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Petz Beach for Nintendo 3DS

Date Fri, October 31 2014


For someone who spends as much time gaming as I do, I don’t spend a lot of time writing reviews. It’s been too long, but Ubisoft and the Clever Girls Collective have provided me with a chance to write a review for the new Petz Beach game. Well, to be honest, it’s technically a review for my sister. You know, the 11-year-old who is the target audience for this game. But I wanted to see all about the game, too! Can you blame me?

Petz Beach for Nintendo 3DS

Petz Beach for Nintendo 3DS

In Petz beach, you play a character who has moved to a beach community with your pet. Ubisoft recently released Petz Countryside, which is  a similar game but in a different venue. Both were released on  October 14, 2014 for the 3DS.

My sister chose a little German shepherd puppy who she named Tippy, after a dog we had when she was younger. I knew that was her choice because I’ve done the same thing in a similar game. When she was choosing, there were different fur patterns to choose from. However, dogs are just one choice in this game. Because of the beach theme, you can have a pet whale or dolphin! We’re still getting used to playing with a pup, though.

In the game, you move through the town and get to know your neighbors, who will teach you tips and tricks. The mayor, for example, pops up every time you start the game to teach you new things. In this way, you learn a little about the game as you go. Plus, the game starts out with a limited map and number of NPCs, so there’s both room to grow and it’s not overwhelming when you first begin.

One thing we had to get used to was how you control your animal. As we walked Tippy around town, we had the option to grab the handle of the leash on the bottom touch screen so Tippy would go in the direction we pulled. This definitely has a learning curve, and it’s not always easy to tell which way your pet is facing. However, there is an option to move him on the overall map, which I find easier.

Gameplay features several different activities and options:

  • Teach your pet tricks such as catching fish or finding shells
  • Care for your pet
  • Complete questions for NPCs
  • Visit other friends on their 3DS (Playdates)
  • Decorate your pet with accessories purchased with in-app currency

We’re far from completing the game, so I’m sure there’s much more that I haven’t done. One of the things I really like is the ability to take a snapshot of your game. With Nintendo’s image share tool, you can send it to Twitter or Facebook. That’s how I was able to upload the photo of Tippy the dog with an NPC’s dog.

Tippy makes friends in Petz Beach

Tippy makes friends in Petz Beach

During loading, you’ll see snippets of info about animals from Encyclopaedia Britannica. I think this is a clever use of those loading screens, but most of the facts were things I already knew. I think kids will appreciate this effort more, but the facts could be more unusual. There are a couple areas for improvement in this game, including the graphics and over-reliance on the stylus. There were some parts where using the thumbpad or D-pad would work perfectly. Additionally, the game doesn’t use your Mii when showing your character, which is kind of disappointing. You can choose a generic avatar, however.

Because this is a 3DS game, you can use the slider to turn up or down the effect. I typically play with 3D effects down because you need to hold the 3DS in exactly the correct position to get the best effect, and this isn’t how I tend to hold it. However, I think kids will definitely enjoy the effect that 3D adds in Petz Beach.

Some activities in this game, including fishing, allow you to use the motion detector in the 3DS, which is fun.

Petz Beach is likely going to be a hit for anyone who lots of Petz or similar games.

If you’re interested in Petz Beach, you can buy Petz Beach on Amazon.com. It’s a great option for the children in your holiday shopping list.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

OASAP Sweater Giveaway

Date Thu, October 30 2014
oasap sweater weather giveaway

oasap sweater weather giveaway

It’s getting chilly, which means it’s perfect time to start layering. And what’s better than a comfy and cozy sweater?

Your closet might be full of sweaters an cardigans that fit the bill, or it might be looking a bit threadbare — haha.

Either way, you can add to your collection with this awesome giveaway sponsored by OASAP. You’ll get your choice of one of the sweaters listed below.

  1. Brilliant Floral Cropped Sweater
  2. Solid Braided Lace Knit Sweater
  3. Classic Sequined Mohair Knit Sweater
  4. Classic Solid Cable Sweater
  5. Fur Ball Embellished Batwing Sleeves Jumper

No matter your style, you’re sure to love the sweater. There’s cropped, lace, sequined, cable knit and even one with fuzzy balls. They’re all super affordable — the highest price is just over $25! You can find more sweaters from OASAP here.

One lucky reader of Reviews by Cole will win the sweater of their choice.

Simply use the Gleam form below to enter. Entries are limited but some will repeat daily, so be sure to check back.

Good luck!

OASAP Sweater Giveaway

Giveaway ends November 9th.

Open worldwide. User must have OASAP account for the credit.

Okocat Litter from Healthy Pet

Date Wed, October 29 2014

I’m not the type of person who goes out of her way to find natural products, but if it’s natural, affordable and effective, I will recommend it to everyone! My fist experience with a natural cat litter but’s something I wanted to write home about — though, I did write about it. Still, I was hopeful when receiving three boxes of Okocat litter to review.

The types are as follows.

There’s a clumping version for long-haired cats, but mine are not.

okocat litter

okocat litter

All of the options are natural. They’re free of chemicals and clay. It promises 7-day odor control and is supposed to absorb up to 5x its volume in urine, obviously.

So how did the cat litters do?

Texture and Material

I first tried the pine littler, which was little wood chips. The volume of individual pieces is much larger than clay litter, so it fills up the litter box more quickly.

The clumping litter, which I didn’t get  chance to photograph is also made of wood, but it doesn’t smell like pine. It seemed softer and thinner in size. It didn’t hurt if I stepped on it.

The dust-free is made of little paper pellets. It reminds me of rodent food pellets or Chinese crispy noodles.

Natural Dust-Free Paper and Natural Pine Litter

Natural Dust-Free Paper and Natural Pine Litter

Dealing with Smell

None of the little options were good at minimizing the smell after the cats too a poo. The pine and clumping seemed especially worst. Although, they seem okay with dealing with urine smell. I’m not sure which is worse.

Fortunately, I had just purchased an awesome pumpkin candle that I’ve been burning in the bathroom, but this is definitely an issue.

Clumping and Scooping

The pine and paper litters by Okocat didn’t clump at all. When you’re scooping those two, you’re just basically scooping the poos themselves. I much preferred the texture of the clumping cat litter for actual clumping. However, all of the litters are so big in volume that they’re too big for the slots in my scooper. Instead of sifting, I wound up having to sort of shake the excess off the front of the scooper. It’s way easier said than done!

Furthermore, the added volume means this litter just didn’t work well with my Litter Genie. Instead of one “bag” lasting me a couple weeks, it only lasts me about a week.

Tracking

Both the pine and clumping were easily tracked all over the house, which led to be vacuuming more frequently. The clumping especially seemed to get caught in the shag rug I have in the bathroom, so I would advise against it if you have any plush carpets. Every time I stepped on a little pine chip, it would hurt! In fact, it bothered me so much that I didn’t use up the entire box. I don’t think that has ever been the case with The dust-free paper cat litter was the best in terms of tracking. I noticed a few pellets right outside the litter box but none made it to the rug by the bathroom door. I may have noticed one outside the bathroom. That’s pretty good!

As far as Okocat litter goes for my needs, it’s barely “Okay.” It’s pretty frustrating that neither of the cat litter options dealt well with all smells, and cleaning the litter box became more difficult due to the size of the pellets. Tracking was a serious issue with the wood-based litters. With prices well above the prices you’d pay for a standard box or bucket of clay-based litter, it’s a pretty big risk for most consumers.

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KitNipBox

Date Tue, October 28 2014

Today starts a week dedicated to reviews for things my fur babies have loved — or ignored. You know how it goes with cats. LOL! The first is KitNipBox. I was excited about this when I saw the first blog reviews and even ads on Facebook. There are so many subscription boxes for dog owners. I don’t know if KitNipBox is the first for cats, but I am not complaining.

So KitNipBox is a box full of toys, treats and other goodies for your felines. I received the October/Halloween box, which came with some special seasonal goodies, too. KitNipBox arrives in its labeled box. Inside, the box was wrapped in seasonable tissue paper with a sticker. Inside that, everything was in a mesh bag. It’s a nice touch. Especially the box. Cats loooove those. ;)

It's the great KitNipBox, Charlie Brown!

It’s the great KitNipBox, Charlie Brown!

My box included:

  • Wellness Kittles Crunchy Chicken Treats
  • Catnip Stuffed Fish
  • A coupon for Ribbon Parties kitty cape — which I haven’t used. My cats are not fans of collars let alone capes.

These three items are part of the start KitNipBox. The next three items are part of the Happy Cat box, which was also included in mine:

  • A handmade cat toy made from a spool
  • A Cat’n Around Kitty Wobbler Toy
  • A Cat’n Around Spider that’s refillable with catnip

I didn’t get the multi cat box this month, but it would have included salmon treats and a crocheted candy corn. Aww, how sweet. Get it? ;)

The mix of commercial items and homemade toys was awesome. It supports artists. KitNipBox also supports good causes. This month, it was the Sean Casey Animal Rescue. The money you spend at KitNipBox will help other kitties, which I love.

So what did my kitties love?

Phantom's gone fishin'

Phantom’s gone fishin’

Surprisingly, Phantom took off after the stuffed fish. I was so surprised. He typically doesn’t like little plush toys. Goliath has a collection of mice, but Phantom doesn’t.

I really liked the wobbler toy. It’s a weighted ball with a feather attached. Because it’s weighted, the feather almost always stays upright, so you can kick or swat it across the floor and the feather wooshes along. My cats sometimes like thus, but not nearly as much as I expected.

Of course, the boys love the chicken treats in the KitNipBox. They’re fans of chicken, and the little bites are small enough to put in their foraging toy, too.

The catnip spool is really cute. It’s orange and yellow — perfect for Halloween — with threads sticking off the sides. It reminds me a little bit of a colorful Tootsie Roll. Sadly, my cats aren’t a big fan of it as far as I can tell. It keeps moving across the floor, however. They must be playing in secret!

Finally, the spider. It’s a fuzzy orange shape with black yarn legs. It came with a sactcher of cat nip, which I stuffed in the entire thing. You could ration is out, however. My cats went crazy over this thing! I mean, it was covered in cat spit from all the chewing in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, the yarn legs weren’t attached very well. I spend the next 48 hours or so picking them up off my floor. I think there’s a few still attached, but I don’t expect them to last.

This was the only really issue I had with quality, and I realize that my cats won’t like every toy. It’s luck of the draw a little bit. However, I was a bit surprised at which toy it was that had quality issues. Imperial Cat is the company behind Cat’n around toys; although, the spider isn’t listed. You might keep that in mind if you’re in the market for some new cat toys.

KitNipBox subscriptions start at $9. The one I received to review is $19 monthly while the version for multiple cats costs $10 more. These boxes are definitely an affordable way to try multiple toys, and you’ll save money over purchasing all the toys and treats separately. These boxes ship for free.

You can use code REVIEWSBYCOLE to save 15% on your first KitNipBox, which makes this an even better deal!

Right now, it’s only available to U.S. residents, but I hope to see KitNipBox available to more people!

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4 Reasons to Print Your Own Tees in October

Date Mon, October 27 2014

1. Halloween

A simple letter “M” on colors that represent every letter of the rainbow makes for an easy costume — M&Ms! Switch it up, and you and your friends can be Skittles. If that’s not your style, pick out a couple orange, yellow and brown tees and you can go as a group of Reese’s Pieces!

Check out Halloween costume ideas from CustomInk blog!

Check out Halloween costume ideas from CustomInk blog!

Maybe candy is a little saccharine for you. You can go as a softball team, instead, or print a single shirt feature a Jack O Lantern if you’re not the type to dress up with others.

2. Awareness and Fundraisers

Now, I’m sure all your minds go to breast cancer awareness, and October is indeed the month when people “Think Pink.” But it’s not the only cause that’s recognized this month. Here are some causes and their associated colors.

  • National Breast Cancer Awareness Month — pink
  • LGBT History Month — rainbow
  • Antibullying — blue shirt, purple shirt or pink shirt depending on organization promoting
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month — purple

There are a number of other causes recognized this month that don’t have official ribbons or colors. And while you might be running in a marathon to raise money for breast cancer research — check out shirt ideas from CustomInk — or participating in a volleyball championship to raise awareness about bullying campaigns, you don’t necessarily need to wear a uniform of that color. You might simply want to match your team, which is just fine!

3. New Fiscal Year

If you’re a small business owner, you might be planning the next year’s finances as the new fiscal year rolls around. Perhaps that should include some t-shirts so you can advertise your company on your very own back. Or, you can use t-shirts as promotional materials that you give to clients or contest winners. With CustomInk, you can use your own company logo or come up with a flashy new design.

Teens can celebrate their last year in school!

Teens can celebrate their last year in school!

4. Show Fandom

Now, I’m really not a fan of any sports, but it’s hard to avoid them on Facebook. October marks the start of basketball season and hockey season! Show up to the big game in matching colors, and you’ll look great on the audience cam!

With school in session for a few months, you might even want to show fandom for your favorite high school team! You can easily do so by printing your own custom tees or hoodies, which are great now that temperatures are dropping. Merch like this may not be available in your size or your style directly from the source, so CustomInk provides a great alternative.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to consider CustomInk for your t-shirt needs. You can have them printed if your son or daughter is running for homecoming king or queen, respectively. They’re great for family reunions, and you might even consider them for Christmas gifts if you like to finish your shopping early! Check out all their fall designs here.

What would you have printed on a t-shirt?

Lugz Women’s Boots Giveaway

Date Sat, October 25 2014

Lugz Women's Sophia Boots Giveaway
Hosted by: Queen of Savings, Green Grandma, Michigan Savings & More, The Minister’s Wife Stamps & Saves, 7 Kids & Us, Mom Loves 2 Read

Sponsor: Lugz

Prize: Lugz Women’s Sophia Boots Winner’s Choice of Color RV $69.99

It’s almost winter time, which means that warm and practical footwear is a must. Lugz boots has many options and, lucky for you, you can enter to win a pair of the Sophia boots as pictured above. The boots are available in four  different colors and have some great features:

  • Thermabuck upper
  • Lace-up boot
  • Cushioned insole
  • Padded tongue & collar

See Queen of Savings’ full review here.

You can buy the boots at 40% off using coupon code 40FALL14 at the Lugz website. This reduces the price to $41.99. What a steal!

You can also enter to win these boots below!

Dates: 10/25-11/8

Open to: US Residents 18+

Enter to win using the widget below. Good luck!

Disclosure: Reviews by Cole did not receive compensation for this post and is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

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Saving Money with CVS

Date Fri, October 24 2014

I recently received an email from CVS telling me the saving over the past year. I always enjoy the little thing that rushes through my body when I print coupons from the kiosk and the cashier tells me how much I’ve saved at the end of the transaction. But seeing it stacked up over a year is pretty impressive!

Below is the screen cap.

Almost $100 savings at CVS!

Almost $100 savings at CVS!

Now, I don’t even know if CVS has been open a year. I forget how long it’s been, but an old news article says it was slated to open in late August 2013, so it might be just over a year.

A lot of the savings certainly come from coupons I receive in the email. I often have a 25% or 20% coupon that I send to my card. It looks a bit like the one above and prints out when I go to the kiosk. I believe this corresponds to the Exclusive Coupons. Sale price savings refers to any prices that you only receive from simply having a card, so anyone is eligible. The Coupon Center coupons seem to reflect what I’ve previously purchased as makeup, razor blades and batteries are frequently among them. Ha!

Every quarter, I receive a coupon worth 2% of what I spent the previous quarter — Extrabucks rewards.

I’m not sure how much I’ve spent over this past year. Although I visited frequently over the summer, I went in only a few times during the winter.  CVS claims I’ve spent $26.47 this quarter, but I’m thinking they mean last quarter because I received the email in Q4, and I hadn’t yet stepped foot into the store. If I’m correct, that could mean I spend about $105 over the year — only slightly more than I saved.

So that’s why I love CVS!