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!


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

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

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.

Step One: Exfoliate and Moisturize Your Lips

Boots No7 Total Renewal Micro-Dermabrasion Exfoliator, The Body Shop Coconut Lip Butter
Exfoliating and moisturizing your lips will assure that lipstick doesn’t cling to any dead skin, which can make the lips look bumpy and cracked.An hour before you apply your red lipstick, exfoliate your lips with either a facial exfoliator or a natural homemade exfoliator. If you’re using a facial exfoliator, make sure to be extra gentle on your delicate lips. After you’ve exfoliate, apply lip balm. Make sure to apply balm well in advance so the balm has enough time to sink in and restore your lips.

Step Two: Line Your Lips

We’ll go into detail in another post about how to line your lips, so for now just focus on lining your lips with short strokes of the pencil. Try to get as close to your natural lip shape as possible. Red lipstick will make you lips stand out and look bigger, so you’ll want to line close to your natural shape. Don’t worry too much about getting the lining perfect because we’ll be filling in the lips next.

Step Three: Fill in Your Lips

I like using the side of the pencil as opposed to the tip because I find the liner goes on smoother that way. Make sure to get in the corner of the mouth, which is the area where the color tends to wear out the quickest.

Step Four: Smooth Out the Lip Liner

Once you’ve filled in your lips, take a lip brush and smooth out the color. You’ll also want to blur the edges by lighting dragging the lip brush along the edges of your lip. This ensures that your lip liner won’t look harsh. If you’re happy with how your lips look or prefer a matte or velvet look, you can stop here with your red lips.

Step Five: Apply the Red Lipstick

You can either apply directly from the lipstick bullet or with a lip brush. Don’t worry about applying it everywhere because we’ll be smoothing it out next.

Step Six: Smooth Out Lipstick

The last step is to smooth out your lipstick and make sure it’s evenly distributed on your lips. Grab a tissue, blot and you’re ready to go! Make sure to cover all the lip liner even at the edges.

Optional: Apply Gloss

Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in Fire

For those who prefer a glossier look, you can apply a red or clear lipgloss over the lipstick.

The Finished Look

Final Look | BeautyShy.com

That’s the look! Let me know how your red lipstick experiments go!

Shop This Post

Boots No7 Total Renewal Micro-Dermabrasion Exfoliator, The Body Shop Coconut Lip Butter, MAC Redd Lip Pencil, NYX Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Pure Red, Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in Fire

How Red Lipstick Taught Me to Be Brave


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!

Red Lipstick Challenge: It’s Scary, But I Love It

The first week of the Red Lipstick Challenge is complete, but not without fear, hesitancy, and yes, eventually, confidence. The first day I worried people were staring at me as if to ask, “Why are you wearing red lipstick at 8AM?” But as Laura pointed out to me on Twitter, it was probably just me worrying too much. The biggest thing I learned from red lipstick this week: Heads will turn. Maybe in good ways. Maybe in bad.

I realized it didn’t matter why people’s heads were turning, because wearing red lipstick actually made me feel more confident. I caught myself on the first day looking in the mirror almost not recognizing myself. OK, that probably had something to do with the fact that I also dyed my hair a deep chocolate brown the day before I decided to start wearing red lipstick. That aside, red lipstick made me feel pretty in a way most makeup can’t. There are very few products out there that possess the immediate transformative nature of a red (or any bold colored) lipstick.

Lipsticks Tried Week One (A Mini Review)

NYX Round Lipsticks in Pure Red and Electra: Pictured on Day 1 & Day 2 (first two photos). I love these lipsticks, but don’t bother asking me which color is which since the labels are on the lids and I’ve mixed them up at least three times. Moving on, NYX Round Lipsticks are really easy to work with since they are very creamy. If you’re prone to chapped lips, definitely check these out.

MAC Russian Red: Pictured on Day 3 & Day 4. Ah, one of the classic neutral reds! There’s only one thing about this lipstick that I do not like, which is the fact that it dries out my lips since it’s a matte formula. I definitely recommend wearing some sort of balm underneath if your prone to chapped lips. I also found it worked better with a red lipliner versus a clear lipliner or no lipliner at all.

(If you are interested in more in depth reviews of these lipsticks, let me know and I’ll definitely consider writing more!)

Have a Great Holiday!

This is my last post before jetting off for Thanksgiving. If you’re in the US, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving with your friends and family! Talk to you all next week! Also, are you following me on Twitter? If not you should! Because 1) I love Twitter and 2) If you follow me, you’ll basically see all these looks in advance since I do Face of the Day photos!