Posts Categorized: ap contributors

5 Great Beauty Products Under $5

beauty products under 5

Words fail to express my undying affection for places like Sephora. I like quality, I like investing in myself, I’m even the particular flavor of fool that will buy something for it’s packaging. I’m hardly practical when it comes to my shopping habits, spending my life on the lower part of the economic spectrum has made everything a novelty. Sometimes I will even purchase something because – not in spite of – its impracticality. If I’m being honest, at least a part of every paycheck is spent chasing the elusive specter of “luxury.” The heart wants what it wants. The wallet, however, may have other plans.

Much as we would love unlimited funds to splurge on the latest and greatest, it isn’t always possible. Life gets in the way when you’re busy making plans to buy the new Naked Palette. But fear not, friends! Your lack of funds hardly means you have to go empty handed. Some of the greatest products I’ve encountered were surprisingly affordable, and yet effective enough to keep in permanent rotation.

Let us gaze upon them together:


elf Baked Highlighters: Perhaps you’ve heard about the “newest” trend called Strobing? It’s a fancy name for practically bathing in highlighter in place of contouring. I’ve been all about this life for many years now. It works just as well in winter as in summer, noticeable without being overbearing. While I’m a true believer in Nars Copacabana, I’ve fallen in love with the selection at elf. Actually, everything at elf is pretty top notch since they veer towards the shimmer at every opportunity (as do I). You can even use some of the baked eyeshadows as highlighters. Two for the price of…three bucks.

Freeman Feeling Beautiful: I’m big on masks. I’ve been known to frighten the Domino’s delivery guy with my vast array of face masks. No matter how much money I have to spend on something fancy, I am loathe to part with my Freedman masks. My skin is dry so my personal favorites are the Chamomile and Aloe Sleeping Mask, The Brightening Mask, and the Avocado and Oatmeal mask as a spot treatment, but friends who have tried the others had nothing but glowing reviews.

Sinful Colors Nail Polish: This drugstore staple has been with me since high school. They have a great variety of colors, and last longer than Essie or OPI.

NYC Eyelash Curler: Nothing works better for me than this eyelash curler. I’ve really tried to get rid of this one because well…it’s just not that pretty. It’s an eyesore in my bag and I get sick of looking at it. But damn it, the thing works. I think it has something to do with the spring because it curls my lashes much more forcefully than anything else and they don’t fall down again the rest of the day. I don’t know how to quit you.

Wet N’ Wild Fergie Velvet Matte Lip Color: I may have to forgive Fergie for the atrocious ear-worm that was “Let’s Get It Started,” because this make up line is super. I love a good balm/stain and these rival the Nars offerings in opacity and color selection. Not sticky, not drying, what’s not to love?

Treat yourself. And email me with any beauty questions.

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Kristine Rose is a make-up artist, esthetician, and writer. She strongly believes in each individual’s right to express themselves through style, make up, and body modification (or lack thereof). Beauty writing is her one true passion and she intends to revel in it until her untimely death, crushed under the weight of her own jewelry. Follow her on Instagram: @swansaredead and @_partoftheproblem_.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Gracey Wears: Colorful Accessories

The prevailing thought when wearing a printed dress seems to be to pair it with neutral accessories.  I mean, that’s what I usually do.

Usually, but not today.  No, for this outfit, I decided to buck the system and wear colorful accessories:

Gracey of Fashion for Giants wears a vintage floral dress, burgundy braided belt & turquoise earrings Gracey of Fashion for Giants wears a vintage floral dress, burgundy braided belt, turquoise earrings & blue suede sandals

I know, I know.  I’m taking a risk that might get the Accessories Police after me, but I think it was a risk worth taking.  Yes, a simple brown sandal and belt would have worked fine.  But, some days I don’t want fine, I want bright and complimentary and fun.

Which is what I consider the mix of blue suede sandals, a burgundy braided belt and turquoise earrings with a floral dress to be:

Gracey of Fashion for Giants wears a vintage floral dress, burgundy braided belt & turquoise earrings Fashion for Giants Vintage Floral Dress Collage

Bright and fun while still being work-appropriate and weather-appropriate.  And I don’t care who knows it.

So, if any drably accessorized undercover Accessories Police are reading this, I say: Hooray for fun!  Long live color!

Gracey of Fashion for Giants wears a vintage floral dress, burgundy belt, turquoise earrings and blue suede sandals

What about you, Reader Friends?  What do you say?

Thanks for reading, All!


Get the Look

Dress: vintage (similar, similar, similar)

Sandals: Zigi Girl “Maybel”

Belt: thrifted (braided) (burgundy)

Earrings: gifted (similar)

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Fat Girl Problems

By Cassie, AP contributor

I’ve been fat for most of my adult life. There was a brief point in my very early 20’s when I was quite thin, but amusingly I still thought of myself as fat at that time, perhaps more so than when I actually did get properly fat. Body image hunh? It’s a complicated beast.

I thought I’d come to terms with the size of my ass, and the jiggliness of my arms. I don’t get a lot of flak for it publicly, unlike some other less lucky plus size ladies I know. There are of course the inevitable, nosy, questions like “So, are you pregnant?” while gesturing at my belly. But I’ve been asked so many times I just answer completely straight faced, “No, just fat”. My friends circle is made up of people who are either also fat, or who aren’t bothered by my fatness. I work from home these days, so I don’t even have to deal with fatphobic co-workers anymore. I thought I was pretty much okay with this fat thing. I didn’t used to have that much trouble finding clothes that I liked (my boyfriend will laugh heartily at this, because he’s always teasing me for the sheer mass of clothes I own), but I never realised how much being able to find clothes that fit meant to me until I couldn’t.

My weight has always fluctuated, but usually on a monthly basis – ballooning out with hormones, then returning to a status quo. However, I recently started taking a new medication, and this time when my weight ballooned out, it just didn’t go back down again. Suddenly even my “fat pants” were not fat enough, and my self confidence took a decided nose dive.

You would think having been fat for so long, and having put so much thought and energy into working through all my issues with being a shape that society deems unsightly would have inured me against a 10kg weight gain. But it didn’t. Suddenly every bad thing I’d ever thought about my body came flooding back, swamping my mind and leaving me a tearful lump on the couch in the same trackpants for days at a time. It really wasn’t that huge a weight gain – my boyfriend couldn’t tell, but then I’d probably have to double in size before he noticed. I couldn’t really tell looking at myself in the mirror, apart from a vauge feeling that my curves had possibly altered slightly. But my waistbands told a different story – they very firmly told me that I was now Too Big, and the amount that affected me really took me by surprise.

Of course, I’m sure some of you will be thinking that I should just put my back into it and lose the weight – problem solved! Which is all well and good, but what do you do when the temperature is dropping every day, and suddenly all your warm clothes won’t fit anymore? I couldn’t gamble that I could take the weight back off before I froze to death trying to wear summer clothes in winter. I needed at least a couple of new things, and had a little bit of money to spare, so off I went into the great Retail Landscape looking for a sensible winter skirt.

Unfortunately, the great Retail Landscape deemed me just as unworthy of nice things as I felt. I looked high and low, but there was nary a size 20 plain black linen skirt to be found. Plenty of size 18, even more of size 16, but 20 seems to be the magic number where retailers assume you’re really into synthetic fabrics and loud prints. My self-esteem plummeted even further, and trackpants gave way to a ratty Batman onesie as I declared myself too fat for people clothes.

Then, miracle of miracles, I found just what I was looking for on Ebay. I ordered, fairly sure it wouldn’t even fit because I was too fat for any clothes blah blah self loathing blah. But when it arrived, it not only fit – it looked good. It felt good, it looked good, and suddenly I felt good. I felt up to looking for more skirts, and found another skirt that also looked good and felt good, and my self esteem soared again.

Before this experience, I never thought of my clothes as being particularly influential to how I felt about my size. I’d get annoyed that plus sizes weren’t more widely available, but I have enough plus size friends that I didn’t feel singular in my fatness. I thought my self image was robust enough to handle a slight fluctuation – but it wasn’t. All it took was ten measly kilos and BAM I felt like a slug. A gross, slimy, globular slug. What I learned is that I still have a long way to go in terms of separating my sense of self worth from my size. Ten kilos up or ten kilos down, I’m still me – and I need to remember the size of my arse does not dictate my worth.

(And that I really need to get rid of that damn onesie)


The author of Reluctant Femme, Cassie is a queer thirty-something Australian who thinks too much, reads too much, and has way too many pretty things. Her writing revolves around exploring concepts of femme and femininity, feminism, and just how much glitter you really can fit into a polish before it’s unusable. You can catch up with her in shorter bursts on Twitter , and browse her handmade accessories at her Etsy store

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