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Date Fri, November 30 2012


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Gwynnie Bee

Date Thu, July 24 2014

This review is a little different from others I’ve written recently because it’s absolutely not sponsored. Although you can sign up for Gwynnie Bee with my referral link, which will benefit me, I’m not affiliated with the company in any way.

In essence, Gwynnie Bee is a Netflix-like clothing service for plus-sized women. The site advertises specifically for women between sizes 10 and 32, so it covers quite a range. Brands include ASOS Curve, IGIGI, Kiyonna, Calvin Klein, DKNY, and many more. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t super familiar with many of these brands, but my experience shows they’re all rather high quality, and some of the price can be pretty expensive, which makes Gwynnie Bee a great option if you want to try and possibly buy clothes.

The site uses a tiered service like Netflix’s mailing DVDs (can you even still do that??). You can see the prices below.

Gwynnie Bee Plans and Prices

Gwynnie Bee Plans and Prices

Obviously, it’s a better deal if you want to try more clothes to get more items at once. If you “check out” 4 dresses worth more than $100 each month, you’re saying a lot of money with most of the plans. You can try the 1, 2 or 3-at-a-time plans for free for the first thirty days, which is what I did.

The number of items you receive each month totally depends on how long you keep them. For example, I sent a few items back right away because I didn’t like them or plan to wear them at all. It took between one and two weeks to receive a new item. If you want to wear an item but are waiting for a specific date or event to wear it, you’re going to receive far fewer items. I’ve received 6 items since I signed up in the last week of May, so it obviously takes a little time between the shipments. Gwynnie Bee sends out items when they have them in your size after they dry-clean them, so I understand it won’t be instant (more on this later). You’ll want to add many items to your closet to ensure you get items faster.

The closet is like your queue on Netflix. You add items you want to try. You’ll see what’s at home/in transit, what’s on the rack to be sent to you and what’s on hold. The hold section contains items you want but not just yet. So if it’s summer, you might put heavier items on hold. You might hold an item until you add something to your wardrobe to wear with it, so on and so forth. I use the hold section for items I’d like to try but I’m not as excited about.

The sort of items you’ll find from Gwynnie bee range from dresses to blazers to jeans to tops.  I focused on tops, skirts and dresses because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. Most of the items were dresses; although, I’ve received one skirt. In 8 weeks, I haven’t received a single top. I imagine these are the type of thing that customers keep longer to wear multiple times if they like it. But I’m not the type of person to wear dresses all the time, and tops would be easier to wear on a daily basis. Unfortunately, there are just fewer individual pieces that I like on the site. Some of the tops are downright hideous.

All of the items I’ve ordered have fit, which is awesome! However, I’ve had issues with some of them being too long, which happens when you’re just 5’2″. Skirts and dresses that are too long definitely make me look frumpy and aren’t complementary. So I removed a bunch of tea-length skirts and dresses from my closet because, even though they’re cute, they just don’t work with my height and tailoring isn’t an option.

You can read reviews to learn more about quality, fit and style. I find reviews on Gwynnie Bee help me more than those on many other sites.

If you really like it, you can contact Gwynnie Bee about buying it at a discounted price. I haven’t done this; although, I would certainly consider it. Remember that you are getting gently-used clothes. One thing I like is that you don’t have to clean anything; although, you will if you want to wear it again. Every piece comes with instructions pinned to the tag to let you know how to safely do this.

White Floral Jacquard Skater Dress With Black Patent Belt

My favorite piece from Gwynnie Bee thus far

Because these are used, they may not be in perfect shape. I’ve read reviews where some people received ripped or damaged items. The dress I am currently wearing should have come with a belt, but didn’t. I would carefully look over any items before you send them back. However, the quality of most of the items has been impressive. Thicker/stiffer fabrics don’t show underwear, hold up to wear and are slimming. Lace has been pretty but thick enough to stand up to being passed around. One bummer is that I’ve signed in a couple times to find items removed from my closet because they’ve been retired. I can assume there were only a few in circulation and they are not longer in good enough shape. Some retired items wind up in the shop where you can buy them at steep discounts from MSRP.

When you’re done with the item, there’s a blue plastic envelope to send things back in. Because I’m on the lower end of the plus-size spectrum, everything has fit, and I drop it off in a blue mail box to be mailed back. However, some people have had trouble with larger sized clothing fitting into the bag.

And I’ll end this review with a few thoughts about shipping. Even though I was sending things back less than 24 hours after I shipped them and marking them as shipped so Gwynnie could “prep and ship” my next order earlier, it still takes over a week to get the next item. With my two-at-a-time plan, I’ve actually received the same number of items when I received only one piece at a time.

Part of this is due to the fact that they just moved to  a new warehouse. However, they’ve completed the move and shipping is as slow as it was when they were in the middle of it — even slower. I’ve complained on social media only to be told to email them, but I’m not sure what good this will do.

I’ve been told that Gwynnie Bee never issues any sort of refunds, which is a bummer. I would have loved to know this before I started paying. While I generally like the idea of this service, you’re not going to love everything, and it can be expensive if you’re like me and have only actually worn one thing.

I’m definitely canceling when my month is up, but you might love Gwynnie Bee. I encourage you to try it out.

Enter to win Brew Over Ice Keurig K-cup coffee!

Date Wed, July 23 2014

Click the image below to enter this awesome giveaway, coffee lovers!BrewOverIcegiveaway

Entrants will be accepted until July 31st, 2014 at midnight EDT. One random winner will be chosen on August 4th, 2014 and notified within 48 hours.


Reviews by Cole is not responsible for winner notifications or prize delivery.


The links in this post are affiliate links. I will earn small commissions when you enter this giveaway or make purchases from the hosting site.

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Recent Giveaway Winners

Date Tue, July 22 2014

I usually post my giveaway winners on Facebook, but I not plenty of you were excited about these giveaways so I’m doing it here, too.

The winner of the Petbrosia pet food was Tandi.

The five winners of the DX Mall giveaway were Marcus, Joanna,  Ana G, , Jessica H and Lilly.

Everyone has claimed their prizes. I hope you all enjoy!

BustedTees Funny Shirts Awesome T-Shirts Cool T-Shirts

DX Mall — Shopping Advice and Product Reviews

Date Mon, July 21 2014

Because DX Mall carries so many items in so many departments, it can feel overwhelming to me. It’s not the type of site I’d go just to browse. It’s good to have an idea of something you want. For example, I realized they carried robotic vacuums so I spent a bunch of time comparing models. Of course, you’ll likely find awesome things and get inspired for new searches. That’s the fun of shopping online.

I would warn that there are plenty of generic and knockoff items. And as a curvy woman, fewer of the clothing items are going to fit me because they’re designed with the small Asian frame in mind. This was an issue I ran into when reviewing for Sammydress. The blazer I ordered in my size ran small. Pay close attention to size charts on DX Mall. If you know the brand, you may well want to search for the official size chart.

DX MAll is based in Asia, which means shipping will take longer than if you order from a company with a warehouse in your backyard. If your order is time sensitive, you might do better to buy from Amazon. When I placed my review order, it was shipped via DHL, which is definitely smaller than UPS or Fedex. We don’t actually have a DHL office in my city, so they have to drive over an hour. I always try to be home when expect this.

Many of the items shipped from DX Mall come with minimal packaging. This likely helps keep prices down. For example, the bracelet I ordered was simply in a plastic bag. However, DX MAll packaged my items in a box inside the larger packaging envelope so everything arrived just fine.

I ordered 3 things:

Heart Shape Pendant Bracelet

Heart Shape Pendant Bracelet

Let’s start with the simplest — the bracelet. It’s made of a curved black plastic and reminds me of the “tattoo” style that was one popular. The plastic is thin but flexible. If you’re rough, I can imagine it breaking. The adjustable chain helps it fit a variety of wrists. I often have trouble with bracelets designed for wrists around 7 inches in circumference, but this one works fine. The clasp is heart-shaped and there’s also a heart pendant that hangs from it. This might bother some people, but I think it’s feminine and cute! There’s also a gold version, which looks a little less “cheap” in my opinion.

The epilator is a product I’ve had my eye on for a while. This one has a single head and operates with AAA batteries. You can quickly pluck a bunch of hair. It works best with peach fuzz/light hair. I don’t think it works very well on thicker hair, and your hair needs to be a certain length but not too long. With some hairs, it simply broke them. off. It worked well on areas on my face and the back of my hand, but it’s just not going to cut it for legs. Plus, to catch every last hair, you’re going to spend a lot of time moving it across your skin, so a razor is better for those areas.

It didn’t hurt nearly as much as I expected; although, my sensitive skin was pink for a while.  On the whole, I’ll keep this around but will look for an even better epilator in the future because I love the idea.

The last item was one that didn’t quite do what I want. This LED shower head — there are many and some need batteries, but the one I got doesn’t — connects to a hose to be a handheld shower head, not a permanent one like I thought. Since the other two products worked just fine, I’m not super upset. I can still use it in the future. though. I did test it on my kitchen sink to verify that the water pressure is enough to turn on the LED lights. Cold water seems to be green and warm water seems blue. Really hot water — over 105 degrees — is red. I think blue and green should be switched, but it’s not a big deal.

Because I like my showers on the cooler side, I would never see this turn to red. However, it’s a great way to check temperature of your water without  burning or freezing yourself. Blue = go! The color suddenly switches when temperature raises or drops. It’s not gradual at all, which would look cooler. Still, pretty fun!

You can get any of these items and thousands more at Thanks for sending me stuff to review, guys!

Win $100 Amazon Gift Card Thanks to Get My Wish

Date Sun, July 20 2014

With Summer nearly over and school registration coming up fast, it is time to consider what we need to get our families ready for that dreaded “Back to School” frenzy.  Fortunately, I’m not a mom, so I get to skip this, but I remember how stressful it was for my own mom. Not to mention pricey! To make it easier, or at least a little less expensive, Get My Wish has partnered with Mom Loves 2 Read and some amazing bloggers to bring you a fun and fantastic Back to School Giveaway Bash!

Step up to the challenge and start making a Back to School Wishlist to help organize those back to school needs!  You can even do like me and make a different list for each child, and a separate one for my own personal wishes and wants!

Don’t need a Back to School Wishlist?  Then go ahead, register for FREE and make wishlists for birthdays, weddings, baby shower, anniversaries, Just Because, “I have to have it” list or even a “dreaming big” list!  Whatever the occasion, whatever the gift, Get My Wish has a great way to organize it and share it with family and friends, or just make it for yourself!

Get My Wish is all about making things easier to create, send and share your wishes, wants and needs with friends, family and co-workers all over the world.  They even have a free concierge service that helps find the special gifts for that special person for any occasion.  There are even different wishlist templates to personalize your lists, and Get My Wish makes emailing easy by allowing you to download your email contacts right into your account.

Susan from Mom Loves 2 Read set up a Back to School List that you can check out here. It took less than 5 minutes to create a free registry, set up a wishlist and add several back to school items with descriptions!  Simple. Easy. Ready to Share.

Now for the Giveaway Fun.  Enter below using the Giveaway Tolls form for a chance to win $100 Amazon eGiftCode to help with your Back 2 School shopping.  Mandatory to create or have a Get My Wish registry.  Open World Wide, must be 18+ to enter/win.  Giveaway ends 11:59pm CST on August 15th.  Entries will be validated.  Winner will have only 48 hours to claim prize – no reply after 48 hours will result in another winner being chosen.


Disclaimer: Neither Mom Loves 2 Read nor Reviews by Cole are responsible for prize distribution.  Sponsor: Get My Wish is responsible for sending prize to winner after validation.  This giveaway is in no way associated with any social media.

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AmiClubWear Shoes, Dress and Accessories Review

Date Sat, July 19 2014
Shop for Clothing and Accessories

Shop for Clothing and Accessories

I’d like to thank AmiClubeWear, a site that I had my eye on for a while for this review. They sent me an entire box of goodies to review, and it took me a while to get around to it!

Here’s everything you need to know about the store.

Shopping AmiClubWear

Because AmiClubWear moves stock so fast, some of the things I received might not be available. On the flip side, this means there are constantly new items and markdowns. If you’re patient, you can find shoes for as little as $5 per pair, but you’ll want to buy shoes or clothing now if you really can’t live without it.

AmiClubwear carries so many items that shopping can be a little difficult. There are literally thousands of shoes, and I would have loved the ability to filter some of the sections for ease of use. For example, filtering my heel height in shoes would be nice, and choosing colors for clothes would be useful as well. There is a search bar, though.

The type of clothing is often appropriate for going out. You can find some work-appropriate items, but shoe height tends to be pretty tall (between 4″ and 6″).  Most of the shoes are open toe, too. I wasn’t previously familiar with the brands listed for clothing and shoes, but AmiClubWear now has its own label, which the site is trying to promote. I did receive one pair of shoes manufactured by them. Generally, brands are not listed with product information, and product names may be different than the makers or other stores use.

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

4 of the products I was sent to review were pairs of shoes — and none of them cost over $20!

AmiClubWear Shoes

AmiClubWear Shoes

Each of the shoes were a different brand, so the fit varied a little even though they were all size 9. The black and pink skull heels were the highest and also cut the largest. In fact, I’d say they run about 1/2 size larger. I wound up passing them off to a friend. The peep toe and pink sole was cute. One thing I did notice was that these had a much cheaper, plastic smell than the other brands, which was disappointing.

The black rhinestone pumps were definitely a surprise. With a lower heel, they’re easier to walk in, and I really think they look better in person than they do in product photos. They’ll work well with a variety of skirts and dresses, and the black-on-black rhinestones are glitzy but not gaudy.

I’ve gotten the most wear out of the coral wedges, which feature round studs along the heel and a two-tone color and fabric. The wedges were easy enough to walk in, but my feet were definitely hurting after wearing them to a club for a few hours. You might want to invest in some insoles intended specifically for high heels. After a little bit of use, these shoes did loosen up a little bit, but they remained quite wearable.

The last pair of shoes are ones that I haven’t yet had a chance to wear, but I love the look of the pleated blue chiffon. It’s super feminine and a little classy. However, the sole at the toes lifts up from the floor a bit, which makes them tricky to walk in. They would be perfect if the toe sat flat on the ground.

Coral Closed Toe Studded Wedges Faux Suede

Coral Closed Toe Studded Wedges Faux Suede

Coral Dreams

The fashionable colors this spring were mint and coral, and AmiClubWear had plenty of both. I was looking at a coral dress to match the shoes, but sadly it was out. I opted for the Coral Sheer Chiffon Long Sleeve Casual Top, which looked awesome in photos. Unfortunately, the cut of the arms and the width across the shoulders ran really small, so I wasn’t able to fit into it.

I received the Coral Two Tone Patent Faux Leather Rhinestone Clutch Handbag, too. As the name suggest, it pairs coral with another color — teal. It’s super colorful. The rhinestones and bow detail are such that I wouldn’t carry this with me on a daily basis. I do like how you can carry it as a clutch or attach the optional strap to make it a purse, but the faux-leather material seemed a little cheap.

Dress to Impress?

Finally, I received the Black Mesh Center Cut Out Hem Sexy Dress AMI+ from the plus-sized clothing section. This is a form-fitting dress with a mesh cutout over the bust. I loved the cutout. In the right bra, it looked amazing. The material doesn’t really hide any problem areas, so I suggest wearing a slip or shapewear underneath, like I did. The thicker material felt nice against my skin, however. The dress is cut slightly higher in the front, which I found interesting.

I think I’ll feel a little more confident in this once I shed a few pounds, but my butt and bust looked great. It  definitely didn’t look terrible, and pairing it with bright shoes — I wore it with the coral wedges — and fun accessories is perfect.

AmiClubWear — Yay or Nay?

Like I said, you can find some amazing sales. Not everything on the site is to my taste, and it may not be your style. If you keep an eye out, you can snag amazing deals. Quality can range, and the lack of filter options and brand mention do make AmiClubWear a little frustrating, however, but I definitely think it’s worth considering.

Summer Beauty Tips and Tricks

Date Fri, July 18 2014

We’re almost a month into summer, and while it’s been pretty mild here, I always find myself trying to beat the heat. Here’s my best advice to look and feel good this summer.

Mind the Sun

You already know that you have to wear sunscreen once the sun comes out — and even on days when it’s not so sunny — but have you forgotten about your head? While you can certainly find sunscreen specifically for your face, I prefer products that multitask. Olay makes a moisturizer, for example with SPF 30. You might have multiple products that block the sun’s harmful rays and prevent painful sunburns. It’s a little confusing about how layering these products works but in general:

  • If you layer two products with SPF you’ll get closer to average. So using a 15 SPF and 30 SPF will provide the protection of 30 SPF, not 45SPF
  • The layer closest to the sun typically does more blocking.
  • Layering physical and chemical sunscreen can further prevent sun damage. A physical sunscreen contains ingredients such as Zinc oxide or Titanium dioxide while chemical sunscreens rely on ingredients like Octylcrylene, Avobenzone, Homosalate and helioplex to block the sun.

Some skin treatments, including certain acne treatments, can make your skin especially susceptible to sunburn. Pay attention to your labels if you need to up the ante on your SPF. Exfoliating too much in summer time can also increase the risk of sunburn. Stick to gentler facial cleansers.

I might just start wearing a hat to save my part!

I might just start wearing a hat to save my part!

Finally, don’t forget about your hair and part. Spray sunscreen works well for your part, and you can apply it to your comb to protect your hair, too. While you might like the sunkissed look of lighter hair in summer, sun also helps your dye fade more quickly. Specialized hair treatments can offer additional protection to keep your hair moist while the sun is high.

Ditch the Heavy Makeup

In summer, I swear by BB creams — but not the crappy American ones. If you can get it at the drug store or Walmart, it’s terrible. Spend a little more for a BB/CC by Jane Iredale or try Studio Gear’s CC cream. Take a trip to Korea to get the real stuff, which offers sun protection, shading,  moisture, color correction and repairs damage to your skin all at once!

You may also notice that you can use a lighter moisturizer during summer when there’s more moisture in the air. On the whole, I don’t need a heavy moisturizer, and I like them thinner, so I stay away from thick creams like those from Deja Vu.

Keep Makeup In Place

Sometimes you do want to wear makeup, but sweat and humidity make it a pain. What can you do? Invest in a decent primer. For my eyes, I beat the crease with Urban Decay’s Primer potion. Jane Iredale makes a nice primer, too. Plus, primers help your makeup go on easily and can improve the appearance of your skin!

Go Darker

I like to wear my foundation a tad darker than my skin tone because it helps to even out all the rosiness. In summer, most people want to adjust the shade of their foundation because they’ll be tanner. If you don’t get a lot of sun, you might want to go the self tanner route. I haven’t personally done this, so you’ll probably want to check out some reviews. When it comes to your face, however, you don’t want to look like an Oompa Loompa. Find a good bronzer that isn’t shimmery and use that, instead.

What are you summer beauty tips?

Dab on Deodorant

Of course, most people wear antiperspirant all year round, but it’s that much more important during the hot summer months. You may have to increase the strength or switch from a product that targets stress to one that focuses on heat. You can apply more liberally, and don’t be afraid to put antiperspirant/deodorant places where you might normally not. The inner thigh, beneath breasts, behind knees and inside elbows and the back of the neck are all great places. This helps mild chafing, keeps you smelling fresh and prevents you from sweating buckets in your brand-new bra.

Prevent Chafing

I walked 15 miles last week when I was sick. Believe me, I know about chafing. I already wrote a post about plenty of products to help when it’s hot and sticky.

Reduce the Shine

Even if you don’t sweat as much as I do — lucky ducks! — you might be shinier in summer thanks to all the oils your skin produces. Try washing your face less frequently. If you’re stripping oils your skin needs, it will overproduce! You can also use a specialty face wash to reduce shine. Olay makes one. Keep a pack of blotting papers in your purse or pocket during the day to wipe away excess sweat and oil. Sally Beauty sells rice paper with and without powder to help cover shine. Head to Chinatown to find cheap, tissue-paper like blotters, too.  I’ve also use Clean & Clear’s oil absorbing sheets with pretty good success.