Before and After

This last Monday I did something scary: I shared a picture of myself without any makeup.

It was frightening for a couple of reasons. Aside from my naturally fair skin that is splotchy red (thank you Irish/Germanic ancestors), and my dark circles and sparse eyebrows, it evokes throwback feelings of my home-schooled girl days when I didn’t wear any makeup, I didn’t feel pretty, and I equated looking pretty with making friends.

Well, since 16 (almost 10 years ago!), and being allowed to wear makeup, a few things have changed.

  • I’ve learned that being pretty doesn’t have any bearing one one’s ability to be socially well-adjusted.
  • I’ve learned that looking pretty is about more than just how well you apply makeup, it’s about one’s attitude and bearing.
  • I’ve learned how to apply makeup in ways that highlight my natural features, rather than obscure them.

Most women judge themselves pretty harshly when it comes to looks. Some of the prettiest women I’ve known in my life, even with makeup on and dressed to impress can still see their “flaws” and “imperfections.”  But to a detached and experienced make up artist can easily see the features to enhance and build on, not obscure or over color. Maskcara is very good at this in her Before and After Makeover Mondays. Here is one of my favorite makeovers she shared on her blog.

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So, next time you pick up your makeup applicators, try to remember to not judge yourself harshly without makeup on. I recommend building on simple looks, and working your way up to more “dramatic” makeup, like a smokey eye or dark lipstick. Start off by just tight-lining your top lash line and add mascara. Remember to add darker colors, “shadows,” to outer corners of your face and eyes, and use lighter colors more on the center and inside of your face and eyes.

Here is my before and after, for the record. I used mainly Sephora liquid foundation and concealer and the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette.

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Durable Beauty

Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.

I have a weakness. It commonly afflicts members of the female sex, or so they say… It has often been the ridicule of men who won’t admit that deep down inside they love to see their woman sporting her newest find. Or perhaps these men don’t want to admit that they share a love for the same thing, that is: I. Love. Shoes.
Now, I would like to point out a difference between me and your common shoe addict; you won’t find me just trying on any old shoe. I wouldn’t be caught shopping in the Target shoe aisle, or Payless. I’ll let you in on a little secret: none of the shoes in my collection cost me less than $100 and ALL of my shoes are genuine leather.
But what really turns me on when it comes to shoes is finding that certain shoe with qualities I can’t resist, namely the quality of being durable, functional, and beautiful. While stiletto Christian Louboutins may be for many women who don’t have to walk more than 1 city block at a time (and there is an undeniable beauty to these shoes), on the comfort and functionality scale they just wouldn’t cut it for me.
I could talk about different types of pumps, slingback, and flats all day, but right now, I actually wanted to address the subject of boots.
Boots have been trending for a long time now. And it makes me very happy for the reasons I outlined above. I applaud the Fall/Winter/Early Spring trends towards functionality paired with bold colors and designs. Some well known brands that exemplify what I’m talking about are BornDansko, and Frye (though, I have yet to save up to afford Frye boots).
In particular, I embrace the short bootie trend. If I’m going to wear a boot and want it to be absolutely functional and something I can walk in for hours, I choose booties with a heel height under 2.5 inches. They go not only with many different cuts of jeans, but dresses, skirts, and even shorts. For example: rolled skinny jeans and booties with a lace top? Thrilling combination.
My personal favorites right now are these low-key, shorter heeled fringe booties by Sam Edelman– click on the picture to take you to the boot:
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But since I’ve been wearing these non-stop this last winter, the shoe bug is biting me again, and have been looking at other options. Here are some new booties I’ve found that are very tempting right now:
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Maybe I’ll just put all of these choices in a hat and choose. I’m a stickler for reading reviews and specifications about shoes, too, so I’ll always bear that in mind when deciding between my next love affair with shoes.
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Fresh Start

This is my fresh start. My libation to life for the new year.

This blog is going to host my photography, travel adventures, meetings with old and new artists and designers, and restaurant reviews. You can expect to see resplendent photos of food, drinks, fashion, makeup, and art — alongside my favorite subjects which are portraits of local people.

Graciebird — It has been my homage to Grace Kelly for over 10 years to use her nickname “Gracie,” and “Graciebird,” in association with my older blogs. I use it now in association with my own passion for beauty, class, and fashion. It is my hope to channel and emulate the same elegance that she lived and breathed, onscreen and off.

Please come back soon.

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