This is about to be the best moment of your day.

Friday, April 18, 2014

I haven’t been having the easiest month, between finals and fibromyalgia (and, okay, a couple meltdowns over some nerve pain being misdiagnosed as psychosomatic because the pharmacy compounded my drugs wrong, ahhhhhh, trust no one!), so instead of a beauty post:

Here is an entire post of cute things! :D From giant samoyeds (which I have been OBSESSED with recently) to kittens and a tiny nod to Teen Wolf, I hope it brightens up your day — yes, even if you’re already having a great one. Have fun being frustrated that you can’t cuddle all of these adorable balls of fur; I certainly am!

(Images are clickable through to their source, if I could find it.)

Tin Tin the Samoyed

Keep reading! »

Saffire Blue: What are your worst online shopping “horror stories”?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

As you all know, I’m not one to complain… very much. When I run into problems behind the scenes at theNotice, 95% of the time, you never hear about it — whether that’s a PR firm who’s upset over a product getting a bad review, or a rep for the company who could stand to learn a few things from Emily Post.

Over the past few months, though, I’ve been going through one of the most upsetting interactions I’ve ever had with a company. I don’t have any other form of recourse for their behaviour (you can’t Yelp an online store, after all — can you?), so here’s a warning for any of you in Canada who are thinking about buying cosmetic ingredients and packaging.

saffire blue - fraud vs bad business

I made an order at Saffire Blue this January (just shy of $100), and it arrived in early February. When I opened up the box, however, I found that a number of the items I bought were missing — seven of them, to be precise.

I contacted the company immediately, and contacted them again a week later when I hadn’t heard back from them. We exchanged a handful of emails, and then, after about a week, they suddenly stopped responding.

saffireblueinc

I called them out on it on Twitter to help speed things up (PayPal’s insurance is time-limited) because the squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? But instead of saying “oops, sorry, we’ll get right on that,”, they instead made public claims saying I had never contacted them, even though their customer service rep had replied to many of my emails, and I have a record of all of them.

I had paid for the order through PayPal, so I opened up a dispute about the items. Throughout the course of this interaction, their CEO repeatedly stated that they had offered to send me the missing items – a request which I had been making for weeks, and which they had repeatedly denied. Each time I offered to take them up on it, they immediately backtracked and said that they would only reimburse me for the cost of the missing items, and refused to send them out or refund me the cost of shipping for the missing items — a cost which was worth 4x the value of the items, which made up over half of what they charged me for shipping, and which they never had to pass forward to the shipping carrier.

saffire blue false claims - mission statement

Sure, I’m raving — but probably not in the way you wanted, guys.

PayPal has now said that my only form of recourse is to file against them for fraud. I don’t intend to do this–because I don’t think it was fraud, I think it was just spectacularly bad business–but I did want to get a post on their company out there in the open.

If you need to buy raw ingredients or packaging materials in Canada, I encourage you to avoid Saffire Blue at all costs. They have a wonderful selection and website, but their customer service is unhelpful, humiliating, and quite frankly, full of lies. I’m not saying you should avoid all small retailers (this is the only time I’ve had anything but gold-star service from any online store, big or small!), but remember: even in the business world, you can’t count on everyone to be honest or professional.

What have your worst experiences with online shopping been? Is there anyone that you’d like to warn us about?

Je Joue MiMi Soft Silicone Vibrator review, photos | A Valentine’s Day review, from me to you

Friday, February 14, 2014

Je Joue MiMi Soft box

The product: Je Joue MiMi Soft Waterproof Rechargeable Silicone Vibrator in Fuchsia

My dearest, darlingest readers: over 180 of you requested this review in a gift guide last December, and because I was so incredibly overwhelmed by the gesture, consider this my Valentine’s Day gift to all of you. 

Try as I might, I can’t really do anything with theNotice without your support, so thank you. I have a super embarrassing brain crush on all of you beautiful creatures right now, and I really hope that some of you will love the MiMi Soft as much as I do.

Je Joue MiMi Soft

The execution

Packaged in the sturdiest, most luxurious box I’ve ever received anything in, the MiMi Soft is luxury inside and out. With a very cool magnetic charging mechanism and a soft, plush silicone finish, it appeals to both my lady-parts and my inner geek.

Like the original MiMi ($88.99 USD), the MiMi Soft is entirely waterproof, with five vibration levels and five vibration patterns (controlled separately), and comes in four colours: black, lilac, fuchsia (featured here), and Je Joue’s classic purple. Both deliver two hours of use on a two hour charge, and feature metal intensity buttons on their back end that double as points of charge. The buttons are very hard to push, one of the MiMi’s only faults (the only other is its slight noisiness), but I personally think it’s a worthwhile tradeoff — yes, even with my arthritic fingers.

Je Joue MiMi Soft details

Je Joue MiMi Soft review controls hard

Je Joue MiMi Soft intensity buttons/charging ports, & pattern switch (between)

Je Joue MiMi Soft magnetic charger

Je Joue MiMi Soft, with its magnetic charging “port”

The experience

The silicone finish: Unlike the original MiMi, or any other toy I’ve owned before, the Soft version features a thick layer of silicone overtop the ABS plastic. It’s squishy without being too squishy, holding its shape but delivering a very unique, incredibly comfortable experience. Silicone is the safest material to use in any type of sex toy, but it usually feels like a thin, fixed layer of protection overtop a harder material. With the MiMi Soft, however, the silicone layer feels plush and somehow realistic (without being creepy-realistic), and lifts slightly off the inner body of the toy if squished just right. For me, it’s like the difference between bare hands and latex on a stick: which is to say, a huge one.

Somehow, though, the soft finish of this vibrator isn’t even its main selling point. Instead, may I please introduce you to the Je Joue MiMi motor: a little rattly, a little loud, and yet exponentially better than anything else I’ve ever tried. 

Je Joue MiMi review

Keep reading to find out what makes the MiMi a must-have »

A guide to Black Friday/Cyber Monday in the beauty world

Friday, November 29, 2013

(To disclaim: some, but not all, of these sites are affiliate links. I’ve chosen the deals I think you’ll find the most useful, not the ones that’ll generate the most revenue. If you don’t want to click, by all means, feel free not to!)

BECCA Cosmetics Ultimate Colour Gloss Berry Twist

Becca Cosmetics: 20% off + free shipping over $50, runs until 12/2 at midnight PST. Use code FAMILY13. (I’m lemming their Ultimate Color Gloss in Berry Twist, seen above. Plus, a quick PSA: their liquid Shimmering Skin Perfector smells alarmingly like MAC wipes, if you’re a fan of those.)

(What? Some people are! I think it’s weird, but hey, I regularly pull out my Clarins Face and Blush Powders just to sniff. I definitely don’t get to judge.)

Biotherm Canada: 25% off + free shipping on everything. Use code BLACKFRIDAY.

The Body Shop Canada: 3 for $30 sitewide, 11/26 to 11/30. But, more importantly: 50% off sitewide 12/01 to 12/03!

Butter London: 20% off regular price & 50% off “last orders” items, runs 11/29 through 12/2. Use code CYBER13.

Clinique Makeup Minis

Clinique: free shipping on all orders + 4 free makeup minis with orders $25+, 11/29 to 11/30. Use code PRETTY. Pick 5 free minis with orders 35+ from 12/1 through 12/5. (I recommend Chubby everything, obviously.)

Diptyque: free Feu de Bois and Oranger 35g candle duo + free US shipping, now until 12/02. Use code HOLIDAY2013. (Never have I ever wished I lived in the US more.)

Indigo/Chapters: 40% off a lot of really great candles. Plus a bunch of other things, like, you know, books, but their candles are where it’s at. (I recommend Illume Woodfire for the bedroom, particularly in its demi boxed size, and Voluspa Lichen & Vetiver for the office or living room.)

Kate Somerville: 50% off, 11/29 through 12/01 – unconfirmed info from the brand; it doesn’t appear to be live as I write this. Otherwise, it’s 30% off 11/25 through 12/2. Use code HOLIDAY2013. (If you’ve been meaning to try the cult-favourite ExfoliKate, now’s the perfect time!)

Lancôme Canada: 15% off + free shipping, 11/28 to 11/29. Use code BLACKFRIDAY. I would recommend their eyeshadows, Bi-Facial (if you’re not sensitive to ‘cones), and Artliners (both new and old), and this holiday’s illuminator, if you have a particularly strong affinity for pink and shimmer.

MIYU Holiday 2013

MIYU Beauty: 25% off, 11/29 through 12/2. Use code BFCMMIYU5. (These Canadian beauty teas and beauty essences (serums in the form of facial sprays) are pretty brilliant — and pretty gorgeous).

Sephora: $10 USD/$12 CAD deals, 11/29.

Plus, the freebies: 12 free samples + free makeup bag on orders over $25 USD/$35 CAD, use code FIXIT (BI only). US orders over $25, 11/30 to 12/9: free makeup bag + 5 mystery samples with code SUSPENSE, free with SHIPNOWCanada orders over $35: free Fresh Sugar Lemon mini with SUGARLEMON, 8 free samples + free makeup bag with BLITZ, free Fresh Rose Face Mask deluxe sample with ROSEMASK, free BareMinerals trio including the foundation shade of your choice with BAREGIRL (original formula) or MATTEGIRL (matte).

Tarte Cosmetics: 25% off all orders + free shipping over $40, 11/28 through 12/1. Use code TURKEY. (This code is my favourite).   

Nordstrom: 33% off+ on all Black Friday deals, plus special beauty value sets + over 80 beauty GWPs, 11/29 only. Thanksgiving deals at 25% off+ through to 12/1. Free US shipping & returns on all orders.

PS: don’t forget about Ebates! (US/Canada)

Coming to terms with Tom Ford (maybe).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I’m partway through writing a Tom Ford Black Orchid review, and I wanted to take a moment (okay, a whole bunch of moments) to talk about the brand, first — and why I’m okay with writing about it, even though Tom Ford ads still totally give me bad-touch vibes.

(As a warning: this isn’t going to go any more in depth than your typical ninth-grade gender studies class, I’m afraid. You can’t cover much more than that in a sourceless 700 words.)

Despite the rave reviews that Tom Ford now gets from beauty bloggers, both in fragrance and in makeup, I’ve always held myself back from the line. After years of crude advertising to over-sexualized and dehumanize faceless women, we’re just supposed to — what, forget about it? Because they stopped running those ads so that they could appeal to a female consumer base, too?

tom ford for men ad 2008

Faceless Mariana Braga for Tom Ford for Men, 2007 – via 1

I’m still torn on this subject, but I do find myself more comfortable with the brand as time passes. I’d still never want to meet Mr. Ford or his marketing department in person, but, well, baby steps.

While Tom Ford’s male models are typically clothed and looking directly into the camera, and their female counterparts are frequently not–a common practice in displaying a strong patriarchal power dynamic, and just one of many issues people have with Tom Ford adverts–the brand is beginning to even out its advertising practices, with less-sexualized female models and more-sexualized male models. 

(Uh, is that even a good thing? That now we’re stripping down our male models and covering them in oil, too? Shouldn’t we maybe be aiming to not do that to anyone, instead?) There are older examples of this as well, as seen below — turns out that while Ford gets flack for sexualizing his female models, and he strips down and lays bare his male models, too.

But, of course, social context is incredibly relevant when it comes to things like the portrayal of the human body, and just because there are naked men and naked women does not mean that both are being represented the same way, nor are they sending the same messages.

Edited to add: To read more on context and male objectification, this post on Jezebel is great. A big thank you to one of our readers to emailing me about it — the viewpoints in the comments are so much more varied than I could have managed to fit in this post, and worth a look if you’d like to read more on the topic.

tom ford Jon Kortajarena 2009

Jon Kortajarena for Tom Ford Eyewear, 2009 - 2, 3

That said, Tom Ford is hardly the only brand that blatantly uses sex to sell its products, or reinforces this power dynamic. Gucci is another repeat offender who comes to mind; D&G, on the other hand, does a good job of using nudity in a sensual–rather than sexual–way, in my eyes.

I really respect that D&G have chosen older, well-established, publicly outspoken models, and photographed them in a way that seems more, “these iconic women and not-so-iconic men are doing a job that they chose to do, and were captured as professionals,” rather than, “cover  your eyes, we’re about to have a non-consensual orgy.”

D&G fragrance anthology

Keep reading »

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