It's possible to trade profitably on the Forex, the nearly $2 trillion worldwide currency exchange market. But the odds are against you, even more so if you don't prepare and plan your trades. According to a 2014 Bloomberg report, several analyses of retail Forex trading, including one by the National Futures Association (NFA), the industry's regulatory body, concluded that more than two out of three Forex traders lose money. This suggests that self-education and caution are recommended. Here are some approaches that may improve your odds of taking a profit. Prepare Before You Begin Trading Because the Forex market is highly leveraged -- as much as 50 to 1 -- it can have the same appeal as buying a lottery ticket: some small chance of making a killing. This, however, isn't trading; it's gambling, with the odds long against you. A better way of entering the Forex market is to carefully prepare. Beginning with a practice account is helpful and risk-free. While you're trading in your practice account, read the most frequently recommended Forex trading books, among them Currency Forecasting: A Guide to Fundamental and Technical Models of Exchange Rate Determination, by Michael R. Rosenberg is short, not too sweet and highly admired introduction to the Forex market. Forex Strategies: Best Forex Strategies for High Profits and Reduced Risk, by Matthew Maybury is an excellent introduction to Forex trading. The Little Book of Currency Trading: How to Make Big Profits in the World of Forex, by Kathy Lien is another concise introduction that has stood the test of time. All three are available on Amazon. Rosenberg's book, unfortunately, is pricey, but it's widely available in public libraries. "Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline and a Winning Attitude," by Mark Douglas is another good book that's available on Amazon, and, again, somewhat pricey, although the Kindle edition is not. Use the information gained from your reading to plan your trades before plunging in. The more you change your plan, the more you end up in trouble and the less likely that elusive forex profit will end up in your pocket. Diversify and Limit Your Risks Two strategies that belong in every trader's arsenal are: Diversification: Traders who execute many small traders, particularly in different markets where the correlation between markets is low, have a better chance of making a profit. Putting all your money in one big trade is always a bad idea. Familiarize yourself with ways guaranteeing a profit on an already profitable order, such as a trailing stop, and of limiting losses using stop and limit orders. These strategies and more are covered in the recommended books. Novice traders often make the mistake of concentrating on how to win; it's even more important to understand how to limit your losses. Be Patient Forex traders, particularly beginners, are prone to getting nervous if a trade does not go their way immediately, or if the trade goes into a little profit they get itchy to pull the plug and walk away with a small profit that could have been a significant profit with little downside risk using appropriate risk reduction strategies. In "On Any Given Sunday," Al Pacino reminds us that "football is a game of inches." That's a winning attitude in the Forex market as well. Remember that you are going to win some trades and lose others. Take satisfaction in the accumulation of a few more wins than losses. Over time, that could make you rich!

Red Velvet Cake (aka Utterly Ridiculous Cake)

Red Velvet Cake (aka Utterly Ridiculous Cake)
This is what dinner looks like in my dreams - and, well, last week. Mouthgasm.
Red Velvet Cake (aka Utterly Ridiculous Cake)

  • 3 tsp. cocoa (not dutch), heaping
  • 1.5 oz. red food coloring (about 3 tbs.)
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tbs. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 c. buttermilk (room temp., if possible)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbs. vinegar, white
Frosting (If you DON'T want to frost the sides of this cake, as some Red Velvet eaters prefer, then cut this recipe in half....but really, why would you ever do that, if sane?)
  • 2/3 c. flour, all purpose
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 tbs. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, placing baking position to middle rack. This recipe can be used for (2) 9-inch or 8-inch pans, or 24 cupcakes; butter and flour inside of pans, then line bottom of pans with parchment paper - or - line cupcake tins with liners.
  2. Batter: In small bowl, combine cocoa and food coloring - making a runny paste, set aside. Using hand-held mixer, combine shortening and sugar, cream until combined; then add eggs 1 at a time - beat until combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add red paste, beat until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and salt, beat until incorporated. Add 1 cup flour, beatjust until combined; add all of the buttermilk, beat until combined; add remaining cup of flour, beat just until combined. Do NOT overmix. Sprinkle the baking soda over the top of the batter; pour the vinegar over the top of the batter. Gently fold these last 2 ingredients in by hand - do NOT beat. Pour batter into pans or cupcake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until tester that is inserted into middle of cakes comes out clean; cupcakes should bake for 18-20 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Place cakes on cooling rack to cool, then remove from pans. Frost once completely cooled.
  3. Frosting: Prepare a cooling bath. Fill a sink or large, wide container/pan with ice water; have a medium bowl ready to cool the flour mixture. In medium saucepan, over medium heat (4-5) - add milk and flour, stirring occasionally at first and then almost constantly as the mixture begins to warm and thicken. Attentive stirring later in the cooking process will preventunbreakable "lumps" from forming while the flour and milk begin to combine. Mixture will continue to thicken, bring the consistency just past pudding stage, where it begins to get a bit gummy. Take the mixture off the heat and pour into the waiting medium bowl. Stir vigorously and place bottom of bowl into cooling bath to speed cooling, stirring every few minutes to avoid big lumps, until mixture cools.
  4. In large bowl, beat shortening and butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until incorporated and fluffy. Add vanilla and salt, beat until completely incorporated. When cooled, add the flour mixture and beat, at high speed, until completely incorporated - for 5 minutes. When cake has completely cooled, frost cake to your heart's desire!


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