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An Ice Cream Binge Across America

For those of you who read my post about the science of ice cream making, you already know how much I enjoy making and eating ice cream. In her book, Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America, Amy Ettinger claims that the average American eats twenty-two pounds of ice cream a year. I bet I eat at least twice that. For an ice cream and book reading enthusiast, such as myself, Amy Ettinger's book, Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America, would seem to be the perfect combination of my two great loves.

Ettinger shares some interesting histories that I had not known before, such as the fact that the United States Food and Drug Administration considers ice cream a potentially hazardous food item because it "accounted for 2, 594 illnesses between 1990 and 2009, mostly from contaminated eggs or spoiled milk" (Ettinger 56). Ice cream is apparently so hazardous that some historians, according to Ettinger, contend that American President Zachary Taylor died after eating a…
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How to make friends

How to make friends and influence by Dale Carnegie is one of the most influential books of all time.  Much like the title suggests, it is a self-help book that provides a mindset and strategies to make friends and influence people.  As an exploration of this text, we are going to do a two-part series on Carnegie's book, with today's post focusing on making friends.

I found out about this book when I was reading an interview on Barbara Cocoran.  The founder of the Cocoran Group and current panelist/investor on Shark Tank.  In the interview she mentioned that the last book she had read was the aforementioned text.  She stated that this book was her guide to interacting with people and with making sales.

I must admit that even in my own life I have incorporated parts of this book into my interactions.  In addition, as a person who has gone through leadership training programs, I am shocked at how much of his teachings are incorporated into the modern educational leadership progr…

Special Friday Post - My Yahoo Portfolio Experience - Part 1

If you have read the Koo Review before then you know that we are avid readers.  I have especially been interested in finance and investing as of late, as well as some marketing.

One of the key items I've learned from reading TheIntelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham were strategies on how to invest in the stock market.  I created a Yahoo Portfolio account to track five companies that I found on the 52 week low list that I would have picked back on July 14th to invest in.  
I purchased 100 shares of each company (to keep things simple).  My focus was:
1) Large cap companies. 2) A history of steady dividend payments. 3) Consistent positive net income for the past three years. 4) An established brand 5) The company sold or produced something that I understood
So as you see below this is how our portfolio did after three weeks.

So while it was not all great, you can see that the total gain was $558 as of August 4, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.
I'm really excited that this portfolio is movi…

Review on the Purple Cow - Transforming your business by being remarkable by Seth Godin

The Purple Cow by Seth Godin is a book on marketing, and focuses on the modern day environment.  Godin believes that the traditional methods of advertising are broken and ineffective.  He defines traditional advertising as companies that follow the P's of marketing: Pricing, Promotion, Positioning, Packaging, Pass-Along, Permission, and Publicity.  Godin believes that the key to successful advertising is by creating a remarkable product.  The metaphor that he uses for a remarkable product is a purple cow.

The idea is that a purple cow is unheard of, and therefore it is a remarkable thing.  Godin believes that modern day marketing tactics should focus on just one P, the purple cow.

Godin then provides cases in which remarkable products launched companies to the forefront of their industries.  An example is Google.  It is a website that has a slot where you can type in text and two buttons.  One of the buttons is completely arbitrary.  Yet, it has become the lead search engine and…

The Science of Ice Cream Making

Anyone who knows me knows that ice cream is one of my favorite things in the world. I love it so much that a few years ago I asked my husband for an ice cream maker for my birthday and began making ice cream in my home. Before I started making ice cream, I did not know how much science and trial and error were involved in the process. The science comes from learning about things like food stabilizers, which I discuss below, while the trial and error involves experimenting with the right quantity of ingredients to achieve your desired flavor.

For those who have never made ice cream before, it is a more time consuming process than one would think, usually taking place over the course of two days. Ice cream requires many egg yolks (usually a minimum of 5 or 6). This means that first the eggs need to be separated and then they need to be tempered. Tempering is a process by which a food is gradually introduced to heat without really being cooked. In the case of ice cream, you usually heat…

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Hanging in my child's pediatrician's office is a poster that exclaims, "a message from your doctor's heart, read to your child from the start." Often encouraged, usually resisted, reading is promoted as being as healthy for you as an apple a day, but why is reading so good for you? Keith Oatley, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Toronto, found that people who read fiction are more empathetic. Indeed, some would argue that all forms of fiction, including watching dramas on TV, make us more empathetic, but that is a different conversation. In a Washington Post article, Oatley summarizes why literature makes us more empathetic: "'when we read about other people, we can imagine ourselves into their position and we can imagine what it's like being that person,' Oatley said. 'That enables us to better understand people, better cooperate with them'" (Kaplan 2016).

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid is the kind of book …

9 Core Values to Help Disciplined People to Steadily Build Wealth

This post is for people who are self-disciplined and looking to invest money outside of their employer sponsored retirement plans.  It is also for those who are aspiring to find ways to generate passive income.

As an educator in New York City, we are provided an employer sponsored 403-b called the Tax Deferred Annuity (or TDA for short).  For more information on it, I wrote about some of my observations about educators and retirement in an earlier article called A little bit goes a long way. 

For those who are not familiar with TDA, it offers a variety of investment options but the most promising is the guaranteed returned fix rate for UFT members at 7% annually, and 8.25% for all other members. The maximum contribution that an individual can make is $18,000 for the year, which is similar to a traditional IRA for everyone else.

If you find yourself in a unique situation where you still have money to invest then I would like to share some of my own ideas that I have put into practice.…