Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 - A year in my 2014 goals!

Happy Happy New Year, all! My first post of the new year will take a look at some of what I managed to do in 2013 and will also share some of my goals for the new year - 2014 seems very promising to me! Put your reading glasses on because I'm about to ramble on...This is a long post in both text and pictures but I hope you'll read through to the end! I'll love you forever and always if you do!

A floral obsession
I started my blog in November of 2012 and while I created some things I'm proud of from November 2012 - January 2013, I feel like I had a major "breakthrough", if you will, in February of 2013. I had been participating in monthly challenges put together by Californails but I wasn't really attempting anything outside of my comfort zone. I certainly never thought that I would ever want to paint flowers on my nails. I'm not sure what my aversion was to them, but I just never thought I'd stray from geometric themes consisting of striping tape and lines. I also never thought I'd enjoy free-handing so much and that's ultimately my passion now. 

But day 2 of February's challenge called for flowers so I decided to go all in and find something that inspired me enough to want to paint flowers on my nails. I ended up finding a beautiful painting and I created this look. I was, and am still, so proud of this. It was the first time I felt like I had actually created "art" and I really credit this mani for the start of my real love affair with nail art. 
Poppies - the look that started it all for me
This was also the first mani where people were tagging me and showing me that they had recreated my artwork and it was one of the coolest things I had ever experienced. It really inspired me to keep pushing my boundaries and try new things. 

Soon after that I painted my water lily mani and was once again so proud of what I had accomplished. I never in a million years thought I'd be able to replicate the painting on my nails. 
Water Lilies 
These two looks started my love affair with floral manis and I created some art I'm really proud of after that. It eventually earned me the nickname of "Floral Queen" on Instagram.
Mosaic Floral
Retro Floral
My Hodge Podge Flowers got a hugely positive response and it was really exciting - I even won an Instagram "Nature" inspired contest put on by Libedon with this mani!
Hodge Podge Flowers (hey, look! I made myself a real live watermark!)
Spring Flowers that I wore in a wedding :)
A tribal obsession
While those weren't the only floral looks I did last year, they are definitely some of my favorites and the ones I'm most proud of.

I tend to obsess over certain patterns and styles when I find something I truly like and after my love of flowers, my love of tribal print began. I started out with a simpler tribal look to get my feet wet and really loved how it came out. It was funky and different and "me".
Funky Tribal Print
I've done quite a few tribal prints since then, but these are some of my favorites in the order that I did them:
Vibrant Aztec tribal
Bright Tribal
And finally, my most detailed tribal look is a more recent one (from September) that I did for the 31 Day Challenge. It was featured in Nail It! Magazine's picks for Favorite Fall Nails and led to a getting to do a few tutorials for them as well. There were squeals of excitement in my house when I read that email ;) 
Autumn Tribal
Finding my passion
I had my ups and downs throughout the year and I struggled a bit with finding my identity and what my passion was (I'm still figuring it out as it is an ever evolving thing!). While I enjoyed doing simple and quick looks, I was finding myself wanting to do more detailed work and as my skill improved with practice, I was able to execute what I saw in my mind's eye with more ease...though each project was incredibly intimidating!

In July I embarked on the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge with my friend Meghan of Will Paint Nails for Food (seriously, she's amazing and I want to be like her when I grow up - her blog is such an inspiration) and it REALLY challenged me...and it produced some of my favorite nail art of the year. I was invited to join The Digital Dozen at the end of October (which was the moment I felt like I had "made" it haha I wouldn't shut up about it for weeks) and that produced some great work as well. There were also challenges and guest posts mixed in throughout the year, each of which made me want to produce my best work yet. So, here are some of my favorites from all of those categories!
31 Day Challenge, inspired by fashion
31 Day Challenge, inspired by a flag
Digital Dozen does Black and White
Sunrise Landscape for the 31 Day Challenge
Entry for Nail Polish Canada's Winter Challenge
Guest post for Work / Play / Polish
Fair Isle Print
Is your finger tired of scrolling yet? ;) We're getting close to the end now! It was a tough decision, but I think my two favorite looks from the whole year were done as prompts for the 31 Day Challenge. The first are my galaxy nails. After doing these, I shared them on the website Reddit in their /r/RedditLaqueristas forum and they're currently the top post of all time there...I am still can't believe the positive response that these got all over the web. It was so exciting and I don't know that I'll ever be able to create something quite like them again.
31 Day Challenge, Galaxy Nails
Finally, I think my favorite mani of the year has to be my Inspired by a song nails for the 31 Day Challenge. I chose the song Shake it Out by Florence + the Machine and I'm still so in love with these. I think the best part about this look was that it seemed to be incredibly inspiring to many of my readers. I'm still getting tagged in Instagram photos by people who took a stab at recreating these and it is so incredibly humbling and wonderful to see. I think that is the best part about nail art, inspiring others to also be creative.  
"It's always darkest before the dawn"
2013 on the whole
I am still astounded by what I was able to accomplish this year. 

I had a lot of great opportunities presented to me throughout the year. I worked with the clothing company Lulu*s for half the year creating tutorials, and while they've moved on to a new Mani Monday blogger, I'm really proud of myself for creating a tutorial a week for almost 7 months (at some point I'll create an easier way to view all of the tutorials I did for them on my blog). I also got to work with companies like The Hunt, Deb Shops and Cocktails & Joints (this was a brief collaboration, but still a meaningful experience) and we shall see where all of those go in the future. 

I worked with indie polish companies doing swatching and reviews which was my ultimate goal when I first started this blog. It's been a wonderful (albeit time consuming) adventure and I hope to see that part of my blog expand and grow. 

I completed the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge with Meghan and I am SO proud of us for doing that. I had started it once before and only got through the first 6 days of it so it was great having a partner in crime that held me accountable to finish it. I also think we pushed each other to put our best artwork forward that we could.  

I was invited to join the Digital Dozen and I think this is one of my proudest blogging moments so far. I still feel so honored to be included with these talented ladies and they constantly push me to produce the best work I can. I'm also incredibly thankful for the friendships that I'm forming with all of the ladies there.
Here's a picture of Fonzi in a Santa Hat to break of the wall of text ;) 
Goals for 2014
I've been thinking a lot about where to take my blog as the new year begins. Debbie from The Crumpet did a post about her top blogs of 2013 and I my jaw fell to the floor when I found out I aws included in her list...but something she said really resonated with me. While I love doing my intricate detail work, I do think it makes my blog less approachable for readers that are looking for inspiration or things to recreate themselves. So, with that in mind, here is my goal for the new year:

Make Wondrously Polished a more well rounded blog - somewhere to go for inspiration ranging from simple art to intricate and detailed art. A place for tutorials, swatches and hopefully stimulating reading. I'd like to do, at the very least, bi-monthly tutorials with easier artwork and I'd also like to take pictures as I go with my more complicated artwork so that you can see how I reach the final product. I'd like to do a series of posts that explore my tips and tricks that I've acquired that include videos ranging from the basics to more complicated techniques. 

So on the whole, my goal for 2014 is to be more well rounded! 

All that text and rambling to reach that conclusion haha if you made it to the end of this post, you are a rockstar! I truly appreciate each and every one of you all for reading and commenting and being supportive every time I post. You're the reason I keep up with this and the reason I've been able to improve in all areas of my blog. I am so excited to see what 2014 holds and I hope you'll continue reading along with me! 

If you're feeling up to it, I would absolutely love and appreciate if you left me a comment letting me know what you'd like to see on Wondrously Polished or if you have any other suggestions/constructive criticisms on how I could improve (I promise I won't be offended!). 

Whew! Happy New Year and Happy Polishing!! :)