Old Fashioned Graham Cracker Cake Recipe

If you love making cakes that are simple to prepare but yet taste awesome, you will love this recipe, it was given to me by my 83 year old great aunt who used to make it for all of our family reunions and picnics. It uses ingredients you most likely have on hand. My family really enjoys this cake recipe because its different and tastes awesome. If you have a large enough rectangular cake pan, you can indeed make it in one pan instead of the 2 rounds called for in the recipe. I like to top mine with either vanilla or cream cheese frosting.

Graham Cracker Cake

3 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups milk

3/4 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9″ around cake pans. Break 8 graham crackers into blender container, cover and process to grind. Empty contents into mixing bowl and repeat with remaining graham crackers, add baking powder and salt. Put egg yolks, milk, shortening, sugar and vanilla into blender container, cover and process until smooth. Add to cracker crumbs and mix well. Beat egg whites with mixer until stiff. Fold into cracker mixture. Pour into prepared pans and bake 30-35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

After it has been cooled, you can icing it with your favorite icing. To dress up your cake, you can use a icing tool to make swirls or a patterned design in the icing. You can also top the cake with some fresh sliced fruits.



David Yurman Jewelry And Designer Inspired Alternatives

David Yurman Brief History

David Yurman began his artistic career as a sculptor during the 1960s. During this time his wife encouraged him to transform his sculpting designs into copper belt buckles and this was the beginning of things to come.

He then worked for a brief period with Cartier and tried to expand his experience with Tiffany but was turned down. This rejection encouraged him to design and market his own unique jewelry designs which led to the creation of David Yurman Inc in 1979.

At that time the jewelry trend was gold chains and flashy medallions and he decided to buck the trend with twisted cable sterling silver, and the gamble paid off. Within four years David Yurman received the 1983 InterGold Award which finally gave him the international recognition that he deserved. His signature collection features twisting sterling silver ropes, or “cables,” fashioned into necklaces, bracelets and rings.

He went on to design and create a wide range of pieces with a huge variety of styles. His experimental nature paid off handsomely and he soon became a recognised name in the jewelry industry. People started clamoring for his designs.

David Yurman Jewelry

As mentioned above, the most popular pieces are cable jewelry made into silver ropes that are twisted into different shapes. These are then set with stones and made available in the market.

There are also thoroughbred automatic watches which are very popular with men. They look formal and rich, and go with any outfit. There are equally dazzling timepieces for women and children too.

You can get bracelets and simple chains for new born children, stunning earrings for teenage girls and a selection of wedding jewelry including grooms and bridesmaids.

David Yurman Inspired Jewelry

David Yurman creates high end jewelry but most people find them to be quite expensive. The solution came in the form of designer inspired jewelry. Professionals examine the trends set by the major players and create designer inspired pieces using less expensive materials. They might not use the exact same material as the original but they sure look as if they do.

You can have a designer image for a lot less money if you wear quality inspired jewelry instead, AND it will look just as impressive. Even a trained eye will find it difficult to tell the difference.

You can buy designer inspired pieces for as little as one tenth of the actual price of an authentic piece and no one will know the difference… unless you tell them.

Many of the wealthiest people on the planet wear inspired jewelry because it is a great way to build up an impressive collection and keep up with the ever-changing fashion trends.

Why pay David Yurman prices when affordable designer inspired jewelry will make the same impression?



Robots – A Raging Fashion in China

It is not unknown that China, the land where Mandarin originated, is now the world’s fastest developing country, striding into an opulent future. Its technological prowess that has even surpassed the US and its monumental space program are some of the fruits of its economic boom. Don’t be surprised if China succeeds in creating a futuristic world full of robots, which can only be imagined in science fictions. Remember the Richie Rich comics, where we had Irona, who ran errands for humans? The idea sounds far-fetched and outlandish but the same idea has been applied to one of the restaurants in China, where robot waitresses serve food. Baloney? Hardly!

The Dalu Robot Restaurant in north China’s Shandong province has been making headlines from the day it came into existence. The staff of this restaurant comprises six waitresses, all of whom are robots. These robots have been manufactured by the Shandong Dalu Science and Technology Company and programmed to serve up to 100 diners along a fixed trajectory. To ensure uninterrupted service, twenty one tables are arranged in circles and diners are served in rotation. If you participate in our study abroad programs and ever, happen to visit this restaurant, the staff will inform you about the robots serving and what one can expect out of their service. Now this is a win-win situation for both the customers and the staff. The “staff” does not need tips and the customers do not complain. This probably is one of the best examples of technology and humanity, going hand-in-hand.

The Chinese robotic research began in 1980s, when the country was not technologically advanced. The scientists started with the legs of the robots and eventually went on to develop its nervous system, hands and visual aids. The first humanoid robot of China finally got ready in the year 2000. Since then, China never looked back, when it came to the development of robots and the robot culture became so popular amongst the common mass that the country hosted robot Olympics in Harbin, China, in the year 2010. Robots from across the country participated in the competition. They walked, they danced and they ran, winning the hearts of thousands. The Japanese robots can now make sushi and China is not lagging behind either as is evident from the Robot Restaurant.

Chinese robots will soon be carrying out a lot of chores that we usually don’t fancy doing such as washing dishes and vacuuming and hoovering the house. In today’s world, the robot maids are no more a figment of imagination. The day is not far when each household will have a robot-maid, catering to all our needs and performing all our tedious household chores with equal dexterity and diligence.



Not Making a Fashion Statement With Ski Boots

If we women are really honest, we would have to confess to the fact that we really do consider fashion as one of the priorities when it comes to picking out ski boots. Now we know that this really is not supposed to happen. There are just too many important functions that are required from the ski boots and expecting them to make a fashion statement really should be on the bottom of the list.

For the intermediate and advanced skier being in fashion with respect to their ski boots is the farthest thing from their mind when it comes to this part of their ski equipment. This is because they have been on the slopes enough to know just what a critical part the boots play when developing one’s skills as a skier.

If you learn nothing else about your boots before you go to buy your first pair, just keep in mind how important they are to you for your overall comfort and performance. Now that doesn’t mean that you can’t get some really classy looking ski boots. Most often, you will find that you have a good selection of colors for example within the category or line that you are choosing from.

Also, whatever you do, don’t think about borrowing a pair of ski boots from a friend or buying a pair of used ones. You need to be absolutely sure that your boots are the proper fit and type for your type and level of skiing.

Take your time when you go to buy your boots. Remember to take the ski socks you will most likely be wearing. Then make sure you wear the boots for at least ten minutes and walk around the store a bit with them on. This will give you a better idea than just slipping them on and off and stating they feel fine. Nothing is worse than making your first or second ski run and your feet are killing you. The boots are either too tight or too big. They aren’t warm enough or they are not suited for the type of skiing you are participating in.

Chances are if you continue to ski, you will only allow yourself to go through this type of experience once before you are back buying a new pair of ski boots.



Disturbing Trend Used by Trainers

Today I would like to touch on a disturbing trend I see in many gyms and personal training studios lately. If you have been to a gym or a large personal training facility, you have been exposed to the phenomenon known as the”show off trainer”. This is a trainer who has his or her clients perform exercises beyond their capabilities, thereby putting them at great risk for injury. These exercises are not only extremely advanced but for the most part unnecessary. Listen, I am just as impressed as you are when I see someone performing a one handed pushup while simultaneously juggling fire, and talking on a cell phone. Seriously, I have watched as out of shape beginners are asked to “perform” jump lunges on a Bosu with a medicine ball overhand bounce. If you don’t know what that is don’t worry, either did the person performing the exercise. The benefit of such wild theatrics, while impressive, are minimal at best when weighed against the risks. Exercises like that are better left to professionals and circus performers.

These trainers place their clientele in jeopardy so that they can showcase their knowledge and impress the unwitting. Beware of these trainers folks. I don’t care how many certificates your trainer has on his wall, this sort of showboating should not be rewarded. Your trainer should be aware of your limits and never allow you to overstep them. He or she should push you right to the edge but never over it. A trainer is there for guidance and as your protection against injury. His or her knowledge should provide you with a great and safe workout, and most important of all the results you seek. A client should never be used as a sideshow in order to increase monthly sales. When a trainer is concerned with their next pay-period total, their focus is diverted from you and directed towards a dollar figure. Is that the way you want to be seen?

High turnover rate, low pay and an emphasis on monthly sales fosters this atmosphere. Competition is fierce and many find they need a second job to pay the bills. While this is certainly commendable, it doesn’t bode well for clients. Would you feel comfortable if your Orthopedic Surgeon were moonlighting as a parking attendant?

A great trainer lives by his clients referrals.



English Laundry Clothing Puts a New Spin on British Fashion

English Laundry is an upscale brand of clothing designed by Christopher Wicks which features a uniquely English style and attitude. The clothing line borrows heavily from traditional English clothing as well as pop culture styles of clothing that have prevailed throughout the past decades. It features men’s clothing predominantly, but there is an off shoot brand, English Rose, which is dedicated specifically to women.

The male line of tops include such designs as: short sleeve woven shirts, short sleeve tees, jackets and blazers, long sleeve tees, long sleeve woven shirts, vests, sweaters, and hoodies. The short sleeve tees feature designs like the Thomas of Ardwick Tee in off-white, Lions Crown in light blue, British Blue Legs in off-white and black, and the Union Crest tee in off-white. The short sleeve woven shirts include Cotton City in white and black, Dot in black and white, Village in white with grey, Rylands in navy and white, and Flanders in tan and white. The sweater and hoodies section features just two designs: the light blue and white striped Ribble Hoodie, and the sleeveless Old Cricket sweater in brown, navy, and off-white.

The women’s English Rose line is not quite as large as the men’s section, and only includes tops. The selection currently offers Long Sleeve Woven Shirts, Jackets and Sweaters, and vests. The designs are still very nice though, and you are sure to find just the right top you’re looking for. The Long Sleeve Woven Shirts features the long, belted Whaley Range design in either white or black, the Virginia in Red design which features a bucolic red and white plaid design, and the Lady Barn design which has a unique floral pattern consisting of small red flowers, an embroidered design, and comes in either red or grey. There are four jackets and sweaters available, and 5 different kinds of vests that are sure to go well with your other outfits.

As English Laundry is primarily a men’s label, only the men’s section features bottoms available such as shorts, jeans, and slacks. The two different types of shorts to choose from are the Tameside Cargo Short and the Peterloo Cargo Short. The Tameside features a single color in black, brown, or cream. They are based off of the traditional cargo short style that has large pockets on each side. The Peterloo Cargo Short features stripes and comes in either grey plaid or olive. English Laundry also has two different kinds of jeans: the Crest Jeans which comes in black wash and vintage wash and features an English crest on the pant leg, and the Red Selvege Jeans which offer a tight, straight leg and come in either dark wash or rinse wash. English Laundry also features two different designs of slacks: North Slacker and Hathersage slack.

Besides the tops, bottoms, and dress shirts which English Laundry offers, there are accessories such as wallets, ties, scarves, and belts as well. Each sports images that are uniquely English, such as: the Union Jack British Flag, the lion from the English crest, and the royal crown. English Laundry brings true sophistication back to fashion.



Fashion News- Black Girls In A White World

It is always noteworthy when politics and fashion collide. In October, The New York Times ran an article entitled “Runways Fade to White”. The article described the relative absence of Black models on the runways of the most recent Fashion Week.

As a follower of fashion and a Black woman, the article caught my attention.

I tend to live by the proposition that race is a significant characteristic, but should not govern our lives and or dictate our decisions. However, this year’s Fashion Week has challenged those beliefs.

The New York Times article painted a picture of the whitening of the fashion world. According to the article, the number of Black women used in fashion shows has steadily decreased. Frequently, designers request the model’s race in advance so that they can reject the Black models. When the agents try to pull a bait and switch, by withholding the model’s race, the designers later complain. The designers reject the Black model and blame the agent by saying, “You didn’t tell me that she was Black.”

While I was unaware of the underlying details, my review of fashion magazines has revealed that Black models were suffering some challenges. I peruse my five subscriptions to fashion magazines religiously every month, under the belief that fashion is universal. Rather than bemoan the absence of Black women on the hundreds of pages, I have rejoiced when I see a Black face on one page.

I used to believe that I was progressive by not letting politics influence my purchasing decisions. Now, I realize that I was naive.

The Census results gave me an easy way to I rationalize the decisions of the fashion industry. Black people account for about 12% of the population so it would follow that we would not be on the majority of the covers of fashion magazines. However, the article indicates that deliberate discrimination and not statistics likely explains the absence of Black women from the covers.

By excluding Black models, the designers are communicating a powerful message. While we do not know what the message is, we do know that the message is not a good one. To suggest otherwise overlooks a basic fact. Fashion is about more than selling clothes, it is about selling an image of beauty. Whatever their motivation, it is clear that many designers do not envision Black models as portraying their image of beauty. Once I find out who the biggest offenders were, I doubt that I will be able to envision myself wearing their clothes…



Jewelery Shopping

My cousin who I hardly see maybe about once a year wants jewelery from me for her sixteenth birthday. We’ve got a quirky little relationship. Unlike my sister, who I’ve been at war with since she was born, the dynamic with my younger cousin is more affable. We get on. I’d never get my sister jewelery – far too weird. But somehow for a cousin like her, it feels both big brotherly and friendly.

So I’m working through mental pictures to try and remember what kind of jewelery she wears, as I figure there could be some sort of theme, color, and material concurrent to her tastes. Or are they just random? Would anything do? Buying jewelery I am discovering takes considerable time and mental effort, not to mention empathy (or is it sympathy?) and some other types of emotional engagement that I do not know the words for.

Ok, so a diamond ring might be a bit too much, but then again I don’t want to just get some plain accessories. A bracelet perhaps? A sparkly bracelet? I’m trying to think how many different types of jewelery there actually are out there. I guess it’s limited by the imagination. There’s so many innovations in design and beauty wear it’s hard to keep track unless you read the fashion supplements in Sunday newspapers.

Though even fashion is hardly a guide. I guess looking at what jewelery to buy online might help. Some of the jewelery shopping web sites are overwhelming with regard to the range of jewelery to buy on the Internet.

It’s hard to tell what’s retro and what’s just new anyway. What’s in one week can be out the next and then the week after it’s back in again but on a white gold chain or something.

I try a new tack on choosing what jewelery to buy online for my cousin. I guess she’d be happy whatever I bought as she’s the type who appreciates the ‘thought that counts.’ But she’ll possibly also want something nice; some kind of awkward politeness isn’t the response that would encourage me to buy jewelery online for friends or family again.

What’s her favourite color? I’m not sure if she has a favourite color – at least one that doesn’t change week to week. Maybe a multi-colored necklace? Then again, I quite fancy that she’d love a brooch. Brooches look great. I think. Yes she’d quite like a brooch.

It’s so easy to look at brooches online, or bracelets, necklaces, rings. Prices, sizes and types all in convenient little lists that you can scroll through. Given that in jewelery shop most of the stuff is sealed behind reinforced security glass it is isn’t much different to looking at jewelery on a web page.

I see a nice looking brooch online. Studded with green and blue gems. It’s not too loud but looks both quirky and timeless, in a modest kind of way. It’s subtle. Not quite like my cousin but they do say opposites attract.



Feline Fashion for Halloween

Anyone will tell you that one of the sexiest women’s Halloween costumes has been the cat costume, and it has topped the list for many years. The combination of the usually tight-fitting cat suit and the image of the feline on the prowl make this costume choice one that stands out. Classic cat suits range from the traditional looking kitty costume to the Cat Woman in sleek black from head to toe. Whichever you choose, a cat costume will have everyone wanting to investigate your feline wiles.

A classic character from the comics, Cat Woman is sexy, smart, and stealthy. Her black latex outfit topped with a black hood with cat ears is a well known superhero image. Since the character first appeared on the pages of comic books, the costume has been a popular choice for brave women willing to slip into something skin-tight to show off their curves. Cat Woman is a dark and mysterious character, adding to her appeal for both women seeking a great sexy costume and men interested in getting to know the gutsy woman in black.

For something a little prettier and a little less Gothic looking, there are highly feminine costumes that feature cat ears on a headband and a kitty-inspired dress or jumpsuit. Whether you prefer a flirty short skirt or a two piece that includes pants, kitty costumes come in a wide range of choices. The ears are what really matter, and of course a kitty has to have a tail!

Cats aren’t all the small domestic kind, and not all cat costumes are quite so tame either. For a wilder approach to the cat costume, consider one of the big predator cats of the wild. Tigers, leopards, and of course the fierce and dangerous lioness are cat costumes that go a step further. With wild animal prints cut into sexy styles, these jungle cat costumes are bound to turn heads.

Choosing to wear a costume for Halloween is the easy part; choosing which type of costume you want to wear is a little more difficult. The popularity of cat costumes for women means there is a wide variety of choices available. Choose the cat that best fits your personality. Are you a lioness or a tiger on the hunt? Are you a pretty cat who still has claws that can come out if provoked? Or are you the dangerous and mysterious Cat Woman, prowling the night in deep, dark disguise?

There is something about putting on a cat costume that just makes a woman feel sexy, so choose the one that represents your sexy feline side, and strut your stuff as a nocturnal kitty on the right night for it, Halloween!



How to Know Whether Your Polo Clothing Is Authentic

When shopping for polo clothing it is very important to consider the issue of authenticity. In the case of polos the price tag for luxury brands of this article of clothing can be quite high. A savvy shopper should keep this in mind when shopping for these items. For example, luxury brands can carry a price-tag of up to 300 euros. Other famous polo brands like Ralph Lauren, Fred Perry, and Lacoste are also more expensive for polos then for regular shirts or in some cases even sweaters. With the continued rise of ecommerce and online shopping the ability for consumers to judge whether items are authentic becomes an increasingly difficult and ominous task. This is exemplified for a person’s first polo purchase.

One way to determine if your polo is authentic is to check with the brand before making any purchase. For example, if you plan to make your purchase from an online retailer or eBay, you can always send a link to the sales page to the brand company and wait for their response. The company should know if the seller is one of their distributors. Also, the company itself should know about pricing and which models were produced to know if the item is real or not.

Another method to check authenticity would be to check the price. If the price is too low compared to other sellers and the polo is advertised as new then its highly likely that the item is a replica.

Furthermore, if you are shopping on eBay its a good idea to check the feedback for the seller if the feedback is poor or the member is newly registered you should be extra careful in verifying the item as authentic.

Yet another means of verifying authenticity is to check where the seller is shipping the item from. If you are buying, for example a polo from a luxury fashion label but the item is being shipped from China you can be about 99% certain that the item must be a fake polo. The reason for this conclusion is that luxury polo brands don’t distribute their items direct from China to the consumer, and yet if it is being shipped from China it can be a bad sign since China is notorious for weak trademark enforcement and widespread counterfeiting of polos.

In conclusion, shopping for branded polo clothing is increasingly difficult due to widespread counterfeiting online. Therefore, savvy shoppers need to keep certain key factors in mind to avoid purchasing non-authentic items from unscrupulous sellers.