The Ho-ho-ho-lidays Are Coming Soon

Date Fri, October 27 2017

I will receive a small commission for any sales made after clicking links in this post. Thank you for your support.

I cannot believe that October is almost over. While I am excited for Halloween, the year’s end is nigh. Soon, we’ll all be shopping for holiday gifts and sending out cards — if you aren’t already.

It’s even more difficult to believe because we finally got summer temperatures on the first day of fall. This late summer has me totally thrown off. So when I am browsing Minted for holiday cards, the images of wintery wonderlands seem misplaced. I guess it might take a little bit to feel excited and inspired by Christmas trees, reindeer and the like.

Don’t get me wrong, Minted’s 2017 holiday collection is certainly worthy if you want to see a card that will really stand out.  And if you’re a fan of the family photo card, then Minted has you covered as well. There are plenty of non-photo options, too, and Minted makes them easy to find. I don’t send photo cards. If y’all want to see pictures of my cats, you can just log on to Facebook. LOL!

I’m a big fan of Minted’s foil cards, which have just a texture. Most of the designs many to be sleek and sophisticated, even when they depict cute designs. You can also find unique square and even round cards that can be gifted as ornaments. As you customize your card photo, colors, and fonts, you can choose the card shape. Pretty neat!

Some of my favorites are below (most of which are foil designs!).

Well, I guess I am getting ready to be in the holiday spirit a little more after writing this post. Though, I better check how many cards I need before I wind up in an avalanche of pretty paper and foil!

If you find something you like and order by October 30th, you’ll be able to save 15% off your order with code HOLCARDS. Plus, orders over $125 qualify for free shipping. This is unlikely to be the only deal you’ll find from Minted in time to send out holiday cards, but the sooner you order, the better, right?

Minted doesn’t just do holiday cards. If you like their designs, you can use them for your other greeting cards and invitation needs. Can anyone say ‘Wedding?” You can even host a wedding website built with Minted’s help.

Some of their lesser-known products include home decor (including pillows placemats and shelves), prints, picture display bars, tree skirts, party accessories, oven mitts and towels,. You can even have your menus printed at Minted to really blow your guests’ expectations out of the water! And when you’re sending our “Thank you” cards to everyone who visited or gave a gift — or both — Minted to the rescue, again!

Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets

Date Tue, October 10 2017
Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets

Little blue sheets to remove oil

Have you ever had something in your purse for just about ever? Perhaps it’s moved from purse to purse when you got a new one, even though you don’t really use or need it (check out this post about 7 things every purse needs)? I am guilty. The two main things are about $1.25 in yen from when I lived in Japan. It’s pretty hard to trade coins and obviously not worth it. The other thing? A pack of Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets that I think I’ve had in there for well over a decade. Yea, seriously.

See, I discovered this product at my very first “adult” job, but I was hoping they would do something that they didn’t. So they wound up in my purse. Then another purse. And another. Pretty much all the purses I’ve ever owned! LOL

Summer 2017 rolls around, and my skin suddenly decides it wants to be pretty oily. This is a new problem, but I’ve got an old solution just lying in my purse, so I finally break out a packet of 2 or 3 Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets to see how well they do me.

Now, these packets contain little blue blotting sheets. They’re not like tissue paper (and I’ve used a couple like that.) They’re more of a plastic, soft and silky — almost stretchy. They bend well, which is great for using around your jaw or nose. And while they remove a bit of makeup, it’s not much, and they don’t smudge.

Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets Used

Once used, the sheets become translucent

They do pick up oil, however, and pick it up well! The material soaks up oil and almost becomes translucent. You can clearly see that it’s working and where you’ve already used to get the most out of your blotting sheet.

The wipes come in a small packet that’s purse for carrying in your purse; although, you might want to wait less than a decade to use them up. It’s really small enough for your pocket, too.

The going price for these sheets is about $5 per 50-pack. That’s not a huge investment for their value. But I have good news for you: several stores have their own store brand version of these oil blotters, so you can save even more. I currently have CVS brand in my possession. They were on sale and I got $3 in ExtraBucks when I bought two packs. But both Walmart and Target have their own brands, Equate and Up&Up, respectively, with more product per pack than Clean & Clear’s packet. The store brands are just as highly reviewed, so you’re in luck no matter where you prefer to shop.

You can also buy Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets online at Jet and Amazon. Both sell these for $4.47, and they’re a handy add-on if you’re trying to get free shipping from Amazon!

The Calm After the Storm

Date Wed, October 4 2017

My summer was busy. Hectic. Tragic. Exhausting. It was all those things and more, and I didn’t write about it here.

In fact, I rarely wrote anything on Reviews by Cole. I had big plans and I failed to come through. In the past, I might have apologized to you, my readers. But I feel like I owe myself the apology more. At any given time, having a  blog that I keep up with means more to me than it does my reader.

Still, I needed to take time off to grieve. There were times when I couldn’t force myself to do much, and I’d bail on the few plans I had made. So it wasn’t just this blog that suffered. And while I felt like I’d rather stay inside and make a blanket fort (and I did make one!), I also became more isolated and resentful along the way. Perhaps there was no other way for me to come out of it.

As of writing this post, I’ve caught up on email, contacted a few companies about prospective partnerships, filled my Buffer queue and entered some giveaways. Here’s hoping that I can keep up with the momentum!

6 Blue Pieces from AmiClubWear That Won’t Make You Blue (Including Plus Size!)

Date Tue, October 3 2017

Is navy blue the collar is the season? I’ll take it!

Browsing new items at AmiClubWear showed that navy and dark blues are back, and I couldn’t help but curate a collection of my favorites to pass on to my readers. I’ve included some royal blue because I couldn’t help myself.

If you’re not familiar with this store, they sell sexy and fashionable clubwear, shoes, accessories, costumes and fashion pieces. One of my favorite things about AmiClubWear is that they include plus sizes, too.

Many of these items are currently on sale (none of them are actually over $30), but you can save even more  (55%!) if you use coupon code TREAT55 when you check out.

Now, on to the I’ll let the dresses, trench coats and cardigans!

Monopoly Empire

Date Wed, September 27 2017

Monopoly is the game that we’ve all played – and many of us own – but few people seem to like. Sure, you could say that was the purpose. It was, after all, created to teach us a lesson about capitalism. But I always find myself wanting to like Monopoly. I’ve spent so much time playing it; I’ve got to like it.. right?

Perhaps we just need a little variation. Hasbro has tried to switch things up with Monopoly Empire, which does away completely with the idea of property-specific rents, houses, and hotels. But is that enough?

In Monopoly Empire, you don’t get a stack of cash. Instead, you get a few each of 50s, 100s and 500s. Each represents these as thousands (50 = 50,000) because wouldn’t that be nice? LOL

Neither do you get property cards as you move around the board, which works like it would regularly aside from some new Chance and Empire cards. Instead, you fork over money to the bank in exchange for “billboards” that represent the properties. Each billboard is placed into an ill-fitting that is pre-marked with amounts of money.

The tray is split up in slots in 50,000 increments and starting at 50. Place billboards onto the tray to see how much you’re owed now. The more billboards or the larger the billboards (higher-value billboards are larger, filling up your tray more quickly), the more money you make when you pass GO and when someone owes you rent for a maximum of $800,000. Ouch!

It might sound awesome that you make more money, but Monopoly Empire isn’t a game that feels balanced. Instead of the game ending when someone goes bankrupt and loses, a player now wins when his or her tray is filled. I was able to fill mine completely with two trips around the board and just a few of the larger billboards. Monopoly Empire makes for a short game, but it’s not one that’s particularly riveting.

Without property cards, the element of trading for monopolies is removed, and that’s one of the more interesting parts of gameplay in traditional Monopoly. Furthermore, while you can purchase all the billboards in each color group and earn extra money from passing GO or rent, there’s not much motivation to do so because you can pretty easily fill your slots with tiles from any color group in just a few rolls of the dice. Furthermore, the slotted tray means rent is based more on luck than what you buy, so you needn’t hold out for more expensive properties.

Speaking of properties, the theme of Monopoly Empire is brands. You’ll see recognizable powerhouses such as Samsung, Microsoft, and McDonalds. But Hasbro clearly had issues getting big name brands to sign on – I’d assume due to trademark issues and costs. So you’re left with lesser tech companies such as Yahoo instead of Apple or Google, and other brands that just don’t speak to the player (or leave them feeling confused). I understand why this happens, but it makes the game a little bit more lackluster.

Because you don’t lose by going bankrupt, you actually can’t go bankrupt. You simply do nothing if you can’t afford someone’s outrageous rent, which is just another way in which Monopoly Empire feels humdrum. Perhaps that’s why there are now Empire cards and new Chance cards, including one that allows you to move around the board to any property you desire (and collect if you pass GO), but they fail to liven up the game.

Unless Monopoly Empire intends to serve as a cautionary tale about the world of trading could be in the modern day, this version fails to make any sort of impact let alone improve upon the original.

Just 4 Beauty Scarves Giveaway

Date Fri, September 15 2017

This post contains affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if clicked on and a purchase is made.

4 winners – 2 for the dog pattern, 2 for the Nature Pattern Silk Scarf

This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!

Below is a list of all the bloggers involved in the gift guide.

Now let’s get to the sponsor!

Just 4 Beauty

Women Wool Warm Scarf

Available on Amazon!

See the review HERE.

First 2 Winners

Women Fashion Brushed Silk Scarf

Women Fashion Brushed Silk Scarf

Available on Amazon!

See the review HERE.

Second 1 Winner


This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site.You are not eligible if you have won a prize from the sponsor in the last 12 month. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 9/29/17. The winners will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Enter below and Good Luck!

Almondina Toastees

Date Wed, September 13 2017

A while back, I had a chance to work with Almondina to try their cookie (review here), a more healthy alternative to the sort of snacks that you find just about everywhere. I enjoyed them, so agreed to work with the company again to try another product – Almondina Toastees.

These are crunchy treats that are made without salt or fat added and have no cholesterol and no preservatives. Sounds pretty good, right? Almondina sent me a box with a few flavors to try and report.

Each flavor comes in a resealable bag, and you’ll want to make sure to seal it up. If you don’t, they can get stale. Oops.

I first tried Cranberry Almond as that’s right up my alley, and they’re good! They have a fun crunch and a touch of sweetness that’s not overwhelming. The Toastees look like tiny slices of baked bread more than cookies and chips, and the slices of almonds are impossible to ignore. The cranberry bits add a bit of chewiness that I like.

I would say that the texture is a little dry, so Toastees are probably best with a drink that you can dip them in. Coffee or hot cocoa would work perfectly. Almondina also suggests pairing these with cheese, which would make a good snack for a person of any ages. I think Toastees would be ideal to toss in your lunch box for work or school.

I next tried the Coconut Orange Almond flavor. It seemed like I would enjoy it. However, they’re not my favorite. I find the citrus to be a bit overwhelming, and the coconut is nowhere to be found. Perhaps there’s a balance to be found that I would like better.

The last flavor I was sent to sample was Sesame Almond. I don’t particularly love sesame seeds, and these were just okay. I don’t love them, but they’re not offensive. You can really taste the toasted seeds, and the almonds add a bit of sweetness.

There’s one more flavor that I didn’t get a chance to try — lemon poppyseed. I like the flavor in cakes and muffins, but I’m hesitant because the orange was a bit strong for me. If that’s the case with this last flavor, I’d definitely prefer sticking to the Cranberry Almond Toastees.

If you want to try Toastees, you can buy them directly from the Almondina site. They’re also available from Amazon and Jet.

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

BustedTees Funny Shirts Awesome T-Shirts Cool T-Shirts