New This Week: Silicone-free colour-correcting & custom foundation palettes!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Custom color correcting foundation palette

It’s always interesting to see which trends are going to rear their heads each season, but I can’t remember the last time something hit quite as hard as colour-correcting. It’s a technique that has been around for decades, of course, but it used to be tough to get your hands on really good colour-correcting products.

Now, though? Now colour correctors seem like they’re a dime a dozen. You can pick up tinted primers (Make Up For Ever and Clinique do some really popular ones, and I hear the NYX dupes aren’t all that shabby); redness neutralizers (everyone still always says green, but I swear yellow is what you really want); even brightening powders (in violet or the classic banana yellow) to even out whatever tones your foundation isn’t quite covering. 

Despite the current trend, however, it is still next to impossible to find a good colour corrector that’s silicone-free. So, I thought I’d share with you guys what I’ve been doing for colour-correcting!

I really love using theatre foundations on skin that’s picky about silicones, because the older formulas (always make sure to check first) tend to be creamy, ‘cone-free, and cheap. The colour palette that I put together for myself features samples of products from Camera Ready Cosmetics to keep the costs even lower; the half-empty pans look a little dingy, but because I rarely actually finish products, it was a good choice for me.

(I’ve had this palette for about a year and I haven’t needed to replenish any of the correctors yet, so I guess I wasn’t wrong!)

Silicone free foundation palette

Silicone-free theatre foundation review palette

For anyone making their own colour correcting palette or bruise kit, this entire palette cost me about $20 USD, and works well for my NC15-ish skin. It includes:

Keep reading! »

Are you a blogger? Come help us ALL be fairly paid! | The business of blogging

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

If you’re a blog reader but you don’t run your own, feel free to skip this post or send it to your favourite bloggers!

One of the things that has been nagging at me ever since I wrote my How to start a beauty blog & How to monetize your blog posts is that no one quite knows what to be charging for their services — and brands are taking advantage of that fact to both undercut our prices & convince bloggers who run smaller blogs to work for little or no pay.


workplace inspo via west elm

You can’t buy groceries with free product, so what I want to do is create a spreadsheet to compare stats to fees in a manner that we can all access. Once I have enough information, I’d also like to share a general summary with you guys to give everyone an idea what to be charging based on their stats without each person having to sort through all of the raw data.

The results will be completely anonymous and only available to other bloggers, but will be free to any blogger who wants to access them.

» Click here or scroll down to fill out the survey «

So here’s where you guys come in. If you run a blog, please take a minute to fill out this Google Form! You don’t need to look up your exact stats or answer any questions that don’t apply to you/that you don’t want to (estimates are totally fine!) This information is only going to be a general picture that other bloggers can reference, so don’t sweat it.

I’m hoping to have this form open for about a month, so please get your entires in as soon as you can, share with friends, and return at the end of April for the results!

» This survey can be found at if you want to share it with other bloggers! «

How to monetize your blog, partner with brands, & more: The do’s and don’t of blogging

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

» How to start a beauty blog

1. The do’s and don’ts of blogging

2. Working with brands

3. Monetizing your blog

4. Branching out from (or into) beauty blogging

The do’s and don’ts of blogging

Burberry Beauty launches Canada Vancouver Nordstrom

For those of you on your coffee break, here’s a snappy list of the do’s and don’ts of blogging!

Edit: DON’T try to monetize every single sample offer from your contacts. I keep seeing newbie bloggers deciding to do this, and it makes me want to shake them and yell, “TWO THOUSAND HITS PER MONTH IS TINY. SIT DOWN.” Start instead by using affiliate links or selling banner ads (read below!), and focus on creating great content and building relationships, not squeezing naïve small businesses for cash.

DO leave lots of comments on other bloggers’ blogs, and DO leave a link back to your blog in the “url” form field, but DON’T leave a link to your blog in your comment text — I can’t think of a single person I know who doesn’t find that to be incredibly rude!

DON’T get into spats on social media. Someone is always watching, in the creepiest of creepy Big Brother ways.

DO be funny! 

DON’T send your new followers automated messages.

DO use a blogging calendar to keep you on track. I’ve recently started using a sticky-notes-and-tape eyesore, and I love that I can touch it and move stuff around.

new camera 2014 copy

DO learn the difference between HTML, CSS, and PHP. My favourite resource for all three is, which is easy to reference for simple fixes & arranged like a textbook for those who want a crash course.

DO buy a good camera — and editing software. If you’re serious about blogging, I recommend a camera body that gives you room to grow, like the Canon T5 or Nikon D3200. I shoot with a Sony A6000 (the A5100 cheaper option with a 180˚ screen) and an old Zeiss lens, and then edit in Photoshop.

DO proofread. Accidents happen, but if you mix up your there, their, and they’res, I won’t be the only one quietly mocking you in my head.

DO nerd out over your non-beauty interests. This is the easiest way to find other people like you in the herd, whether your special interest is ramen noodles or alpacas!

cats cats cats

My special interest is cats. My special interest has always been cats.

Working with brands 

Okay, so once people start blogging, the big question always becomes, “How can I start collaborating with brands?” Which is a valid question, but like — you have no idea how gross it makes me feel to hear it. It’s like someone asking how to get into your ex-girlfriend’s pants: it’s not that you definitely don’t deserve to, it’s that you really seem like you’re only in this for the sex and you should really be proving that you’re good enough on your own.

I don’t make a lot off of theNotice, and if I had to buy every single product that I tested for the blog & featured here, I would barely break even. But while it’s awesome to have a brand validate your work by working with you, it’s important that you view press samples as a way to help you do your job better, not the reason for doing your job at all.

stop being greedy

So: I’d recommend waiting for at least a year (yes, really) before reaching out to brands. If someone contacts you before then, awesome; if not, it’s worth the wait! That way, you can show brands your archive, stats, and social media following when you do contact them, and your reader base will know that they can trust you — and so will other bloggers.

Highlight whatever YOUR BLOG really excels at. You don’t have to be the biggest fish in the pond to show people that you’re doing great work!

Next, create a media kit in the style of your blog that includes your stats, your blog’s message, and a little bit about you, the person they’ll be working with! It’ll help give you a leg up in the PR department’s inbox, and it’ll work kind of like an online business card for your blog.

One of the best tips I’ve ever heard about creating a media kit is to highlight whatever your blog really excels at (I think maybe it was Natalie?), whether that’s the number of comments you get or the number of page hits. Your blog doesn’t have to be the biggest or the most polished to stand out.

Moody pastels - YSL Spring makeup look

I recommend starting on a brand’s website to look for contact info, or pitching in person if you can. I know bloggers who recommend contacting brands via their social channels or employees’ LinkedIn accounts, but I’ve always found that if a brand really loves your blog, a general email to the company will be enough. Let your work speak for itself! 

The hard part about PR relationships, though is keeping that relationship going. If you want to stay in the loop, you’re going to need to review new launches quickly (most brands prefer to see features within 30 days, which is whiplash-and-a-concussion fast), forward links back to the brand after a review goes up, and always be reachable by email.

Once you’re in, remember that blog-brand relationships are a two-way street, and you do not work for the brand — no matter how well or poorly they treat you. Accepting product for a review is a fair (and industry-standard) practice, but make sure you don’t let your to-review pile overwhelm you. It is a real, breathing thing, and it will suffocate you in the middle of the night and hide the evidence. 

Graphic sunset eye look

Monetizing your blog 

Unfortunately for all of you up and coming beauty bloggers, ambassadorships and sponsorships are a rare thing in this industry. Sure, they exist, but it’s not exactly “cool” for a beauty blogger to post their Amazon Wishlist or have a Patreon.

Instead, beauty blogs tend to survive on the Golden Trio of advertising: sidebar ads, affiliate commissions, and sponsored posts.

Keep reading! »

How to start a beauty blog (and what to expect once you do!)

Monday, January 18, 2016

theNotice layout screenshot

The #1 question that I get asked is how to start a beauty blog. Sure, there are variations, like “How do I transition my current blog into a beauty blog,” or “How can I start making money off of my beauty blog,” but what seems to be on everyone’s minds is how you do the whole, y’know, blogging thing. 

My answer is always the same: don’t. 

Behind the blog - Nov 2015

1. Make the commitment

Now, it’s not that I don’t love beauty blogging, and it’s not that I don’t want to see the community grow — I very, very much do. But I don’t think that anyone should start a beauty blog on a whim. It’s more like adopting a pet than eating a sandwich: you have to be ready to make a huge time commitment, and if you want to blog seriously, you need to be ready to keep it up for years.

We’re talking anywhere from 15 hours a week (for a casual blogger) to 40-60 hours (if you want to make a living off of it) for the next 10 years of your life, with no “paid vacation time” or sick day coverage.

The first step in starting a beauty blog is putting in the time. After that, everything else is easy.

Wordpress Dashboard

2. Pick the right blogging platform

Choose WordPress. 

No, but seriously — it’s not up for discussion. WordPress is a little more intimidating right out of the gates, but it’ll give you the room to grow that Blogger simply doesn’t. With a WordPress blog, each little bit of styling is made to adapt with your layout; with Blogger, each bit of styling is made to be particular to that post only.

I made the mistake of starting out with Blogger back in 2007, so please, for the love of god, learn from my mistakes. 

(The only time you’re not required to choose WordPress is if you go with Squarespace, but that’s a whole other can of worms.)

BlueHost - host recommendation

3. Get your own hosting plan & domain name

Your HOST is where your site lives; your DOMAIN NAME is the url that readers will use to access it.

My other “must” for new bloggers is starting out with your OWN domain name and hosting plan. Paying for your own little space on the web is surprisingly affordable (my current web host offers plans that start at $3.95/month, which is the price of a single freaking coffee), and it offers you a level of credibility and flexibility that “” and “” just can’t give you.

With a free site on Blogger or WordPress, you’re limited in the kind of ads you can run, the kinds of plugins you can use, and sometimes even the types of content you can publish (Blogger haaates sex bloggers, and doesn’t like it when bloggers make money, too.)

BlueHost control panel

I currently host with BlueHost, who I absolutely love. They make hosting your site super easy, with a control panel that’s basically designed for dummies and excellent (free!) 24/7 tech support online and by phone. I’ve found that Bluehost’s rates are equal to GoDaddy’s and lower than HostGator’s, and since switching over from GoDaddy, I’ve noticed a lot less downtime and faster loading times on theNotice.

» If you’re thinking of signing up with BlueHost, I would love if you could use my affiliate link to show them that I sent you!

You can also buy your domain name through BlueHost (use the widget above to see if your dream domain name is available right now!), but Namecheap also comes highly recommended by bloggers, too. (Namecheap is–you guessed it–a little cheaper, but sometimes having an integrated web host & domain registrar can be handy!)

WordPress org vs com

wpbeginner has a great infographic on (self-hosted) vs (free) here.

4. Make some contacts

In the beauty blogging world, your #1 asset is your friends. If you really want your blog to take off, don’t focus on making money or hooking up with brands — focus on finding bloggers who you respect and admire, and build actual relationships with them.

My favourite thing about the beauty blogging world is the people, and those people are going to be the exact same ones who will help you grow your own blog. Comment on others’ blogs, start chatting with strangers on Twitter, and make sure you send good vibes back out into the blogosphere.

There is no limit to how many blogs one reader can or will read, which makes blogging one of those rare, wonderful industries where supporting your peers wholeheartedly will only ever help you reach your own goals. Take advantage of it: form blogger crushes, collaborate with them, and most importantly, don’t be afraid of learning from others & telling them when you think their work is awesome!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

5. Get writing!

Okay, so I know that I said making the commitment was going to be the hardest thing, but–um. It’s not. What makes that commitment hard is following through on it, not just wishing with all your might.

The beauty blogging world looooves a heavy poster, and while it’s not make-or-break, it’s definitely important. I always chuckle when I see a tweet from my sex blogging friends being all, “oooh, I posted twice this week, kneel before me!” because while that’s an awesome posting frequency for the adult industry, it’s really low for the beauty industry.

If you wanted to blog occasionally, you should have gotten into electronics or types of ash instead. The beauty world lives off of bloggers who post 3-7 times/week, and those making a living off of their blog usually need to post at least twice a day (if not more.) So grab your camera, give up all of your future Saturdays to photo-taking, and start by reviewing the products that you already know and love!

theNotice logo

Still think you’re cut out for beauty blogging? Awesome! Come back on Wednesday for tips on how to partner with brands & more.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to leave ’em below and I’ll answer as many as I can in my next post. 

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 Starter Guide to Going Gluten-Free (Part One)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I was talking to Elaine (@TOBeautyReviews) on Twitter last week, and I promised to send her an email about going gluten-free. While writing that email, though, it occurred to me that I might as well post it on theNotice, because why not, right?

From there, the post sort of got out of hand (because that’s how I roll, apparently), so here’s a not-so-quick starter guide on going gluten-free. I hope you find it helpful!

Why I’m gluten-free

I went gluten-free a few years ago, after my sister had some blood testing done & found out she was gluten-intolerant. (She’s supposedly intolerant to most other things, too, but… well, we didn’t really buy into it. After three weeks of an extremely restricted diet, she decided it wasn’t for her, but kept the gluten out.) My family cut gluten out of her diet, and it sort of fell out of ours, too.

I ended up going G-Free by accident. It was gradual, but with less gluten just “kicking around” in the house, I just started consuming less and less. And the longer I was off it, the more I noticed when I did eat it – I’d grab a sandwich while out and about, for instance, and find myself lethargic and mildly bloated afterwards.

So, I cut it out entirely. As you may or may not already know, I have fibromyalgia and (currently in remission) rheumatoid arthritis, so every little bit of energy really counts in my day to day life. Not everyone with fibro and RA will also be intolerant to gluten, but for me, it was a no-brainer: as much as I love “real” bread, when the flipside was being tired, bloated, and feeling kind of foggy, going g-free just made sense for my lifestyle.

Anyhow; that’s my story. I hope it can help inspire you to have your own gluten-free adventure, even if you’re just going to try it on for fit! ;)

Breakfast breads (are the best kind of breads)

I have a soft spot for breakfast food, but it’s a good starting point for going gluten-free, too. Quick breads do all their rising in the pan (or the oven), so there’s no waiting or extra timing involved – just a bit of xanthan gum added to the recipe (sometimes), but aside from that, it’s just like making “normal” breakfast foods. 

I’d start with Gluten Free Cooking School’s Light and Fluffy Gluten-Free Biscuits, which are hands-down the tastiest biscuits you’ll find, gluten-free or not. (Seriously; they’re really, really tasty.) They bake on cookie sheets and don’t need kneading or time to rise, so the recipe is easy to put together – the hardest part is that you have to grate a chunk of frozen margarine, which, well, weird. But also kind of fun.

Keep reading! »

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