October is Adopt a Shelter Pet Month (giveaway ends 10/31/17)


I cannot imagine a life without pets. My earliest memories included pets (our dog Dutchess).

Over the course of my lifetime we’ve had dogs, cats, a horse, hamster, birds, fish and Hermit Crabs.

Almost all of our pets have been adopted. The only “purchased” pets were the horse, my sister’s dog (he was a purebred), and the other little critters. The rest of our pets have been adopted from local animal shelters – including a hamster we named Lucy.

I am a die hard animal lover. It pains me to see animals living our their lives “behind bars” in animal shelters across the country. In my heart I believe that all animals, big or small, deserve a “forever home” with a family that will love and care for them.

When my husband and I got married and I moved away from home I had to leave my pets behind. Our one cat had Diabetes and my parents knew we couldn’t afford her medications. Our other cat enjoyed being outside, and living where we do she wouldn’t be able to do that (it wouldn’t be safe).

It was torturous not having a pet in my life. To make up for that I would visit the local animal shelter at least once a week to socialize with the animals. That is where I met our first adopted cat (as a married couple). He was a HUGE gray cat that the shelter named “Pixie” for some odd reason (he was HUGE and he was a HE). When I opened the cage to pet him he leap into my arms! It was love at first site.

Pixie was an older cat (the shelter believed he was around 10 years old – we believe he was older). That didn’t matter. I told my husband about him and he told me we should go adopt him – and we did.

Pixie lived several years with us until he passed away.

When we still had Pixie we felt like maybe he’d want a friend, so we adopted another cat. He was a feral kitten that our neighbor had rescued. He’s the only cat we didn’t adopt from an animal shelter. We named him Velcro because that it what it sounded like when we peeled him off the furniture. LOL!

When Pixie died we adopted another kitten to keep Velcro company. Our kids named her Kitty.

Afterwards we adopted two more cats – Padmé and Anakin. We also adopted our beloved dog, Espn, from the same shelter. Sadly, we had to put Espn to sleep earlier this year. He had an incurable liver disease.

Our last adopted four-legged family member is our cat Bella. We were originally fostering her (we’ve had her since she was one day old!). After raising her for three months we knew we couldn’t just give her back to the shelter to be adopted out again, so we formally adopted her.

We feel like were were meant to adopt Bella. She has a lot of health issues ($$$$!!!!). We feel like if we had given her back to be adopted to someone else the new family might have put her down due to her health issues, or she would have remained in the shelter for her entire life, considered “adoptable” or “special needs.” No animal should live our its life in a shelter.

It’s hard to afford Bella’s doctor’s visits and medications, but we do what we can (scrimp, save and live by a budget). We’d do anything for her and our other “furbabies.” They mean the world to us.

October is Adopt a Shelter Pet Month. Our family firmly believes that you can find that special family member in your local animal shelter. There are so many pets to choose from! Big, small, young, old, mutt, purebred – even other animals (not dogs or cats). We’ve seen goats, rabbits, hamsters (we adopted our hamster from the shelter) and other creatures.

I love this article about why adopting a dog (rather than purchase from a pet store or breeder) – 8 Reasons why adopting a dog is a wonderful thing to do.

If you have the financial means to do so, please consider a special needs pet. What you’ll get back in love and affection makes the money you spend on medications and vet bills worth it. That is how we feel about our cat Bella. It just breaks my heart knowing that animals that might not be “perfect” or have some health issues are considered hard to adopt, or unadoptable. Why? They have feelings and can give so much love just as much as any other animal.

Please consider adopting an older animal too. They can give you just as much love and affection as a puppy/kitten. Not only that, they are already housebroken. If you prefer a more mellow dog or cat (compared to an overly active puppy or kitten) an older pet is the way to go.

Here is a great article on the benefits of adoption an older pet – Adopting a Senior Pet.

Due to recent weather catastrophes (Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey), MANY animal shelter in the affected areas are in dire need of not only supplies, but also people to foster (and ideally adopt) many animals. Even your local animal shelter needs supplies and volunteers.

I used to volunteer to take photos of the available animals for adoption for PetFinder.com at our local shelter. It was a lot of fun.

We also donate food, old blankets, towels, accessories and anything else we can think of.

I you need more ideas, check out this article – Giving to Your Local Pet Rescue.

In honor of Adopt a Shelter Pet Month I have a wonderful giveaway for a lucky reader. The winner will receive, compliments of Petcurean, the following;

  • 25lb bag (winner’s choice of which Petcurean brand/recipe) 
  • One bag of Spike treats

You can learn more about Petcurean foods at Petcurean.com. You can also find the brand on social media.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on October 31, 2017. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me about your adopted pet (past or present), or why you would (or would not) adopt a pet from a local shelter.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I have partnered with Petcurean to provide you with this information and giveaway. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. Petcurean will be providing the prize package. 

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Go with the Gut: 7 Foods to Eat for Better Skin, Hair and Mood


All symptoms of the body from thin, dull hair, and sallow skin, to acne breakouts, body aches and sluggish energy all point to the gut. Gut health is incredibly important making mindful eating an essential part of longevity and anti-aging. If you want to feel vibrant and maintain a youthful appearance up to 15 years younger than your actual age, start weaving these key foods into your diet.


When we have an overgrowth of candida in the gut we experience things like acne breakouts, bloating, and constipation. Garlic mitigates all of this because it kills candida. Garlic also aids in digestion and immunity. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties making it ideal for joint aches. Allicin, which serves as an anti-aging, antifungal benefit to garlic aids in smoothing skin and preventing acne and other skin conditions.

Ground Flaxseed:

Responsible for helping food to travel effortlessly and smoothly through the GI tract, flaxseed keeps us regular. Flaxseed also contains cancer fighters called lignans which also ward off heart disease. Flaxseed helps to minimize rashes, skin flare ups and irritation. When you consume flaxseed your skin becomes more even toned and less sensitive.

Apple cider vinegar:

One of the best ways to address any digestive issues is to combine a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water or in tea and drink it before a meal. It helps your body to break down food. It helps with to prevent indigestion and stomach issues after eating. Anytime you can aid the digestive process you’ll notice glowing skin and a youthful radiance.

Celery & Celery Juice:

Another anti-inflammatory and cancer fighter celery also lowers blood pressure and rids us of sugar cravings (and sugar makes the skin sallow and leads to breakouts). The natural salts in celery juice maintain a healthy gut pH. The common recommendation is to drink 16 ounces on an empty stomach and improvements to digestion and physical appearance will be evident within 10 days.


High in fiber, cauliflower helps the gut maintain healthy microbes. This is important because when microbes or gut flora are out of whack a whole slew of symptoms become evident. These include digestive issues, depression or anxiety, and skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.

Fermented foods:

Kimchi is delicious and sauerkraut or pickled vegetables can make for a nice topping to a salad or mid-day snack. These fermented foods are packed with good bacteria which balances the microbiome, which is the anchor for our health and immunity.


Another “prebiotic” fiber that keeps the gut healthy and balanced is asparagus. You can add garlic to it and broil it in the oven offering a 1 -2 punch of gut friendly foods in one delicious side dish. It’s important to note that people who suffer from stomach pain may not do well with prebiotics in larger amounts. If the gut is already inflamed these foods can cause a flare up.

Pile of asparagus on the kitchen table

About the Doctor:

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson’s. Connect with him via twitter @drcalapai or at www.drcal.net

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Movie Review: Escape Room


Available now on DVD is the thriller, Escape Room.

The film stars Evan Williams, Annabelle Stephenson, Elisabeth Hower, Dan J. Johnson, John Ierardi, Kelly Delson, and Iris Avalee, to name a few. I am honestly not familiar with any of the actors, but that is OK.

Tyler (Williams) is about to celebrate his 30th birthday. His girlfriend, Christen (Hower) gives him an unusual gift – admission into one of those popular escape rooms. 

If you are unfamiliar with an escape room, they are very popular these days. In fact, my husband and I did one once. Thankfully we came out of it alive, unlike most of the characters in this film (sorry for any spoilers). Escape rooms can be a lot of fun, especially if you do them with a group of people (my husband and I wish we had help solving some of the clues). To ideal of an escape room is to solve mysteries/puzzles in order to escape from the room (or a series of rooms). You have to escape before the clock counts down or you lose. In this film, you lose more than just the game (if you know what I mean?).

The friends all seem to be enjoying themselves, that is until Christen disappears. She reappears again on a video, naked and caged with some kind of clock counting down. Where is she and why is there a countdown clock near her? What happens when time runs out?

The friends soon realize this is not just a game for the fun of it – it’s a game for the lives.

One by one the friends are picked off. But why? Who is doing this to them? Is it someone whose hell bent on destroying Tyler’s birthday (and more?), or is there something more sinister at play here?

To find out you need to pick up a copy of Escape Room. Look for it where ever movies are sold.

I’m not sure if this film is being promoted as a horror movie, or a thriller. I’m leaning towards thriller. As a horror genre fan I was not scared one bit.

This film was a bit predictable, sad to say. Almost from the start you have an idea of what direction the film is heading towards. In a way it reminds me of the Saw movies.

I find it interesting that the characters do not seem like people who would typically do an escape room. They come across as a bit too “snooty” in the film. Going to something fun and adventurous as an escape room would seem out of character for people like them.

The acting wasn’t anything too spectacular (no Academy Awards nominees here), but the Cinematography was pretty good. I was surprised by that.

The whole concept of the film (escaping with your life) is a great idea. It’s one of those “why didn’t someone think of it sooner” sort of thing. Sadly, I don’t think they evacuated the film was well as the could have. It was entertaining, don’t get me wrong about that, but the film had the potential to be a lot better.

My husband and I were entertained enough by the film, but we didn’t love it. It was just “OK.” There were some good parts. Like I said, the film had potential to be great. For some reason it was just lacking something that would have pushed it to the next level.

There are bonus features on the DVD including Director Commentary (I never do the commentary – I am not a fan of it), deleted scenes and oddly enough, bloopers (not as many bloopers and I’d like to have seen).

Below is the trailer for your entertainment.



*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are that of my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Movie Review: Girl’s Trip


Now available today on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download is the comedy film, Girl’s Trip.

Girl’s Trip features Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish.

This film is rated “R”, and rightfully so. If you have seen the red band trailer for this film you’ll know why. It can be a bit raunchy at times.

Girl’s Trip is about four women who are college friends, but have been distant over the years. They were once known as the “Flossy Posse.”

Ryan (Hall) is a self help guru that is married to a retired football player. She is asked to speak at a conference in New Orleans, LA.

Ryan thinks this is a great opportunity to reconnect with her friends, especially Sasha. They had a falling out years ago over business deal that went sour.

Also along for the ride is Lisa (Smith), a very proper, “goody two shoes”, divorced mom and Dina, who has a bit of an “anger issue.”

As you can probably guess, madness and mayhem ensure when this quartet reconnect in the French Quarter. A LOT of craziness ensues.

There is romance, as well as an issue that could rip a pair’s friendship up forever and destroy one of the friend’s lives. I won’t go into much detail, but I wanted to mention that so that people don’t think this movie is just about sex crazed ladies having too much of a good time. There IS a story line/plot to the film.


I wasn’t sure about this film at first. I am NOT a “prude” by any means, but I am also not a fan of overly sexual films/scenes that are obsessed with sex and every sexual joke imaginable. I get it, some of it can be funny, but it’s not necessary to make the entire film revolve around it. This film DOES have A LOT of sexual references and jokes, but thankfully the rest of the film makes up for that and it’s not just about “getting it on.”

This movie is actually pretty funny. These ladies have a great chemistry together. I think that is why their on screen friendship comes across as genuine and believable.

This is a long movie (over two hours) but it honestly didn’t feel that long because there was so much going on at all times that it made time pass quickly. There are also A LOT of bonus materials worth checking out, most especially the Outtakes and Outrageous Moments (great featurettes for more laughs).

Admittedly I didn’t partake in the commentary. I am not a fan of commentaries.


  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Malcolm D. Lee
  • Outtakes
  • Planning the Trip
  • Outrageous Moments
  • The Essence of NOLA
  • Extended Performance “Because of You” by Ne-Yo
  • Feature Commentary with Director Malcolm D. Lee
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Malcolm D. Lee

I’ve never been to New Orleans before, but after watching this film I think I’ll add it to my “Bucket List” of places I want to visit some day, although MAYBE it’s a wee bit too wild for my taste. LOL!

Look for Girl’s Trip where ever movies are sold.

You can also check out the film on social media (GirlsTripMovie on both Facebook and Twitter).

Did you see this film? If so, what did you think about it? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.


*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 


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The Best Athletic Clothes for Winter

*This is a guest post. The opinions are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own.

Image via Unsplash

Just because the weather is getting colder doesn’t mean you can’t lead an active lifestyle outside! One of my favorite things about the changing seasons is being able to switch up my wardrobe. Leading an active lifestyle is so much easier with cute clothes that inspire! Here are some of my picks for the best athletic clothes for winter.

Why Do You Need Winter Athletic Clothes?

Whether you’re a runner or a competitive skier, the right clothes can make a big difference in your training. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a professional, you should invest in quality active wear the fits well and gets the job done.

Summer clothes are usually made of cotton which does a poor job of evaporating sweat from your body. This can leave you feeling colder in already low temperatures, which is not a good thing for your muscles. The key is to search for moisture-wicking fabrics that remove moisture fast so you can focus on your performance.

Thermal Layers

The best way to be prepared for all season changes is to have lots of layers! Having a variety of long-sleeve jackets and sweat gear makes it easy to transform your summer clothes into winter clothes. Before purchasing a new winter athletic jacket, read the label to check for moisture-wicking materials. Wool and spandex are great at keeping moisture away from your body in cold conditions! Be sure to choose clothes which will last all season, and don’t forget to explore different prints and styles.

It’s cold outside!

The Right Underclothes

Sometimes, just layering outerwear isn’t enough. Warmth starts close to the body so it’s worth investing time and energy into finding the right underclothes for your exercise. You don’t want to weigh yourself down with heavy fabrics and blends, but you also don’t want to freeze!

Look for wool and polyester blends which are lightweight and extra warm. The best part of thermal underclothes like long underwear and undershirts is that you can wear them even when you’re not working out! You’ll be surprised by just how comfortable these clothes can be under your regular outfits.

Winter Shoes

Your usual sneakers just might not cut it in the winter months. With slippery surfaces and the damaging effects of ice exposure, you’ll need shoes designed to hold up to cold temperatures. Once again, you’ll need to look for materials that keep the cold out and remove the moisture. Also ensure your footwear has the right amount of traction to protect against slips and falls.

Custom Apparel

Let’s face it, winter clothes can be boring. The best way to motivate yourself in the winter months is to find active clothes that inspire you to keep moving! Get creative with your winter apparel, looking into speciality designs and styles. Find Move U: custom jerseys – team apparel – cheer uniforms that look just as great in the gym as they do outside the gym! Create your own inspiring apparel to see just how empowering it can be.

Active Clothes for Winter

In the colder months, it’s easy to trap yourself inside and save exercising for springtime. This can result in extra weight gain and a lack of confidence in the wintertime. The best way to beat getting stir crazy in the wintertime is through working out regularly.

Don’t assume you have to work out inside just because it’s cold! The right active clothes can turn any winter wonderland into your own personal gym. It’s worth investing in the right winter active wear that can keep up with your active lifestyle no matter the temperature!

Image via Unsplash

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5 Apps to Make Vacation Traveling Easier

*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do no necessarily reflect my own.

Traveling has never been easier for the average person, given the wide array of support applications dedicated entirely to making sure you have a good time. In fact, it’s such a competitive space, that tourism in general has the brunt of some really big corporate names behind it.

With the explosion of the app-dominated smartphone era, it was only a matter of time before vacation travel became an almost entirely-online phenomena – people rarely make phone calls anymore, and use any of a number of apps to book a hiking tour in Arizona, contact an NYC tour bus company, or set up a private jet to Dubai. The world, as they say, is your oyster, and the following apps are dedicated to helping you get to your destination hassle-free.

The Citymapper App

If you think that Google Maps is a pretty good guide, then Citymapper for Android and iOS will literally knock your socks off. It’s considerably more comprehensive, and is marketed as a vacation planner for an ever-growing number of travel destinations. Some of the novel features it includes are bicycle routes for those who like to travel by self-propulsion, as well as real-time information on arrivals, departures and transportation service interruptions.

Additionally, given the popularity of Uber, it should come as no surprise that Citymapper has integrated the taxi service into their app. It’s free to download, and the website has a host of additional features you might find useful.

Tripit – From the App Store and Google Play

Tripit is an app that has expanded to fill a unique and useful niche; it works essentially as an aggregator of sorts. By providing access to your email accounts, this secure app will scan for all travel-related messages – it’s programmed to find booking information, car and hotel rentals and events you might have booked – and makes an itinerary out of them.

If you’ve got safety concerns, don’t worry – you can just send your emails to the app and it will do the rest without accessing your actual email.

LiveTrekker Travel Journal App

The first thing you’ll notice about the LiveTrekker app is how visually stunning the maps are – it’s almost like a high-res video game presentation. You can see trees, stadiums, skyscrapers; all from a satellite-like view that’s much closer to the ground than any satellite could be. A mid-altitude drone might be a more appropriate comparison, in fact.

So what sets Livetrekker apart? It’s a video journal, in the sense that it takes snapshots of your travels and stores them to a cloud drive, which is also synced with your social media accounts. You can share with your friends and family, leaving comments and sending emails through it while on your travels.

There’s a robust community of LiveTrekkers, and you can see where they’ve been and what spots they recommend in the city or country you’re traveling to. It’s one of the best apps around if you like to blog about your travels, since it records everything you tell for later reference.

App in the Air

Gone are the days when flight times and departure/arrivals filled you with anxiety. The App in the Air app is the ultimate flight tracker, and puts information from all of the airlines and airports right at your fingertips. You don’t even need to be connected to WiFi in order to receive information on your boarding time, last call for check-in, when you take off and when you land – including any unexpected delays as the information is received.

How do you get this info if there’s no internet connection around? Simple: via text message. This is very useful when you’re traveling out of the country. App in the Air can be integrated with another app – TripIt, to help you focus on your flight information alone.

Currency Exchange App – XE Currency

Take the math out of shopping once you get to another country. This very popular application is a godsend to tens-of-millions of downloaders ever since it became available in the various app stores. There isn’t a single world currency it cannot convert, so you can be comfortable buying expensive sodas in Milan or paying for your African safari lodge in Kenya – there won’t be any surprises when the bill comes due.

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