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.

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.

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.
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


"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.