonna beat them Saints, whot dat! And the pick 6 by Tracy Porter late in the 4th quarter, followed by their last touchdown sealed the deal.

Knowing the consistent game of the Colts offense, I wouldn't let myself celebrate the victory until the clock hit zero. And then I excited for the Saints -a well deserved win. I am sure the celebration will continue right into the Mardi Gras season. Laissez le bon temps roulez fellas! Let the good times roll!

Photograph by Ronald Martinez / Getty Images, via NPR