Friday, February 8, 2008

"How Do I Ask for a Raise" from Fortune magazine

My Salary Has Doubled, But I'm Still Underpaid. How Do I Get a Raise?
Working your way up the corporate ladder can leave you with skimpier pay than you deserve. Here's what to do. Plus, do employees seeking to move up have an "insider advantage"
By Anne Fisher, FORTUNE senior writer

Dear Annie:
I've been working at an investment firm for over 10 years now. I came in at a very low level, just to get a foot in the door, but eventually moved up to a portfolio-manager position and am now director of marketing. My problem is, even though my salary has doubled over the past decade, I started out so cheap that my pay is still way below what people with my job are earning elsewhere. It's also much less than I'm actually worth to the firm, based on my performance. The CEO makes all the pay decisions here, and I know that if I ask for a raise, he'll point to how much my compensation has already increased. Another hurdle is that he comes from a sales background and is very skilled at talking people into (or out of) things. Would I be crazy to ask for more money? He has fired people in the past just for asking.
-- Because I'm Worth It

Dear BIWI:
He's fired people just for asking? Wow. Well, he's no doubt counting on that to discourage others, such as yourself, from approaching him on the subject. But it obviously bugs you that you're not making what you're worth, so talk to him anyway. You need to go armed with a proposal based on hard facts. Write up a brief memo that succinctly spells out 1) the data you've collected on what your peers at other firms earn and any other supporting facts you can muster, such as salary ranges mentioned in ads for jobs similar to yours; 2) any and all evidence of how your performance contributes to your firm's sales and profits.

The more facts you have at your fingertips, the harder it will be for your CEO to "sales talk" you. Then, state a specific request: What kind of raise would satisfy you? A 5% raise or a 10% one? Another point: Is there anything -- stock options, extra paid vacation, a company car -- you would be willing to accept instead of a salary hike, or along with a smaller raise than you're seeking? If so, that would give both you and your CEO a bit of room to negotiate.

One question: Have you given much thought to what you'll do if he fires you? Given his track record, it might be smart to figure that out now. But don't be intimidated out of asking. If this company really will not pay you what you're worth, you may be better off elsewhere.

Dear Annie:
Now that the job market is finally starting to pick up a little, I've had a couple of offers from companies where I had interviewed two or three years ago. But what I'd really like is to stay at the company where I work now and go after a higher-level finance-manager position that has opened up. I happen to know that several outside candidates are also competing for the job. Is there an "insider advantage"? What are my chances?
-- The Insider

Dear TI:
Interestingly, it seems there is more of an "insider advantage" than there was five years ago. A new study by Development Dimensions International (DDI) ( says that 40% of U.S. managers are planning to increase hiring this year. In 2004, more than half -- 53% -- of management positions were filled from within, up from 44% in 1999. Scott Erker, a DDI vice president, expects that trend to continue or even accelerate. "Last year's increase represents a realization that there is untapped talent in organizations," he says. "Companies also see providing opportunities (for current employees) as a retention strategy, which has the added benefit of placing someone who's already familiar with the organization."

So, assuming your qualifications are roughly equal to the outsiders', your chances are probably pretty good. One tip: When applying for the job, there's no need to mention the offers you've received from other companies. You want to be promoted because you're the best person for the job, not because you threatened to quit if you didn't get it.


Drugstore Doubles

The link leads to the full text of Paula Begoun's report on the expensive and similar cheap beauty products. I only included here the products from that report that I am likely to use - that is, I didn't include things like Brow Enhancer or Eyeliner
since I never use them and in most likeliness never will. The same goes for Styling Wax and suchlikes. I also skipped shampoos and conditioners because I have my own special relationshiops with those, and my own ideas about which of them go best for me. On which I'll probably dwell later on . So - here it is.

Drugstore Doubles
The Best in Beauty from Chanel to Cover Girl
A Special Report by Paula Begoun
Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin
Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Solutions Cream Cleanser for Dry Skin ($9 for 5.1 ounces) is excellent and very similar to the higher-priced Trish McEvoy Gentle Cleansing Lotion ($55 for 6.8 ounces).

Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin
Lancome Gel Clarte Clarifying Gel-to-Foam Cleanser ($20 for 4.2 ounces) works beautifully to cleanse and remove makeup from normal to oily skin, but so does the nearly identical L’Oreal Ideal Balance Foaming Gel Cleanser for Combination Skin ($7.99 for 6.7 ounces).

AHA Product
Vespera Bionic Serum ($55 for 1 ounce). - Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion ($11.99 for 2.5 ounces). It contains 8% glycolic acid in a light moisturizing base and the correct pH range to exfoliate skin. Neutrogena also markets a sensitive skin version of this product, which contains 5% glycolic acid.

BHA Product
Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Defense Face Lotion ($7.99 for 1.7 ounces) - Serious Skin Care Clarifying Treatment ($17.50 for 2 ounces) is an OK option, but with only 0.5% salicylic acid, don’t expect amazing results.

Daytime Moisturizer with SPF 15
Dove Fresh Radiance Moisturizer SPF 15 ($9.99 for 1.7 ounces) - Clinique Repairwear SPF 15 Intensive Cream ($45 for 1.7 ounces). Both are great for normal to dry skin (with lots of interesting beneficial ingredients), and both contain an in-part zinc oxide sunscreen for sufficient UVA protection. Prefer to avoid zinc oxide? Consider Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer SPF 30 ($14.99 for 2.5 ounces), which contains an in-part avobenzone sunscreen and is beautifully formulated. Looking for a great sunscreen for normal to oily skin? Consider Estee Lauder DayWear Plus Multi-Protection Antioxidant Lotion SPF 15 ($38 for 1.7 ounces) or, if a higher SPF number is needed, Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 30 ($8.99 for 3 ounces).

Facial Moisturizer, Normal to Dry Skin
Spa Sciences Anti-Aging Moisture Day Lotion ($18.99 for 1.7 ounces). Although the lack of sunscreen makes it an inappropriate solo choice for daytime, this fragrance-free product can be used as a nighttime moisturizer for someone with normal to dry skin. - Prescriptives Intensive Rebuilding Moisturizer ($95 for 2 ounces). In the middle of this price spectrum is the supremely well-formulated WhiteLight EX Extra Brightening Intensive Night Creme ($45 for 1 ounce) from Estee Lauder (but don’t count on it to lighten skin).

Facial Moisturizer, Normal to Oily/Combination Skin
Having a generous cosmetics budget means you may want to consider Prescriptives Redness Relief Gel ($50 for 1 ounce) for its ultra-light texture and state-of-the-art formula - Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum ($18.99 for 1.7 ounces).

Body Moisturizer
Clinique Water Therapy Firming Body Smoother ($27.50 for 6.7 ounces). - Dove Intensive Firming Cream, Intensive Firming Lotion, Intensive Nourishing Lotion, Regenerating Night Lotion, and Cool Moisture Body Lotion ($5.99-$7.99 for 6.7 ounces).

Body Wash/Shower Gel
The vast majority of body washes on the market are well-formulated. All of them contain standard detergent cleansing agents (identical to those used in shampoo) and a variety of additives depending on the formula goals or label claims. It is a rare occurrence to find a body wash that contains irritants such as menthol or citrus oils, but be aware, they do exist. Companies that offer excellent body washes for reasonable prices include Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, The Body Shop, Axe (for men—but I refuse to vouch for the fragrance), Ivory, Aveeno, Dial, Lever 2000, Nivea, and Jergens.

Specialty/"Anti-Aging" Product
DDF C3 Plus Serum ($50 for 0.5 ounce) provides skin with copious vitamin C, water-binding agents (including peptides), and other antioxidants, plus it is packaged in an opaque, airless container to keep everything potent. If vitamin C isn’t on your must-have list but you still want an elegant serum to use morning or evening, consider Neutrogena Visibly Firm Lift Serum Active Copper ($18.99 for 1 ounce).

Murad Brightening Treatment SPF 15 ($45 for 1 ounce) combines an effective sunscreen with higher than usual levels of hydroquinone alternatives, including arbutin and uva ursi extract.

Foundation with Sunscreen
The price is a bit startling, but those with normal to oily skin will likely be impressed with Chanel Double Perfection Crème Powder Makeup SPF 15 ($42). It contains an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen and despite its name, is not nearly as slick or greasy as traditional cream-to-powder makeup. For less money and a higher sun protection factor, consider Clinique Superbalanced Compact Makeup SPF 20 ($26.50). If you’re looking to spend even less, Cover Girl AquaSmooth Makeup SPF 15 ($8.99) is superb and offers plenty of real-skin shades. Almost all of Revlon’s foundations will also keep you covered in real-skin tones and great sunscreens, plus you’ll save money at the same time.

If you have normal to dry skin, I’m fond of Neutrogena Visibly Even Natural-Look Makeup SPF 20 ($11.75). Shopping the department store cosmetic counters? Consider Lancome Renergie Lift Lifting Makeup SPF 20 ($37), one of the few Lancome foundations with a sunscreen that offers sufficient UVA

Tinted Moisturizer/Sheer Foundation with Sunscreen
Neutrogena hit a grand slam with the introduction of its Healthy Skin Enhancer SPF 20 ($10.99), which features great colors and an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen with retinol and plenty of antioxidants. Those looking for greater sun protection can consider Revlon Age Defying Light Makeup SPF 30 ($12.99). The buck really could stop here, but for those who can’t resist the lure of spending more than needed, I also highly recommend Aveda Inner Light Tinted Moisture SPF 15 ($25) and Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer ($36).

Choosing Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Under Eye Concealer ($6.99) rather than Lancome Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer ($24) will not only leave you with more money in your pocketbook, but since L’Oreal owns Lancome and Maybelline, you will find many of their makeup products are more comparable than ever. Good thing, too, because Maybelline’s concealer shades have improved tremendously since L’Oreal has been in charge.

Loose Powder
With its ultra-fine texture and non-powdery appearance on skin, M.A.C. Select Sheer Loose Powder ($19.50) is among the best. At nearly twice the price, Giorgio Armani Micro-fil Loose Powder ($42) is also excellent—but for one-quarter of that price, your skin is likely to be just as happy with L’Oreal Translucide Naturally Luminous Powder ($10.89). By the way, L’Oreal owns Giorgio Armani Cosmetics!

Pressed Powder
Stila Sheer Color Face Powder SPF 15 ($23) not only has a gorgeous silky texture and smooth application but also provides additional sun protection, perfect for touching up your makeup to reduce shine and boosting your skin’s defenses against aging UV rays. A similar but less expensive pressed powder that offers even longer sun protection is Neutrogena Healthy Defense Protective Powder SPF 30 ($9.99).

Looking for a superior pressed powder without sunscreen? Try Cover Girl TruBlend Pressed Powder ($7.49) or, if your skin color is harder to match, consider L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Powder ($7.99). If you prefer to try the shade at the store before making a purchase, high marks go to Estee Lauder AeroMatte Ultralucent Pressed Powder ($26).

Powder Blush
Vincent Longo Day Play Duo Compact Powder Blush ($23.50) is a wonderful option if you’re feeling extravagant, but an equally impressive powder blush for those with realistic cosmetics budgets is L’Oreal Feel Naturale Light Softening Blush $9.79). Note that with Longo’s product, you get two powder blush shades in one compact.

Cream Blush
A relatively new option to consider at the department store is Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks ($22). It is a true cream blush, meaning it’s best for normal to dry skin, but does not have a greasy feel or slip all over the face during blending. Those looking to spend less for a comparable product should explore Merle Norman Luxiva Crème Blush ($14.50) or, for an option that’s more cream-to-powder than just creamy, Revlon Cream Blush ($8.99).

Cream (or Cream-Like) Eyeshadows
Delux Beauty Cream Powder Eye Shadow ($18) is one of the best in terms of color selection, easy application, and long wear with only minimal risk of creasing. A bonafide steal by comparison is Revlon Illuminance Crème Shadow ($5.99) which provides four crease-proof creamy eyeshadows in one convenient compact. The Not Just Nudes quad is an ideal set of neutrals for most skin tones, though some shine is apparent.

Lip Gloss
Chanel really does produce some marvelous lip glosses. Their Cristalle Gloss Waterlight Lip Gloss ($24.50) is wonderfully light-textured and very glossy. A dramatically less expensive but truly equally appealing choice is Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss ($6.99).

It’s no secret that I and millions of women worldwide are fans of many L’Oreal and Maybelline mascaras, so I’m taking a break from singing the praises of their lash-enhancing products to brag about another worthy contender. Instead, three cheers to Revlon, whose Fabulash Mascara ($6.99) is fabulous. There are some unquestionably wonderful mascaras at the department store too, and one that equals Fabulash’s greatness for a bit more money is Stila Mega Lash Mascara ($9.50). Given the wealth of brilliant mascaras that cost $10 or less, I am leaving this list void of a truly pricey mascara (they’re out there, and many are magnificent, but not more so than options that cost less money).

Waterproof Mascara
Two of my favorites at the department store are Laura Mercier Waterproof Mascara ($19) and Estee Lauder Illusionist Waterproof Curling Mascara ($21). Another department store option that is significantly less expensive but just as impressive is M.A.C. Splashproof Lash Waterproof Mascara ($9.50). At the drugstore, consider Maybelline Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara ($5.99).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

10 flipping tasty pancake recipes

Tell us about your favourite pancakes - what makes the best batter mix? do you flip or stick? use free-range organic eggs? - by using the comment box at the bottom of the page.

The classic: Fine crepes with lemon and sugar

The detox: Mixed berry pancakes

The boozer: Spiced apple pancakes with calvados sabayon

The continental: Cinnamon pancakes with praline cream and chocolate sauce

The romantic: Lacy crepes with rose-water butter

The kid's favourite: Banana and ricotta pancakes with maple-pecan sauce

For Chinese New Year: Chinese roast pork with pancakes

The seasonal: Baked rhubarb

The dinner party "pancakes": Sweetcorn blinis with aubergine and tomato

The wheat-free option: Red onion and rosemary farinate

The Scandinavian: Warm potato pancakes with smoked eel

Monday, February 4, 2008

The most influential albums - according to The Times

The 20 bestselling albums

1 Michael Jackson, Thriller As thrilling today as it ever was.

2 Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV Still worth a listen? Ask the millions who fought for tickets last year.

3 Pink Floyd, The Wall The alienation of the modern world? Yup, still relevant.

4 AC/DC, Back in Black A great guitar riff never really goes out of fashion.

5 Shania Twain, Come on Over Er, actually, we’re kind of busy right now . . .

6 The Beatles, The Beatles (White Album) Its eclectic brilliance is still the target that ambitious bands aim for.

7 Fleetwood Mac, Rumours You can still feel the intra-band heartbreak behind the smooth pop songs.

8 Whitney Houston, Bodyguard OST You may think you’ve heard that song enough now.

9 Boston, Boston Has found its rightful home on classic rock stations.

10 Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill We thought it was going to be the beginning of a brilliant career. Oh, well.

11 Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti Many people’s favourite Zep album.

12 Eagles, Hotel California Overexposed, and soon to be over here again.

13 Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon The album that shot the Floyd into the super league.

14 Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA Far from his best work (try Nebraska), but still capable of setting off those “fist pumping in the air” reflexes.

15 Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever OST Silly hair, silly voices, yet somehow magnificent.

16 Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction It certainly sounds dated now; mind you, it sounded dated even then.

17 Santana, Supernatural A remarkable resurgence late in his career, but head instead for the early albums.

18 Meat Loaf, Bat out of Hell More is more.

19 Britney Spears, Baby One More Time Back when she was a singer, not an increasingly distressing news story.

20 Prince, Purple Rain Before the squiggles and record-company wrangles, he was capable of timeless genius.

The 20 most influential albums

1 The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico Hardly anybody bought it, as the saying goes, but everyone who did formed a band.

2 Beatles, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Created the idea of using the recording studio as an instrument.

3 David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars The arrival of postmodernism in rock’s most glamorous self-fulfilling prophecy.

4 Patti Smith, Horses Pioneered vast new territories for women in popular music.

5 Beach Boys, Pet Sounds The instrumentation, the harmonies, the arrangements, the sheer ambition.

6 Beatles, Revolver Goodbye “pop group”, hello “rock band”.

7 The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced? Shaped our sonic world – the template for guitar heroes everywhere.

8 Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited How does it feel? Like a whole new world just opened up.

9 Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Hip-hop comes of age.

10 Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks... Rendered the rock dinosaurs extinct (for a while).

11 Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express It sounded like the future then; eerily, it still does now.

12 Michael Jackson, Thriller The last quarter of a century of R&B starts here.

13 Nirvana, Nevermind Rendered the rock dinosaurs extinct (again).

14 NWA, Straight Outta Compton Created the template for gangsta rap.

15 Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You A soul masterpiece, and an album whose anthems radiated out into the wider culture.

16 Ramones, Ramones Rock’s ultimate palate-cleanser. Generations of punks started here.

17 Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On Motown finds its social conscience.

18 The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin It was largely ignored at the time, but where would alt-country be without it?

19 Bob Marley and the Wailers, Live! Reggae goes global.

20 Joni Mitchell, Blue Searching for sensitive singer-songwriters? Here’s the source.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


This here is a song that has recently become quite popular in Russian online community, it's really positive and funny. Somehow reminiscent of Kusturica in the general atmosphere. The singer's name is Peter Nalitch -