Derma E Vitamin E Giveaway

Date Mon, June 19 2017

As a reviewer, I occasionally receive packages that I don’t recall signing up for. I sometimes get things that I don’t really need. I usually don’t check my mail to find a box containing items that I shouldn’t have received, have no idea why I got, and don’t know what to do with. My confusion is your gain, dear reader!

I recently received a package from Derma E debuting some of their new products, specifically those containing Vitamin C. Now, I am more worried at this point in life about my skin’s redness, blemishes, and oiliness than hydration or youthfulness, so I don’t really have a use for these products. Thus, I’ve decided to give them away on Reviews by Cole.

Derma E Giveaway

The two products I have to give away are Derma E’s Vitamin C Concentrated Serum and Vitamin C Renewing Moisturizer. One is a daily moisturizer, and the other is an intensive serum if your skin needs a little more help. The serum has a light, citrus smell, feels soft and calming on the skin.

They’re both full-size products in 2-ounce containers, and they come with a Derma E bag, too! The retail value of these two products is $47, so it’s a good deal for you to be able to try them for free if you win this giveaway!

Per usual, I’ll be using Gleam for this giveaway. It’s easy-to-use for both of us. You get one free entry, a few options to enter via social media and some daily entries – so make sure to check back every day!

Since I am mailing these items myself, I’m opening this giveaway to U.S. entrants only. Sorry!

I will be verifying entries. Any invalid entry will invalidate all of your entries. I am forced to do this because of the rampant cheating in my last giveaway. If you can’t play by the rules, you don’t get to play at all.

For everyone else, good luck!
Derma E Giveaway

Giveaway ends July 15th.

Fresh Step Aloha Cat Litter

Date Fri, June 16 2017

You never realize how important something like cat litter is until you buy some horrible stuff and realize that it either turns to cement when your cats pee, it is completely ineffective at covering up smells of matter or it doesn’t clump at all. You really can’t know these things until you use the cat litter, and then you might be stuck with another 20 to 30 pounds of it to use up, even though you know it’s no good. Ugh! So is Fresh Step Extreme Aloha Cat Litter with the power of Febreeze any good? Read on to find out.

According to the description, this cat litter is low dust, and I didn’t experience any dust issues myself like I have with some in the past. This is also preferable for a kitty’s lungs.

Fresh Step Aloha Cat Litter

The box also claims that it will form clumps around urine, but the litter eventually became pretty cement-like in the bottom of the litter box, which is an issue that I am used to with clay cat litters. It wasn’t overly terrible, and the litter did a good job to block the ammonia smell, but it’s not perfect.

Fresh Step Extreme Odor Control Hawaiian Aloha Scent Cat Litter also seemed to do pretty well at blocking immediate poo smells after my cats used the bathroom. This may be due to the inclusion of Febreeze to limit odors.

Now, I am notoriously opposed to scented cat litters. There’s just something about them that seems wrong. I don’t just not enjoy it, I think the scent shouldn’t be there at all. I’m happy to report that Fresh Step’s Aloha cat litter is pleasant and doesn’t have the weird salty “after smell” that you can’t seem to avoid with most clay-based cat litters.

The 14-pound box that Chewy sent me to review was enough to fill the litter box, but I didn’t get much more than a week’s use out of it. It’s not going to last forever, especially with two cats. There are also 20-pound and 35-pound options, however.

This cat litter is a bit more expensive than the brand I normally buy: Tidy Cats. But it’s far from the most expensive cat litter on the shelf. If you think you might like it, you can find it at brick-and-mortar and online retailers like Chewy. One of the benefits of Chewy is being able to schedule deliveries so you never run out of necessities such as cat litter or food.

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Geek Out Board Game

Date Tue, June 6 2017

Geek Out has been on my shopping list for some time. As a geek and board game lover, I seem to be the perfect audience!

Playskool Games did send me some sample cards a couple years back, but the pack was too small to really determine if the game would be fun. It only cemented that the premise was something that interested me.

I finally received this game as a gift last month and was pretty excited to try it out! I got the chance this weekend, so the experience is still pretty fresh in my mind.

In short, Geek Out is a trivia game where your group of friends can outbid one another in an effort to prove who can geek out the most about a specific topic. If you can prove your dominance and accrue 5 points before anyone else, you win!

The game consists of one die, hundreds of cards and point tiles. My one gripe might be that a much smaller box would be enough to contain Geek Out. The box is unnecessarily large to hold mostly cards with questions on them.

Every question requires you to name a certain number of people/things/facts in the categories of comics, games, fantasy Sci-Fi, and misc geekery, including:

  • Batman villains
  • Computer makers
  • Female astronauts
  • Franchises in which Egyptian gods appear
  • Games that take place on Mars
  • etc

If you can name more than anyone else, you can steal points. There were several times where our lists were a dozen items long or more, and people frequently wound up counting on their fingers to keep track of the geeky trivia. We even joked about needing a paper and pen to keep track.

Of course, this isn’t to say that it was exactly easy. Remember something off the top of your head is never as easy as it sounds, and Geek Out proves this.

We played in a group of six people, everyone with their own geeky interests and certainly some crossover. It quickly became apparent that there was a lot of arguing over semantics and technicalities while playing Geek Out, but I think that made it more enjoyable. We had to discuss what the card meant and whether X or Y counted, which encouraged conversations about geeky topics.

Another type of discussion that occurred frequently during Geek Out happened after the winner of each round had named a number of his or her geeky names/places/things. There would undoubtedly be a person who would say “Ah, but you forgot X!” and we would all nod about something we’d forgotten about. In this way, Geek Out provided us with a bit of nostalgia.

While I enjoyed the discussion and nostalgia, not everyone did. The questions on the cards fall into different categories and cover tons of different pop culture franchises (Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, DC and Marvel comics, Back to the Future, and Star Wars to name just a few), but there was usually someone who was left out each round because they just didn’t know something about the current question. There’s definitely room in some of the more open-ended questions to mention your favorite book/movie/tv show/game/author/series/etc that no one else might know, but some questions are bound to leave people out in the cold. If you can keep up the pace, this might not be a huge deal. But Geek Out is probably going to get old quickly for some people.

I did enjoy Geek Out, and we didn’t make it through all the cards. But I can imagine that you wouldn’t want to play this game all the time or with the same group of people. Still, it is nice to geek out every now and then!

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Bella + Canvas B810 Womens Cotton Spandex Fitness Pant

Date Fri, June 2 2017

I’ve been looking for a good pair of pants for lounging around the house for some time. I’ve taken to wearing my Pjs, and I just can’t be that slob anymore. Thanks for ApparelNBags.com for offering me a chance to review the Bella pants and to fill that gap in my wardrobe. I chose the Bella + Canvas B810 Womens Cotton Spandex Fitness Pant, and it was soon in my hands.

I normally wear a size large in bottoms, but I checked the size chart before ordering these, and I am glad. The XL fits extremely well in the waist, and a smaller size might have been too tight.

The Bella + Canvas B810 Womens Cotton Spandex Fitness Pant fit snugger around the thighs than I was expecting, but this isn’t an issue for me. The cotton and spandex blend is quite stretchy and also comfy to boot! If you want that looseness, you might not like these pants, however. Around the knees, they really become wider until they become a bootcut at the leg opening. If you’re taller than I am, and I’m willing to bet that most of my readers are, this looseness will start near the lower thighs.

These pants weren’t really designed for petite women like myself – or perhaps even average ones! I measured the inseam, and it comes out to around 35 inches! This is definitely longer than the size chart on Bella’s site (Apparel N Bags doesn’t have one for this item); I checked just to be safe before requesting these to view. Ha!

Bella bottoms size chart

According to the size chart, the inseam should be shorter than 35″

As you can guess, this means a lot of excess fabric when I walk and even the model seems to be a bit short for these now that I look at it. You could roll it if you’d like, but I’m going to hem them because I do like the pants.

The longer design also comes with a longer rise – around 12 inches. This is okay for me because I like high waists, and I think it’s rather flattering (more on that in a bit), but some people might find it too long. The waist isn’t really designed to be rolled down, but I personally don’t find it as slimming or stable when rolled down.

The slim cut of the legs and butt is flattering, and I like the look overall. After I get these hemmed, I could see myself wearing them outside the house for that casual look. Because the fabric is thin, I would advise paying attention to the undies you wear beneath these pants to avoid lines.

The thinness also means they’re not going to last forever if you do a lot of walking in them, so they’re not good joggers. But they’d work well for yoga and are comfy enough to simply lounge around the house in, which is what I plan to do with them. I’d recommend the Bella + Canvas B810 Womens Cotton Spandex Fitness Pant as long as you’re prepared to hem them if you’re short.

I was provided this product to review. All opinions are my own.

YouTube Music

Date Tue, May 30 2017

What do you guys use Youtube for? For years, I only used it to watch music videos and to enjoy You Suck as Cooking Videos. I now subscribe to a few infotainment channels and have checked out some Youtube Red Original (Red comes along with my Google Play subscription), but most my liked videos are music.

Of course, I can’t just turn on that playlist to listen to music because not all of the videos I’ve liked are music, so I find myself skipping through non-music content. What I want is an easy way to enjoy the music I’ve liked on Youtube and find new music. Enter YouTube Music.

With this app, you can only browse music videos. When you log in with your Google account, you’ll get a customized music experience including

  • Your personalized playlist with songs you’ve already liked and similar ones
  • Recommended songs and stations
  • Suggestions for songs to listen again
  • A playlist consisting of only music you’ve previously liked on Youtube/Youtube Music
  • Trending playlists
  • New music in various genres
  • Artists on the rise
  • Etc

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Now, I obviously love the idea that you can simply view the music you’ve liked (including lyric videos and videos hosted on unofficial/fan accounts0 without non-music videos, and having this as its own tab in the main navigation is smart. This list is arranged chronologically like it is on Youtube. As far as I can tell, all music I’ve liked shows up here because creators have marked it as music.

In fact, this is the playlist that I use the most. I don’t particularly enjoy the trending tab because so many of the songs/artists/playlists are based on genres that are popular but not my favorite. I do wish YouTube music didn’t seem so mainstream. A truly personalized experience wouldn’t just focus on mainstream genres. You can, of course, search for songs.

youtube music song options

Easily like a song, add it to a playlist or share it

I’ve had mixed luck with my personalized station as well as stations for genres that I do like (rock and indie, for example). YouTube music plays some new music, but it seems to revert to tracks that I’ve already liked pretty quickly, so I don’t feel like I am being exposed to too much new stuff. I have found new music that I like, of course. Adding it to my like playlist affects both YouTube music and the general liked playlist on YouTube, and you can easily add songs to your other playlists.

You might not watch many music videos on your device because of data restrictions. But YouTube Music has an option to turn off the video and just listen to audio, which I am sure helps with that. There’s no point to download the whole video on slower connections or when you’re listening in the background, either. I am not sure how background play works for someone who doesn’t have YouTube Red, but I can do this with most regular YouTube videos, anyway.

Another perk is the ability to cast to your TV to watch videos like you can with the YouTube app.

The most functional part of YouTube Music is being able to listen to music that you’ve already liked, which the app does allow you to do conveniently. But it’s not convenient to have to do another app. I’d like to do that within the Youtube app itself or, better yet, have a Google Play Music playlist generated from my liked music videos on Youtube. That would make it easier to listen to all of the music I enjoy, too, because not every song is a video on Youtube.  I also know that artists are being compensated when I used Google Music.

YouTube Music gets some things right, but not everything.

Get YouTube Music for Android and iOS.

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Target and Amazon Gift Card Giveaways

Date Tue, May 23 2017

Welcome to the $200 Dropprice Gift Cards Giveaway!

Dropprice is an innovative startup that rewards moms for being social. Essentially, they empower moms to drop prices of kids & baby products with a click. The price continues dropping as more moms click “Drop the price”. Every week new promotions are launched and moms drop prices by sharing them on social media. See the chart below to understand the power moms have and how important it is to share with other moms.

In today’s promotion for the Pitter & Pad, it started out at $25.00 and for each mom that clicks, the price drops a bit. The price will continue to drop for each mom that participates.

You can choose to share on social media to get more moms to click “Drop the price”, or you can “Buy Now” at the current price. Keep in mind that when the price gets low, they usually sell out and you will no longer have the chance to buy that item. As an added bonus every item on Dropprice ships for free!

Do you want to give it a try? This is such a fun and exciting way for moms to save lots of money by collaborating with each other. If you would like to have a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card, you can experience dropping the price by following the instructions below.

Giveaway: Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card

All you have to do is help moms drop the price of the Pitter & Pad and you will be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Just click “Drop the price” on the entry form below for a chance to win. For even more entries, share it on your social media networks via the entry form — every time one of your friends also clicks to drop the price, you’ll automatically receive additional giveaway entries!

This giveaway ends on 5/30/2017; you must be a US Resident and be 18 years or older to enter. Winners are randomly selected and contacted via email; the winners will be listed at the top of the entry form when the giveaway ends.

Click here if you don’t see the entry form below.

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MORE CHANCES BELOW!

Giveaway: Win a $100 Target Gift Card

This giveaway ends on 5/30/2017; you must be a US Resident and be 18 years or older to enter. Winners are randomly selected and contacted via email; the winners will be listed at the top of the entry form when the giveaway ends.

CLICK HERE TO OPEN ENTRY FORM

Makeup Geek Plush Creme Lipstick (Old Soul)

Date Mon, May 22 2017

I still haven’t found that perfect lipstick (you know, the hunt that inspired all my Lip Week posts), but I did discover a product that I am excited to tell you all about. A couple months ago, I made me first purchase from Makeup Geek, in part motivated by some awesome reviews from fellow Redditors but also because I wanted to try this Plush lip creme.

First, let’s go over the description on from the site

A cross between a cream and mousse, this unique formula sits on top of the lips for a soft, “plush” feel. A wide variety of colors crafted in a smooth creme finish, you’re sure to find a highly pigmented shade you love!

It’s designed not to settle into any cracks, and that sounds awesome, right?

But how does it feel? Pretty amazingly to be honest. When the package showed up, I put it on and liked it so much, I fell asleep in it. Oops.

Makeup Geek Plush Creme Lipstick (Old Soul)

Old Soul looks grey indoors (top) but takes on a dusty pinker hue in natural light

The formula is definitely thicker than a liquid lipstick. It feels creamy and super soft. I have, on more than one occasion, described it like having pillows on my lips. Most time, I don’t really think about my lips, you know? But when I wear blush, it actually makes the default state of my lips feel better. That sounds weird. But it feels so good that I want to kiss people so they can also feel so good. LOL

The appearance is creamy and moist but not overly glossy.

The color I bought was Old Soul, described as “a muted rose with a creme finish.” In the tube, it definitely looks rose, but on my skin, it’s definitely more dusty/grey. It almost looks more like Trailblazer to me when inside; the rose is more apparent when I am outside/in natural light, however.

This is the most grey shade I’ve ever worn on my lips, so it took a bit to get used to. I like it, but I don’t love it. I think it’s not perfect on my skin, but I can make it work. There are definitely people who look amazing in shades like Old Soul, however.

With that said, I definitely want to check out more colors in the Plush creme line. Troublemaker is more of a lavender and Prankster is a hot magenta.

If you’re a fan of matte colors, Makeup Geek also has a Plush Matte line. The colors in both lines are different (including a bold matte indigo), so you can enjoy them in each.

Products in either line costs $14, so they’re more than your drugstore brands. But the way Plush Creme feels is just amazing, and they’re cruelty-free and vegan. Plus, you don’t need to worry about any potential harmful chemicals.

Makeup Geek is a company I feel good supporting, and I definitely plan to buy (and review) more.

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