You should probably never ever leave candles burning unattended. | theNotice’s liveliest lessons of 2012

I don’t read reflective posts, but to hell with it, you don’t have to read them to write them. (I mean, proof-reading and editing? Who needs editing?)

To start off, a tiny bit of beauty (to keep this at least vaguely on-topic), and then a few life-like lessons. I find myself vastly under-qualified for giving actual-life lessons, so assume they’re lessons of some other kind of l-adjective.

Tools make a difference.

Whether it’s a foundation brush with bristles so fantastically dense and soft that you cannot live without it (or, rather, you can, but it drives you crazy and you wish like crazy that you had a backup), or a gorgeous old sewing machine that you found inside of your grandmother’s old desk, or even a dozen refills of your favourite 0.28mm Uni-Ball Signo Bit pen, tools count.

Sephora Collection Luxe Brush Set(face)

I find our culture tends to want everything fast, shiny, easy, but no matter what you’re dealing with: a fancy tool can’t magically transform you into an expert at anything. What we sometimes forget, though, is that terrible tools can take away from great work, too.

So, get set up with some semi-decent tools, whatever it is that they may be, and then–

Be just as ready to put in hours (and hours, and hours) of hard work to actually perfect your technique, because the instruments you’re using can’t be expected to do it for you.

(And if they are in fact doing all the hard work for you, alert the authorities that the singularity has finally occurred and commence freaking out.)


There is no upper limit.

You will never be as good as you could possibly be. If you are, you’re probably in the wrong field, or possibly just completely sheltered from reality.

Embrace failure: engage in experiments instead of setting goals, do things just for the enjoyment of the process (rather than the end result), and build on whatever you already have, no matter how developed that initial skill set may be. You may be good, but you can always be better.

Most guidance councillors will probably disagree with me, but I honestly don’t see the point in aiming for a goal unless you’re going to enjoy the grunt work it takes to get there, too. Sometimes that imaginary upper limit lets you down, and if you don’t create something to lose along the way, the endpoint can only disappoint.


Everyone’s lives could use a little more percussion in them. 

Take a chance. Don’t go throwing yourself off any tall buildings though maybe a relatively small one would be okay, but don’t get stuck in a rut, either. Go out with the cute guy who works at your favourite coffee shop (bring your taser), take the long way to work (also bring your taser), start eating everything with sprinkles on top just for the hell of it (you will not need your taser for this one.)

It takes a certain kind of person to honestly believe that we deserve happiness simply by merit of existing, so if you’re not capable of that sort of boundless hope, make sure you at least have one person in your life who is. Be it your mum, your therapist, or the wise old man who lives around the corner and spends a lot of time in the woods with his dog, they’re worth listening to every now and again.

And, hey: if nothing else, I hear the suppressed cortisol levels of not constantly freaking out are great for your health.

Hold on tight, because we’re going to have an amazing 2013 together.

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  • Awesome!
    My resolution for this year was to not procrastinate as much, but I should also engage in experiments as much as possible. Thanks so much for the post. I will bookmark this (memory is like a sieve these days)
    My recent post Garance's interview with Jean-Philippe Delhomme

  • perilouslypale

    Happy New Year! Great post!
    My recent post Yves Saint Laurent Premiere Neige Top Coat for Holiday 2012 Review

  • Sofia

    Happy New Year Rae! Its the first time I've commented on your blog, I love your messages for today. I'm adamant in making this year really amazing, and I will. At the end of last year I was made redundant from the job I was in for years, and absoloutely hated during all those years, so I am a million times happier now without it. So now I'm feeling positive in starting fresh! Even so that the idea of creating a blog (maybe not a beauty blog though) lately has been seriously floating around in my head. Again, have a wonderful year!
    PS I love your writing and photos so keep it up :)

  • Rute

    Rae, this is amazing! Happy new year, and thank you for this post! It's always lovely to read something this encouraging from time to time! :)
    My recent post NYE Party Look Series: #4

    • Thank you, Rute. I'm glad you enjoyed the post – hope you have a great year :)

  • This is my favourite end-of-year post, hands down!
    My recent post Merry Christmas!

  • Makeupsavvy

    I can't even express how much I loved this post Rae :) so many great things about it I just sat nodding as I read. I love your statement of 'engage in experiments instead of setting goals' I think I may need to try this theory of yours out.

    Many thanks for this post and I hope you have a great 2013..

    Fee x

    • Aww :) Thank you, Fee! I'm so glad this post resonated with you — have an amazing year, lovely.

  • Great post and really interesting read. Couldn't agree more with the points you made, although the second definitely is relateable to me. I guess it's true when they say it's not always the destination. The journey is just as important :)

    My recent post Pro Green Honey B for Puma

  • toyarosie

    I really like the statement about building upon the skills you already have – it can be easy to rest on your laurels when you're already pretty good at something, but why not go for great and keep learning!? For a non-reflective post reader, you definitely struck a chord in writing one :) Hope you have a great 2013 Rae!
    My recent post A Post for When You Want to Post But Not Actually Do the Work (AKA My Current Skincare Regimen)

  • This post is utter perfection, even if I did come across it a little late. Thank you for writing it! :)
    My recent post Review: Dermalogica Discovery Gift Set

  • found you through fee of makeup savvy and thrilled to have bec. your writing is so awesome and so true and so inspiring! so excited to start this new year with you. will be following you now xx. gigi.