1000th post fingers side

I was about to start this post – my 1,000th! – with something trite like, “Hard to believe, eh?” but I’m retracting that, because I can totally believe it!  I was here for all 1,000 posts, and they didn’t just magically compose themselves out of thin air.  This blog is the product of a lot of hard – but so fun – daily work and I’m tremendously proud of all that I’ve built up over the past two and a half years.

I recently read that the failure rate for blogs is on par with that of opening a restaurant. That means roughly 90 percent of bloggers tap out within the first three months to a year of start-up.  It’s an approximate number born out by my own experience – with the exception of a handful of lovely followers (oh, how I loathe that term; no cult leader am I) that have, to my great delight and wonderment, made this blog one of their second virtual homes, most readers come and go within six months.

So how have I persisted while others have already closed up (or abandoned) shop?

1. It sounds like a real no-brainer, but centre your blog around something you feel passionately about. It doesn’t particularly matter if what you feel passionately about is animal welfare or world politics or poetry or nail art or constructing elaborate miniature dioramas of the Globe Theatre populated entirely by hamsters in velveteen period costumes – if it holds your interest and you’re having fun sharing that interest with others, you’ll blog to do precisely that.

2. Don’t take shit from others.  I’ve learned that the act of blogging – particularly silly old beauty blogging – is a lightning rod for some people to tell you how and why you’re wasting your life and bandwidth.  The me of years’ back probably would have folded pretty quickly under the critical gaze of others, but the me of today refuses to be chased away from something she loves because it doesn’t look like someone else’s definition of a “proper” undertaking.  Don’t allow your blogging efforts to be derailed by a judgmental few.

3. Never stop learning.  Whether it’s keeping abreast of the latest updates to your blogging platform, learning new techniques, teaching yourself relevant computer programs, trying out new products and vendors or whatever the heck aligns with your blog, never stop trying to understand the (virtual) world around you.  Keep things fresh and interesting and it’s something you’ll want to return to every day.

4. Get involved in the community.  Blogging does not occur in a vacuum.  Cultivate online (and maybe even real life) friendships with like-minded bloggers and you’ll come to think of your online space as more than just a place for you to dump your random thoughts.

And to that end,

5. Have something to say.  Or do or display or demonstrate or show off or any one of the other thousands of action-oriented verbs in the English language.  Using your blog as a public diary can be cathartic, sure, and I’m not trying to diminish the importance of getting your thoughts out in the world and off your mind, but in terms of blog sustainability, we all eventually run out of things to say (just not apparently me.)  Tying your blog and your writing to some other product you’ve created gives you a built-in subject, and a jumping off point for other tangential discussions (it’s how I get away with talking about The Lost Boys every 27th post.)

So there, some hopefully wise words of blogging advice from an old timer who’s been there, done that, forgotten how the stupid saying actually goes.  As always, thank you to the enthusiastic supporters (that’s so much better than “follower,” right?) who always have a kind and friendly word, and who make this space such a fun and enjoyable place to call MY second home.  Here’s to the next 1,000!

1000th post fingers front


One Lovely Blog

One Lovely Blog Award

Well, I certainly think so. 😉 And as Finger Candy nears its one year blogiversary, others apparently do, too, as I recently received another lovely blogger “nomination” from enthusiastic reader Jadie for, appropriately enough, the One Lovely Blog Award. I have discussed in the past – at length; concise I am only occasionally – my reticence at getting involved in these kind of chain letter-esque love fests, finally coming down on the side of me being a big old snob who needs to get the hell over herself. Somebody has put themselves out on a limb in paying me a compliment, and I ought to receive their kindness as graciously as it was offered. It’s just part of being a good member of the larger blogging community. Now let’s all hold hands (making sure our manis are dry, of course) and sing some Maroon 5 (no, no, I’m kidding – let’s never sing the Maroon 5, okay? Like, ever.) Actually, let’s look at this gallery of some of my lovelier, and loved-up, designs instead:

Ah, but there are certain obligations I must fulfil in recognition of this award, including thanking Jadie for her pay-it-forward-type kindness. Please do visit her blog and keep this polished circle of life moving, won’t you? Wait, do you know how many “circle of life’ jokes I’ve made on this blog? LOTS. And I don’t even like the Lion King!

Next up are seven (further) random facts about me. Now, I happen to think I’m endlessly fascinating, but you may feel differently, particularly when you learn that:

1. My three favourite movies, still, since childhood, are The Lost Boys, The Goonies and Beetlejuice. Although that’s not so random, seeing as I’ve talked about those three movies on this blog a combined 8,756 times.

2. I’m fond of making up wild, not-a-bit-accurate numbers to “support” various claims (“I’ve been waiting here for nine years,” “There were, like, eight billion 12-year-olds there,” “I’ve seen The Lost Boys, The Goonies and Beetlejuice a combined 8,756 times,” etc.)

3. I recently discovered that it takes about two solid weeks to paint all the moldings and doors in a 2,400 square foot house. I really wish this was knowledge I didn’t possess.

4. Having said that, I’m amazed at what I accomplished physically (and mentally) when I recently helped fix up a relative’s house in preparation for sale (see above, re: 2,400 square feet of moldings and doors.) It serves as a great reminder that I feel better about myself when I step outside the box, even if I occasionally have to be given a firm shove first.

5. When I’m trying to fall asleep, I recite the salient plot points of Stephen King books and short stories in my head. I know them so well, it acts as its own sort of internal white noise, and typically by the time the Creed family has settled into their charming home beside the Wendigo-haunted burial ground, I’m out like a light.

6. Although this ritual could also certainly account for the disturbing – and disturbingly frequent – dreams I have about everything from tentacled critters crawling on the ceiling to insane clowns staring up at me through the shower drain.

7. I think this may be a bit disturbing to those who have known me for a very long, coffee-slugging time, but I’m *whispers* not all that fond of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes any more. They make my teeth feel all fuzzy.

So on that non sequitur, I’ll move on to the third part of the nomination, which requires *me* to nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the One Lovely Blog Award. Seeing as most of these bloggers have had more than one crack at this particular rodeo and probably don’t need to jump in line for another round of the seven random fact hokey pokey AND because I can never truly play by the rules, I’ve decided to go about things a different way, choosing instead to highlight 10 individual posts by favourite WordPress bloggers that have wowed and inspired me throughout the year. Hopefully you’ll fall in love with a few new lovelies yourself.

1. Craftynail‘s monarch butterfly nails with individually hand-placed glitter gradients. Some of my favourite nails of the year, and an idea I need to steal for myself!

2. Flight of Whimsy‘s adorable under da sea mani. The colours in this one are summertime perfection.

3. Dee’z Dazzling Designs‘ mega juicy-looking pond manicure.

4. The Adorned Claw‘s stamped tiger stripes over top of caviar beads. The mind, it boggles.

5. Wonderful Wolf‘s impressive striping tape manoeuvres.

6. Eeeek! Nail Polish!‘s adorable little witch and her feline familiar.

7. Perfectly Nailed UK‘s cool, black-lined doodle mani.

8. Wicked Splatters‘ simple, adorable watermelons. It’s a classic design for a reason.

9. Nails By Night‘s delicate, pastel opal mani.

10. Polish Me Snazzy lays out a nice tutorial for her interpretation of watermelon nails.

Shine On (or Becoming a Gracious Blogger)

Being the generally cynical, somewhat skeptical creature that I am and probably always will be, I’m always a touch suspicious when someone pays me a compliment clear out of the wild blue yonder.  It’s not that I think I’m undeserving (unless, you know, I’m actually undeserving) and it’s not that I have issues taking compliments (by all means, praise away!), it’s more like my overused BS detector goes into overdrive, a trait I could truly stand to lose.

So when Jacqui at Craftynail nominated me for the Shine On Award, a kind of blogger-on-blogger love fest highlighting favourite bloggers and their work, I initially balked and let the message linger in my inbox.  And it wasn’t that I wasn’t appreciative – very much so, Jacqui! – rather I questioned what possible utility someone might have in finding out seven random facts about me and seeing my first epic nail fail (two of the rules of Shine On Award Club, the first rule being you do not talk about Shine On Award Club.  Oh, crap…)

That cynicism has often served me well and kept me out of trouble, but just as often it’s kept me from engaging in the full spectrum of human emotions, most notably those requiring faith that someone isn’t trying to pull a fast one on me.  And you know what?  That’s just an unreasonably lame way to go through life.  No one likes the person who, for whatever reason, is too cool for school.  It’s the reason hipsters are the third favourite joke topic behind lawyers and three disparate people walking into a bar. 

Moreover, it’s just plain rude!  Someone has been kind enough to let me know they think my blog is A-OK, and I’m going to “Thanks, but no thanks” that?  No thanks to THAT.  As members of the blogging community (sub-specialty: nail blogging) we should be supportive of one another and celebrate each other’s successes (even as we politely ignore the inevitable and unfortunate lesser effort.)  We should be comfortable giving props to those bloggers that inspire us, and we should be equally adept at accepting compliments when someone has been kind enough to extend one in the first place. 

So in the spirit of not being a neurotic buzzkill, I will gladly accept Craftynail’s nomination, and offer my thanks both to her and to all the other bloggers in this friendly and welcoming community who inspire me every day to develop new skills, up my game and, most importantly, just get out there and BE.  Thank you!

Right; now that that mushy stuff is out of the way, on with the show!  First, seven facts you may not know about me (although if you’re a friend of mine in the “real world” you probably will know these things, because I tend to talk incessantly about that which I love):

1. I talk incessantly about that which I love.  This means into any given conversation, no matter the topic, I can shoehorn references to The Lost Boys, butter, cats and Disney World (sometimes all four.)

2. A few times a year I entertain a fun little fantasy where my husband and I blow off our lives, pack up our kitties and haul ass to Disney World, where he becomes an Imagineer and I get a job “toiling” in darkened, creepy, air conditioned splendor as a guide at the Haunted Mansion.

3. For three or four months in the spring of 2011 I experienced night terrors for the first – and hopefully last – time in my life.  I’d wake up night after night and leap out of bed, shrieking about creatures in our bedroom trying to kill us, and one extra disturbing evening I came to only to find myself standing in the front hall, eyes furiously affixed to the front door, arms up in a fight stance.  You may be glad to know they didn’t last (I certainly was!) and now I just suffer from your garden variety lack-of-sleep-by-cat.

4. My husband and I will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary this coming Halloween.  Getting married on October 31st – not as weird as you’d think.

5. In my advancing years, I have found that when it comes to the movies I watch and the books I read, I simply want to be entertained.  Comedies, dramadies and tried and true favourites are where it’s at; torture porn and ponderous, depressing meditations on the futility of the human condition need not apply.

6. My interest (and, if I may say so, adeptness) in nail art has come as a complete surprise to everyone who has ever known me, as I have never once shown any appreciable talent or interest in the visual arts.  Truly, I can’t draw for shit.  But put a detail brush in my hand and I’m suddenly off to the races.  It’s a sticky wicket, that’s for sure, but I ain’t going to question it.

7.  My cat’s breath smells like cat food.

Fascinating, right? 🙂 Now on to the nail fail, an exercise in humility, but also one in seeing exactly how far I feel I’ve come in just seven months.  It’s nicely encouraging.  I can say, however, that after completing these nails some months back, I was not so encouraged:

Are they mummies or rabid zebra in extreme close-up?

Are they mummies or rabid zebra in extreme close-up?

Seriously, what are those things?!  This is a glow in the dark mummy design I did around Halloween of last year, although I’m guessing that had I not told you those terrifying striped things are mummies, you’d be saying to yourself, “So…rabid zebra?  In extreme close-up?”  I’ve committed greater (and uglier) nail no-nos than this one, but this is a nicely embarrassing example of the time I just got it 100 percent wrong (and horrifyingly so – those mummy zebras look like the stuff nightmares are made of.)  Nail fail on all counts.

Finally, as a “condition” of accepting the Shine On Award, the recipient is to return the favour by nominating some of their favourite bloggers.  Many of the blogs I visit have been in existence now for some time, so a good number of these people may have already danced the Shine On hokey pokey.  With that in mind, I’ll simply extend my admiration for their blogs – mad props, all, and thank you for continuing to inspire.

1. Craftynail – There’s always lots of fun community-based things going on over at Craftynail, and Jacqui never fails to have a positive comment about my work (even the wonky, rabid zebra creatures.)

2. Eleobel’s Nails – Her swatches are so nice and tidy and she has THE nicest shaped nails.  My stubbies are envious.

3. EASYbAKED – Not a nail blog, but a beautifully photographed site full of adorable, rainbow-hued desserts.  I can attest to the inexplicable yumminess of her Froot Loop Pie recipe at least three times over.   

4. Vegan Claws – I’ve known Jo, the proprietress (?) of Vegan Claws, since high school, and I can say that in addition to being a pretty cool person, her commitment to seeking out cruelty-free, vegan nail products is beyond admirable and something I desperately need to put into practice in my own work.  Cats don’t need or want to wear nail polish; they just don’t. 😉

5. Wonderful Wolf – A nail blogger who’s not afraid to get in touch with the brighter end of the colour spectrum, her work is always super colourful and nicely detailed.

6. The Adorned Claw – Quickly becoming a stamping superpower.  I’m jealous, because much like drawing on anything but my nails, I can’t stamp for shit.

7. Majormakeupmadness – Fun makeup tutorials, and Hazel has beautiful eyes.

8. Polish Alcoholic – Super tidy and pretty swatches, with a heavy emphasis on swoon-worthy holos and hard-to-find picks.

9. Elektra King – A blogger after my nail art heart, Elektra King’s all about the major indie glitters and hardest-to-find imports.

10. Flight of Whimsy – A fun blog filled with tons of cool designs from both ends of the nail art spectrum, with plenty of colourful stops in between.

So here endth our incredibly long tale.  If you made it this far, congratulations!  You may want to rehydrate yourself after your epic journey – the line for water’s to the left.  And if you bailed out in the middle, well, I understand.  I tend to get a little long-winded, especially about that which I love. 😉 And oddly enough, I do indeed love nail art and blogging, two things that have brought me much joy these past seven or so months.  So if the “price” to pay for that is being complimented and then returning that compliment in kind, well, that’s still a pretty great (and awesomely fulfilling) deal.  For the final time, thank you, blogging community.  Manifesto done!

Sailor Moon, is that you?

Sailor Moon, is that you?

Not Just Another Pretty Nail

So I understand that photographs and actual content are part of the blogging deal – you provide the photos and the content and that’s the reason you have a blog.  I think.  Like I said last time, I’m sort of new to all this.  I’m currently trying to figure out the condumdrum of how to post my collection of woefully overlit iSnaps without enlisting the help of my in-house technical support guy, also known as my husband.  It’s not that he doesn’t want to help.  Au contraire, he’s ready to build an entire server farm in our second bedroom to support my blossoming blogging empire.  Rather, I’d like to figure out some of these things on my own.

And therein lies a lot of the fun in nail art: Developing a skill set and interests beyond merely painting your nails pretty colours.  Since delving into the well polished world of nail art, I’ve developed a surgery-ready steady hand, handy for detail work and on-the-fly tracheotomies.  In the offshoot area of photography, I’ve learned how to properly light my mini creations without the benefit of a lightbox.  And on the subject of lightboxes, I have a YouTube tutorial and a big cardboard box that says that within a couple of days, I will have built a pretty nifty darkened hidey hole in which to take my photos.

I’ve tried out unexpected colour combinations and discovered that navy blue and pink are truly stunning together.  I’ve upped my nail care regime from non-existent to casual and have discovered the importance of keeping my mini canvases in the best possible shape.  I’ve learned how to make my own glitter polish and have put into place plans to “release” my own “line.”  I’ve perused other nail blogs and have discovered a whole community of smart, funny and yes, polished-obsessed ladies whose creativity is truly inspiring.  Best of all, I’ve been inspired to start this blog, giving my formaldehyde fume-fueled ramblings a much-needed outlet.

Now to learn how to post some photos to accompany those ramblings!