Treat Yo Self: Valentine’s Day edition & a Sova giveaway

    *sponsored by Sova

    …Or maybe treat yo shelf? You know, your makeup shelf?

    It’s that time of year again, and by “that time of year,” I mean “the time of year in which coupled humans typically exchange dead plant life for affection.” And, while I love a bouquet of roses as much as the next girl, I’m doing something a little different on theNotice this year.

    Here are 10 picks that you can treat yourself (and your top shelf) to this Valentine’s Day. Because really, who loves you more than you*?

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    Win some joy (with this giveaway!)

    As much as I believe in treating yourself when Valentine’s Day comes around (and you can bet I’ll be buying myself some chocolate) (okay fine you caught me; I already have), I really enjoy giving gifts to other people, too. I’m a total sucker for surprising my partners with presents, chocolate, or cute dates, and I’m super excited to get to bring that mentality to theNotice this year.

    My friends at Sova offered to sponsor this post and host a giveaway of their Sova CommandO Vibe ($99.99 USD), which I could not be more excited about. One lucky reader will get to add a discreet new remote-controlled vibe to their toy collection! It’s the same one pictured in the editorial spread above, and it features a rechargeable vibe with a battery-operated vibrating remote.

    Sova CommandO vibe review giveaway

    I had fun testing out the Sova CommandO for this post, but I’d love to see a few small changes made in the future. The remote, for instance, would be better if it didn’t vibrate. It’s annoying to hold and burns through batteries like nobody’s business. (Plus, it channels most of its vibrations backwards, into the pop-off end.)

    I’d like to see slightly less buzzy vibrations as well, although these did the trick–they’re surprisingly strong, and very quiet. I actually found this toy easier to get off with than the Leaf Life or Lelo (ahem) Siri!

    Additionally, I appreciate that Sova is a brand developed by women, but it would be great if their marketing wasn’t specifically “designed for women.” Inclusivity of all genders is an important part of the sex industry (and something I’m trying to be more conscious of addressing in my writing), and broadening its stigma-free stance to include all individuals would be a great thing for the brand going forward!

    Enter to win this duo below.

    Treat Yo Self Valentine’s Day giveaway

    *Puppies. Puppies love you more than you do.


    Lancôme La Rose À Poudrer Highlighter: too close to Ladurée? (Nope.)

    Lancome La Rose a Poudrer highlighter

    I will not spend $60 USD/$79 CAD on a single highlighter. I will not, I will not, I will…

    Okay, I maybe will.

    At least if I bought it I could write a Lancôme La Rose À Poudrer review, right?

    Get it: At the time of publication, the limited edition spring 2017 Lancôme La Rose À Poudrer powder blush/”luminous pink highlighter” is available only at Lancôme in Canada.

    In the US, it can be found at Lancôme, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s.

    Absolutely Rose spring 2017 lancome

    Here’s what Lancôme has to say about the La Rose À Poudrer highlighter… 

    Editor’s note: Bloomingdale’s lists the inspiration as specifically a “’50s French-inspired Bijou box.” I’d be willing to bet that that’s the work of vintage makeup-loving Creative Director Lisa Eldridge!

    “La Rose à Poudrer is a giant highlighting rose powder encapsulated in a Parisian boudoir inspired pink box.  This elegant and so glamourous pretty box contains a giant rose made of delicate textile.

    Each petal encapsulates a luminous pink highlighting powder to apply with the mini Parisian Kabuki for irresistible cheeks and décolleté. Definitely the most poetic highlighter that will bring an added touch of elegance to your bathroom.”

    This highlighter is reminiscent of Ladurée’s, but I don’t know… Are the two products too similar to be a coincidence? I’m calling it as a “no,” as Lancôme’s version has shape and shimmer while Ladurée’s features loose petals with more detail and colour, but let me know in the comments if you feel differently!

    (To note, Lancôme’s version is also the first to feature fabric rose petals dusted in powder–meaning that the flower itself will always remain in tact, even once you use up the product completely.)


    Bioderma Atoderm Shower Oil, Ultra-Soothing Balm review, photos

    Bioderma Atoderm ultra-nourishing shower oil review

    The products: Bioderma Atoderm Huile de Douche (Ultra-Nourishing Anti-Irritation Shower Oil) and Atoderm Intensive Baume (Ultra-Soothing Balm)

    When you run a beauty blog, testing products is like constantly punishing your skin for things that it hasn’t done: a never-ending deluge of things that are too oily, too stripping, too scented, too anything.

    Which is why it’s always such a pleasure when I get to review Bioderma Atoderm products. Bioderma is a “sensible skincare” brand to begin with, but Atoderm is their range for “very dry to atopic sensitive skin” – AKA my skin exactly. Every single product in the Bioderma Atoderm range is designed to restore the skin’s hydrolipidic film, and they’re all just so gentle and lovely.

    Bioderma atoderm 2016 2017 review

    I honestly don’t have a lot to say about either of these products, and I think that’s great! It means that I have ZERO things that I’d like to change about either one, which is a rarity.

    The four Bioderma Atoderm Shower Gels are each made to target a different level of dryness. The original Bioderma Atoderm Gentle Shower Gel is for dry skin, the Shower Cream is for very dry skin, this non-oily Bioderma Atoderm Shower Oil ($19.90 CAD/1L) is for dry/very dry, irritated skin, and the Ultra-Rich Foaming Gel is for very dry to atopic skin.

    All four are also made for the whole family, so you can use them on the face, body, and scalp of newborns to adults! They’re lightly scented, and they lather nicely into a thin, easily washable lather.

    Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume review

    The Bioderma Ultra-Soothing Balm ($24.90 CAD/500 ml), on the other hand, is completely neutral. It’s godly. The formula has no scent, stickiness, or oiliness and it always does the job–my skin never feels itchy after I use it.

    My skin never feels like anything after I use it, actually, which I’m pretty sure is the highest compliment that you can give to a moisturizer. It just feels nice, smooth, and hydrated, even as a facial moisturizer. This is the most nourishing “everything moisturizer” in the Atoderm line (it’s formulated for atopic skin on the hands, body, and face), so maybe I’ve just been living my life wrong before now.

    All of the moisture. Give me allll of the moisture!!

    Bioderma Atoderm ultra-soothing balm moisturizer review

    The verdict?

    For no-nonsense drugstore skincare for very dry, atopic skin, you really can’t do better than Bioderma. Both of these products are gentle, affordable, and silicone-free, and I’m very much enjoying using them.

    If you’re on a budget, I’d opt for the Ultra-Soothing Baume before the Ultra-Nourishing Shower Oil – I saw more noticeable hydrating and soothing effects with it, and the effects were longer-lasting. Like the rest of the Atoderm line, it’s safe to use on the whole family, so give it a try if you have a little one whose skin is just extremely displeased with existing unprotected in the world!

    (I feel you, tiny human. I feel your pain.)

    Availability: Available at drugstores across Canada. New permanent products.

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    Clinique Crayola Chubby Stick collection review, swatches, photos

    Clinique x Crayola Mauvelous review

    The products: Clinique Crayola Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Pink Sherbert, Wild Strawberry, and Mauvelous and Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Red Violet.

    I love a good beauty collab, but this is the best I’ve ever seen. Clinique’s iconic Chubby Sticks have met their match with Crayola crayons, and the resultant Clinique Crayola collection is cute beyond words.

    The collection launches this month and encompasses 10 limited edition shades. Each nostalgic shade is inspired by one of Crayola’s most remembered colour names, for a pairing that just makes me want to scribble on the walls with joy.

    Clinique x Crayola Chubby Stick review photos swatches

    Clinique Crayola Chubby Sticks ($17 USD/$21 CAD)

    I know I haven’t posted about Chubby Sticks in a while, but rest assured: the love is still there. I rely heavily on these mango and shea butter-loaded sheer sticks for my everyday “no makeup makeup,” and their scent-free colour gets me through the day.

    (Plus, I never have a mirror on me and I make really over-exaggerated facial expressions, so if a lip product isn’t sheer, it’s never going to make it to my go-to. You can’t blog if you get arrested for secretly being the Joker, folks.)

    Clinique x Crayola Pink Sherbert review

    There are seven limited edition Clinique Crayola Chubby Stick shades, and I have three of them to share with you today. (Sadly, I don’t remember any of these colour names from when I was a kid. Maybe my mom just didn’t buy the cool Crayola shades?)

    Pink Sherbert is a nigh-invisible baby pink, best for those who really want a crayon balm more than anything else. It’s nearly identical to the permanent Whoppin’ Watermelon, so you can skip it if you already own that.

    Clinique Crayola Pink Sherbert swatch review Chubby Stick

    Clinique Crayola Pink Sherbert Chubby Stick swatch, review

    Clinique Crayola Mauvelous swatch review Chubby Stick

    Clinique Crayola Mauvelous Chubby Stick swatch, review

    Mauvelous is the shade that I’ve been wearing the most, which makes sense: it’s an exact dupe for my favourite Chubby Stick ever, Super Strawberry. I love a mauve lip colour (read: pink and brown), and this one is just as flattering as expected.

    Wild Strawberry has more colour than Pink Sherbert but less than Mauvelous, and is closest to Two Ton Tomato from the permanent range.

    Clinique Crayola Wild Strawberry swatch review Chubby Stick

    Clinique Crayola Wild Strawberry Chubby Stick swatch, review

    Clinique Crayola Chubby Stick Intense ($17 USD/$21 CAD)

    The remaining three Clinique Crayola Chubby Sticks feature the Chubby Stick Intense formula, which you may remember from my Clinique Chubby Stick Intense reviews when they launched.

    Bold, opaque, and creamy, the Intense formula offers great pigmentation with a non-drying formula, and Red Violet is absolutely lovely.

    Clinique Red Violet Crayola chubby swatch intense swatch review photos

    Clinique Crayola Red Violet Chubby Stick Intense lip swatches (indirect sunlight)

    Clinique Crayola Red Violet swatch review Chubby Stick Intense

    Clinique Crayola Red Violet Chubby Stick Intense swatch, review

    Unlike the rest of these shade names, I actually remember this one! It’s a standard shade in a 24-count box of Crayolas, so it feels the most like scribbling on your lips with a makeup crayon. It is identical to Clinique Grandest Grape (perm), so if you splurged on all of the Chubby Stick Intenses when they launched, you don’t need this one.

    If you didn’t, though, then this is my top Clinique Crayola Chubby Stick pick. It gives you the most “oomph” for your money, and it’s one of the core Crayola colours!

    Clinique x Crayola Red Violet chubby stick intense review


    The verdict?

    It’s not often that I get to say this, but I love Clinique Chubby Sticks just as much now as I did the day that they launched. They’re fun, playful, and wearable – but for those who like a lot of colour, there are also the Chubby Stick Intenses.

    The Clinique Crayola collection multiplies the joy of makeup with the nostalgia of scribbling outside of the lines as a child. (Okay, who am I kidding; inside the lines, very meticulously, likely while crying). My top pick from the 10-piece collection is Red Violet, a staple of the Crayola assorted pack and just as punchy as a lipstick as it was as a crayon.

    Availability: $17 USD/$21 CAD at Nordstrom, Sephora, and Clinique. An 8-piece mini set is also available for $49.50 USD. Limited edition January 2017.

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    Lovetica All Natural Hemp Lip Balm, Natural Deodorant review | Small Business Saturdays

    Lovetica hemp lip balm review

    *sponsored post

    The products: LOVETICA All Natural Hemp Oil Lip Balm Gift Set (Hemp, Peppermint, Lemon, and Mango) and “Be Gone” Natural Unisex Deodorant

    When it comes to natural beauty products, I can be tough to impress. I hold natural brands to the same standards as mainstream ones, and it’s not easy to get the same results with limited ingredients.

    LOVETICA, however, pulls it off with the ease of a ballet dancer. They’re a new cruelty-free Canadian brand based out of Toronto, and as I write this, they make only two products: a set of hemp oil lip balms and an unscented stick deodorant.

    Lovetica deodorant review unscented photos compariison

    Lovetica Natural Deodorant ($14.99 CAD)

    I need to begin this post by raving about Lovetica’s new Natural Deodorant, because it knocked my bloody socks off. I’ve spent all winter testing out different deodorants for my silicone-free beauty series, and so far, this has been the only 100% effective one.

    I’m not a smelly person, but lucky for theNotice, Boyfriend is. To put each deodorant through its paces, he wears each one to work for a week. Then, he gives each one a two-hour intensive test on Sundays by showering, applying, and heading to the gym.

    Lovetica all natural deodorant review

    Lovetica’s unscented, unisex deodorant is the only one that has left him totally B.O.-free after every single test. It has a stiffer texture than most indie deodorants so it’s easy to apply, and it works well for both my sensitive skin and his stinky armpits. This clear gel goes on invisibly and doesn’t make my underarms itch, which is a big step up from indie baking soda deodorants.

    I don’t know what makes this work so well, but whatever it is, it’s magical. I’m really feelin’ the packaging, too – it’s such a cheery way to start the day!

    Lovetica Hemp Oil lip balm set review

    Lovetica All Natural Hemp Oil Lip Balm Gift Set ($18.99 CAD for four)

    Lovetica’s flagship product is their hemp oil lip balm, which is only available in a set of four. They’re excellent lip balms, but I’d really like to see them available separately. You shouldn’t have to buy your lip balms in fours all the time, especially if you have one favourite scent (ahem, lemon) that you want to stock up on!

    Canadian lip balm review all natural Lovetica

    I have really dry skin, so I’m usually a fan of anything with hemp oil in it. These are no exception: they’re smooth, buttery, and very hydrating. (I’d peg them as more hydrating than Burt’s Bees or EOS, so they’re a good choice for those with chronically dry lips.)

    The hemp oil variation of these lip balms is essentially unscented and unflavoured, while the peppermint smells like sweet, tingly peppermint tea. The lemon lip balm is my favourite, with a zingy lemon scent (think lemon sorbet, not limoncello.) And, finally, the mango lip balm smells like the grown-up version of those fruity chapsticks that we all used to buy as kids–you know the ones.

    At $4.75 CAD each, these are cheaper than most all-natural lip balms, but they’re a treat to use. I love all four of the flavours in the set, and they’re both very hydrating and very “clean.”

    Lip balm is one of those products that usually ends up in your stomach in the end, so the cleaner, the better!

    Lovetica lemon hemp lip balm review

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