December 29, 2012

LA FAB: My Happy “birkin”

As you all know, I am undeniable, hopelessly, madly in love with LA City.  One of the things I love the most about LA is the Fashion District.  You never know what you will dig up.  Here is my latest fabulous find – a “birkin” bag.  ;D 

And it is truly fabulous.  Oh the softest crocodile pleather! Oh the shoulder strap! Oh the adorable padlock! Oh the dumbly useless tassel! Oh the Eiffel Towers on the zipper pulls! Oh all the handy pockets! Oh the unbeatable price of $10! But what makes me the happiest is the perfect orange color.  Oh my happy “birkin”!



 
P.S. Did you notice that my happy bag looks just like the one Samantha had in Abu Dhabi in the "Sex and the City II" movie? 

December 26, 2012

RANDOM TIP: You Proly Shouldn't Say These At Work

1. Ahhh... I see the f_ck-up fairy has visited us again...

2. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.

3. How about never? Is never good for you?

4. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.

5. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.

6. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.

7. I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...

8. I don't work here. I'm a consultant.

9. It sounds like English, but I can't understand a word you're saying.

10. I can see your point, but I still think you're full of shit.

11. I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.

12. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.

13. I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't give a damn.

14. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

15. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.

16. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.

17. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.

18. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental...

19. What am I? Flypaper for freaks!?

20. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.

21. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.

22. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.

23. No, my powers can only be used for good.

24. You sound reasonable... Time to up the medication.

25. Who me? I just wander from room to room.

26. And your crybaby whiny-ass opinion would be...?

27. Do I look like a people person?

28. This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.

29. I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.

30. You!... Off my planet!

31. Does your train of thought have a caboose?

32. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.

33. A PBS mind in an MTV world.

34. Allow me to introduce my selves.

35. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.

36. Well, this day was a total waste of makeup.

37. Not all women are annoying. Some are dead.

38. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.

39. A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.

40. Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you haven't fallen asleep yet

41. Can I trade this job for what's behind door one?

42. Too many freaks, not enough circuses.

43. Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?

44. Chaos, panic, & disorder - my work here is done.

45. How do I set a laser printer to stun?

46. I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted the paychecks.

47. If I throw a stick, will you leave?

48. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.

Source:
The ManBottle Library
http://www.manbottle.com/humor/48_phrases_we_wish_we_could_say_at_work

December 17, 2012

November 25, 2012

LA Strange: On Hooking Up II

On the way back from one of the usual trips to Glendale Galleria, I made a mistake of stopping at VONS on Alvarado.  Complete ghetto.  Do NOT take a bus there!

By the meat cooler, “Hi, you are very beautiful.”  Turning around to get a better look and to flash a smile, “Thank you”.  Oh god, look away, look the other way, look any other way...

“I have a girlfriend, but can we still be friends?” Ummm, sure, whatever.  Hand sigh. Still following me…

“My name is Johnny.  So what’s your number?”  Oh that’s ok.  Keep on trying to walk away.  Still following me. 

“I have to go now, but can I text you?” “NO!!!” dropping the shopping basket and practically running out of the store.  Cursing the shoes.

October 19, 2012

I am a true Cali girl now!

Statehood
California became the 31st state on September 9, 1850.

State capital
Sacramento, CA
 
Population
37,253,956 (the largest population in the U.S.)
 
State nickname
The Golden State
 
Major metropolitan areas
Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Long Beach, Fresno, Anaheim, Oakland, and Sacramento
 
Hybrids
Nearly a quarter of all hybrid cars in the U.S. can be found in California. Los Angeles County has about 13 percent of all hybrids in the nation.
 
Earthquakes
If you live in California, you probably know that the earth is prone to shake every now and then (and not in a good way). California has the second-most earthquakes in the U.S., trailing only Alaska.

 
 
Wilshire Boulevard (my hood ;)

October 9, 2012

No.4 The Stork

Q: My husband and I have happily chosen to be child-fee; however, when I meet new people, they invariably ask, "Are you considering adoption?" or "Are your pipes broken?" Please help me formulate a response.

A: Tell the half-wits: "I adore children!" And when they reply, "Then why don't you have a kid?" say, " I also adore a penis; it doesn't mean I want one."

Source:
http://www.elle.com/archive/life-love/ask-e-jean/16/16

To ask a question, write to e.jean@askjean.com. Or to see more columns, go to ELLE.com/askjean. Twitter her @askejean. You can white with divine anonymity, get instant video answers, and exchnage genius tips on Advise Vixen at askejean.com.

October 8, 2012

BlackBerry: LOVE what you do.

LIKE is watered-down love.
Like is mediocre.
Like is the wishy-washy emotion of the content.
Athletes don't do it for the like of the a sport.
Artists don't suffer for the like of art.
There is no I like NY T-shirt.
And Romeo didn't just like Juliet.
LOVE. Now that's powerful stuff.
Love changes things.
Upsets things.
Conquers things.
Love is at the root of everything good that
has ever happened and will ever happen.


LOVE what you do.
BlackBerry
blackberry.com/love

Oh yes baby, it is definitely love!

October 7, 2012

"10 Truths I Wish I’d Known Sooner" by Amy Bloom

Occasionally, being better informed leads to better decisions. Mostly, though, I think we make choices based on who we are, not what we know. The lessons here are things that people who knew and loved me tried to tell me. So thank you to my relatives who scolded me in four languages, and to my high school English teacher who watched over me like Cupid with a Ph.D., and to my best friend, who taught me patience. These people did their best to make me smarter in the ways that count. If I had been willing and able to understand them, their words might have tilted me more (and sooner) in the right direction. If I could have, they might have. Or, as my father often said, if your grandmother had balls, she would be your grandfather.

1. Events reveal people’s characters; they don’t determine them. Not everyone with divorced parents has terrible relationships. If two people are hit by a bus and crippled for life, one will become a bitter shut-in; the other, the kind of warm, outgoing person (cheerful despite everything) whom everyone loves to be with. It’s not about the bus, and a dreadful childhood is no excuse. You have the chance to be the person you wish to be, until you die.

2. Lying, by omission or commission, is a bad idea. I cannot shake my dependency on the white lie, because I was brought up to be nice. And I’ve never figured out the nice way to say, “I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than come to your house for dinner.” But the meaningful lie, the kind that involves being untruthful or deceitful about important stuff to those you love, is like poison. Telling the truth hurts, but it doesn’t kill. Lying kills love.

3. Sex always give you an answer, although not necessarily the one you want. It’s possible to have very good sex, a few times, with a person who shouldn’t be in your life at all. Have fun, and hide your wallet and your BlackBerry. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that a grown man, however nice, will become much, much better in bed than he was the first five times you slept with him. And if you sleep with a man who is unkind to you, there will be more of that; long after the sex is humdrum, the cruelty will be vivid.
 
4. Most talents are transferable. If you can raise toddlers and teenagers with relative calm, you can be a CEO. If you’re a good driver, you can probably steer a cab, fly a plane, captain a boat. My years as a waitress―serving food to demanding people in a high-stress environment without losing my temper―served me equally well as a mother, a wife, and a short-order cook for my family. And if you have the teaching gene, you can teach anything. (I mean it. All you have to do is be one lesson ahead of your students. Sole meunière, Latin and Greek, algebra―you can teach it!)

5. Fashion fades; style is eternal. Not only do you not have to wear torn jeans, a barely-there tank top, and a fedora, but you probably shouldn’t. The point of fashion is to indulge briefly in something fun. The point of style is to have one―whether that’s a sheath and spike heels or slouchy jeans and your husband’s T-shirt―and it should last you a lifetime. All you have to do is think you deserve to look and feel your best and spend some time figuring out how to do it. Don’t know? Find a woman whose style you admire and ask for a little advice.

6. You can’t fake love. Staying in a love relationship when love is not what you feel isn’t likely to end well. If you know that what you crave is security/disposable income/child care and not the person next to you in bed, do the right thing. It’s true that one can learn to love someone over time and often through difficult circumstances. But unless the two of you agree to wait until you’re old and all the storms have passed, in the hope that love will kick in, it’s better to bail sooner rather than later.

7. Mean doesn’t go away. Some people get better looking with age; some don’t. Some people soften; some toughen up. Mean streaks tend not to disappear. A person who demeans and belittles you and speaks of you with contempt to others is probably going to be that way for years. The first time it happens, take note. The second time, take your coat and go.
 
8. No one’s perfect. I knew that I wasn’t perfect; I just didn’t realize that this also applied to the people I fell in love with. The object of your affection will always turn out to have huge and varied faults. The smart thing is not to look for someone flawless (which is why Elizabeth Taylor married eight times), but to look for someone whose mix of strengths and liabilities appeals to you (which is why she married Richard Burton twice).

9. Ask for help. It’s possible you’ll get turned down. It’s even more likely that you’ll feel vulnerable and exposed. Do it anyway, especially if you are the helpful sort yourself. Those of us who like to offer assistance and hate to take any are depriving other people of the opportunity to be generous and kind; we are also blinding ourselves to the reality of mutual dependence. You wouldn’t wear pink hot pants and pretend they were flattering. Don’t pretend you don’t need help.

10. Keep your eye on the prize and your hand on the plow. It’s easy to lose sight of what you want, especially if you haven’t gotten it. I know it’s less work to put the wish away, to pretend that the wish itself has disappeared. But it’s important to know what your prize is, because that is part of who you are. Whether it’s financial stability, two children, a collection of poetry, or a happy marriage, take Winston Churchill’s advice and never give in. Never give in. Never give in.
 
Sorce: 
Real Simple magazine, December 2009, p. 117.

September 30, 2012

October Shape Facts

  • PINNERCISE - to spend more time pinning exercise moves and motivational quotes on Pinfest than you do actually working out (pg. 20).
  • 61% of women who have three or more lip products in their purses (pg. 29). Btw, nude is in. 
  • After 20 workouts and washes shirts containing antimicrobial compounds still reeked (pg. 46).
  • Eating a low-glycemic, fructose-free meal two hours prior to a workout prompts your body to use fat instead of carbohydrates (pg. 48).
  • For 56% of Americans, running is more soothing than therapy (pg 48).
  • The top reason 72% of women work out is to improve their health (pg. 52).
  • Breast cancer will strike 1 in 8 at some point in their lives, more than 70% of whom will have no identifiable risk factors (pg. 75), which means that 85% of breast cancer cases that occur in women with no family history (pg. 80).
  • 24% of smartphone users who check their devices while driving (pg. 92).
  • Your metabolism drops about 3% every decade (pg. 141).
  • Most people look at their cellphones 150 times a day (about every 6.5 minutes) (pg. 107).
  • The G-spot is most likely just an erogenous zone rather than one distinct anatomical structure (pg. 100).
  • People who are stressed tend to pay more attention to the upsides of the alternatives they are considering and less to the downsides (pg. 150).

Source: Shape magazine, October 2012.

September 23, 2012

Lucky October

  1. Stiletto-heeled ankle booties
  2. Boxy, chunky sweaters
  3. Baroque
  4. Fur vests
  5. Printed/embroidered cropped pants
  6. Roses - print, smell, blush
  7. Brown/bronze nail polish

Source: Lucky, October 2012

August 25, 2012

LA Strange: Korean Ghetto

Yeah, yeah, yeah…  I live in Korean Ghetto.  Theoretically, the building is still in K-town.  But there is a Mexican street vendor track permanently parked at the front.  And I am pretty sure people that occupy (yes, I mean occupy) building next to mine are all Hispanic.  And all five senses are there to vouch. 

1. Sight
I definitely have a view.  Mostly of the building an arms length’s away from mine.  However, aside from the scorched grass, which methodically gets a trim every Saturday and a shower every other morning at 420, gas meters, and metal bars, I see a lot of tennis shoes set out at the windows.  I am assuming, for the purpose of drying them out.  Which is puzzling, as I do not remember last time it rained.  Yes, the weather is always wonderful in sunny Californa-yay! Plus, if I got some wet shoes, would I set them out on the window sill? Hmmm… Wait, maybe this one belongs in smell category…

2. Hearing
Oh the sweet, un-replicatable, un-mutable soundtrack of K-town. Every weekday morning thru my bathroom window I hear my neighbor across the alley frying something in lard. Just the sounds of sizzling clogs my arteries right up. Persistent warning of a smoke detector. Screaming car stereos at ridiculous hours of the night (oh wait...that's just me). Hot Latin mamas yelling for their children.  Annoying ice cream truck tune (I didn’t realize they actually existed outside of cartoons).  Startled car alarms. Tireless police sirens.  Yapping dogs (someone even has his wireless named “iHearUrPuppyBarking”).  Hispanic Lil’ Kim talking on the phone in the middle of the night so loudly that I can clearly make out every single word.  I swear if I knew even a lil’ Spanish, I could probably learn the rest of the language from that convo. 
3. Smell
Fried onions – constantly.  Lard (is there a different word that would convey this any better?). Something that feels like stuff soaked in greasy tomato paste. Raw garlic chicken. Smoke. Lard. Pot. Showers. Did I mention lard? Morning mugginess of this fabulous city. Yup, all the usual stuff.  Though I don’t think anyone bakes around here.  I guess I am due to add a new kind of fragrance to this social establishment.
4. Taste
There are a lot of restaurants in Koreatown.  I don’t know if Koreans are any good at any other trades, but food they’ve mastered.  Although I haven’t eaten in any of the nearby spots, the food must be not only super delicious, but also super nutritious - cockroaches get bigger than my palm.  Every time I see one, it scars me for the rest of the week. Oh yeah, I am scarred permanentemente.  I do shop at a small Korean market that is a couple of blocks from my flat.  I have already tried seaweed, seatangle, picked relishes, squid, fish cake, kimchee, shirataki noodles, and I am still trying to figure out what salted shrimps might be used for.  Produce is definitely not from Korea, however, – too beautifully fresh.
5. Touch
Hmmm…  This one is the least used one. I supposed, if I could actually extend my hand out of my window, I would probably be able to touch the neighboring building. I could definitely toss stuff across the alley.  Otherwise, I try to touch as little as possible in my ghetto for sanitary reasons.
Yeah, yeah, yeah...  William Dillard was absolutely right: “Location, location, LOCATION!”

 

August 24, 2012

Going Bananas?

According to my super sis, "banana is a perfect snack".  And as always, she is absolutely right.  "A new study from Appalachian State University found that when cyclists ate half of one (banana) in place of downing a bottled sports drink every 15 minutes during a simulated race, they got an identical performance boost, plus added nutritional benefits" (Shape magazine).

Ok so I don't eat bananas anymore. Did I mention I live in LA now?  Here I much rather prefer a papaya.  I am exotic like that. Plus, bananas tend to overripe way too fast in this climate.  However, if I do, it is in the form of peanut butter Nutella sandwiches on banana slices.  Yummy Yum Yum!


 

 

 
 

Sourse:
 
Shape.com, September 2012, Shape.


August 22, 2012

RANDOM QUOTE: Christian Dior

"Happiness is the secret to all beauty; there is no beauty that is attractive without happiness."

www.dior.com

August 13, 2012

RANDOM FACT: Beauty

2portrait_bw_8x12Rick Genest.

He is art.
He is culture.
He is an attitude. 
He is an expression.
He is a product of the society.

Some things are simply amazing.
They make life beautiful.
Just accept it. 

http://rickgenest.com/index.php#

August 12, 2012

RANDOM QUOTE: Sam Keen

"You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly."

August 8, 2012

Lucky: What's In For Fall


1.      Burgundy

2.      Jeweled collars

3.      Tough girliness (or girly toughness?)

4.      White turtlenecks

5.      Patterned tights

6.      Kick flares

7.      High-heeled loafer pumps

8.      Neo-Baroque
Source:
Lucky, September 2012

August 7, 2012

Lucky: The Diet

  1. Mental Clarity - fresh berries
  2. Calming - bitter vegetables (bok choy, broccoli rabe)
  3. Sleep-Inducing - amino acid glycine (seaweed, sunflower seeds) and tryptophan (edamame, turkey, milk, pumpkin seeds)
  4. Mood-Lifting - potassium (bananas) and omega-3s (flax seeds, salmon, olive oil)
  5. Energizing - flavonoids (dark chocolate, caffeine, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, curry)
Source:
Lucky, September 2012, pg. 112.

August 6, 2012

My Healthy Hotness Principles


1.      Know yourself – Set your priorities straight.

2.      Work hard – Listen to your body.

3.      Watch what you eat - Moderation is the key; variety is an enemy.

4.      Keep track - Always be conscious.

5.      Love yourself – Find your own perfect life balance.

August 5, 2012

FACE OFF?

Have you ever wondered about this?

FITNESS FACE OFF: Cardio versus Strength Training & Weight Lifting:
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/cardio-vs-strength-training-workouts

I am pretty sure this “face off” is a million years old. So yes, I have also wondered – what is that that really works?  What is that magic trick that will allow me to remain hot forever?  The truth is there is no one thing that will work the same for everyone. 
I don't believe in diets.  I don't advocate any specific workout regiments. But there is something I have learned from experience - you need to find what works for you.  You have to know your body.  You need to take the time to really learn how different things affect it, which will help you design your own perfect balance. Also, you need to set your priorities straight.  You need to know your goals. Not very many of us get paid to look like a model. 

Bottom line: cardio will help you stay healthy – improve your heart rate, lower you cholesterol, breathe easier.  Weight training will help you shape your body.
On the other hand, I have read somewhere a long time ago that you are 10% genetics, 10% training, and 80% nutrition.  And that is the magic trick. The truth is you really are what you eat. Regardless of how much cardio or weight training you put in, you can nullify it with poor eating habits.  Yeah, yeah, yeah my mother is always right - eat less!
So I will tell you my secret – staying hot is hard work.  Literally manual labor (and the only manual labor that will ever be willing to do).  So to all the hataz out there – try running as much as I do and eating as conscious as I do, and you may even look as fantastic as I do.  Life is magic!


Sourse:
Cardio versus Strength Training & Weight Lifting Exercises at womenshealthmag.com
Women's Health Magazine http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/cardio-vs-strength-training-workouts via @womenshealthmag

July 12, 2012

LA Strange: A Story of Chocolate Whine

I am not a wine person.  I cannot stand wine.  Any wine. White, red, pink, orange, green, purple, whatever. I don't drink wine. I hate the taste of it.  The only time I drink wine is when it's chocolate (thanks to Christa).  Or Chocolate Raspberry. 

However, if I love something, I am always looking for other versions.  As a Russian would say: wisdom is found in comparison (все познается в сравнении).  Thus, I am always looking for new brands of chocolate wines to try.  Just in case they turn out to be better.  Or cheaper.  :)  And I was able to find a couple of other kinds of similar chocolate wine in Idaho. 

Now that I am in sunny California, I am also looking for new chocolate wine. My neighborhood Ralphs does carry my usual staple.  But LA has to have more than just one kind, right?  So here I was - in Culver City Pavilions.  And I see this right next to MY chocolate wine:

The front label states: "CHOCOLATE SHOP.  The Chocolate Lover's Wine. Red Wine with Natural Dark Chocolate Flavors."  DARK CHOCOLATE! I LOVE dark chocolate!

The back label states: "Chocolate Shop, the ultimate "Chocolate Lover's Wine" is a deep, ruby red wine blended with rich, velvety chocolate.  Inviting aromas of black cherry and dark chocolate combine in the glass and continue on the palate surrounded by hints of cocoa powder.  Nuances of sweet red wine lingers on the smooth finish (...oh, this sentence should have tipped me off...).  Chocolate Shop provides you with an indulgent wine experience like no other."  Who wouldn't want to try THAT?  AND it was less than my usual staple.  So I went for it.

Full of anticipation of promised indulgence, I get it home.  It is corked...  That should have been my second hint.  Panicked, I frantically searched for the corkscrew, insisting on calling it a screwdriver. 

I coulda sworn I had like FIVE of them in Idaho.  How do I end up with NONE in sunny California? ...But with three whisks? On the very day, when all I want is to get to that buzz?  That might have to be a different story...

Astounded, I walk to my Ralphs, debating whether I should buy a screwdriver or just another bottle of liquor.  Concluding that I really do want to try that new wine, I went for a screwdriver, making it a super fancy one to justify the trip with home improvement. 

The cork is out.  I don't normally bother with glasses, as I do not share my liquor...

...It is a wine. It is just a wine. Might actually be red as they advertise, I wouldn't know.  I am not a wine person.  It tastes just like regular wine.  No hint of chocolate, just damn nasty rotten grapes. Or whatever they put in wine.  Hmmm...

I tried another sip.  Same nastiness.  Pored into a wine glass.  Looks like red wine.  Took pictures.  Muscled out another sip.  Still the same. No chocolate.  None whatsoever.  Dang it!

What in the world would ever possess anyone to call it "an ultimate chocolate lover's wine"?  It tastes nothing like my usual creamy chocolatey delicious staple. 

The disappointment?  Immeasurable.  Even considered another trip to Ralphs - to return the screwdriver. At this point of unmet expectations liquor does not help anymore. 

I have tried a lot A LOT of different wines by now.  But this CHOCOLATE SHOP has managed to deceive me the most.  But don't trust my reviews - I am not a wine person.

July 7, 2012

LA Strange: The Good Life

It has been three months since I arrived.  I guess I should write more about my fabulous LA life.  Such stories as:
-          How you can spend more time searching for a certain pop art photography exhibit online than actually enjoying the exhibit…

-          Or how I am still trying to figure out where to store all my fabulous shoes on the three square fee that Los Angelinos call an apartment…

-          Or how I spend more on parking at the mall than on all my purchases together…

-          Or how you can spend less on a brand-name brand-new tuxedo jacket at your neighborhood Goodwill than on getting it dry cleaned…

-          Or how people draw penises on your dusty car windows…

-          Or how workers at the car wash are so lazy, you get tired just from watching them and just do it yourself.  At least that gives you an excuse not to tip…

-          How I hunt roachers naked in my bathroom…

-          Or about how even water tastes better in LA…

-          How you can spend half an hour in an attempt to find a parking spot on a Saturday afternoon and then still end up leaving, cuz really you don’t need to buy anything there THAT bad…

-          How it is theoretically possible to spend more on CRV for a case of water than on water itself…

-          How some guy was tripping out about my fabulous shoes in the elevator all the way from the 7th floor to the 1st

-          How men are more of caricatures and cheap polaroids than framed art…

-          Or about how you can buy just about everything at a dollar store – even beer…

-          How every single man in the store has to comment on how good my legs look during my Saturday morning grocery shopping trip…

-          How all the shelves in my closest ghetto Wal-Mart are always empty, regardless of when I come there…

-          How your GPS purposefully sends you cruising around on the longest route, probably because it secretly has no idea where you are at…

-          How you cannot take shopping carts out of the store without police escort…
Despite all that…
Every time I walk out on the street, I smile as the song pops into my head…
This has gotta be the good life.

June 24, 2012

Da Ultimate Dark Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake Perfection

Brownie layer:

1 box (19.5 oz) dark chocolate brownie mix
1/4 c oil
1/3 c water
2 eggs
Cheesecake layer:

3 pkgs (8 oz) cheese cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
2 cups (12 oz) chocolate chip, melted
A splash of vanilla extract

Bake brownie layer in the cheesecake springform pan according to box directions. Cool completely.

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Blend in sweetened condensed milk and the rest of the ingredients. Pour over the brownie layer. Bake at 300 F for 1 hour. Cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Variations:
Milk Chocolate Cheesecake: Use milk chocolate brownie mix and milk chocolate chips.
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Cheesecake: Use regular chocolate brownie mix and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Butterscotch Cheesecake: Omit chocolate chips; use butterscotch pudding mix (4-serving size box) instead.

Tips:
The brownie batter is theoretically too thin to be baked in the springform. So pour it in right before you are ready to put in the oven. Also, place the pan on a cookie sheet to prevent drips.


I should copyright this recipe.  This is the best cheesecake you will ever have. 

June 23, 2012

Auto Brand Personalities

1.      Quiet and reserved – this brand prefers a casual, easygoing lifestyle that is responsible, realistic, and centered around home-life. It is not interested in taking risks, does not want to “stand out”, and prefers the tried and true.

2.      With a humble heart and deep convictions, this brand fights for worthy causes. It passionately stands up for principles, family, community, faith and country. Patriotic and rooted in traditional values, this brand strives to make the world a better place and inspires others to do the same.

3.      This elegant brand likes to look good, get dressed up and enjoy things that reflect a refined taste and fashion sense.  Close relationships, romance and deep personal connections are also highly valued. This brand surrounds itself with people and items that reflect who they are and make them feel special.

4.      Confident in its actions and unwavering in its vision for success, this brand is an independent leader. It does not follow the expected course, instead it believes the only way one can achieve greatness is to follow its own path. Social and spontaneous, a passion for living drives this brand to embrace new experience, take calculated risks and challenge itself to break new ground and accomplish what was once impossible. Charismatic and exciting, it is a luxury brand that is authentic, makes a dramatic statement and has a relentless desire to be the best.

5.      Guided by deep beliefs and traditional values, this brand is modest and reserved. Seeking spiritual contentment and looking after loved ones are high priorities.  It admires others who play by the rules, are respectful, nice and humble.

6.      Friendly, hardworking, practical and unpretentious, this brand takes great pleasure in spending time with friends and family. This brand is principles, honest, and committed to serving people at every point in their lives. Others respect this brand’s sense of fair play and integrity and see this brand often lending a hand or contributing to the community. When circumstances call, this is the brand that steps up to do the right thing.

7.      This thoughtful and imaginative brand lives life to the fullest through meaningful relations and new experiences. It tries to make a positive difference in the world and always has the courage to do the right thing. It believes life is about the journey and the discovery that comes with it, especially when it can be shared with others. Creative and open-minded, it appreciates beauty, harmony, and attention to detail. It is a modern luxury brand that invites you to come as you are.

8.      This fashionable brand loves to be the center of attention and get noticed. It is always working to be on-trend and never behind it. It admires those that are privileged and have it all. It doesn’t like to be alone – being surrounded by friends is preferred.

9.      This brand is a global citizen at heart. It leads with its brain, is understated, easygoing, and intelligent. It is interested in doing things of cultural significance, and in helping the environment.

10.  This brand leads by example with an understated confidence that comes from knowledge, discipline and rational thinking. Responsible, dutiful and serious, this brand sets high standards for itself and others. Only the best will do. It has an inner drive to seek out and conquer tough challenges.

11.  An acknowledged leader distinguished by courage and competitiveness, this brand is energetic and motivating, but also serious and authoritative. Thriving on challenges and innately knowing how to succeed, it appreciated the finer things in life – seeking the best that money can buy, and taking pride in having achieved the ability to do so.

12.  This brand is an adventure-seeking adrenaline-rush. It likes to bend the rules, live life like it’s a party, get a little crazy at times and do things others would be afraid to try. It is street-smart, rugged and rebellious.

Source:  Maritz Research
Does anyone know where this list came from?  Or which statement refers to what car brand?

June 20, 2012

I drive

The NVCS, which is the largest automotive study in North America, asked customers what sources of information they found most influential in their buying decisions. The top ten sources in the U.S. were as follows: 

1. Salesperson at the dealership (21.9 percent)
2. Family/ friend/ word of mouth (18.7 percent)
3. Consumer guides (18.4 percent)
4. Dealer’s/ manufacturer’s websites (8.6 percent)
5. Third-party websites (6.4 percent)
6. Automotive magazine reviews (6.1 percent)
7. TV advertisements (4.0 percent)
8. Dealer’s/ manufacturer’s brochures (3.2 percent)
9. Dealer/Manufacturer-sponsored event (2.4 percent)
10. Newspaper advertisements (1.7 percent).

Read more about Maritz Research’s New Vehicle Customer Study at www.therideblog.com .

June 16, 2012

LA Strange: On Hooking Up

I get hit on a lot here.  So much – it’s disgusting.  I can’t even go to the store without getting stalked.

So there I was. In VONS. In search of their $5 Friday deal on Tiramisu. This guy casually comes up to me and says: “I just wanted to tell you that I think you are very beautiful.” I, of course, get a smile up to my ears, “Awe… Tee Hee Hee...  Thank you… Tee Hee Hee… That makes two of us... Tee Hee Hee…” He looks me up and down like he is buying a TV and says: “I would love to hook up with you.”  Just like that.  In the middle of frozen foods.  Seriously? Is that how it’s done in LA?

The smile instantaneously fades.  I gave him the look I gave Mr. Dealer Cameron during our poker game.    O no you dit-ten! 
Him after a moment of silence: “So what do you say?”
Eh…  So obviously nothing.
“Boyfriend?” 
Oh yes...  Of course...  I have a boyfriend...  A nod.  Please leave me alone... Life is so much better that way.

June 13, 2012

Consumer Feedback

According to recent research, "consumers are more likely to tell companies about a bad experience than they are to tell them about a good one".


This is not necessarily true about all consumers.  I am exactly the opposite. 

The product or service has to wildly exceed my expectations for me to justify spending the time on writing a review for it or even answer a few multiple choice survey questions.  I am fully aware that my expectations are normally so high that it is practically impossible to even meet them. Thus, if the product falls short of satisfying my needs, I simply move on.  Our consumer-oriented economy has made returns fairly easy. 
However, a product or a company that goes out of its way to please me, excites me to the core.  I will always make the time to write reviews for products that captured my heart (which is another practically impossible task).   I will also write reviews for objects, services, and applications that I HAVE to use on regular basis – I have no other choice but to fight for improvement.  And that is the essence of the Perfection Pursuit.
Source:  Consumer Experience Matters.  Data Snapshot: How Consumers Give Feedback, 2012. http://experiencematters.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/data-snapshot-how-consumers-give-feedback-2012/

June 12, 2012

RANDOM TIP: Beauty

"Eat a Mediterranean diet full of fish, fruit, vegetables, olive oil, and tea," says Dr. Macrene Alexiades, director of an NYC-based research clinic and private laser and aesthetic dermatology practice. "This diet provides the skin with the good omega fatty acids and antioxidants it needs to maintain a healthy glow and reverse sun damage."

Read more: Skin Care Secrets - Tips for Younger Looking Skin - Real Beauty

June 9, 2012

RANDOM FACT: Nutrition

Calcium can help you lose weight, even without cutting calories – especially if you are not getting enough now, reports a study in the British Journal of Nutrition.  Over 15 weeks, obese women who doubled their daily intake from 600 milligrams to 1,200 lost an average of 11 pounds more than those who didn’t boost their quota.  The brain could be detecting a calcium deficiency and then telling the body to eat more to make up for it. 

Source: Women’s Health magazine, September 2009.  Womenshealthmag.com

Note: Average woman needs three servings of dairy a day.

March 18, 2012

RANDOM FACT: Retail Therapy Works!

Daily shopping appears to cut a woman's risk for early death by 23 percent, according to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.  Researchers suspect that shopping's health benefits com not just from pleasure of spending money but also from doing the physical activity that running errands requires, socializing with people you meet along the way and enjoying the fun of getting out of the house, not to mention restocking the pantry with fresh food.

Source: MORE magazine, December 2011/January 2012

March 2, 2012

RANDOM TIP: Beauty

"The body depends on sleep for every single thing it does," says Colorado-based dermatologist Dr. Meg Lemon. Skin cells are some of the most rapidly rejuvenating cells in the body. Take away adequate rest and they suffer just like the rest. When skin cells don't turn over quickly enough, our skin looks dull and lifeless, and so do we."

Read more: Skin Care Secrets - Tips for Younger Looking Skin - Real Beauty

February 29, 2012

RANDOM FACT: Health

60 fewer calories' worth of sugary snacks people eat later in the day, when they chew sugar-free gum after lunch.

Source: Penningron Biomedical Research Center

February 26, 2012

RANDOM FACT: Happiness

According to a new Yale University study, heating up will improve your mood.  Our physical temperature and how connected we feel to others both register in the same part of the brain and often become linked, explains study coauthor John Bargh, Ph. D., professor of psychology and cognitive science.  Plus we associate warmth with the love and security we experienced during childhood.  “Any source of heat – wearing a sweater, bundling up in a blanket or holding a mug of hot chocolate – should give you that sense of comfort,” Bargh says.

Source: Fitness Magazine, November/December 2011.

February 25, 2012

The Real Haute Style

Quite a few of the outfits in this slide show are very chic, very wearable and very doable with what most of us already have in the closet. Love all the bright colors.  Second outfit is probably my favorite. 

"24 Date-Night Outfit Ideas to Steal From Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week Fashion: glamour.com"



February 17, 2012

Currently Craving

I would so totally love one of these adorable Kate Spade handbags for spring.  They come in such juicy colors.  Cannot wait until they start making knock-offs.  :D



Yeah, there are actually a couple of her designs I’d love to get my paws on.