Yes indeedy, my Dahings, 2014 is upon us!
I would have written up & posted this for yesterday...cept my puter died. I don't mean giving me conniptions to da point of it being more bother than it's worth, I mean flat out, wouldn't reboot dead. Good thing Mr Inky is a Computer Engineer, eh? So my most dahling of hubbies went out on NYE & bought yours truly a new puter & spent most of that evening along with pretty much all of NYD setting me up. So far so good & I'll get da hang of Windows 8 eventually, if I have to, I guess. LOL
I have some introspective stuff to share with y'all today...
When I started this blog in mid 2012 I made a list of 10 things I wanted to improve from both a mani & blogging perspective.
Let's see how well I've done in da last year & a half?
My Top 10 List of Mani & Blog Issues I'd Like to Improve:
#10 ~ improve blog photography: CHECK!
This didn't mean adding photography as another hobby. I just needed to learn how to use the camera on my phone. LOL I not only learned how to take reasonable pics with that phone, I'm learning how to do it all over again on my new phone. Alas, my new phone doesn't have a macro setting tho' it does have an anti-vibration feature which is useful when my hands are shaky. Over all I think I accomplished what I set out to do: take nail pics that are clean & clear...most of da time.
#9 ~ post on my blog twice a week: CHECK!
Getting a routine or schedule established & then sticking with it, is one of da hardest things for a new blogger to do! My posting was very sporadic in those first months until I decided to set myself a schedule of MWF mani posts. I later added non-mani, but still nail related Sunday posts. Unless something fairly big comes up (i.e. dead kid or puter) to prevent me from posting, I've been able to stick to my schedule. Now that I know how to schedule posts ahead of time, skipping posts in 2014 shouldn't happen very often.
#8 ~ learn to make even size dots: CHECK!
When 1st attempting new techniques, there's always a learning curve to be conquered! My polka dots were usually of different sizes & a bit lop sided in da beginning. I have learned how to make consistent sized round dots with lots of practice. Tip: clean da dotting tool off after each nail or every other nail. Polish build up will make your dots grow in size & more likely to be wonky in shape.
#7 ~ learn how to paint straight line: CHECK!
I didn't care if I used tape or a brush to make straight lines, I just wanted them to not look like epileptic worms. I figured out that I have da most control with a thin diameter, long bristled paint brush when making stripes.
#6 ~ Learn how to use striping tape: still needs work
Me & striping tape have a love/hate thing going. Some days it works out da way I want it too...others end up with my wishing I'd picked something else to do on my nails. My biggest issues is polish bleeding under da tape. I press it down & all, it just doesn't always cooperate. More practice is needed!
#5 learn how to create free hand art with brushes: better, but still needs work
Even with all my art background, drawing & painting accurately was never my strong suit. Trying to paint itty bitty images on my nails has been a challenge, especially if I want what I paint to actually look like something recognizable! Still, perseverance will eventually get me to a place I can be comfy in when it comes to free hand nail art. If not, there's always stamping!
#4 ~ learn to water marble: sort of?
I did manage to create a successful water marble using da China Glaze Bohemian collection over a black crème polish in 2012, but this was pre-blogging & I didn't take a pic...so I have no proof that I've done it. I guess I'll just have to do another in 2014
#3 ~ learn to stamp on my nails: sort of?
I admit it! I have had a doozy of time trying to learn how to stamp on my nails. DIY Decals made getting decent stamped images on my nails doable, but it isn't stamping on my nails. I've been using da Mash stamping tool since I 1st tried stamping & I think that may be at least part of my ineptitude. It mostly works, but it doesn't always pick up da whole image nor does it always release da image to my nail. I just tried da Vivid XL squishy stamper on NYE & HOLY FREAKIN' GUACOMOLE PEOPLE!!! The difference between da 2 stampers is quantum! Me thinks actual stamping on my funky nails might be doable. We'll see...
#2 ~ cuticle care: partial success, currently an epic fail
What can I say? I'm a dry peep by nature & easily get dehydrated. My meds don't help cuz they add to my over all dry state of being. (I would not survive long term in a hot climate, never mind if it's wet or dry, both suck da moisture out of me) So I lube my hands as often as I can remember to do so, at least twice a day. By da end of 2012 my hands were looking pretty good, but 2013 was a hard year on me & my skin. I've been battling peelie cuticles for about 6 months now. Blerg. I guess I just have to keep plugging away in a battle that may never end, forget winning da war.
#1 ~ learn to do a decent post mani cuticle clean up: CHECK!
Most of us learn da hard way not only da importance of cleaning up any polish on our skin after painting out nails (it just looks better, like one knows what one is doing, more professional) but also how to do it well. I hated using cotton buds cuz they left fuzzies behind...then I learned about using a smallish, stiff bristled paint or make up brush, dipped in acetone, to remove excess polish from my skin. WOOHOO!!! My nails no longer looked like a 6 year old painted them! It took practice to get da hang of it & I found that using da pointy end of a cuticle stick dipped in acetone worked great for getting an even edge to my polish along da cuticle. Learning to paint carefully, so as to not leave polish where I don't want it also helped. So while I still sometimes miss a lil glitter or other traces of polish in my clean ups, I think I've improved considerably!
Life isn't about perfection Dahlings, it's about progress!
Next up in my introspective journey are some of my favorite new or at least new-to-me finds of 2013! I didn't do a bunch of Top lists like I've seen on other blogs.
I'm just not that organized. So in no particular order:
1) Texture Polish
Love it or hate it,
almost every major polish brand released some kind of texture polish this year.
Me? I didn't like it at first, but it's grown on me...quite a bit.
2) Glow In The Dark Polish & Black Light Photography
Not new by any means. Heck, I bought my 1st bottle of it when I was 14! However, I rediscovered da joy of gitd polish this year & was thrilled at how many good one's their are out there as well as having color choices beyond da milky yellowy white standard of my misbegotten youth.
I also discovered that using a true black light (not a bulb painted purply black) makes taking pics of gitd polish & nail art so much easier than trying to take a pic in da dark.
I was really, really slow to get on da indie band wagon. Why? Most of what I was seeing in da blog-o-sphere didn't do much for me. However, thanks to Accio Laquer, I learned about this brand & I am hooked!
How could I not love a brand that offered a Rocky Horror Picture Show themed polish that was thermal color shifting, holographic & glows in da dark?
I have 2 words for y'all...ULTRA CHROMES! Now I have both duo & multi color shifting polishes that I've enjoyed over da decades, but I had my fuzzy socks knocked off da 1st time I wore Birefringence. Then I wore My Little Glacier. Then I went back & ordered Cygnus Loop along with Mutagen. Then Barb re-released these polished as LINEAR HOLOGRAPHICS!!! And to finish my ILNP nailgasm...Nostalgia was release on Black Friday & I stood in a virtual line for over an hour to get my inky lil paws on a bottle.
5) LynB Designs
Another indie brand I fell in love with in 2013.
What can I say? I have a lot of Jenna's polish to share with you in 2014. LOL
6) Kitchen Sink Manicures
I was turned on to this fun go for broke nail art style by Nicole of Young Wild & Polished She ran a weekly challenge last January & I finally broke da 'all nails must be painted da same' programming I had been oppressing myself under for 30 years. Now I can paint each nail with a dif design, tho I still want to use da same colors on all nails for some continuity. My OCD won't let me go so all out cray cray as to have each nail be unique as to both color & design. I just can't go there...yet!
I missed da release of da 2012 set of six, but made up for it by getting both da 2012 & 2013 sets when I learned about da six 2013 colors. Now there are polishes out there with stronger linear rainbows & there are polishes out there that cost less, but I have yet to find another brand of linear holo polishes that are non-patchy, 2 coat opaque, can be stamped with & are reasonably priced!
8) Da 80's Revival
While not completely polish related...I've waited 30 years for some of my all time fav colors to come back! Think neon purple i.e. Sinful Colors Dream On & all da other yummy bright polishes that were released in 2013. I'm also thrilled to be able to get Dolman/Raglan sleeved shirts again. I know it won't last forever, but I plan to stock up while I can! For all you youngsters out there, da 80's is da newest Retro Fashion,
but for me it's a flashback!
Do you like inexpensive nail art bling, polish & mani tools?
Then you need to check out BPS! Not only do then have all kinds of beauty supplies & other stuff for cheap, da quality is pretty good & they offer free international shipping.
Learning how to make my own decals (Thanks to Missy from Gnarly Gnails) saved me from giving up on stamping nail art! While it requires a few extra steps & supplies over traditional stamping, I find it's much easier to stamp on a flat surface than on a curved nail. Plus I have da option of coloring in da designs from da back to get neater results than if I colored in da design on my nail. Oh & if I mess up, I just make another decal rather than have to redo a nail.
11) Cross Over Nail Art Supplies
OK, I can admit that I'm a wee bit obsessive when it comes to my hobbies. Case in point: my rubber stamping/paper crafting stash. I have 10+ years of collecting glitter, mica powders & lil bits of bling that weren't getting used as much as dived into nail art. So I started testing various things I already had about my crapht room to see what could be used for nail art as well as my other hobbies.
A lot of these things turned out to be great for frankening my own custom polishes.
I like being able to use stuff I already have as I pursue a new thrill!
12) Blog Tutorials
Specifically, tutorials from The Nailasaurus! Sammy did an awesome job of not only coming up with several new nail art techniques in 2013, she also took da time to create tutorials so we can do them too!
13) Last But Not Least...New Friends All Over Da World
Yep, da best thing to happen to me during an otherwise pretty sucky year was making friends with several wonder ladies who live all over da globe. My loving thanks to Swishie (my DPD), Michelle & Dionne for helping me thru what has been a very difficult year, even if they didn't know how much their friendship meant to me at da time.
I guess I had a Top 10 & a Top 13 list after all!
Now for your reward for reading all that brain dribble of mine!
Why you all twisted upside down to take my picture?
You looks funny!
Thanks for sticking with me, my Dahlings!