I’m with her

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

with-her-2

Today, I am heartbroken. It’s tough for me to believe that our cousins down south are filled with so much hate that they would elect a president like Trump. It breaks my heart that so many of them are cheering on all of his abusive, predatory, misogynistic, and racist behaviour.

But today, I also feel something unexpected: pride. I am proud of the 59+ million people who loudly decry his beliefs; of the millions of millennials who got out there and voted (and would have voted in a democrat landslide). I am proud of Hillary Clinton, who faced down the very embodiment of misogyny and came so incredibly close to triumphing over him.

I may not agree with every single thing Hillary has ever done, but you cannot tell me now that she isn’t relatable. We were all Hillary on those debate podiums, being called nasty women and being blamed for our partner’s indiscretions; we were all Hillary being called cold, robotic, and untrustworthy, even though all personal accounts show that we’re thoughtful, compassionate, and goofy.

We were all Hillary, being passed over for an unqualified white male despite years of experience that no one will acknowledge, and being asked to smile as it happened.

im-with-her

You know that feeling of “I don’t like her but I don’t know why” that overtook this election? That’s no more than your standard misogyny, folks. I felt it too. We didn’t trust her because we’ve been taught our entire lives that women cannot be trustworthy, responsible, or powerful, and we didn’t know why because we live within our own cultural rhetoric. It’s hard to see a culture when it is your only point of comparison, just like how it’s hard to see blue through a blue-tinted glass.

Sexism is alive and well in this world, and there is no amount of privilege that can cushion you from its effects. But millions of other people believe in compassion, and one day, our daughters will win this fight.

Today and all days, if you’re with her, I am with you. Know that you are our future, and you are loved.

CalExotics Inspire Kegel Exerciser, Dilator Kit, Flickering Arouser reviews & giveaway!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

CalExotics Silicone Dilator Kit review

The products: CalExotics Inspire Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser, Silicone Dilator Kit, and Flickering Intimate Arouser

This spring, CalExotics released a range of products in collaboration with Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The range, labelled Inspire, aims to raise awareness of the sexual side effects of breast cancer treatments and includes products that are actually designed for those experiencing things like decreased libido and difficulties having sex, like breast massagers, vibrators, and “teasers”.

CalExotics didn’t just throw in on an awareness campaign; they actually designed and produced niche products to help specific individuals who may be struggling to have sex (but want to) to do so – and that’s pretty cool of them.

A portion of each sale goes to Living Beyond Breast Cancer (unfortunately, the exact figure or percentage is undisclosed,) and the prices range from $78.99 – $136.99 USD.

Updated 22/08/16: 5% of the proceeds from the CalExotics Inspire line are donated to LBBC! 

CalExotics Inspire Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser

Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser

The CalExotic Inspire Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser is a fairly standard product done well – but it has its flaws. I will start, however, with the good stuff.

It’s moderately strong with nice, rumbly vibrations (3 speeds, 7 patterns), a plush, waterproof silicone covering, and a squishy tip. It charges via USB and runs for 30 minutes on high/1.5 hours on low on a 2.5 hour charge. It has a long cord for easy retrieval and and makes a great clit vibrator, too.

CalExotics Inspire review Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser

CalExotics Vibrating Remote Kegel Exerciser review

However, I wasn’t able to get the full use out of this product. The remote that came with the product refuses to pair with it, and even without the remote, it has one big problem: it turns on, and I don’t mean intentionally. This little guy will start rumbling away like a jackhammer in the middle of the day when it’s charging; in the middle of the night when I’m sleeping; during dinner, when drilling sounds suddenly start emanating from the bedroom.

It is, to say the least, undesirable. My product may just be faulty, and I hope that it’s alone in this regard, because the vibrator itself is excellent (if a little short-lived).

Availability: $129.99 CAD at Well.ca, $99.99 CAD at PinkCherry.ca, and $79.99 USD at PinkCherry.com. (Free shipping on all 3 sites, plus an extra 30% off at PinkCherry right now with code DEAL30.)

CalExotics Inspire Flickering Intimate Arouser review, photos

Flickering Intimate Arouser

I have some pretty mixed feelings about the CalExotics Inspire Flickering Intimate Arouser. On one hand, it is a pretty darn unique product – similar, I’m guessing, to something like the Squeel, but definitely not something that I’ve ever seen before. It too is completely waterproof, and the useable portion of this toy is completely made from silicone, featuring a “tongue” that really does vibrate and flicker rapidly.

It is, however, HELLA LOUD. I did not know that sex toys could be this loud. It feels great and (for me) produces a very drawn-out, intense orgasm, but good lord, it sounds like a blender. On high, it is SO UNBELIEVABLY LOUD that if I’m watching or listening to something, I cannot make out the words.

(I tested this theory by parking the arouser next to a Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast, of course. Because reasons.)

If you’ve always wanted a flickering toy, then I suppose this is worth the investment – it’s pretty cool. But for most of you out there, I’m not recommending this one. It’s so clunky and so loud that it’s not even just an inconvenience; it’s an actual turn off.

Availability: $59.99 USD at PinkCherry.com

CalExotics Inspire Flickering Intimate Arouser review

CalExotics Inspire Silicone Dilator Kit review photos

Silicone Dilator Kit (and giveaway!) 

Aaand finally, we have the last Inspire item that I received for review – and it’s so good that CalExotics and I are giving a free set away to one reader! 

I have vestibulodynia (a condition that as many as 1 in 4 women experiences), so I’ve owned a number of dilator sets throughout my life so far. This one is by far my favourite. Unlike the cylindrical plastic sets of yesteryear, it contains five gently curved, slowly tapered dilators of 0.5″ to 1.25″ in diameter, and each one has a ring on the end rather than an awkward, popsicle-style handle.

CalExotics Silicone Dilator Kit review photos size CalExotics Silicone Dilator Kit giveaway review

Dilators are a pretty simple product, so I don’t think I really need to say more than that. These ones are really easy and comfortable to use, and while I don’t typically experience vestibulodynia symptoms anymore (thanks to feedback training, lidocaine, and my great OBGYN), I use them frequently to do internal stretches or warm up my muscles before sex. They make a big impact on how active my pelvic floor pain is, and I couldn’t recommend them more wholeheartedly.

So, if you want to win your very own set of Inspire Silicone Dilators, just enter using the widget below. While best used in conjunction with treatment from your gynecologist, they’re a great tool for anyone with pelvic floor pain, vestibulodynia, or even just anxiety about sex! 

Availability:$89.99 at Lovehoney (US/US/Can), $69.99 USD at PinkCherry.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CalExotics Silicone Dilator Kit review photos giveaway

This giveaway will be open to US & Canadian residents over 18 until 11:59 PM MST on August 31st, 2016. For full rules, please read the terms included in the widget above. 

The kinds of people you shouldn’t date

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

When I started writing theNotice, I wanted to create a safe space. Its bread and butter has always been beauty content, but I wanted to create a blog where anyone could talk about the kinds of things you’re not “supposed” to talk about, in the comments or even by email.

That’s why I’ve covered everything from eating disorders to tampons to IUDs over the past eight years, and that’s why I’m talking about relationships today.

I haven’t discussed everything in my life here on theNotice, and frankly it would be weird if I had, but I’d like to be able to say that I haven’t lied about anything, at least. So, for my first post of 2016, here’s a little bit of honesty about my last boyfriend.

(Spoiler alert, he was shitty.)

happymonsters

Source: Happy Monsters

“If someone else is being a dick, that’s not on you.”

When people ask you about your partner, I feel like there’s always pressure to give them the answers that they want to hear. To share super-cute anecdotes about the two of you; to laugh coyly and lie about how good the sex is. It’s easy to champion how well your friends should be treated (so well! Like majestic unicorns!), but it’s so much harder to say “hey, the Nice Guy™ that I’m dating actually kind of treats me like trash” to your mutual friends, hopefully-not-mutual family, and colleagues.

Here is the other half of the story about my ex and I.

My ex was saccharine-sweet to me 99% of the time, but he would also spit words at me and make me feel absolutely disgusting when he had had a bad day. He’d use cute nicknames and tell me that he loved me, but he’d guilt trip me for making him feel bad when I flinched away from contact.

My ex would tell me that of course he worried about me, but he’d follow it up with “because nobody else in your life is going to.” He would tell me that I was being unfair by asking him to see a therapist about his severe depression instead of unloading on me, and did I have any idea how much of a burden it was on him that I have a physical disability?

My ex would call me every night to ask me about my day, but he would also finger me so roughly that I would cry, and then fall into a funk for days over the fact that my crying made him feel “useless.” He would get so mad at me for having panic attacks that I would end up cowered in the corner of my bedroom trying to hide from him, and he’d tell me that I was being unfair, because it’s not like he was hitting me.

whalecom chibird

Source: Chibird

“Even if your relationship could be worse, that’s not an excuse.”

The #1 thing that stopped me from saying anything bad about my relationship is a universal of (too) many other relationships: I was embarrassed to admit that I let someone else treat me like that. But you know what? If someone else is being a dick, that’s not on you. Not even if you covered for them in the past.

But the other thing that stopped me was the knowledge that my relationship wasn’t as bad as many others are. What I’ve come to realize over the past 10 months, however, is that even if your relationship could be worse, that’s not an excuse for the ways in which it sucks. Like, if you buy a really shitty mascara and it clumps your lashes into a gross uni-lash, you’re not like, oh, it didn’t rot my eyes away with acid, so I guess I have to recommend it to a friend now–why would you give more leeway to something as important as your relationship?

I also spent a lot of time excusing him for things because, well, I honestly don’t think that he had any idea that the way he was treating me was wrong. But just because someone doesn’t consciously decide to be cruel, that doesn’t make their actions any less terrible, and I’ve slowly come to remember that your partner’s ignorance should NOT excuse their actions.

fox

Source: Bridget Beth via DIY with Maryann

“If something is unacceptable FOR YOU, then it’s unacceptable.”

There is a part of my brain that looks at this post and thinks no, you can’t say that; it’s unprofessional. It’s uncouth. But like — fuck that part of my brain. Fuck that part of all of our brains. I had no idea that my last relationship was messed up because no one ever tells you what level of anguish is unacceptable, so you know what? I’m going to talk about it. It’s not unprofessional: it’s necessary.

As far as I’m concerned, any level of cruelty high enough to cause mental distress is unacceptable. You’re not a checklist, you’re a person, and if it’s unacceptable for you, then it’s unacceptable. There is a wide margin between an abusive relationship and a healthy relationship, and if you fall short of a even just a passably good relationship–if your partner makes you stressed, sad, and unhappy–then yeah, I think you owe it your yourself to move on.

positivedoodles hedgehog

Source: Emm’s Positivity Blog

“My super-fun two and a half year torture party,”

I stayed with my ex because I thought that all relationships would be some degree of bad, and I was scared that nobody better would ever want me. Everyone has always told me that that was nonsense, because I’m pretty and smart and blah blah blah, but have you met women in general? They’re amazing. They’re all so gorgeous and intelligent and fucking funny, and most of them aren’t permanently disabled–who would want me?

(Lots of people, apparently. There are a lot of lonely people out there in the world.)

I gave myself three days to pick myself up off the floor after breaking off my super-fun two and a half year torture party, and then I got right back into the saddle & tried out my first-ever dating app.* I had my first date scheduled before the week was out, and while we didn’t work out romantically, we’re still friends– we text almost constantly, or at least, we did (but then he got a very cute, very dumb puppy and now he spends all of his free time crying and cleaning up pee.)

*Quick online dating tips: OK Cupid is awesome if you want to screen people for their likes and leanings; Tinder is awesome if you only want to be messaged by people you match with (which can make it a great choice if you’re LGBTQ+). People seem to be hotter and younger on Tinder, for some reason, but more artsy/geeky on OK Cupid.

I met my current partner on Tinder! And I’d tell you the full story, but it’s just not as funny unless we tell it together, so I will keep you in the dark on that for now.

If you wanted an awesome conclusion to this post, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. I am very small, and currently very sick. But I can tell you this: I wanted to share my story so that anyone out there needing to talk (about something present or past) would hopefully see this as a safe space, too. So for anyone who wants to weigh in, share stories, or get all academic on us–feel free to use the comments down below at any time when you want someone to listen.

Anonymous comments are welcome.

pusheen hug every person

Source: Everyday Cute (Pusheen!)

I don’t view the relationship I described here as abusive, but if you’re in a relationship where you feel mentally or physically unsafe, please, please, please check out the following resources to get help when you feel ready.

L’Amourose Rosa Rouge Rechargeable Heated G-Spot Vibrator review | Incredibly chic temperature play

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

L'Amourose Rosa Rouge Rechargeable Heated G-Spot Vibrator review photos

The product: L’Amourose Rosa Rouge Rechargeable Heated G-Spot Vibrator

It’s been a while since theNotice’s last toy feature. Missed the last couple? Check them out here! { Je Joue Uma G-Spot Vibrator / We-Vibe 4 and Tango }

L’Amourose’s Rosa Rouge is, I think I can fairly say, a vibrator like no other vibrator that you’ve ever tried before. Its shape, design, and heating element (yes, you heard that right) are entirely without compare, and the not-so-hidden tech geek in me gets a little thrill every time I pull this one out.

L'Amourose Rosa Rouge Rechargeable Heated G-Spot Vibrator

The Rouge difference: What makes the L’Amourose Rosa Rouge so utterly unique is that it’s a heated toy. As in, “designed to heat to a perfect 42 degrees Celsius,” (104 – 107˚F) which is a far cry from the usual, “accidentally heats up sometimes during use,” seen in most vibrators.

An upgraded version of the brand’s un-heated Rosa vibrator–which is otherwise identical–the Rosa Rouge maintains a steady 40-42˚C (normal internal body temp is about 37 degrees), warming up within a minute to skin temperature and reaching its final, toasty destination within 4 minutes.

L'Amourose Rosa Rouge Rechargeable Vibrator review photos

Temperature play: The warmth of the Rosa is focused on the g-spot ridge and is limited to the insertable portion, leaving the base only barely warmed no matter how long it runs for — which I think is quite a shame, because temperature play is typically most effective at skin level.

That said, however, the Rosa is lovely both in and externally. (I guess 42 really is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.) For those who have never experienced temperature play, I would absolutely urge you to! For me, warm objects feel like satisfaction–not even sexual satisfaction, but like… that feeling you get when you step into a hot shower on a cold day; that’s just calm and quiet and good. Like a little moment outside of time, or a really great massage facial totally above-board spa treatment.

L'Amourose Rosa vibrator review photos

The motor and settings: Umpfgh. Oh my god. You guys, the motor on this thing is so rumbly — like, MiMi Soft levels of rumbly, but without the rattling. It’s a constant, demure ruh-ruh-ruh, and it goes up HIGH, too: L’Amourose has tricked this baby out with a whopping 12 speeds and 9 vibrating modes. 

And y’know what? I’m usually a pattern-hater, but I have to give L’Amourose credit for these ones. They let you use only the internal or only the external motor (yup, this vibrator has two motors; it’s that high-tech), alternate between the two, or slide from one to the other in a slow, hypnotic transition.

The motors totally aren’t “whisper-quiet” as promised, but they’re still very quiet. Despite this being one of the most powerful vibrators I own, it’s near-silent under a blanket!

L'Amourose Rosa Rouge G-Spot Vibrator review charging dock

The design: Apart from a super-sexy, gemlike silhouette, the Rosa Rouge is equipped with all the good stuff, too. It’s made from silicone and ABS plastic (for the shiny, multifaceted base), is fully waterproof, charges by simply sitting on its pedestal (LITERALLY A PEDESTAL), and has a battery that’ll last for 3 hours at medium speed on a 2 hour charge. 

What makes the Rosa design truly brilliant, however, is the fact that, once inserted, it’s basically a hands-free toy. It pairs well with clit vibes like the We-Vibe Tango, but it stays in place easily on its own, too.

And, finally, in terms of its g-spot design, I find the Rosa Rouge to have quite an intense curve to it. The flexible shaft keeps things relaxed, however, so no matter how filling it may be, the Rosa’s shape is never bruising or sharp. I find that it’s best used in a nudging/rocking motion (like the Tex), and if I pair it with the Tango, I can get off in an unbelievably short timeframe–the two together are a dirty, efficient, mind-blowing dream.

L'Amourose review photos

The verdict?

As a big fan of rumbly vibrations and temperature play, I can’t not recommend the L’Amourose Rosa Rouge. It’s an absolutely beautiful piece of technology, covered in velvety-soft silicone, and it is by far my favourite internal vibrator.

At 4.5″ insertable and 1.5″ around, the Rosa Rouge is something of a work of art. It’s not something that I reach for all the time and it’s not a toy designed for thrusting, but when I feel like I’ve been very, very good, the Rosa Rouge makes me feel simultaneously like a princess and an–actually, nope, it pretty much just makes me feel like a princess.

So… my final recommendations. A $240 toy isn’t feasible for all of us (I was lucky enough to have mine given to me by the lovely folks at SheVibe), but the Rosa and Rosa Rouge offer things that other vibrators simply don’t: a comfortable hands-free design, temperature play, and (and!) 3+ hours of near-silent play on a single charge. If you can do it, I say do it.

Availability: $239.99 USD at SheVibe, or $179.99 USD for the non-heated Rosa (currently available at SheVibe in Emerald or Cerise). To help take the sting off of the price tag, L’Amourose pieces come with an 18 month warranty and a lifetime quality guarantee (50% off any replacement piece if yours breaks, even 25 years down the road), as well as a beautiful storage box and a satin-lined velvet pouch.

Keep reading! »

Vixen Creations VixSkin Mustang in Fluor-a-Pink: review, photos | Give yourself the best Valentine’s Day gift ever. (EVER.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Vixen VixSkin Mustang review art

The product: Vixen Creations VixSkin Mustang in Fluor-a-Pink

You know something is good–like, really, really good–when you can’t shut up about it when talking to your friends.

VixSkin is no exception.

Keep reading! (Warning: NSFW) »

What it’s like to get an IUD (and why you need one): A Christmas gift, from me to you

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The best thing I did all year was get an IUD and play hide and go seek with my mom, so today, I’m here to tell you all about it — the IUD, not hide and seek. Today’s post covers my entire IUD experience over the past six months, and I truly hope that you’ll find it helpful.

I’m going to take the next couple of days off and just leave this up here at the top of theNotice, but I’ll be back shortly. I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season so far, dear reader.

PS: YES I DID TAG THIS AS HOLY GRAIL.

The basics

This is the stuff that you can find anywhere on the internet, so I’m going to gloss over it. Here are the basics on IUDs, as compared to each other and the pill — I’m reviewing the Mirena (hormonal) IUD today, but the insertion process of a copper IUD is the same.

IUD infographic thenotice

As with any kind of birth control, IUDs don’t come without risks — and some of the rare side effects, like perforation or ovarian cysts, are very serious. So if you’re thinking about getting one, talk to your doctor and do a little bit of research on your own. I’m an undergrad, for god’s sake. Don’t just take my word for it.

Why I chose the IUD

Simply put: I really trust my OBGYN. I have had awful periods for most of my life, and oral contraceptives weren’t working out for me — I couldn’t do continuous birth control, and it totally killed my sex drive. (Plus, I have vestibulodynia, which is sometimes linked to the pill.)

(PS: if you experience pain when inserting a menstrual cup–and I know many of you do–you probably have vestibulodynia to some degree. Talk to your gynecologist; it’s usually very easy to treat!)

Anyhow. My doc thought I’d do a lot better with an IUD, and he’s amazing at his job, so I said okay. Most of the serious risks of an IUD occur during insertion, and this guy has done thousands without a single perforation or expulsion. I figured that a few weeks of cramps was a good trade-off for five worry-free years of birth control, and I was reassured by the fact that if my body didn’t like it, I could have it taken out whenever — removal is easier and faster than insertion.

Mirena size

The size of a Mirena (from their site)

What it’s like to have an IUD put in

NOT SO GREAT, YOU GUYS. I’m going to be totally honest here, because it wasn’t comfortable, and the fear of not knowing was even worse than the insertion itself.

Everyone says that getting an IUD is like a really bad period cramp, but everyone is LYING. It’s like a very sharp muscle knotting deep in your gut, and it feels really bad — but it’s definitely not the worst pain I’ve ever been in. I’d say it’s like stubbing your toe really hard, except instead of a toe it’s your cervix. So… worse than most things, but extremely localized and very short-lived.

What the process was like & more… »

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