Sunday, February 21, 2016


Before we get started, let's give a super shout out to my girl Kim of, who lovingly does her weekly meme every Sunday about news, reviews, books and other great info.  Now on to our rockin' recipe!

2 Lbs medium red potatoes, quartered
1 Bay Leaf
3/4 Cup Milk
4 oz. Cream Cheese, at room temp
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Tsp Pepper
1/8 Tsp Onion
2 Tbs Minced Fresh Chives
Butter and Parsley - Optional

In a pot, combine potatoes and bay leaf with enough salted water to cover.  Over high heat, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, then cook until tender.  Drain, return to pot.

In a small pot, heat the milk, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, pepper and onion powder over medium-low heat.  Cook, stirring frequently until the cheese is melted, and mixture is hot - about 5 minutes.

Mash the potatoes, stir in the milk mixture and chives.  Top with butter and parsley.

Of course, if you want to spice things up a bit, feel free to add some cayenne pepper.  Want more cheesy goodness, add cheddar to your mixture.

Are you a Disney fan?  If so, you already know there is lots to celebrate at Disneyland for their 60th anniversary, and fans can check out some of the action on ABC tonight at 8pm.

Speaking of Disney, did you know that the  Beauty and the Beast theme song won 2 Grammy's in 1993, and guess who was  the now very famous singer?  If you guessed Celine Deon, you'd be right on the money.

Don't click on pop-up ads or open e-mails claiming to be Mystery Shoppers, because they aren't legitimate.  If you do, you may end up in Spam hell! (lol) There are, however, lots of places that pay you to Mystery Shop if you have an eye for detail, and can provide descriptive reviews.  I've been a member for about 4 years and have never had a problem.  Here are a few that are good.  Also, this site offers up some great places to visit if you're job hunting that you may not find anywhere else.

Best Mark – positions available: mystery shopper and exit interviewer (interviewing customers exiting the store). Minimum 21 years of age, reliable transportation, good communication skills. BBB accredited.
Customers Impact – shoppers needed not only for all US locations but international as well (Mexico, Canada, Aruba, Jamaica, japan, Taiwan, Hong Cong etc.). Not BBB accredited.
Intelli Shop –  before applying you will have to read and agree to the Independent Contract Agreement. When this is done, enter your email address and you will be redirected to the sign up form.
JobSlinger – a free service (as opposed to JobslingerPlus which is fee based) that can assist you in finding companies that have recently posted work in your area. It pulls information from those SASSIE companies that choose to participate, from the Volition job board, from the MSPA job board and from a few other sites.
Market Force – anonymous shoppers needed for gasoline stations, fast food restaurants, drug stores, computer stores, warehouse clubs, wireless telephone providers, etc. BBB accredited.
Market ViewPoint – nationwide assignments; they are working with SASSIE and MMS so you will have to register and check both of them for available jobs in your area. 
Mystery Shoppers – an MSPA member, all you have to do is click on this link and sign up. Once you sign up, when we have shops in your area, you will start getting emails of the shops we have available.”
Premier Service – if you want to work with them, you need a PayPal account, and it’s the only method of payment.. After you agree with their privacy policy you will be taken to the sign-up page.
Restaurant Cops  obviously restaurants only so you get paid to eat! I should go for this one but unfortunately when I’m hungry I can’t see anything around me but food. 
Ritter Associates – MSPA member and BBB accredited, Ritter Associates is looking for “high quality and responsible secret shoppers who can work flexible hours without supervision”.
Sinclair Customers Metrics . To become a shopper for this agency “it’s easy

Nope, I'm not a Justin Bieber fan (lol), however, I am super impressed that he plays the drums, piano, guitar AND trumpet, and is totally self-taught.  He was also savvy enough to get discovered by posting his entertainment skills on YouTube to get discovered.

I love doing research for various things for some weird reason, and have found a study that was recently released from The Knot on wedding trends and stats from 2014.  All I can say is if you're thinking of getting married in Manhattan, or just about anywhere in NY, you may want to rethink that! (lol)  Also, a close friend of mine that I've known for 28 years is FINALLY getting married.  He's a record producer and well-known celebrity now, and super funny.  Yet, because he knows so many women, I just knew that no one would ever snag him and get him to the altar.  Mad love to his fiance, and I already love her like a sister for loving one of my closest friends.  Congrats Raymond!

Top 2014 Wedding Statistics
  • Average Wedding Cost: $31,213 (excludes honeymoon)
  • Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan$76,328 average spend
  • Least Expensive Place to Get Married: Utah$15,257 average spend
  • Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,357
  • Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29; Groom, 31
  • Average Number of Guests: 136
  • Average Number of Bridesmaids: 4 to 5
  • Average Number of Groomsmen: 4 to 5
  • Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)
  • Average Length of Engagement: 14 months
  • Most Popular Month to Get Married: June (15%) followed by October (14%)
  • Popular Wedding Colors: Ivory/White (44%), Blue (37%), Pink (28%), Metallics (26%), Purple (23%)
  • Dark blue specifically has continued to grow every year, from 10% in 2008 to 24% in 2014
  • Percentage of Destination Weddings: 24%

The other day I watched a movie called "Gimme Shelter" with Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson and Brendan Fraser. I had no clue this was a real story, until the end of the program.  Some critics hated the movie,

yet despite that, the acting was raw, and some of the things that happened to this 16 year old kid was atrocious.  She was homeless, abused, had a mother who was addicted to crack,
 pregnant, and at one time, her own mother attacked her with a razor blade.  I cried like a baby because it reminded me of what so many women are going or have gone through. But there is hope because this movie also depicted Kathy DiFiore, the founder of Several  Sources Shelters, located in New Jersey.  At one time, she was homeless, yet here is her bio.  This is a powerful message to remind us that if we have support, and someone takes the time to listen to our stories, we can survive.  It takes persistence and not giving up when doors are closed. We can pay it forward to all those other people in need.  It just takes one person at a time.

Kathy DiFiore, Founder of the Several Sources Shelters received her Undergraduate Degree in Psychology from the University of Rochester in 1969. In 1979, she received her MBA from NYU and is currently studying for her doctorate in Education at the University of Phoenix online. From 1970 to 1978 she was a member of the NY State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Committee.  Her business career included holding the position of Personnel Director, American Express, Credit Card Division and Personnel Director at Degussa  Chemicals Corporation.
In 1981 Kathy decided to turn her own New Jersey home into a Shelter for mothers and their babies.  As the demand for her help for pregnant women grew, Kathy made a decision to leave the corporate world and devote full time to helping mothers and babies in need.  She is now operating four residential shelters in New Jersey, a 24-hour national hotline 1-800-662-2678 for pregnant women and five informative websites which receive about a million visitors a year.
Several Sources also has a fifth shelter called “Ladies Rest” in Newark, NJ for women who are homeless and in need of daytime help to get back on their feet.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


This is a really good recipe from Hungry Girl, but if you don't care about the calories, skip all that sugar-free and light stuff and go all out with the real deal! *heh*

6 ozLight Orange Juice Drink
1½ ozTequila
1 tspSugar Free Calorie Free Raspberry Flavored Syrup

Pour juice drink and tequila into a glass filled halfway with ice. Stir to mix. Add syrup and gently swirl. sip and smile. Just not at the same time, or your drink will dribble down your chin. Makes 1 serving. 134 calories

Has anyone noticed that when it's super cold outside, people seem much friendlier, and it's the opposite when the heat is blazing?  Here in NC, we had some nippy weather, but I forgot all about it because everyone I met smiled as they shivered.

How come we never end up with jobs that we're really good at? For example, I'm not bad with trivia, finding gourmet cheeseburgers and reading, so why in the world am I not making money by using those talents?  I meet people all the time who are awesome chefs, gifted writers, or brilliant researchers, but they work in computer programming, fast food joints, as secretaries, etc..  How does that happen, and have you ever tried to get jobs that focus on your talent?

I have a serious girl crush on the singer Adele, so I was thrilled to see her perform a LIVE concert on BBC.  Not only did she sing my favorite Skyfall, but they set up an Adele sing-alike, where people auditioned to sound and sort of look like her.  Backstage, "Jen" showed up to try-out and no one had a clue who she really was.  Until she sang, The looks on everyone's faces were priceless AND they were able to meet their idol.  Adele just seems so down to earth, and dang it, I hate that things went super crazy for her at the Grammy's!  But guess what? She's on Ellen this Thursday at 4pm!!!  Yay, yay!

In case you didn't already know - my other girl crushes are Martha Stewart, Gwen Stefani, Janet Jackson, Oprah, Tina Fey and Ellen Degeneres.  

Let me first give some kudos to Michael Jordan for once being a brilliant and talented athlete.  That being said - because he was a serial cheater with his first wife, this is not a man I'd like to hang out wth.  Even more, there's no way I'd pay $300 for a pair of tennis shoes, even if I was independently wealthy.  But many may not agree with me.  In New York the other day a man posted a pair of his Air Jordans on Craigslist for sale, eventually meeting up with a 17 year old kid who agreed to purchase them. Instead of giving up the cash for the shoes, this kid pulled out a gun, threatened the seller, stole them, and bolted. Pissed off, the seller made a u-turn, chased the kid and ran him over, actually severing his arm!  Yikes!  Can you believe this kid got up, still with the shoes and hopped on a bus to get away...again.
The seller told the bus driver he's been robbed, then grabbed the kid off the bus.  This persistent kid got away again and managed to make it home before passing out.  He was eventually taken by ambulance to a hospital and is stable condition WITHOUT those Air Jordans, and a quick trip to jail.

If you're on of those people who keep a ton of stuff in the fridge and forget what you have, this is a great tip.  Ball up some old newspaper, and put in the back of the fridge.  The paper will absorb any yucky odors that may be lingering.

Vets like to read, watch movies or play games when they have some spare time, so when you can, visit: to visit their forum.  Doing this allows you to see their specific requests.

You'd be surprised how many female veterans are actually homeless.  They are living in their cars, hopping from couch to couch with friends/family, living in shelters, or literally living on the streets.  Some have left home due to an abusive relationship, others have lost their jobs, and many suffer from PTSD or depression. Sometimes these women are afraid to ask for help.  Even worse, are those who do manage to seek assistance, only to not have phone calls returned, noses turned up by strangers, ridiculed and laughed at, or treated with indifference.  There are some places that offer help, but it takes some persistence. 

In trying to help a friend, someone actually recommended who offers help to the homeless. Of course, I was a little starstruck as I met this tall, dark and handsome former Special Ops guy, (who's very happily married-lol) and he unselfishly assisted my friend who was homeless with resources, cash and lots of advice.  Kudos to Ray and his talented team.  He also admitted that his organization had actually never helped a female veteran, and I thought that was interesting. 

Poverty, not having a place to call home, and abuse affect so many people.  If you can, reach out to someone in need, even if it's just listening, or offering a hug.  Your actions can make all the difference.

If you need a laugh today, check out my best friend Grumpy Cat!

Thursday, February 11, 2016


I don't know if anyone really cares about this, but to me it's a super big deal.  Most grocery stores have a policy that they aren't responsible if a cart damages a vehicle.  If this is the case, then why do so many people refuse to take the cart back in the store, or put it in the cart holder?  On any given day at Wal-Mart, Food Lion and more, there are wayward shopping carts all over the parking lot, just waiting for that little bit of wind to cause one to viciously attack a car.  Am I alone in my rant?

Things are really changing in the supermarket world.  There are signs directing people to visit the checkout with 12 or less items, or 20 or less items.  How about no one seems to be paying any attention to these rules?! Also, more and more self-checkout registers are popping.  Every time I use one, something weird happens, so I end up standing in the 12 items or less line behind the person with 48 items. (lol)

How come no one seems to get along on reality television shows? The backstabbing, mean comments, hair pulling and champagne throwing is a regular thing.

How come a 16.oz bottle of Coke or Mountain Dew, etc. is $1.59 or more, and the 2 Liter Bottle is $.99?  Something is very wrong with that.

You've been wearing the same size shoe like forever, and decide to try a new shoe store.  You find a shoe that's totally perfect and purchase it without trying it on.  How about when you get home, that dang shoe is either way too big or way too small.  What the heck?  Several years ago, I took a quick day trip from Virginia Beach to NC, and found these wonderful purple shoes(yep, that's my fave color).  Intent on picking up some hot wheels, I grabbed those shoes, paid and ran out the door to my next adventure.  A little while later, I made the 2 hour drive home and realized I had 2 left shoes!!!! Does that sound crazy or what? (lol) Valuable lesson learned.

I love Valentine's Day, and have found that this day of love is definitely more focused on us women, and men aren't all that into it.  This, of course, is yet another reason for more chocolate, which I'll never turn down, but I'd be super thrilled if I received a gift card to Barnes and Noble, a romantic card, and a cheeseburger with unlimited fries from Red Robin. (lol)  I've also run into a few people who break up a few days in advance so they don't have to get gifts. *heh* What about you?  Any plans for heart day this weekend?

Thursday, February 4, 2016


February 4th is a great day to be born! My mom, who is up in heaven and smiling right now, was born today, and it's also Thank Your Mailman Day, and Stuffed Mushroom Day. I'd like to thank the mailman, but I never seem to see him or her around, so while I'm out and about today, I'll be sure to wave to all the mail people and give them super big smiles!

Mushrooms are good for you and a natural fat burner, but they're still not my fave, so they won't be getting any special love today. *heh*  If you're feeling very inventive with lots of energy, you'll also be pleased to know that you Can Create a Vacuum Cleaner today.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016





  • Prep
  • Cook
  • Ready In
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together the animal cracker crumbs, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules in a bowl. Pour in the melted butter and mix until evenly moistened. Press into the prepared springform pan and set aside.
  3. To make the filling, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, the cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons instant coffee, and the cornstarch in the bowl of an electric mixer; stir until blended. Add the softened cream cheese and beat until the sugar mixture has been incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding the vanilla extract with the last egg. Fold in 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, then pour into the prepared crust.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) and continue baking 2 hours. Turn off the oven, and let the cheesecake stand in the oven for 2 hours more before opening the door. Remove and cool to room temperature.
  5. Once the cheesecake has cooled, melt the chocolate chips and milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan, and spread the marshmallow cream evenly over the top. Spread or drizzle the chocolate over the marshmallow cream and sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped pecans overtop. Chill completely before serving.  Thanks to Allrecipes for this tasty chocolate treat!

When we think of those who are homeless, disheveled clothing, body odors, cups for handouts, or sign holding is what comes to mind.  But did you know that according to the National Health Care for Homeless Council, the true definition of homelessness is this: "A homeless individual is defined in section 330(h)(5)(A) as “an individual who lacks housing (without regard to whether the individual is a member of a family), including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility (e.g., shelters) that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a resident in transitional housing.” A homeless person is an individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets; stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or non-permanent situation. [Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C., 254b)] An individual may be considered to be homeless if that person is “doubled up,” a term that refers to a situation where individuals are unable to maintain their housing situation and are forced to stay with a series of friends and/or extended family members. In addition, previously homeless individuals who are to be released from a prison or a hospital may be considered homeless if they do not have a stable housing situation to which they can return." 

With that definition, you may be surprised to know that the people you work with, meet in the pharmacy, or see sitting in a supermarket parking lot, are actually homeless and hungry.  So that means that some of the bloggers you know may be using the library, McDonald's or other places to blog every day, but could be living in their car, sleeping on someone's couch, or in a shelter. Some even have kids that need to get to school on a daily basis.But somehow, something drives them to keep blogging and focusing on the positive, no matter what.

Sadly, the people who end up in this type of situation are more embarrassed than you can imagine, and they're often looked down upon.  Many are ill. Even if they're lucky enough to live with a relative or friend for a short period of time, they're considered to be the black sheep of the family, ridiculed and treated differently.  The showers they've been accustomed to taking is a thing of the past. They can't find a job, they've left abusive relationships, they're veterans who are unable to get back on track, or they can't take the nonsupport of family who profess to be helping. Just because you see them blogging, does not mean they are okay. They feel alone, frustrated and unloved. On holidays they'll read about families who are enjoying a good meal, or watching movies on television.  This is the plight of the homeless.