Natural’s Not In It: I’m Back and Blonde

Back and Blonde | Those Graces.com

After a two month hiatus from blogging, I’m back! For awhile life was hard and I couldn’t find much joy in my once beloved hobby, but you know what they say. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, which is exactly what happened so I’m back! And BLONDE! So, so blonde. And I love it!

Let’s jump right in talk about the hair. I needed a major change and highlights weren’t going to cut it. I went to see my colorist and friend Andrae at Mirage Hair Design in Natick. When I got there I was on the fence about going really blonde, so Andrae and I debated back and forth about the merits of being really blonde versus just kind of blonde. Once I sat down in the chair, I told Andrae, “I just want to feel like I’m doing a big change.” He jumped in immediately and said, “Let’s go for it, let’s do all blonde.” I was sold!

Going blonde isn’t the most glamorous process. It takes time and you look silly. Which I guess is probably how I felt the the first time I was blonde, except my friends did it, which definitely was not a salon experience. I can tell you right now that if you want to go from brunette to blonde, do it at a salon unless your best friend is also a colorist. Just trust me on this.

The whole process took about two hours, which seemed short to me. I swear when I was blonde before and I would go for highlights, it took four hours. Needless to say, Andrae is amazing at what he does and I’m sure that’s why the process was quick and painless. No really, it didn’t hurt at all. I even have such a sensitive scalp that I tear up when people brush my hair. This was the fourth or fifth time Andrae did my hair. He’s done everything on me from ombre to brunette to blonde and it always turns out amazing.

I’m glad I took the leap to go back to blonde. I’m under no delusions that it will be easy to maintain, but I’ll tell you what, it sure does look great.

You can (and should!) follow Andrae on Twitter and Instagram. He’s hilarious, genuine and gives great advice along with doing amazing hair.

I Love Outfit Photos (Blogger Confessions Part Two)

Hair in Pony Tail | ThoseGraces.com

A few months ago I shared my hatred for outfit photos. However, as I’ve moved into working for myself full-time, I’ve started to wear more interesting outfits that I wanted to document. Because, you know, I’m kind of obsessed with documentation. Yet, I was still hesitant to take photos of myself because I didn’t want to go outside and I didn’t want to rely on someone else to take them.

Plum Lip | ThoseGraces.com

Last night I hit Pinterest to search for outfits of the day photos. Taking outfit photos inside is much different than shooting them outside because there’s less options for backdrops and less to interact with. I wasn’t comfortable with head to toe shots–they’re hard to do myself and I never know how to hold my body. All I can hear is Tyra Banks in my head, and to be honest, I don’t really like Tyra Banks.

Calvin Klein Wrap Coat | ThoseGraces.com

Through my Pinterest search, I noticed the photos that drew me in were detailed shots that showed elements of the outfit. Happy with my discovery, I realized I was finally coming around to the idea of doing outfit photos by myself in my home. Since struggled with feeling comfortable doing outfit photos for the past three years, you can imagine my relief.

Sequined Skirt | ThoseGraces.com

I could have easily thrown up my hands and said, “This is not for me!” I would have if not for my husband, who pushed me to find a way to make outfit photos work for me. It took me some time, thinking and playing with camera angles, but I’m so relieved I finally figured it out.

Purple Lip | ThoseGraces.com

I was inspired by Holly’s outfit at the Boston Bloggers Holiday Meet Up. Holly paired an over-sized sweater with a gold sequined skirt, and I loved it! I put on my purple sequined dress and threw on a white cable knit sweater over it. I wore this outfit to Blog and Tweet Boston’s Tasting Event at Cocoanuts. I’ll be sharing photos from this event here on Saturday!

A side note, I’m working on establishing a better posting routine for here and Beauty Shy. My goal for both blogs is to eventually be posting at least 5 times a day. Right now I’m juggling a few side gigs and trying to find a way to keep track of everything I need to be doing for blogging. Thank you all for your patience!

Details

Sweater: Izod – Thrifted (similar) | Dress: Express (similar) | Coat: Calvin Klein (similar) | Earrings: Gift from my sister (similar) | Necklace: Dress Barn – Gifted (similar)

6 Steps to Perfect Red Lips

6 Steps to Perfect Red Lips | BeautyShy.com

Earlier this year I took on the challenge of wearing red lipstick every day. Throughout the experience, a lot of women confided in me that they never tried red lipstick even though they wanted to wear it. Several told me they picked up a tube of red lipstick after reading my blog. It may seem like you could just throw on red lipstick and go, but it requires more time and patience than your average neutral color. However, after some practice, applying red lipstick will become second nature. Keep reading to find out my six easy steps for applying red lipstick.

What You’ll Need

Perfect Red Lips | BeautyShy.com

MAC Redd Lip Pencil, NYX Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Pure Red
To achieve the perfect red lips you’ll need at least two things: A good red lip liner that glides on smoothly and red lipstick. For me, it’s more important to have a long-lasting red lip liner than it is to have a long-lasting red lipstick. Any lipstick will eventually fade throughout the day, but a good lip liner will remain once the lipstick has worn off.
[Read more...]

How Red Lipstick Taught Me to Be Brave

red-lipstick-project-1

The Red Lipstick Challenge has ended after over a month of wearing red lipstick almost every day. What started off as a fun challenge turned into an enlightening experience of bravery, boldness and self confidence. I didn’t expect that from a simple tube of red lipstick. In fact, I was skeptical if this challenge would change me at all.

In the beginning of the challenge, I was afraid to go out in public with my red lips. There was something unnerving about people staring at me, whether they did it out of judgement or inherent curiosity. But this isn’t a story about strangers, it’s a story about me. I went from being doubting myself every time I wore red lipstick to embracing it entirely. It became apart of who I was, almost like a character trait. I wore it when I was so happy, when I was terribly sad, when I was sick and once accidentally when I was going to the gym. I wore it on Thanksgiving and on Christmas and most days in between.

The most shocking part was the amount of conversations it sparked, both online and off. One night, I ran into a girl who told me she could never wear red lipstick. I told her about my project and by the end of the conversation, I was making recommendations about shades I thought she’d like. Several friends of mine went out and bought their first tubes of red lipstick. We started talking about what role makeup played in our lives and how it impacted our relationships. (By the way, David has come around somewhat to red lipstick.) The conversations I was able to have with women, some strangers and some my best friends, made this whole experience worth it.

Something odd happened the other day. It had been about a week or so since I donned my red lips. I sat at my vanity, eyes running over all my lipstick options. I picked up my favorite, NYX’s Pure Red, and got a rush of excitement. All over, I was scared. What would people think? Could I wear this to work? I was scared, but when I put it on, I got that burst of confidence I had remembered so well.

Will I continue to wear red lipstick? Without a doubt, though I have to admit, I am happy to take a break, at least for a little bit. I know changing my lip color may seem trivial, like it shouldn’t matter. Who cares what color my lips are? At the end of the day, though, I care and that’s all that matters.

Practical Tips for Wearing Red Lipstick

Here are just a few of my tips for wearing red lipstick.

  • Blot. Yes, this is number one because you absolutely need to do it. Without this, you risk getting lipstick on your teeth, on your face and clumping. Blot with a tissue and try to avoid using toilet paper. Do not use paper as this takes off most of the color.
  • Get a lip brush. For my first application, I always use a lip brush to define the shape of my lips. With a brush, you have increased control over your application.
  • Carry your lipstick, lip brush and mirror. Red lips are a commitment. You will need these things to maintain your color throughout the day.
  • Red lipstick gets everywhere. So carry your concealer and stain remover pen, too. If you accidentally touch your lips and then your nose, you can easily cover it with concealer. If you get it on your clothes, don’t fret. It will come out.
  • Use balm when you give up. Let’s face it, some days you will want to give up. When you lipstick starts to fade, use a balm to even the color out. It happens.

What Are You Lookin’ At? Oh, Right My Lips Are Bright Red

Week two of my Red Lipstick Challenge brought some unexpected moments. I started off more confident than I was week one, having gotten over my fear of people staring. In the first week, I felt I had to explain myself and why I was wearing such a bold color at nine in the morning. “It’s a blogger thing. You know, like a challenge? I’m doing this for a blog. This isn’t something I usually do. Pushing comfort zones. I don’t know, it’s just a blogger thing!


NYX Pure Red Matte Lipstick (my new obsession–review coming soon!)

In the first week, I had trouble recognizing myself with red lipstick, but a funny thing happened in week two: I didn’t recognize myself without it. Much like how I feel about eyeliner, my look didn’t feel “finished” until my lips were red even on days when I was just running to IKEA. I was shocked at how quickly the way my self perception changed. In just 14 days, I went from being terrified of wearing red lipstick to not wanting to live without it. I’m not saying changing my lip color is an act of bravery (that’s a bit too far), but all I can say is a simple color change has made me feel more confident and bold on a daily basis.


NYX Electra Lipstick

A funny thing about red lipstick: People, men and women of all ages, literally do double takes. All the time. At first my Big City Mentality came out, and I found myself thinking, “What are you looking at me for? Do you want something? Why are we making eye contact with me?” And then I remembered, oh, right, it’s nine in the morning and I am wearing bright red lipstick and that’s why people are looking. Not only that, but I perceived people as much friendlier while I was wearing red lipstick.

Ever an attention-loving Leo, I got used to the attention. On days I didn’t wear red lipstick, I thought, “Why is no one looking at me? Am I not standing out?” Again, it’s a very simple change that somehow completely shifted my daily interactions with strangers. I won’t say the shift is positive or negative, but it’s definitely different somehow.

Have you ever made a little change that affected the way people see you? How did it make you feel? Did it change the way people saw you? Share your thoughts!