Lovely Links: 11/20/15

Weekly Kitty:


Harriet isn’t much of a lap cat, so I insisted on documenting this rare Sunday evening cuddle. See another shot over on Facebook.

Nadine encounters transphobia at the cosmetics counter: “… to someone like me, someone who switches back and forth between their gender presentations of male and female, fine so she thinks I look better as a male. But I began thinking about all the rest of us out there and especially those of us who are choosing to transition. How would someone in that position receive that comment?”

Katie Couric interviewed Hey Gorgeous! founder Aimee Cheshire about the plus size revolution.

A faux fur jacket lends depth and texture to this all-black outfit.

5 Reasons People Label You a ‘Bad Feminist’ and Why They’re Total Bullsh*t (Contains swears)

Somewhat related: Why It’s Not OK To Objectify [New Canadian Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau

On North Nabe, I wrote about the double-edged sword of “figure flattery.”

“Researchers are still a long way from understanding exactly how breasts move during exercise. Standing in the way of designing the best sports bra possible is millennia of stigma, powerful marketing forces, and good old-fashioned physics.”

The Maker’s Collection is a group of locally created gifts, and a portion of the proceeds is given to the American Refugee Committee.

These handmade mismatched crawler earrings are so lovely.

The Barking Dog Shoes team recommends the Abeo Nancy ankle boot as a style with a built-in orthotic. And it’s super cute, too!

The cobalt blue jacket in Shay’s outfit helps makes her cool printed pants stand out.

If you’re a fan of tattoo art and stories, check out Tattoodo.

“As part of her new series Future of Fashion for British Vogue, Alexa Chung goes on a journey to discover why the emphasis on positive body image and diversity is a key component of the fashion industry today and how psychology plays a part in it.”

Now this is wearable tech that excites me: A sleek, stylish necklace that’s actually a pair of headphones. (Via Geek Feminism)

So key, but not something I’d ever been able to articulate this clearly: How to Build Presence in Your Outfits

Reader Ruth pointed me to Fordite – a substance made from automotive paint slag – as a cool and eco-friendly recycled material used to make jewelry.

Jane is totally working her stylish band jacket – so perfect with the distressed jeans.

Are you guilty of girly-shaming?

A giant, sculptural, long pendant named in honor of David Bowie? Sign me up.

From Steph in London, speaking mostly about what she’s witnessing in the UK: “With the sudden surge in plus sized models and bloggers being used in brand campaigns and magazine/online features, it is very easy to spot the common theme among the ladies often featured; white, raven haired, with high cheekbones and often hour glass shaped. While I acknowledge and appreciate brands and companies featuring plus sized women, I cannot help but notice the lack of models and bloggers of ethnic descent who are constantly being left out or side-lined in favour of their Caucasian counterparts.”

On I offered tips on knowing when to save and when to splurge, and rounded up some handmade marketplace alternatives to Etsy.

Jean at Extra Petite plays with proportion by pairing an oversized sweater and flared skirt.

So important: Self-care tips for unpaid/family caregivers

The Curvy Fashionista recommends 25+ places to shop for wide calf boots, including over-the-knee pairs!

This outfit serves as a subtle reminder that you can use nude-to-you socks/knee-highs to keep your ankles from freezing if you want to do cropped/cuffed pants year-round.

At Mad Mimi I talked about the importance of offering useful information to your newsletter readers.

Denimocracy makes their clothes here in the U.S. and I might’ve sprung for these metallic skinnies. Which might also be “pajama jeans.” Are knit jeans pajama jeans? The concept mystifies me a bit.

This is a tough read, but so moving – discusses surgery and sexuality. “But I love my body. I marvel at my scars, even if all I have left is the memory. The speed at which my body heals amazes me. It is the physical counterpart to the speed with which my soul has healed. I may get taken down a lot, and by so many different things, but I’ve never stayed down for long. I bounce back. I am resilience incarnate, literally and spiritually.”

An exploration of how several lingerie brands – primarily Ashley Graham’s line – are fighting back against online body shaming

Pretty sure Melanie’s ruffles, dots, and zigzags outfit represents the best print mix ever worn by humans. Just sayin’.

OK, Ace’s floral velvet blazer and printed tie are pretty darned amazing, too.

On the Fox 9 Buzz, we talked dark florals for winter.

Sometimes I’ve regretted something I got rid of almost as the donation truck was leaving. Other times, the regret sets in a few years later, like when I really needed my old shawl-like scarf to wear to a special event. And my mind is screaming, ‘See? Decluttering is not a good idea! What were you thinking?!!!!'” (Via Recovering Shopaholic)

Dixie looks wonderfully cozy in her floppy hat, chunky cable-knit poncho, and ankle boots.

Mo shows off her bold new hair with a bold blue lip.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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Insomniac Sale Picks: Black Tops to Wear Untucked

*In this late-night feature – which will run on Tuesday and Thursday of each week – I’ll gather up three fun items that are currently on sale online and share them with you! I would LOVE suggestions: Stylish wide-width pumps? Classic v-necked sweaters? Chandelier earrings? Petite dress slacks? What would you like to see featured?*

Isa requested a few picks for black tops that look good worn untucked, so here we go:

asymmetric black top

Style & Co Asymmetric Hem Sweater Knit Tunic – was $49.50, now $20.99

Asymmetric hems are a great choice if you’re seeking tops that look intentional worn untucked. This one is super basic, but could be dressed up with a sparkly necklace or printed scarf. Available in sizes XS – XL, and also comes in beige, steel blue, dark seafoam, and chocolate. This similar top is available in 1X – 3X.

black peplum top

New York & Co Ribbed Peplum Top – was $52.95, now $26.47

Peplums are another shape that looks chic untucked, and this one has a fun jagged hem to boot. Available in sizes XS – XL, and also in magenta, turquoise, or dark green. This peplum comes in 1X – 4X.

black layered top

Sanctuary Long-sleeved Layered Top – was $59, now $39.99

And finally layered-look tops are ideal for untucked wear. This one is subtle but chic with a staggered hemline and v-neck. Available in sizes XS – XL, and also in white or teal. Couldn’t find a black plus version, but this subtle metallic layered top comes in 1X – 4X.

Sustainable resources for black tops to wear untucked:

  1. Neon Buddha – A great choice if you’re seeking arty, floaty tops and tunics.
  2. Karen Kane – A great resource for asymmetric tops like this one.
  3. Everlane – The company does neutrals almost exclusively, and most tops come in black. This ponte tee could be layered, dressed up, or dressed down.

Other not-currently-on-sale resources for black tops to wear untucked:

  1. H&M – Everything from blouses to sweaters. The Divided section is especially great for black.
  2. White House Black Market – Black tops are a specialty!
  3. Helmut Lang – If you’re willing to splurge a little. Also check eBay.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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Exploring Skin Pen II

I continue to have a great relationship with the folks at Clinical Skin Therapeutics, the clinic that performed my laser hair removal treatments. The staff there is knowledgable and relaxed, happy to help with any questions but never pushy or sales-driven. So when Clinic Manager Kristina Pitre asked if I would be willing to try a relatively new skin treatment, I was all ears.

But once I heard a bit more, I’ll admit I was wary. The treatment – Skin Pen II – was touted as an anti-aging tool, and although I’ll admit to doing the retinoid thing as part of my nightly routine, I still have VERY mixed feelings about anything that bears the anti-aging tag. As I approach 40, I find myself becoming increasingly attuned to the messages older women receive about our faces, bodies, and beauty. Namely that we should do everything in our power to disguise or reverse visible signs of aging, or risk fading slowly into invisibility and irrelevance. (Amy Schumer’s “Last F**kable Day” sketch captures this phenomenon for actresses, but for the general population, too, I think. And, of course, it is riddled with f-bombs so don’t even think about watching at work.) I know that the anti-aging industry is making a mint off of women’s insecurities. I do my best to highlight and support bloggers who write about aging-related topics and the experience of being an over-40 woman in an under-40-focused world. And I would never want anyone who reads this blog to believe that their wrinkles, age spots, or changing bodies are anything to be ashamed of.

BUT (you knew it was coming), here’s the thing about Skin Pen: In addition to offering a non-chemical skin-firming alternative to products like Botox, it is widely used to treat acne scarring. I’ve dealt with acne since I was a teenager, and although I don’t have many visible scars myself I know from talking with others how stubborn they can be and how self-conscious they can make people. And, of course, the ideal solution would be for the world to accept that not all faces look the same. Based on what I’m reading I wouldn’t be surprised if the next wave of the body positivity movement included or even focused on acne. Nevertheless, there are people out there who would worry less and feel more confident if their acne scars could be made less visible. And based on the Skin Pen before and after photos, it seems like a truly viable solution. (More images like this and this can be found on individual clinic pages.)

So I agreed to try out the treatment myself. Again, I don’t have lots of scarring and only had one treatment, so this was more so I could describe a personal experience with the treatment at Clinical Skin Therapeutics. And I’ll dig into that shortly, but first a bit about how it all works.

Skin Pen treatments are also called microneedling: The pen itself has a group of super tiny, thin needles that puncture the dermis, creating minor trauma. Your body responds by producing more collagen and pushing it toward the site. Sounds kinda gross, but when you compare it to lasers and peels it’s considerably less harsh and essentially a way to force your body heal itself more effectively.

From the Skin Pen website:

“Immediately following an injury, our skin begins the process of dissolving tissue damage and replacing it with new cells and extracellular matrix (ECM). Microneedling allows for controlled induction of the skin’s self-repair process by creating precise, micro injuries in the skin to automatically trigger remodeling without causing scar tissue formation.

Microneedling does not damage or destroy the epidermal layer of cells, but simply disrupts the junctions between the cells and creates tiny ‘microchannels’ that allow leakage of blood serum, platelets and lymph (containing growth factors) for a short amount of time . This brief, mechanical disruption is not sufficient to cause the melanocytes (pigment producing cells) in the lower epidermis to react by increasing pigment production and darkening the skin in a process called hyperpigmentation.”

If you have significant scarring, multiple treatments will be necessary. A single treatment – like the one I received – will give your skin a pretty amazing ethereal glow, but it will fade within a month or so. The tech who performed my treatment told me that she’d recently finished a round of treatments on a superstar high school athlete who’d unexpectedly been voted homecoming queen. The girl came in with deep red pock marks along her chin line, and left with far less visible scarring.

So, let’s see some photos, shall we? I did my best to get similar photos in the same setting and similar lighting. This is my face with zero makeup or products the day before my treatment – you can click to enlarge:

before1_sm before2_sm before3_sm before4_sm

You can see a giant cystic zit under my jawline and plenty of blotchiness, but no big scars.

My treatment was for my entire face and neck and took about half an hour to complete. I won’t lie: It hurt. Not sharp, unbearable pain but a very uncomfortable slightly burn-y feeling as the Skin Pen moved across my skin in small circles. The tech did my forehead first and said it would be the most painful part. She was right, and it became more bearable over time. But it wasn’t fun and it wasn’t mild.

This is what I looked like the evening after my noon-time treatment (click to enlarge):

dayof1_sm dayof2_sm dayof3_sm dayof4_sm

As you can see, I’m quite red. The ladies at Clinical Skin Therapeutics suggested getting the treatment at a time when I’d have a day or two of low-key, no-photos-or-TV-appearances time for recovery since the redness tends to stick around for approximately 24 hours. I was given a salve to use and told not to apply anything else, including moisturizer or makeup, for those 24 hours. After that, I could apply as normal.

Here’s two days post-treatment (click to enlarge):

2daysafter_1_sm 2daysafter_2_sm 2daysafter_3_sm 2daysafter_4_sm

You can see that the redness is almost completely gone. What these pictures don’t really show is that by this time, I’d broken out along my chin and jawline. Nothing cystic, just lots of tiny, itchy whiteheads. They faded after another two or three days, and Kristina let me know this was likely a reaction to the super rich hydrating salve clogging my pores.

Shortly after this, I went to New York for a week and wasn’t able to re-create my home bathroom environment for photos. I was told that I’d really see some gorgeous glowy-ness after 7-10 days, and I did … but I’m afraid I didn’t capture it. Here’s what I looked like 17 days after treatment (click to enlarge):

17daysafter_1_sm 17daysafter_2_sm 17daysafter_3_sm 17daysafter_4_sm

I was having my period at this time, so you can see a sprinkling of zits here and there. (Also a cat hair on my chin. Thank you, Harriet.)

I didn’t see any truly drastic changes, though my neck is noticeably less blotchy. Another plus for me: I’d been having redness, peeling, and constant breakouts on either side of my nose for MONTHS and nothing – including leaving it alone and applying zero product besides moisturizer – had helped. About five days after my treatment, the skin there was still a bit red, but not nearly as raw and it hasn’t broken out since.


Again, I wasn’t expecting drastic changes since I wasn’t treating anything in particular. And for anyone with acne or other scarring, multiple treatments are recommended. I’m glad I was able to experience Skin Pen myself, though, so I could describe the feeling, the recovery, and the after-effects first-hand. If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them and request input from Kristina at Clinical Skin Therapeutics if I don’t have the information you need myself.

If you’re interested in trying a Skin Pen treatment yourself – or any other offering, including laser hair removal – you can get 20% off when you book at Clinical Skin Therapeutics by mentioning Already Pretty. The clinic hasn’t given a hard expiration for this offer, which is incredibly generous, so if you’re not ready to commit right now you’ve got time to consider. Maybe put some holiday gift cash toward a treatment, or suggest a gift certificate to CST from a loved-one. Whenever you go, tell ’em I sent ya. Kristina and her team will make you feel truly welcome, and help you create a plan to address your specific needs.


  • If you feel strongly about this issue, express your views respectfully and civilly or they will not be published. I’m happy to participate in a discussion that includes contrary opinions, but will not tolerate cruelty.
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*Disclosure: Although I don’t generally do sponsored posts, I am receiving services in exchange for this piece. I’ve made an exception because I have more than three years of experience with CST and recommend them to everyone I meet, and because I felt this information and background would be interesting and useful regardless.

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