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...
This was my first month of blogging after switching from Tumblr. It was a steep learning curve: there was more time involved, and a new camera and lightbox meant I had to learn a new way of taking photos (previously I took daylight photos, using a wall as a backdrop). I participated in the Advent Calendar Nail Challenge hosted by Kristi of Happy Hands Polish and some good work came out of that. But by far my best design was this stained glass nativity scene, inspired by the song Silent Night. It brought a lot of new visitors to the blog and I also won a contest on Instagram hosted by WAH Nails.
|23 December 2012: Advent Calendar Nail Challenge, Day 16: Inspired by a Christmas Song|
After the Advent Calendar Nail Challenge I had to figure out my voice and my niche in blogging (this is ongoing of course). I posted a lot of swatches, including the China Glaze Glitz Bitz 'n Pieces collection, and my picks from the Nicole by OPI Selena Gomez and Modern Family Collections. But my most challenging nail art design was the design I did for glaucoma awareness, for a contest hosted by Polish Obsession on IG. I really loved the intricacy and motifs in this design.
|27 January 2013: Glaucoma Awareness Manicure|
In February I was approached by companies for the first time: Katie from Harlow & Co. asked me to swatch some Models Own polishes, and I was contacted by the Born Pretty Store to review their products. I was kinda flabbergasted, but of course very excited. I did some breakthrough nail art looks including my celtic knot mani and a skittlette for my Born Pretty Store review, but it was this glitter gradient with Lynnderella Common Sense over Sally Hansen Barracuda that stole my heart. Sometimes good nail art can be simple, and I love the combination of the rose colours and the pale blue base.
|26 February 2013: Lynnderella Common Sense|
I feel like March was a weird month, in that not much really happened. I continued to review products for the Born Pretty Store, and I got the chance to review some polishes from Lumina Lacquer, which are still my favourite polishes from that brand. But it was this black and white paisley I did featuring the Cult Nails 2nd Anniversary set that really stole the show. And it set off a love of paisley which still continues to this day. <3
|30 March 2013: Paisley and Gradients With Cult Nails 2nd Anniversary Collection|
This month I started another nail art challenge - the Seven Deadly Sins Challenge hosted by One Nail to Rule Them All and Nail Wish. I'm still in awe that I was asked to join the challenge along with some very talented nail artists. It was a good experience, but I didn't do any designs that really stood out to me. Perhaps that's how things work out sometimes. Also in April, I stumbled upon the new Dior Birds of Paradise polishes, which led to this peacock nail design. I love the simplicity and sophistication of it.
|20 April 2013: Peacock Nail Art Using the Dior Vernis Nail Duo in Samba|
Around this time I started getting approached by more indie brands and was posting a lot of swatches. Don't get me wrong, it was great to feature these brands, including Jindie Nails, Serum No. 5, Different Dimensions, and Polish Addict Nail Color. However, the standout moment came with this guest post I did for Peace, Love & Polish. I had tried to do mobile/ornament nails several times with limited success, and with this mani I felt like I really got it. And I'm still in love with that little rocket ship - isn't it cute!?
|31 May 2013: Guest Post Over At Peace, Love & Polish|
I posted a lot of swatches in June, so to be honest nothing I did really stood out as I went back and reviewed my posts. However, I did launch my "From the Reader" series - three posts featuring easy nail art tips and techniques submitted by readers. I really love the submissions that I received, and I was happy to get such a good response. Also it made me realize how important it is to take the time and share the work of other bloggers. What do you think - do we need to do this again? ;)
|27 June 2013: From the Readers: Your Easy Nail Art Tips and Techniques, Part One |
(image courtesy of Brijit's Digits)
This was such a huge month for me blogging-wise. I started the 31 Day Challenge along with my friend, and one of my favourite nail artists, Lindsey of Wondrously Polished. The poppies I did for the first challenge is something I still feel immensely proud of. I also did my first high-profile guest post at The Nailasaurus. But it was the piCture pOlish Blog Fest that really had an impact. I spent hours on my design and in the end it payed off. I was awarded one of three awards when other bloggers voted for my design. Woot woot!! :)
|29 July 2013: piCture pOlish Blog Fest 2013: Art Deco Stained Glass Nails + Tutorial|
This month I continued with the 31 Day Challenge. I can't emphasize enough how good it is to do something like this, the range of prompts really forces you to try new things. During the challenge I did quite a few designs that I'm very proud of, but one that really stands out is my obsessive compulsive abstract design for day seven. I really love the overall design: it's meticulous, detailed and challenging; but yet, it has an overall simplicity because it's limited to black and white.
|3 August 2013: 31 Day Challenge: Day Seven, Black and White: Obsessive Abstraction|
This month was another great month for this blog. I reviewed a lot of cool polish: Jindie Nails; Halloween collections from Different Dimensions and Pretty & Polished; and the fall collection from Polished by Alexandra. I also launched the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp, an undertaking that was much more intensive than I expected. But by far my favourite post is my ethereal dreamcatcher design and tutorial, and I think a lot of people would agree with me, based on the many comments and page views. I've even seen people replicate this design, which is very cool and touching!
|29 September 2013: Ethereal Dreamcatcher Nails and a Tutorial|
I posted less in October than in previous months, probably because of the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp. But I also continued with the 31 Day Challenge. One of my favourite designs to come out of the challenge was this paisley mani. I did three paisley designs during the challenge - the first two I wasn't happy with, but the third one (this one) was a winner for me. I really love the intricacy of the design, and the subtle use of colour with a solid graphic linear element.
|19 October 2013: 31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Six, Inspired by a Pattern: Paisley...Yes Again!|
This was another big month for me. In addition to the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp series, I had my first nail art challenge for The Digit-al Dozen, which I officially joined in late October. I am looking foward to what will come from future Digit-al Dozen challenges in 2014, and I want to use the group challenges to really push my nail art skills and abilities. But the milestone of this month was launching my own indie polish line, Renaissance Custom Lacquer, which was months in the works. I know that it's not going to be easy trying to establish ourselves, but I love the work and accept it as another challenge. :)
|21 November 2013: Introducing Renaissance Custom Lacquer!|
So here we are at the end of the year. I'll admit I found it hard to keep up with things this month. I wrapped up the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp series, and felt good about that, but I wasn't able to do all of the challenge manis for the Digit-al Dozen red, gold and green week. However, I was really proud of the two designs I did for the Nail Polish Canada Holiday Nail Art Challenge. I felt like my snowy country landscape that I did for the first challenge was another breakthrough in terms of my nail art. And I'm happy I was able to capture some of the process in the tutorial that went along with it. I look forward to doing more stuff like this in the new year.
|1 December 2013: A Snowy Country Landscape + Tutorial|
So there you have it! I'm curious to hear - which of these designs/posts stood out for you? Bloggers, how did you feel about your year of blogging? Any great milestones and/or disappointments? It was nice to look at what I accomplished over the year, and I'm hoping I can sustain that in the new year. But I know that life can throw curve balls. I feel like I'm better equipped to deal with those, especially with such a supportive group of followers and blog readers. :)
Thanks everyone for such a great year, whether you started reading last year or last week!