Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Irish 31 is Reinventing the Irish Pub


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I like to pretend that I am Irish. Most Americans only pretend on March 16th as they wear green and consume vast amounts of colored beer. I however, pretend year round. I love beer. I love the Irish accent. If I ever get to visit, I am sure that I will love Ireland. What I love most about being Irish though is the food.

Irish 31 owner Jay Mize likes to do things a little different from your typical Irish Pub. It is described best on their website:

"The Irish 31 brand begins and ends with a passion for providing nothing but the best to our patrons, or as we call them, our partners.  From the obvious things like our chef driven food menu and mixology themed drink menu, all the way down to the sinks in the bathrooms, Irish 31 is proud to reset the standard for all Irish Pubs.  Our intimate spaces are specifically designed to create a cozy feel that you might mistaken for your own living room.  Irish 31 combines the traditional aspects of Irish pubs that we have all come to know and love, but also adds a modern twist through a meticulous selection of materials, decor and overall product.  In the end, the Irish 31 brand encompasses the best of all worlds, has never been created, and certainly won't be duplicated.  At Irish 31 we will never claim to be the biggest place, just the best."

Irish 31 has two locations: the original in Hyde Park, Florida and a second location in Westchase, Florida. I recently visited the Hyde Park location and they definitely blew me away. The interior of Irish 31 is very comfortable. From the huge patio that has a fantastic cover band belting tunes to the massive amount of televisions, to the cool Edison light bulbs hanging from the rustic fixtures.

I started my meal with a Painkiller. A Painkiller is a tropical mixed drink made with Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Coconut, Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Pineapple, cream of coconut and orange juice. It is topped with a dash of nutmeg. 


The Painkiller was delicious. The pineapple was very evident, but the orange juice and the coconut flavors were light. I do wish there was a bit more coconut. However, I loved the addition of nutmeg. It helped to cut the sweetness. My Husband decided to go the Irish route (beer) and ordered a Fat Tire on draft. 

For our appetizer we picked a Loaded Boxty:


The Loaded Boxty is a Velveeta cheese, bacon and chive stuffed mashed potato ball that is hand rolled in a special breading and deep fried. They are then baked and served with sour cream.


I have never seen anything like this on a menu before. Every time that I order potato skins in the future I am going to wish that they were Boxty's instead. The Loaded Boxty's are fantastic. The outside breading forms a crunchy shell. The inside is soft and packed with flavor. I was a little concerned about the Velvetta (I prefer real cheese), but the Loaded Boxty is more about the mashed potato and the bacon. I wouldn't even have known it was Velvetta if the menu hadn't told me. Boxty's also come in Legendary (plain), Shepherd's Pie, Corn Beef with Cabbage and Ham n' Cheese.

For my entree I decided to go with something a little different. Jay (the owner) had mentioned to me on a previous visit that he likes to have a variety of items on the menu. If you aren't in the mood for Irish, you can order a Gyro Flatbread, Pecan Crusted Shrimp, a Ribeye or a Turkey and Avocado Ciabatta Sandwich. I decided to try the Shrimp and Grits.


The Shrimp and Grits at Irish 31 is a combination of tiger shrimp, Black Forest ham, bacon, diced tomatoes and red onions folded into cheesy grits. It is the type of meal that you will be dreaming about for awhile. The grits were cheesy and flavorful enough to eat on their own. However, once you have a taste of this incredible sauce (which I could not discern the ham or bacon in), you won't want to eat them by themselves. The shrimp were large, fresh and well seasoned. The entire dish had a slight heat to it that blissfully tingled the back of my throat. Perfection. I will have a hard time ordering something else on my next visit.

This is how much I liked it:


My Husband went with the Fish and Chips:


I initially thought that his fish was overcooked. It looked a lot darker than Fish and Chips that we have had at other restaurants. After tasting a bite, I was amazed. This was some of the best Fish and Chips I have ever tried....maybe even the best. The batter was so incredibly flavorful that I wanted to steal my Husbands meal. I used restraint and settled for two bites. I spoke with the chef and learned that they use a batter that is a combination of Bud Light and Guinness. Wait, what? Bud Light? I am normally very anti-Bud, but it really works well. 

We were beyond stuffed at this point. However, Irish 31 wanted us to try dessert too. Hmm..okay, twist my arm.. I let my picky Husband choose the dessert. He surprised me and picked bread pudding. Normally the thought of bread pudding disgusts him. He had previously seen a picture of the Irish 31 bread pudding which is made in house and wanted to try it. Okay. 


The Irish 31 Bread Pudding comes out warm and crispy. It is sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with Baileys Creme Anglaise. It is heavenly. We planned on taking a bite or two each and taking the rest home. Yeah, that didn't happen. We cleared that bowl. A perfect ending to a delicious meal. 

I also have to take a second to mention the fantastic service. Irish 31 was aware that I would be reviewing the meal, but we sat at the bar surrounded by patrons. We could hear and see that everyone was receiving the same fantastic service. 

My Husband's words as we left summed up our experience, "I have a new favorite Tampa restaurant".  If you are in the Tampa area, make sure you stop in and try Irish 31.


*Disclaimer: My Husband and Myself received a free meal in exchange for this review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own honest thoughts.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

EnvyDerm #Lipplumper Gloss Review + Giveaway



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I have a huge lip product addiction. I always feel the need to try new and different lip products no matter how many lip glosses, lip sticks and lip balms I own. My absolute favorite lip products are plumping glosses. I love the tingling, plumping feeling. I also love the way that they make my lips look. EnvyDerm's lip plumper gloss is not only a lip volumizing plumper, but it conditions your lips too. 


I was sent the EnvyDerm lip plumper gloss in Lola Shimmer. It is a gorgeous shimmery pink color. The container is extremely classy and nice looking with a glass exterior coating. It has a small round mirror on the cap for checking your lips on the go. The wand itself is awesome because the applicator is thin and flat. It allows for the perfect application without wasting any of the gloss. 

Benefits of EnvyDerm lip plumper include:

*Long wearing, non-sticky high shine gloss coupled with a tingly cool sensation to instantly volumize and plump lips
*Sheer to semi-sheer colors provide a beautiful shine with a hint of glistering color to your lips
*Peptides and tripeptides to boost lip collagen for plumper, fuller youthful looking lips with continued use
*Argan oil, pomegranate seed oil and avocado oil to hydrate and moisturize lips
*Green tea, gogi berry and grape seed extract helps to rejuvenate and protect the lips from environmental aggressors and improve the overall lips appearance and health
*Vitamins A, C and E to nourish, moisturize and soften the lips


EnvyDerm can be used over your favorite lip stick, or on it's own. Since Lola is a nice color for me, I have been using it on it's own. I do find the gloss to be slightly sticky, but I don't mind it at all. As long as it has a few minutes to dry before going outside (where my hair can be blown into the gloss), it is fine. I really LOVE the plumping of this gloss. It does feel minty, tingly and slightly burning to me (but not in a bad way). It really soothes my lips which are often sore from dryness. It also reminds me that I am wearing the gloss and makes me feel sexy. 

My natural lips are rather thin. I took two before and after pictures for you to show what my lips looked like before applying the gloss and shortly after applying (note that they probably did plump a little more after these pictures). 



There is a considerable difference with this gloss on. Excuse the fishy face in the second picture. I included it because it really shows the difference of my natural lips compared to my EnvyDerm lips. It is harder to notice in the first picture because my lips disappear when I smile.

I would definitely recommend giving EnvyDerm Lip Plumper Gloss a try. I love it and it is one of my favorite lip plumpers. It is $23 and comes in 10 different colors including clear.

GIVEAWAY:

One lucky Thrifty and Frugal Living reader will win an EnvyDerm Lip Plumper Gloss of their choice.
 
**TO ENTER- Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Note: It may take a moment for the Rafflecopter to load. If you are reading this via RSS or Email, please visit the website to enter** Ends 8/19 11:59pm. 

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*Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Depression and Suicide #RobinWilliams



I found out at 8pm last night. At 8am this morning, I am still in shock.

I did not actually know Robin Williams, but I felt as though I did. 

The world lost a loving, funny Grandfather last night. 

I am not going to pretend to know what was going on in his life or how he felt. I am not going to pretend to understand. 

I have never talked about this, but I have some personal experience with suicide. Luckily, this person in my life has never succeeded. There have been many, many attempts. I used to go to middle school everyday crying and afraid to leave because I was afraid that it would happen....and high school...and even some in college. This person has always been a strong rock to me. A superhero in the eyes of a little girl. You really can never know what demons a person is battling.
 
I don't understand it, but I try to. There is a lot of pain and anger. For the person in my life, it was due to the loss of a very close loved one. They struggled with serious depression over this loss for years and years. They still struggle with it today, but they are stronger. I was a child when it started and did not know what to do. I tried to reassure that person that they were needed and loved. It wasn't enough. I think now, years later, it finally is.
 
This person has depression still but they also know that they have a lot to live for. It was a battle to get to that point. A battle that many do not survive. 

I beg those of you with depression to confine in loved ones. You may feel alone, but you are not. Almost everyone out there has at least some family, some friends, someone that will be heartbroken and torn apart when you are gone. Most of us have dozens. Robin Williams had billions. 

Please, Please reach out. If you feel as though you can not talk to family or friends, call a stranger. There will be no judgement from a stranger on a hotline that wants to make you feel better. Often talking can relieve so much stress, anxiety and anger. Please, try. 

NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website

If you have loved ones that struggle with depression, hug them harder tonight. They do not ask for the depression. They are battling it everyday. It is hard for them. It helps so much to reassure them. There is also help for you out there if you seek it.

To that person in my life, I love you more than anything and I am always here to fight beside you.

I do not pretend to understand, but I do my best to try.

R.I.P. Robin Williams. We loved you, even if you could not feel it. My heart goes out to his family, friends and loved ones. We are all mourning with you. 

Credit: Artist Joe Petruccio

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Exfolimate Exfoliating Tool Review #Exfolimate



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I want to introduce you to my newest beauty secret: Exfolimate. Exfolimate is different from other beauty products….way different. It is not a cream or a supplement. It is a tool. Exfolimate is so incredibly simple and completely genius. 


Exfolimate uses innovative microgroove technology etched into the smooth metal edge of the tool to lift and remove lingering skin cells, dirt out and debris. This unveils younger and fresher skin. While your skin is wet, you hold the tool at a 90 degree angle and drag it along your skin applying light pressure. 
 
I admit that when I first heard of Exfolimate I was very skeptical. I read the Amazon reviews and I NEEDED to try it. So, I agreed to review it myself.  Exfolimate comes with two different tools; one for your face and one for your body. It also comes with two adjustable plastic cords to hang the Exfolimate tools in your shower. 


I was really excited to try Exfolimate on my arms because I have Keratosis Pilaris (KP) which is a skin condition where tiny white bumps appear on the skin. Basically, it always looks like I have “goosebumps” on my arms. 
 
For experimental purposes, I used Exfolimate exclusively on my right arm and did not exfoliate my left arm (I just washed it with soap). I noticed a difference almost immediately. After using the Exfolimate for a few days, I asked my Husband to feel each arm. He was shocked at the huge improvement to my right arm. My skin was so soft and smooth. The bumps on my arm were so much smaller and almost gone. He kept walking up to me and rubbing my arm. He was so impressed that he used Exfolimate the next time he showered. It made his skin feel much better and less oily. Now he is a huge Exfolimate fan as well. 
 
After the initial experiment, I started using Exfolimate on my entire body. My skin is so much softer and smoother. I really notice a difference on my legs and arms. I don’t notice it as much on my face, but I think that is because I already use exfoliating cleanser and moisturizer on my face. 
 
Exfolimate is made with surgical grade stainless steel and will not harbor germs, bacteria or chemicals like loofahs, sponges and shower gloves. To clean it, you simply run it under water and then hang to dry. 
 

For the record, I used to use an exfoliating glove in the shower. I have heard that exfoliating gloves and washcloths are too abrasive and can actually damage your skin and make it oilier. I didn’t really know what else to use…until now. I am so happy that I found Exfolimate. I will definitely continue to use this product. You may even see me in some tank tops (well….maybe after I learn Michelle Obama’s arm workout). 
 
Check out Exfolimate and let me know how it works for you.

 *I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Totally Awesome Amazon Giveaway - TWO readers win $500 Amazon Gift Cards!



Do you love Amazon as much as I do? I am always buying something from Amazon. Not only do they have everything I need for cheap, but they ship it to my door in two days. They also make gift buying for out-of-town family easier. My blogger friends and I are giving away $500 Amazon gift cards to two of our readers this month! If you want to be one of the lucky winners, here’s what you need to do - bookmark this page and come back every day to enter and earn bonus entries by sharing the giveaway with your friends on social media. Good luck! 

GIVEAWAY

Prizes: (2) $500 Amazon gift cards 
 
Organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck! 
 
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Besides the mandatory blog comment entry, all other entries are optional. Giveaway ends 9/4 and is open worldwide.
 
Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

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OOFOS Ooriginal Sandal Review #feeltheOO




As a Floridian, I live in sandals year round. They are easy to take on and off and they keep your feet cooler than socks and shoes. If you have the right pair, they can even be more comfortable. There is nothing like having cool and comfortable feet on a hot Florida day. I recently discovered OOFOS and trust me, they are a brand that you are going to want to try for yourself.
 
Here is a picture of the first time I tried on my OOFOS OOriginal Women’s:
   

I actually received them on my way to work and I couldn't wait to try them. So, picture was taken there. Excuse the old, dirty, corporate carpet. 

Pure Bliss. Do you know that saying that “it was like walking on clouds”? I believe that the person that said that was wearing OOFOS at the time. The OOfoam technology in OOFOS offers:
 
*Unparalled impact absorption
*Superior arch support
*Insane comfort

These are truly the most comfortable sandals that I have ever owned.  They may even be the most comfortable pair of shoes I have every owned.  Since I can’t find the details on the material other than that it is “OOfoam technology”, I am going to explain these shoes to you as I interpret them and hope that my interpretation is correct. They seem to be some mixture of rubber and foam mixed together and poured into a mold. The mold has grooves and raised arches for extra support. The result is super comfortable and bouncy shoes.
 
Here I am in my backyard, a much prettier background :)

My Husband always used to make fun of me for wearing flip flops to amusement parks. He didn’t understand how my feet could survive that. Well, that was before my numerous injuries (broken tibia, broken fibula, dislocated knee, metal plates and screws in my right ankle, 2 discs replaced in my spine, etc.) I now need more support than your average flip flops or sandals can offer if I am going to be walking any amount of time. Luckily, these Oofos provide the support I need. No more shoes and socks at the amusement park! Yay! 
 
Side view. See how thick they are?

OOFOS also come in a OOAHH Slide and OOCloog. Both designs are available in Women’s and Men’s. The OOFOS OOriginal and OOFOS  OOAHH Slide retail for $39.95 and the OOCloog retails for $49.95.
 

*Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.