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.


  1. Replies
    1. Give me potatoes and I'm so there, Angela!

  2. Wonderfully, informational post, RO...but you are very good this kind of posting :)
    That potato recipe looks and sounds yummy...must try this!
    I am afraid that I could never watch "Gimme Shelter"...I would never have enough tissues to make it through the movie.
    I have the CD where Celine Deon sings "Beauty and the Beast"...its a great CD!
    Thankfully their are caring people like Kathy DiFiore in this world of ours...God Bless Her and others like her.

    Have a great Sunday, RO and a wonderful new week~

    1. Jan, you're just the best person ever for giving such positive vibes! Celine Deon is amazing for sure! It was a great show, for sure. This recipe is super yummy! Hugs...

  3. Ah, Ro. I never could decide what to comment on whenever you write a post. It's always so informative and often times, socially relevant.

    You're awesome.

    1. Let's just put it out there, Joyous Joy - we need you to move next door so we can hang out and give each other compliments over coffee, books and chocolate!(lol) Love ya!

  4. Those potatoes sound delicious! I'm a big fan of anything involving cream cheese. The wedding stats were interesting. I'm not really a wedding person myself. I used to work at a museum that was also the location for a lot of weddings and after seeing all those and all the stress when I got married we just went to the courthouse! I do not regret it!
    I'm not sure I could watch the movie though it does sound powerful but the bio on Kathy DiFoire was fascinating. What an amazing woman! Have a great week!

    1. LOL! I don't blame you one bit for keeping your wedding simple and budget friendly, Katherine. Yes, yes, yes to potatoes! That movie was painful, but like you, I give major kudos to Ms. DiFiore.

  5. The kitties are so cute..and I want my couch. I am loving the recipe, something so comforting about potatoes. I could never be a secret shopper. I loath shopping. Now interet secret shopper..I could nail it!

    1. Secret Internet Shopping sounds like fun,and what a great idea, Kim! I do love those little cat pics, too. Like you, I'm a serious fan of potatoes and cheese. Hugs...

  6. Wow, that is wonderful what Kathy did. I salute her hard work helping others.

    That recipe sounds so good. I make mine a little different but I like to try new recipes too. A secret shopper? How neat. I don't go out near enough yet to do something like that. Have fun with it though.

    1. I don't secret shop nearly as much as I used to Mary, due to time, and having to write such in-depth reports, but when I do visit somewhere coll and have it paid for, I love it! Potatoes are always in, right? (lol) Hugs...

  7. Love the digest as always... my two cents about all the wedding brouhaha. I feel like it's been turned into an industry and have somewhat lost its solemnity. Sigh

    1. You know, that's a really good point, Braine. Marriage in general has changed, and after spending a ton of money, the relationship dies and the marriage over. More stats! (lol) Thanks for the kudos, and hope your week is going well, so far. Hugs...

  8. blessings......
    You could never go wrong with mash potatoes
    thanks for the FYI on secret shoppers ads.

    have a blessed week

  9. omg I'm stuck on the potatoes. NOMS! I love mashed potatoes. So gonna have to make these this week :D


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