Current Giveaways at Reviews by Cole

Date Fri, November 30 2012



Kwik Trip Adds New Rewards Program

Date Wed, February 28 2018

I wouldn’t normally write about something so local, but I find Kwik Trip’s new rewards program so nice that I couldn’t help it.

Kwik Trip’s old reward program didn’t really work for me. I don’t know if there were rewards offered for anything other than purchasing milk, but because no one ever reminded me to use my punch card, I forgot it. I never once earned a reward over all the years that I’ve shopped at Kwik Trip.

The new program provides you with a swipable card that automatically adds those new purchases. And you can earn rewards on more than milk (or ice cream).  For example, you can earn a freebie after every 15th visit or get every 11th pizza, coffee, Hershey candy, Starbucks drink or Bai beverage free.

I enjoy the pizza and occasionally Karuba coffee, so this works out pretty well.

kwik trip visit rewards

Receive a freebie after every 15th visit

You’ll need to register your card once you get it in store, and the site will prompt you to choose the freebie you earn after 15 visits. The options include

  • Fountain drinks
  • Karuba Gold Espresso
  • Fresh fruit
  • Cheeseburger or grilled sandwich
  • Glazer or donut

It also looks like you can save 3¢ off per gallon of gas with qualifying purchases, so that’s pretty awesome.

One of the new features is gas rewards based on your in-store purchases. Qualifying items will earn you money off your fuel bill.

There’s a section dedicated to coupons that you can send to your card. It looks like they’ll switch periodically. This morning,  I received an email about a coupon for free yogurt that appears to work as soon as I swipe my card without having to send the coupon to my card directly. So keeping emails on pays. However, I do find that they send a few too many emails and will have to look into how I can reduce them and only receive the messages that I want.

Still, it’s impressive how many ways they want to help shoppers save.

Check out Kwik Rewards here.

Amazon Retires “Add to Wishlist” in Favor of Amazon Assistant

Date Mon, February 26 2018

I was surprised to see an alert that Amazon’s “Add to Wishlist” feature had been disabled as this was the method I relied on to add things to my Universal Wishlist. My surprise came because I heard nothing about Amazon retiring this function, either as a shopper or a consumer.

Adding to wishlist with Amazon Assistant

Adding to wishlist with Amazon Assistant

Amazon isn’t leaving us empty-handed, however. The alert prompted me to install Amazon’s Assistant extension for Google Chrome to replace the bookmarklet. So I did.

I may be a little slow on the uptake with that. It looks like Amazon assistant has been available for browsers and mobile devices for some time. I’m just not a huge plugin user.

Instead of hitting the bookmarklet, I can press the Amazon Assistant button. Amazon will try to generate a product preview from third-party stores; although it doesn’t know all of them (it seems like Amazon recognized more stores with the bookmarklet). Even if you’re shopping from a store that Amazon doesn’t recognize, you can proceed, and it will generate a product image that you can select to add to any of your wishlists. It’s handy enough.

This is one of several features of Amazon assistant. If you don’t search Amazon directly from the address bar like I do, Assistant adds a search bar. There are also links to your wishlists, which are handy enough that I may use them!

I’ve yet to receive an alert, so we’ll see how inundating those become. However, I can easily disable them.

Amazon Assistant seems a little bulkier than the wishlist bookmarklet, but I’ll continue to use it because I so frequently rely on Amazon’s Universal Wishlist.

Coup Game

Date Fri, February 16 2018

Coup came highly recommended on Reddit. I suspect those folks knew that it had been a Kickstarter game, but it snuck up on me quickly. It was on my wishlist for a while once I realized it existed. To be honest, I was a bit burned out on board/game games. At least, I thought I was. It might actually have been that I was burned out on party games. So I didn’t buy new ones for a while.

Don’t get me wrong. Coup will work well at many parties as long as your friends and family don’t mind a little strategy thrown in with your luck. The element of strategy will make this game appeal to people who don’t like luck-based social games quite so much, but it’s still easy to learn.

Coup is a bluffing game. Think Werewolf or something similar. I’ve played a few, but most require more people than I can guarantee. I was happy to see that Coup only needs two and first played this with my sister.

The deal starts with two coins and two cards to each person. You can get payment from the bank or steal from another character depending on the characters in your hand, which other players do not see. You must spend money to perform certain actions. The rules do state that your “money” must be visible to all players at all times.

The deck is made up of 15 cards, five of each character type. Each character has special actions (getting extra money from the bank, stealing, assassinating, blocking any of those moves), and most characters actions are canceled out by another character or two. This might sound complicated, but each player gets a cheat sheet that nicely lays out the character abilities (proactive and reactive) as well as how a coup works. For example, a player with an assassin can choose to take out another player, but if the victim has Contessa, they can block the assassin.

Things get interesting because you can bluff. You can say you’re using an action (or a reaction to another play) because you have a card. if someone challenges you on it, and you’ve been bluffing, you lose one of your cards to play by turning it up. if however, you weren’t bluffing, you can show that you have the card. Then, you can replace it with a new card in the deck, so no one

When both cards are lost, you are out of the game. Games are over in just a few turns with two people. Adding more people would equate to longer play, and I think Coup will scale nicely.

It would increase difficulty, however, because you’re trying to recall the two cards that each of your opponents has. Remember that you don’t know for sure which cards they have, only what they’ve been bluffing. And if anyone has unsuccessfully challenged another player, that player will have traded in a card. This could potentially happen twice, resulting in a player with new cards from what he or she was dealt.

All the while, you’re trying to determine what your best moves are and to prevent other players from getting enough money to stage a coup. Any character with enough coins (7, and players must stage a coup if they have 10), can stage a coup, which is always a successful attempt at taking out another player.

Thus, players lose cards to assassinations, to challenges, or to coups depending on luck of the draw (yours and your opponents’) and your ability to bluff. My sister and I sat down to play the game for the first time and quickly played several more. It’s a bit like rock-paper-scissors. Sometimes you don’t win, but you just can’t stand it, so you go again because it’s quick and easy enough to do so.

I’m pretty excited to play Coup with a larger group (you can play up to 6 people) and see how others like it.

The great news? Coup costs lesss than $13 for Prime members (still less than $15 for everyone ele)! It’s pretty much a steal!

DermaE Hydrating Facial Wipes and Single Use Mask Variety Pack

Date Tue, February 13 2018

For last month’s ambassador box from DermaE, the company kept with their intent to help us keep moisturized as winter toils on.  And boy, is it toiling. Anyone else sick of this season? Me, too!

But on with this review.

DermaE is looking out for me. They sent me their Hydrating Facial Wipes. Pretty kind of them if I do say so myself.

These wipes remove makeup and dirt while keeping your skin hydrated. I like that they’re gentle, and I enjoy the smell. It reminds me a bit of cucumber. It’s just very fresh. Some people might find the smell too strong. If you’re sensitive to smells I would keep away.

The wipes remove makeup well, except for my mascara. But that’s to be expected. I wear tubing mascara, which comes off in the shower.

Hydrating wipes shouldn’t leave your skin feeling tight or dry, and I am happy to report that this isn’t the case. My skin actually does feel moist after using them and not uncomfortably so.

I’ll keep using the wipes during this cold, dry spell. I just wish they were a little cheaper. But you get a vegan product, and I am sure many wipes are not.

Single Use Mask Variety Pack

Single Use Mask Variety Pack

This box also contains the Single Use Mask Variety Pack, a 3-pack of face masks to try. The masks included in this set are the:

Each pack is pretty big. You can get 2-3 applications out of it if you seal the foil up and don’t let it dry out.

You may remember the purifying mask that I tried a bit ago. It’s charcoal-based and designed to exfoliate. It dried quickly, tingling as it did.

Like the purifying mask, the Firming Clay Mask is tingly and dries quickly. The package describes this as magnetic, claiming that it helps remove impurities and firm skin. To be honest, loose skin isn’t something I was really concerned with. I just wanted to try it out.

Both of the DermaE masks I’ve tried thus far have seemed a little harsh on my skin. It’s red when I rinse it off, and while it doesn’t last, I might like something a little more gentle. It could be that they both contain products that exfoliate. This ingredient in the firming mask is Adzuki Beans.

I wouldn’t describe the smell of the Firming Clay Mask as gentle, either. The spearmint is pretty overwhelming, especially to me who isn’t a fan of mint. If I had to choose between the firming or purifying masks, I would definitely choose the purifying because it isn’t minty.

The last mask is Vitamin C Brightening Clay Mask that DermaE has designed to brighten skin and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. There are no exfoliants in this mask, but you will find a couple antioxidants.

Finally, I tried the Vitamin C mask. It was a bold yellow in the package, and I could definitely smell the citrus, not that I minded. This one contained no exfoliants and seemed to be the least harsh on my skin. It might have been a bit red when I first took it off after it dried, but it didn’t last. I also prefer that it didn’t tingle or anything. That was just a bit too intense for me.

As expected, my skin felt super soft after using the Vitamin C mask.

If you’re interested in trying any of these masks, the 3-pack is a great set that lets you dabble without purchasing the full product. If you’re like me and don’t love every mask you try, then you’re not committed.

DermaE also sells multipacks of the Firming and Vitamin C masks by themselves, so you can get a few more treatments if you prefer one mask over the others. The Purifying Charcoal Mask appears to be the only one that is sold on its own; although, that could always change.

When Diamonds Aren’t A Girl’s Best Friend: Alternative Valentine’s Gemstone

Date Mon, January 29 2018

It’s somewhat ironic that I’ve got an opportunity to work with Jewel on Fire, a retailer that focuses on all sorts of affordable-yet-gorgeous jewelry because I just listened to a podcast about how the value of diamonds is inflated. This isn’t a new fact to me, nor does it really change my mind about diamonds.  You see, I don’t like them.

That’s right. Diamonds are not my best friend. White diamonds, at least. I’ll take blue or black or pink if I must. But I’d much rather a deep sapphire, a mystic topaz or even an opal. I guess that makes me a cheap date! LOL

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, one of the big jewelry-buying holidays, you’ll see lots of ads for diamond jewelry. Some people will be glad to receive those gifts. I am just not one of them.

If you’re shopping for someone like me who doesn’t love white diamonds or perhaps, I’ve got a few suggestions for other stones. The individual pieces in this post all come from Jewel on Fire, and some feature white diamond accents. But the main gems are either colored or not diamonds for a unique appearance.


The deep red of garnet is perfect for a Valentine’s theme, and I think it goes well with white or black accent gems, like in the garnet and white diamond accent sterling ring.


Keeping with the red theme, we have ruby. You can purchase both natural and created rubies. Jewel on Fire offers the simple but elegant created ruby sterling silver gemstone ring. I also like the more traditional genuine ruby and white diamond accent sterling silver ring, available in both white and yellow metal.


Citrine might be an unusual choice for Valentine’s Day, but I think it stands out. The specific shade is sure to get you comments. Jewel on Fire has two citrine pieces that I really like. The genuine citrine and white diamond accent sterling silver pendant is a gorgeous statement necklace that would look amazing on a night out. For something that might work better for daily use, there’s another citrine pendant with diamond accents.


The subtle blue of aquamarine makes you take a second look, which is why I am including a few aquamarine options on this list. The first is a pendant that just seems vintage-inspired to me, a heart-shaped pendant with aquamarine and white diamonds.

Blue Topaz

Another blue option is topaz. If you’re familiar with the Irish claddagh, then you know it represents love and friendship. How perfect for the upcoming holiday?!  The center stone in this sterling silver Claddagh ring is blue topaz!


Jewel on Fire has a ring design that I just love, and it comes with multiple gems. One that I love is the deep sapphire. Check out the 1-carat sapphire ring, which features hearts and diamonds on either side.

Mystic Topaz

Can’t decide on just one color? You don’t have to with the universe of colors that you can see in mystic topaz. The sterling silver heart ring is similar to the one above but has a more detailed band.


Up next we have tanzanite, a purple gem. I love the asymmetrical placement of the single gem in this tanzanite heart pendant.


Crystals are available in any number of colors. This jar of hearts pendant comes in several, including a lovely deep blue. You can also buy a unique orange crystal pendant that’s platinum-plated.

Chrome Diopside

I’d never heard of this gem before, but the bold green is a winner in my book. The overlapping heart ring is pretty cute.

Now, I don’t hate diamonds. In fact, Jewel on Fire has a ton of black, blue and even red diamond options that I adore. Did you even know that red diamonds exist? I didn’t! There are too many to name them all, but you should check out the black and white diamond open heart pendant, the totally unique Letters of Love black diamond bracelet, the black and white infinity heart ring, this red and white heart necklace, a ring with red and white diamonds, these black diamond heart earrings, this blue and white diamond heart necklace. or this black diamond heart ring.

f you can’t make up your mind, this multi-colored diamond heart pendant might just be the solution.

Okay, so this post isn’t just about all the awesome jewelry options that you might overlook if you focus on jewelry. It’s also to tell you that you can save money by shopping at Jewel on Fire with the following coupon for 25% off your purchase! That’s an amazing deal considering how affordable the prices are already!

Click the link in the widget to begin shopping!

I received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

DermaE Hydrating Cleanser + Hydrating Night Cream

Date Fri, January 26 2018

This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I  earn a commission.

DermaE Hydrating Cleanser + Hydrating Night Cream

DermaE Hydrating Cleanser + Hydrating Night Cream

It’s the middle of winter, which means most of us are trying to stay warm. But for people whose hair or skin react poorly to colder and dryer temperatures, it’s also important to stay hydrated. Aren’t you glad I didn’t use the “M” word, guys?

Enter DermaE and their line of hydrating products, which include two that I was able to try: the Hydrating Cleanser and Hydrating Night Cream.

The cleanser comes in a pump bottle. You only need a light touch unless you want a ton of products to come out. I expected a white cream for some reason, but it’s a silky, clear gel. I experienced no adverse reactions and my skin felt clean afterward. The description says your skin will feel dewy, and I would have to agree.

However, I did break out the first week when I used the cleanser, which was something I hadn’t experienced in a while. I’d been using Derma E’s Charcoal Cleanser, which I quite like and seems to work well with my oily skin as of late.

As you’d expect, there’s no skin tightness afterward, but I haven’t experienced that with any Derma E product. The extra moisture in this cleanser comes from ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, Chamomile, Lemon Grass and Papaya plus antioxidant Vitamins A and E.

Now, I don’t normally use night creams. In fact, my skin has been so oily lately (despite the winter weather setting in) that I stopped using moisturizer altogether to see if it would help (spoiler alert: it didn’t). I actually added this to my routine because it would encourage me to clean makeup from my face every night, like I should have been doing, to have a clean palette for the cream.

The hydrating night cream by Derma E is rather thick. I usually stick with thinner moisturizers because the thicker ones can make me sweat — just like this clay face mask that I tried last month. With thicker creams, I apply as thin a layer as possible.

My skin glistens with Derma E’s night cream, but it’s not overly uncomfortable. I must say that I enjoy using it because of how it smells. Both the cleanser and night cream share a slightly sweet scent. It might sound odd, but it reminds me a bit of Smarties candy. It’s pleasant and not all that strong. But some people might not like it. — a few reviewers don’t like the smell and find it too harsh.

Curiously, it’s not the first time I’ve tried a beauty product with a similar scent.

I tend to wake up early, even if I’ve cleaned the night before. I didn’t notice any additional oil after using the night cream, and I feel like my skin has felt softer since I’ve started using it; although, I wouldn’t exactly call my skin rough, to begin with. I would definitely recommend checking out the night cream if your skin needs that extra boost of moisture, but I am not sure if I will continue with the routine.

I’ll probably give it a more time because it’s supposed to help with lines and wrinkles (thanks to Hyaluronic Acid). I only have a few problematic areas, usually just under my eyes, so I might use the cream only in those locations to see if it helps over time.

If your skin needs a little extra TLC now that it’s winter, check out DermaE’s Hydrating Cleanser or Hydrating Night Cream for a full hydrating routine.

I received product in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.


Date Tue, January 23 2018

A friend recently introduced me to Sweatcoin, an app that tracks your steps and provides you with coins in exchange for being active. My friend knows how much I like to walk, and who doesn’t like practically free coins?

Of course, Sweatcoin is the sort of thing that sounds too good to be true, so I had to give it a try to see if it was worth trying. You know how it goes.

Sweatcoin is available for Android and iOS users for free, and installation was painless. As soon as you register, it asks a few questions, including your name. Because I followed my friend’s referral link, she was automatically added as a friend. So keep that in mind if you sign up to Sweatcoin with a referral link such as this one, which is mine.

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My first concern is whether you can use the app in the background. You can. Next, I was curious if it would track indoor steps. According to reviews, it works best outside. This is because it partially uses GPS to track your steps. One thing that many reviewers have failed to touch on is while Sweatcoin does count your inside steps, it doesn’t convert them. Instead of earning almost 2 SC for 2,000 steps inside, I earned just over .30 SW. This is why they advise you to use the app outside. It’s unfortunate if you do a lot of inside walking.

Another concern I had is whether it would drain my battery. I’ve had my phone for over year now, and the battery isn’t as great as I would wish. Sweatcoin does drain the battery but less if it’s running in the background. This is partially mitigated because the basic, free account only allows you to earn 5 sweatcoins per day. Every 1,000 equates to .95 sweatcoins due to the conversation rate, so you’re waking just over 5,000 steps or about 2.5 miles, which really isn’t much. I try to do more 3 times that amount of steps a day.

I’ve compared the step counter on Sweatcoins with my iPod, and Sweatcoin does lag behind. I’ve read that it counts about 60% of all your steps, but I’ve had better luck than that. Sweatcoin tends to miss fewer than 500 steps per day, which isn’t perfect but isn’t terrible. It’s definitely better than 60%.

So, once you reach that 5 SC limit, you can shut off the app and preserve battery life, which you need to do manually. There’s no button to shut off the app, so it keeps tracking, even though it will not count toward anything.

Sticking at the basic tier will earn you fewer than 2,000 Sweatcoins per year, but all the rewards cost upwards of 3,000 coins. In fact, several $50 rewards cost 3650 Sweatcoins, which means a basic user would have to max out the counter every day for two years. That’s a long time. Even if I was willing to wait that long, I am not sure if the app will still exist then.

The better bet is to upgrade your account, and there are several tiers above the free tier. You can pay a monthly subscription fee of 5 Sweatcoins to try them out after a free 30-day trial. The next tier allows you to earn 10 sweatcoins daily, which is a nice jump. But it’ll still take a year or more to earn the high-value prizes — if you can even call $50 ‘high value.”

There are several other tiers for people who move a lot. Ideally, I could earn 10 Sweatcoins a month; although, I’d have to make a more concerted effort to max out the 15 SW tier daily. If you were a serious walker or runner, you could upgrade to the 20 daily SW limit, which costs 30 coins monthly. At that point, it would take just over 4 months to earn a $50 reward, assuming you were able to meet the goal every day and considering that you would need to work off the cost of the membership, too. It’s much better than two years, but it’s still a while.

There is an as-of-yet-unannounced level that I assume is higher yet, but few people would find that realistic.

All this effort is worth it only if you want the rewards. The Sweatcoin site vaguely describes rewards;

Goods, services & experiences ranging from anti-gravity yoga classes to high-tech shoes, to iPhones and Apple Watches.

There are Paypal and Amazon as well as flyer miles and some gadgets, but most of the rewards just don’t draw me in (jeans from an unknown brand or yoga subscriptions). They seem to change frequently, which could be problematic if you’re attempting to earn enough Sweatcoins to buy something.

Now, I’ve seen some people describe Sweatcoins are cryptocurrency, but that seems like a stretch at this point. Using the app doesn’t help to generate them in any way; although, the founder has plans to start a blockchain DLT in the future. Currently, Sweatcoins are no more currency than the points you would earn with Mpoints or MyPoints, both services that I’ve tried in the past to earn contest entries and rewards such as gift cards.


I kept using Sweatcoin, mostly because I kept receiving emails advising that the next week would include prizes from a beauty brand that I like. I received five emails before the brand finally showed up. I was excited to see it until I realized that it was a $5 off coupon, not a free product. You need to spend $20 to use to, anyway.

The real rub? The company is advertising a 25% off coupon on Facebook that’s a better deal with fewer restrictions — and I didn’t have to work for it. I would accept the prizes on Sweatcoin to be more exclusive and worthwhile that random coupons you can find online!

The motivation for Sweatcoin is equally to get you off your butt and onto your feet. If Sweatcoin sticks around, you could earn some nice rewards as well as stay healthy. And if the plans to expand Sweatcoin into a true cryptocurrency work out, the rewards could improve and value increase. So it’s worth trying and keep an eye on if you have any interest.

Get Sweatcoin for Android or iOS.

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