Thrifty and Frugal Living

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tootsie Roll Hot Cocoa K-cup Variety Sampler + Giveaway #TootsieRollHotCocoa



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I can not even begin to tell you how excited the words "Tootsie Roll Hot Cocoa" made me. Hot Cocoa is extremely comforting and nostalgic for me. When I was a child in the Cincinnati area, Hot Cocoa was something that we had as an after school treat to warm us up during cold weather. I still drink Hot Cocoa occasionally as an adult, but not as much as I would like. Well, thanks to these convenient Tootsie Roll K-Cups, that has changed!


When my box of Tootsie Roll Hot Cocoa arrived, I had a nice surprise. I didn't realize until this moment that it was actually a variety sampler pack. Not only did I get to try Tootsie Roll Hot Cocoa, but there were six different flavors in the box. 


Tootsie Roll Hot Cocoa, Sugar Babies Hot Cocoa, Junior Mints Hot Cocoa, Charleston Chew Strawberry Nougat Hot Cocoa, Charleston Chew Vanilla Nougat Hot Cocoa and Charleston Chew Chocolatey Nougat Hot Cocoa. I am a big fan of Junior Mints, Sugar Babies and Charleston Chew, so this made me very happy. It also increased the nostalgia. It did however make it hard to decide which one to have first. 

I started with Charleston Chew Vanilla Nougat and worked my way through the flavors. They are all incredibly delicious. My two favorite are definitely the Junior Mints and the Charleston Chew Strawberry. I think they were my favorite because they were so much different from your traditional Hot Cocoa. The Junior Mint has a nice minty flavor that was extremely soothing when I was sick and had a sore throat. The Charleston Chew Strawberry Nougat is mind-blowing. I had no idea that strawberry went so well with Hot Cocoa. You NEED to try this flavor.
 
Since this Hot Cocoa is in K-cups, the Hot Coca is so much more rich and creamy than the Hot Cocoa powder mixes. They have definitely knocked the flavor level up several notches with these Hot Cocoa cups. I would have a hard time going back to powdered cocoa after tasting these.


One of the things I was worried about with the Hot Cocoa was the amount of sugar in each cup. I was fully expecting the K-cups to have around 20-30 grams of sugar each. Guess what? They only have 5 grams of sugar each! Even better, they do not taste like they are lacking on sugar at all. If you need a chocolate fix, one of these Hot Cocoa cups will take care of your craving. 

If you are wondering how much of each flavor comes in a box, here is what I received:


I received 7 of each of the flavors except for the Tootsie Roll. I really do like all the flavors, so I was fine with this break down. 40 K-cups are a lot and will probably last your family for quite some time. I have been drinking a lot of this Hot Cocoa with my recent illness and I still have a mostly full box.

If you are a Hot Cocoa fan, I definitely recommend trying this Tootsie Roll Variety pack! 

BUY HERE:



GIVEAWAY:

One lucky Thrifty and Frugal Living reader will win their own variety box of Tootsie Roll Hot Cocoa K-cups!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I received a free product in exchange for this review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are completely my own.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

5 Tips to Save Money at The Vet



I recently had to rush my dog to the Veterinarian because he was having issues breathing. My Pharmacy knowledge ended up saving me $70 off of my already painful bill. I realized that many people may not know the tip that I used and it needs to be shared. I have also added a few other tips that I have discovered over the years. 

1. Ask your Veterinarian if they can write you a prescription for your Pet's medication to be filled at a retail pharmacy - A lot of people do not realize that regular pharmacies will fill scripts for animals too. This trick is what saved me $70 off of my bill. I was able to pick up the two medications at Walmart for $4 each vs. the almost $80 my Vet charged for the same medications. Keep in mind that there are some medications out there that retail pharmacies will not have. Ask your Vet or even Google the medication on your phone to see if the med is used in Humans. If it is, get a prescription and fill it yourself at a retail pharmacy.

2. Search for cheap resources in your area for Vaccines and Spay / Neutering Services - You can normally have your animal fixed and get their vaccines done for much cheaper at specialty centers than you can at the Veterinarian. You can use this ASPCA search link to get you started. I have a place right up the road from me that does $15 rabies shots without an appointment on certain days. There are also lots of free services if you are a low income family. Spend a few minutes doing some research and you may save a lot of money.

3. Call around for prices and ask friends / family for recommendations - If you have the time to do some research before visiting a Vet, it may save you quite a bit of money. Make phone calls and ask about office visit prices, discounts, coupons, etc. It doesn't hurt to ask. You can also ask your friends/ family for recommendations on a good but fairly priced Vet. 
 
4. Ask for an estimated bill before agreeing to any treatment and ask questions - My Vet office will bring us a typed bill before we agree to any X-rays, exams, labs, etc. I always ask a lot of questions and why each thing is necessary. If the cost is too high, ask your vet if any of the items can wait until a later time.

5. Be honest and open with your Vet - If there is no way that you are going to be able to afford that $500 Echo, then tell your Vet. Do not be embarrassed or feel bad. Most people are unprepared for expensive Pet bills. Explain to them that you are worried and love your Pet, but you just do not have the money (no explanation is needed). Then ask them if there are any other treatment options or anything else you can do.

I would also like to stress that you should always have an emergency fund in case anyone in your family becomes ill or injured (including your Pets). It can be hard to save and feels like a daunting task. However, if you transfer just $20 a week to an emergency fund, you can have $1120 saved in one year. Just make sure you don't touch the money unless it is an emergency!

Do you have any tips on saving money at the Vet? Please share!

Friday, January 23, 2015

KissMe Organics - Organic Matcha



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Matcha has become extremely popular over the last year or two. It has a lot of great health benefits. I am striving to be healthier this year. I am also looking for something to replace my Monster energy drink addiction. KissMe Organics sent me their Organic Matcha to try out. This Organic Matcha can be used in baking, smoothies, lattes and so much more. 

KissMe Organics Matcha benefits include:

ALL DAY ENERGY WITH INCREASED FOCUS

Matcha provides 4 to 6 hours of mild steady energy as it acts as both a stimulant and a relaxant. This is ideal for focusing on whatever the day throws your way.

METABOLISM BOOST

Consuming matcha green tea can increase thermogenesis (the body's own rate of burning calories) from a normal 8%-10% of daily energy expenditure, to between 35% and 43% of daily energy expediture.

IMPROVED SKIN HEALTH

​Scientists have discovered that Matcha Green Tea helps protect the skin from harmful UVrays, while improving blood flow and oxygen levels lifting the overall quality of the skin.

137x THE ANTIOXIDANTS OF BREWED GREEN TEA

Antioxidants are essential as you age to boost your body's natural defenses against oxidation. Researchers have found that a high level of dietary antioxidants can prevent many age-related diseases.
 
I can certainly use all of those benefits! I was not really sure what I wanted to do with the Matcha..there are so many options. I thought about adding it to some brownies. However, I eat brownies at night and that would be a bad time to consume something that gives you energy. I like the idea of smoothies, but I rarely make them because my blender is in desperate need of an upgrade. I decided just to mix the Matcha with a drink that I like. I was originally thinking it would be great with Lemonade. Then, I had an even better idea:


I have created the Matcha Mojito and it is delicious! This Crystal Light Mojito mix is something I drink regularly. It has a nice light flavor with a hint of mint. The mint from the Mojito mixes extremely well with the Matcha. I use about 3/4 teaspoon of Matcha with one glass of Mojito. I use a mixing glass with a metal ball in the bottom to guarantee that the Matcha is well dissolved in the mixture. It also makes the drink nice and foamy.


This Organic Matcha definitely packs a punch! I feel as though it gives me more energy than my typical Monster Rehab or a glass of tea. While I hope it is also improving my skin and boosting my metabolism, I have no way to measure that. This definitely seems like an easy and tasty way to improve my health and my energy.

I would definitely recommend trying KissMe Organics Matcha! You can buy it here on Amazon:


*Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for a review. I was not compensated in any other way. All statements are my own honest thoughts.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Allure Sample Society {January}



 I received my Allure Sample Society box about two weeks ago. Things have been hectic over here, but I still wanted to share it with you. It was amazing this month! I think they may have messed up though because one of the products I received was not in the product booklet. No complaints here!
 
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
*Each box comes with an insert describing each product, why Allure loves it, the full size price and even tips on how to use it.

Here is what I received this month: 
 

*StriVectin Intensive Illuminating Serum ($89 for 1oz, 0.25oz= $22.25)

*Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar ($47 for 2 oz, 0.25oz= $5.88)

*Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash in Cobalt Crystal (FULL SIZE $8.99)

*Zoya Nail Lacquer in Rayne (FULL SIZE $9)

*Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar ($45 for 5.3oz, app 0.5oz= $4.25) 

*Philip B Light-Weight Deep Conditioning Creme Rinse ($26 for 6oz, 0.5oz= $2.17) 

TOTAL VALUE: $52.54

I LOVED this box. It isn't one of the higher value boxes I have had, particularly since I think the StriVectin was accidentally added to my box. However, I really liked the items. My favorites are definitely the Zoya and the Revlon eye art. I know some people get angry when they include "drug store brands", but this product is amazing. I am even planning on buying the two colors that I did not receive. I will add the soap to my travel bag and use it on vacation. I'm actually pretty excited to use the StriVectin too because it is supposed to even out your complexion. The only thing I am not sure about is the Philip B conditioner. I know that I have received a conditioning product from them in the past and I hated it. I will probably try it regardless. Overall, a great deal for my $15!
 
What subscription boxes do you subscribe to? What did you receive? Sample Society and Glossybox continue to be my favorites. 
 
*Disclaimer: I am a paying member of Allure Sample Society. I share my boxes and my own honest opinion for the benefit of my readers

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Roux , Datz and Datz Dough #Crawl4Foodies


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It is no secret that I adore Datz. In fact, when Creative Loafing interviewed me for the foodie issue a few months ago: I talked about Datz. While none of that actually made it into the article, it goes to show how highly I think of them. If there is a trend or something innovative in the food world, there is a good chance that Datz has it (and I will REALLY prove that in a moment). The owners of Datz have also opened Datz Dough and Roux in the last few years.

As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was invited to an exclusive free dinner to explore all three restaurants: Roux, Datz and Datz Dough. We started our #Crawl4Foodies at Roux with drinks and appetizers. Roux is the newest and fanciest of the three restaurants. From the moment you walk in you are transported to New Orleans.


We were offered a choice of three drinks. I immediately gravitated towards the Hurricane. The Hurricane is Kraken Dark, Siesta Key white,orange juice, passion fruit puree, pineapple, lime and biters. It was poured over crushed ice. This is the perfect Florida summer drink! Of course, it is always summer in Florida...so it is just perfect. I am not ashamed to admit that I drained this glass.


We were treated to three different appetizers: Abita beer-battered crab beignets, Boudin balls and Char-grilled oysters.  The Abita beer-battered crab beignets were served with three house-made remoulades: saffron, chive and cayenne. They were tasty bites that are a great way to start off any meal. The cayenne sauce had a nice heat to it and was my favorite of the two I tried.


The Boudin balls were served with a creole mustard crema. If you are unfamiliar with Boudin balls, then you are missing out. They consist of rice, sausage and seasonings formed into balls and then fried. I have had them at a few restaurants and Roux has the best by far. They have an immense amount of flavor and just a hint of heat.


 My favorite appetizer of the night however was the Char-grilled oysters. Do you want to know a secret? I have only ever had oysters at Roux. Twice. I love them! They are topped with Romano, Parmesan and a roux compound butter. I couldn't have asked for a better experience for trying my first (and second) oysters. Char-grilling them takes away any texture issues and leaves you with an oyster that even picky eaters with fall in love with. They are served with grilled garlic toast.


It was time to travel to Datz for our entree course. Since Datz is up the road a little bit we packed into our vehicles to make the trip. Raffi and myself had carpooled in her van. We had room for more, so we ended up packing in Tracy, Kellie, Lauren, Jachima, Denise and Calley. Raffi's van quickly became "the party bus":


So much fun in that van!! Raffi and myself were in the front. Also in the #Crawl4Foodies group were Nikki and Joe. We met back up at Datz and we were lead towards the best seats in the house: tables overlooking the front half of the restaurant. We snacked on the complementary Sriracha popcorn as we waited.


We were then treated to something amazing. This is something that the food community has recently been buzzing about. It is something that I was dying to try and hoping they would serve us: Buffalo Cauliflower. That is right: Buffalo Cauliflower. I have a slight buffalo obsession and will eat just about anything if it is covered in buffalo sauce. This however, was one of the best things I have had with buffalo sauce. Datz Buffalo Cauliflower is an entire head of cauliflower lightly breaded, drenched in buffalo sauce and roasted. It is incredibly delicious. I will also warn you that it is large and very filling. I will have a hard time NOT ordering this next time I am at Datz.


For our entree we were able to choose what we wanted. Several of the bloggers (including myself) decided to attempt the Cheesy Todd. The Cheesy Todd is a special burger that has mac n'cheese formed into patties and then fried for the buns. What? I think a picture is needed to truly understand this masterpiece. 



This is what I appear to be eating in the picture at the beginning of this post. This burger is absolutely impossible to eat as assembled. After a few minutes of trying, we wised up and started deconstructing. I decided to eat the top mac n' cheese "bun" with the burger. That section alone was almost too big for my mouth! Luckily, it fit and it tasted amazing. The mac n' cheese gets congealed a little around the edges. Yum. The mac n' cheese also contains BACON. So, this burger has all the requirements for an amazing burger. At this point, I was too full to eat more than a few bites. I saved this meal for lunch two days later. Do you know what? It tasted even better reheated the second time!

Although we were all a few pounds heavier and extremely full, we were excited to head over to Datz Dough. Datz Dough is a bakery as the name suggests. In true Datz tradition, Datz Dough is very innovative as well. I have had some amazing things at Dough in the past. A few of my favorites include a bacon eclair, a nutella latte and a bananas foster boozy shake. You never really know what you are going to be able to get at Dough since the menu and items change and/or sell out. I walked in and my eyes immediately found my dessert of choice. At this point my phone was at 2%, but I managed to grab a quick picture (sans flash):


A delicious large pistachio macaroon topped with William Dean chocolate! While I didn't measure this macaroon, the diameter must have been 3-4 inches. It took me 4 different settings to eat this baby and I did not hold back. Pistachio macaroons are my favorites. It tasted just like the yummy smaller macaroons that we are all familiar with. Nikki snatched up a HUGE chocolate brownie that was topped with bacon. Kellie grabbed a mini (but extremely tall) individual red velvet cake. Raffi decided to stick to one of Dough's classics: a delicious iced donut.

If you want a night to remember with food that will blow your mind, then visit Roux, Datz or Datz Dough. I would even recommend doing a foodie tour of your own! To see more amazing pictures, follow all of my blogger friends above and the hashtag #Crawl4Foodies on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

#Ozeri Tower Fan



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I work nights and sleep during the day. When you have to sleep during daylight hours there are certain things you have to do to your bedroom for a good nights sleep. The first step is dark curtains and blackout shades. The second step is white noise. We have been using a fan for white noise (and to keep us cool) while we sleep for years. I do admit that in the past we have purchased cheap fans. I didn't think there would really be much difference between cheap fans and nicer fans. How very wrong I was. Ozeri sent me their 44 inch tower fan with passive noise reduction technology and it is by far the best fan that I have ever owned. 

First of all, this Ozeri 3X Tower Fan has THREE separate fans! You can run 1, 2 or all 3 of them at once. The fan oscillates or you can pause it in any direction you would like. We normally pause it aimed towards the middle of our bed. If you were attempting to cool an entire room, the oscillating feature would help to accomplish that. This fan is super powerful! With two fans running it blows my hair slightly when I am across the room. With all three fans running it is a bit much for us at night. It would be great though if our power were to go out.

The fan makes a decent amount of white noise. It is pretty quiet with one fan running. At two fans, it makes an appropriate amount of wind noise. It isn't anything loud or disturbing. The fan actually has a special passive noise reduction technology. What this means is that you don't hear the blades turning. You hear the wind. With all three fans running it is a little loud, but again it is not a disturbing noise. It is much better sounding than our old, cheap fan.
 
 
This Ozeri fan is very nice looking. The pictures really do not do it justice. Our older fan was large, clunky and looked like it belonged on a patio. This Ozeri Tower Fan is tall, sleek and classy looking. I also love that the fan is compact. Thanks to its smaller size, I am able to have this fan on my side of the bed. Our old fan was on my Husband's side because I didn't have enough room on my side.

There are also a lot of options and programming available with this fan. It has a 7.5 hour timer that can be programmed in 30 minute increments. The fan also comes with a remote control so that you can adjust it from across the room. I keep the remote at bedside. However, if you don't want to use the remote, there is a slot to hold it on the back of the fan.

This Ozeri 3X Tower Fan has been an excellent addition to our bedroom. My Husband actually loves it so much that he said we are going to buy another one for the living room. I highly recommend it! 

BUY IT:


*Disclaimer: I received a free product in exchange for my review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are completely my own.