Giving Assistant Review

Giving Assistant is an amazing website! What giving Assistant does is turns your shopping dollars into contributions to charity. All while earning cash back. With a few clicks you can install an add on that lets you know when you are shopping on and eligible website. They offer coupon codes to you. Giving Assistant then donates a portion of your savings. Giving Assistant is a certified B corporation.

I cannot think of an easier way to save money while giving back. Signing up is easy. You can sign up with your Facebook account it takes seconds. There are many non-profits that Giving Assistant donates to. I picked St Jude Children's hospital myself. There are many worthy non-profits to choose from it is hard to pick just one.

You can install the Giving Assistant add on to your browser. This makes saving and earning money easier. Once you set up your account and choose your charity, they will earn when you shop. Because I have the ad on installed on my browser, I can go from each website and shop with ease from the comfort of my home. Giving Assistant gives me coupon codes when I go to the website by the extension. 

Now it‘s fall most of us are refreshing our wardrobes. Since its sweater weather season I use Giving Assistant to shop for a new fall and winter wardrobe. During fall I like to refresh my wardrobe. I like to update clothing that needs to be replaced or has fallen out of style.

Certain articles of clothing will always be trendy during the fall. Especially sweaters. Anything that’s new in the store usually will be stylish and you can’t go wrong with it. Staples for the wardrobe such as spaghetti strap tank tops are affordable at Walmart. I purchase mine at Walmart often for under $2 a top. Basic tees which are also great for layering. Sweaters are easy to find at Walmart and Forever 21.


Both stores have discounted clothing so using the add on saves you more. I always stop at Forever 21 and Walmart first and I pick up all the necessities for wardrobe. I am pretty impressed with Walmarts sweaters this fall. The sweaters are gorgeous and all affordable. I found several trendy ones for $12 or less. 

I shop at ModCloth to pick pieces for my wardrobe that will last throughout the year. Such as skinny jeans. I buy a printed skirt I can use for work and going out. It’s all about the styling. Add a blazer for work. A dressy blouse or tank for date night. ModCloth has some amazing slacks and printed skirts. 


If you have a few basics like solid color tops and cardigans to pair them with you can mix and match your wardrobe. That’s why I love getting print skirt and a pair of slacks. Most of own jeans already. Once you have these pieces, you can mix and match for dozens of looks.

I also like to shop at all three stores for a pair of basic flats for a more casual look. Walmart has the least expensive flats. I also picked up a pair of fall boots this fall Walmart has some amazing on trend fall boots. 

Forever 21 is my favorite place to shop for accessories. I can find great statement pieces for under $10. Forever 21 is also my choice for handbags. The Forever 21 bags are underrated. 
ModCloth is my first stop for dressy items like a little black dress and a holiday dress. 

I plan on visiting all three sites again soon via Giving Assistant. My plan is to take advantage of sales and purchasing gifts for the holidays. Most of the people on my gift list are relatives who shop at Walmart, Forever 21, and ModCloth. 

Because Giving Assistant helps me shop for a cause and their coupons save money, I am a huge fan. Updating my fall wardrobe with Giving Assistant was easy. I will use them again for my Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. I recommend you check out Giving Assistant today. 

Is Halloween Still Fun?

Halloween is amazing. People can be whatever they want. You can be a different person and empower yourself. Some need that night of make believe. It's not even Halloween yet. People want to ruin the Holiday.

Moms asking is my child old enough to trick or treat alone. Moms are asking can my teenager take part or can my kids go out alone?

It’s more than free candy. Halloween is about having a day where we can leave our houses and visit our neighbors and to meet new people. A day to let kids run wild and be kids. Kids are not kids for long. A day of pretending is needed.

We call people helicopter parents if they walk their kids to school. Free range parents let kids walk by themselves and someone calls the cops.

Don’t even get me started on how childhood comes to a crashing halt thanks to the Internet.

Kids are growing faster these days. Kids are finding out things they shouldn’t hear about until they are much older. 

No matter how old you are, I don’t care if you trick-or-treat. I will hand out candy to whoever knocks.

These days people are opinionated and vocal. Who cares where your trick or treaters live. Children come because they want candy. I’m so sick and tired of people with opinions talking about teenagers shouldn’t be able to trick-or-treat. Teenagers are still kids too. Why should we defend kids wanting to act like kids?

Trick or treating has lost its appeal. Most houses on one street turn the lights off and one or two families are passing out candy. Last year one house took garbage cans and blocked off the area that led to the door. If you don't want to take part, put up a sign that says we don’t take part in Halloween or don't answer the door. I don't understand.

I’m not telling people that don’t want to take part they should. If you’re against kids eating candy or you don't want to answer the door, you can get stickers or erasers. Put them out in a bowl by your door, and no one will bother you.

How unfortunate because Halloween used to mean something.

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I remember being a kid and telling my mom I'm going outside and not coming back for hours. No one had cell phones. I didn’t worry about people trying to kidnap me. Grown-ups looked out for kids. If you got lost or hurt, they would help you. If a child misbehaved an adult would tell them to stop.

In the past people cared more. Helped each other out without asking. Judged less.

Other moms and dads would help other peoples children. No one turned a blind eye like I see today. People don't want to get involved. Children could play outside. I'm not saying the world was perfect. But the world seemed safer. People looked out for each other better.

As a child I wandered around all day outside unsupervised. I remember walking places with my best friend. We walked five miles each way to go shopping. I remember going to the mall and picked up hours later or taking a bus.

Halloween was terrific when as a kid. You are out for hours. Trick or Treating started before dark. Knock on doors after 9 and people did not care. They greeted you with a smile.

These days I always wait for dark before trick or treating. Otherwise someone complains that my kids are coming to their house too early. Now if you knock on their door past 9 o’clock, they’ll get mad at you for showing up so late. Halloween is not fun anymore. Is this a Southern California thing? A friend on Facebook I’ve been friends with for 12 years and every year she counts the trick-or-treaters. She loses count after 100 kids.

Our new neighborhood is better. Between the garbage can house and the drinking parents the night seemed sad.

I try not to judge but the mom drinking a large glass of wine and sent her older child back home for a refill. Another group of dads were drinking beer. In public and they did not even try to hide it.

It is sad when a kid is trying to tell their parents what candy they received, and the parents are not answering. Parents gave blank stares and drank or ignored the kids. I love beer. But when did it become ok to drink in public?

I get understand watching the kids can get boring I do. I do not understand the drinking. Did the parents drink to pass the time or cope? They isolate themselves on a night when we should socialize with the people in our community.

Halloween is not fun anymore. People used to care. A house or two never turned on the lights but everyone else passed out candy. Some people put out chairs and socialized. Adults dressed up. People chatted.

This year has been terrible and scary for us adults. I cannot imagine how this past year has impacted our kids. Halloween is the one night where you get to stay out late and eat candy. Kids need a carefree fun Halloween this year. The adults do too.

Halloween is not about being scary and getting candy. Halloween is about community and about welcoming your neighbor's children. I’m suggesting take your kids out this year no matter how old they are just let them have fun.

Halloween used to mean something. Now Halloween is another holiday that lost its meaning to most people. This used to a fun night. My kids will never experience trick or treating the way I did in the eighties and nineties. I try hard so that Halloween is special no matter what. I hope your Halloween is wonderful this year.

Have a Happy Halloween. Dress up, eat candy, carve pumpkins with your kids, and have fun. Check out some Halloween themed clothing items in case costumes are not your thing. 

If this is your first-year trick or treating with your kids or not here are tips.

Halloween Satefy Tips-

  • Eat before the kids go out. They are less likely to dig into the candy when they are full.

  • Make a plan in case you get separated, or someone needs to go to the restroom. I try to stay near home or a shopping center that has bathrooms.  Pick a safe spot for your kids to wait if you get separated until you can get back to them.

  • Bring water. If you put in a spill-proof bottle, it can go right in the treat sack.

  • Make sure cars can see you.  Mom and Dad that means you too. Glow sticks, flashing necklaces, reflective tape, and flashlights work well. I make sure my kids have a glow necklace and stick on their neck. I place extra glow in the dark bracelets on them to make sure they are harder to miss.

  • Tell your kids you need to check their candy before leaving. Make it clear they should eat nothing until it is inspected and why. This Popsugar article is helpful.

  • If it's your kids first year going out alone establish ground rules. Kids need to check in or call. I have Life 360 on our phones so if the kids don't answer I know where they are. The first year they go out alone can be a little nerve wrecking but thanks to cell phones we can worry less.

 Click here to read my post on my top five family friendly Halloween movies.

Is Halloween Still Fun?

My Top Five San Diego Destinations

Most who plan a vacation in California visit either Los Angeles or Disneyland. As much as I love Disneyland California has more to offer than theme parks. This why I encourage those who are planning Disney vacations to spend an extra day and visit San Diego. This helps prevent Disney burnout which can happen pretty easily after being in the parks for days.

Believe or not even in traffic it only takes about an hour and 45 minutes to get from Disneyland to San Diego. People don’t know San Diego is close to Disneyland. San Diego is the perfect place for a family to visit. There are free and inexpensive experiences in San Diego. So here are my five favorite things to do in San Diego.

The first is to visit San Diego zoo that houses over 3700 animals and 650 species and subspecies. Zoo tickets can get pricy but be aware discounts are available. Southern California City Pass gets you admission to Disneyland with magic morning. It will also get you into Legoland and Sea World. They offer an add on for the San Diego Zoo as part of the package.

The San Diego Zoo could be an all day adventure. It can take 4-5 hours it depends on you. If you skip the Safari Park, you can visit the zoo in a few hours if you walk fast enough.

The second place I love to visit is the Whaley House. We visited during the day. Then returned for the night tour. We had so much fun. A night tour is unusual and makes it more memorable. If you do not do the night, I still recommend that you visit the Whaley House. 

Admission is $10 for an adult. Children five and under are free. The Whaley House is  on the national register of historic places. What makes this house so interesting is the Whaley family built their home over a graveyard. The home’s history and uses were interesting. I think this is Southern California’s alternative to the Winchester Mystery House. I enjoyed visiting and will return to the Whaley House again. Every time you visit you discover something you missed the time before.

The third place I love to visit is Mission San Diego de Alcala. Steeped with history Father Junipero Serra dedicated  Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769. Mission San Diego de Alcala the first of the 21 Spanish missions in California. Within walking distance of Old Town the mission is a wonderful place to visit. Mission San Diego de Alcala is a beautiful and understated place.


The Maritime Museum in San Diego is something you will want to check out. Adults can visit all the ships for $18. Children 3 to 12 admission is $8. There are family packages. They have many ships such as the star of India the Californian. Besides the historic ships they have a B 39 Soviet submarine. How many times can you say you have been on a de-commissioned submarine?


The final place I visit is Old town San Diego. Walk around and enjoy the gaslight quarter of town. There is so much to do in old town San Diego you could spend an entire day walking exploring. Old Town has amazing restaurants you can authentic Mexican food. I love to visit El Campo Santo Cemetery. There are shops that sell handmade jewelry. With all the artisans and food Old Town is charming and family friendly.

With San Diego being so close to Disneyland and Los Angeles, you can drive here and spend a sunny day outside. Sand Diego is full of history and has so much to offer. That is why I recommend spending at least one day here if you are ever in California.

With San Diego being so close to Disneyland and Los Angeles, you can drive here and spend a sunny day outside. San Diego is full of history and has so much to offer. That is why I recommend spending at least one day here if you are ever in California. If you enjoyed your time in San Diego, I’d even recommend considering moving to San Diego. Then look into some San Diego real estate for a deal on a house in the area.

For more details, check with the sponsor of this post here.

If you are planning a trip to Disneyland. I have many helpful posts. Here are some helpful posts to help prepare for your Halloween visit to Disneyland. 

If you are traveling with a baby or toddler here is a guide to Disneyland with babies.

Bringing preschool-aged children to Disneyland

How to avoid losing your kids at Disneyland

Wondering if a MaxPass is worth the cost?

Mickeys Halloween Party Tips

Line Tips

Breakfast in the Park with Minnie & Friends

Top 5 San Diego Destinations

80 Day Obsession Week Three Update

I reviewed the first two weeks of 80 day Obsession. You can read that post here. Now I’ve completed three weeks of this workout I’d like to share my thoughts.

I’d like to post I lost so many inches or pounds. That will not happen for a while. With, the amount of stress I’m under and how inconsistent my sleep patterns are weight loss is a challenge. But with eating well and exercise I should at least be able to maintain my weight.

The 80 Day Obsession has helped keep my weight in check. To be honest, my diet needs work. I stated before I won’t diet anymore because it causes more stress than it’s worth. Sometimes the stress of dieting is not worth it. I eat well but I am not eating enough most days. Because I am a busy mom. My body likes to go into starvation mode so I need to make sure I’m eating three meals a day.

If I count my macros and I eat a very strict diet I lose weight almost immediately. But the stress of counting everything and the starving sucks. I can eat the most perfect balanced diet and I still get hungry every few hours. The second I increase my calories by 150 to 200 calories the weight comes back. In the beginning phases of a diet or exercise program most of the weight-loss is water weight.

In my last post I made to mentions of two things problematic for me. One was the loops. Anytime I used a resistance loop it would roll up. That is a problem. I bought an elastic band from Amazon but it’s not something you can use for some exercises. You can use it for most.

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I tried using regular resistance loops throughout the last three weeks. The issue is the bands roll up for me. I wanted to update you loops are still an issue.

I will be honest with you if I weighed 130 pounds, and I wasn’t overweight the loops would not be an issue. I tried several brands. I will try a latex only band next.

The second issue is I wish I’d never bought the sliders. When you sign up to do a workout program or weight loss program you feel like your beholden to it. Like you have to follow it the way they intended. You don’t have to. Many fitness bloggers out there especially Beachbody devoted bloggers make workout mash ups. Like P90X and Turbo Jam. I took a page from their book. Doing something else in place of the 80 Day Obsession cardio workouts.

Can I do the sliders? Yes. I have a bad hip and back to protect. It‘s hard to control of the movements. Momentum and slippery discs affects your motion. I rather not take the risk letting momentum take hold and hurt myself. Even if you are stable and are using your abs, it’s hard to control the movements. So I did a mash up of 80 Day Obsession and YOUv2. I will do YOUv2 on core cardio days. The YOUv2 workouts get my heart rate up better. Because the instructor has you using your arms and legs in the cardio workout.

I feel like there needs to be someone doing modifications for the slide workouts. If Autumn ever does another version, I hope she can include someone who does not use sliders. Sliders can give amazing results. For me they are not worth the risk. I wish that someone showed a similar exercise without a slider.


You need a Beachbody subscription to do 80 Day Obsession, so you do have access to the other workouts. I looked up the 21 day fix Autumn’s original workout. The 10 minute abdominal workout was great, but it strained my back. If you do not care for the sliders, you could try that workout instead.

Here is the perk of 80 Day Obsession for me. I took an unplanned hiatus from running. The last several months my running patterns have been sporadic. I had bronchitis at the start of the year. I recovered, and that took weeks. I developed bronchitis again a month later. This time even worse. If I’m sick, I’ll use my mini stair stepper inside the house to get my 10,000 steps for the day.

When sick exercise can boost your immune system. I was so sick the second time I had to rest. So imagine being sick for 3+ months and having to take about six weeks off. I was coughing so hard for the first for five weeks. I had an inhaler it was terrible.

Disney canceling the runDisney events in California affected my motivation. I lacked the motivation to keep running. I would run when I had a chance. Running was no longer a priority though. Then I did the 80 Day Obsession. When I ran again I was running faster than I was before. Sometimes instead of speed work a break from running is more effective.

If you’re slow runner to get faster, there are speed workouts. Long slow runs can make a huge difference too. I have been running for over 10 years and ran many half marathons and marathons. Since the break I cut three minutes off my mile. After years and I mean 6 years of struggling to maintain a 14/15 minute mile. While running. Not walking or jogging.

As someone whose half PR is 2:06 running that slow was killing me. It made me feel like crap. I got close to breaking a sub13 minute mile this week. When I was running fast and working towards a sub 2 half I was in great shape. For me to run this at my weight is a miracle. I know the strength training workouts and use of bands played a huge role besides the time off.

So for the past week I ran then come home and did 80 Day Obsession. So as I start the fourth week I am on board 100% for the strength workouts. I don’t care for the cardio workouts and I have no problem substituting it. Some people want to try the 80 Day Obsession and feel it is too hard.

Usually the hard part is is not the strength training program. If you start and it’s too hard use lighter weights or start with no resistance and work your way up. The cardio workouts are problematic for me. You can do these workouts even if they intimidate you if you change it to meet your specific needs. I do not need cardio core workouts. So I am fine with skipping those.

Day 16‘s booty workout was one of the best booty workouts I have ever done. I will weigh in and measure next week and report if there are any changes. Until then I still recommend 80 Day Obsession.

After I wrote this post, I went for my run and I got a sub 13 mile. Yay me!

80 Day Obsession 3 Week Review

The Five Best Stephen King Adaptations

Stephen King holds the record for the most adaptations from a living author. Let’s not forget he has written original screenplays. Remember, Rose Red?

Love or him hate him when his films debut or a miniseries is on television people tune in. Stephen King knows what scares us.

This is why am listing my top five Stephen King adaptations made for television or the silver screen. King writes the better King adaptations himself. Sometimes he modernizes or improves upon the original story.

I debated listing the Shining in here. Undeniably the Shining is a great movie. Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson changed an entire character. Wendy Torrance was no longer a strong woman she was a meek and somewhat submissive woman. Shelley Duvall gave a great performance, but she is not the Wendy Torrance that you meet in the book. I also think because Kubrick made so many changes that is why Stephen King hates the movie and even remade it. Out of respect to King who is my favorite writer of all time I left it off the list.

So my first choice is The Stand. The Stand is one of my favorite Stephen King novels made into a miniseries in 1994. King wrote the screenplay. Starring Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamie Sheridan, Laura San Giacomo to name a few. The ensemble all-star cast is amazing. Let’s not forget the performance by Rob Lowe who was it adorable this movie. Matt Frewer who is a pro at playing crazy was Trash Can Man. I was also happy to see Corin Nemec. We knew him as Parker Lewis can’t lose and to see him play a nerd was surprising.

The miniseries stayed faithful to the book. I can watch it a couple times a year and still feel entertained. The Screenplay updated the book a little. The miniseries omitted the short side stories that would make you cry. Which I appreciated. The movie also had the element of optimism.

The special-effects now are outdated it might seem cheesy. But for 1994 this was a good movie and any movie that can open with don’t fear the reaper as its song is awesome in my book.

What’s scary about this movie King preys upon our worst fears of a viral pandemic. The flu is not scariest part of the apocalypse it is the aftermath. No matter what theme you’re going for zombies or war it’s the people that survive that you have to worry most about. King was one of the first modern authors to use that trope.

The Stand can be a little cheesy. The protagonists of the story were still wholesome and hopeful and it was refreshing. Most horror films you find the survivors are flailing about without a plan or hope. The characters still have faith.

If you have a lazy weekend to check out this movie, I recommend it. Keep your eyes peeled for a Sam Raimi cameo.

Salem’s Lot is another Stephen King adaptation from a novel made into miniseries. I’m not talking about the second one made in 2000 that once again starred Rob Lowe. I’m talking about the one released in 1979 directed by Tobe Hooper.

It was great. I liked the screenplay I felt the screen play was faithful to the book and didn’t change too much. And it was also terrifying. Salems lot was a made for TV movie and the little vampire children were frightening.

If you are a Dark Tower fan, you’ll understand Salem's Lot ties into the Dark Tower. A certain character has a part in the film.

David Soul famous for Starsky and Hutch starred as our hero Ben Mears. He returns home to Salems Lot after the death of his wife. He returns to write a book on the Marston house and it turns bad for him. Ben meets a woman named Susan Norton. He ends up having a romantic relationship with and things don’t go well, Thanks to vampires in Salems Lot.

Mears pairs with a local boy named Mark Petrie and they fight the vampires in town. Salem's Lot is worth watching as a vampire movie that ties into the Dark Tower universe.

It is another Stephen King adaptation the original from the 90s. Not that I hold anything against the remake I think it appeals to a younger generation. The setting is now the 80s rather than the 50s but the new Pennywise doesn’t scare me. In fact the whole movie didn’t scare me.

The 1990s miniseries was epic and Tim Curry was terrifying. You can’t look at a sewer drain the same way anymore.

It’s also featured in all-star cast rounded out by John Ritter and Jonathan Brandis who are both no longer with us. It’s hard to watch it without thinking of either actor as each had an important role in the movie. In the 90s when I was a kid of this movie was scary you could rent it on VHS. It took all day to watch and it was terrifying to watch It.

Although it’s a scary movie, there is hope there were moments of happiness in the movie. For me I kind of felt like the remake lacked that aspect which helps break up the tension. Maybe that’s why it was easier for Pennywise to scare me in the 90s version. They would have flashbacks of the losers club or do something fun together. It would break up the tension and then Pennywise would show up and it was scary.

True confession I read this book when I was about 11 years old and I couldn’t finish because it scared. One day I plan on reading it. If you’re fond of the book, I suggest you pick up 11/22/63. A few of the key players from It appear in 11/22/63.

My fourth pick is Pet Semetery. The blockbuster kind of ruined Mary Lambert's directing career. Before Pet Semetery was a well known and sought after director of music videos.

The movie follows a young doctor and father Louis Creed. Louis Creed is played by Dale Midkiff whose other well-known movie is Elvis and me. Louis has moved his family to Maine from Chicago. A series of tragic events unfold.

Jud Crandall is Louis neighbor and friend. Played by Fred Gwynne best known as Herman Munster. I don’t recall Jud scaring me but he tells a disturbing story. Jud also gave Louis Creed the idea to use the Pet Cemetary. Was Jud responsible for everything that happened after Church died? Many people feel Jud was scary too. Let me know in the comments if you felt Jud was frightening?

Pet Semetary is terrifying even if you remove Zelda and Victor Pascow. The worst thing that could happen to anyone is losing a child. That’s what this movie is praying upon is the loss of your child. King's daughter Naomi's cat was run over by a truck. Then later the same week his son Owen had a close call and King stopped him before he ran into the road. Hence Pet Cemetary was born.

We all know Gage Creed dies and his dad buries him in the pet cemetery. Gage comes back not right. Little Miko Hughes went from cutest little baby you’ve ever seen in a movie to being a terrifying monster.

Mary Lambert knocked it out the park for her first directorial debut. The problem is she signed on for Pet Semetery 2 which was a bad movie. Despite having great actors. It was a bad script. Mary Lambert never directed a hit movie again after that. It’s a shame because she did a great job with the original movie. She directed Halloweentown II and episodes of the Blacklist.

 

Carrie is another amazing King adaptation. That opening scene in the locker room. We It left an impression on everyone. Carrie is the girl most of met at least once. Shy, misunderstood, and bullied.

Remove all Carries telekinetic powers you still have a frightening and relatable story. We can all relate to Carrie being persona non grata at school. As a teenager that’s the worst thing not to be liked at school. When your classmates dislike you and make fun of you your life can be miserable.

I have not even brought up Carries mother Margaret. An abusive religious zealot who likes to lock Carrie in the closet. Piper Laurie was remarkable in her role. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie both received Oscar nominations for this film.

Carries classmates conspire to prank her during prom. Which causes her telekinetic powers to go haywire.

Since Carrie was the first Stephen King novel made into a movie, it was crucial that it was a good movie.

Could you imagine what Kings career surviving if this movie was bad? Imagine someone other than Sissy Spacek playing Carrie? We wouldn’t have all the movies we have today. Stephen King is a massive part of our pop culture. King's influences reach wide so it’s a great thing that this movie was a success!

There we have it my top five Stephen King adaptations. Next week I will list the top five Stephen King adaptations that suck.

Check out my post on my 13 favorite 80's horror movies here. 

Stephen Kings Worst Adaptations can be found here.

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