Reintroducing Beauty Shy!

Beauty Shy | ThoseGraces.com

Things have been a bit quiet here this week because I’ve been working on putting the finishing touches on my (nearly) brand new blog, Beauty Shy! Some of you may remember I first launched this blog about two years ago, but was unable to keep up with it. However, now that I’m blogging and freelancing full-time, I have more time to dedicate to both blogs.

About Beauty Shy

Beauty Shy will be a beauty blog that helps readers cut through all the advertising and figure out how makeup fits into their lives. With all the cosmetics advertising and marketing, it’s easy to feel confused when it comes to makeup. Many voices will say, “You need this!” or “You’ll feel better with this!” I want people to feel confident when picking up an eyeshadow brush or picking out a new foundation.

I’ll be doing reviews, how to’s, and everything-makeup related over there so I hope you stop by and say hello! You can also like Beauty Shy on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

Side Notes

I gave it some thought, and I’m retiring Tech Tuesday. It was fun while it lasted, but it doesn’t make sense to have a series if the topics are forced. After awhile, I just ran out of things I was interested in writing about. Good news is I’m planning on re-subscribing to all my magazines so hopefully Magazine Monday will be back in a month or two.

My Style Icon: Audrey Hepburn

Style Icon: Audrey Hepburn | ThoseGraces.com

In the past two posts in the My Style Icon series, I talked about Dita Von Teese and Gwen Stefani, two women who are, by all accounts, self-made beauties. Sami of Glimpse of Glamour pointed this out and called for more natural beauties. That got me thinking about women I admire who are naturally beautiful. My mind immediately went to Audrey Hepburn, who I’ve admired since the first time I first saw “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” After that, I was hooked on Audrey.

Audrey Hepburn on Sex Appeal | ThoseGraces.com

As a teenager, one of my favorite books was “The Virgin Suicides” by Jeffrey Eugenides. This quote from the book stuck with me over the years, “She held herself very straight, like Audrey Hepburn, whom all women idolize and men never think about.”  To me, Audrey is very much a woman’s icon. This is not to say that men don’t like her, but when I think of Audrey, I don’t typically think of characteristics often ascribed to the beautiful women of today. She is so much more than just woman in a sexy photo. As a young, awkward teenager it helped to see a woman who defined herself instead of letting others define her.

Audrey Hepburn on Closets | ThoseGraces.com

Though Audrey was a muse to Hubert De Givenchy, it’s her casual style that impacted me the most and not her red carpet gowns. There’s been countless times where I’ve thrown on skinny jeans with black ballet flats and a stripped long sleeved shirt à la Audrey. And whenever I don another little black knee length dress, I can’t help but to do a little spin and think of Audrey.

Audrey Hepburn on Giving | ThoseGraces.com

As I got older, I started to wonder what became of my favorite movie star. I had heard Audrey died of cancer, but wasn’t sure what her life looked like after her movie career slowed down. I learned in her later years, Audrey became UNICEF Ambassador. She traveled the world helping women and children living in poverty and fundraising. One of my favorite posts I’ve written here was on Audrey Hepburn and her work with UNICEF.

Do you love Audrey? Has her style influenced you? Do you prefer style icons that have more of a natural look? 

More Posts on Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn: Service and Grace Beyond Age
Look for Joy Always
My Spring Fashion Inspiration

4 Lessons Learned From My Most Controversial Post

When I wrote Lush and the Unnatural Truth last September, I didn’t expect it to turn into a controversy. In this post I posed that Lush Cosmetics was misleading consumers by advertising themselves as an “all natural” company while being anything but. One year, 12,000+ views and a few  Tumblr fights later, I’m sharing lessons learned from “The Lush Post.”

Lesson One: Don’t Silence Yourself But Be Ready For the Fall Out

I’m no stranger to controversy. I’ve shared my opinion on race and fashion blogging. I’ve criticized Lucky Magazine. I’ve talked about thinspiration. With these posts, I prepared for fall outs that never came.

I wasn’t ready for what happened after The Lush Post.

One of the great things about blogging is that anyone can share their opinion. However, this also means that anyone can disagree. Strongly. I realized that readers weren’t attacking me, but my view. And since I stood behind what I wrote, that was totally fine by me.

Lesson Two: Don’t Obsess Over Where People Are Discussing The Post

In the month following The Lush Post, I scoured my Google Analytics trying to figure out where people were  discussing the post. Don’t do this. It will drive you crazy. Eventually I realized this one posts wasn’t me. It was just a post, which people were entitled to have opinions on,  just like I was entitled to have an opinion.

Lesson Three: Know When To Stop Arguing

It is my  comment policy to reply to every comment left on my blog. The Lush Post was getting comments nearly every week, forcing me to revisit the argument continuously. After awhile, I was exhausted and I realized there was nothing more I could say about it.

So I did something I agonized about for weeks: I closed the comments. To date, The Lush Post is the only post where I’ve ever had to close comments. However, no comments were deleted. To date I have only ever deleted one comment on my blog because it was disparaging to Audrey Hepburn. No one messes with  Audrey.

Lesson Four: People Love Lush. Like Love.

Throughout this entire experience, the most fascinating thing to me was people’s love for Lush. I’ve encountered a lot of brands in my three years of blogging, but never before have I’ve encountered a brand that is a lifestyle as much as it is a company. If anything, the enthusiasm of Lush’s customers is a testament to the company’s products and branding.

In Closing

The most important thing I learned was to take deep breaths, don’t take it personal and know when to walk away. In the end, writing that post and seeing how people responded taught me a lot of blogging and the type of blogger I wanted to be. Would I write another post on this blog about Lush? No, probably not. But hey, that’s OK, too.

How Young Is Too Young To Wear Makeup?

How Young is Too Young to Wear Makeup? | ThoseGraces.com
A few weeks ago I was browsing products at Sephora. While looking in the Laura Mercier section, I overhead a conversation between two teenage girls. One said, “I heard Nars has a really good foundation. Look at this one.” I turned to look their way and saw both girls had near-perfect skin that didn’t need foundation, let alone one with heavy coverage one. I wanted to tell them how beautiful their skin was and that they should consider something lighter. But I stopped myself not wanting to ruin the sale for the employee helping them. So instead I walked to another section, and as if right on cue, saw a father applying lip gloss to high six-year-old’s lips. What should have been an adorable moment instead made me feel conflicted. Between these two incidents that happened in just a matter of moments, I started wonder: How young was too young to wear makeup?

My relationship with makeup started around 13 when I got my hands on my older sister’s copy of “Making Faces” by Kevyn Aucoin. I begged my younger sisters to let me do their makeup and applied Vaseline to their lids like Aucoin direction. You know, to give that editorial look.

Despite an early introduction, by high school my interest in makeup faded away as I became more interested in writing and politics. It wasn’t until college that I found makeup again after buying the BareMinerals Get Started Kit. I was living in New York City at the time and was decidedly more interested in dressing like Mary-Kate Olsen than wearing tons of makeup. However, all bets were off once I moved to South Carolina where women just seemed more made up. Maybe it was part interest or maybe it was part wanting to fit in, but I started to routinely wear makeup.

By the time I started routinely wearing makeup, I had already rooted my identity in other interests and traits. I didn’t feel the need to pull my appearance into the equation of who I was. Instead, I saw makeup as a form of artistry that changed the way I saw myself in the mirror. Ironically, this is how I also saw makeup at 13. Makeup gave me opportunities to take risks and learn lessons. I wasn’t covering up who I was, I was enhancing it.

I don’t know what the right answer is when it comes to the “right” age to start wearing makeup. I would hope that most people would come to makeup after they are confident in themselves because I don’t think makeup should be a mask we hide behind. Makeup should help someone feel like they are the best version of themselves.

What do you think? What age did you start wearing makeup? I’d love to hear your perspective.

My Style Icon: Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani | ThoseGraces.com

For this week’s My Style Icon, my thoughts returned to my teenage years and the styles that most inspired me. I made a list of women I admired in my formative fashion years. There was  gaunt and dreary Fiona Apple and the dress-over-pants-wearing Alanis Morisette. Though both women inspired me then,  neither influences me  today, at least not style-wise. However, one name stood out on my list: Gwen Stefani. For me, Gwen is one of those rare style icons I loved as a teen and still love in my twenties.

Gwen Stefani | ThoseGraces.com

When I was younger, I bought tiny little jewels that had glue on the back. I stuck one in the middle of my forehead and at the outer corners of my eyes like Gwen. I also rocked out in my bedroom, hair brush in hand, screeching out the lyrics to “Just a Girl.” I watched the video for “Don’t Speak” and posed in the mirror, peach in hand trying to look distraught and lovelorn. Though I wouldn’t understand the maturity of either of these songs until much later, I loved them as much as I loved Gwen.

Gwen Stefani | ThoseGraces.com

Gwen is the one of the few celebrities who has evolved within her own style framework. Does she wear exactly what she wore in 1995? No, not really. Today the version of her rocker style is more polished and put together yet still edgy. Though what she wears doesn’t necessarily always look comfortable, it looks like she feels comfortable in her clothes and in her own skin. And that’s what I love about Gwen Stefani.