30 December 2013

Year in Review: The Best of Will Paint Nails for Food for 2013

Hi everyone! I got  back from my holiday vacation late Saturday night, and after a lazy Sunday of watching Angel and eating holiday cookies, I figured it was high time to get some end of the year posts out. I've been wanting to do a year in review post since my blog anniversary at the end of November, but it got delayed and somehow it just seemed fitting to save it until the end of the calendar year.

I've gone through 13 months of blogging and picked out my favourite posts from each month. Since I didn't do a round up post last year, I've also included what I did in December of 2012. These aren't the most popular posts in terms of page views - instead they represent important milestones, nail art breakthroughs, and manis that just stood out.

So read on to find out my picks for each month! And maybe some of these are your favourites as well...

27 December 2013

Guest Blog Post at Work Play Polish

Hi everyone! My nail art was recently featured in a guest post at Work Play Polish. I’ve admired Leslie’s blog for some time now, so I’m very honored to have this opportunity. Not only that, this guest post series was put together to support a great cause, making this an even more positive experience.

Holiday mosaic nails

26 December 2013

Renaissance Cosmetics End of Year Sale

Hi everyone! This is just a quick post to let you know that my indie brand, Renaissance Cosmetics, is having an end of the year sale. Everything is 15% off from today December 26th until December 31st. I don't know when we'll be able to have another sale, so if you've been thinking about trying Renaissance Custom Lacquer, now is the time! The shop can be found here.

If you are looking for some inspiration, there's some photos after the jump!

25 December 2013

Girly Bits Get Weaponized and Merry Christmas!

Hi everyone! Merry Christmas if you celebrate, and if you don't, I hope you had a relaxing day of movies and Chinese food! It seems odd to be wearing a polish with such an aggressive name for my Xmas mani, but I couldn't have asked for something more perfect, or gorgeous. It also was the ideal base for some snowflakes so make sure to check out the full post.

Girly Bits Get Weaponized

24 December 2013

Girly Bits Auld Langs Wyne

Hi everyone! Recently Girly Bits Cosmetics released its Holiday 2013 collection, which consists of four perfect holos in very appropriate holiday colours. And you have a chance to win them in my blog anniversary giveaway! Recently I've been more restrained in my nail polish spending, so I only picked out one of the polishes from the collection, but I couldn't be more happier. If you can only get one polish from this collection, Auld Langs Wyne would be a great choice!

Girly Bits Auld Langs Wyne

23 December 2013

Will Paint Nails for Food Turns One and It's Giveaway Time!!

Hi everyone! A few weeks ago, I quietly celebrated one full year of blogging with a pat on the back and a status update on my Facebook page. On November 30, 2012, I published my first post on this blog, and since then there's been many, many hours poured into this hobby of mine: countless sleep-deprived photo-editing sessions, many nail art frustrations and breakthroughs, many self-doubts, and lots of support from readers and fellow bloggers. Support that I'm incredibly grateful for of course!

21 December 2013

Four Weeks of piCture pOlish: Week Four, A Voodoo Ruffian

Hi everyone! This is my last post for this piCture pOlish miniseries. I'll admit that I saved Voodoo for last because initially it didn't really catch my eye like the others. In the bottle it looks like a brown shimmer polish. It wasn't until I swatched this polish that I realized I made a mistake overlooking this one. If you love vampy dark colours, Voodoo definitely deserves a place in your collection.

piCture pOlish Voodoo

Check out the rest of this post for swatches and some shimmery nail art perfect for holiday parties!

18 December 2013

Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Nine: Staying Motivated and Wrapping Up

The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday (or Tuesday) evenings. It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi bloggers! This is our last post of the series, can you believe it!! I'm almost teary-eyed, this series has been a part of my blogging life for the past two months. I have enjoyed reading all of your comments and hearing about how you've enjoyed the series and/or found it useful. I've been thinking about how I can take this series to the next level, but for that I need your help. I've included a short survey at the end and it would mean a lot to me if you took 5-10 minutes to fill it out. You don't even have to give detailed feedback, any feedback would help.

Before we get started, I have a quick announcement: If you participated in the group critique and haven't received any feedback, please leave a comment with your blog name (links are not necessary, just the name you signed up with) and let me know that you're still looking for feedback!! Since it is hard for me to visit and give feedback on 70 blogs, I will make sure to visit anyone who hasn't received any feedback.

Today's post is on how to stay motivated, and further resources for learning about blogging. Motivation is a key thing when it comes to blogging. Some bloggers just have enthusiasm spilling out all over the place: they can post all the time, sometimes multiple times a day, be involved in multiple challenges and groups, do reviews, and still not get tired of blogging. For most of us we will struggle at some point to keep up with blogging.

16 December 2013

Four Weeks of piCture pOlish + The Digit-al Dozen Does Red, Gold, and Green

Hi everyone! Along with falling behind on my posts for the Digit-al Dozen this week, I also fell behind on my piCture pOlish posts. I tend to dislike publishing posts that serve a dual purpose, for some reason it feels like cheating for me. However, the ladies at piCture pOlish sent me the gorgeous red O'Hara, and it was perfect for this week's Digit-al Dozen challenge.

piCture pOlish O'Hara

So this week's piCture pOlish post features the O'Hara in a holly design inspired by one of my favourite nail artists Lindsey at Wondrously Polished.

15 December 2013

The Digit-al Dozen Does Red, Gold, and Green: Day Two: A Classic Holiday Gradient

Hi everyone! You may have noticed (or not!) that I didn't published many posts for The Digit-al Dozen challenge this week. The prompt was red, gold, and green, but because of my work with my day job (teaching assistant) and my dissertation, it was just impossible for me to do any nail art this week. So I have one post for you today, and I'll have one more tomorrow, then I'm giving up on this challenge.

This design is super easy but perfect for the holidays. I've used two Renaissance Custom Lacquer polishes to do a gradient that is very classic and shimmery!

13 December 2013

Polished by Alexandra, Winter 2013: Holiday Traditions

Hi everyone! I have the latest collection from Polished by Alexandra for you tonight. If you haven't seen my previous posts about this brand, you should know that Alexandra started selling soaps and other bath and body products through her shop Soaps by Alexandra, opened in 2011. Earlier this year she moved into making indie polishes, also sold out of the same shop. And she's a professional classical opera singer!

This is my third collection I've reviewed from this brand, and I'm happy to see the development in Alex's work. While the summer collection contained some bright cremes and sheers, and the fall collection had rich shimmers, this collection offers you some classic crellies, and shimmery duo/multichrome polishes.

Polished by Alexandra, Winter 2013: Holiday Traditions

12 December 2013

The Beauty Blog Coalition Winter Giveaway

Hi everyone! I'm happy to announce that I'm participating in a huge multi-blogger giveaway! You may have seen this posted on other blogs, but if not, it's your lucky day! I do hope that all of my readers will take advantage of this. If you have any questions please email me or leave a comment below. And good luck!

11 December 2013

The Digit-al Dozen Does Red, Gold, and Green: Day One: Lynnderella Spumoni

Hi everyone! This month's Digit-al Dozen nail art week started yesterday, but I missed it on account of the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp post. So it looks like I'll be playing catch-up later this week! The theme of red, gold, and green obviously ties into the upcoming holidays. And despite the fact that I generally like holiday-themed nail art, I'll admit that I'm finding this week hard in terms of coming up with unique nail art ideas.

Lynnderella Spumoni with water marble accent nail

10 December 2013

Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Eight: Navigating Social Media

The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday evenings. It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi bloggers! If you're interested, and haven't already done so, don't forget to check out the group critique launched last week. I'm so overwhelmed by the very positive response to this experiment and the many good things I've seen come out of this so far. There's still time to sign up, and if you've already signed up but haven't visited any blogs, don't forget to give feedback! There's still some blogs that haven't received any feedback.

Now on to this week's topic...social media. I definitely have a love/hate relationship when it comes to social media. On the one hand, it can be a great distraction, and I encounter lots of a talented bloggers and nail artists that I might not otherwise have found. On the other hand, it seems to be the necessary evil of blogging. In my experience, it takes a considerable amount of time to update each account and it is difficult to keep up with everything being posted and to separate the unique content from the noise.

The purpose of this post is to get you to think about how you use social media as a blogger, and how you might develop a social media strategy. By social media strategy I just mean a way to develop unique content across multiple social media platforms.

09 December 2013

L'Hiver, The Perfect Backdrop for Holiday Ornaments

Hi everyone! Another week, another entry for the Nail Polish Canada Holiday Nail Art Challenge. The theme for this week was decorations, and I'll admit it was pretty difficult to try and come up with an interesting slant for this one. However, I was able to use some polishes from my indie line, Renaissance Custom Lacquer, so I'm very proud of the results.

Holiday ornaments nail art

08 December 2013

New Polishes from Renaissance Custom Lacquer

Hi everyone! I haven't blogged for a few days, but behind the scenes I've been very busy. My sister and I have been working to get new polishes in the shop and I was finally able to release them today. All of these polishes are currently available at Renaissance Cosmetics. You can also go to the shop to see more swatch photos.

Renaissance Custom Lacquer Evenstar

I'll be sending these to some bloggers so that you can get some unbiased reviews, but in the meantime if you have any questions about finishes, formulas or whatever, please ask!

05 December 2013

China Glaze Dash of Dazzle Set: Swatches, Nail Art, and Review

Hi everyone! For the holidays China Glaze has released a number of small gift sets of polishes. They are great stocking stuffers, and so I was fortunate that Nail Polish Canada sent me one of the sets for review. The Dash of Dazzle set contains three polishes from the Happy Holi-Glaze collection - Bells Will Be Blinging, Mingle With Kringle, and So Blue Without You. (Note: In my initial review I forgot to mention that all three are full-sized polishes) The three polishes complement each other perfectly and they are great for doing festive nail art.

China Glaze Dash of Dazzle set

But first let's take a look at some swatches...

04 December 2013

Four Weeks of piCture pOlish: Week Two: A Whimsical Skittlette

Hi everyone! Another week, another gorgeous piCture pOlish shade to share with you. When I was asked by the ladies at piCture pOlish if there was any polish in particular that I wanted to review, Whimsy was my choice - and do you blame me!? This collaboration shade with Neverland Nail Blog is so stunning that I had to show you swatches and some simple nail art, so make sure to check out the full post!

piCture pOlish Whimsy

03 December 2013

Beginning Blogger's Bootcamp: The Group Critique - Hurry, Sign Up!!

Hi Bloggers! I'll be back later (either tonight or tomorrow) with a post on social media, however, I want to post this before it gets too late. Reading about blogging is very useful when you are building your blog. So too is following blogs that you admire and learning from what they do. But feedback on what you're doing is essential. Without feedback, how are you supposed to know what you are doing right, and what needs improvement?

When I started the Beginning Blogger's Bootcamp I knew from the beginning that I wanted to have an interactive component. It is essential for learning. If you are interested in participating (and I encourage all of you who have been following to participate), you will need to sign up ASAP - the deadline to sign up is December 12th. I would like to finish this series before the holidays when people start to take off. Also, I figured if I ran the group critique over a longer period of time, the people who signed up later would not get as much feedback as the people who signed up earlier.

01 December 2013

A Snowy Country Landscape + Tutorial

Hi everyone! I created this design for the Nail Polish Canada 2nd Annual Holiday Nail Art Challenge. Each week there is a new challenge, with the challenge for this first week being snow! I'm very excited to be participating in this year's challenge, because last year I heard about it too late and wasn't able to participate. There's some stiff competition but I'm hoping that will just up my A-game! ;)

Snowy country landscape nail art

29 November 2013

The Latest From Renaissance Custom Lacquer

Hi everyone! This is just a short post to update you on what's going on here at Renaissance Custom Lacquer / Renaissance Cosmetics. If you haven't noticed, we've launched our store, and my sister and I have been so happy with the response so far. No, we didn't break the Internet, but I'm so amazed that quite a few of you took a chance on a new indie and placed your orders. I hope you enjoy your polishes as much as I enjoyed making them.

Renaissance Custom Lacquer The Seasons Collection

We've added two new listings to the shop: one for The Seasons Collection, and one for all six polishes of our first release. You can save money by ordering these as a set. There are very, very limited quantities so if you are interested act fast! Also if you have your heart set on L'Hiver, we are running dangerously low on that polish and won't be able to restock it for a few weeks.

We'd love to see your Renaissance Custom Lacquer nail mail and manis. You can tag us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: #renaissancecosmetics or #renaissancecustomlacquer. Or tag me on Instagram @willpaintnailsforfood.

And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter! I've included a sign-up below. You will get the latest scoop on new releases (sometimes before they make the blog), features on certain products, nail art looks, and special newsletter-only deals and discount codes. You can check out our first newsletter here.

Have a great weekend everyone, and happy shopping!

28 November 2013

Doctor Lacquer, Swatches and Review

Hi everyone! I have a new-to-me indie for you tonight, one that is not only super fun but also has some great collection themes! Angelyn is the brains behind Doctor Lacquer, and I'm not sure what she does in her day job, but I imagine her to be a fourth grade science teacher. These polishes have such fun and bright colours, and most of the collections deal with different branches of the sciences - biology, chemistry, psychology, etc. I love how Angelyn cleverly weaves together science and colour into little bottles of polish! :)

I have several polishes from the Hormonal Efficiency and the Elements of Style collections.

27 November 2013

Four Weeks of piCture pOlish: Week One, Art Nouveau With piCture pOlish Flirt

Hi everyone! You may have noticed how many bloggers have been posting swatches or nail art once a week using shades from Australian brand piCture pOlish. I'm very happy to let you know I'll be participating, so for the next four weeks expect to see some (hopefully) unique nail art using a different polish each week. My goal is to let the individual polish and colour inspire my nail art design, and it would be really cool if this leads to some interesting designs!

But first let's take a look at piCture pOlish Flirt, which looks like your standard hot pink/fuchsia creme in the bottle, but on the nail is so much more...

piCture pOlish Flirt

26 November 2013

Beginning Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Seven: Working With Brands and Writing Reviews

The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday evenings. It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi Bloggers! Perhaps you have been blogging for some time and you've been approached by brands to do reviews, or maybe you're still very new and wondering how to approach brands and companies to get samples to review on your blog. The point of this post is to tell you about the ins and outs of doing reviews for indie makers, nail polish and/or beauty companies. I also want to get you thinking about why you want to do reviews, and how to make them work for you as a blogger.

23 November 2013

Salvatore Ferragamo-Inspired Flowers

Hi everyone! Tonight's post is a little bit different. I was contacted by Destiny USA, a shopping mall in Syracuse, NY and was asked if I would be interested in creating a post on the topic of Italian fashion.

For me, when it comes to fashion I prefer styles and pieces that are classic and can withstand seasonal trends. For example, a jacket or a dress that has a timeless cut but can be accessorized with jewelry or a nice scarf. Maybe it's the budget conscious in me, but I find it difficult to buy clothes that will be out of style in a year.

Salvatore Ferragamo-inspired floral nail art

21 November 2013

Introducing Renaissance Custom Lacquer!

Hi everyone! Today's post is a very special one for me. Several months ago, my sister and I sat down at a cafe on Bloor Street in downtown Toronto and discussed ideas for what would become our own indie polish line. After many weekends experimenting with different pigments and glitters, weeks spent testing and bottling our creations, developing a website, and swatching polishes, the time has finally come to set an opening date (more info later in this post).

So I introduce to you Renaissance Custom Lacquer, aka Renaissance Cosmetics (since we would eventually like to expand and introduce other products). You can find our website at renaissancecosmetics.com. Right now it is in maintenance mode, but if you like, you can sign up for our newsletter, or send us an email. You can also follow us on Facebook. As much as I try to be objective in describing and showing our polishes, I do realize that I am biased, so on our Facebook page I'll be showing swatches from other bloggers.

Renaissance Custom Lacquer

Without further ado, I want to show you our first collection and two stand alone polishes we've created...

19 November 2013

Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Six: Developing Unique Content and Building a Following

The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday evenings. It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi Bloggers! My apologies for getting this post out late, I was totally exhausted last night and fell asleep before I could finish this post! A word of warning - this is a very lengthy post, so grab a coffee, glass of wine, or whatever you like to sip on when reading blogs. It should actually be two posts, but I want to finish up this series before Christmas, so I've combined two topics.

In previous posts we dealt with how to make your blog more appealing through blog design and taking good photos. These are important for drawing people to your blog. But that's only part of the equation. Developing unique content that sets your blog apart from the others, and building a following are important for making taking your blog to the next level. 

One of the frustrations newer bloggers have is that they feel no one is reading or following their blog. It can be disappointing when you feel that you are putting your best work out there and no one sees it. This post is filled with tips and advice, so hopefully it will help you in that respect.

16 November 2013

The Digit-al Dozen Does Black & White: Art Nouveau Roses

Hi everyone! This is later than I hoped, but I finally have my fifth and final post for Digit-al Dozen's Black and White week. I feel very proud of myself for finishing five days of nail art, I mean, this is not something I'm used to doing. I had very high hopes for my final design, and yet, I have very mixed feelings about the final results for reasons that I hope will become clear in the rest of the post.

Art Nouveau roses

15 November 2013

The Digit-al Dozen Does Black & White: Black and White Abstract With Studs...Take Two!

Hi everyone! I have a draft of one of my dissertation chapters due tomorrow, and I knew that I wouldn't have time to do any nail art the night before, so I was able to complete this design a few weeks ago. Lucky for me, I finished my revisions and tomorrow I'm free and clear to do my last design for this challenge. I can't believe my first challenge week for the Digit-al Dozen is almost over, and yet, I still have a chance to come up with one more (hopefully) awesome design! What do you want to see me do for day 5?

Black and white abstract with studs

Today's design is actually inspired by previous nail art designs that I did. I kinda like that, it's like I'm ripping myself off! Haha! ;)

14 November 2013

The Digit-al Dozen Does Black & White: Disrupted Water Marble

Hi everyone! Monday we had the distressed poppies, and now we have disrupted water marble. Notice a trend? ;) You may have seen similar designs like this here, this is my favourite way to do water marbles. It's not a perfect water marble, nor is it a water-spotted water marble (see no spots!), so I've dubbed it the disrupted water marble.

Black and white disrupted water marble

13 November 2013

The Digit-al Dozen Does Black & White: Graphic Galaxy Nails

Hi everyone! It's interesting to think about where inspiration and ideas come from - whether it's a painting, nail art, a poem...you get the point. When I heard that my first Digit-al Dozen challenge would be black and white, I remember thinking to myself, "now how am I going to come up with five black and white designs?!" But it's interesting what has happened in the time leading up to this challenge. The ideas slowly came, sometimes unexpectedly.

I told you about the inspiration for last night's Remembrance Day poppies. Well today's design comes from a shopping trip last week.

Graphic Galaxy nails and matching dress

12 November 2013

The Digit-al Dozen Does Black & White: Distressed Poppies for Remembrance Day

Hi everyone! Today marks my first official blog post as part of the Digit-al Dozen! The theme for the week is black and white, and since today was Remembrance Day here in Canada, I decided to do something appropriate for this special day. You may be wondering why my design has some red in it, if the theme is black and white. Well let me explain...

Distressed Poppies for Remembrance Day

11 November 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Thirty-One, Re-create Your Favourite Challenge

Hi everyone! So here we are, my final design for the 31 Day Challenge. I'm not sure if this process made me a better nail artist or a better blogger, but I do know that some of my best designs in recent months came out of the prompts. However, when it was time to re-create my favourite challenge, there was no doubt that I'd be revisiting the galaxy nails.

Gold-framed galaxies

09 November 2013

Femme Fatale Cosmetics Swatches

Hello everyone! Things have been quiet over hear on account of work, but I'm very excited to be showing you some Femme Fatale swatches tonight!

Femme Fatale Cosmetics, an indie brand and distributor based in Australia, is probably amongst my favourite indie brands. They are constantly introducing polishes that become lemmings for me. Also they make and sell gorgeous mineral eyeshadows - I bought some a few months ago, and I seriously use them at least 2-3 times per week. If you have not checked them out, I encourage you to do so!

06 November 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Thirty, Inspired by a Tutorial: Shearling Darling Nimbus

Hi everyone! Can you believe this nail challenge is almost over!? I just keep telling myself "deep breath, you can do it!" I don't know how people do this in one month.

A few weeks ago I bought the new Essie winter collection from Nail Polish Canada. Normally I swatch these as soon as they arrive, but I have so many reviews that I owe, I've had to push it back. But today's challenge is perfect for using some of these polishes. I find that Essie's Shearling Darling collection is perfect for nail art, the colours complement each other so well!

Shearling Darling Nimbus

05 November 2013

Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Five: Editing Nail Photos

The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday evenings (or Tuesday morning when trying to edit video). It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi bloggers! Before I get into talking about editing, I want to let you know that the bootcamp will be on hiatus next Monday. Next week I'll be doing a week-long challenge with the Digit-al Dozen, so the bootcamp will return two weeks from today on November 18th.

Editing can be a touchy subject, especially when it comes to photographs being "honest." For that reason this post may sound a tad bit more formal at times...

Bloggers vary greatly in the amount of editing that they do. Some might simply crop and watermark their photographs, while others will rotate, adjust levels, crop, add text, even frames. The purpose of this post is to show you the different editing tools that are at your disposal. And since seeing someone else's process can be helpful, I'll go through my own process of editing my photos.

02 November 2013

Introducing Lumina Lacquer Eternal Winter!

Hi everyone! Today's post is very special for me, and one that's been in the works for months. Awhile back I was contacted by Tatiana of Lumina Lacquer to create a collaboration polish with her. I love what Tatiana is doing with her brand, and I've enjoyed reviewing Lumina Lacquer on this blog, so of course I said yes! Then of course was the hard part of coming up with an idea and keeping it a secret (I'm not good at secrets).

Lumina Lacquer Eternal Winter

01 November 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Nine, Inspired by the Supernatural: Dark Willow

Hi everyone! I have my second Halloween-related nail art post for you tonight. Ideally I would have posted this before Halloween, but it's just been one of those weeks!

This is actually one of those challenges I've been looking forward to for awhile. I'm not too big on the supernatural, but over the summer I devoured all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer - my first time watching the show. Even though the show is over ten years old, and some of the special effects are a bit dated, it's still pretty awesome. It's one of those shows where I felt lost and sad once I had finished all the episodes.

Dark Willow-inspired nail art

Guest Post at Lacquered by Blue Vanilla

Happy Halloween everyone! So far I haven't done any Halloween nail art on this blog, however, I did do a guest post over at Lacquered by Blue Vanilla - a blog by Bethanie and Xin Yu, two friends from Singapore. They had a series of guest posts and the theme was, naturally, Halloween! It's a great series, so make sure to check it out!

Head on over to my guest post to read about this nail art design and see more pictures. Can you guess what book I took as my inspiration? If you don't know you'll have to find out over at Xin Yu and Bethanie's blog. ;)

What do you think of this? Did you do any nail art for Halloween?

30 October 2013

Jindie Nails Fall Chic Collection, Swatches and Review

Hi everyone! I have another great collection from Jindie Nails for you. As I've come to expect from the brand, these all have beautiful colours and glitters, with perfect application, and clever names. I also love that they are not what you would typically expect from a fall collection - there's not a vampy red or brown in sight!

Jindie Nails Fall Chic Collection for 2013

29 October 2013

Beginning Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Four: Taking Nail Photos

The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday evenings. It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi bloggers! After blog design, good, clear photographs are essential to creating a strong first impression for new visitors to your site. Because photographs are so important, I've actually split the topic into two posts - today I'm going to cover what goes into taking a good photograph, and next week I'll cover editing.

27 October 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Eight, Inspired by a Flag: The Franco-Ontarian Flag

Hi everyone! Out of all the prompts in the 31 Day Challenge, the "Inspired by a Flag" prompt is by far the most uninspiring of all of them. I realize that flags serve an important purpose as symbols of nations, regions or groups, and I find it interesting to see what flags different countries and regions adopt. But on an aesthetic level, flags are pretty boring and unappealing. Like, someone please, take a brush and paint some pretty flowers on that thing! But it's a challenge, and in my research I ended up finding a flag that was interesting on a more personal level.

Franco-Ontarian flag nail art

25 October 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Seven, Inspired by Artwork: Lee Bontecou, Untitled, 1960

Hi everyone! Having studied fine art for many years - first I was a studio major specializing in painting, now I study art history - I knew that the "Inspired by Artwork" challenge would be, well, challenging. Not because of a lack of ideas, but rather because of how hard it would be to settle on one idea, and one artwork. But you must admit, this challenge is right up my alley, I love doing nail art inspired by art.

Abstract nail art (inspired by Lee Bontecou)

24 October 2013

Jindie Nails Halloween 2013 Collection, Swatches and Review

Hi everyone! I hope you aren't tired of Halloween collections because I have another one for you today. If you follow Jindie Nails you may have already seen the new Halloween collection for this year. If not, you are in for a treat! And this collection is soon to be discontinued, so if you want to get your mitts on them, you need to act fast...more on that at the end of my post. :)

Jindie Nails Halloween 2013 Collection

22 October 2013

Jindie Nails Harlow Can You Go, Swatches and Review!

Hi everyone! This is a short post to tell you about a new polish from Jindie Nails available at Harlow & Co. Click on the page jump to see more photos and swatches!

Jindie Nails Harlow Can You Go

Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Three: Blog Design

The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday evenings. It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi bloggers! Blog design was something I had not originally planned to deal with in this series. Yet, last week when I was writing about blogging platforms, it became clear to me that it was something that needed to be addressed. New bloggers often feel letdown by a lack of visitors to their blog. They concern themselves with the quality of their photographs or needing to show the latest polishes. But one thing that is often overlooked is blog design.

21 October 2013

Valentino-Inspired Nail Art Tutorial

Hi everyone! A few days ago I posted my fashion-inspired nails for the 31 Day Challenge. The inspiration was a gorgeous grey, black and cream-coloured dress with metallic silver embroidery from Valentino, done for the Fall 2013 Couture collection. Technique-wise there is nothing ground-breaking about this design, however, sometimes it's nice to break a design down into different steps. Also I'm trying to push myself to do more tutorials because I know that they are helpful to many of you.

20 October 2013

A Special Announcement: I've Joined The Digit-al Dozen!

Hi everyone! I'm very excited to announce that I'm now an official member of The Digit-al Dozen! Not only that but I'm joining at the same time as my nail art partner-in-crime Lindsey from Wondrously Polished. I could have simply posted a quick announcement on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, but I decided to take this opportunity to tell you about The Digit-al Dozen, and what this change means for the blog.

What is The Digit-al Dozen?

Despite the name, The Digit-al Dozen is a group of 24 awesome nail polish bloggers, mostly from North America, but some from Europe and the UK. They do a nail art challenge once a month, running for five days in a row (Monday-Friday). Each month has a different theme, and they'll interpret that theme with five different nail art designs.

Recently they've expanded and have started a blog, along with a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, etc. They've done some interesting posts including "What Camera Do You Use?": a roundup of the types of cameras used by various members;  and "A Dozen Nail Art Tools": where they talk about the nail art supplies they can't live without. In the near future they'll be posting nail art tutorials, as well as posts on favourite nail polishes, nail care, and related topics.

The blog aims to be a go-to site for nail art and nail polish, and what I think is awesome is that it draws on the knowledge of 24 bloggers. And of course it couldn't happen without the feedback of readers. So any suggestions for future posts and what you'd like to see would be very welcome.

Why I'm Excited to Join The Digit-al Dozen 
...and What It Means For This Blog

I remember earlier this year when I first heard about The Digit-al Dozen, I thought to myself "What a cool group, I'd love to be part of that someday!" So imagine my surprise when I was approached and asked to join. Unfortunately it's a closed group and they're not accepting new members, but it does go to show that if you work hard you can achieve your blogging goals.

I'm also excited because I really like the new Digit-al Dozen blog. I think it's clear from my Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp that I enjoy thinking about blogging, and how to make blogs stronger. So I really am looking forward to this new direction in the group.

So what that means for this blog is that once a month for a week I'll be posting nail art designs around a specific theme. I've come to realize that I need challenges like this in order to continue doing nail art - it's easy to get into the habit of always posting swatches, and the challenges push me to break that habit.

So if you enjoy tuning in for my nail art, you should like this new direction in this blog! Our next challenge is in November, so make sure to check it out!

In the meantime, you can keep up with The Digit-al Dozen in the following ways:

And I also want to thank all of you for continuing to support this blog! These developments wouldn't be possible without you. :)

19 October 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Six, Inspired By A Pattern: Paisley...Yes Again!

Hi everyone! I think the title of this post says it all. If one thing is clear at the end of this challenge, it will be my love of paisley patterns for nail art. Or at least my desire to do this type of design well. You may recall that I also did paisley for Day 8 (Metallic Nails), and Day 15 (Delicate Print). Both times I was not quite happy with my designs, so I took the opportunity with today's prompt to try one more time.  And I'm happy that I did, this is my favourite paisley design to date. :)

Paisley nail art

About this design: In my fourth (yes, fourth!) attempt at paisley, I made a number of changes that I think makes this successful. First, I stuck to black lines. Although it's tempting to use different colours for the lines, black has that graphic quality and is the obvious choice for line work. Second, I did a subtle gradient that lends some interest without overwhelming the design.

Paisley nail art

Third, I didn't try to crowd my design with too many elements. I love really crowded, busy paisley patterns, but this time around I decided to do something less busy (by my standards ;)). And fourth, I used a limited amount of colours to make it interesting but still cohesive.

Paisley nail art

Paisley nail art

My favourite paisley design ever is this simple design by Hana4. If you are not following her - she's a nail artist from Japan - you are really missing out! I borrowed from her the simple way she does her paisley teardrop, however I wasn't trying to copy her design exactly. I just wanted to share this cute design with you, because I love it so much! :)

Paisley nail art

Paisley nail art

To get this look: I started with a gradient using OPI My Vampire is Buff and China Glaze Sea Spray - nails were painted with MViB before doing the gradient. The black lines were done with a thin liner brush and Orly Liquid Vinyl. Then I used Essie Sexy Divide, Trophy Wife, and Penny Divide for the dots and to fill in the lines.

What do you think of this paisley design? Do you like it better than my previous attempts?


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