I don’t care if Monday’s blue.

I spent most of yesterday trying to rewrite some of my posts that were lost while simultaneously praying that WordPress would be able to get them back.  I got a lot of IT double talk thrown at me and in the end, I’m just going to admit I have to rewrite them.

Thankfully my pictures are hosted off site (why anyone would use WordPress to host pictures is beyond me), so I still have those.  I also keep quite thorough notes.  Some people have asked how I organize my reviews, and I was sort of hesitant to explain because I’m seeing more and more people ‘copy’ my review style, that is, the way I title things (which was actually researched), the way I organize and section a review, and even copying the things I review in pretty much the same order I’ve posted them.  It’s aggravating, to say the least, considering the amount of time I put into organizing and planning things.

Yup, blurred some stuff out.

I keep pages of notes and have notebooks full of information from the start of the blog.  I write everything down from payment date to shipping date to when it arrives, just in case.  I keep notes as I open things and as I try things.  Some notes are shorter then others and some end up pages because I end up researching ingredients.  Some things simply don’t make the reviews, a lot of research is for my own information, sort of just so I know about what I’m talking about.

I also have a notebook that lists ideas for upcoming posts.  One section is for posts I’m actually working on, as in I have the product and they are in the queue.  The other section is purely idea and I haven’t acted on either finding the information or ordering the stuff.  I currently have a total of 62 actual posts planned and another 22 ideas.  Sometimes I write things up in advance and get them ready to queue in WordPress, sometimes I write things the morning I post them, depending on what I hear from my readers and what they seem to be interested in.  I also end up scrapping a few finished posts or rescheduling them when I see someone else has just posted something similar, even if my post has more information.  I hate stepping on toes.  As much as I hate being copied, I’d never appear to do it myself.

My desk is usually a mess.  I have a working pile of makeup, things I keep referring to, balms I keep using to continue to test, things I reapply to see how they work as well as a mirror so I can check the lasting power of things I have on.  I work from home (I’m both a professional writer and a working on another post-graduate degree) so I spend a lot of time at my desk when I’m not out running all over SoCal researching.  I work on a giant iMac with a wireless keyboard and a mouse so I have a  nice open area to work when I need to.

Can anyone guess what city this is?

I have a ‘staging area’ behind my desk that I keep things I’ve just received before I have a chance to try them out.  I also put a few things back there when I’m done to remind myself about certain things I want to mention.  I also have a HUGE basket of things I’ve reviewed that I’ll probably never use again that my friends and cousins are free to take from when they are over.  I sometimes want to just unload them in a blog sale, but I have issues with selling things that I’ve given bad reviews to.

I always take photographs before I use a product if I can.  I hate seeing ‘used’ products on blog reviews that are just eww, so I avoid it when I can.  Sometimes I’ll sit for a morning and organize and stage my photos so that they are all done, uploaded, and edited (cropped and labeled, I NEVER photoshop anything or adjust contrast, etc etc).  If I’m swatching that will take up a lot of time, so I try to do it in the morning when the sun isn’t DIRECTLY in the front window.  I take one shot RIGHT in the light and one deeper inside the house.

When I’ve got all the information together, I sit and type things up.  I like to work on reviews in the evening, I spend a lot of mornings doing my actual job and a lot of afternoons out.

Is there anything else you’d like to see included in my reviews?  Anything you’d like to see me tackle next?

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50 Responses to “I don’t care if Monday’s blue.”

  1. …it’s Friday I’m in love.

    You’re desk makes me jealous beyond belief. Messy desks are good, productive desks. Also, I’d love to do another postgrad degree, oh how I miss doing my masters.

    As for your reviews, I think they’re pretty much spot on content wise. You cover most things I like to know about a product. I’d like more pictures, but that’s because I’m picture mad, but the ones you use are helpful.

    Is that Venice by the way? I play too much Assassins Creed 🙂

  2. Grey, have you ever tried making lotion? If so, would you have any advice on how to start?

    I’ve recently been using a rotating mix of things like jojoba oil, argan oil, vitamin e oil, siberian seabucktorn oil, tea tree oil, and biooil for my skin care needs and am looking for a way to turn it into a lotion without spoiling any of the oils. (Seabuckthorn oil is awesome stuff, by the way. A bit staining on clothes though, but it’s been skincare magic for me as an overnight under eye treatment.)

    • I haven’t, but I did read someone who not too long ago made a whipped body butter that sounded interesting.

  3. Thanks for sharing this, it’s a really interesting insight into the life, if you will, of a beauty blogger. I really enjoy your reviews, I particularly like how you explain scents and your personal thoughts on the website layout and cart system.

    • Thanks, those things matter to me, I always wonder if anyone else cares!

      • There’s a lot of things you add to your reviews which are quite a make or break issue for me when considering a product, but seem to get left out of a lot of peoples reviews. I also love that most of what you review is easily available online internationally.

  4. I’m so happy to be able to see your blog again! You are so very organized!
    My reviews are pretty much unprofessional things in which I just babble of what I thought of the product! haha! I feel a bit ashamed now!

    I find the cousin’s basket idea amazing! 😀

  5. why don’t you save your posts in a folder on your computer?

    • I’m a paper and pen sort of person and I dislike having a mess of files all over the place and having to reedit something in a different word processor. I might start saving them to a stick, though.

  6. I always find it interesting to look at others creative process, thanks for sharing. Also, wow, your place looks great.

  7. I like seeing these “glimpses” of you.

    And it’s funny because your desk looks a LOT like my desk. Down to the computer and keyboard (except my desk is white.)

    I need to keep that area clear so I can think, but it’s usually messy with papers and other objects… including a cat that insist on sitting near or on my hand when I type. LOL

    I can’t think of anything new for you to review or tackle next… just keep the posts coming. I love to read you.

  8. I wish I had a mac 😦 I am envious!

    This was an interesting post. I am a new follower of your blog and have found it very inciteful so far. Thanks for all your hard work and effort x

  9. Yay, another paper and pen girl! All of my reviews, professional or for the blog, have hand-written notes in designated journals before being typed up.
    I love these glimpses into your life, Grey!

  10. Hehe, your snowman mug is adorable.

    I would love to see more of your dupe posts, or just any craft-y type posts where you make stuff 🙂

  11. When I started doing my reviews, I tried my best to make sure they didn’t seem like rip-offs of you. Trouble is, one of the reason I like your reviews so much is how nice & orderly they are; your sections and such follow a logical progression that my brain likes quite a bit.

  12. Wow, you are far more organized with all of that and I am! My desk is a flurry of post-it’s and chicken scratch of random ideas 🙂

  13. Hm, Central European town… on 2 rivers?
    Since you mentioned Croatia, I thought ‘Zagreb’, but this looks like an ‘old town’ part of a city, and the Sava is towards the outskirts…
    Prague, Budapest… it doesn’t look like them.
    I guess it is one of the more famous ones, or it would be too hard to guess.
    It seems like one of those cities that has problems with spring floods.
    Ah, I don’t know, but I’ll go with Zagreb.

    It’ll be fun to come back when you post and see what I guessed right and what I guessed wrong, this was fun 🙂 .

    I think this might be one of my favourite posts since it, as Teigan said, gives us an insight into the creative process. So, so interesting!

    Have you heard of Strobe Cosmetics?
    I’m new to this whole thing, so I might be off, but a lot of their shadows look repackaged (I think I saw TKB’s Grape, Tangerine and Green Apple Pops straight away), and all that for 12$.

  14. What is that saying again? Copying is a form of flattery? I know I royally messed up that phrase but you know what I’m trying to say.

    Your reviews are so concise, in depth, and articulate that I wouldn’t doubt that a lot of other bloggers use yours as a sort of template, I guess. I can also see where you’re coming from and it can be annoying to see others copy you. Especially after seeing how much time and effort you put into doing your reviews!

    Thank you for giving us a glimpse of “inside Grey” 🙂

  15. I like that you use pen and paper to write down your thoughts, rather than the computer. I do the same! Except it seems like everything you do is a lot more organized and clean than what I do. My computer desk is a mess of papers and random junk that needs to be either thrown away or stored somewhere. Haha I also like the little touches of Christmas in there. The snowman cup is so cute and I see a tree in the background! 🙂 It’s really neat to be able to see someone else’s work space.

  16. It’s Stockholm! It’s one of my top places to visit once I get some money together, have you been there?

    This is a fantastic post, I love seeing how different people work. It’s nice to see someone else who still works on paper, and you have such lovely handwriting.:)

  17. Such an interesting post c:
    I see that you plan on doing a review of OHWTO deep black soap. I’ve been eyeing that for a few weeks now, because my poor skin has somehow gone from “pretty good” to breakout city in the past few months and I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong/different 😦 So I’ll be looking forward to what you have to say about it.
    I’m sorry you have to rewrite your reviews. Losing all your hard work because of some tech-splosion is worst.

  18. I know I don’t comment much anymore (I’ve gone back into internet lurker mode. I usually cycle between active and lurker throughout a year, and right now, it’s lurk city), but I have to say that I just love your reviews, and I love seeing how you organize and plan for them. Your very detail-oriented writing style, and well thought out reviews are part of what has made your blog one of the few beauty blogs I continue to read and check on a daily basis.

    Also, if you have this nice basket of stuff for your family to take products from, why does it seem like they’re still taking the products you actually use (since I remember mentioning a few times that certain items you liked would “disappear” after your cousins came visiting). xD

  19. Can’t think of anything I’d like to see reviewed because you have already enabled me to spend far too much money – more on bath products & perfumes than eyeshadow. I’ve found amazing stuff at both Latherati & Darling Clandestine. I love the thoroughness of your reviews and the fact that they are _real_ reviews supported by fact & experience, not just the “OOOH I LURVE this stuff….”

  20. I think your reviews are great as-is. You really do care about your readers and it shows in how thorough you are. I don’t buy or wear that much makeup but you always give great information and I’ve learned a lot from you.

  21. I’d like to see a breakdown of the price and weight with the name of the product, as sometimes I find the price gets lost in the review, and I know it shouldn’t be important for me but it is.

    Are you going to do a sleek review post? I gave up on their sale fiasco, and I’m very wary of buying now, even though I can get it in the store here (uk), so I’d love to hear of you thought the hassle was worth it!

  22. I have to agree with Tempestina up there! Your sectioning/ordering of reviews makes so much sense to me, that mine is pretty similar. I never meant it as a ripoff, though!

    Lovely, lovely post. I hunched over my tablet and just absorbed it; I love getting little inside glimpses at the people behind the blogs, too. (In fact, you pretty much just answered a prompt or two that I wrote for that challenge, ha! *shakes fist*)

  23. Dear Grey,

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate how much effort you put into your reviews. Even without knowing your process, it’s obvious by just reading your reviews. I don’t read many other blogs (no special reason), but I know I am not missing out on much by not reading them. I am surprised I do not buy more stuff because of your reviews, but that is mostly because I do not have enough disposable income (a common problem). However, those I have tried: Literati, Aromaleigh, Fyrinnae, & Haus of Gloi have all been absolutely fantastic, and I only became a customer because of your reviews.

    So thank you for being a thoughtful reviewer. It is clear that you do a lot of work for no other reason except that you want to. That is a pretty admirable.

    -Katie

    • Thank you so much. I really try to give people what I didn’t have, some sort of resource. Like you say, money IS tight and after seeing my friends and family get ripped off time and time again, I got upset! I’m glad to see it was productive!

  24. teeheee I hate seeing used stuff too. I made sure to take pictures of my viva glam gaga fresh out of the box just in case I decide to post it 🙂

  25. o______________________o Wow that’s organised. You should see my desk. I have my monitor, a stack of 50 blank Verbatim DVDs, an empty 5g jar, 3 Fyrinnae jars, a Shiro jar, my Diamond Perfect Finish jar, 3 evil shades jars, my Epically Epic apple lipbalm, my 25orso High Voltage samples, a few business cards, an appointment card from the dentist, two ibuprofen tablets, a 3 mobile SIM card, a hair clip, my Shiro pastel samples, a shipping label, my MAC FIX+, dry shampoo, a box of weights for my mouse, 2 gummis in packets, 4 lipsticks, 3 glosses, one lip lustre, a pen, a cream eyeshadow, a random box of things (earrings I think), a brush I used to dye my hair, a tube of Anbesol, a plastic scoop and a few spatulas. And another hairclip.

    Oh hey, and a spoon.

  26. Ack! I’m sorry you lost some of your reviews 😦 That sucks.

    I do some of the same things for organizing. I keep a mini-notebook in my purse, and I keep text docs on my computer as well as drafts in WordPress for things.

    Also, love the song reference 🙂

  27. Very interesting glimpse into your life! I find it very interesting that you keep notebooks of note and things! That is such a great idea! Love your organization!

  28. You make me jealous with your darn organization! 😛

  29. After your last post I’m making an effort to commment more 🙂 I really love these sorts of posts, I love knowing how other people organise themselves, might have something to do with my total lack of organisation!
    I can’t think of anything else you could add to your reviews, they are very very thorough.
    I suppose this would be more applicable to your Going Grey blog if you still plan to continue it, but I would love to see more recipes!

  30. After finding your blog (I think through Phyrra’s) I was so impressed that I literally went through all your reviews, I believe I’ve read every single one of them now. They are so well-done, professional and intelligent, and your pictures are always clear and accurate. I know it’s hard when people start copying you – hey, I’ve had hundreds of pages of my writing copied and pasted under someone else’s name before – but I hope you’ll continue as you were, anyway, and let those less talented people falter and eventually quit.

  31. Aww I hope you get them back even if it is doubtful.
    I know exactly what you mean about the used products. But sometimes you can get too excited and you just dig in!
    A lot of the time I write colour descriptions with my swatches on my hand before I wash it off, and trying to get a repetitive process going 🙂

  32. I agree – your desk looks great compared to mine! =) Bravo!

  33. I really appreciate your reviews. I like the format you use, the layout, the pictures, and how the products wear. I also like the clean and classy feel of your blog. You do keep a neat desk. My desk looks nothing like that! lol

  34. Napoli/Naples? ^_^

  35. Oooh, look at that monitor. And what’s the use of a nice open space if you don’t use it?

    I really appreciate all of the research that you put into your reviews. I have a lot of skin issues and you often address or include information that is very important.

    I know you mentioned doing it already but I’m really looking forward to the post on SoBe’s primer.

  36. You have no idea how inspiring this post was. I’ve always wanted to blog, but I’m very scattered brained, and reading this gave me pointers to stay organized. Thank you so much! I’m gonna bite the bullett and start one myself 🙂

  37. *I always take photographs before I use a product if I can. I hate seeing ‘used’ products on blog reviews that are just eww, so I avoid it when I can. *

    I completely agree on this one, lol!
    I really love your reviews – they’re so detailed and have everything a reader needs to know, and even more than that 🙂

    Keep up the good work!