New Year, New Those Graces

New Year, New Those Graces

For the past two years, I’ve been wanting to switch Those Graces over to a magazine layout that aggregates content on the main page as well as providing a more traditional blog layout. I didn’t plan to do it this week, it just kind of happened when I started playing around with layouts over the weekend! There’s still some fine tuning I have left to do, but I didn’t want my site to be down for more than a few days.

If you’d like to know how I achieved this layout or any sort of blog nitty gritty, please comment below and I’ll do a post in the near future! As for now, I’m going to make sure to get some sleep and fold some laundry.

2013: The Year I Became Brave

Thank You 2013 |

At the end of my solo cross country road trip in August, I stopped at my parents’ house before heading to Boston. I sat at the kitchen table with my mother and she said to me, “I couldn’t do what you did. You’re brave.”

At that moment, I knew I accomplished something others regarded as brave, but I didn’t feel brave. I didn’t realize the magnitude of driving 10,000 miles by myself across 34 states through violent rainstorms and the scorching sun. I climbed mountains and sat alone by the ocean. I felt moments of extreme happiness and extreme sadness. My trip tested me in every way a person could be tested, and I came out better for it.

The road trip was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself because it taught me to be myself and let me become who I’d been all along. I chipped away at all the walls I had build between myself and everyone around me. Over time, I found easier to connect to both my friends and people I had just met. I was myself, unapologetically.

I’m not sure what 2014 will bring. Based on 2013, I know I’ll learn a lot about myself and work towards becoming the person I want to be. In past years I made resolutions and promptly tossed them out the window. This year I plan to stick to my plan to grow as a person.

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year and a great start to 2014. Thank you for continuing to read my blog. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such a lovely community here on my blog. Without readers, I wouldn’t be blogging. So thanks and here’s to a wonderful 2014! Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see more of this year on Those Graces!

Goodbye, Little Hannah: Coping With the Loss of a Pet

Hannah |
I originally planned a Christmas outfit post for today, but when I sat down to write about how Christmas really went, sharing my outfit seemed pointless. I wish I could say Christmas in Pennsylvania was relaxing. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time with family and friends, but I also spent a large part of my time and emotional energy caring for my family’s cat during her last days.

We adopted Hannah from the local SPCA when I was 11-years-old. I picked her out because she was sitting a cage near a window, meowing. In short, I felt bad and wanted to bring her home. We brought her home to join Muffy, a calico cat my dad got me after I got my tonsils removed at age 7. Though she was laid back, she loved to explore the house. One time she managed climb into the ceiling of our toy closet and fell through, landing in a pile of stuffed animals.

Hannah |

When Hannah hit 15-years-old, her health started declining dramatically. She was on antibiotics for a bladder infection a few months ago, and I hoped she would recover. However at Christmas, it was clear she didn’t have much longer since her lung function was starting to fail. Since it had been more than a decade since I had seen a pet in such shape, I wasn’t quite sure what was happening so I googled “Signs your cat is dying.” I went down the list of signs, and sadly Hannah was showing most of them. In Hannah’s last days, I made peace with the fact that she didn’t have much longer. I spent a lot of time grooming her and letting her sit in my lap. I encouraged my family to spend time with her as well.

On the last morning I saw her alive, I woke her up and she let out two meows. She sat in my lap for some time as I groomed her. I let her go back to sleep and got ready to head back to Boston. Hannah passed away before I got a chance to say a proper goodbye for the last time, but I’d like to think she knew I loved her and cared for her the best I could.

How Long Does It Take to Apply a Full Face of Makeup?

How Long Does It Take to Apply a Full Face of Makeup? |

Whether you’re an expert or a novice, around the holidays you might pull out your makeup stash more than usual. In your quest to find the perfect look, you might stumble across makeup guides that promise a great holiday look in no time flat. With estimates from anywhere from three to thirty minutes, it may be difficult to estimate just how long it takes to apply a full face of makeup. So, how long does it take exactly? I sat down to find out!

Process and Tools

Products for Full Face of Makeup |

Bobbi Brown Corrector in Porcelain Bisque, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-2, Milani Mineral Blush in Mai-Tai (similar), Tarte Smooth Operator Powder in Translucent, Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Buff, Stila Stay All Day Mascara, Nyx Matte Lipstick in Merlot, Maybelline Expertwear Eyeliner in Ebony Black (similar), NYC Kohl Eyeliner in Taupe, MAC Lipliner in Redd, Benefit Blush in Bella Bamba Not Pictured: Urban Decay Naked Palette

For my time trial, I used Bobbi Brown’s “Makeup Manual,” which outlines 10 steps for achieving a basic makeup look that requires a full face of makeup. Though the process advertises ten steps, it could easily be closer to thirty in order to get the look you want.

1. Corrector and Concealer
2. Foundation
3. Powder
4. Blush
5. Lipstick
6. Lip liner
7. Brows
8. Eyeshadow
9. Eyeliner
10. Mascara

Before I started my makeup, I pulled all the products so searching for them wouldn’t add to my time.

The Verdict: How Long Does it Take to Apply a Full Face of Makeup?

As a moderately skilled makeup user, it took me nearly 16 minutes to apply a full face of makeup. That means if you’re new to makeup, this look could easily take you 30 minutes to get it just right. No matter how long it takes you to properly apply makeup, the key is to take your time, have fun and enjoy the process! When you take your time instead of rushing, your makeup will turn out better and you might learn a new trick or two in trying to get the perfect application.

How long does it take you to apply your makeup? Do you ever find yourself rushed around the holidays? Comment to share your experience with me and other readers!

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Redefining a Dream: What Full-Time Blogging Taught Me About Work

What Full-Time Blogging Taught Me | ThoseGraces.comI never had a dream job. Growing up kids talked about being doctors and lawyers while I was busy writing short stories and playing in the woods. Though I started working at age 12, I always thought about work in terms of having a job instead of building a career. That is until started blogging in 2010.

I quietly told my closest friends my dream of becoming a full-time blogger. I imagined posting every day, taking beautiful photos and going to events. For two years, I obsessed about this dream. When I quit my job six months ago, I was ecstatic to take the leap into blogging full-time.

I wish I could sit here and tell you it’s been everything I imagined it would be. That my dream matched reality. That all the rosy articles were right. But that would be a lie.

Part of my dream life is true. I often stay up until two or three in the morning blogging. I have a professional light box setup for photos and I attend more events where I have an easier time networking. Best of all, there’s no boss telling me what to do when. I’m sure at this point you’re thinking, “Well, what gives? This sounds great!”

I thought the way I would feel about life and work would change. That working my “dream job” would make me happier or more fulfilled. I thought it was the answer to everything I was unhappy with in my work life. Instead I found myself lonely at my desk. I missed seeing people and leaving the house. As simple as it sounds, I missed getting dressed up and putting on makeup every day. I missed random conversations with new people and walking around the city.

The hardest part of this journey was realizing that my dream had to change because my dream job didn’t meet what I needed from a job. I’ve realized what I need from a job, and even more, what I don’t need. Was full-time blogging my dream job after all? Not by far, but it helped me figure out along the way what was: Working for myself by freelancing and doing something different every day. And that makes me incredibly happy.