Tuesday, July 29, 2014

StyloPhora Ice Ball Mold Review #sphereicemold


Do you like to host parties? Are you always looking for a new trick, product or recipe to impress your friends? I have a great idea for you. How about serving your drinks with large ice balls in them! It is simple to make a cool (pardon the pun) ball of ice if you have the right mold. Let me introduce you to my new favorite hostess trick: StyloPhora Ice Ball Molds.

StyloPhora comes in a set of three molds with a handy little collapsible funnel. Honestly, the funnel is not even necessary. It is a nice bonus to have and will come in handy for other things in the kitchen. It is really easy to make the ice balls. You basically fill the balls up to the fill line (indicated by black dotted lines on the outside of the balls), freeze for 4-6 hours and remove your ice balls. I did learn a few tricks along the way in using these molds, but first let me show you how awesome looking these balls are. 

Isn't it pretty? These ice balls are sure to get your guests attention. As you can see, this one looks like it has a big crack in it. Trust me, it is a solid ball. Some of mine looked cracked and some didn't. If you purchase these StyloPhora Ice Ball Molds you will also be given a code to watch a video and learn how to make crystal clear ice balls. I watched the video, but I haven't tried out the trick yet. I kind of like the frosty and cracked look that they have the normal way. 

The first set of ice balls I made were completely experimental and mostly a waste. I *ahem* failed to follow the instructions and just filled them up all the way to the top without even noticing the fill line. Water expands when it freezes. My molds were overfilled and I had ice tentacles coming out the top. Opps. I also tried to remove the ice balls by twisting the mold apart. They will break EVERY time if you do it like that. So here are my tricks to perfect Ice Balls (I am the expert after making a trio four times now).

1- Don't overfill! I fill slightly under the fill line and they come out great. 
2- Leave the ice ball molds sitting out of the fridge for about 5 minutes before removing the ice balls. This will make them come out a lot easier than if you try to remove them right away. 
3- Do not twist the molds apart! Gently remove the top first and then you should be able to remove or even pop up the ball from the bottom of the mold. If you do step 2, you will have no issue removing the balls. 

I live in Florida where it is HOT and ice melts quickly. These ice balls are supposed to melt slower and dilute your drink less. Unfortunately, my ice balls still melted quickly on me when I used one per cup/glass. I really think you need two per glass unless you are drinking something in a smaller glass like whiskey. When I used two ice balls, they did last a lot longer than regular ice. 

Don't let your hostess awesomeness stop at frozen ice balls. Why not make flavored frozen ice balls to add to mixed drinks? Cherry koolaid ice balls added to lemonade with vodka sound fantastic. The possibilities really are endless.

contains tea vodka, lemonade and two ice balls!

What are you waiting for? You know you want need some ice balls! Visit StyloPhora to learn more and purchase a set or three.

*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.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hotter Neon Shoes Review #comfortconcept

Hotter has been designing and making shoes in the UK since 1959. How have I been missing out on Hotter all of my life? Hotter is the Britain’s biggest shoe manufacturer, making a pair of shoes every 20 seconds in their factory and they’re hoping to make the US Hotter too …. one step at a time. I was sent the Neon Shoes to try out. 

These Neon Shoes have an eye-catching snake print and suede finish. They feature a structured arch and cupped heel which provides support, whilst a deep grooved sole offers added flexibility.
These are extremely comfortable shoes. I was initially worried because I know that UK sizes are different. I also have wide feet and can have a hard time find shoes.  So, I was anxious about the fit. Luckily, they have an easy to use conversion chart on their website. When my Neon Shoes arrived they fit! Hotter also sent a really nice shoe horn and a shoe catalog.

These particular shoes come in black and dark aqua. I initially was going to get dark aqua, but I changed my mind to black so that they would go with everything. I particularly wanted these shoes for work. I have a job at a Long Term Care Pharmacy where I am constantly getting up and walking around. I also have a bad ankle, knee and leg from injuries. I definitely prefer to wear light and comfortable shoes to work.

These Neon shoes are extremely well made. They had inserts that came with them with instructions on how to put them in. The stitching on the shoes seems to be professionally done. These are definitely not made in a sweat shop. They are built to last which is probably why UK is crazy about this brand. 

These shoes are also very comfortable! I can work all night in them and my feet do not ache at the end of the night. They look and feel extremely light. However, they have lots of support and comfort. Here are the inside of the shoes:

I would actually prefer if these shoes did not have the high back in the heel/ankle area. I have very sensitive ankles that tend to get irritated and even bleed when my shoes have a high backing. This is just my personal preference and so far it has not been an issue. I have been wearing ankle socks with these that provide a barrier between my skin and the shoe and it has been preventing any irritation.

I should also warn you that these shoes have a rubber bottom (which I love) that can be a little squeaky on linoleum or tile floors. Luckily, I work in a mostly carpeted area. When I have to go to the back warehouse I do tend to sound like a duck quacking. I think this will probably wear off after the shoes are worn more and the squeakiness wears off.

Here are a few of my other favorite shoes from Hotter:





Make sure that you check out Hotter for yourself! Right now they are having a huge 50% off sale + free shipping.

*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.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Free $60 Summer Nights Sizzle Box for New Julep Maven Subscribers {$2.99 Shipping}

Summer Nights Welcome Box

(Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.) 
Do you love nail polish? If you are a nail polish fan and haven't signed up for Julep Maven, you are missing out. New Maven subscribers can get the new 4-piece Summer Nights welcome box that includes 3 sizzling nail colors and a bonus beauty gift (stock varies) valued at $60 for free when they sign up for Julep Maven.

Summer Nights Welcome Box

The Julep Maven subscription box is the perfect way to treat yourself to new nail color and beauty products each month. One of my favorite things about this box is that you can skip a month if you need to (whether you have too much polish, you are just broke, or whatever the reason). Just a few of the perks you get as a Maven subscriber include:
  • A fully customizable box of limited-run nail colors and beauty innovations delivered to your door each month
  • $40+ of full-size products in every box for just $19.99 per month when you choose the multi-month payment option (or $24.99 if you chose the monthly payment option)
  • Free shipping and 20% off on julep.com every day
You also get access to a special store with heavily discounted items when you buy that month's box. 

The Summer Nights Welcome Box is here for a limited time and is a great value! Become a Maven today and don't forget to use the code SIZZLE to get your own Summer Nights Welcome Box for FREE - you just pay $2.99 for shipping.

New and Improved Allure Sample Society { July }

In my previous Battle of the Sample Boxes I mentioned that I might be retiring the format. Sample Society and Ipsy are so different and hard to compare. I also mentioned that I was considering cancelling Sample Society. I am SO happy that I didn't! Sample Society has always been a collaboration of Allure and Beauty Bar. However, I think Beauty Bar was doing most of the decision making regarding products. Now, Allure is picking the products that are sent out in the boxes. This month was a drastic improvement over my past boxes. I will definitely be keeping them now!

Here is what you need to know about Sample Society (Please use code TFL99 if you sign up):
*$15 a month (+ tax for some states)
*Creation of Allure and Beauty Bar. Allure's Beauty Director is now selecting the products! 
*5 deluxe-sized samples
*$10 gift code to redeem on ANY $50 purchase (you previously had to purchase an item in your box, that is no longer the case!)
*Each box comes with an insert describing each product, why Allure loves it, the full size prize and even tips on how to use it.

Here is what I received: 

Sorry for the bad photo, the products were shiny this month!

*Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Highlighter 01 (0.26oz= $36, 0.06oz= $8.31) 
*Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Aqua Universalis Eau de Toilette ($175 for 2.4oz, 0.06oz = $4.38)
*L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire by Colour Riche Liquid Lipcolor in Rose Melody (FULL SIZE $9.99)
*Butter London Nail Lacquer in Bobby Dazzler (FULL SIZE $15)
*Fekkai PrX Reparatives Intense Fortifying Masque ($7.99 for smaller 1.69oz size)

I absolutely LOVE everything in this box. The Laura Mercier is a gorgeous shimmery champagne color that could also be used as an eyeshadow. I attempted to take a picture of the color, but my picture does not do it justice (neither do any of the pictures I have found online): 

I initially thought that it was full sized, but later learned it is not. This so called sample will last forever because you only need a tiny bit of the powder. 

The French perfume (please, please don't make me type that ridiculously long name again) is heavenly. I must admit that I am wasting it a bit because it smells so freaking good. I can not help but to keep spraying it. It has citrus notes with a bit of lemon and musk. It is unisex, but I won't be sharing. I wish it was cheaper so that I could buy a bigger bottle. At $175, it is not happening. 

L'Oreal Paris has always been one of my favorite drug store brands. This lipcolor is amazing. It feels like a mixture of a lip butter and a gloss. The color that they sent me looks pink in the bottle, but it is really close to my natural lip color. So, it is extremely flattering. The best part is that it tastes good!

I adore Butter London and own several of them (even though I have never purchased one myself at $15 a bottle). Unfortunately, one of my other sample boxes (or it may have even been Sample Society) had already sent me a silver Butter London. This one is too similar to keep, but it will make my Mom very happy. 
Last but not least, Fekkai. I love Fekkai shampoo and conditioner. I am excited to see how the hair mask works. I have not used it yet, but it smells awesome. If nothing else my hair will smell good. 
As you can see, I am VERY happy with the Sample Society changes. Allure was the main reason that I signed up for this box in the first place and I am happy to see them more involved. The monthly credit you receive with the box went from $15 to $10, but now you can use it on any Beauty Bar purchase (you used to have to buy a brand that was in the box). I never use the codes anyhow, so I am fine with that. 
If I had compared this with Ipsy in Battle of the Sample Boxes, Sample Society would have won. My Ipsy bag arrived extremely damage and they are only replacing part of it, so I may not have a review this month for Ipsy (we shall see). I really hope that Allure keeps the Sample Society boxes up to this standard!
Do you get any sample boxes? What did you receive? If you leave a link to your post, I would be happy to visit and comment. 
Don't forget to check out my Glossybox and Ipsy (coming soon) subscriptions too. :)

Disclaimer: I pay for my subscription to Sample Society and I am not compensated in any way for posting. I just enjoy sharing my boxes with my readers.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fulcrum Gallery Birch Haven Canvas Review #FulcrumGallery


We purchased our first home a little over a year ago. Along with the new home that almost tripled our living space came a desperate need for decor and furniture. We have picked up a few paintings here and there, but we still have a lot of empty wall space. I was thrilled to learn about Fulcrum Gallery! I have found literally dozens of paintings and photos that I would love to have for my house. After spending hours browsing I picked the W. Blake Birch Haven painting to review.

We decided to hang Birch Haven in our living room. Since the size is 36x12, it is perfect for decorating a really long wall. Our living room is a converted garage, so it is a really long room with lots of wall space. This painting is so gorgeous! It has strong, vibrant colors that automatically draw attention to it when you walk into the room.

 The Fulcrum Gallery has hundreds (maybe even thousands) of gorgeous art pieces. What is really cool about the Fulcrum Gallery is that after you pick the painting or photo you want, you have other options. You can choose to get a print, a canvas or a laminate with most of the art. You can choose to get it framed. You also have some options within the choices. For example, I received a museum wrapped canvas with 0.75 inch bars. I could have also picked a gallery wrapped canvas, a framed canvas or an unstretched canvas.

I love how the wrapped canvas gives the painting depth against the wall. It also eliminates the need for a frame. This Birch Haven Canvas was ready to hang when it arrived. It was shipped well wrapped and protected by a large clear plastic bag.

I will definitely be purchasing more art from Fulcrum Gallery. If you sign up for the Fulcrum Gallery Newsletter you can also get 5% off your order and invites to special sales!

*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.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Make Your Summer Party the Bomb with Bomb Pop + Giveaway

One of the things that we absolutely love about owning our home is that we can have parties now. Our old apartment was way too small to have friends over. Luckily, our house has plenty of room for guests. We also finally have a grill. Let's face it...the best summer parties involve a grill.

To celebrate National Bomb Pop day (June 26th) and also as an early July 4th party, we invited a few friends over for burgers, hot dogs and dessert (Bomb Pops of course!). We enjoyed our burgers and hot dogs outside in the Florida sun. However, I know that Bomb Pops melt pretty quickly. So, I set up a "dessert bowl" in our kitchen and had everyone come in to cool off and grab their Bomb Pops. 

I placed a pretty blue decor fan on the back of a blue bowl and taped a cutout of the Bomb Pop box to it. I then placed the Bomb Pops in the bowl. I placed a few red, white and blue stars around the bowl. Ta-da! Pretty, quick and easy dessert area. I also love that there is little to no cleanup from the Bomb Pops. 

Bomb Pops are also perfect for the 4th of July because they have patriotic colors. There are now several different flavors of Bomb Pops, but I prefer the original. Cherry, Lime and Blue Raspberry...you can't get much better than that. They also have the original in sugar free if you have some diabetic or weight conscience guests. 

One lucky Thrifty and Frugal Living reader will win the following prize pack:

- 2 Bomb Pop free product coupons
- $25 Publix Gift Card
- Patriotic Star Cupcake Combo Pack
- Patriotic Tableware Caddy
- Red, White and Blue Fan Decorations
- Patriotic 3-D Star Centerpieces
- Chevron Treat Bags

**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 7/23 11:59pm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: All opinions in this post are my own. I received the same gift package I am giving away as well as assets from Bomb Pop, Publix and Proctor and Gamble in exchange for this post. I was not compensated in any other way.