Ciate Velvet Manicure Giveaway

I am thrilled to announce Slices of Samantha's very first giveaway!! One lucky winner will receive one Ciate Velvet Manicure Kit in the color Mink Cashmere.  I'll just tell you already that I am jealous.  I have been dying to try anything Ciate and have never gotten a chance to.  Instead, I bought this product to give away to one lucky winner. Who ever wins will surely be rocking perfect holiday nails!

This giveaway is now open, so earn all the entries you can!  All entries must be received by December 4th at 12 A.M. CST, and soon after, one random winner will be announced.

Cranberry Sorbet

So for months and months now, my mind has been set on doing an ombre nail tutorial for my next blog post. I was so excited to get this post up on the site, but every time I did my nails and took photographs specifically for my blog, my nails and polish did not cooperate with my vision.  And when I did my nails just because and not for the blog, they came out perfectly. Ugh, I really don't get it!   So after several attempts of creating this ombre nail tutorial post, I have admitted to myself that maybe nail blogging is not my thing.  And along my path to finally moving past my stubbornness in having to do this nail tutorial, I have gained a new-found respect for nail art bloggers.  It really takes a lot to construct a great post about nails!  But because I am stubborn and was set on doing a nail post, I couldn't totally go with out something nail related... check back on Tuesday at 10 A.M. CST to enter Slices of Samantha's first GIVEAWAY!!!  One lucky reader will be receiving a Ciate Velvet Manicure Kit!

So instead of a nail post today, I bring to you a recipe for cranberry sorbet.  For some unknown reason, I thought that cooking and baking with fresh cranberries was extremely difficult.  After using them in a few recipes now, I couldn't have been more wrong.  Give your upcoming holiday dinners a lift with this sweet & tart sorbet.  Enjoy this cranberry sorbet on its own, or create a champagne float by pouring your favorite champagne over a spoonful of sorbet.

Cranberry Sorbet
makes about 2 quarts

12 ounces of fresh cranberries
1 & 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
2 cups of cranberry juice (white cranberry juice works too)
1 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
2 teaspoons of lime zest


1.  Combine the cranberries, sugar, juice, water, and salt in a saucepan.  Heat over high heat, and bring the mixture to a boil.  Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer the mixture until the cranberries have burst open.

2.  Take the saucepan off the heat, and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.  Then, in batches, puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine, mesh strainer and discard of any pulp or seeds that are left over.  Stir in the light corn syrup and the lime zest.

3.  Cover and refrigerate this mixture overnight.

4.  Follow your ice cream maker's instructions for churning the sorbet.  Then freeze until firm, eat, and enjoy!

20 Free Greeting Cards from Walgreens

Holiday season is fast approaching! Get a jump start on your holiday greeting cards this year with Walgreens' current offer.  Like Walgreens' Facebook page here to get your code that can be redeemed for 20 FREE 5x7 Flat Cards.  Use this code, before December 7th, during your online checkout and get them completely free when you select in-store pick-up.  It turns out to be a savings of $16.99!

Free Schick Razor at Walmart

Despite the fact  that this razor is two-bladed and not the best Schick razor out there, you certainly can't pass up a deal that makes the Schick Silk Effects Plus razor free-- actually better than free!  SmartSource currently has a coupon for $4.00 off any one Schick women's razor or refill, and Walmart sells this Schick razor for $3.98.  Since Walmart pays overages, that means that each Schick Silk Effects Plus razor purchase is a $0.02 moneymaker.  

Razors are expensive nowadays and this great of a deal (or steal) is rare to come by, so get to couponing quick!  Remember that coupons can be printed twice per computer.  Happy couponing!

Deal:         Schick Silk Effects Plus Razor $3.98 at Walmart
                           Use $4.00/1 Schick women's razor or refill
                           $0.02 moneymaker after coupon (not including tax)

Pineapple Rum Cupcakes

I never thought that I would get this behind with my blog posts, and with my deepest regrets, I am sorry.  Taking summer courses and having a puppy just adds up, and my blog got pushed to the side for a bit.  But now my summer is starting to settle, and I'm back in the blogosphere! 

Anyways, here is a recipe I recently tried.  With hints of pineapple and rum, this cupcake embodies the essence of summer! And never had I made or even heard of pineapple flowers, but they are truly easy to make.  Plus, they are a simple decoration that add elegance to any baked good.  I couldn't pass this treat up!

Pineapple Rum Cupcakes
makes a dozen cupcakes


cake batter
1 & 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons of softened, unsalted butter
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
 2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 tablespoon of dark rum
1/2 cup of pineapple juice
1/2 of a pineapple (peeled, cored, and chopped)

pineapple buttercream frosting
3 cups of powdered sugar
12 tablespoons of softened, unsalted butter
1/2 cup of pineapple juice
juice of half a lemon

pineapple flowers
thin pineapple slices


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pan.

2.  Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together, and set aside.

3.  Beat the butter and sugar until it becomes fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, and beat the mixture well after each egg.  Then once the eggs are incorporated, beat the vanilla and rum into the mixture.

4.  Mix half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, and beat it until it is well blended.  Beat in the rest of the flour mixture and pineapple juice.  Then fold in the chopped pineapple into the batter.

5.  Pour the batter into cupcake pan.  Bake them for about 20 minutes, or bake them until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

1.  Beat the powdered sugar, butter, pineapple juice, and lemon juice on high speed, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.  Add more sugar if the consistency is not stiff enough.

pineapple flowers
1.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2.  Place each thin pineapple slice into the cupcake pan. This will make the pineapple flowers bowl shaped.  Bake until the pineapple begins to turn golden brown/ burnt on the edges.  It takes about an hour, or a bit more, until the pineapple is done, so just keep an eye on them.

Finally, top your cupcakes with frosting and the flowers, and enjoy!

Influenster Review: Sugar n' Spice Voxbox

What is Influenster?

Influenster is, what I would call, a word-of-mouth marketing website.  Members unlock expert badges, and to strengthen your badge scores members can write reviews of products, submit blog posts, submit youtube videos, complete surveys, etc.  In return for an active members' participation, Influenster will occasionally send members a voxbox filled with free products for review.  Visit their website for more information and to request and invite.

Sugar n' Spice VoxBox

Within a week of signing up for Influenster I was lucky enough to be invited to try out the Sugar n'  Spice VoxBox, and, everyday since then, I had been eagerly waiting for the package to arrive. And finally, after what seemed like forever, the package reached my doorstep.  Of course I then tried the products out, and now I am here writing my thoughts on these FULL-SIZE, FREE products!

Splenda Nectresse
I have always steered clear of using Splenda because of it being artificial and because of the bad things I had heard about it,  but, with the craze of natural sweeteners hitting the market recently, I was excited to try Splenda Nectresse.  Overall  I would consider buying any sweetener that is made from a fruit over the competing artificial sweetener, but the taste just doesn't compare to regular sugar.  For that reason, I am just not a fan of any sweetener other than plain, old sugar.

BelVita Breakfast Biscuit
Plain and simple: these cookies were delicious!
Colgate Optic White Regimen
The toothbrush, I loved;  It was probably the best toothbrush I have ever had.  But the toothpaste and mouthwash were absolutely horrible.  The toothpaste did not whiten my teeth whatsoever, and the mouthwash was unbearable due to the lemon juice/ hydrogen peroxide taste.  I have tried better whitening regimens than Colgate Optic White.

Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer
This product was my least favorite product in this VoxBox.  I primarily didn't care for this product because it contains paraben.  Other than that, I just didn't get point of aerosol lotion, and the lotion, itself, was way too thin and watery to be an effective moisturizer. 

Dickinson's Witch Hazel Towelettes
The fresh-face feeling these towelettes gave me was wonderful, but the smell of the towelettes was so overbearing that I still haven't finished the box. 

Though I had varied opinions on the contents of the Sugar n' Spice VoxBox and didn't fall head-over-heels for any of the products, I do love FREE, FULL-SIZE products.  If you are interested in becoming an Influenster and reviewing free products, check out

Buzzagent Review : Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil

What is BzzAgent?

BzzAgent is a word-of-mouth marketing website that facilitates a community of consumers who try products and give their honest opinions about them.  When you register for a free account, you then become a BzzAgent.  As a BzzAgent you take several, very short surveys that tell the website what interests you, and after some time you will be invited to join a BzzCampaign.  Once you join a BzzCampaign, you will be sent a BzzKit filled with free products, and in return all you have to do is share your opinions of the products on the website.

Only after about a month of being a BzzAgent, I have already been invited to two BzzCampaigns!  It's a really cool website and isn't time consuming at all. Get more information here, and sign up to get free products!

In addition to offering my opinions directly on, I will be doing reviews of the products I receive, on Slices of Samantha, because they are often new products or products that haven't hit the shelves yet.  And after participating in the Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil campaign, today I have, for you, my first product review!

About Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil

This new, multi-use product provides everyday use for hair, body, and skin.  Use it to nourish your hair, as a body fragrance, or to combat skin dryness. Garnier Fructis says that the combination of olive oil, avocado oil, and shea oil work to transform dryness, all while this dry oil absorbs instantaneously and leaves no oily residue.

What I Experienced

My hair goes from sleek to tangled on a daily basis, so when I first received the product, I thought this might just be the product that gives me sleek hair for the entire day.  Unfortunately, I had mostly bad experiences with this product.

I first tried to use this product on my day-old hair...trying to revamp it.  When I sprayed my hair with the miracle dry oil and then straightened my hair, my hair absorbed way too much oil and turned my hair very greasy and stringy. Maybe it's because I have thin hair or maybe I sprayed too much, but, when used on dry hair, all of my attempts ended in overly oily hair. On the other hand, the product worked decently on damp hair. When I used the product on damp hair and then blow dried it, it actually did keep my hair soft and sleek all day long.

As for using the miracle dry oil as a body mist and for skin nourishment, I didn't care for the product at all. The smell of the product was not strong enough or good smelling enough to use it as a fragrance. And when I used the oil on my dry skin, I found that it didn't provide the long-lasting moisture I need.

Overall, I would probably not buy this product on my own.  But, thank you BzzAgent and Garnier Fructis for the free product.  Even though I didn't like the product, I loved being able to try out (especially since it was free)!  If you would like to try Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil or if you like other Garnier Fructis Products, use the link below to access a manufacturer's coupon for $1.25 off any one, full-size Garnier Fructis product.

Free FreshSaver Vacuum Sealer

This week, most Target  stores have the FoodSaver FreshSaver Handheld Rechargeable Vacuum System on sale for $16.99 (originally $19.59).  And whether your Target store has this item on sale or regular price, the combination of these two coupons will get you this vacuum sealer for free (taxes may apply)!  Use this manufacturers' coupon in conjunction with the current Target mobile coupon (if you are already signed up text OFFERS to 827438 to get your coupons texted to you again, or sign up for mobile coupons here) to get a total of $20.00 off your FoodSaver purchase.  Enjoy! 

Candied Orange Peels (*A Guest Post From Lottie)

This wonderful treat is a reminder of my childhood and hopefully it will bring memories to many others.  I remember that we made it around the holidays, but why not make it anytime?  It is so very easy to make and it tastes delicious.  Makes a nice gift as well!  So next time you peel an orange, save the scored peel in a plastic bag or container, refrigerate, and when you accumulate enough, you are ready to make this treat.

Candied Orange Peels

5-10 navel oranges
3 & 1/2 cups sugar
1 & 1/2 cups water

      1.   Score peel of the navel oranges about 1/4 inch wide, pull peel from the orange.    

      2.   In a pot,  combine the peel and enough water to cover, heat to boiling over high heat, boil approximately 5 minutes, drain.  Repeat this step approximately 2 more times.  This allows you to remove the bitterness from the peel of the orange and to soften the peel.

      3.   Drain the cooked orange peel and set aside.

      4.   In a skillet, combine 2 & 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 & 1/2 cups water.  Cook over high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils.  Continue boiling and stirring, approximately 15 minutes or so.   The mixture will start to become syrupy.

      5.  Add your drained orange peel to the syrup in the skillet and stir to ensure even coating.  Reduce heat and simmer partially covered approximately 1 hour or until the orange peel has absorbed the majority of the syrup, continue stirring occasionally.  Remove the cover and continue to simmer and stir gently until all or most of the syrup has been absorbed.

      6.  On a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper, place the remaining 1 cup of sugar.  With tongs or an available utensil, lightly roll each peel in the sugar to coat.  Place each piece on a wire rack or on a plate to allow it to dry.  The outcome should be that the outside is dry but the inside remains moist.  The mixture is VERY hot so be careful not to touch with hand - always use a utensil for handling it and keep out of reach of children until ready to eat.

NOTE:  You may use the peel of a grapefruit as well, however, from my experience, it is more difficult to remove the bitterness from a grapefruit than from an orange.  I have also tried the peel of a lemon but the skin of a lemon is too thin, in my opinion, and I would not recommend it.   I have also experimented by adding a little zest to the orange peel by incorporating a shot of cognac or brandy, thus making the citrus peel even a bit more flavorful.  The alcohol is removed while cooking but the citrus peel definitely has that added cognac/brandy flavor.  


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