Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Let’s Hear It for the Hair!

Several months ago, while writing the Savvy Shopper blog for ShopCompanion on The Shopping Vine, approached me and asked me to become a VIP Reviewer. If you’re crazy for hair — and yes, I am — you might already know that this was an exciting opportunity. At Folica, it’s “all about the hair”, and they feature many of the best hair products available at very good prices. The concept is easy: Folica sends you products, and you write a good review. You keep the products or free, and they get better product content! That’s the win-win result I love, from either perspective.

Croc Greenion Flat Iron

Croc Greenion Flat Iron

Here’s an example, my detailed review for the Croc Greenion Flat Iron. As you can see from the review, Folica’s write-up field does have a few issues with odd characters and formatting (it didn’t like the degree symbol). However, the review was a blast to write! Previously, I’d written a handful of less-than-enthusiastic reviews about the France Luxe line of hair accessories, so I was a bit concerned that a few negative ratings might affect my chances of writing for them in the future.(Note: they weren’t all negative; I loved the France Luxe Stacked Crystal Bobbie Pins and the Triple Strand Pearl Headwrap!)

It turns out that I had nothing to worry about — Folica contacted me again for reviews about more complex products. The trick to this, it seems, is to write up a few, then leave them alone for a while. Give them a few months to cycle through their long list of other VIP Reviewers eager to try something new. Then send your contact a note and remind them that you’d love to write for them again.

France Luxe Stacked Crystals Bobbie Pins

France Luxe Stacked Crystals Bobbie Pins

France Luxe Triple Strand Pearl Headwrap

France Luxe Triple Strand Pearl Headwrap

I found that mentioning specific products — even those without reviews — doesn’t influence their choices when they send you a box full of goodies. They know what they need, and they’ll send what they think needs featuring, so mention products you’d like to try if you wish, but enjoy testing the products you get — and you will!

If you’d like to become a VIP Reviewer, they’re still accepting applications at the page on Facebook. Just fill out a fairly quick form, and they’ll contact you when they’re ready for your reviews.

Have you been a VIP Reviewer for Folica? Tell us about your experiences!


FOX Changes Online Streaming Access

Behind the Streaming Curtain

This season, FOX pulls a few of my favorite series behind a curtain, making the latest episodes available online for immediate viewing only if you have a subscription to DISH Network. These shows include Fringe with John Noble, as well as Glee, the runaway musical hit. Don’t have DISH? Wait eight days for the latest episode to unlock, then catch it before it expires, generally 45 to 60 days after it originally aired.

This isn’t the first network to delay episode streaming by a week or so; The CW kept streaming viewers a week behind on shows like Supernatural and Smallville, which worked out well enough as long as your coworkers didn’t talk about it. The temptation of spoilers balanced by the anticipation of surprises — this was the CW episode stream.

However, FOX finds a curious compromise between near-instant gratification, as all shows streamed the day after they aired, and a reward system for those who already pay for programming:

“If you have an account with DISH Network you can be among the first to watch the most recently aired episodes on Otherwise, full episodes are available for viewing 8 days after the airdate. This is true wherever full episodes of FOX shows appear online.”

You’re not with DISH, but still want to stream today’s episode… tomorrow? Send FOX your e-mail address for an update as soon as they add your content provider to their access list. Meanwhile, you’re waiting for the episode to unlock with everyone else (or watching it on TV, of course).

What do you think of the new streaming curtain at FOX?