Current Giveaways at Reviews by Cole

Date Fri, November 30 2012

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4 Things that Make a Bra a Holy Grail

Date Thu, May 24 2018

I’m one of many women who has one bra that they use for daily wear and gets washed.. not so frequently. LOL It’s because I only buy a bra when I really like it, and I do not wear bras that don’t meet all of my requirements. When I find a bra that does, I wear it almost exclusively, save for outfits that might call for a strapless. It’s my holy grail of bras, and what does a bra have to provide to earn that status? Read on to find out!

Shape

Honestly, I don’t really understand unlined bras because even if you don’t desire a pushup bra, I want them to help shape my breasts, smooth out lumps, make them look full (although, this isn’t a huge issue). Speaking of lumps, a bra that cuts into your sides or back is a no go. I like a wider band that can smooth all that out, too (and those usually come with three hooks, which are great for the next reason on this list).

Support

People without breasts might not consider this, but those of with them know that breasts like to do their own thing whether that means falling out of bras or, in my case, falling to the side because of my rib cage. So I’m not as interested in a bra being a pushup as much as it is a push together. I’ve found a few bras that are excellent at keeping the girls in place and in the right location on my body, but some aren’t great at this.

Comfort

Comfort is another must-have when it comes to bras, especially those worn daily. If you expect to get 12-16 hours out of a bra, you want them to be comfortable. This means no exposed seams, scratchy material, straps that dig into your shoulders or underwire that pops out of cup! During hotter seasons, I like a bra that wicks away moisture. I mean, you’ve all seen the meme (it’s below in case you haven’t!), and it’s true! No one wants a bra that causes them to sweat even more.

And if you’re wearing a bra during exercise comfort (and sweatproofiness!) becomes even more important. If you’re un the market for a bra that succeeds in this arena, you can check out a range of comfortable bras at Knix.

Style

I’m all about the strappy styles that keep showing up in bras and camis these days. I hope the trend continues! I also like feminine touches of lace. A bra that I lusted over for ages had fishnet-like mesh and PVC details! If I’m going to pay good money for a bra, then I want it to look good!

but sometimes less is more. When it comes to bras that I’ll be wearing with thinner camis, I want something smooth, usually satin. Lace, mesh or other textures can show through in a way that I don’t like. Although, others may not mind.

When I find the right bra, I want to wear it all the time and with everything. I walk with more confidence, my head held high. And it’s not like I don’t like my breasts or love my body the way it is. But an ill-fitting bra or one that’s so uncomfortable that I need to stop and adjust it or can’t concentrate on the life that I’m living is a serious deal-breaker.

I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are my own.

My 3 Favorite DermaE Products

Date Mon, May 21 2018

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will earn a small commission.

As a DermaE ambassador, I’ve had a chance to try more than a few of their products, and a few reign supreme! I thought I’d let my readers know which products I like the best to save some effort of combing through all my reviews. There are three that really stand out so far.

DermaE Purifying Gel Cleanser

My favorite product by DermaE is pretty easy to pick out: the Purifying Gel Cleanser. It’s a charcoal-based product. The main ingredient of this grey gel cleanser is charcoal, which removes impurities, and it also contains aloe to hydrate and green tea as an antioxidant. It has no oil in its formula, which is perfect for people like me who have oily skin. The description says its:

Ideal for oily, active or urban skin types, even safe for reactive skin

I agree! It also doesn’t make me break out. Awesome!

Per usual, this cleanser is free of a whole slew of sketchy ingredients:

  • Parabens
  • Sulfate
  • Mineral oil
  • Lanolin
  • GMOs
  • Gluten

Basically, if you have concerns, it’s easy to find a product to stand by from DermaE.

DermaE Hydrating Cleanser + Hydrating Night Cream

DermaE Hydrating Cleanser + Hydrating Night Cream

DermaE Hydrating Cleanser

Now, if your issue is dry skin, even if it’s just during the winter months, then you might like DermaE’s Hydrating Cleanser which contains Hyaluronic Acid for hydration. In fact, I like it, too! It’s gentle on skin thanks to Vitamins E and C and soothing aloe, which it leaves feeling dewy, and it smells yummy. The line of products has a sweet scent that reminds me a bit of candy. Isn’t that interesting?

You can purchase a hydrating night cream with it if you’re really in need of some moisture; although, I prefer a lighter gel-based moisturizer for my skin. Check out my review for both!

Derma E Makeup Remover

For a different type of product, we have DermaE’s Makeup Remover. I really enjoy this one (in fact, I am trying to use up my other products as fast a possible so I can get to it! LOL) because it doesn’t feel greasy. A lot of people swear by coconut oil and the like to remove makeup, but I cannot stand the greasy feeling on my skin. It’s why I don’t like Micellar Water. I think you can see where I am going with this. There’s no greasy feeling left when I use this gel makeup remover.

Now, this makeup remover takes a bit more effort to remove some makeup, but it can remove mascara even with a topcoat while leaving no residue or remnants!

I was left feeling clean and clear thanks to ingredients such as chamomile and cucumber extracts. If you want to learn more about my experience with DermaE’s makeup remover, you can read all about it.

Bonus: Although I only got to try a sample, I enjoyed the fruity scent and gentle performance of the Vitamin C Brightening Clay Mask. This is a mask designed specifically to brighten skin and promote a youthful appearance, and you can buy a sample packet to try when you’re checking out at DermaE.

If you’re interested in any of the DermaE face masks, I reviewed them all!

For my readers, which DermaE products are your favorite? Never tried the brand? Let me know which cleansers you like best (especially for oily skin) and any recommendations for non-greasy makeup removers!

Smart Stuff™ Natural Deet-Free Insect Repellant

Date Wed, May 16 2018

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You might not be familiar with Smart Stuff. I certainly wasn’t before I had the opportunity for this review campaign. Smart Stuff produces products like sunscreen and bug spray that don’t contain the typical chemicals, which may not be healthy for us humans (and often aren’t for the environment, either!)

SMART STUFF™ was born from necessity, and based on one simple concept: well-designed products should work great day in and day out without compromising your health. While the concept was simple, the execution and realization of a full line of lifestyle and skin care products that met this principle is anything but.

I was able to sample Smart Stuff™ Natural Deet-Free Insect Repellant in exchange for my honest opinion.

Now, most bug sprays have a certain smell because of the active ingredient, Deet. Because Smart Stuff lacks this ingredient, that particular smell isn’t present. It’s got a bit of a minty smell. That’s not all that’s there, but it’s definitely noticeable. I am one of the few people who doesn’t enjoy mint, so I don’t particularly love the first few seconds after I apply the Smart Stuff bug spray, but the smell doesn’t last.

Rather than being an aerosol, this bug spray comes in a spritz bottle, and it’s easy to spray arms and legs; although, you may want to enlist some help for those hard-to-reach areas. The spray isn’t sticky like some, and it dries quickly.

I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to use the Smart Stuff™ Natural Deet-Free Insect Repellant. Soon after I got it, heat and humidity dropped — and so did the bugs. This is good for anyone who doesn’t like insects, but it means I wasn’t really in need of bug spray. Plus, I would forget to use it every time.

I finally remembered to spray some of the repellant on me before heading out to a hiking park for a few friends. Temperatures had risen again, and we were near water, so this was a perfect opportunity to test out Smart Stuff™ Natural Deet-Free Insect Repellant.

I saw plenty of bugs, and we walked right through clouds of them. Only my arms were bare, but I returned home without a single bug bite, which is pretty impressive. I usually wind up with a few itchy bites that I didn’t even realize happened at the time.

I wish I had a tiny bottle of Smart Stuff™ Natural Deet-Free Insect Repellant that I could keep in my purse so I would never remember to use it. Or so I could spray it on when I suddenly realize that it’s still warm enough for bugs to be buzzin’ around. Ha!

I’ll just have to pay enough attention to the weather and my activities. If you live in an area where insects are often a problem, I definitely recommend you check out this product.

Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula

Date Tue, May 8 2018

Clinique’s Lash Power Mascara is officially the second mascara I’ve ever tried that doesn’t smudge. In nearly 32years, I’ve only found two products that I can wear without the fear that I will look like a raccoon (and not even a particularly cute one!) due to my oily eyes. Eesh!

But let’s focus on the positive.

First, I had hopes this one would work for me because it’s a tubing mascara. Tubing mascaras don’t just coat your lashes in paint – they shrink-wrap them in polymers. The first mascara I ever found that works for me is a tubing mascara. Now, not all tubing mascaras work for me. In fact, now that I think on it, far fewer have worked than those that do. Sigh.

So I’m happy to add Clinique’s Lash Power to that list. A little info: Lash Power costs $18, the same as any Clinique mascara (and not that much more than drugstore mascaras at this point). I bought mine directly from Clinique’s site, so I got a few samples to go with it. It comes in a small tube with a narrow wand. It’s pretty standard and there’s no big learning curve.

I don’t find Lash Power to be particularly hard to work with or messy (I’m talking to you, Eyeko!). But I also don’t find that the overall impression is especially, well, impressive. Lash Power might lengthen my lashes, but it does nothing for volume. It mostly darkens them, and tubing mascaras aren’t known for adding curl. My poor, straight lashes.

Clinique Lash Power Mascara  Long-Wearing Formula

Smudge-proof mascara that’s good for a daytime look.. underwhelming during the evening

Because of this, Lash Power seems more of a daytime look for me. I have tried it with primer, however, and will continue to do so. When you want subtle, clump-free lashes that you don’t need to worry about. And not needing to worry about this mascara is my favorite part. It doesn’t smudge after 4, 8, 12 or even 16 hours. If I fall asleep while wearing this mascara – oops – it will have flaked off in clumps during the night. But I don’t experience this during the day.

The clumpy flakes are to be expected with tubing mascara. For those of my readers who might not be familiar, tubing mascara simply washes off with water and a little pressure. It doesn’t wipe off as well as other mascaras. Some people find this frustrating and may be alarmed at the clumps that come off when they wash their face. But it’s not your lashes, just the mascara.

And once it’s completely gone, it’s gone. There’s no residue, and you don’t have to worry about smudging during washing. With regular mascaras, I wash my face. But I have to use at least two other methods of makeup removal to fully remove it from the skin right below my eyes (do not tell me to use coconut oil. Oil is my problem, and it makes my skin crawl). It’s far more obnoxious and time-consuming. I’ll stick to my tubing mascaras, thank-you-very-much. But I can understand if it takes a bit of adjustment for you.

I’m not sure where this leaves me with Lash Power Long-wearing Mascara, however. I like that it’s worry-free, but I was hoping to for something that did a little more for my lashes. Given a choice between this and my L’oreal mascara, I’ll probably stick with L’oreal because it’s cheaper and easier to find. However, I would recommend LashPower Long-wearing for anyone who might not like L’oreal’s Beauty Tubes or who simply wants to try another tubing mascara.

Minted Art Makes the Perfect Gift

Date Mon, April 30 2018

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I was compensated for this post.

It’s a beautiful day today, over 60 degrees.  I think I can finally put away my winter boots and enjoy walks with short sleeves. Awesome, right?

The more time I spend outside, the less time I’ll be inside doing things such as shopping, whether it’s online or otherwise. So I guess I better get all my shopping done before I head outside to enjoy the sun and fresh air, huh?

First up? Minted. Now, I’ve talked about them before. They sell wedding and graduation invites — pretty timely if you ask me. They’ve been selling art for 6 years now as well. You can buy photos prints for yourself or as gifts. There’s even an art collection dedicated to Mother’s Day. How cool!

Honestly, my own mother has never been big on art. But there’s a section of garden-inspired pieces that I bet either of my grandmothers would like! I personally like the prints of famous landmarks by artist Paul B. i seem to really be liking the architecture-inspired pieces like the ones below.

Art by Minted.com

If you find something you like, you can get it framed or printed on canvas. And they have baker’s notebooks and general planners that are functional presents for anyone who’s not really into art.

But if you can’t find something that you really like, you can even commission a custom piece through Minted. It’s super convenient!

You don’t have a lot of time if you want to order in time for Mother’s Day. Get your order in by tomorrow at 3 pm PT for delivery by May 11th. On the other hand, if you’re shopping for a different event, you’ve got a little more time to make up your mind.

Stranger Things Eggo Card Game

Date Fri, April 27 2018

So you’re a fan of Stranger Things, kitschy things, and card games — have you met the Stranger Things Eggo Card Game? I’ve not had a chance to play this game twice.

Stranger Things Eggo Card Game

Stranger Things Eggo Card Game comes with a toaster holder, Eggo box and cars featuring characters from the show

The cool thing about the Stranger Things Eggo Card Game is that the game is actually a cardboard toaster, and you draw cards from each of the slots. The cards are round and most have an Eggo print on the back, so it definitely pays homage to the source.

The cards also differ from most games in that the stock is incredibly thin. You’ll see this in most reviews. It makes the game feel quite light but also means that the cards will likely wear out sooner and that they can bend and crease quite easily.

When it comes to playing the game, it’s much like Uno. The cards each depict a character and a color or are a wild card, which come in the forms of portals and rifts. You can play a matching color or character, but the colors are skewed just enough to need a decent light source to see them. There’s a blue-green, a pinky red, a purple, and a yellow-orange. If the colors were a bit more primary, it would be easier to see. It’s not a dealbreaker, however.

Aside from the character cards, there are reverses and draw 2s, which anyone who has played Uno understands. To explain how portals and rifts work, you need to know that every player picks a character from the first season. Choices include Hopper, Eleven, Nancy, Jonathan and all of the boys. Joyce is not a playable character; although, hers is a character card on the board. You can also play Barb with a caveat that I’ll discuss shortly.

Character cards are round and two-sided. One side is darker, and you start on this darker side because your character is un the Upside Down. Not only are you trying to get rid of all your cards, but you have to be in the real world to win!

Portals are wild cards that allow you to flip your character card right side up. But be careful! Rift cards mean that everyone must flip their cards, so you might wind up back in the Upside down.

There’s one more bit of chance that you have to beat in the Stranger Things Eggo Card Game. Four of the cards you can draw are Demogorgons, and if you haven’t escaped the upside down and played all your cards before all four of the cards have been played, you’ve lost.

In this way, the Stranger Things Eggo Card Game is a last-man-standing type of game. You can only win by escaping the Upside Down, but you can lose by revealing all four demogorgon cards before you play all your cards or by being the last person with any cards left in their hand even if all of those cards haven’t been played.

The Stranger Things Eggo Card Game is a bit more complex than Uno but is close enough that it’s not difficult to learn if you’ve ever played. The extra elements add a bit of difficulty, but it’s still chance, and the game isn’t very long regardless.

I don’t find that Uno has a lot of replayability for me, and this game has fewer cards overall, so I think it would be even less so. But it’s definitely a fun addition if you’re a an advid Stranger Things fan and collector.

You can pick up this game from target for $15, and it’s the same price on Amazon.

Sensodyne Rapid Relief

Date Wed, April 25 2018

Some of my readers are probably enjoying summer-like temperatures already. It’s nearly May and we still have a bit of snow on the ground! This isn’t entirely unusual for Wisconsin, but we got dumped on with over two feet of snow in one week, and it was pretty terrible to deal with.

As you can imagine, I am over low temperature, high snow banks, wind, and all the skin, hair and teeth problems that come with winter. Teeth problems, you might ask?! Unfortunately, yes.

I have pretty sensitive teeth. Have for as long as I can recall. And winter is the worst for them. While I typically us toothpaste made for sensitive teeth, I can usually still count on discomfort if I spend outside when it’s cold and windy.

The way it works is strange, though. I don’t usually experience pain in the moment. No, it sets in after I get back from a long walk. My mouth and pain will start a bit after I get back inside, and the pain can last for hours. It’s not a good time.

To be honest, it’ll try to avoid being outside when it’s windy. But sometimes it cannot be avoided. And I really like taking walks (to the chagrin of my skin, hair, and teeth, heh).

Like I said, I always use toothpaste intended for sensitive teeth. and while it helps when I am eating, it doesn’t usually cut it when it comes to winter winds. And with such a long winter this year, I was glad to try Sensodyne Rapid Relief.

Sensodyne Rapid Relief

Sensodyne Rapid Relief

I’ve actually used other Sensodyne products in the past, but I didn’t find them to work any differently than other dental products for sensitive teeth. But I was willing to give this one a chance when it became available to review on BzzAgent.

How did it stand up? I pretty quickly noticed that my teeth felt better on those cold days. I rarely experience any of that pain after I’d spent time in the wind.  That’s a win for me.

Sensodyne Rapid Relief isn’t a perfect product, however. It had a screw-off cap that’s quite messy. I prefer the flip-top style. I also think the minty flavor of Extra Fresh is quite strong, almost aggressive. I am not a big fan of mint, but I deal with it to keep my teeth clean and healthy. However, Sensodyne Rapid Relief is a bit harder to swallow, heh, than some other products.

This toothpaste costs a bit more than sensitive formulas by other brands, but if you frequently experience sensitivity that interrupts your life, that might be a small price to pay.