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?

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

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.

I Love Outfit Photos (Blogger Confessions Part Two)

Hair in Pony Tail |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

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!


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

My Best Thrift Finds: Retro and Vintage Dresses

Through my thrifting adventures at my local Goodwill, I’ve learned that the best vintage items in often won’t have a designer label. Many look odd on the hanger so they’re the overlooked in favor of popular brand names. I’m always on the hunt for the most unique items that can’t be found anywhere. Today I want to share three of my recent finds!

Vintage Yellow Shift Dress

Thrifted Vintage Dress |

When I first spotted this shift dress on the racks in the Davis Square Goodwill, my fingers started tingling. This dress has no label and was obviously handmade for the original owner. Its fabric is quilted yet it’s light and perfect for spring since it’s not lined. My favorite part of this dress is the detailing that runs in the middle of the dress and around the waist.

Vintage-Inspired Garden Party Dress

Vintage Inspired Garden Dress |

My mom made me try this on when we went thrifting together. It’s your typical vintage-inspired, Betty Draper-esque garden party dress. I was surprised I liked this dress so much because I don’t have anything like this in my closet and rarely wear green or yellow. This dress is from the 1990s and was made by B. Smart, which was a popular department store brand. Funny enough, I remember wearing B. Smart in middle school!

Retro Terry Cloth Maxi Dress

Retro Maxi Dress |

This is the crown jewel of my recent finds: A terry cloth maxi dress from the 1970s with tags still on. I don’t know how thrifting gets any better than this. Initially I thought the dress looked so weird on the hanger that I had to try it on as a joke. Once I got in the fitting room, however, I fell in love. Modern maxi dresses are often too long for me, but this one is the perfect length in heels. From far away, it’s not noticeable that the dress is made from terry cloth.

My only regret about all of these dresses is that I’ll have to wait until spring to wear them!